You’ve just had a baby – congratulations! As if that precious little bundle with the button nose isn’t gift enough, mother nature gives us moms a little extra. And that little extra is slathered around our midsections. It’s pillowing our now expanded hips. It’s welled up in a bust-line that has reached epic cup sizes we didn’t even know existed until now. And at some point, we all get frustrated with that little extra and start the process of losing baby weight.
When I was pregnant with a toddler at home, I just stopped caring about what we ate. We had Chinese take-out several nights a week. My toddler ate chicken nuggets more than I care to admit. Food came to our house almost exclusively from a delivery vehicle, a take-out window, or a drive through. We were the picture of unhealthy American eating.
Once I had the baby, two things were clear: 1). I needed to start the process of losing the baby weight and 2). I needed to overhaul my family’s diet. I didn’t want my kid eating chicken nuggets every night – I wanted her to enjoy a wide range of foods. I wanted my husband and I to set a better example for her, because now she was old enough to point at our Chinese takeout and say “I want some of that.”
Here’s what I did:
Cook Healthy Meals at Home: I know, earth-shattering advice, huh? I always said I was too busy to cook, but while I was on maternity leave I discovered the Skinny Taste website and found lots of dishes that were simple and quick to make. I started cooking more and my family responded favorably. I realized I could have a great meal that was also healthy and not feel deprived. Some of my favorites from Gina Holmolka (author of Skinny Taste) are the chicken avocado soup, the zucchini boat enchiladas, and the buffalo chicken lettuce wraps. I can have each of these meals on the table in 30 minutes or less and they are delicious (tip: I cook chicken in the crock pot on weekends so I have some on hand to make in dishes like this during the week).
Grocery Shop Smart: In an effort to remove processed foods and junk foods from our diet, I cleaned all the junk out of our pantry and didn’t allow it back in. I’ve started reading labels more and avoiding putting things in my cart that I don’t want to put in my mouth. I still love to snack (especially at night), but when my only options for snacks are healthy ones – I make better choices. Currently our favorite late night snack is frozen grapes.
Have Specific Goals: My friend Steve is a personal trainer. He told me once that the hardest clients he has are the ones with vague goals like “lose weight” or “tone up.” He said those clients rarely see success because they can’t define for themselves what success is – and he can’t motivate them because he doesn’t know where they want to be. He said the best success comes when a client walks in and says “I have my reunion in 5 months and I want to weigh X” or “I want to fit into these jeans again.” That really resonated with me.
I have a nice professional work wardrobe I’ve put together over the years, so rather than march to a number on the scale, I picked several pieces in my closet that hadn’t fit in years and decided I wanted to wear those clothes again. I tried them on every month and though they didn’t fit the first few times, I was motivated to see that I was getting closer.
And losing the baby weight isn’t the only result here. My husband has lost weight, too. We have broken up with our Chinese takeout place for good. We make our own whole-wheat pizza at home instead of calling a pizza chain for delivery. My once chicken nugget addicted toddler now enjoys cauliflower, shrimp, hummus, olives, broccoli, and her favorite is zucchini. We eat real food and it tastes great.
That said, every woman’s journey losing baby weight is different. These are the things that worked for me. What about you? Who has some good tips or suggestions to share about losing the baby weight? Or what about some tips for maintaining weight after losing baby weight? I’m all ears!