Postpartum weight loss can be a touchy subject. But, like many women, losing weight after having a baby was a high priority of mine.
I love pregnancy and the newborn stages, but I was eager to get back to my healthy habits after baby and fit into something other than leggings again!
In this article, I’m going to share my journey and all the tips I learned along the way. The big ones, the little ones, and the ones that are the most important that I think everyone should be focusing on.
Learn more about the Bikini Body Workouts here. The entire plan is currently offered for just $29.99, but that is a limited-time price and won’t last long!
This is the plan I used to lose 30 pounds of baby weight and I go into more detail on this plan below.
What is Postpartum Weight Loss?
If you’re not familiar with the term, postpartum is a season in a woman’s life following the birth of her child. The exact timing varies, but, in general, the postpartum period lasts about 6 months after birth.
According to this research, there are 3 phases of postpartum:
- 6-12 hours after delivery (initial phase)
- 2-6 weeks after delivery (second phase)
- up to 6 months after delivery (third phase)
However, many women feel that they are in a postpartum period for up to 18-24 months after having a baby. In my personal experience, I felt as though I was postpartum up until 18 months after having a baby.
For this article, we will refer to postpartum weight loss as the journey of losing weight in the first 2 years after having a baby. Many women feel that they gain weight — sometimes referred to as ‘baby weight’ during this time, and are eager to shed that weight after having a baby. I was one of those women, too!
Postpartum Weight Loss Timeline
I know many moms are eager to drop the weight fast. However, it’s important to give your body time to heal and recover. But, most importantly, long-lasting weight loss takes a long time! Any quick fix will always backfire and you’ll gain the weight back and then some. Trust me on this. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the truth.
If you want a quick fix, then you may have to look somewhere else. But I’ve maintained my 30-pound weight loss for over 3 years now and my new healthy habits are simply my lifestyle now. I’ll share more about this story below, but, since I know so many people want to know the exact weight loss timeline, so here is how many pounds I lost each month during my postpartum weight loss journey:
- Months 1-8: 4 pounds
- Month 9: 3 pounds
- Month 10: 3 pounds
- Month 11: 6 pounds
- Month 12: 4 pounds
- Month 13: 4 pounds
- Month 14: 4.5 pounds
- Month 15: 1.5 pounds
- Total: 30 pounds lost!
You can see that my weight loss really stalled in July at 15 months postpartum and, since then, my body seems to have found it’s set point that it’s happy at. What’s great is that my body’s set point is the lowest weight I’ve ever maintained!
You can see that the bulk of my weight loss happened in a 6-month timeframe. Before this time, I wasn’t focusing at all on dieting. However, once I started my diet plan, I stuck with it and got it done rather than starting and stopping all over again, which is detrimental to your health and metabolism and can make weight loss extremely hard over time.
Postpartum Weight Loss Tips: Months 1-8
1. Quality Sleep Helps Fat Loss
At this time during my weight loss journey I was just in the research phase I was learning as my much as possible.
One thing that I was seeing over and over was that quality sleep for most healthy BMI and weight (source).
It was around month 7 or 8 that my baby had finally started sleeping through the night. During this time, of course, my sleep quality also improved. I had more energy during the day to make smart decisions about my health and fitness.
If you’re in a season where you’re getting broken or poor sleep, it may not be the best time to try to lose weight.
Instead, focus on making healthy nutrition choices and increasing your metabolism through strength training (more below).
2. Postpartum Weight Loss and Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding helps burn extra calories!
It’s well known that breastfeeding burns a ton of extra calories. I embraced this luxury and used the extra calorie burn to my benefit during my weight loss. This study showed that weight loss slowed quite dramatically for women when they stopped breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories per day depending on how many times your baby is nursing and how many times you were pumping. For this reason, you may not need to lower your calories quite as drastically while you’re dieting to lose weight during your postpartum weight loss journey because breast-feeding is burning so many extra calories for you.
It’s important to note that I maintained the number of times I was nursing and pumping so that my milk supply would not take a hit when I started dieting.
3. Made a Realistic Plan that I Knew I Could Stick
This is so key. You are doing yourself, your weight loss goals, and your metabolism a huge disservice if you are constantly starting and stopping a diet plan.
Do not yo-yo diet or crash diet! You may lose weight initially, but, I promise, it will come back with even more usually.
I made a plan and committed to it. I didn’t decide to eat Paleo or go low-carb or low-fat, but I chose a diet I could live with for 6 months.
