I've yet to meet a mom who is happy with her body after the birth of her beautiful baby. She may be overjoyed with the new arrival but uncomfortable with the still-needed maternity clothes when she leaves the hospital.
What do I tell these moms? First off, realize you have the rest of your life to get your body back. These initial months with your baby are precious and go by extremely fast. But that doesn't mean we can't get you on track to start taking off the baby weight. Here are ten tips for getting your body back while still being able to enjoy your baby!
- Start moving. As early as your hospital stay, start reconnecting with your body. Do pelvic tilts and abdominal bracing to start waking up those core muscles. Begin walking as soon as your doctor gives you permission.
- Fuel your body. You will need good food to take care of your baby, so eat a bountiful amount of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. If people are kind enough to make your meals, don't be bashful about requesting healthy meals. We are not talking about dieting, just eating clean. When you eat whole foods, you don't have to worry about portion size.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps. A lack of sleep can cause hormone imbalance, especially with fat-related hormones such as ghrelin (tells your brain to eat) and leptin (tells your brain you are full and regulates metabolism). Regular sleep is not in your near future, but grab it when you can!
- Hydrate. Water can curb hunger, increase energy, and help flush out toxins. Fill up a 64-ounce jug at beginning of the day, and make markings on it for every hour so you can track your water intake. Stay hydrated throughout the day! You will need even more water if you are nursing.
- Tummy time = workout time! Your baby will spend lots of time on the floor working her little arm and head muscles. Lie down beside her, and start your own workout. Try a plank and crunches.
- Stroller workout. Get out with your baby each day. The fresh air will do you both some good! Start slow, but each day, increase your travel distance or pace intensity, monitoring how you feel. The added weight of the stroller makes any walk a workout. See if there is a local stroller workout class in your neighborhood.
- Veggie up! Eating a diet that is filled with vegetables aids in weight loss. You get high volume for less caloric density. Vegetables also help curb food cravings. Plus, they are packed with nutrients that you need. Eat a rainbow of veggies throughout the day.
- Wear your baby. Many people wear weighted vests to increase their workout. You can just wear your baby! A supportive front-pack carrier is a great tool. Be mindful of your posture, and choose safe exercise moves! Just walking while wearing your baby will burn extra calories, but you can also lunge, squat, and wall sit with your baby in a carrier.
- Protein power. Aid your weight loss by adding protein to your meals and snacks. A fruit by itself will quickly affect your bloodstream, causing an insulin spike. When you add a handful of walnuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter to it, the effect slows and keeps your blood sugar stable.
- H.I.I.T. your workout! Once you've been cleared for exercise and have regained some energy, increase the intensity of your routine. High Intensity Interval Workouts can burn fat and keep your metabolism revved all day long! High intensity exercises might include jumping jacks, squat and lunge hops, sprints, etc. Do a burst of exercise, rest, and then do it again. You can get great results with even just 20 minutes of effort!