Let’s talk about “losing the baby weight”.
This is something that, for better or worse, comes up in nearly every postnatal intake that I do.
And it’s close to my least favorite thing to talk about. Because holy moly it’s a loaded topic.
People use weight loss as a proxy for so many deeper pain points.
And thanks to a very pervasive diet culture, a lot of folks think that losing the baby weight is just a matter of exercising a few times a week. Eating a “clean” diet. Or even breastfeeding/chestfeeding their baby.
New parents often cling so tightly to the idea that if they can just get their pre-baby body back, they’ll feel good again. They’ll recognize their life again. They’ll feel like themselves again.
If this is you, I want to validate that it can be TOUGH to get used to or accept a changing body. But I challenge you to consider that what you might be seeking is control over SOMETHING, during a time when you are in control of so little. That what you’re really seeking is comfort in your own skin.
A little truth bomb… a little uncomfortable reality:
Your “pre-baby body” isn’t a destination that is available to you.
And the feeling you’re striving for doesn’t come from getting smaller.
We’re always moving forward in life. Never backwards.
The goal needs to be working with the post-baby body you live in now.
(–> The remarkable, resilient, strong AF body you live in now.)
Body composition is SO complicated in the first year postpartum. You’re hormones are the running the show, and you LITERALLY have no control over them.
And, if you aren’t sleeping well, if your stress is high, if you aren’t getting a ton of non-exercise movement- a few workouts a week won’t have an enourmous impact on your wasitline.
Here Are 5 Habits I Encourage You To Work On
If you want to lose weight after your pregnancy, I’m not going to try and stop you. But if you’re in the early postpartum period (up to a year postpartum OR until your done breastfeeding/chestfeeding) I strongly urge you to try and find comfort and contentment in your post-baby body.
Here are five habits that can help you feel at home in the body you’re living in today.
1) Have patience.
Allow your body time to rest and heal from pregnancy and delivery.
Understand that your body will continue to change shape for months, and maybe years, after you have your baby.
2) Sleep more.
Work towards sleeping 7-8 hours each night. Yup, I know that’s nearly impossible when you have an infant. But it will be come easier. And as you can grab those extra hours, grab those extra hours!
But sleep deprivation leads to more stress, higher cortisol levels, decreased cognition, depressed mood and changes to appetite. If you want to feel better, you’ve got to sleep more.
3) Manage stress.
Stress is sleep’s bff. High stress leads to poor sleep and vice versa in an ugly merry-go-round. Remove as many stressors from your life as is realistic.
4) Get more steps.
Get more non-exercise movement. Walking is a great way to do it.
7500 steps is the magic number. But if that’s not achievable right now, just work on increasing your daily step count. by 1000 steps a day (roughly a 10-minute walk).
5) Lift weights.
There’s no better way to get to know your new body and feel comfortable in your existing skin than exercising.
Exercise is a laboratory for exploring your body’s strength and capabilities. By spending more time being mindful of your body, you can’t help but feel more confident and at-home in your changing body.
Need help setting fitness goals or measuring progress that having nothing to do with your weight? I gotchu:
Postpartum Is Not The Time To Diet
Notice what’s consipicuouly missing from my list??
Here’s the thing. I think food is medicine and I am an advocate for eating well.
But if you have a new baby- I’m thrilled if you are managing to feed yourself 3 square meals.
Eat when you’re hungry. Eat sufficient calories.
If you aren’t sleeping and you aren’t moving, you can’t devote energy to managing your diet.
Nutrition is something you can worry about, if you choose to, once the rest of your life is in order.
Self-Care Comes First
These habits are the foundations of a sustainable fat loss strategy. But more importantly, they also happen to be the foundations of a great self-care strategy.
The remarkable thing is… if you start sleeping better, managing your stress and moving more- you’re going to feel better. If you lift weights, you’re going to feel stronger and more agile.
If you take care of these BIG ROCK habits, you’re going to feel good again. You’ll feel more in control of your life again. You’ll feel more like yourself again.
With or without visible changes to your body.
Your roadmap to a STRONG, LEAK-FREE postpartum experience.
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The No B.S. Guide to a Stronger, Drier Pregnancy & Postpartum.👇🏽👇🏽
My mission is to make sure that having a baby is not a reason why you can’t do all the things.
Contact me if you have questions about exercise or pelvic health pertaining to pregnancy or postpartum. I also offer personal training services and consultations to folks locally (Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland) and online.