Healthy weight loss after pregnancy

Healthy Weight Loss after pregnancy - motherhooddiaries.com

As the old adage goes, “It takes 9 months to make a baby, so it should take at least 9 months to lose the baby weight.” But, times have changed and celebrities (and some other mums I know personally) are springing back into their pre-pregnancy clothes faster than you can say ‘neonatal’. But, I think it is fair to say that, in the real world, it’s not so easy to lose weight that quickly without a personal trainer, a nanny or buckets of cash to throw at plastic surgery. A lot of women are even taking up to 18 months to lose the weight. Well, guess what? That’s ok! As long as you’re losing weight healthily then it shouldn’t matter how long it takes. Your body will be ready when it’s ready and rushing into weight loss before you can handle it may result in complications later on in life. It certainly didn’t take me 9 months to lose my baby weight. Try doubling that figure… and then adding 4 months… And, even then, I was still 5kg over my pre-pregnancy weight. In fact, I would say that the first time I truly felt like I had hit my pre-pregnancy weight was 3 and a half years after the birth of my second son. So, why has it taken so long to slim down? I put it down to a lot of fad diets at the beginning and then a good telling off from my mum, which resulted in being educated about the importance of eating right and exercising well. Fast fixes reap short-term benefits, but a healthy and steady weight-loss can keep the pounds off for life. Doesn’t that sound great? Here are Motherhood Diaries’ tips on how to lose weight healthily after giving birth.

Make sure that you have the right mindset to begin with

I have a bit of a pet hate. I find it really difficult to listen to those people who complain about being fat whilst they tuck into their second helping of chocolate cake or ordering 2 Big Mac meals at McDonalds. Don’t get me wrong, I know how difficult it is to get out of that vicious cycle once you’re in it and how depressed you become that you turn to more food to make you feel better, even though you know it will only just make you feel worse. I get it. I’ve been there. But, if you really want to lose weight and get healthy, but you find you don’t have the will to cut out the junk food, then the result will be quite simple:

If you are eating and drinking more calories than you are burning, then you are not going to lose the weight.


It is a lot easier said than done, I know. Look how long it took for me to lose the weight! It was because I was stuck in a rut, breastfeeding my second baby for 2 ½ years (not by choice!) and eating more than my fair share of sugar. I felt tired all the time, I was getting sick easily and then, one day, I got so ill (exhaustion brought on a cold, which progressed to flu and then, subsequently, a tummy bug) that I thought I was going to die from some weird virus. When my kids caught that nasty tummy bug from me, that’s when I decided enough was enough. I was going to start taking care of my body, so that I could live long enough to see my kids have kids. So, I changed my mindset. I started to read up on the kinds of food that I should be eating and stocked up my fridge with said food, rather than easy fix snacks that were ridiculously high in sugar. That way, when I got hungry, I had no choice but to snack on the healthy stuff, as I didn’t have any of the other food in my kitchen.

It’s super hard to cut out sugar in one go, so start slowly and gradually cut down. Quit the stuff that contains no nutritional value at first, like sweets, and then progress onto biscuits, cakes etc. Substitute with natural sweeteners like fruits (grapes are great, but also high in natural sugar), Stevia, Xylitol and Natvia if you are still craving sugar or need sweet tea and coffee like me. Ripe bananas and sweet potatoes are actually great for baking. They’re so sweet that you don’t really need to add sugar to the mix.

Educating yourself on the importance of nutrients in your diet and what they do to benefit the body is paramount to changing your eating habits. Nutrients also help boost the metabolism, which, in turn, aids weight loss. Make the time to walk around the supermarket and plan out your meals. You will find that a lot of the healthy recipes are actually really super simple to make and will put you on the road to a healthier body. Plus, your kids will reap the benefits of a new and healthy (and less stressful) mum!