Additionally, I decided on an exercise plan that was realistic for my schedule. Do not get so eager to lose weight that you sign up for an unrealistic plan for you.
4. Chose the Time of Year to Diet Wisely
Don’t diet in November and December. It’s just a bad plan.
There is a reason so many people start their diet in January. This is after the holiday social events and indulgences. Temptations and social pressure will be lower during this time. Don’t think you’re a new person all of a sudden and can fight off all social pressure. We are human and it’s only natural to want to have fun in social settings.
But if you’re dieting, you need to have a plan. You shouldn’t have to avoid social situations forever, but while you’re dieting, it can make things easier.
This is why I chose a time of the year when I knew I would be less tempted by social events or holidays (January through June). This is important! When would be the best time of year for you to diet?
5. Decided to Get in and Out of a Weight Loss Plan in 6 Months
I knew I wanted to get and out of my diet plan to save my sanity and my diet.
Dieting can hurt your metabolism, even if you do if the healthy way.
Plus, restricting yourself for too long is just not fun mentally. After a while, you’re likely to start a binge and restrict pattern. Make a plan and get in and get out of your weight loss in a finite amount of time. I chose a 6-month time frame.
What if you don’t lose all the weight you wanted to lose during that time? You can take a short diet break and all your body and metabolism to recover and you can re-start another diet at a later date. This is the best and healthiest way to diet!
Postpartum Weight Loss Tips: Month 9-15
I started my weight loss plan when I was 9 months postpartum and lost my weight over a 6-month period until I was 15-months postpartum. Here are my lessons learned and tips for losing the baby weight.
6. Started the Bikini Body Workouts
The below picture on the left is before I started the Bikini Body Workouts. On the right is after I finished a few rounds of the workouts and started writing my own strength training workouts (more on that below).
(Check out more of my progress photos later in this article, too!)
Learn more about the Bikini Body Workouts here. The entire plan is currently offered for just $29.99, but that is a limited-time price and won’t last long!
The best part is that you only need dumbbells, resistance bands, a foam roller, and a box or a bench for these at-home workouts! If you’re not sure where to find inexpensive weights and dumbbells, check out this post for where to find the cheapest weights.
The reason I started the Bikini Body Workouts is that, at this point in my postpartum weight loss journey, I was overwhelmed and lost. I didn’t know where to start and I needed an actual plan rather than just trying to figure it out on my own.
I learned about the Bikini Body Workouts from a mom’s fitness group I was in and it sounded really promising. Since it was so inexpensive and came with several months of workouts and meal-planning, I figured this would be a good start.
7. Started Intermittent Fasting
I knew I wanted to start an intermittent fasting practice after I came to a point in my breastfeeding journey where I felt like I could start dieting.
I had heard about intermittent fasting when I was pregnant and knew it was definitely something I wanted to try when I was settled into breastfeeding. Skipping breakfast seemed like a really easy way to get control of my calories and nutrition during my diet phase.
You can read more about my intermittent fasting and breastfeeding experience and tips in this post or sign-up below and get our free intermittent fasting beginner guide.
Interested in a free intermittent fasting guide? Subscribe below and we’ll send you our guide!
8. Figured Out that Skipping Breakfast Was Easy for Me As a Busy Mom
Oh my goodness, mornings are busy as a mom! I hardly have time to feed myself, let alone everyone else!
It was actually liberating to let go of that extra to-do of preparing a healthy breakfast for myself on top of everything else in the morning. Instead, I savored my coffee and put my energy into my kids and work. What a relief!
9. Replaced My First Meal with Lean Protein and Veggies
One thing I knew was that I couldn’t fuel my body after a 16-hour fast with junk.
I knew how to eat healthily. I’ve been dabbling in healthy eating for my whole life. I knew I needed protein to maintain muscle mass and veggies at each meal to keep me feel without consuming a ton of extra calories.
The below picture is just a handful of some of the meals and snacks I enjoyed during my dieting phase, especially for my first meal of the day. You will see that most of these meals are lean protein and veggies which keep me full, satiated and energized after a 16-hour fast.
10. Started Weighing Myself Every Morning
Some people will say this is too often, but by weighing myself every morning, I learned about my body and its fluctuations.
I used this scale which connects to an app on my phone so I could see trends in my weight, which was really helpful in comparison to a regular scale!
Daily up and down fluctuations are completely normal, but over the 6 months of my weight loss, I saw an overall downward trend, which is what you really want to see when you’re weighing yourself regularly.
