Health · Kids

Body After Baby: Getting Back in Shape

I am so happy to say that I am five pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight! I haven’t been 100% satisfied with my body since running track in high school and maybe the beginning of college. It just seems to be part of life that our metabolism slows down and everyone gains 10-20, maybe even 50 pounds after high school. It is not the best feeling in the world to look back at old pictures, and think “wow, I will never be that skinny again…” I especially thought that after having a baby, the days of being happy with my body and confident with myself would be gone forever. I realize my body will never again look like it did in high school but I would like to get as close as I can. I have a c- section scar and droopy boobs to show for my sweet baby boy and it was totally worth it! It seems that gaining some extra pounds has inspired me to not only lose the baby weight but also to try and lose the extra weight I gained after college. Here are some tips that really helped me lose the baby weight and start to get back to feeling good in my own skin again.

Try to stay healthy throughout the pregnancy and maintain healthy weight gain

Unfortunately, pregnancy isn’t an excuse to have a free for all in eating as much as you want, whenever you want. Of course, we all have cravings and it is totally okay to indulge sometimes. Going overboard and eating What-a-burger every day is not good for you or your baby. The American Institute of Medicine says that you need no additional calories in the first trimester, 340 extra calories in the second trimester, and 450 extra calories a day in the third trimester. A steady weight gain and good nutrition is important for you and your growing baby. Doctors recommend a weight gain of 25-35 pounds for women with normal weight. I did not exactly follow these guidelines throughout my pregnancy… (Dairy Queen was my best friend.) I did try to watch the scale and make sure I wasn’t going overboard. However I did stay active and try to maintain my level of fitness for as long as I possibly could. You should aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise once a day unless you or your baby have health issues. I was on the elliptical up until I was 8 months pregnant. After that all I could really do was attempt to waddle around the block! Being active reduces the risks of gestational diabetes, reduces constipation and bloating, and can even make your delivery easier.

Cocoa butter up that tummy!

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I was obsessed with this stuff throughout my pregnancy. I applied it at least every day all over my stomach including underneath and also around the sides. I did miss my boobs and butt and I could tell since I have a couple stretch marks there! Don’t forget those areas. I didn’t get any stretch marks on my tummy though… this stuff is amazing.

Breastfeed if you can!

Not only is it super beneficial for baby’s health and helping you bond with them, it burns up to 500 calories a day! Your body burns about 20 calories for each ounce of milk made. If your baby is eating about 8 times a day as a newborn with an average of 3 ounces per feed, that’s going to be 480 calories burned.

Wear a post-postpartum girdle!

I bought the corset girdle from Bellefit and it was nice after my C- section. I really needed extra reinforcement since my abdominal muscles were nonexistent. I wore a waist trainer before having a baby and the only thing it really did was make it look like I had a smaller waist under my clothes and made me hot and uncomfortable. The girdle helped heal my diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is when your belly grows out from in between the abdominal muscles and causes a separation. Pretty much every woman gets this after having a baby.

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Doing ab workouts before this has healed can make the condition worse and cause it to bulge out even more! To test to see if you are healed enough to do ab workouts, do a sit up and feel if there is a separation/ bulge more than 3 finger widths apart. If it is wider than this, you should avoid doing ab workouts until it is fully healed.

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Diet and exercise

Obviously there is no way of getting around this one. Once you are cleared for exercise you can start slowly to working your way back up to where you used to be. It is very hard to get to the gym with a baby! I was able to go to the gym with Ben in the stroller and have him sleep from when he was 7 weeks until maybe 3 months. Now it is pretty much impossible for him to sleep or be happy in his stroller at the gym for more than 10 minutes. Now, I try to go at night when my husband is home or I just do a workout at home during Ben’s non cranky time when he is happy in his swing or playing on his tummy. I recommend having a set workout program that is quick and easy to do. As a new mom you don’t have time to figure out what to do and what to work out. I am currently in love with Kayla Itsines BBG workouts. (kaylaitsines.com) I found her workout programs through Instagram after seeing hundreds of real women with real results. The program is 12 weeks long and consists of three workouts a week that are only 28 minutes long. These workouts are super intense but quick which is a plus when you are already exhausted and strapped for time. For my diet, I downloaded My Fitness Pal, an app on your phone which makes it super easy to count calories. To lose a pound a week, the app says I have to eat 1200 calories. With breastfeeding and working out, I consume probably anywhere from 1700-2000 calories depending on how many calories I burn. Don’t crash diet if you are breastfeeding! That is a quick way for your milk supply to dry up.

Consistency and Dedication are Key

It is super hard to stick to working out and dieting every day. I cheat on my diet with a crappy meal or ice cream at least twice a week. I am only human. Props to those girls that do fitness competitions and eat super clean every day… I would go crazy! I need the occasional hamburger and fries for my sanity. I would say I try to stick to my diet at least 75% of the time and I’m still seeing results. I think being consistent and really sticking to something is what makes the difference.

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