Post pregnancy weight loss tips are not much different than the usual weight loss tips, however, there are a few extra things to keep in mind.
I am going to open this blog post by saying that it is completely normal and okay for your body to change and for you to gain weight during and even after pregnancy. Some women who breastfeed actually gain weight rather than lose weight and that is part of the motherhood journey. Also, remember that your body is not meant to stay the same shape your entire life.
Experiences, age, childbirth, etc all play a role in how your body changes with time.
After having gone through two c-section births myself, I can say that weight loss after birth is not just calories in, calories out.
Having gone through this experience myself, I understand and can relate to wanting to lose the baby weight. I feel my best when I am prioritizing my nutrition and exercise. It’s not about being in the smallest size or going back to my pre pregnancy weight, but rather feeling my best which trickles down into other areas in my life and even plays a role in my relationships.
13 Post Pregnancy Weight Loss Tips
Generally speaking, you might lose as much as 20 pounds (9 kg) in the first few weeks after giving birth. On average, new moms lose around 13 pounds (6 kg) due to the baby’s weight, the amniotic fluid, and the placenta when giving birth. A week after giving birth, you may lose additional weight as you get rid of retained fluids. However, the fat stored during pregnancy won’t disappear on its own and that is managed through diet and exercise and making sure your hormones and mindset are in check.
Many women want to lose their postpartum weight because it reduces the risk of long term weight gain, obesity and diabetes. This is important if you are thinking about having multiple kids because it helps reduce your health risks with later pregnancies.
Please keep in mind a sustainable weight loss is about 0.5 to 1 pound a week, and of course there will be weeks where you may not lose weight at all. This means that it may take six months to one year to return to your pre-pregnancy weight which is ideal. Slower progress means you are taking the time to build long term habits.
In this blog post, I will be sharing 13 practical and effective tips on how moms can lose their pregnancy weight after giving birth. Let’s get into it.
1. Start walking
This is such a gentle way to start exercising and getting some physical activity in especially if you have not been active during your pregnancy. I love to walk outside whenever I can because it improves mental health which is super important to help alleviate some postpartum symptoms like depression and anxiety. Going outside, getting fresh air and being in nature has been shown to reduce stress. It’s also good for baby!
2. Check your hormones
If you feel like you’re doing everything in terms of diet and exercise, then it could be time to get your hormones checked (progesterone, thyroid, estrogen). When hormones are unbalanced, that can hugely affect your weight loss efforts. Make sure to speak to your doctor and ask to get hormones checked. If something is out of balance, your doctor will prescribe medication which is going to help you feel better.
If you are interested in reading more about how hormones affect weight loss, make sure to read this blog post which goes into detail.
3. Eat balanced meals
I know, this one is shocking. But real talk, holding yourself accountable to eating a healthy diet is one of the best things you can do to manage weight.
Eating balanced meals, meaning you are NOT depriving yourself of specific food groups (like carbs) is so important.
Making sure you are eating a healthy diet will help you manage hormones and will help you lose weight in a sustainable way.
Another tip is to keep healthy snacks on hand because as a newer mom who is also sleep deprived, it can be easy to turn to snacks that don’t align with your goals.
One of the best things I ever did was start prepping a snack box the night before. This is my favorite snack box and I use ALL THE TIME. It takes me 3 minutes to make myself a healthy snack. This simple thing I do for myself provides me with energy for a few hours. It also helps me feel good afterwards because it’s my way of showing myself self care.
4. Stay hydrated
Keeping a water bottle on hand at all times is going to help you stay hydrated. Staying hydrated while you’re trying to lose weight is important because it helps keep you from constantly snacking when you are actually thirsty.
Also, staying hydrated gives you ENERGY. That energy is going to help you get that workout in and it’s going to give you the motivation to take some time to prep yourself a healthy meal.
A few years ago I bought this water bottle and I love it because you just have to fill it up once a day. I also love it because it has motivational phrases that help keep you on track. Try it out if you struggle with getting enough water in like I used to.
5. Deep breathing
How does deep breathing help you lose weight?
It reduces your stress levels and it lowers your cortisol levels. High stress means you are more likely to eat out of emotional needs versus physical needs.
Take 5 deep breaths three times a day and notice how quickly you feel better.
6. Weight training
One of the best ways to shed extra pounds, gain strength, improve self esteem and confidence is to weight train. I know how hard it can be to find time and energy for exercise, but trust me this is going to hugely impact your day and your life.
Building muscle and toning up is going to help you burn calories throughout the day and it’s going to kickstart your post pregnancy weight loss.
Additionally, building muscle is going to rev up your metabolism meaning you will burn more at rest. There are not many ways you can boost your metabolism, and strength training is one of those few ways.
Get into bed earlier. Studies have shown that there is a connection between weight and sleep. Your appetite is actually controlled by neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that allow nerve cells to communicate with one another.