11. Learned How to Maintain Metabolism During Weight Loss
There is one really important way to maintain muscle mass during a diet phase. That is through weight lifting with tools like dumbbells and weights.
It’s really important to incorporate weight lifting during a diet phase so your metabolism isn’t completely trashed when you come off your diet. You would chance gaining back all that weight if you
12. Limited Cardio
Yes, that’s right, I limited cardio at the beginning of my diet!
Cardio is a manual way to burn calories and should be added in at the end of the diet when your body and metabolism are starting to adapt to lower calories.
Don’t start a diet with a bunch of cardio! You’ll burn out and your diet just won’t work as efficiently. Add cardio later on (more on that later).
13. Incorporating NEAT
What did I do instead of cardio? I got my steps in, of course!
Before I started dieting, I noticed I would get an average of between 6,000 and 7,000 steps per day. When I started my diet, I aimed to get over 7,000 steps. After a few weeks, I bumped that up and aimed to get over 8,000 steps. I continued to bump my NEAT goals as my diet progressed. This is key!
This also worked out well with the time of year I dieted. As my NEAT goals were increasing, it was getting nicer outside, so we were able to get outside for family walks more often.
14. Learned the Difference Between Weight Loss and Fat Loss
Weight loss and fat loss are very different things and it’s important to know the difference!
While most people say they want to lose “weight”, they actually probably want to lose “fat”. This is a very difficult thing to do and you can only achieve fat loss through a caloric deficit whether that is through manual calorie burn (exercise and NEAT, explained below) or eating less calories.
When you lose “weight”, you lose muscle mass in addition to fat. This is not good! You don’t want to lose muscle, you want to lose fat. You’ll want to retain your muscle mass during a diet so your metabolism doesn’t completely tank. I explain more about this below.
15. Tried to Avoid Hyperpalatable Foods
These foods are specifically designed to make it very difficult for a person to stop eating them. These foods have a place in our lives — they should be enjoyed in moderation. However, if you’re dieting and aiming to lose fat, having a bunch of hyperpalatable foods in your house is just setting you up for failure.
Get these foods out of your house temporarily. Don’t freak out and think you can never have a box of cookies in your house ever again, because that’s not realistic at all. Remember, the healthy way to diet is to do it temporarily. During this time, it’s best to avoid these foods at all costs.
16. Ate More Fiber
Fiber is a miracle nutrient! As Americans, we are sorely lacking in our fiber intake. We should be getting 30-40 grams per day, and many of us are not.
Why is fiber important? It fills us up and signals that full and satiated feeling in our brain. It also helps us have healthy bowel movements, which can decrease bloating and excess scale weight which is important during a dieting phase.
You can simply sprinkle chia seeds or flax seeds on your meals or in your smoothies. Or you can eat my chocolate protein popcorn (recipe later in this article)!
17. Ate More Protein
Fiber is important, but protein is king (source).
Protein helps you maintain muscle mass rather than losing muscle in addition to fat during a diet. Protein also helps you feel fuller longer which is incredibly important during a dieting phase.
For many of us, it’s hard to get more protein in our day. I chose lean deli meats, fat-free greek yogurt, protein bars, low-fat cheese, and this sweet treat to get in my protein throughout the day. Once you find your favorite sources of protein, it does become easier.
If you’re looking for safe protein powders to try while you’re breastfeeding, check out this post which includes 5 top options for protein powders while breastfeeding.
18. Used Fat Intentionally
Like fiber and protein, fat is important during a diet, but it should be used intentionally. Fat is extremely important for overall health, but fat is a more calorie-dense macronutrient than carbs or protein.
Fat contains 9 calories per gram. Carbs and protein contain just 4 calories per gram. However, fat keeps you feeling full and, for me personally, improves my mood and overall appearance. I aimed to get at least 10 grams of fat each time I ate which kept me full and avoiding feeling ‘hangry’, but didn’t add an excessive amount of calories to my day.
I found foods like low-fat cheese and avocados to be a good way to get my fat without over-doing it.
19. Didn’t Eat “Healthy” Foods I Didn’t Like!
Do you ever start a diet and buy all these foods like lettuce and broccoli only for them to go bad in your refrigerator? Been there, done that.
I’m older and wiser now and if I don’t like a “healthy” food, I just don’t include it in my grocery list or diet. No big deal! I don’t force myself to eat foods I dislike just to maintain a diet. I found that this mentally of eating healthy foods I actually liked helped me adhere to my diet and healthy eating habits much more easily!
