After months of sporting that adorable baby bump, your baby is finally here and you've been given the OK by your doctor to workout. So, now what? You can do nothing and hope it just disappears, but let's face it ladies, we know that ain't happening!
Losing weight in general isn't the easiest of tasks to conquer and now that you have a new baby to look after (or chase around the house if they're crawling or walking), it's even harder to accomplish. Sure, some of us are blessed with great genes and that baby weight just melts away, but for the majority of women, it takes hard work to drop those annoying extra few pounds.
I was lucky to have only gained about 30 pounds during my pregnancy, and we all know the majority of that weight is fluids, boobs, baby, etc. So, magically, 15 pounds just evaporated into thin air after my little one was born. Score! As for those other pesky 15 pounds, most of them dwindled away while breastfeeding for the 8 weeks I was able to and the rest have taken work to get rid of.
Before pregnancy, I was working out 3 days a week, eating great, and I looked pretty dang good, if I do say so myself. It took hard work then and it's going to take hard work now, but ladies, we can do it! At four months postpartum, I am down to 110.6 lbs which is only two pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight! And before you get on to me, I'm only 5'3.5" so this is a completely healthy weight for me. I by no means am a fitness expert, but I have had positive result post pregnancy losing my baby weight. So, to help you along the way I have complied 10 tips that have helped me, and with a little dedication and hard work, I know they will help you too!
Tip #1: Get Motivated!
Obviously, this is where we start. The absolute hardest part of getting back into shape is staying motivated. Half of the battle is just showing up at the gym...or getting dressed to workout in your home if the gym isn't an option for you, which is my case. You don't have to have a gym membership to workout. Everything you need to work out can most likely be found in your own home, but if you can't, I'm sure there is a resale sports shop near you where you can find some fairly priced free weights and anything else you might want. The bottom line is you've got to want it.
- Take a stroll down memory lane. Take a look at some pictures of yourself before the baby bump. Hang them up on your bathroom mirror if you need to! If you can envision yourself looking how you want, it definitely makes the process that much easier.
- Take progress pictures. When we see results, it motivates us to keep going!
- Measure yourself. Just like seeing progress pictures, seeing the inches getting smaller and smaller makes us happy, happy, happy!
- Interact with others. Sharing your progress photos and receiving feedback is a great motivator! Try sharing your photos with friends on Instagram and use hashtags like #FitFam #Fitspo #GetFit #IGFitness #WeightLossJourney. You'll be amazed at how supportive the IG community can be!
- Keep a journal. Whether it be a paper journal or a digital one, write down the exercises you do, the food you eat, and the progression of your weight lost. There are tons of fitness apps out there that help you track calories and exercise time.
Tip #2: Set Goals
Think of setting goals as your road map. If you don't have a map and you don't know where you're going, you're bound to get lost.
- Make them realistic. "Drop 20 pounds in one week"...yeah right, ladies. Goals have to be realistic or you'll never meet them! They don't have to be "x pounds lost" goals either. Start out easy and set goals like, "Workout for 30 minutes four times a week" or "Run for a total of x minutes in x number of days." These are goals you CAN meet, and when you do, they will keep you motivated! As you gain momentum, set your goals higher, and then start setting your weight goals. Of course, you should set your initial end weight goal, but remember to keep the time frame realistic. After all, "Rome wasn't built in a day."
- Document. Document. Document. Keep track of your goals and actually write them down on paper, put them in a Word document, or put them in your phone. Put them somewhere! Once you meet them, go back and cross them off. Trust me, it feels gooodddd, especially if you're a list maker like me.
- Toot your own horn! It feels great when we meet our goals, so share the good news! You never know, your progress might even motivate someone else to try harder.
Tip #3: Partner Up
Sometimes, things are just easier with a partner. They keep you motivated, they keep you company, and, if they're a good partner, they keep you on track!
Grab a Partner:
- Howdy, partner! Find someone who is in your same boat. They don't have to be post-pregnancy, they can just be a friend looking to get into shape!
- Share the burden. Lets face it, working out can be a big pain in the you-know-what sometimes, but, when you have a friend to workout with, that burden sometimes doesn't seem so bad.
- You can do it! When you feel like giving up, partners are great for keeping you on track and encouraging you to keep going! They have to be a good partner of course, so pick a good one!
Tip #5: Eat Right, Duh!
Alright y'all, this one is a no-brainer. You have to eat right if you want to lose weight. Tiffany from The Gracious Pantry sums it up perfectly,
If you need help with knowing what to eat, you can read more on Tiffany's blog about eating clean and clean eating 101. She even has some great posts about clean eating shopping lists."You can exercise from the time the rooster crows until the cows come home, but if you make a run through your local drive-through afterwards, you just are not going to get anywhere fast. Food is the big ticket to good health. If you eat garbage, your body will show it. If you eat whole, healthy and fresh foods, your body, skin and soul will glow with health that gives you endless energy."
Now, we all know how busy you are as a mom. Heck, most of us are still crazy busy even if we aren't moms and that makes eating healthy hard sometimes. I know all too well how tempting it is just to grab a "granola bar" (AKA: processed crap, sugar, and carbs) on the way out the door, or sometimes not eat at all. By the way, not eating is the worst thing you can do! This slows down your metabolism and is counterproductive and unhealthy, don't do it!
