Before you start reading this, I want you to know that this isn't a typical mommy-motivational weight loss blog post. Let's face it, after XX months of taking care of your baby, sleepless nights, and endless diaper changes, going from fad diet to fad diet with none to little success can be frustrating.
This blogpost is not about me putting you on a diet to lose your baby weight. You know why? Because I didn't do it. And I would never recommend any of my clients to go on a strict diet. So yes, it is possible to lose ALL your baby weight after giving birth and NO you do not have to feel miserable doing it.
I re-wrote this post one too many times and wasn't even sure if I wanted to share it. The reason I decided to share my story is because I have had so many people ask me how I lost all my weight. Most people assume I went on some crazy diet or I just naturally lost all the weight. Neither is true. It's not even like I was one of those women that only gained a few pounds during my pregnancy. Despite healthy eating and staying active throughout my pregnancy, I had gained a full blown 50 pounds.
So, this blogpost is me sharing my journey with you on how I coped with everything mommy related. As a result of taking care of my well-being, I found myself losing weight without even thinking about it.
At the park with my daughter.
After giving birth, I found myself wrapped up in everything related to baby. I read up on what to expect and I thought I knew everything, but nothing can possibly prepare you for your new mommy life! For the first couple of months, I found myself living from one nursing session to the next, because I didn't have time. TIME - the one luxury that escapes mothers the second we give birth! Or so it seems.
As much as I was madly in love with my daughter, I slowly started feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and disconnected from myself. I knew I didn't have postpartum depression but I definitely wasn't feeling like my old self. When I spoke to other new moms, I realized that I wasn't alone.
The thing is, I was putting my daughter first, even before myself. I thought I was being selfish if I did anything that wasn't related to her. The truth is that I wasn't helping myself or my family. I decided I needed to take some time out everyday for myself.
When my daughter was around 2.5 months, I started waking up earlier than my husband and would go for a 30 minute walk around the neighbourhood. At first, it was uneventful, but I stuck through it and made it a personal goal to be active at least 3 times a week. I started noticing small but significant changes in my life:
I felt more energized on the days I was physically active
My alone time allowed me to get my mind off of baby-related things and as a result I was less stressed and much more happier throughout the day. My husband even noticed a difference in my attitude!
BONUS: I started losing weight!
After a few weeks, I found myself getting bored of walking, so I started incorporating some hot yoga and weights at home. The more I was active, the better I felt overall in every aspect of my life.
My daughter recently turned one and while I am far from an expert mom (still trying to figure it out!), there are a lifestyle changes that helped me feel happier, make me feel more like myself, and as a bonus, I also lost all my baby weight too.
Here are 5 strategies that helped with my well-being in the first year as a mother and as a bonus, helped my lose ALL my baby weight:
1. Love your body. Changing my perspective and not focusing on my weight helped me appreciate my current body. Your body has done wonders for you, from carrying your baby to giving birth. Every stretch mark and change in your body is a reminder of everything you have done for your baby. While you may lose your baby weight eventually, spend the NOW loving every part of your body. One of my favourite quotes is: "Don't spend 95% of your life trying to weigh 5% less".
2. Stop stepping on the scale. The number on the scale is just that, a number! Do you really need to check your weight everyday? You will lose weight whether you step on that scale or not. You will see a change in your body whether you step on that scale or not. I don't even have a scale at home! I refuse to let it control my life. If you have a weight machine at home, either toss it or put it away in storage. There is so much to think about as a new mom and how much you weigh should not be one of them.
3. Build a support system. Identify who your support people are and ask for help when you need it. This can include your husband, parents, siblings, friends, etc. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Your support system is waiting to help you and unless you don't ask, they are not sure how they can help. My husband is my key support in helping me become more active. Before going to bed, we discuss our schedule for the next day and when he can watch our daughter while I exercise.
4. Choose an activity that you will enjoy. There are so many options when it comes to exercising but the best option is the one that YOU will enjoy the most. I started off with walking in the neighbourhood, then was doing hot yoga, and then I switched it up with kickboxing. I also have weights at home so I can do my own routine or sometimes I follow a YouTube video. Don't feel pressured to commit to something, just start with anything you think you may enjoy! The goal should be to enjoy your alone time and get your body moving for at least 10-30 minutes, 3 times a week. That is only 30-90 minutes for the whole week! Can you take out 30-90 minutes for YOURSELF this week?
5. Eat regular meals and snacks. Do not cut out certain foods completely (*ahem* carbs) and do not skip meals! It can be confusing trying to figure out what to eat, what not to eat, and when to eat. This is why I really recommend seeing a dietitian. As much as you can Google nutrition tips, the guidance of a dietitian can help provide you with personalized nutrition information that is right for YOU. Contact a few Registered Dietitians in your area to see who would work best for you. If you are interested in working with me, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's chat!
Becoming a mother is such a huge blessing and one smile from your babe makes it all worth it. Trust me when I say I understand the full roller coaster of emotions that comes with being a mother. Your well-being is just as important as your child's well-being. Don't forget to take time out for yourself and treat your body well.
Speak to your doctor before starting any sort of exercises to ensure it is safe for you after giving birth.
Are you ready to begin your healthy lifestyle journey but don't know where to start? Join me and many other women with The Muslimah’s Meal Plan!
I am not even kidding when I say that while I was writing this blogpost, my daughter spilled graham cracker crumbs in the kitchen and was standing there spreading it around with her feet. Not even 10 minutes later, she knocked over an indoor plant and was playing in the soil. Ah, motherhood I tell ya.