Stop buying foods you don’t like just because they’re healthy! However, load up on those healthy foods you love and go to town!
20. Found a Few Weight Loss Buddies!
It seems like there are always women who want to shed some pounds. Luckily, I found 2 ladies who were also aiming to lose baby weight at the same time and we texted each other almost daily on our goals and milestones.
This was so helpful for maintaining motivation on bad days! If you can, try to find a weight loss buddy, whether it’s in life or online. If you’re struggling to find someone in real life, there are a number of groups on Facebook or pages on Instagram that could be motivational.
21. Made my First 5-Pound Goal and Set a Reward
Now, this was exciting! I decided that I would reward myself for every 5 pounds I lost.
My first reward was a pair of those beautiful Nike Metcons you see above (check out all the different colors and options here). I was in desperate need of a new pair of shoes and I knew from my women’s fitness groups that Nike Metcons were THE shoes to buy for cross-training — they were the ideal weight lifting shoe and cross-trainer. Plus, they looked pretty sweet.
From there, I rewarded myself with a new treat every time I lost 5 pounds. My next reward was a massage, followed by these gorgeous things, this luxurious bag, the Apple Watch, and, finally, a delicious meal out with my husband when it was all said and done.
The rewards were super motivating! I loved reaching each 5-pound goal and earning my reward!
Here are a ton of great examples for reward ideas in this post and in the image below.
22. Learned About Calories and Weight Loss
Do you know how every diet works? By cutting calories in some way. This is the only way you can burn body fat — through a calorie deficit. I sort of knew this my whole life, but it finally clicked when I started my postpartum weight loss diet.
Diets are tricky because you just have to find the right one for you. There are a number of diets out there that accomplish fat loss through a calorie deficit:
- Intermittent Fasting (my personal favorite)
- Ketogenic Diet
- Weight Watchers
- Counting Macros
All of these diets by putting you in a calorie deficit which means you’re going to lose fat. The key here is finding the one that fits your lifestyle that you can stick to long-term. I chose intermittent fasting because I can honestly see myself skipping breakfast forever if I really wanted to.
Which way do you prefer to eat? Do you prefer more carbs or more fat in your diet? This is something you must ask yourself before starting a diet.
One important thing to note about carbs and fats. Carbohydrates are 4 calories per germ whereas fat contains 9 calories per gram. Many people (women especially) prefer to eat more carbs because you actually get to eat more volume since the calories per gram is lower than it is for fats.
However, more research is coming out on how important fats are for our brain health. Still, if you choose a higher carb diet for fat loss, that doesn’t mean you have to stick with it forever! You can alternate between the two if you wish. Many people begin to add more fat calories to their day (slowly…more on that below) after they’ve reached their desired weight.
Wondering how many calories to eat to lose fat? Try a calculator like this one or consult with a dietician who can identify optimal fat loss calories for you personally.
23. Continued Lifting Weights with Bikini Body Workouts
Can you tell how much I love these workouts? Not only are they extremely effective, but they are also so inexpensive!
I consistently did these workouts for the first 3-4 months of my dieting phase when I lost the biggest chunk of my baby weight!
Learn more about the Bikini Body Workouts here. The entire plan is currently offered for just $29.99, but that is a limited-time price and won’t last long!
24. Increased My Weights with the Bikini Body Workouts
And even though I was still doing the BBW, I knew I needed to incorporate progressive overload (learn more about progressive overload in my strength training for women guide), so I started increasing the weights I used during my workouts.
For example, before I was using 10-pound dumbbells in each hand for squats and lunges, but I aimed to increase to 12-pound or even 15-pound dumbbells for many sets.
Ladies, progressive overload is key. I saw insane body composition changes when I really started to push myself by increasing the weights! I started tracking my weight and reps in a weightlifting journal (check out my favorite options for weightlifting journals and logs in this post) and that was really helpful.
The below weight set is ideal for your home gym for weight lifting (learn more about this set here). It has every weight you’ll need for these workouts and these weights will last a lifetime, which means you won’t have to keep buying more weights.
You can learn more about which dumbbells are best to choose in my dumbbells for women guide.
25. People Started Noticing My Weight Loss
One of the best parts about losing weight is when people notice, right?
People at work started saying I looked great! This was really motivating to me. My clothes were fitting better and I felt better and it was showing!
26. I Hit My Stride with My Healthy Habits
As mentioned earlier, when I started my diet plan, I stuck with it. Sure, I had weekends of indulgence like every normal person, but I aimed to get back on track as soon as possible afterward.
