Losing baby weight and achieving a healthy weight after giving birth can be a challenge for many mothers.
Whether you’ve just recently given birth, have a young child or you are years postpartum, it’s never too late to try to shift the mum pouch.
If you want to lose the weight you put on after having a child, tighten and tone your tummy, then here are some simple steps to get you started.
Why is it so hard to lose baby weight?
We know all too well at The Healthy Mummy just how much of a juggle motherhood is. All of life’s other commitments makes finding the time to focus on your health really hard.
What’s more, mums are tired! We are up in the night with our kids, we have to deal with the mental load and we often put ourselves last on the list. This is why our health sometimes suffers and we struggle to lose weight.
Incredibly, a large percentage of women admit that they feel so busy at times, they forget to eat in the morning and often play catch up in the afternoon or after the kids have gone to bed.
Tiredness, eating irregularly and feeling stressed can have huge impacts on our weight and ability to lose weight.
Reasons why you may not be losing baby weight
1. Not enough shut eye
As a busy mum we all understand that getting the recommended 7-8 hours is not always a reality. In fact, sometimes getting just four hours is a dream!
However, when your tired, your brain begins to slow down, your reflexes are off and all you want is a chocolate biscuit for some energy to get through cactus hour. If this becomes more of a habit and sleep continues to be deprived, you will begin to see the weight piling on.
Ways in which to get more sleep include: nap when your child naps, have a bedtime routine in order for sleep to commode quickly and habitually each night, limit your caffeine consumption and be active throughout the day!
If your baby isn’t sleeping through, it might be time to talk with a child health nurse and get some sleep strategies.
2. You pile your plate
Portion control is key here. Serving yourself a big plate of vegetables, protein and fats is good and all but making the serving giant sized portions is where you’re going wrong.
Too much of ANYTHING is never a good thing. Find balance in your portions and food groups and your weight will stay balanced too!
See our portion control guidelines to make your next meal healthy.
3. Your portion sizes might need to be reduce if you’re no longer breastfeeding
Breastfeeding mums need to eat enough to produce milk!
However, what tends to happen with women is that they get used to eating the extra calories to boost their supply but as they wean or eventually stop, they are still eating the extra calories.
3. Sitting for too long
Watching Netflix and chilling is all well and good but bingeing out on sitting is actually hindering your weight loss. Even if you’re not bingeing per say. Sitting for too long will relax your muscles and in turn, your motivation.
Walk around the block, sit on an exercise ball or try to get moving from your couch if your baby is napping. Think of it this way…the body was made to move, so get moving!
See these exercises you can do at home!
If you need more time to heal after giving birth, that’s okay! Speak with your medical health professional before you embark on any exercise. You should always listen to your body, especially after you’ve had a baby.
How long does it take to lose baby weight?
There’s no set amount of time for women to lose the mum tum.
It’s true that for some women losing the weight they gained while pregnant happens without much effort, but that is not all of us.
So if you are struggling to lose your baby weight, you’re definitely not alone. Studies show that many women hold on to at least a couple of kilograms postpartum.
While a quarter of us may be still be five or more kilograms over our pre-baby-weight one year after giving birth.
Luckily, if you are stuck with extra unwanted kilos there are things you can do to shift them.
But before we get to that it is important that you are not too hard on yourself for how your body looks and feels.
Remember that it grew and stretched for months to provide a home for another little person, so it may be better to not focus on getting your pre-baby body back, but to focus on helping your body to heal and be healthy and strong.
How much weight do women gain during pregnancy?
We all gain weight during pregnancy, there’s no getting around that. As your baby grows your body develops extra body tissue (bigger breasts, a growing uterus), and increases the amount of blood and extra fluids that help your baby develop inside you.
But how much weight should a woman gain during pregnancy? Well, it all depends on your body mass index (BMI) before you get pregnant.
If you are in the healthy weight range before becoming pregnant (BMI 18.5-24.9), ideally you would gain between 11kg and 16kg.
And if you have a lower than normal BMI you may gain between 12kg to 18kg, and if you have a higher than normal BMI you could gain between 6kg to11kgs – remember to check with your doctor to find out what is right for your body.
What risks are there for not losing the baby weight?