Two neurotransmitters you need to be aware of are ghrelin and leptin and these two transmitters affect appetite.
Ghrelin promotes hunger, and leptin contributes to feeling full. The body naturally increases and decreases the levels of these neurotransmitters throughout the day, and a lack of sleep may affect the body’s regulation of these neurotransmitters.
Also, a lack of sleep means your body is tired and because the body needs energy to function properly, it will signal your body to eat if it can’t get the energy through rest. That’s why when you are well rested, cravings decrease.
Something that I do when I feel like I am having a hard time sleeping is I put my phone in another room so I am not tempted to scroll social media. Scrolling social media can be stressful and induces anxiety. So if that is you, do yourself a favor and keep your phone in another part of the house.
8. Change your mindset
Before you roll your eyes, hear me out.
If you are someone who is super hard on themselves and who unintentionally punishes your body with restriction and overly reducing calories, it’s time to start becoming aware of your thoughts.
As humans, we are wired to look at all the negative things that are happening to us and around us.
It takes practice to change your mind from focusing on the negative. As a new mom, it can feel SO hard to be positive in the moment especially with all the new adjustments you may have to make. On the flip side, there is also SO much to be grateful for. Find those small things that put a smile on your face and focus on those instead.
Your thoughts can change your life so instead of constantly belittling how much progress you may have made with your post pregnancy weight loss, and not being happy with the way you look, change your thoughts.
As soon as you become aware of the negative thoughts, reframe it and repeat it to yourself over and over again. This little thing can also improve other areas in your life, such as improving your relationship with yourself, your spouse and your kids.
9. Take a multivitamin
I recommend taking a multivitamin to most of my mom clients especially if they are breastfeeding and pumping breast milk. The main role of a multivitamin is to fill nutritional gaps and to make sure you are getting your daily allowance of under consumed nutrients (calcium, iron, vitamin D).
Multivitamins may also help with weight loss because when your body is low on vitamins and minerals, your appetite increases which prompts you to eat more to replenish the nutrients you’re missing. Even though it is best to get nutrients from food, those that are intentionally trying to lose weight are more likely to miss the mark on some nutritional requirements. So although a supplement on its own won’t help you lose weight, it can ensure that deficiencies aren’t happening.
10. Vision planning and setting realistic goals
One of my favorite ways to set new goals is to write out a vision plan. This means I sit down with a journal and I think about what I want my life to look like in a year. This does not mean writing out vague goals, it means really thinking about how I want to feel a year from now and what are the small actions I can take on a daily basis to help me reach that goal.
For example, one of my goals for this year is to be strong and toned. I also want to feel confident and energetic. Next, I think about the daily actions I can do to help me reach that goal. To gain strength and get toned, I need to strength train and prioritize my physical health. I then take it a step further and I look at my schedule and determine the non-negotiable days and times that I can fit in some exercise.
Make sure the goals you are setting are realistic, small, achievable and help you feel good. Instead of outcome goals, create goals about how you want to feel and work backwards.
11. Focus on fiber and protein
For long term weight loss, whether that is postpartum weight loss or not, it is important to make sure you are eating enough fiber and protein. These two nutrients are going to help keep you feeling full and energized. For meal ideas and sources of fiber and protein, make sure to check out this article.
12. Practice patience
Losing weight after preganancy can feel daunting. However, it is critical you stay patient and understand this is a long game. Short unsustainable methods do not work. Take the time to build habits that actually last so the weight you lose you actually keep off.
Depending on the amount of weight and weight gain during pregnancy, your weight loss journey is going to take time. It may take you a few months to find a routine that works for you, but you won’t lose weight every single week. That does not mean you are not making progress. Remember that every action you take towards your goal is progress.
13. Get rid of the scale
I know what you’re probably thinking.
How am I supposed to track my progress if I can’t weigh myself?
There are many different ways to track progress and the scale is not the best way especially if you are focusing on post pregnancy weight loss. It can be super frustrating and discouraging when the scale doesn’t move especially if you are putting in so much work. Trying to return to your prepregnancy weight should really not be the goal.
Weight gains happen during pregnancy and your body changes. This also means your hormones are constantly fluctuating. So it may take up to a year for your hormone levels to be back to normal.
You may also be holding on to water weight and the scale is going to read higher. The frustration that may come out of the scale not moving even when you are eating healthy and exercising can lead to an unhealthy relationship with the scale and your body.
Find other ways to track progress. This can look like tuning in to how you’re feeling, how much energy you have, your mood, how clothes are fitting, eating habits and inches lost.
Finally give yourself time and do not rush post pregnancy weight loss. In other words, do not worry about your weight a week after delivery. Give your body time to heal and adjust before you start worrying about postpartum weight loss.
As always, if you have any questions feel free to send me a message on Instagram!