By Amber Roshay
Three months after giving birth to my son I decided I needed to lose the baby weight. I was still wearing maternity clothes. I never wanted to see myself in pictures. I lacked energy for the most simple tasks. A fellow mom friend told me that losing the baby weight took her years. She wished that she had made the effort earlier because she’d gotten used to the extra love. I decided then that I wanted to lose the 50 plus pounds I had packed on. I didn’t want to get used to me being a whole lotta woman.
The same friend recommended Weight Watchers. I was hesitant. Not even the promise of weekly chats with Oprah enticed me. But, my dreams of fitting into my pink skinny jeans bought pre-baby compelled me to reconsider.
I found myself at my first meeting and became hooked. I’m one of those all or none kind of people. Within four months I lost all the baby weight and more.
Or rather a shocking yet awesome miracle happened. I found myself pregnant again. I was told that I could never conceive naturally. My son was an IVF baby. I became so healthy that I got myself knocked up. But, that is a whole other story. As you probably guessed, I proceeded to gain all the weight back. Yep, that’s right. Ice cream was my best friend.
Once my daughter was born, I had to start all over again. Sigh. But within six months, I lost the baby weight again. In a matter of two years, I had gained and lost close to 200 pounds. I realized that I knew a lot about losing weight. I compiled a list of the best tips I’d learned.
They work. I’m proof of it.
Finding a group of like-minded individuals trying to lose those extra pounds is important for success. Sure, you can lose weight without having a support system, but the journey is harder. My tribe began at Weight Watchers. However, there are other ways to find your tribe. Join Facebook support groups or convince a friend to lose the baby weight with you. Confide in one person you trust and send daily texts to check in. The first member of your tribe could be your partner. Surround yourself with people who want to lose weight or support you doing so.
There is this idea that the more you exercise, the more you can eat. I had this notion. I would go on long runs, eat what I wanted and not understand why I wasn’t losing weight. But, in fact, making healthy food choices is one of the most important aspects of losing weight. Simply put, eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
Research has shown that eating more lean proteins and limiting saturated fats and sugars not only helps you lose weight, but also decreases diabetes, heart disease, and other weight-related problems. The healthier you eat, the less you need to move.
Honestly, I resisted exercising. Then I read The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer by Gretchen Reynolds and learned how you really only need 20 minutes a day to stay fit. I globbed onto that number and now live by it. I figured I can do anything for 20 minutes.
Since I’m a busy working mom, getting to the gym or a yoga class can be time-consuming. Instead I either workout with Fitness Blender or stroll. Fitness Blender has hundreds of free workouts. The video lengths vary from 10 minutes all the up to 1.5 hours. Their motto is that you don’t need workout equipment to get in the best shape of your life.
I also love to stroll to the park or the store. I load up my kids, slap on my Fitbit and count my steps. It’s free, simple, and healthy. What do you think about walking for exercise? Can you exercise for 20 minutes a day?
It’s important to maintain a healthy mindset. There will be setbacks along the way. One week you’ll do everything right and not lose any of the baby weight. The following week, you took a three-day hiatus and the scale reflected a win. Regardless of the number, you need to commit. Losing the baby weight takes times and determination. But you can do it!
Buying a scale was one of the best things I ever did. Before owning a scale, the weight would slowly creep up on me. I had no idea how much I weighed. But, even as a scale is a tool for you weight loss journey, you should only weigh yourself once a week. Weight fluctuates throughout the day based on numerous factors. If the scale is down two pounds this can be dangerous. You might think, I can have a bigger lunch. If it’s up two pounds, you might feel frustrated and give up. Pick a day and time, once a week to weigh yourself.
Learn to love and drink water. Soft drinks, juices, and sports drinks all contain high amounts of sugar. Even the ones that promise zero calories are loaded with ingredients harmful to the body. By cutting out these beverages, you’ll naturally drink more water. Also, when you’re dehydrated to might think you’re hungry. A new study revealed that drinking water can prevent overeating. So, reach for the water first.
I know it’s hard to cook when you’re a busy mom. I fell into the trap of relying on easy to cook processed food. Frozen pizzas took up all the space in my freezer. But this kind of food will not help you lose the baby weight. In fact, if you don’t cut out this kind of food, once the weight is off, you might return to this unhealthy habit and regain the weight. Go through your cupboards and remove anything that is highly processed. If you don’t understand the ingredients then it shouldn’t be eaten. Replace these items with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and healthy oils. You Won’t Believe How Much Processed Food Americans Eat by Alice Park in Time Magazine discusses on harmful processed food is for our lives. In a nutshell, to lose the baby weight fast throw out any food that’s not real.
Making healthy choices in a restaurant is hard. My strategy for a restaurant is to first look at the menu online. I would choose my meal before I arrived. If I knew that I was going to splurge a little bit, I would have a light breakfast or lunch. I also wouldn’t be shy to ask the server to put the sauce or the dressing on the side or say I have dietary restrictions. Most servers never asked why. I also would get in the habit of asking for a to-go container when the food arrived. I would place half of my meal in the container right away. Out of sight, out of my stomach. Sometimes I would eat a banana before going out. This way I wouldn’t be super hungry.
Choose a reward that makes all your work worth the journey. Pay yourself for every pound you lose or buy yourself a new outfit. I recently joined Stitch Fix, a clothing subscription service. I love getting new clothes in the mail styled just for me. Whatever your reward is, don’t make it food. Get out of the mindset that a big meal or dessert is the reward for all your hard work. This will help you lose the baby weight fast. What kind of things do you like to reward yourself with?