So while it is normal to gain weight during pregnancy, there may also be some serious health consequences down the road for not losing some or all of the weight gained.
It has been shown that weight gain can heighten your risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Also, women who are carrying extra kilos can increase their risk of having complications during future pregnancies, with problems like gestational diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia and likelihood of a cesarean-section delivery all increased.
When is the right time to start losing weight?
While you’ll naturally drop up to five kilograms when you give birth (depending on the size of your newborn, your placenta, and how much amniotic fluid you lose) you may be wondering when is it ok to start to lose the rest of the weight.
Firstly, let’s remember that when it comes to losing your baby weight it should be done on your terms and on your own timeline.
Your weight loss should be about wanting to be healthy and happy, not because you feel pressured to do so.
Many mums will take the first 6 -12 weeks to focus on healing their body and getting to know their baby, while some women wait for up to 12-24 months to start losing the weight.
It’s all up to the individual. Generally though, doctors, gynaecologists and obstetricians, can provide guidance on when you can start losing the weight, usually when both you and your baby are healthy and ready.
How to lose baby weight
For the most part, losing baby weight is no different from losing weight at any other point in life – except if you are breastfeeding.
It starts with setting realistic weight loss goals and by having a plan that includes healthy eating and an active lifestyle with adequate physical activity.
You don’t need to go on an extreme diet or or start training for a marathon, making small changes can get you started on the losing pregnancy pounds.
How much weight can I lose after having a baby?
At the Healthy Mummy we recommend that you aim to lose no more than 0.5 to 1 kilogram of weight per week. This is a safe amount of weight loss for breastfeeding mothers as well to help maintain their milk supply.
How to lose belly fat after having a baby
At the Healthy Mummy, we recommend that you aim to lose no more than 0.5 to 1 kilogram of weight per week. This is a safe amount of weight loss for breastfeeding mothers as well to help maintain their milk supply.
The reason why this amount of weight loss is recommended and supported by many weight loss experts is because it often means that the method of weight loss is SUSTAINABLE.
This amount of weight loss per week is something you can sustain for life, not just the time in which you are losing the weight. Small sustainable lifestyle changes make for a healthier you and your family.
Start with a healthy eating plan
To begin your postpartum weight loss, you can start with a healthy eating plan**. This means consuming the right amount of calories and other nutrients.
There is not a ‘one size fits all’ calorie or kilojoule allowance you should follow, but rather the number of calories you should eat depends on your age, metabolism, activity level.
If you’re currently breastfeeding, you can learn more about how many calories you need here.
How to work out your BMR
You can work out your BMR to see the daily calorie intake your body needs and then work out your body’s daily energy expenditure, this will let you know your daily calorie target.
You may find that you need to consume more calories, rather than fewer calories to get the results you want.
You can check your BMR on our BMR calculator or if you are a 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge member you can also do these calculations inside our 5 star rated APP and your weekly meal plan can be adjusted to your needs.
Another key point is to ensure that the calories you are consuming are nutrient-dense calories so that as well as giving your body the energy and fuel it needs to function. You are also providing your body with essential vitamins and minerals to help it to be in its best health.
7 Sweet snack recipes
1. Raspberry Coconut Slice
2. Healthy Chocolate Weet-Bix Slice
3. Peanut butter bars
4. Peanut bubble crunch
5. Chewy peanut butter cookies
6. Healthy no bake honey coconut cookies – just 99 calories
7. Coconut Date Delight
Here is a great fix for a sweet craving, from our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge. An easy to prepare and healthy snack with the sweetness of dates and goodness of nuts and coconut.
Ingredients (Makes one serve)
- 3 medjool dates, fresh
- 1 tablespoon pistachios, unsalted
- 1 tablespoon walnuts
- 1 teaspoon shredded coconut
- Cut dates in half and remove pits. Roughly chop pistachios and walnuts and combine.
- Fill each date half with nut mixture, sprinkle with coconut to serve.
How The Healthy Mummy can help
We are here to help you. The Healthy Mummy has a heap of recipes and workouts to help you lose the baby weight.
If you feel like you struggle with getting enough vitamins and minerals, despite eating healthy foods, or want an energy boost check out The Healthy Mummy supplement range.
