I’ve avoided writing about how to lose baby weight for months.
Dieting, exercise and losing baby weight are my least favorite thing to talk about because of how sensitive these subjects can be.
But, you’ve asked and I’m answering…
How did I lose almost 40 pounds after my first pregnancy? More importantly, how have I kept the weight off?
Real Talk – Lose Baby Weight The Gentle Way
I’m 4 weeks postpartum, sitting on the couch with my sweet husband watching TV. All I can think about is how big my legs look, how flabby my tummy is under HIS shirt because mine are still too small, and how badly I want to “get my body back.”
So, I started searching on Pinterest, “lose baby weight”. The search results devastated me. The before and after pictures that I saw showed women that had lost all of their baby weight by 2 weeks postpartum, some had abs just weeks after birth, some had sculpted bods just a couple of months postpartum.
And, there I was. The biggest I had ever been in my life. Knowing that I darn well wasn’t going to be like them and shed the weight quickly. But, I decided to focus on what I could do. What would be sustainable for me? I wanted to be healthy overall – not just skinny with a flat tummy.
Maybe that’s where you are right now, too. If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself to be gentle on my new body. Speak about it with love. Enjoy the softness while it’s there to envelop my tiny newborn in love. Take time to heal.
(click here to skip down to my before, during and after pictures)
How Did I Lose Baby Weight and Keep it Off
I accredit my weight loss (and maintenance) to two main things. Trim Healthy Mama and MommaStrong.
If you’ve been around here much, you would’ve noticed that almost every gift guide on this blog has a MommaStrong membership on it. ‘Cus it rocks. And every mom deserves to care for her body in a way that is healing and empowering.
Secondly, following the Trim Healthy Mama plan helped me tremendously. It’s reasonable, doable and just makes sense. Oh, and you actually get to eat tasty things while slimming down safely during pregnancy/nursing/postpartum and on.
Both of these programs have shaped my thinking about my body, food, and intentional movement in the best way possible. Now, I love my body… most days. I love to eat well. And, I love to get in daily intentional movement (which some people call exercise, that word makes me cringe).
1.) Trim Healthy Mama – The Best Postpartum Diet For Losing Weight While Breastfeeding
What is Trim Healthy Mama (THM)
Trim Healthy Mama is a weight loss plan that focuses on separating fats and carbs in each meal while eliminating foods that spike blood sugar.
- I truly hate calling it a weight loss plan though because for me it is so much more. My own definition: THM is a way of eating that allows you to focus on the deliciousness of many different food groups while trimming down. This plan is safe during all seasons of life and specifically supports healthy pregnancies, milk supply and postpartum recovery. When you stay on plan, you can say goodbye to sugar spikes and crashes, weight gain and low energy.
- Read more about THM in my post, 3 Easy Steps to The Perfect Pregnancy Diet
Quick Tips for Easy, Healthy Meals To Lose Baby Weight
- Keep it simple!
- Chicken, rice, veggie – BAM, you’ve got an E meal.
- Pork chops, side salad, buttered green beans – WHAM, you’ve got an S meal.
- One giant taco salad with beans, cheese and all the fixin’s – THANK YOU MA’AM, you’ve got a XO meal.
- If you’re confused about the alphabet letters, head over to this post.
- Find your family’s staple meals and stick to them. Pick 5 quick meals, 5 slow cooker/pressure cooker meals, 5 favorites-but-not-so-quick meals and write them out on a note card. Rotate through these same meals for a while so that you don’t get overwhelmed by meal planning and learning a new way of eating.
- Find on-plan sweets that you love so that you can have something to delight in on the daily. This tip saved me many times! For example, when my husband would stop at Chick-Fil-A for a chocolate milkshake (my weakness), I could resist because I knew at home I could make an amazing on-plan chocolate shake.
Boost Milk Supply with THM
Keeping regular eating times and eating healthy foods will boost milk supply.
- Eating every 3-4 hours revs your metabolism, stabilizes blood sugar levels and gives your body the nutrition it needs to produce milk.
- And choosing something nutritious to eat while you’re at it? That can only mean good things for your milk supply.
A Note on Not-So-Healthy Meals That Are Gifted
Alright, so everybody and their aunt know that the kind souls that bring you meals after having a baby are not focused on Trim Healthy Mama ideals like you are. They’re gonna be bringing pasta dishes, bread, more pasta, and things made with cheese. With nary a vegetable in sight… unless you count premade salad kits that you’ll get tired of eating after the first few meals.
Accept the meals and just be glad about it. This is such a short time that you’ll be needing these meals – enjoy them!
Do your best to eat well when you can control it and have the capacity to make that choice. Please, do not beat yourself up about eating “off plan” foods when you’ve *just* had a baby. Okay?
2.) MommaStrong – #1 At Home Postpartum Workout Plan for Diastasis Recti and Pelvic Floor Strengthening
***Before we begin, I specifically want you to know that this is NOT an affiliate link. MommaStrong doesn’t allow that sort of thing.
Here is a direct quote from Courtney Wyckoff (founder of MommaStrong) about this; “So, as you may or may not know, we here at MommaStrong DON’T do network marketing or pyramid schemes to help grow. Why? Because we want your referral of MommaStrong to another woman to come from your guts and from your heart without an ounce of other motives. In a world where everyone is selling something and everyone is in the hustle, to respect and hold sacred the words of another woman is EVERYTHING.”
Now that you’ve read that, let me tell you about my journey with MommaStrong.
