Losing the Baby Weight: A Guest Post

Hi everyone!  I’m Denise and I blog at Healthy Disney Family. While Heather is spending time with sweet little Emma Kate, I’m here to talk about tips for losing weight after having a baby.

One of the biggest challenges for many new moms is losing the weight they’ve gained during pregnancy. It was a huge challenge for me. After being on restricted activity and bed rest throughout my pregnancy for severe pre-eclampsia and other complications, I gained 70 pounds. When my little boy Chase was born healthy, I was filled with joy and happiness to be his mom! At the same time though, I was deeply sad because I had gained so much weight and didn’t recognize myself anymore in the mirror.  I was 5’5.5 and weighed 245 pounds after I delivered. I’d never been that heavy in my life and the weight seemed determined to stay there. I wanted to be a healthy and active mom who could play with my son and not get winded just getting up off the couch. I had to make a real lifestyle change and work harder than I ever had in my life to lose weight. If you’d like to lose weight, I’m sharing my experience in hopes that it will help you too.

Here are some tips that helped me lose the baby weight, plus an extra 40 pounds!

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1. Join a Mom and Baby fitness class – I joined Stroller Strides when Chase was an infant and it really got me on the right track. When I started, it was Winter and the classes were held indoors. We met at a local mall and walked around with our jogging strollers, stopping at different areas to workout on the floor or with our resistance bands. It was fun way to both exercise and meet other moms and their babies. The friendships you make through Mom and Baby fitness classes are wonderful and long lasting. We still hang out with moms and kids we met there!

2. Eating healthier, whole foods – As a pregnant mom, sometimes when we’re “eating for two” the portions are larger than we ate before pregnancy or we rely on take out, processed or prepared foods instead of cooking. When I talked to my doctor about how slow my weight loss was going, he recommended 80/20 eating to me. He said 80% of what I ate should be recognizable to my great, great grandparents if they saw it. The remaining 20% could be flexible. So veggies and whole grains – yes. Twinkies and fast food – no. I thought it would be really hard to stick with but surprisingly your tastes change pretty quickly. I really started craving the healthy food!

3. Portion control – Even with eating healthier foods, portions matter. If you eat too much or too many calories, you’ll maintain or worse – gain more weight. I had a hard time cutting back my portion size when I was working out twice a day and even though my body was looking leaner, I still saw the same big numbers on the scale. It was only when I got serious about cutting my portions down that the rest of the weight came off.

4. Food journaling – Writing down everything you eat or drink really helps to open your eyes to what and how much you’re eating. I’ve maintained a healthy weight for a few years now but sometimes my scale will bump up 5-10 pounds while I’m training hard, or most recently after our road trip to Disneyland in August. I always go back to journaling to help me get back on track. My favorite food journaling apps are My Net Diary and My Fitness Pal.

5. Sign up for a race – This is my favorite tip of all for anyone who runs or wants to run. I still had 60 pounds to lose when we took our son to Disneyland on Labor Day in 2011. I saw so many people walking around the park wearing their runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon medals and finisher’s shirts. I didn’t even know they had races at Disneyland but as a lifelong Disney fan, I thought it sounded incredible! A Half Marathon seemed huge and scary to me at the time, but how cool would it be to run at Disney?!

I decided right then that my goal was run a Half Marathon at Disneyland. I made a deal with myself that I would hit my goal weight of 135 pounds, 40 pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight of 175 before the race. That was the push I needed to bring all of the things I’d learned about weight loss together. I ate 80/20 with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, journaled everything, and followed Jeff Galloway’s run/walk training plan for the runDisney Tinker Bell Half Marathon. I met my weight goal of 135 in December of 2012. I ran the Tinker Bell Half at Disneyland the following January feeling healthy and strong, better than I ever had. My family got involved too! My husband ran the 5K and our son did the Kids Race. It was amazing to have my family there, participating in the runDisney races, and supporting my lifestyle change. Following the Tinker Bell Half, I went on to run 4 more Half Marathons and 2 Full Marathons. I’m now training for the 2015 runDisney Dopey Challenge and the 2015 runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge at Walt Disney World.

Thanks Heather for letting me share my story and weight loss tips on your wonderful blog!

QOTD: What is your best tip for losing weight after having a baby?