The Healthy Mummy’s team of nutritionists don’t advocate cutting out any food groups.
Instead they recommend ditching the junk food and eating a healthy diet that is a balance of lean protein, whole grains and whole foods, moderate carbs and good fats from nuts and avocado.
In fact, they design all our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge meal plans and recipes this way so you get three balanced meals and three healthy snacks every day.
Best exercise to lose baby weight
While diet can be a driving factor in losing your baby weight, regular exercise is still important for shifting any extra weight, making you feel great, and toning and strengthening your body.
While we all know that feeling active and vital makes us shine inside and out, its important to know that you don’t have to go overboard and invest in a personal trainer or expensive gym membership (though you can if you want to).
You can start to burn calories by having a daily routine of simply walking more.
If you’re a new mum, and your doctor approves, it is recommended that you start walking soon after giving birth – regardless of if you gave birth vaginally or with a c-section – as part of your postpartum care.
How to fit in incidental exercise
Incidental exercise is by finding ways to exercise within your normal routine. For example, you might want to try doing a few squats while you are waiting for the kettle to boil.
Other ways of doing incidental exercise:
- Carry your shopping. We all know how heavy they can be!
- Wear ankle weights around the house
- Use the stairs
- Brush your teeth on one leg
- Walk on the beach
- Get off the bus a stop early
- Park further away and walk
- Do lunges while doing housework
How to strengthen your pelvic floor while trying to lose baby weight
One reason for taking a slow and steady approach after giving birth is that it gives your pelvic floor, that may have sustained some damage during birth, a chance to heal.
High impact exercises and vigorous activities such as weight lifting may cause you more harm than good. If you want to help strengthen your pelvic floor, try doing kegel exercises.
Also, if you are looking for some gentle postnatal workouts our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge app has a whole range of postnatal exercises to suit new, busy mums – plus check out this awesome pram workout that can include bubs.
Likewise, if you have recently been pregnant you should check if you have diastasis recti, also known as abdominal separation.
Diastasis recti is quite common and often appears in the second trimester. It can lead to lower back pain and pelvic floor related issues.
Understanding if you have it is important so you can heal it effectively with the right exercises.
Overall though you should avoid crunches, sit-ups or pilates 100′s, all of which can put too much pressure on the abdominal muscles which have become separated during pregnancy.
So while you may be want to flatten your tummy, and work on your post-pregnancy six-pack, you may have wait a bit longer till your body is ready.
Workouts to lose baby weight
If, however, you’re weeks, months, or years out from giving birth and have no other health complications, then you can add in a greater range of exercises to help you get and stay fit.
At this stage you may be interested in doing more vigorous activity, such as strength training, cardio, HITT, high energy bootcamps, team sports, or other fitness training all of which will help you reach your weight loss goals.
If you are struggling to make an exercise plan, The Healthy Mummy can help with over 350 workouts inside our 5 star rated app.
With daily motivational messages it’s like having a personal trainer on demand, in your pocket while you are working out.
These online workouts include low impact beginner exercises, boxing, HIIT, Tabata, Dancefit, yoga, belly and booty busting, muscle separation, baby wearing, weight training, advanced fitness, and loads more. It’s perfect for busy mums.
Wherever you choose to start your fitness journey is up to you, but remember you don’t have to go all out in the beginning you can build up your fitness levels – 20-minute sessions three to four times a week is plenty to start with.
Does losing baby weight get rid of cellulite?
Ahhh cellulite….most of us have it, and most of us want to know how to get rid of it.
Despite what you may have read the presence of cellulite’s tell tale dimples does not necessarily mean that you have excess weight or out of shape.
So if you are worried that weight you’ve gained through your pregnancy is the cause of cellulite, remember the appearance of cellulite is not necessarily tied to increased weight gain, it effects people of all sizes.
Essentially it is the result of normal fat and connective tissues beneath the skin breaking up.
It appears when the connective tissue under the skin becomes weakened by things such as hormones, lack of exercise and muscle tone, excess fat, or poor circulation.
As the connective tissue under the skin weakens the fat cells under the skin show through, giving the skin a dimpled appearance.
