I want to first start off this blog by reminding everyone that the scale does not define us. The scale does not dictate whether we are a good or bad parent. The scale does not define your worth. This blog is meant to hopefully give tangible tips on how to lose pregnancy weight for overall health in your postpartum journey. A healthy BMI, at any stage in life, will obviously reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis, blood clots, etc, and will result in daily movement being easier and more enjoyable! I want everyone reading this to be proud of the body that birthed their babies- if you are on the weight loss journey, this blog is for you! It is not meant to trigger anyone in any way.
For reference, I am 5’3 and was 135lbs while TTC with Oakley (my 14-month-old). At birth, I was 163, which means I gained 28lbs. The photo on the cover of this blog was 6 months after giving birth. I was 135 by November- I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight in about 3.5 months. I do feel as though I gained muscle while pregnant which is why I really detest using the scale as the ultimate form of measurement in terms of a weight loss journey. I have been 145 and have been happy with how many body looks.
Again, if this is the first blog of mine that you have read, I am a prenatal and postpartum certified fitness trainer through AFPA and I also am a certified fitness nutrition specialist through ISSA. Here are my tips!
1: Minimal Weight Gain While Pregnant
If you are reading this and are still pregnant or TTC, pat yourself on the back for being so proactive in the health of your pregnant and postpartum journey. Below you will find the recommend weight gain according to the ACOG during pregnancy:
BMI less than 18.5 (underweight), you should gain 28-40lbs
BMI 18.5 – 24.9 (normal weight), you should gain 25-35lbs
BMI 25.0-29.9 (overweight), you should gain 15-25lbs
BMI greater than or equal to 30 (obese), you should gain 11-20lbs
I also like to remind people, you are not eating for two. You are eating for YOU to grow a tiny human. The recommended calories per trimester are as follows: 1st trimester- no calories above maintenance, 2nd trimester: 300 calories above maintenance, 3rd trimester: 450 calories above maintenance (unless otherwise outlined by your doctor). If you can gain a reasonable and appropriate amount of weight during pregnancy, the healthier you and your baby will be, and the less weight you will have to lose after the baby arrives.
2: Remaining Active
The easiest way to stay active after the baby comes is to remain as active as you can your entire pregnancy. Even if that is just walking 10,000 steps a day- you and your baby will both benefit greatly from the activity while pregnant and also after birth. Getting baby out in the sunshine for 15-20 minutes a day is highly recommend for vitamin D absorption and melatonin production. It’s also a great way for you to get your steps in and get moving! The quicker you can get moving (again, within reason), the easier your recovery will be!
Babies, especially newborns, sleep A LOT. I know there’s a ton of things to get done while baby is asleep but even if you can dedicate ONE nap to YOURSELF (even if it’s a 25 minute workout), your mental and physical health will thank you!
3: Breastfeeding Calories
If you are lucky enough to be able to breastfeed, you need to eat maintenance calories + 500. Many women burn a ton of calories while breastfeeding and lose the majority of the baby weight simply by following the rule of thumb above. If you are not breastfeeding, you can return to maintenance or a slight deficit if your goal is fat loss.
4: Calories In and Out
I know this isn’t what a lot of people want to hear, but it really boils down to calories in versus calories out. I know, I KNOW, it’s so much easier during the first few weeks to just door dash food or grab something quick. Your hormones are going to be going crazy following birth so just give yourself some grace the first few weeks. Once you and baby have somewhat of a routine, maybe use one of their naps to prep some meals or throw something in the crockpot. I have a ton of helpful workout tips on my personal Instagram (@sarah_bowmar). I also have a free fitness pregnancy and postpartum guide on the homepage of this blog!
When I was cutting for our trip to Hawaii 6 months (in February) after I gave birth, I was in a 300 calorie daily deficit. I adjusted my macros every 2 weeks based on my updated body composition and the after Hawaii, went into a reverse diet. I was eating at maintenance until Christmas and then began my cut. If you need additional help with your macros, please check out our coaching packages on bowmarfitness.com! Additionally, if you are in a calorie deficit, our product- MELT- may help when it comes to fat loss. Click here to learn more!
I hope this helps in your postpartum journey! If you ever have questions- please leave them below in the comments!