So you just had a baby. You are dazed and confused from lack of sleep. You are muddling through your days of feedings, diapers and tears. All you really want is to get your pre-pregnancy body back! You want to take off the pregnancy weight and inches. You want to tone your body. You are sort of in a funk because you are not pregnant anymore and are able to exercise, but your energy level is so low. All you want to do in your spare time is sleep and catch up on the laundry that is piling up faster than dirty diapers. So how can you find time to get back into shape without running yourself too far into the ground?
Well, it depends on how committed you are to your body and to getting it back by slmming down and shaping up. You have to be super motivated to workout under these circumstances. The motivation may be that nothing in your closet fits anymore and you do not want to give all your Lucky Jeans to Goodwill. Or the motivation could be you want to feel good about the way you look again without the spit-up and the pajama bottoms. Here are a few weight loss tips to help get you back into shape, but remember to ease yourself back into it.
- Breast feed if you can. Breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day since your body is metabolically active producing milk. If you eat a normal healthy diet, you could be in a 500 calorie deficient every day without working out. However, be careful to get enough calories or it could negatively affect your milk supply. Breast feeding can help you slim down and lose inches faster than you can imagine.
- Watch your diet. If you eat correct portions of the right things you are bound not to gain weight post pregnancy. Watch the comfort foods! Get them out of your house and replace them with healthy foods like fruit, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins. Eat small portions constantly throughout the day, which is realistic since the only time you can eat may be the moments between feedings, diapers and walking your new addition.
- Get up early. No matter what, commit to a training routine and working out after your child’s last feeding. If you feed until 4:30am, put your sneakers on and take a run around the block or go to the gym – you have at least a couple of hours until the child wakes for the day. You can also find a fitness class or boot camp that meets early, say 5:30/6:00am, and you can have your workout completed and be back at home to relieve your partner to go to work before the baby’s day begins!
- Get workout toys for the house. Get a Swiss Ball, a set of hand weights and a yoga mat. These types of equipment are inexpensive and you do not need to be a fitness guru to learn a few moves for each. If nothing else get up early and do a couple sets of push-ups, sit-ups, bicep curls, etc.
- Commit to walking everyday with your child. Take them to the park, put them in the stroller and walk for at least an hour. Find a park with some hills. It is amazing how much resistance a stroller with an infant can provide when pushing it up a hill or you jog with it. The extra weight of the baby and stroller that you are pushing can help you lose weight fast! You can also get into a routine of walking with your family when your husband gets home from work. This way you can get some uninterrupted time with your husband, get your workout in, and your baby can relax a little. A good stroller is a must!
- Get help. Find a friend that will watch your baby for an hour so you can run, bike or take a fitness class. It is amazing what a small amount of time for yourself can do for your mental health.
- Every little bit helps. Do not feel like you have to workout for hours on end. A 30 minute fitness power session is all you need, just do it every day and make it count. These power sessions if done regularly will help you slim down quick and gain more muscle tone.
- Park far away. When you run errands, park far away and get some extra exercise. Carry the car seat from the car to the store and make things a little harder on yourself. Take the stairs, walk everywhere and burn as many calories as possible.
- Carry your little one in a snuggle sack. By a good front pack carrier, drop the baby in, and do some house work, laundry, etc. The extra baby weight helps you burn more calories and keeps the baby close and happy!
- Plan your snacks and meals. Pre-cut veggies and fruit to have in the refrigerator ready for snacking. There is no time to make a sandwich when you r hands are full so make a turkey sandwich in the morning before the baby gets up to have ready to eat on the run. When we do not plan, we fall back to the chocolate bar or the processed, ready-to- eat snacks because it is convenient. Planning is key! Not eating at all can be just as detrimental as eating too much!
- Accountability. Getting back into shape by yourself can be very hard so find a group fitness class, boot camp or trainer to help you. Someone or a group of people can hold you accountable for your goals, as well as motivate you to get to class.
Losing baby weight is not easy, but if you are committed to results you can make anything happen. Nutrition and diet are essential. If you eat too much or eat junk food you will not lose weight. If you are not able to get a daily workout, at least eating well ensures you are not consuming too many calories and eventually the baby weight will begin to come off.
About the Author: Lauren Lorenzo is an owner and Director of Training and Operations at Operation Boot Camp of North America. She is a graduate of JamesMadisonUniversity, an AFAA certified group fitness instructor, ACE certified personal trainer, certified Power Pilates instructors, and certified turbo kick instructor with over 11 years of experience. Lauren has taught classes at Atlanta Kick, The White House Athletic Center, The GreenbrierAthleticCenter, BaltimoreAthleticCenter and Athletic Club Northeast. She is currently pursuing her masters in nutrition and recently became the proud mother of a very active baby boy.