Still feel like you’re impersonating a sumo wrestler? Don’t sweat it—your baby loves you just the way you are. And, in time, you can get back your figure.
: If you’re breastfeeding, don’t eat fewer than 1800 calories a day. It could interfere with milk production.
Step 1: Understand weight loss Understand that losing weight after a baby is really no different from losing weight at any other time. Fewer calories in and/or more calories burned equals pounds lost.
Step 2: Don’t rush it Don’t rush it! Unless you’re Heidi Klum and the runway is waiting for you, there’s no reason to lose the baby weight in record time. Don’t even think about the scale during the first six weeks or so after giving birth. You’ll have enough on your mind.
Step 3: Set realistic goals Set a realistic and healthy goal. You should aim to lose no more than one pound per month if you’re breastfeeding; two pounds per month if you’re not.
TIP: Women who breastfeed exclusively tend to lose weight faster than non-nursing moms because lactation burns an extra 500 calories a day.
Step 4: Keep it simple Forget about calorie counting and eating three squares a day. You’ve got a new baby—it’s not gonna happen. Instead, trim calories by skipping extra sugar and butter on foods, avoiding anything fried, passing on sweets, and choosing low-fat dairy foods.
Step 5: Eat filling foods Eat things that will fill you up, like high-fiber foods and fresh fruits and veggies with high water content. This is especially important now, when feeding the baby trumps feeding yourself.
Step 6: Pair wisely Pair lean proteins or low-fat dairy foods with fruits or complex carbs to stave off hunger. Peanut butter on whole wheat bread, for example. Or a handful each of almonds and raisins.
TIP: Some of the best high-fiber foods are also easy to snack on while nursing or rocking a baby—pistachios, air-popped popcorn, edamame, berries.
Step 7: Get moving Get moving. The American College of Sports Medicine says that thirty minutes of moderate activity most days is enough to help spur weight loss. But before doing any activity that’s more rigorous than walking, get the go-ahead from your doctor.
TIP: Having trouble getting motivated? Look for an exercise class that caters to new moms. Or get together with some friends for regular walks or runs.
Step 8: Don’t push it Don’t push it. It took you nine months to put the weight on; it may take something close to that for it all to come off.
FACT: Most women lose about 12 pounds when they give birth—a combination of fluids, placenta, and a brand new baby.