After the birth of my son, a few pounds of my pregnancy weight found a permanent home in my hips. I only gained 27 pounds, and according to the scale, I lost almost all of it within a few weeks. But my body definitely wasn’t the same. I never fit back into my old jeans, and I ended up going up a size and staying there. And honestly, I was OK with that. It wasn’t the end of the world.
But when I had my second son and had another few pounds hanging around—I was going to get back into those one-size-up-from-the-last-baby jeans if it killed me. And it appeared that it just might. I didn’t want to leave my babies in a gym daycare, my youngest wasn’t big enough for the jogging stroller, and by the time my husband got home to watch the kids, I didn’t have the energy to walk up the stairs, much less around the block. So what’s a girl to do?
First of all, a new mom has to have realistic expectations. You’re not going to lose 10 pounds in a week. Not only is it unhealthy, it’s unnecessary. No woman should feel badly about her body post-pregnancy or any other time. The key to losing weight is having a good attitude and realistic expectations. As they say, 9 months up, 9 months down. Here are a few ways to start the downhill slide.
Snack healthily. Nursing moms often feel as though they could devour the goods from an entire restaurant menu in one sitting. You truly do feel ravenous at times. If you keep healthy snacks on hand you’re more likely to reach for them—and if you eat before you get so hungry you feel faint, you’re more likely to settle for a wholesome snack. Carrot sticks, sugar snap peas and celery are all crunchy, easy vegetables to munch on.
Walk it off. You don’t have to hit the door running right after having a baby. I was bummed that I couldn’t use my jogging stroller, but I soon realized that walking was just as good for me as running (and probably a lot easier on my still-healing body). You’ll be surprised at how daily walks with your kids can make a difference in your physique.
Take it slowly. Yoga is a great way to slowly ease back down to size, and there are some great postnatal yoga videos and books available designed specifically to meet the needs of new mothers. The stretching and relaxing are not only good for your body; they’re a boost to your spirit as well.
Relax. Don’t think that every time your baby naps you need to hit the treadmill. Getting plenty of rest (impossible, I know) is important for a new mom, and you shouldn’t expect too much too soon. If you slept 3 hours last night, you should be snoozing with your baby, not doing sit-ups while he naps. It will all come off in time, and until that happens, be proud of your body. Ask any new mom and she’ll tell you that those few imperfections are well worth the baby she got in return.