So what can you do to get rid of cellulite?
Will dieting and losing body fat get rid of the orange peel skin look? Not exactly.
It’s true getting to a healthy weight management can help reduce cellulite but it’s not the only solution, in fact losing weight without toning may even increase the cottage cheese look of your skin because the cellulite becomes more visible through the loose skin.
To really make a difference in how your skin looks you’ll need to adopt an all round healthy lifestyle, and including exercise is crucial.
By doing a mixture of cardio and weight training you can reduce the layer of fat under the skin and tone your muscles, this will help make your skin look smoother and more taunt.
Other than clean a healthy diet and having a regular exercise routine, here’s what else you can do to get rid of cellulite?
How to make your skin stronger after having a baby
While there is some dispute as to just how effective cellulite lotions are on the appearance of cellulite, studies have found that products that build collagen in the skin or creams with retinol or vitamin C, may help.
There is also support for massaging and dry brushing which exfoliates skin and improves lymphatic drainage and blood flow which may improve the look of your skin.
What about plastic surgery after child birth?
While some doctors still recommend liposuction it seems that overall it doesn’t work and can actually make skin look more dimpled.
Laser and radio-frequency treatments may reduce the appearance of cellulite in the short-term.
The the American FDA-approved, one-time laser-assisted procedure Cellulaze is one such treatment that claims to reduce cellulite.
It’s also said to stimulate collagen production increasing skin elasticity and thickness by more than 25 per cent, but the long-term effects are yet to be fully known.
Drink more water
I know, it sounds kinda obvious and basic but staying hydrated will minimise the appearance of cellulite.
Cellulite can appear worse when you’re dehydrated because dehydration can cause the skin to become thinner and weaken, and when the skin is thin it tends to show cellulite more.
You can also try our cellulite reducing smoothie.
If you want to explore more ways to get rid of cellulite, check out these 13 tips.
How to lose belly fat and tone your tummy
Plenty of mums want to get their pre-pregnancy body back, that includes having a toned, flat tummy.
They wonder when or if it will shrink back to what it was pre-pregnancy and if their stomach muscles will ever be the same again. Well the truth of it is that it may take a while.
But if you want to lose belly fat and tone your tummy, it’s pretty much down to good diet and doing the right exercise.
Some simple things to remember about losing belly fat is that there is no way to target just one area of the body to lose weight from, it happens all over.
But while you can not lose weight from just your tummy, you can do tummy toning exercises to ensure your ab muscles are tight and toned which will help give your a more slim mid-section.
Not sure what exercises to do?
Check out our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge app, inside you can find a Healthy Mummy core strengthening and belly blasting workouts that are designed to tighten the tummy, reduce belly fat and strengthen your core muscles.
Here is a sneak peek 4 minute ab workout here.
What exercises to start off with after having a baby?
Remember though if you’re a new mum and have diastasis recti you’re going to want to start off with the right exercises that strengthen your deepest abdominal muscle – so no crunches just yet.
A good place to start can be doing pelvic tilts. You may want to talk with a physiotherapist before you start doing this.
You can get in the starting position by simply lying on your back with your knees bent, flatten your back against the floor, pull your belly button in toward your spine and lift your pelvis off the floor.
Hold for up to 10 seconds and repeat 5 times and work up to 10 to 20 repetitions.
Also, if you find you suffer from IBS or have excessive bloating try the Healthy Mummy Tummy smoothie.
A delicious and nutritious meal replacement, the Tummy Smoothie has been designed by experts to support gut health, digestion and weight loss.
Packed with probiotics, the smoothie encourages a healthy microbiome and reduces bloating. As the smoothie is a good source of fibre it will help you feel fuller for longer and the high protein content will keep hunger pangs at bay.
Plus, it’s free from artificial sweeteners, fillers and caffeine.
Whatever your circumstances, remember to be kind to your body. Make sustainable changes that will support your health and your families health too.
Check out these mums amazing results!
Leah transformed her tummy
Read her story and get her tips on how to tone your tummy – read her story here.
Stephanie has lost 22kgs
She shares her top tips and favourite exercises that blasted her belly fat.
Dani has lost 30kgs
She shares her top 10 tips on how she got her results here.