Ever hear the saying, "Abs are made in the kitchen?" Well, I'm here to tell you it's true. You can do a million crunches and planks, but if you don't eat well those abs will never see the light of day. Eating right takes dedication and time, which leads me to Tip #6, but we'll get there in a minute! First, grab your phone and go to Instagram. Seriously, do it! Once you're on Instagram search for the hashtag #MealPrep (and follow me @audrakurtz while you're at it!). That my friends is dedication to eating right. Over 445,000 posts of people taking the time to prep their meals for the week so they stay on track. Now, you don't have to eat the same thing every day like they do. A lot of those people are body builders and they're cray cray dedicated! The point is, you've got to make time to eat right and if that means making all of your meals on a Sunday night, well, then that's what it takes.
My personal favorite thing to do for breakfast in the mornings is make a smoothie! They're delicious, refreshing, and you can pre-make those suckers and stick them in the freezer to save time if you need to. I've been drinking these for years, way before I was pregnant, and they've definitely helped me cut the carb-loaded breakfast and squeeze in some servings of fruit, veggies, and protein. Sometimes, I also drink them in conjunction with a scrambled egg and some turkey bacon. Below, you'll find a video from my YouTube channel on making one of my perfect smoothies!
Making time is probably the second hardest part of this gig. You have to make time to workout and prep your food or you are sure to fail. I know I've done it too many times to count! "Oh, I'll workout later today," or "I'm too tired, I'll do it tomorrow" are the common thoughts that come to mind. If you put it off, you'll never do it!
- Make it a routine. I'm pretty sure you already have a routine, am I right? Well, then there is no reason why you can't tack this on to that routine! So, make your plans, put it on the calendar, and stick to it! If you have to put a reminder in your phone, then do that! Make Sundays your meal prep days, that way you're prepared for the entire week! My routine is grocery shopping on Sundays so that I can leave little man with the hubby and shop with ease and then come home and prep meals. If you're a morning person, go to bed in your workout clothes, roll out of bed and workout for just thirty minutes or an hour before your little one wakes up and you're done for the day! You won't have to think about it for the rest of the day, it will wake you up, and it will get that metabolism running! If you're shaking your head, "No way, José," then you can always do it in the middle of the day while baby naps (if you're a SAHM), or in the evening before dinner. There is no excuse, you can make time for a 30 minute or one hour workout session every day or every other day!
Having the right tools makes everything easier! Here's my list of go-to items when working out.
- One awesome playlist. I don't know about you, but having some killer tunes always gets me pumped up while working out. You probably wouldn't guess it by looking at me, but I totally blast dance/electronic music while working out. One of my faves is the Skrillex Bangerang album. A great app if you don't already have it is the Pandora app. Just put in a song you like and Pandora will develop a playlist of songs similar to the one you like.
- Weight gloves. These are a must-have for me. I like to use free weights while working out, and doing this can sometimes develop blisters if you don't have gloves. They're also great for helping you grip your weights and any of the bars on the weight machines.
- Heart rate monitor. I LOVE my heart rate monitor. This is another must-have for me! I've had the Polar FT4 heart rate monitor for about 2 years now and it's awesome! In case you didn't know, you have 2 different heart rate zones: a cardio zone and a fat burning zone. In order to determine your fat burning zone, you first have to get an estimate of what your maximum heart rate (MHR) is. To do this, subtract your age from 220. This is your MHR. Your fat burning zone is between 60 and 70 percent of your MHR. So, for me, my max heart rate is 194, so my fat burning heart rate zone is 116 - 135. Long story short, the Polar FT4 helps me keep track of where my heart rate is so I can stay in my fat burning zone and, even cooler, my Polar FT4 keeps track of the time I've been working out and my estimated calories burned based on my heart rate which is great motivation!
- Clothes and shoes. If you aren't comfortable in your clothes and your shoes aren't supportive, you definitely won't enjoy working out. My absolute favorite workout pants are by Xersion which is a private label at JCPenney. They are SO comfy, affordable, and they're super cute! Most of the time, you can get them for less than $25 when they're on sale and less than $40 at regular price. I don't know about you, but I'm definitely NOT paying over $100 for one pair of yoga pants from someone like Lululemon, ain't nobody got time for that! They're just pants, they aren't magic.
- Miscellaneous. Another great thing to have is a yoga mat, 8 lb medicine ball, 5 or 10 lb kettle bell, 10 lb weights, and workout ball. I use these all the time when working out. I consider them a workout staple.
Tip #8: Be Accountable
Keeping yourself accountable can be hard sometimes, which is why you should enlist the help of your husband, boyfriend, best friend, mom, dad, sister, brother, whoever! Tell them your workout and meal plans and have them keep you on track. If you know you're really bad about getting off track maybe even consider creating a punishment for yourself. Nothing crazy, something like having to miss a favorite TV show until next week, doing a chore you hate that your hubby normally does, or even paying money to your friend. Be creative!
Tip #9: Make it Fun
If you make your workouts fun, you'll want to do them more! My favorite thing to do when I had a gym membership was to take the Step and Body Pump classes. They're high-energy and intense, which makes for a great workout! If you have a gym membership, check out the classes at your gym and get involved. If you're brave, try the Zumba class. You might look like an idiot dancing, but you'll have fun and get a great workout at the same time! If you're working out from home, there are some great YouTube channels out there with workout videos that you can follow. Some channels to check out: BeFit, FitnessBlender, and blogilates.
Tip #10: Reward Yourself
Last, but not least, reward yourself! And I don't mean with food, you're not a dog. Treat yourself to a mani and pedi, a little shopping trip, anything that you consider a treat for yourself when you reach your goals. You deserve it!
And there you have it friends, 10 tips to help you drop that pesky post-pregnancy baby weight! I hope this post helps you in some way. If you have any tips of your own, please feel free to leave them below in the comments, or if you have questions I'm happy to answer them!