So many new moms want to know how to drop baby weight and having gone through it myself–four times–you could say I have a few tips to offer.
I felt extremely fortunate that I had a fairly easy time dropping my baby weight after my first and second kids. But then I had my third and I found myself down only 10 of the 50 pounds I had gained three months after giving birth. Fourth trimester indeed. Add in the prospect of having to wear a strapless bridesmaids dress to a wedding and I was nervous–but more determined to find a fitness routine that worked for me.
It certainly wasn’t fast, but wow, it would have been a lot easier with services like our newest sponsor Mama Seeds, which offers simple streaming fitness videos that are tailored specifically for expecting, new, and seasoned moms–along with plenty of inspiration and support.
Whether you’re just getting back after having a baby or like me, you like to call yourself “three years postpartum,” then here are 8 of my own personal fitness tips to help you drop those pounds. If I can do it (and really, I’d rather be watching Netflix than lifting weights any day), then you can do it too.
1. Consult a doctor. Seriously.
I realize that this is a disclaimer before you start any exercise program, but it’s especially important after you’ve had a baby. You really need to talk to your OB/GYN or Midwife to ensure your body is ready before you start.
I have an otherwise fit friend who really hurt herself carrying her toddler a few blocks, too soon after having her second baby; some people just heal differently than others (funny how that works), so don’t just go with any general recommendations you see in magazines or fitness blogs about when you can and can’t start working out postpartum.
2. Set reasonable expectations. And no, that would not be “My skinny jeans in 30 days.”
I’m all for workout goals, in fact, I set them all the time for myself, but if you have really high expectations (like I do), I suggest making them about strength, endurance, or even days completed rather than a specific weight or size.
Now look, if you can be reasonable about it, then by all means, pop a dress size on a chart and get cracking. But I find that goals you can truly meet week-to-week or month-to-month, like “I will work out 3 days this week” or “I will be able to run for 15 minutes without stopping” is way more motivating than a long-term goal you might not hit for a while.
3. Take it slow. Like, really slow.
Start with what you know you can feasibly achieve. New moms aren’t getting much sleep, so maybe for you, it’s just ten minutes a day. And yes, that’s enough to make a difference!
We not-so-new moms probably aren’t getting much sleep either, but perhaps we can put off the extra New Girl episode and throw down a yoga mat instead for 30 minutes. Either way, don’t decide to run a marathon or start triathlon training for the first time; stick to short sessions that allow you to feel like you accomplished something. Because you did.
4. Exercise doesn’t have to mean a personal trainer
Speaking of taking it slow, you don’t have to jump into a workout routine immediately, especially if you weren’t in the best shape of your life pre-baby either. (Raising hand here). Maybe you just climb three flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator. Or push your baby around the block in a stroller for 15 minutes each day. It’s all good. Really.
5. Find the right program for you when you’re ready for real workouts.
This sounds like a duh, but it’s amazing how many women I hear from who really hate their workouts. Jogging not for you? Don’t jog.
One of the reasons we’re happy to work with Mama Seeds, is that the Mama Seeds videos are so easy and accessible. They’re no longer than 30 minutes a day, and you can do them right at home while the baby is chilling. Because while packing up an infant to head to the gym is a pain, I admit what I really hated was squeezing into prepartum yoga pants that didn’t fit and heading out in public where I felt totally awful and self-conscious.
But hey, if you’re missing some camaraderie by working out at home, Mama Seeds has got a private community where you can connect with other like-minded moms.
A huge benefit is that you can do these workouts any time you want, like yoga at 4AM when you just can’t sleep, or cardio right after dinner when older kids are doing homework or destroying your living room couch with a play fort (ha). And unlike quite a few of the fitness videos I’ve seen, these are really created with women’s safety in mind first–no 90 minute workouts that I’d never find time to do anyway. They also consider the physical challenges that come with being pregnant or postpartum, and incorporate gentle reminders about all the bits and parts that might be a little out of place (or out of shape) thanks to childbirth.
One thing I personally appreciate about the videos is that they feature real people just like you and me–unless you happen to be a size 0 with six-pack abs and a butt you can still bounce a quarter off of (which, hey, rock on!). That is not even me in my dreams.
6. Get a workout buddy.
When I started my weight loss journey, I invited the Internet along for the ride by creating an online community. But what was most helpful, was having an online friend who I could check in with every day. In fact, we engaged in a bit of friendly competition which was a huge motivator for me. Whether or not you’ve got a competitive streak, having an encouraging friend and partner to work out with–in real life or virtually through a message board or private Facebook or Google group–can make a huge difference.
Also, while it’s awesome to exercise with your husband or partner who may have gained some sympathy baby weight too, I will say that men tend to lose weight faster, and that can be extremely frustrating. Just keep that in mind and don’t beat yourself up if he’s dropped more pounds than you the first few weeks.
7. Ignore the genetically gifted.
You know those selfies online of fitness pros and celebs who are back to size negative 6 a day after having a baby? Yeah, don’t look at those. Just don’t.
8. Stay positive. Yes it’s cliche, and yes, it works.
It’s super easy to feel like you’re not making any progress from time to time. But getting fit isn’t a one-day or really, even a 30-day commitment. It’s something that happens over a long period of time. So congratulate yourself for working out on your day, no matter how long you did it, no matter how terrible you think you looked.
Trust me, I still look like I might faint every time I try to do a real push-up. It’s not pretty. And if I focused on that alone I might quit. Instead, I think about what I can do well now that I couldn’t before. Be gentle and kind to yourselves, mamas. One day at a time.
Thanks to our sponsor Mama Seeds for helping us reach our fitness goals, no matter what they are. Also, for making it really easy and affordable. A whole month of video access is less than a single yoga class, plus they’ve got a special introductory price with a free 30-day trial so that you can try it out before you commit, no pressure.