My meal prep was becoming muscle memory because I was doing it so often. Getting in my workouts was a habit rather than a to-do. Squeezing in extra steps was a fund daily goal. Eating healthy snacks was a normal thing to do rather than a bore. I had settled into what worked for me and it felt great.
This takes time! I felt settled in after a few months of dieting. Trial and error is important while you’re learning what works best for you.
27. I Got Back On Track After Each Indulgence (and Didn’t Beat Myself Up)
This is a huge one. So many people just throw up their arms and give up after they fall off the wagon. This is easy to do!
Do you know what I found helped me when I over-indulged?
I went for a walk.
Somehow, going for a walk and getting my blood pumping and my muscles moving was a simple, easy way to reset my brain and re-align my goals to healthy goals.
I ALWAYS got back on track on Monday, the next morning, or at the next meal. No matter what.
Guess, what? I STILL do that! I indulge regularly now. It’s simply human nature. I get back to my healthy habits as soon as possible and it’s no big deal.
28. Writing My Own Workouts
This is the month that I started writing my own weight lifting workouts.
I have experience writing workouts from when I taught strength training classes (read my story here), but I still needed a guide when I was newly postpartum and feeling overwhelmed with weight loss, which is why I followed the Bikini Body Workouts for so long.
However, I was excited about switching things up at this point and started writing my own workouts, which made the whole process new and exciting again.
The lesson learned here is that it’s important to switch things up regularly so you stay excited and motivated!
29. Only Consumed Zero-Calorie Drinks
I don’t drink my calories anymore (unless it’s a low-sugar smoothie as a meal replacement) and I made a concerted effort to completely stop all drinks that contained calories during my fat loss phase.
For me, that also meant that I didn’t consume alcohol. I pretty much stopped consuming alcohol well-before getting pregnant for the second time, but this time I mindfully to avoid it completely. I may enjoy a glass of wine or delicious craft beer when my kids are older, but, right now, my energy is too precious to give to alcohol.
Interested in reading more about giving up alcohol? Read more about the sober-curious movement and its impact on the ‘mommy needs wine’ marketing propaganda here.
30. Enjoyed Non-Scale Victories Mindfully
Non-scale victories are benefits and improvements in your life that you gain from losing weight and improving your health that isn’t tied to seeing the number on the scale go down.
Non-scale victories are extremely important to be mindful of during a dieting phase. Take note of these victories, think about how they make you feel, think about how far you’ve come, and enjoy them mindfully. Focus on these wins as much as possible to stay motivated.
Some of my non-scale victories that I loved and that I’m still enjoying today:
- Clothes fitting better. This is one of my favorites! I hate pants digging into my stomach or feeling squished into clothing. Clothing that skims your body and feels good on puts me in such a better mood!
- Having more energy all day long for me and my kids. Moms, after lifting weights consistently and shedding excess fat, simply walking up the stairs while carrying my toddler was exponentially easier. Important win!
- Sleeping better. The combination of having a new goal to keep my mind occupied, having my body more fatigued from workouts, eating better foods, and intermittent fasting was like a magic pill for my sleep. Who doesn’t want better sleep?
31. Incorporating HIIT Workouts
HIIT workouts are tricky because they should really be used as a last resort to burn extra fat.
HIIT workouts also make me really hungry. I notice a direct link between my raging appetite and doing a HIIT workout the day prior.
Still, HIIT workouts are effective for burning fat, so in the last 6 weeks of my fat loss phase, I added 1-2 HIIT workouts per week.
For my HIIT workouts, I preferred to do sprints on the treadmill (30 seconds on, 60 seconds off, for 10 rounds).
However, Pinterest is full of HIIT workout examples. Follow me on Pinterest here to find some helpful HIIT workouts or other healthy living inspiration! I’m active on Pinterest every single day!
32. Continued Breastfeeding Long-Term
This study showed that moms who breastfed long-term had greater weight loss than non-breastfeeding moms. And because I was enjoying nursing my baby so much, I kept at it.
When I did finally wean at 21 months, I noticed I really had to keep my diet much more in check to not gain weight, so I can’t emphasize long-term breastfeeding enough during your weight loss period!
Postpartum Weight Loss: Maintenance Phase
The maintenance phase of weight loss is just as, if not more, important as the weight loss phase. No one wants to gain all that weight back that they fought to lose. Having a maintenance plan in place was vital in my journey. Here’s how I plan to maintain my postpartum weight loss long-term — for life.
