In an ideal world you'd go to the hospital (or just stay at home), push out your little one in an hour or less and walk out in your pre-pregnancy jeans looking like a million bucks. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world.
After birthing your little bundle of joy, you will still look quite pregnant and you may be sporting the maternity jeans and yoga pants for quite some time. And that's fine girl, you rock those stretch pants.
However, getting back down to pre-pregnancy sizes is a big goal for many new moms and it comes with a huge self-esteem boost. Here are a few tips for shedding the baby weight.
2. Ease back into it. This is particularly important if you had a c-section or injuries while giving birth. Wait until your doctor clears you for exercise before starting a routine again. Pushing yourself too hard in the beginning could cause you injury and just set you back even further. Don't push yourself past your current limits, but be gentle with yourself. Start slow and work back up to where you were before.
3. Purchase good quality gear. Good gear is essential for effective workouts. Invest in a good, properly fitting sports bra and nice quality shoes. Select gear based on what kind of exercise you plan on doing.
4. Set reasonable goals. Set small obtainable goals to begin with. If you set the bar too high for yourself and you fall short of your goal, it could be detrimental to your motivation and self-esteem. Be reasonable with yourself and understand that it took you 9 months to put on that baby weight it could take at least 9 months to get it off, maybe even more.
5. Combine cardio and strength training. Both cardio and strength training are equally important to losing weight. Try to find exercises that you can enjoy and stick to. Cardio will get your heart rate pumping and could be anything from running to swimming to dancing. Strength training will help you build more muscle which helps burn off fat. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat, so if you aren't seeing the number on the scale budge, but are losing inches, it's just because you are gaining that all important muscle mass.
7. Drink lots of water. Hydration is key to losing weight. Drinking adequate amounts of water will facilitate weight loss and keep your breast milk supply high. The average woman should drink .5 - 1 ounces of water for every pound of body weight. So a 160 pound woman should drink between 80 and 160 ounces of water per day. Timing of drinking water is important as well. Drink as soon as you get up in the morning, before and during meals.
8. Get a few interim pieces of clothing. There will be some awkward stages of weight loss where you may not fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes, but the maternity clothes are falling off. If you find yourself in an awkward in between phase, get a few wardrobe staples in your current size. This will help keep your self-esteem up which is important on any weight loss journey.
9. Reward yourself. Pick out some rewards for meeting your obtainable, short term goals that you set for yourself. Don't use food as rewards, but pick things like getting a massage or a pedicure, a new dress that fits, new workout gear or even something simply like treating yourself to a hot bath and a nap.
10. Don't give up. There are bound to be set backs and progress is never as fast as you wish it could be. Even if you make some mistakes, don't give up. Shake the dust off and move forward. Focus not on the scale, but how much healthier and stronger you are becoming. Results take time and work. If you truly put forth the effort, then you will start to see results.