One of the things I was most afraid of while pregnant was gaining too much weight. I know that sounds horrible and something you should definitely not worry about when you are lucky enough to have a life growing inside of you, but I also know I am probably not alone in that fear.
I’ve seen people who gained a lot of weight while pregnant and never really lost the weight after they gave birth. I have never been skinny in my life, but I have always been very concerned about my weight. So gaining baby weight was an emotional struggle for me.
I gained weight really fast at the beginning of my pregnancy. Which really freaked me out! I thought, “Oh my goodness! If I’ve already gained this much weight, I can’t imagine how much I’ll gain by 40 weeks!” I even remember texting my mom after a doctor’s appointment freaking out. Luckily, my weight gain slowed down a lot as the months went on, and by the time I gave birth at 38 weeks, I had gained a total of 30 lbs. Which was in the healthy zone for my height.
Then I had Lily and I suddenly felt so awful for putting so much thought and emotion into something as stupid as weight gain!
It’s funny how a beautiful new baby can change everything; even your mindset. After Lily was born, I honestly couldn’t care less about my weight. I mean, I made an entire human being inside my body and then squeezed it out! My body just went through a hell of a lot. I felt like I could cut it some slack.
Still, less than 4 months after giving birth, I somehow lost all my baby weight plus an extra 10 lbs. And it was completely effortless. Like I didn’t even try. All my life I struggled with weight and body image. I’ve tried a million diets and exercise regimens. And here I was, after having a baby for goodness sake, effortlessly losing weight.
So I thought about why it might have been so easy for me to lose the weight. What was so different now? After really analyzing my four postpartum months, I put together a list of the things that I think are the biggest contributing factors.
Here are the 5 things that helped me lose my baby weight effortlessly:
1. I never put my baby down
I’ll be honest with you. I’m not a fan of working out. The last thing I wanted to do was work out after I had a baby. Plus, sleepless nights and a sore body are not great motivators. So I can’t say that working out helped me lose any baby weight because I didn’t do any intense exercise at all. I am not advocating for a no-exercise lifestyle! I really am too sedentary for my own good and exercising is on my list of things to work on.
However, I do think the fact that I almost never put Lily down was helpful. It was kind of an unavoidable form of exercise. Do not underestimate how physically demanding it is to walk up and down the stairs multiple times a day with a baby in your arms. Or to do laundry holding a baby. Or make food with one arm while there’s a baby in the other. When Lily was a newborn it wasn’t as difficult, but now that she’s 16 plus pounds it’s a lot more physically demanding to carry her around all the time.
If you hate exercise like me, just try carrying your baby around all the time! You might just burn a few extra calories without even noticing!
2. I accidentally ate less
As a new mom, you will quickly realize that you can no longer live your life on your own terms. Your schedule, specifically, will be dictated by your baby. You will find yourself putting their needs ahead of all your own. You will stop to change their diaper, even if you’re about to pee your pants. You’ll stop everything and rock them to sleep when they’re tired, even if you have a million other things you need to be doing. And you’ll feed them first, even when you’re stomach sounds like a garbage disposal. You will make sure all their needs are met before even thinking about your own.
This means not always having the time to eat when you’re hungry, overeat, or snack. And sometimes you might even forget to eat all together. That’s exactly how I have accidentally eaten less since I had Lily. I am not suggesting starving yourself! Obviously, if you’re hungry and have a moment to eat…eat my friend, eat! Especially if you are breastfeeding. But eating less might just happen on its own, while your day is filled with caring for your baby. As someone who is admittedly an over-eater, this new busy schedule is kind of a blessing.
3. I breastfeed my baby
As soon as I conquered my breastfeeding struggles, I have been nursing Lily for what feels like 90% of my day. I think that has dramatically contributed to the effortless aspect of my weight loss. I have always had a very slow metabolism. I could go hours without eating and still feel full. However, after I started breastfeeding, I noticed a huge difference in how frequently I felt hungry. And when I get hungry…I AM STARVING! Like real stomach-burning hunger! Something I have never really experienced before. The only thing I can attribute this to is the little human constantly attached to my boobies.
I know a lot of people say that breastfeeding doesn’t always equal weight loss, but for me, I truly think it has helped A LOT. I know not every mother is able to breastfeed their baby. But if you are able to nurse, I think it’s very helpful when trying to lose your baby weight.
4. I didn’t focus on losing weight
I think women put a lot of pressure on themselves to bounce back to their normal weight after having a baby. It’s a pressure I thought I would feel strongly. Yet, somehow I think the fact that I wasn’t focused on losing weight actually helped me lose the weight. I didn’t obsess or let it stress me out, I didn’t set any unrealistic goals, and I didn’t put any of my limited energy into losing the weight. I let my body heal and let time do the work.
Instead, I focused on my beautiful new baby girl. I soaked up every moment with her and didn’t let my attention get pulled toward my vanity. I let people take photos of me and her, even though I didn’t look my best because I didn’t want any insecurities I might have to get in the way of remembering those precious moments.
You know when you go on a diet and suddenly everything edible looks delicious? I think this strategy is like that but in reverse. I let go of control, didn’t focus on my weight, and inadvertently let go of the weight as a result. So my tip here is don’t focus on losing weight! Don’t stress. Don’t worry. The weight will come off eventually. Instead, just appreciate what your body has given you and love it just the way it is.
5. I ate pretty healthy while pregnant
This isn’t something I did to lose the weight postpartum, but it’s something I did to make sure there was less weight to lose. While I was pregnant, I ate healthier than I did before or after I was pregnant. I ate more fresh, whole foods and meals that were full of nutrients. I craved smoothies and apples like crazy! Don’t get me wrong, I was still pregnant. I had major moments of weakness where all I could stomach was sour candies and bagels. I let myself have those moments because honestly when you’re pregnant you have very little control over your appetite. What I didn’t do was use my pregnancy as an excuse to overeat or eat unhealthy things.
In the end, it’s all about balance. Eat healthy as much as possible, if only for the sake of your growing baby. But give yourself permission to have a few treats and pig out every once and a while!
There are 5 things that helped me lose my baby weight effortlessly. I can’t promise those things will help you because everyone’s body works differently, but I think it’s worth a try. If you can relate to the 5 things above or can add something to the list that worked for you, share in the comments below.