With celebrity moms in the media flaunting their post-baby weight loss for the world to see, it can feel like a lot of pressure to snap right back to your pre-pregnancy body. So it’s no surprise that we often hear from new mothers who want to start losing weight straight after their pregnancy.
But think about this: You just gave birth to a baby. For around nine months, your body miraculously grew and nurtured a brand new human life. That required you to eat more food than you might have eaten before pregnancy. Instead of being hard on yourself, try to remember what an incredible feat your body accomplished as well as how much change and adaptation it’s already had to undergo and is still experiencing. Recovering from the event of birth is already challenging in and of itself for many women. So why go putting even more stress on your body to lose weight immediately after?
We advise taking your time before jumping back into your old routine (or starting fresh with a new one). When the time feels right, check out this guide for the support you need to get you on track with your postpartum weight loss journey.
Postpartum weight loss: how to lose baby weight healthily
The shift from pregnancy back to “normalcy” can feel significant and it can sometimes be a struggle trying to navigate this new life phase. Thankfully, you’re not alone. This discomfort is a common aspect of the postpartum experience — it’s completely normal. As you venture into this next chapter of your life as a mother, try not to rush. It took you months to get to where you are, and it can take months for you to return to your original weight.
So, once you’ve worked on your mindset, it’s time to start working on your nutrition. Eat wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that will help restore your energy and make you feel good inside and out. If you’re breastfeeding, a healthy diet is even more important — the quality of your baby’s milk depends on it.
Postpartum weight-loss timeline
Immediately after giving birth, you’ll typically lose around 13 pounds (5.9 kilograms) from a combination of the weight of the baby, amniotic fluid and placenta. Within the next few weeks, you’ll continue to shed water weight. Any additional weight in the form of fat will come off through diet and exercise — most mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight between six months and a year after giving birth.
There’s a good chance you may naturally return to your old weight just by going back to your pre-pregnancy eating habits. But if you got used to consuming larger portions and less healthy foods during your pregnancy, it could be harder to return to your old ways. Don’t fret though; postpartum weight loss takes time after some adjustment.
Here are our tips for postpartum weight loss:
Slow down . Like we mentioned earlier, you have enough on your plate as it is, so try not to stress out about getting back to your former weight directly after giving birth. Instead, try your best to make healthy choices and focus on this special time with your newborn baby.
Start getting back into exercising. If you had a healthy pregnancy and led a pretty active lifestyle before, you can ease back into your favorite activities whether that’s cycling, yoga or playing a team sport. It’s an excellent way to lose baby weight while also improving your mood.
Work out with your baby. Taking them along with you on your walks and maybe even incorporating them (safely) into your routine. You could go for a brisk walk with your little one strapped into their stroller, or hold your baby securely in your arms for an extra challenge during squats or lunges.
Breastfeed. Believe it or not, breastfeeding can burn up to 670 calories per day thanks to its ability to rev up your metabolic process. That doesn’t mean you should eat extra large portions to replace those calories. Instead, eat fresh, whole foods keeping the nutritional needs of your baby in mind — the quality of your breast milk is heavily influenced by what you eat.
Lose baby weight with these exercises
Don’t forget that your body is still in recovery mode after giving birth, and that means it’s a good idea to avoid high-intensity workouts, especially if you’ve had a C-section. 8fit’s coaches recommends starting slowly and working your way up until you feel ready for higher-intensity exercises, much like she did after her pregnancy.
Without further delay, here are our favorite exercises for postpartum weight loss (videos below):
Squats with rotation
Start in a sumo or wide squat position with hands in front of your chest. Straighten through the legs and twist to the right, simultaneously reaching your arms overhead. As you rotate, keep your right foot grounded but lift your left heel. Return to squat position and repeat on the other side. Do 10 repetitions.
Lying leg lift
Lay on one side with feet stacked on top of one another. Support yourself with your hands. Lift your top leg, keeping your hips stable and feet flexed. Repeat 10+ times before switching sides.
Abdominal drawing in
Lay on your back with knees bent and feet planted. Rest your hands on your body or by your sides. Take a breath in, then exhale as you draw your pelvic bone up and press your entire back flat on the ground. Inhale to release, then exhale repeat. Move slowly for 10+ reps.
Find enough wall space to come into a wall sit. Place your back flat against the wall and slide down into a squat position. Make sure your hips are in line with your knees, and your knees are in line with your ankles (creating a 90° angle). Keep your back pressed against the wall and hold for 30 seconds or more. Breathe deeply.