Fitness Friday-How I Lost the Baby Weight
I think the question I get most from friends and strangers alike is “how did you lose the baby weight?”. Women give up a lot to have babies, and one of the things we give up is our body. Extra weight, back pain, stretch marks, the list goes on. Once you have that teeny tiny little human (or humans) in your life, working out is no longer a priority. I have always been very active and very body conscious. Yes I am tiny, but I gain weight quickly if I don’t take care of myself. Having an active lifestyle and eating clean can mean the difference of 10 to 15 pounds for me, and that is a lot on my tiny frame.
There is no secret, and no magic pill, but I’m going to tell you something here that may surprise you. I feel like the working out part of losing weight is overrated. Pumping iron and getting your heart rate going several times a week has endless benefits. It increases your metabolism, builds lean muscle mass, is good for your heart and lungs, increases energy and just makes you FEEL good. You definitely SHOULD always incorporate some type of physical activity into your lifestyle. HOWEVER, if you are trying to lose weight and get lean, the real culprit is your DIET. I will say this again. There is so much emphasis on working out to lose weight, that people have lost sight of the real problem which is what they are eating. I like to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of your weight loss is attributable to what you are eating. 20% is your workout. People may disagree with me, but this is MY experience and I have many friends in the healthcare and fitness industry who feel the same. If you want to lose the baby weight (or any weight for that matter), it is easier than you think. I had a c-section and working out was off-limits to me for the first several months so I had only my diet to rely on to get me started on my weight loss journey.
Here is how I did it:
Even when I got the go ahead from my doctor, I was still too tender to have the high intensity workouts I used to have. The only exercise I did (starting as soon as I got home from the hospital) was what I like to call the “horizontal elevator”. You slowly pull your belly button to your spine, hold, and slowly release. This starts to strengthen the “girdle” of your abdominal muscles, the one that holds everything else in place and gives you your shape, and helps to repair a diastasis, if you have one (common in pregnancy, but more so in multiple pregnancies). I still do this exercise to this day, every day, and feel that it has helped eliminate that post-pregnancy pooch (among other things I did, including wearing a belly binder). I will spend more time talking about the abdominal area and discuss the “mummy tummy” or “twin skin” as we twin moms like to call it, at a later date.
I was eating my regular diet, which is fairly clean. I try to stay away from “white” things like pasta, rice, dairy and sugar, and if I do eat pasta and rice, it’s whole grain, and there are lots of great dairy alternatives like coconut, almond, and soy. I eat quality protein and lots of vegetables as well as whole grains. This is how I eat, all the time. I don’t go on diets. If I’m trying to lose the last 5 or 10 pounds, I will cut out the little extras and workout a little bit harder, but it’s never anything drastically different from everyday life. I don’t put limits on myself and I indulge often. I drink wine, I eat the odd dessert, and I love delicious food. I’m not a chef by any means, but I’m always on the lookout for a healthier, cleaner alternative to otherwise fat-laden meals, and if I am enjoying a nice dinner out, I eat small portions.
While we are on the topic of food, if you like to read and need a book to motivate you to eat better, “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin is a great book that gives you a few good reasons to eat clean. Not only will it motivate you to eat better, it will probably get you questioning what is in your food, which I think is a whole other topic but very important in today’s day and age. Whether you read that book or not, if you are pregnant, or know someone who is, I really liked “Skinny Bitch-Bun in the Oven” by the same authors.
I workout 2 to 4 days a week (some weeks more, some less) for anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes (yes, even 5 minutes is better than nothing if it’s all you can sneak in with 2 babies!), and I do it in a circuit style. I may incorporate short bursts of cardio into my circuit (like a 30 second sprint on the treadmill or 1 minute of skipping rope) but I don’t devote a whole 30 minutes to it. I pick 4 or 5 exercises that I want to do, design a small circuit with them, and move through it several times quickly and efficiently. This keeps my heart rate up and challenges my muscles. I am fortunate enough to have a small gym in our home. However, with twins, some days I can’t even make it down there. So I improvise. I will do exercises that require no equipment at all that are still challenging. I will run up and down the stairs with the babies, I will do push ups, mountain climbers, burpees, squats…the list is endless. I make it a point to do SOMETHING.
That’s it! 8 months post delivery, I am 5 pounds away from my goal weight. I am toying with the idea of entering a fitness competition next year (something I decided to do shortly before I found out I was pregnant), and if I do, I feel good knowing that it will only take a few tweaks to my diet and workout to get to where I need to be. If you have baby weight to lose, I suggest starting with your diet. Make little switches to your meals. Figure out how many calories your body needs in a day and make sure those calories are chock full of goodness. If you are breastfeeding, you are burning about 500 extra calories a day, so make sure you take that into account. Consume lots of quality protein and complex carbohydrates and veggies, and eliminate empty calories such as alcohol, fruit juice, and other filling snacks. You CAN do it! I should have prefaced this article by saying I am not a doctor and everyone is not the same. This is what has worked for me, and if you have no other medical issues, is something that COULD work for you. As with everything else, please consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program (and especially if you’ve just given birth!).
I would love to hear your story. Did you have twins? Did you lose a large amount of weight after having a baby? I would love to hear how you did it! Us moms need all the motivation we can get!