At my 6-week postpartum checkup, my midwife told me two things. “You have diastasis recti and your pelvic floor is really weak.” Then, she basically told me that there are great resources online to help with both of those things. But uhhh, she didn’t give me any links or anything to look into.
I asked in a Facebook mommy group and a few ladies told me about MommaStrong. Boy, am I thankful for that!
Some majorly awesome things about MommaStrong:
- The program focuses on strength rather than your skinny-ness. So, she’s not yelling at you the whole time about ‘imagining yourself in a small pair of skinny jeans’. Or, to ‘think about how you deserve to feel pain during exercise to pay for holiday overeating’. Or, that ‘you need to get your pre-baby body back’.
- The message of MommaStrong is very much so “you can do hard things”, “working out is hard as a mom but it’s worth it for self care”, “you’re doing the best you can and that is enough”.
- MommaStrong addresses (in a safe and educational way) pelvic floor issues and daily pelvic floor care. In a nutshell, MommaStrong helps you stop peeing yourself. Ever again.
- Courtney (founder of MommaStrong) just gets it. She is highly trained/educated. She is a mom. She goes through stuff. She doesn’t have time to exercise just like the rest of us. She just gets us new moms.
- Courtney is a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer, with 16 years of experience in fitness, nutrition, and injury prevention/treatment. For the last 9 years, she has worked exclusively with pre- and postnatal women. Her focus: help women to truly re-integrate their core, nervous system, and biomechanical performance after childbirth.
Bonus Perks That You’ll Love:
- You can actually ask Courtney (or other MommaStrongers) questions or address issues online. The great news is that she will reply!! And more than that, she cares about your specific needs.
- Daily emails that are written by other MommaStrong members to encourage you in your daily motherhood and strive towards self care and health.
- The workouts are a maximum of 15 minutes long.
- There are a collection of 5 minute hacks so that real life doesn’t stand in the way of your strength. A few 5 Min Hack titles: “I don’t wanna”, “Tummy troubles”, “Babywearing #1”, and “Sleep deprived.”
- It only costs $5 a month.
Commonly Asked (Or Thought To Oneself) Questions about Postpartum Belly & How To Lose The Baby Weight
How to Lose Postpartum Belly
- First, hop back up to read more about how Trim Healthy Mama and MommaStrong helped me to find my trim and gain total body strength (yup, even down below).
- Secondly, well, right now you shouldn’t lose your postpartum belly.
- My two cents? I think our squishy and soft postpartum bodies are perfect for snuggling our tiny newborns. Think of it like this; if you were seeking comfort and wanting to be held close, which would you prefer? Hugging someone with hard muscles and bumpy bones or someone with a body that envelopes you with love and coziness.
- You won’t always be this way – and your baby won’t always be this small so truly, what’s the rush?
- But – I totally get not liking how you look and feel. Like, 100% get you there. Which, of course, is the whole reason I found Trim Healthy Mama and MommaStrong.
But, Wouldn’t The Keto Diet Be Faster For Weight Loss?
Faster? Maybe. But overall sustainable and life-giving for years on end? I don’t think so.
A Few Pitfalls of the Keto Diet
- I’m not interested in any diet that removes entire food groups. Additionally, I won’t do diets that limit fruits and veggies. Most Keto people say to limit which vegetables you eat and how much you can have per day. Fruits other than berries are also a big no-no on a ketogenic diet. That just doesn’t seem right to me.
- Scientifically speaking, fruits and vegetables are where we get most of our vitamin C. If you’re not getting enough fruits and veggies, you won’t have enough vitamin C to shed weight. So, long-term you’re going to slow your metabolism and start running into other health issues that come from inadequate levels of vitamin C.
- Keto’s main objective is to remove any and all carbs at all times to stay in a fat burning zone. For any individual (pregnant/nursing/postpartum or not), that is detrimental to maintaining a healthy metabolism.
- When I look through the list of limited foods on the Keto diet, I see many of the foods that are encouraged for a healthy milk supply. Number one best food for boosting milk supply? Oats. What’s not allowed on the Keto diet? Oats. (Additonal resource: Kellymom’s Can I Diet While Breastfeeding? and Low Carb Diets and Breastfeeding)
All in all, I’m not sure I can understand how one would think that Keto is a good diet to follow over a long period of time. Especially for those of us in a season of pregnancy, nursing and postpartum.
My Personal Health Journey – Before and After Pictures of My Postpartum Belly
During my postpartum weight loss journey, I would often remind myself that it took 9 months to make my baby and so I will give my body at least 9 months to lose baby weight. That way of thinking was crucial to loving myself during my slow weight loss journey.
Walk with me through each picture “weigh-in” below.
- Weighing myself on a scale wasn’t a healthy option for me to keep track of my progress. I found myself stressing about numbers, rather than noticing how strong I was getting or how I was feeling.
How to Lose Baby Weight Summary
Love your body now. Your baby does. Don’t wait until you are x amount of pounds – I promise you, it is a choice to love your body at any weight/size.
Don’t rush the baby weight loss.
Do your best to follow Trim Healthy Mama to nourish your body and allow it the time to drop the weight.
Do get stronger everyday with MommaStrong.
And, most of all, enjoy the journey to health while you mother your newborn.
Great Posts to Read Next:
- 3 Steps to The Perfect Pregnancy Diet
- Quick, Healthy Breastfeeding Snacks for New Moms
- The Only Planner Moms with Little Kids Need
- How to Organize for New Baby like a Boss