Usually, snack food is processed food. Processed food is full of empty calories. Still, even knowing this, I resisted letting go my snack food. I couldn’t part with the chips or Oreo Cookies. But once they were out of my house, I hardly ever ate them. If you buy something, you commit yourself to eating the whole box. Getting rid of the snack food will help you lose the baby weight fast.
Sugar’s in everything. Once you’re aware of this, the knowledge will make you angry. At least it did for me. Even banana chips have added sugar. In fact, products that you think are healthy aren’t because of the added sugar. Cereals promise whole grains or gluten-free and you’re tricked into believing that you’re making a smarter choice. But the product is loaded with sugar. By simply cutting out sugar the pounds will come off. The documentary Fed Up opened my eyes to the horrors of sugar. Another great documentary that discusses sugar is The Weight of the Nation.
I have the philosophy that I can eat as much as I want of fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. Sure, these items have calories, but they’re the right kind of calories. Not to mention, they’re loaded with nutrients your body needs. Stock up on vegetables that fill you up more like eggplant, squash, and asparagus. Studies show that consuming a diet high in fiber can lead to weight loss. If you eat more of the right things, then you won’t want the processed food and you’ll lose the baby weight.
Your mom was right – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your first meal of the day needs to have enough protein to carry you through to lunch. I don’t mean five eggs with sausage and four pieces of buttered toast. Think Greek yogurt, fruit, and peanut butter. Or steel-cut oats with fresh fruit, and almond milk. Skipping breakfast will only lead to becoming over-hungry and making poor choices.
I used to beat myself up for having a piece of pie or a cookie. Sometimes, I really couldn’t control the sweet tooth. But since I threw away all my snack and processed food my choices were naturally healthier. I would indulge in something sweet only once a week. The majority of my choices on a daily basis were consistently healthy. Over time, this will result in weight loss. So, if you have a bad day or even a bad week, don’t give up. Losing the baby weight takes time. Remember to make good choices consistently and the baby weight will come off
Losing weight and keeping the baby weight off, doesn’t end when the diet ends. Maintaining your ideal weight will be a challenge for the rest of you life if you don’t choose to make it a lifestyle choice. Slipping back into old habits can happen if you’re not careful. Make a lifetime commitment to be the person you want to be – fit and happy.
As a mom of two under two, this one can be difficult. I have limited time, so if I don’t plan my food, I find that I make unhealthy choices. Planning your food usually entails cooking more. If you’re able to split the cooking with your spouse, then I highly recommend it. My husband cooks on Sundays, and I cook on Wednesdays. We make food that can last a few days and can be used for multiple dishes.
Portion control is important. I love to eat prime rib roast, but it’s not a lean meat. To make sure I don’t overeat, I weigh my proteins. I don’t weigh fruits and vegetable. Just the things that I know I should limit like cheese, sauces, and fatty meat. I love cheese, but there’s a lot of calories and isn’t packed with vitamins. Buy a food scale and keep it close at hand. Once you get into the habit of weighing your food, you’ll see the baby weight come off fast.
Planning, weighing, exercising, day in and day out can seem overwhelming at times. I need a cheat meal. Heck, sometimes I needed to take long weekends off from thinking about food or my weight. What’s important is that you always get back on the wagon as quick as possible, but don’t beat yourself up for needing a weight vacation.
Some days when the scale wouldn’t move after a week of being perfect I would think, this is it, I can’t lose any more. But then I would remind myself that losing the baby weight is a journey and there’s going to be good days and bad. I don’t have to be perfect. Remember to stay positive and trust that you’re doing your way.
Believe me, I wanted the baby weight to come off immediately. Sometimes one pound a week wasn’t enough. I would become frustrated. But remember that long-term weight loss isn’t quick. The faster you drop, the higher of a chance you have of regaining it back. Slow but steady is the name of the game.
The first time I lost the baby weight I wanted to lose all of it by the time I went back to work. I wanted to walk in a sleek goddess. First of all, my postpartum body had a mind of its own. Not to mention, putting all those expectations on myself. People know I just had a baby, so why put that pressure on myself. Remember to give yourself all the time you need to lose the baby weight.
I had this friend who lost quicker than I did. I kept thinking I wasn’t as strong as she was or not meant to lose all the weight. Everyone loses weight at their own pace. All that matters is that you make consistently healthy choices over a period of time. The baby weight will come off.
There are so many great apps for this. Weight Watchers has an awesome app for food recording, recipes, and connecting with other members. Or you can do it the old fashioned way – write it down. It’s really helpful for you to really contemplate what you’re eating and why. When I started keeping track of my food, my mindset really changed about what I ate and how full I felt afterward. I also began to really understand what healthy food was rather than what I wanted it to be.
Eating when stressed is a bad habit. But since I’ve become aware of it, I don’t as much. If I do eat, I’ll chop up some carrots and get out my favorite hummus. Figure out what your stress triggers are and how to manage them without overeating.
If I’ve already had my snack and I want another one, I try to ask myself why do I need the food? Am I bored? If the answer is yes, watch a funny video or do 20 jumping jacks. Awareness is key to breaking this destructive habit.
Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and as an added bonus I’ve made a free printable with a simplified 25 Amazing Weight Loss Tips to Lose the Baby Fat Fast Checklist. Post it on your refrigerator or save it on your phone to remind yourself how to lose the baby weight fast.
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