33. Joined a Monthly Women’s Weight Lifting Program
Now that I was settled into my weight lifting routine, I wanted to join like-minded women on the same path.
I am not referring to Beach Body groups here. I would avoid those if you can. I found a coach online who offered a monthly workout plan for a low price with a facebook group where other women who were doing the workouts came together to share personal bests, workout questions, and more.
This has been instrumental in maintaining my weight training habit. At this point, it’s such an ingrained habit that I don’t even think I need the group anymore, but I love the relationships I’ve built there with women who have similar interests.
Search online for women’s weight training online coaches and find the one that best lines up with your goals!
34. Choose Active Fun for my Family
We are a family who loves to go on nightly walks, weekend hikes, or play basketball in the driveway! We also like to have races in the backyard and jump on the neighbor’s trampoline.
It may not seem like these things are important, but they are the most important thing. Not only does that extra movement burn extra calories, but it shows your children the importance of being active. Plus, it shows them that being active is fun rather than another chore. Important!
We aim to do this every day, even on the days where I think I’m too tired and I just want to hang out inside. Usually, just getting out and getting our blood pumping is enough of an energy boost to get me to bedtime.
35. Have a Goal to Go for a Walk Every Day
Walking is so key to optimal health and it should not be overlooked!
When I’m at work, I am to take 2 short 10-15 minute walks each day or a longer 30-40 minute walk over lunch. You’ll be amazed at how sedentary we are once you start prioritizing walking.
Walking is such a simple thing to do because you can just get up and walk out the door so it’s not overwhelming for many people.
If I had to tell anyone the most important things for long-term healthy weight maintenance and longevity, it would be to practice strength training and walk every day. The 2 most important things!
36. Invested in a Standing Desk!
Once you really start to build a healthy lifestyle, it’s really easy to build on them. Because my job is an extremely sedentary desk-job, I knew I wanted to invest in a standing desk eventually, and I did so at the end of my weight loss journey.
I opted for a less expensive version that you can simply set on top of your existing desk and it has been great!
37. Follow Inspirational Healthy People On Social Media
Have you ever heard who you surround yourself with is who you become?
This is so true. When I started becoming interested in losing weight, I began following strength training, weight loss, and healthy living experts on social media and signing up for their newsletters.
Seeing their posts of workouts and meals and other healthy living tips is extremely motivating and reminded on a regular basis how important it is to stick with my new healthy habits.
As humans, we react to visual stimuli. So seeing another person living healthy can give you the motivation and boost you need if you’re having a bad day or need a reminder to get in a workout.
Remove the negativity and complaints from your social media feeds and add inspiring, healthy people and you’ll be shocked at what an impact it has on your overall mindset.
38. Replaced My Favorite Treats with Lower Calorie Options
Finding low-cal treats (these rice cake toppings are good examples of filling low-calorie treats) to replace my old, favorite high-calorie snacks was vital to long-term weight loss maintenance.
Some of my favorite foods like pizza and nachos can be made much healthier by loading up on the veggies and lean protein within the dish and limiting the fatty cheese and chips or crust. This is a simple hack that you can practice for lifelong healthy weight maintenance. Indulge on occasion, but 90% of the time, make your favorite foods healthier!
I also love opting for lighter desserts like Halo Top or Smart Sweet gummy candy when I need a sugar fix.
Finally, finding my favorite flavors of sparkling water and tea was key. Sometimes I think I’m hungry, but I really just need a drink.
39. Continuously Learning About Improving My Health
When I was dieting, I found my favorite podcasts, books, blogs, and social media accounts to follow regarding health and fitness. By immersing myself in new information, it kept me excited to keep up with my goals.
This book, this book, and this one are all books I think every woman should have in their library and dive into to get excited and learn about good health. These 3 books are absolutely jam-packed with the latest information about health and fitness. Three must-haves.
MindPump is my all-time favorite health podcast. Spencer Nadolsky (@drnadolsky on social) and A Workout Routine (@aworkoutroutine) are very motivating and informational accounts to follow on Instagram or Facebook.
Add one or more of these resources to the information you consume on a daily basis to always keep your mind on your health and fitness goals!
40. Reverse Dieting to Increase Metabolism
Reverse dieting deserves an entire website or book of its own, but it is essentially the practice of gradually eating more calories after a diet to help your metabolism re-adapt to higher calories.
