Looking back at my postpartum weight loss timeline I made many mistakes. I often had no idea what I was doing, thought it would be easy, and my expectations were way out of control compared to reality. Markedly this was incredibly frustrating being a new mom, in a foreign body, adjusting to taking care of another human along with myself. Here are 10 things I wish I knew about back then that I have experienced and learned since I lost the baby weight. They don’t have to be in any particular order. Make it your own and follow these 10 steps in the postpartum weight loss time line.
1. Patience. The postpartum weight loss timeline is unique to YOU.
While some moms lose half the baby weight by just giving birth, you might still look pregnant for some time. Shrinking of the uterus stats immediately after birth, but it can take up to 6-weeks to get back to its original size. There is also Diastasis Recti to consider which will leave you with an unwanted belly pooch. Both conditions are normal and will heal on their own or with some pelvic floor strengthening. While your body might not be totally the same as before, just think, it might even be better!
2. Let your body heal before even thinking about weight loss.
Birthing a baby is such a normal occurrence that we forget that it is actually a trauma to our body. Focus on recovery and rest as much as you can within the first 4-weeks postpartum. Rest whenever you can. Ask for help. Say no to activities you don’t feel ready for. Eat nutrient dense food (preferably warm, cooked vegetables), and say no to packaged processed foods. Therefore as you recover this eases your digestion and helps your body focus on the healing process instead of working hard to digest food. Soups, chilis, and cooked vegetables. Regarding summer babies, cooked foods are fine, and smoothies are great.
3. Focus on “healthy” over “skinny”. Repeat after me, “I am not selfish for taking care of my needs. It is 100% necessary.”
There is nothing like having a baby and being solely responsible for their wellbeing. You MUST take care of your health and it brings on a whole new perspective of how you live your life. God forbid If you get sick, who will take care of your baby? Instead of what you look like, focus accordingly on nourishing your body, sleeping and resting when you can, and gradually start stretching and moving your body. You are no good to anyone running on fumes, stressed out, or sick.
4. Breastfeeding. Hunger. Thirst. Night sweats.
Basically no one tells you how hungry and thirsty you will be while breastfeeding. Have healthy snacks ready to eat, and cups of water all over the house. An extra 300-500 calories is usually plenty, but listen to your body, that is the most intuitive tool you have. Night sweats will have you waking up soaked in your bed. Again this is your body speaking to you that you are recovering. The human body is working super hard to balance and heal; honor these needs. You can read more on what to expect with breastfeeding in this blog post here.
5. The sense of loss, when you should be feeling joy.
Trust me there is SO much joy when you have your child in your arms. One of the realizations that happened for me was that I had to let go of my old self and become someone new. Not only am I responsible for a human being staying alive but also taking care of me and finding myself again. The loss became my motivator to become even better than my old self. To actually start making the choices to better my health, to make the money I always dreamed of, to see what I was TRULY capable of. I think back to what I used to do all day before I had a child?! Crazy right! They are a gift of life reborn. Take it and make it your best.
Tiny ways to start refinding yourself:
Drink a ton of water.
Nap. With your baby or without.
Take time for you to be by yourself. (Your mental health matters just as much as your physical health)
6. Routine AND flexibility will be your best friend.
Understanding this concept happens VERY quickly within motherhood. The plan you had for the day can completely change with your baby’s moods, impromptu doctors appointments, illness, teething, and much more. Although this doesn’t mean you can’t start developing a routine immediately. Starting a routine immediately helps give you a guide of what your day will look like, it will help develop your child’s circadian rhythm(which it will need for a good night’s sleep), and routine also makes you and your baby feel safe and secure knowing what to expect each day.
Be flexible! Stick to your routine, just be prepared to move things around at seconds notice, and remember you can’t control everything. There is always a choice on how we react. You can stress about the last minute challenges or you can go with the flow. It’s ok if you make dinner wearing a baby. Or don’t get your workout in until 5pm. It’s ok if naps ended up being driven around in the car. Or if the laundry and cleaning didn’t get done.
7. Walking for postpartum weight loss is a great workout.
This step in your weight loss timeline is so simple. Women automatically think you have to kill yourself at the gym to lose weight. Walking is the most underrated exercise out there, and will be your savior and something you can gently start immediately. Get outside everyday and go for a walk with your baby. Start slow, and listen to your body. Nothing too strenuous to start! Walking to the mailbox might be it, and that’s ok. As you recover, get out in the sunshine, soak up the vitamin D and walk everyday. Walking is going to be great for you mentally and, if you are eating properly, you will start to lose the baby weight.
8. Check yourself for Diastasis Recti. One of the most important steps in the weight loss time line!
When you get to about 4-6 weeks postpartum do a DR check. You can ask your doctor to perform it at your 6-week check up (they don’t always do this, so you might have to tell them) or you can follow this simple video and check at home. This is REALLY important!! Do not skip this step in your weight loss timeline. Exercising with DR you can actually make it worse and you will still have a belly no matter how hardcore you are working out. DR is a condition that happens in all pregnancies. The abdominal fascia, and rectus abdominal wall stretch and separate to make room for the baby. 60% of moms heal naturally and 40% need extra help to reconnect the tissue. Head over to my services if you need help healing your DR.
9. Do not compare your postpartum weight loss timeline.
Self-comparison is awful no matter what. But comparing your recovery to someone that is already recovered as a hormonal, sleep deprived, new mom is just cruel and will make you feel like a depressed mess. I don’t know how many times I went on Instagram and saw a mom thin, in shape with an infant while I was still healing my diastasis recti.
STOP. EVERY mom is different. Our baby weight gain, delivery, home life, how much help you have, single mom or partnered. You name it. Focus on where you are at now and the goals you have for yourself. Be gentle, patient, and kind to yourself. A great way to think of other moms that are thriving is that they are trying to show you it’s POSSIBLE, not trying to tear you down. Let other mom’s inspire, motivate, and lift you up!
10. Find your mama and resource community.
Firstly, as you start to come out of your postpartum haze, start looking for mom groups. There are postpartum support groups, coaches, story time, walking groups, join a church, exercise classes, facebook groups, and many more. Second, find your resources, connections, and activities. Getting out of the house is going to be healthy for you and your baby. Connecting with other moms or coaches will support you in ways you might not even know you need. This is a lifeline that you will use for years to come!!
A quick view into my postpartum weight loss timeline. Pictures 1-3.
1. 9-months pregnant
2. 6-months postpartum
3. 6-years postpartum
My story is unique, full of bumps, setbacks, and wins. Let’s find yours.
Moms are honestly the most badass human beings on the planet. We are a breed all of our own. The postpartum weight loss time line will help you learn to problem solve quickly, react less, choose joy and take care of ourselves. It is much harder than you think! I will say, all of my struggles and experiences have paved the way for who I am today.
Those challenges ultimately motivated me to become a postpartum coach and bring awareness and support to other moms out there going through the same things. Know you are never alone. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out for help. You too can take this opportunity to choose growth everyday, and not just lose weight, but become the healthiest version of yourself. Furthermore It’s all about the journey my friends, not a quick fix. Remember, make this postpartum weight loss time line your own!
We aren’t just moms, we are leaders, raising a generation. In order to change the world we must start with ourselves.
Good Inside by Dr. Becky(her podcast is also amazing)
10 Habits of happy mother’s by Meg Meeker