I’ve Lost Over 20 Kilos in 5 Months After Having a Baby – Here’s How I Did It
Getting in shape and losing weight is never easy. Throw a totally dependent newborn into the mix and a body that’s still recovering from childbirth, and it can even seem impossible. Here’s the good news: it’s not. I’m still on my postpartum fitness journey, but I’m incredibly proud of myself for dropping over 20kg in roughly five months. Sure, my baby gets credit for approximately 4kg and, if I’m being totally honest, I think I was carrying at least another 6kg of water weight (those early kilos came off fast). That being said, I take full, proud credit for the rest.
It wasn’t easy and results didn’t come overnight, but consistency and hard work ultimately won out. Here are some of my tips for achieving weight-loss success after having a baby.
Make Sure You're Eating Enough
One of the things that shocked me most about being a new mother was how difficult it was to find time for myself to do basic human tasks, including eating and drinking. Eating enough calories and drinking plenty of water is so important for both overall health and weight loss. And it’s doubly important if you’re breastfeeding! So, in those early days of parenthood, be sure to discuss your calorie needs with your doctor.
Personally, to make sure I was consuming enough calories early on, I used the WW program. It’s easy to follow and doesn’t require a lot of time to input foods (so many meals and ingredients are pre-loaded). I also loved that there was an option to mark that you’re breastfeeding – either exclusively or partially – so that I never had to worry that I wasn’t getting enough calories. Using this program was definitely an easy way to transition into a weight-loss mindset and also ensure I was getting enough to eat.
Stay Mindful of Your Step Count
When taking care of a baby, it’s really easy to get stuck sitting in a chair – or if you’re like me, lying on the floor next to their play mat, just ogling them for hours. This is all well and good, but to keep my weight loss going, I tried to make sure I was getting in some steps between feedings and play sessions.
Once your doctor gives you the OK to start moving, take your baby out for a walk in the stroller or ask your partner to keep an eye on the monitor during nap time so you can get out for a bit. Heck, even just catching up on household chores can give your step count a little lift.
Add Weights to Your Workout Routine
A few years ago, I discovered the magic of strength training. For so many years prior, I had done cardio exclusively with lackluster results. Adding weights to my workout routine was game-changing before I became pregnant, and even postpartum, I believe it helped me achieve noticeable results much quicker than if I had done cardio alone. Aside from aiding in weight loss, lifting weights – and by weights, I’m honestly talking about 5 to 10 pound dumbbells – also helped me gain a lot of confidence postpartum. After feeling so weak from giving birth, reintroducing weights made me feel strong and powerful again.
Try Counting Calories
Around four months postpartum, I hit a weight-loss plateau. I hadn’t been very strict in my dietary efforts up until that point, so I used this as an opportunity to double down and take on the one weight-loss tactic that has worked for me every time: counting calories. This strategy may not be for everyone, but I have always found it to be really effective, especially when my weight loss comes to a screeching halt. It helps me jumpstart my efforts and take a much closer look at what, exactly, I’m putting into my body.
I really enjoy using the Fitbit app to count calories, but MyFitnessPal is another convenient digital solution. Just make sure you know how many calories you need to eat to lose weight, while still effectively nourishing your body (and your baby, if you’re breastfeeding).
Change Up Your Workouts
I’ve found that keeping my workouts varied helps me stay motivated and interested. I’ve been a Tone It Up girl for a few years now, and I’ve continued to follow their workouts postpartum. I love how much variety there is in the app, with classes including barre, dance cardio, HIIT, strength training, and more. I’ve also been dabbling with the Equinox+ app and have especially appreciated the Pilates-inspired [solidcore] workouts, which are challenging while remaining low-impact. (For me, the less jumping those first months postpartum, the better.) Doing something new every day makes me excited to show up on my exercise mat.
Meal Prep Whenever Possible
We all know that time is precious. I quickly learned that this feeling increases tenfold – if not a hundred fold – when you become a parent and are now responsible for caring for a tiny human around the clock. During those early days, it was so easy to reach for whatever food was available in the cabinet or freezer. Thankfully, I had prepped a lot of healthy freezer meals during my nine months of pregnancy, but after those ran out, last-minute pizza orders became a little too common.
For me, I’ve found that prepping as many meals as possible during the weekend really helps me to stay mindful of my food choices. Even if I don’t have time to meal prep, I make a point to at least plan a menu for the week and determine when I’ll have time to run to the grocery store. When I have a plan in place, I’m much less likely to stray from it by ordering out or boiling whatever box of pasta we have in the cabinet.
Prioritize Sleep Above All Else
If you’ve just had a baby, then your body is working in overdrive to not only provide for your newborn but also mend itself from the marathon of pregnancy and the physical trauma of childbirth. More than anything, your body needs rest. And while it may seem counterintuitive, getting enough sleep is important for weight loss. Sleep is difficult to come by in those early days, so take the opportunity whenever it presents itself. Prior to having my son, I would sacrifice sleep for workouts, waking up at the crack of dawn to get in a sweat session. This never happened during my fourth trimester because it was not a healthy decision.
Stay Patient and Positive
You just had a baby! How absolutely amazing is that? I know there were many times when I would get down on myself. I missed my pre-baby body and was frustrated with the slow speed of my weight loss. But then I would look at my son and all of the negativity would instantly fade away. To this day, I look at him and think, Wow, I grew you inside of my body. We’re both pretty awesome.
By staying positive, I’ve been able to stick with my healthy habits, leading to substantial weight loss. Yes, it took time, and yes, I still have more I’d like to lose, but there’s no rush. It’s all about living a healthy lifestyle. There is no end goal. Staying positive helped me reap so many more benefits than just weight loss. I’m confident it can do the same for you.