It involves tracking your food meticulously following a diet using a scale like this one. However, it’s extremely important to reverse diet after a diet so you can eat more calories again without gaining weight.
I reverse dieted slowly for a few months after my diet and my metabolism responded beautifully. I can now eat more calories without gaining weight and my weight has even trended a pound or two down at times.
You can read more about reverse dieting here.
41. Intuitive Eating for Life
After a diet and reverse diet, you should know quite a bit about nutrition. The entire diet process is very informative!
After my dieting stint, I realized I needed to eat much more vegetables and make sure to get my protein amounts throughout the day.
Every person’s goals will be different, but, for many, getting in their veggies and protein first, followed by fruit and healthy fats, is going to be a great blueprint for eating for the rest of your life. Fill in the extra space with dairy, whole grains, and other healthy food items where you can.
This book (one of the favorites that I mentioned earlier) is a great resource for intuitive eating for life.
42. Tried the Bod Pod
I really wanted solid evidence that my fat loss efforts had worked, so I made an appointment at a Bod Pod location. I’m a numbers person, so, even though I knew I had lost a good amount of fat by many other factors, I wanted to see just how much fat I lost during my weight loss journey.
A Bod Pod is a tool that measuring your body mass makeup, including lean mass and fat mass.
I was elated to learn that my body fat was around 20%! I would estimate that my body fat was around 30% when I started dieting. Twenty percent body fat is really healthy for women, so this was really motivating and made me feel like my efforts paid off.
My Postpartum Weight Loss Before and After Photos
Below are my postpartum weight loss before and after photos. Everyone’s progress will be different, but these are my results after following all of the above tips!
43. Took Regular Photos of My Progress
I found progress pictures to be incredibly motivating. I aimed to take pictures throughout the week in my clothing. However, I also took pictures every few months in a sports bra and shorts (shown below) to really gauge my progress.
Looking at progress pictures is incredibly motivating during a weight loss phase.
44. Recorded Measurements Monthly
I personally recorded my measurements approximately monthly during my journey and this was incredibly helpful!
Over time, my waist and hips are where I really focused my progress. That is where I carry a good majority of my fat, so seeing those numbers go down told me I was going in the right direction.
Body measurements are almost a more important measurement than scale weight for fat loss, because, as mentioned earlier, a loss in scale weight can be both muscle and fat. When your body measurements decrease, it’s usually a decrease in fat — not muscle. This is important!
Top 6 Recipes I Ate While Losing Weight and Breastfeeding
I wanted to include a few recipes for things I ate regularly during my weight loss phase because I know how interested others are in what people are eating while they’re losing weight.
Remember, I aimed to include lean protein and vegetables during every meal. This was so important during my postpartum weight loss journey and really any weight loss journey.
45. Low Sugar Protein Shake
If you’re loading your smoothies up with tons of fruit and nut butter, you’re basically consuming a huge sugar calorie bomb. If you really like fruit smoothies, drink them, but don’t expect to lose weight that way.
For my smoothie, I typically pair protein powder, unsweetened cashew milk or almond milk, ice, a teaspoon of chia seeds, a couple of handfuls of frozen spinach or kale. If I want something sweeter, I’ll add half of a frozen banana or a half cup of berries (a low-sugar fruit). You can add a small amount of calorie-free sweetener if that is your preference, as well. Filling, low-calorie, low-sugar, and high-protein — the perfect smoothie!
46. Chicken Fajita Lettuce Wraps
Another super easy healthy meal is sheet pan chicken fajitas!
Most grocery stores now sell frozen bags of chopped bell peppers and onions. Simply cut frozen chicken breasts into strips, added a bag of the frozen fajitas veggies, and tossed everything in a fajita seasoning packet.
Spread the mixture flat on a sheet pan and cooked in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes and ate my fajitas in a lettuce wrap topped with cheese and avocado. These froze well, too, as shown below.
47. Stuffed Peppers with Cucumbers
This recipe is a crowd-favorite in our house. My husband and kids love this recipe! Aside from the feta cheese, it is packed with veggies and lean protein.
Check out the recipe here.
48. Plain Greek Yogurt with a Crumbled RXBar
I love my RXBars because they are delicious and high in protein. One of my favorite go-to, high-protein snacks is a crumbled RXBar over plain Greek Yogurt.
49. Chocolate Protein Popcorn
I wish I had a picture of this but I usually ate it too fast to snap a picture!
