Monday, March 2, 2009

Letter to a Pregnant Friend...6 Tips for Losing Baby Weight

Dear Friend,
You've reached the end of your third pregnancy. You will deliver your sweet baby boy in a few short weeks. It's hard not to start worrying about losing the baby weight. But you'll get there. Be patient with yourself. In my mind, the best approach is the gradual approach.

My 2nd baby just turned one, and I still have a few pounds to go! If I could turn the clock back a year (or put myself in your soon-to-be-new-mommy-again-shoes), I would probably tell myself to relax just a bit. When my own little bundle-of-pink-joy was 4 weeks old, I started running. I just HAD to get back into my workout routine. To be honest, starting so soon probably did more harm than good. I would finish my quick 3-mile run on the treadmill to console a screaming baby, get a snack for a sad-mommy-deprived toddler, try to throw a shower into the mix, and end my morning routine pulling my hair out, and totally exhausted (and ornery). Not to mention MAJOR back pain for several weeks.

As you know, time with a brand-new baby is SO SHORT. In a few blink-of-an-eye-months, the baby won't even want to be held as he explores the world away from you. So here's my first piece of advice: Enjoy the little piece of heaven that is yours until HE and YOU are ready. Hold him, squeeze him, cuddle him, smell him. Losing the baby weight will take a while either way, so you might as well savor this sweet time. Be patient with yourself! Remember how long it took to put the weight on...expect it to take just as long to take it off!

When you are ready to face reality, here are a few ideas to get you going.
  1. Don't "diet." I know this is a strange bit of advice, but something mentally happens when you feel "deprived" of the foods you love. For me, if I know I can't have something, I want it so much more! Having a new baby is stressful enough. Don't deprive yourself, or beat yourself up over an occasional indulgence. However, pay attention to what you eat! Eat healthy, and eat for hunger. Keep healthy snacks on hand. Here's a list of some of my favorite cart-fillers! Load up on these "super foods" before reaching for the processed (although yummy) junk!
  2. Drink water! DO NOT DRINK YOUR CALORIES. I'm not even a fan of diet sodas, but I'll stand on that soap box another day! Water, water, water. Drinking water may also speed up your metabolism...woo hoo! And rather than forcing 8-glasses down each day, use the color of your urine as a gauge! If it's relatively clear, and you're going every 3 or so hours, you're getting enough.
  3. Breastfeed, if possible. While I'm a big proponent of breastfeeding, I have to say that I have a love-hate relationship with it. I've nursed both of my babies for a full year. I love it while I'm nursing. I hate it when I need a break. But apart from the fact that breastmilk is great for your baby, it also uses up your fat stores (and upwards of 300 calories a day...just don't use it as an excuse to eat whatever you want!)
  4. Sleep! This is definitely where I don't practice what I preach. My baby is just NOW! FINALLY! HALLELUJAH! sleeping through the night! Go to bed early if you need to. And if possible--I know, usually impossible--sleep when the baby sleeps. Rest is soooo important to weight loss! When tired, your body releases cortisol and other stress hormones that actually promote weight gain. When I'm tired, I'm also more likely to reach for the unhealthy food choices.
  5. EXERCISE!!!! Like I said, give yourself time before jumping in, but when you're ready, move it! Lately, there's been much discussion on the fact that three 10-minute sessions are just as effective as one 30-minute session. So do what you can, when you can! Go for a brisk walk to get your heart pumping. Add some resistance training (apart from lugging a new baby around...unless you use him as your weight as you do your overhead presses!) And here are a few more of my favorite workouts.
  6. LOVE YOUR BODY! The human baby-making body is truly a miracle. Look in the mirror each day, and remember that you've been a partner with God in bringing a baby into this world. YOU are a miracle...and one HOT MAMA!

I can't wait to meet your bundle of joy! Good luck!



P.S. Here is an excellent post from Mama Sweat on having a Fit Pregnancy! Enjoy!


Jill said...

Great advice. I have to admit that one of the reasons I'm not quite yet looking forward to a third pregnancy is selfish: I want to keep the body I've been working so hard for. But I know it will not be the end of the world to have to start all over once again. I've found that with my babies (who I also breastfed for a year), the fat kind of hangs around until I wean them, and then it seems to finally go away. But I guess this is not the case with everyone.

Tami H. said...

Good tips Robyn. I agree with not exercising too hard too soon.
1: LISTEN to your body. You can go as hard as you want as long as you stop as soon as your body tells you to or adjust your activities accordingly. (if the treadmill is too hard on you, try the eliptical, or go on a walk - or even swim!)

I think a good way to have the body you want after your pregnancy is to take GOOD CARE OF YOUR body DURING your pregnancy.

2: If your body lets you, exercise the entire pregnancy. Whether it be swimming, walking, walk/jogging, eliptical, bike or resistance bands. Keep it up, research shows if you exercise throughout pregnancy - often your labor will be shorter. I know on my worse feeling days, exercise was just what I needed to break my foul mood.

3: Eat SMART while you are pregnant. Reach for protein when you need a snack, NOT SUGAR. Sugar is connected with increased chances for gesational diabetes and my doctor says is a probable cause of allergies in children (Mom eating sugar while she is pregnant).

4: Drink LOTS of WATER like Robyn said. Reach for water and Don't go for sugary drinks(juice often has 40 grams of sugar/glass or can). It will help prevent overheating, toxemia, and pre-term labor.

Kimberly said...

That was a cute letter. It's so hard to not think about how fat you are after pregnancy. At least for me. It always takes a year for me to get back to normal and feel, somewhat, normal again. But, it's always worth it when you have that adorable little baby to cuddle and kiss!

Mandy said...

Awesome! Thanks Robyn! I know it will take lots of time...but there are lots of things I can start now!

Babe in Boysland said...

Robyn I love this! I whole-heartedly agree with all of this. You're so smart.

Marci & Marcus said...

You're so inspiring Robyn. I'm already getting excited to get skinny again (but lets face it, its going to get a lot worse before it gets better right?!)