And even if you didn't just have a baby, but want to lose weight, these tips can help you too. Promise.
My advice goes beyond the basics. Yes, there's the low calorie diet thing. Yeah, ok, there's the exercise thing too. But it's more than that. It's more than just giving you rules to follow. There's a person behind all this. A person who cares for you and has totally been there.
This is very pregnant me in March 2010. I gained about 30lbs, then had to lose it. Real life.
About a year and a half ago when I had my son - my little bundle of joy - he filled my heart with love and my belly and thighs with much, much more. Totally worth it. But still, like many women, I wanted to get back into my pre-baby shape A.S.A.P and learned a few things along the way.
This was the first time in my life I had to lose real weight. Not just a few pounds...30 of them. Ok, technically about 23 after Will was born. But still! In my line of work, I'm used to giving recommendations on weight management. Losing weight, gaining weight, maintaining weight - I thought I had it all figured out. NOT! The first thing I learned after having a baby is that it's a lot easier to give advice about weight loss than to actually DO it yourself.
If you're one of my close friends, you know I struggled for the first few months. The weight just wasn't coming off. Why? I didn't trust what I knew. Bizarre. I blame the hormones. I knew I needed to eat enough calories to support breastfeeding and exercise. I knew my calorie and protein needs - I calculated them to the T. I knew what I needed to do. Did I do it? No.
Instead, I thought, "I'll just eat slightly less calories per day than I calculated and the weight will come flying off". Did it? No. It didn't. Why? Because I didn't trust what I knew. My initial lack of success frustrated me. Couple that with mental and emotional challenges of having a newborn and I was a hot mess!
So I decided after a few months to go back to basics....to what I knew. Start eating more calories in small frequent meals throughout the day. I continued exercising. After 6 months, I was back to pre-baby weight.
Me and my crazy-eyed friend. Back in shape and living it up at my best friends wedding in September 2011.
So what did I learn from all this? Trust what you know and be patient. It'll happen. Not overnight, but it'll happen.
Even though everyone has unique nutritional needs, here my general post-pregnancy weight loss pro-tips:
- DO aim to lose weight at a healthy rate (i.e. about 1-2 pounds per week)
- DO eat real food (no fad diets or crazy detoxes)
- DO eat enough food (if you're breastfeeding, that's usually about 2,000 calories or more)
- DO exercise moderately (about 30-60 minutes 5 days per week)
- DO be patient and stick with it!