Air pop some popcorn kernels (we use this air popper), drizzle with a small amount of butter or coconut oil and toss with chocolate powdered peanut butter (like these options) or your favorite chocolate protein powder.
50. Chicken Sausage and Roasted Veggies
Find a favorite chicken sausage with high protein and low sugar and chop it up with your favorite veggies. Toss everything in a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and any other seasoning you enjoy and roast at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes. A great, easy, high-protein, high-veggie meal!
My Postpartum Weight Loss Plan
My plan for losing weight after having babies boiled down to these main points:
- strength training (to build muscle and increase my metabolism)
- short-term calorie cutting (6 months of dieting and that’s it)
- increasing NEAT
- improved nutrition
Honestly, most people are completely confused about weight loss and fat loss. You’ll notice that I didn’t do hardly any cardio during my weight loss phase. This is critical.
If you really want to lose weight (which means you really want to lose fat), you need to build muscle and increase your metabolism and cut calories for a short amount of time. Don’t cut calories forever! Get in and get out of a calorie deficit.
During your weight loss phase work on increasing your daily activity through NEAT and building on healthy habits that will last you a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions About Postpartum Weight Loss
The below questions are frequently asked by mothers who are interested in losing weight after having babies.
How long does it take for your stomach to shrink after having a baby?
There are two types of shrinking in your stomach that take place after having a baby:
- Waiting for swelling to go down and your body and skin to tighten back up
- Fat loss
The first part of the shrinking of your midsection happens naturally during the postpartum months. Don’t rely on waist trainers or other gimmicks like that. Your body knows what to do! It can take 6 to 8 weeks for your uterus to shrink back to a normal size postpartum (source).
How can I lose post-pregnancy weight fast?
It’s important to understand that you absolutely do not want to lose post-pregnancy weight fast. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but fast weight loss just means that it won’t be maintained long-term and you’ll likely gain your weight back and then some!
If you look at my postpartum weight loss timeline above, I dieted consistently for 6 months and lost all my baby weight during that time. If you stick with a program for 6 months, you could lose up to 20-30 pounds.
How can a nursing mother lose weight?
Absolutely! According to the La Leche League, nursing mothers tend to see greater weight loss than non-nursing moms over the long-term (source).
When you’re breastfeeding, your body is burning an extra 200-500 calories just by feeding your baby. Put that calorie burn to good use and watch your calorie intake for a consistent period of time and you’ll lose weight. This study shows that breastfeeding women had greater weight loss than non-breastfeeding moms.
Do you lose weight after stopping breastfeeding?
Actually, the opposite is more likely true. You are much more likely to gain weight after weaning your baby rather than lose weight.
Once you wean your baby, you are no longer burning those breastfeeding calories of 200-500 calories per day by making milk.
If you don’t lower your daily caloric intake by a few hundred calories, you may very well gain weight rapidly after you wean.
It’s very important to track how much you’re eating before you wean and adjust your daily calorie intake after you wean. I would suggest daily diligent tracking to determine your calorie intake baseline for about a week before you wean. You can do that by using an app like MyFitnessPal and a simple food scale like this one.
Should I try postpartum weight loss tea?
Sure, you can try postpartum weight loss tea, but don’t expect any actual long-term weight loss from that tea!
Weight loss teas are, in general, a scam and are just another form of a crash diet. You can drink any tea that you enjoy drinking, but don’t expect quality fat loss from a tea.
Is it harder to lose baby weight after the 2nd baby?
I think it may be harder for some people to lose weight after the 2nd baby, but not directly because you had 2 babies.
I think it’s harder because you’re older and, if you haven’t been lifting weights or have been fairly sedentary, your metabolism and overall health have declined that much more since having a baby.
Lift weights, ladies!
How much weight do you lose immediately after giving birth?
You’ll lose about 10-12 pounds immediately after giving birth to your baby depending on the size of your baby (source).
This includes your baby, your placenta, amniotic fluid, and other blood loss. Over the next few weeks, your uterus will also shrink to its normal size and your swelling will decrease, which can account for another 2-5 pounds of weight loss.
Your breast size and milk accounted for a small amount of weight gain during pregnancy, so you will hold on to those pounds in the early months of breastfeeding. As you near the one-year mark of breastfeeding, you may find that your breast size decreases and your breasts don’t feel quite as heavy.
Finally, if you gained a normal amount of weight during your pregnancy, that would have included about 7-8 pounds of fat for maternal stores to feed your baby. If you continue breastfeeding long-term, you should lose that extra fat if you keep your diet and nutrition in check.
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