Weight Loss After Baby
Weight Loss After Baby by Allison Martineau
One of the top questions I get asked is how to lose weight after having a baby. And I totally get it! I really wanted to lose weight after having my babies too. Or so I believed. However, the more I actually thought about what I wanted, I realized it was not the actual weight I cared about, but more about how I felt.
So let’s reframe – because for most of us it’s not about reaching a certain magic number on a scale, but about how we think we will feel once we get to that weight. When I talk with clients who have a specific “number” in mind , there is usually more going on. I always ask how would being that weight make you feel? Would you feel more comfortable in your clothes? More confident? Would you have more energy? Feel stronger?
These are some of the feelings women want to have. And spoiler alert- those feelings can occur whether you hit some weight loss mark or not. It is the behaviour change that will elicit those feelings. I know this may sound a little out there, but bear with me for a second here and think about it. We’ve all been there- we have a great workout, we are eating delicious, healthful food and we feel amazing.
Now let’s compound that feeling over time and that is how you will begin to feel Every. Single. Day! Exciting, right? Small shifts that over time create huge change. And I will tell you why this is possible. It’s possible because we took the focus and goal away from wanting to lose weight and shifted it to how you want to feel. For those of you hyper focused on fitting in to your skinny jeans again, the good news is that aesthetically your body will also change when you adopt healthy habits. If you are doing more strength training, which I encourage people to do if they are able, then you are likely building muscle mass and definition. We’ve all seen those images of 1 lb of fat and muscle side by side…the fat takes up much more space (still the same weight though). Same thing happens in your body.
Things also change in your body after having a baby and what worked for you to lose weight when you were 20 may not work now….nor should it! We know better now! People always want the quick fix, but sadly there is no such thing when it comes to lasting, healthy weight loss. Crash diets leave you hangry, irritable and feeling like a failure if you don’t comply 100%. You are also more likely to set yourself up for binges and disordered eating, which can cause more weight gain, followed by more discouragement and more of a need for the next quick fix. It’s a vicious diet cycle and I would love for you to break it. I am not naive, I know it is hard. I am living it. But the great thing about habit training is that the more you practice it, the easier it gets. We tend to use the example of brushing your teeth or putting on your seatbelt. You don’t have to think about these activities anymore, you just do them. No willpower wasted, they happen daily almost on autopilot. That is what I encourage you all to focus on.
So what are some small shifts you can make today to start feeling better now?
1) Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. So important for reproductive health, energy, weight loss and EVERYTHING ELSE. So start your day with water and continue drinking throughout.
2) Protein at every meal, especially in the morning. . You don’t have to start your day with a steak however, unless you want to! Simple, easy to prepare protein sources include things like hard boiled eggs, nuts and seeds or you could add some yogurt or hemp seeds to a breakfast smoothie.
3) Daily Movement. Doesn’t have to be formal exercise (unless you enjoy that). You just need to move and you just need to be consistent about it. The best way to be consistent is to actually enjoy the activity you are doing or get some accountability with a coach or workout buddy.
4) Up your vegetable intake. Look for creative ways to add more vegetables to your diet. Salads are great, but also think about adding veggies to your smoothie, baked goods, pasta sauce…anywhere and everywhere is an opportunity to add a little more veggies to your day!
5) Eat more fat-include foods like avocado, fatty fish, nuts and seeds in your diet every day. Opt for full fat dairy if you consume it and don’t be afraid of fat in general. Fats not only provide energy but also aid in the absorption of fat soluble nutrients and may play a role in decreasing the prevalence of
6) Consider certain supplements-I am not an advocate for taking all sorts of supplements, but as a new mom there are some key ones that are helpful. To start, have your blood levels tested for iron, folate, Vitamin B12 and vitamin D (at minimum) to see where you’re at. If your vitamin D proves to be adequate then I would still recommend a maintenance dose of 1000 IU, especially in the winter months. More may be needed if you are low, which most people are. I also usually recommend a probiotic to enhance the health of your gut. Some may prefer eating probiotic rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut or fermented veggies, so that’s your call!
There is something so freeing about not having your worth be tied to a number on the scale. I encourage you to come along with me and start to focus on your health and how you feel and you will notice your body will absolutely change, both physically and mentally.
Allison Martineau has a Masters in Nutrition and Public Health from Columbia University and has over 10 years experience working in health and nutrition. She has a passion for sharing her nutritional strategies and behaviour change methods with expectant and new families to make cooking and eating for health during the preconception, pregnancy and postpartum periods simple and convenient.