If you’re feeling like a fitness failure because you’ve been busy watching celebrity moms slim down to their pre-pregnancy bod just weeks after giving birth, it’s time to stop beating yourself up and remember that you don’t have live-in nannies, personal chefs and fitness experts on call 24/7. Instead of giving up on regaining your pre-preggo physique, follow this 5-step fitness plan that will whip you back into shape in a realistic time frame.
Ease up on yourself
Your biggest weight loss enemy may just be your self-bashing bad attitude. Ease up on yourself and stop thinking you need to lose 30 pounds in 30 days. Set reasonable weight loss goals, like a pound or two a week. The good news is, your body will naturally shed weight, so aiming for small weight loss goals will be quick to reach in the beginning. You gained weight over the course of nine months and it may take a few months to achieve your pre-pregnancy weight.
Sneak exercise into your day
You may not be able to spend two hours at the gym every day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get fit. In fact, your baby can facilitate your fitness. Use nap times to do a fitness DVD, ride your stationary bike or go through a weight lifting routine with your dumbbells. Wrap your baby in a baby carrier and go for long walks to let her see the world around her or nap. Get on the floor with your baby and do floor exercises – she’ll think pushups and downward dog poses are funny. Turn on your favorite upbeat playlist and dance for your babe. Keep in mind that the more you move, the more calories you burn.
Eat smaller meals more often
Skipping meals is not going to lead to long-term weight loss. Your body needs nourishment to not only recover from childbirth, but to also keep you energized and healthy. Instead of eating two or three large meals, divide your calories among six smaller meals. Eat every three to four hours (and drink plenty of water). Make sure your meals consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and healthy fats. Consider talking to a nutrition expert to give you meal planning guidelines for a balanced diet.
Write down what you eat
If you are following a healthy diet but not losing the baby weight, start keeping a food journal. It doesn’t have to be a large notebook – in fact, a smaller pad that you can keep handy in your pocket or purse will make it easier for you to record your food. Jot down every bite of food and sip of liquid that goes in your mouth, including the handful of M&Ms, swigs of milk from the jug or extra bites of dinner off your husband’s plate. Food journals are one of the best weight loss tools you can use – and keeping one is free. You’ll find that you stop absent-mindedly snacking when you get into the habit of writing down everything you eat.
Wear clothing you look and feel good in
Those leggings and big T-shirt may be comfortable, but they aren’t doing anything for your self-confidence or weight loss enthusiasm. Buy a few casual outfits, preferably mix-and-matchable, that look fashionable and make you feel good about yourself when you wear them. If you look good and feel good, you’ll be more motivated to stick to an exercise and diet plan. As you lose more weight, add a new belt, slim-fitting shirt or physique-flattering jeans. Eventually, those pre-baby outfits will fit and you’ll have a few new outfits to coordinate with them