It might be a little early to be thinking about it, since my 5th baby isn’t due for another 16 days, but I am feeling larger than capacity right now and I am really looking forward to losing baby weight.
Here is a pic of how I look right now, at 38 weeks. It’s always weird for me to post pictures of myself, but I always like to see other people’s pregnant bellies . . . so I thought it would be fun to share mine too.
Hooray! Almost done with this pregnancy!
A lot of people ask me how I lose the weight after each baby. This time around, it might be fun to try to lose the weight together, in case anyone wants to lose about 45 pounds? The following list is my own personal advice for how to lose baby weight.
Tips for losing baby weight:
#1 Breastfeed for 12-14 months, if possible
Breastfeeding my babies has always been the best way to shed the baby weight. I like to breastfeed until the baby is 12-14 months old–not to lose weight, but to bond with the baby and feed it the healthiest food possible. When I am breastfeeding, I try to eat wholesome, healthy food in order to produce enough milk. So breastfeeding is a great way to intentionally eat healthy and take care of my baby and myself, giving all my best calories and nutrients to the baby.
#2 Drink Tons of Water
Sometimes we think we are hungry but we are actually thirsty. I drink tons of water. I don’t try to measure how much I am drinking. I just drink water all day long. I bring a 1.5 liter bottle with me wherever I go, and I take sips all day, similar to sipping on coffee or snacking. Extra water is especially important when you are producing breast milk.
#3 Don’t buy junk food and don’t keep junk food in the house
Somehow, junk food finds its way into our lives. It’s at meetings, parties, the check-out line…everywhere. And it’s fine to have some. But if someone offers for you to take the extra tray home, or if the kids come home with bags and bags of candy–just say “No thanks!” or throw it away as soon as possible. It feels like it is wasteful, but it’s not. The amount of nutrition it would give you is so small and the amount of harm it actually does to your body is so great, that it’s just as much a waste inside your body as it is inside your trash can. Just throw it away. There will always be more at another event the next day.
#4 Don’t think about it too much.
Have you ever tried to lose weight or count calories and you ended up eating more food than before? This happened to me in college–you know, trying to lose the freshman 15 (or 30). When we think about food more, we eat more. When we see billboards or commercials for food, we want to eat, even if we aren’t hungry. So try not to worry about how much weight you are losing, or how quickly. Don’t even bother checking the scale. I don’t even own a scale. I just try on my old jeans when I think they might fit, and say “Yay!” or “Bummer.”
#5 Eat consistent meals
This happened without me realizing it, but when I became a mom, I didn’t have time to think about meals as much. Just planning dinner was enough. So breakfast and lunch were more about whatever was fast and on-hand. My default seemed to work:
- A bowl of cereal or oatmeal with milk and a piece of fruit for breakfast
- Some sort of salad for lunch, usually with chicken
- A healthy, filling dinner involving meat, vegetables, and grains
Staying consistent with these meals really worked for me. It was simple enough to feed myself and my kids before school. It was filling enough to hold me over until the next meal. It felt healthy.
What’s for breakfast? Cereal. Oatmeal. Fruit
What’s for lunch? Salad (Kids will prefer turkey sandwiches, cheese, fruit, yogurt)
What’s for dinner? Something like this:
Monday: Fish, Rice, Broccoli
Tuesday: Chicken, Brown Rice, Asparagus
Wednesday: Spaghetti, meatballs, peas
Thursday: Cheeseburgers, salad
Friday: Homemade soup
Saturday: Steak, potatoes, green beans
Sunday: Enjoy yourself and eat out! Or have leftovers!
#6 Don’t skip meals
I never skip meals. Skipping meals makes me crazy. I am pretty sure I am hypoglycemic, so if I don’t eat, I get really irritable and upset. Plus, skipping meals tells your body, “Store! We aren’t getting enough! Store for later!” And we don’t want our bodies to have to pack things away for later use. We want our bodies to know they can use everything we give them right now. If you are in the habit of skipping meals, or if you have told your body to “store,” don’t worry. Your body is smart and it will go back to the way it was meant to be if you start eating consistent meals that have the nutrients your body needs.
#7 Exercise Your Way
What is your favorite activity? Do you love playing softball? Belly dancing? Taking walks in the evening? Whatever you love to do, make it part of your weekly schedule and do it consistently. For example, it might work for you to take long walks on Sunday nights for 1.5 hours. If you are like me, a scheduled ballet class is perfect for 1.5 hours of intense exercise once a week.
# 8 Don’t try to rush it
Give yourself plenty of time and plenty of grace when you are trying to lose baby weight. I try to keep in mind that it took 10 months to put on the weight, so it’s OK to take 10 months to lose it again.
What do you think? You want to join me and lose 45 pounds by summer?