Start meal planning and working out what you’re going to make during the week

Healthy Weight Loss after pregnancy - motherhooddiaries.com

Healthy food, especially fruits and vegetables when you’re buying for a larger family, can turn out to be quite expensive. I never really understood why the healthier stuff was always more expensive than the junk food in the UK. So, on a modest person’s salary, the safest option is to meal plan, so that you don’t buy in excess. I scour the net for recipe ideas all the time, but I generally keep to a non-exhaustive rule when I’m meal planning. This is:

  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make sure you have cereals in your cupboard, like oats or Weetabix, which are really great because they’re high in fibre and help you to go to the loo! Eggs are also really versatile and perfect for breakfast meals, as well as nice wholemeal bread, toasted with a bit of Clover butter (which contains half the saturated fat than other butters) My favourite breakfast recipe at the moment is poached/boiled egg with avocado and tomatoes on toasted wholemeal bread, complete with a sprinkle of sea salt and lots of lemon!
  • You can afford to be versatile at lunchtime. Pasta salads are great and keep you full for longer. Even classics like jacket potato with baked beans and cheese are relatively healthy, considering how much cheese you add. You can even opt for sweet potatoes instead of normal potatoes, which are deliciously sweet and gorgeous.
  • For dinner, if you are a meat eater, opting for small portions of lean meat and/or chicken as a side dish can drastically change your diet. My mum always used to say that vegetables should be the main part of the dish and not the side, so go for lots of veg with some protein (meat) and carbs (potatoes) to complement and you can’t go wrong with that formula. Turkey contains half the fat of chicken, so you can even go one step further and replace chicken with turkey. Perhaps go for a nice sandwich with spring onions, spinach (instead of lettuce for that iron boost) and your favourite low fat sauce. I now replace any kind of sauce with either French Mustard or just plain lemon.
  • Build into the daily plan to eat at least 7 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. You can work up some of these vegetables in classic meals like vegetable lasagne, salads and/or pasta dishes.
  • Legumes are super important for your diet. My favourite at the moment is chicken and lentil soup, which the kids also love too. It’s also really low in fat!
  • I like grilling or roasting vegetables and having them around during the day for snacking. Drizzle on some olive oil or Clover butter and/or sea salt and they taste simply delicious. Other snacks can include carrots, celery and/or wholemeal pita bread slices dipped in humus, mixed nuts and raisins, and whole grain crackers with peanut butter (go for the reduced sugar kind and you should be fine). My absolute favourite snack at the moment is wholemeal Krisprolls with feta cheese and apple slices. You must try it, it’s delectable! *

* For full recipes and meal plans, watch this space for my new cooking channel/food blog launching very soon!

Build in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, every day

Healthy Weight Loss after pregnancy - motherhooddiaries.com

I believe that the key to losing weight healthily is to exercise as well as you eat. This means not over or underdoing it, but getting the blood pumping for at least 30 minutes a day. Even if you walk for ten minutes, climb up the stairs rather than take the lift, run in place for a few minutes or take the stroller out anywhere and everywhere, all of these activities build up. If you get your 30 minutes of exercise in a day, then you will slowly start the feel the results. You’ll feel stronger, slimmer and you’ll blow all those cobwebs away from the fuzziness after birth. Just be careful to not do anything strenuous for the first 6 weeks because your body is still weak and vulnerable after birth. Even post-6 weeks, if you feel like your body is not ready, just slow it down. The natural highs you get from exercising will kick in soon enough and it will make you want to be out and about more. Click here for an awesome stroller workout by Kristen Horler, which should really get those legs moving. And, you get to do it with your baby in tow, so no excuses!

Watch out for quick fixes on the internet

You’ve heard about these diet pills or weight loss supplements that claim to help you lose the weight fast. I have no idea how or whether they work, but be very careful about trying these out without consulting a GP first. Online stores like Nutra Pure HCG and XLS-Medical may just work, but the side effects are different for everyone and you never know what the result may be. So, I’d advise to try out the natural way first, by sticking to a healthy diet and eating less than you’re burning (but not starving yourself!) Team that up with some exercise 30 minutes a day and, not only will you start to see the results, but you’ll feel better, more energised and look great!

Be gentle on yourself. If you give up, it’s ok, just hop back on the bandwagon and simply try again. The most important factor here is that you’re trying to make a change and change comes with good and steady hard work. So, keep up the good work and give yourself a pat on the back for being so awesome – you are a supermum! (and dads, let’s not forget how great you are too. J )

*Collaborative Featured Post*

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Leyla Preston (595 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 7. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: https://www.facebook.com//groups/motherhooddiaries/