Even though we’ve done something amazing by bringing another little life into the world, even though we love them more than anything else, it can be hard to accept the havoc a baby wreaks on your body. Most of us are pretty realistic when it comes to losing baby weight – we understand that while celebrities and members of the royal family might have personal trainers and dieticians to help them, we mere mortals may find it more difficult. But sometimes it seems like an uphill struggle – as Gail, a new mum who lives in Chichester, Susses, is finding out.
“I put on quite a bit of weight during my pregnancy and now my daughter has been born I’m really aware of my post-baby fat – but I just can’t seem to shift it,” she writes. “She’s a few months old now so I think anything that was going to go naturally already has. I know I’m going to have to make an effort but I’d really appreciate any of your top tips or advice that might help me.”
Holly Olugosi describes herself – tongue firmly in cheek – as a ‘cool stepmum and dream wife’. She started her blog after she realised she was writing a lot of very long Facebook statuses all about parenting. A place where she says what everyone else is thinking about parenting but is too polite to say, The Prime Mumister has gained a loyal following – read it at https://www.facebook.com/ThePrimeMumister/
Holly says it’s easy to be hard on yourself but when your baby is only a few months old you’re still adjusting – physically and mentally. You need to bear that in mind.
“Weight is a really touchy subject for me. Before I got pregnant I was a size 8 and the slimmest I’ve ever been – and I was starving. I was at the gym every day, running two miles in the evening, and taking laxatives thinking they would stop me putting on weight. I wasn’t healthy at all. As soon as I got pregnant, I knew I had to change my lifestyle. I couldn’t raise a child in the unhealthy cycle I was in. But I went from one extreme to the other and put on a total of five stone during my first pregnancy.
“Once my son was born I had nine months to lose the weight before my scheduled wedding – and I lost the whole lot in six weeks. Yes, six weeks! I wasn’t starving but I was breastfeeding and walking into town every day for baby groups and coffee dates – I was actually embracing my post-partum body. I saw it in a whole new light, as the miracle baby-making vessel it had become. I was focused and conscious of what I was eating, but more than anything else I was active.
“My second son is three now, and of the four stone I put on during the pregnancy with him I am still trying to lose two and a half of it. We have this pressure on us as women – through the media, social sites and other peer pressure – to get our bodies back to their pre-baby state. Nowadays I try to focus on putting good food into my body and setting a good example for my children. I try to be active and fuel my body with great food, as opposed to focusing on what will make me thin.
“Give yourself a break – you’re only a few months post-partum and you’re still adjusting to your new life and body. If you want to start making small changes that will make you feel better on the journey to (in your eyes) looking better, then I suggest getting out for buggy walks – even just half an hour every day, which I found really helped with how I felt about my body.
“I’d also recommend buying a couple of staple wardrobe items in the size you are right now. A lot of how we feel about our post-partum bodies is based on not being able to fit in clothes we could before we got pregnant and often this psychological impact is a massive contributor to falling into a vicious circle of feeling bad and using food as a comfort. Remember – you’re doing great, and your baby loves you for who you and the body you have right now.”
Zoe Waite – Pink Mole
Zoe Waite started her blog to give an honest insight into first-time motherhood. She lives with her family in Stoke-on-Trent, UK, and is currently pregnant with her second child. You can find her at Pink Mole or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
It’s important not to punish yourself, says Zoe – and also remember the journey is different for everyone, so don’t compare yourself to others.
“Losing weight and getting into shape post-baby is hard! I lost 14kg. I hit seven months post-partum and felt exactly the same as you. But you can do it with the right mindset – here are my top tips.
“1. Set yourself a goal. It doesn’t have to be huge. I love weekly goals – how much weight will you lose, or by next week I want to be able to run for ten minutes longer.
“2. Treat yourself. I love to buy a new gym top after I’ve reached a hard goal as a reward, plus I know I’ll feel good in it. Treats don’t have to be ‘naughty’ foods so think of something that will work for you.
“3. Avoid restriction. Don’t feel you’re now allowed to eat any of your favourite foods or you won’t still to your diet. Set yourself a meal plan of healthy foods (include lots of green veggies to bulk out the meal and fill you up) and include a treat every other week. You’ll enjoy it more if you feel you’ve worked hard for it. Think of it as a lifestyle change rather than a diet.”
“4. Get moving. Cutting calories until you’re in a calorie deficit will result in weight loss. If you’re like me and love food, incorporate exercise four or five times a week to help burn calories without having to reduce your food intake. Find a form of exercise you enjoy, or you won’t stick at it.
“5. Focus on you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Your Chapter 1 could be their Chapter 10. Take weekly progress pictures and measurements to keep yourself motivated. It takes time to see results, but by making smart choices and finding an exercise you love, you’ll notice a physical change by around Week 6. Trust that you can do this. Be honest and admit to yourself that it will be a challenge but know you can achieve it.”
Laura Thompson – The New Mummy
Laura is a full-time mum to her one-year-old daughter, Charlotte. She believes in being honest about parenting and is passionate about individual families doing what is best for their needs. She’s a keen advocate of good mental health and helping others speak out about their issues or how they feel. You can find her on Facebook or Instagram as @thenewmummy or head over to her blog at https://thenewmummy.co.uk
Laura also feels it’s important to be kind to yourself, and recommends meal-planning and batch-cooking as a way to help with dieting.
“I think the most important thing to remember is that your body has just done an incredible thing – it grew your baby and brought it into the world! Gaining weight is part of pregnancy so please try not to worry about it.
“If you want to get back into shape, walking is a really good way of doing it. There are also some incredible mummy-focused fitness classes now where you can take your baby along and meet new friends. Where I live, we have Mummy Fit and Sweaty Mama, which are great.
“Planning healthy meals and batch-cooking them is also a really good way of looking after yourself and will help you stay on track. Focus on being healthy, rather than weight loss.”