During my pregnancy I gained around 35lbs, give or take a few. But even before I got pregnant, I was higher on the scale since I let my diet slide a bit and wasn’t working out as much as I used to before I got married. So overall I was about 45 pounds heavier by the end of my pregnancy than my pre-marriage weight 3 years ago.
Before I got married and had a baby, I was exercising on a very regular basis and made the gym my #1 priority. Now meal planning and a strict exercise regimen is just not practical, and that’s okay with me! But yet, here I am today weighing LESS than I did before I got pregnant. So if I didn’t follow a strict diet plan or exercise program after having a baby, how did I do it?
For those of you who have followed me for a while, you know I love eating healthy. Over the years I have naturally geared more towards the healthier choices than french fries and fast food. I guess you can say I eat healthy for the most part, but don’t get me wrong, I am totally happy to enjoy pizza on the weekend and a nice slice of cheesecake occasionally. I don’t limit myself, and I don’t really diet, but I do enjoy eating healthy most of the time. For me, I know that has helped me make consistent progress. Eating healthy for me no longer means egg whites for breakfast, or counting calories throughout the day. It works for some, just not for me at this point in my life. And it’s certainly not how I lost my baby weight…
I have never been good at sticking to one thing. It’s going to be difficult for me to tell you EXACTLY what I did to lose my baby weight and the cellulite off my thighs (which I’ve had for a long time, and no longer do). I’m a bit of a squirrel and often start one thing before finishing the last ten things I started. I get distracted and excited about new things all the time, so you won’t find a list of things I did consistently to lose weight. I will give you a general idea of my days postpartum and peek into a “normal day” in the life of Melanie (if there is such a thing), and hopefully that can help you with your goals as well!
1-3 Months Postpartum
Once I had Norah, I didn’t care about getting my pre-baby body back right away. I was more enthralled with this new precious being than I was over what I ate in a day. To be honest, I didn’t have the time, nor the energy to cook. I was happy with take out, something in the freezer, or heck – PB&J would suffice. I didn’t exercise much at all for the first 3 months of Norah’s life. The most exercise I did was a walk around the neighborhood with my new baby, the very occasional run, or grocery shopping (that counts right?). I didn’t care if I held onto those extra pounds for those first few months, I was just loving every moment of being a new mom.
I had to wait until Norah was 3 months before I could leave her at the gym daycare. Once I could bring her with me, I started going to the gym and doing very light/easy workouts. I did mostly body weight exercises, and it was enough for me! I did very basic exercises and found that I only needed to be there for 30 minutes to get a good workout. Plus I had a very hungry baby who I couldn’t leave much longer than that amount of time.
I did not do ANY ab exercises for approx 5 or 6 months postpartum. I waited a while so that I didn’t risk having diastasis rectus abdominis (which is basically when your abs stay separated postpartum). I could feel a space between my abs for a while postpartum, so I waited until it was no longer there before doing any crunches.
Tip #1. Go easy. Don’t rush into an exercise program after having a new baby. Your body needs time to adjust and figure out how to function without having to grow a baby anymore. Besides, you will be so busy with your new little one that exercise isn’t a top priority…not in those first few months at least. Give yourself rest, and try to eat well. Light exercise is fine, but don’t jump into anything too intense at this point.
4 + Months Postpartum
Now that I was settled into motherhood and had a bit more flexibility with my days, I was going to the gym more and able to cook most of my meals again. I was doing a Jamie Eason program called “From Flat to All That” for about a month, which was awesome and got me to the gym on a more regular basis, but that only lasted a short while (told you I’m a squirrel). I sometimes go back and do her workouts, but I haven’t been consistent with them since having a baby to care for.
At this point, I have been going to the gym or exercising at home around 3 days a week, sometimes 4. There are weeks I don’t go at all, but I do feel a bit sluggish if I skip an entire week.
Tip #2. You don’t need to follow a program to get results. However, programs will fast-track your results since you have something to work towards and follow. Even if you don’t complete a program, try one out for a while and get yourself back into regular exercising during the week. Try to be consistent and build up your strength again, but don’t feel bad if you miss a workout. Baby’s get sick, Mommy’s get sick, and life throws curve balls. Just go with it and don’t throw the towel in. Pick up where you left off once you are able to.
9 Months + Postpartum
Still not following any special program at this point. I am comfortable at the gym lifting weights again and go 3-4 days/week. Occasionally I will run on the treadmill at home, but it is not something I do on a regular basis.
A Typical Workout
Warm-up for 5 minutes on treadmill or elliptical. *If I feel like doing more cardio, I will stay on for 20 minutes.
3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each: squats, machine chest press, tricep-dips, shoulder press, dumbell bicep curls, lat pull-down machine & calf raises. (Sometimes I will add in abs in-between or at the end).
Tip #3. Weight lifting is what helped me to tighten up and bounce back quickly. Before I got pregnant I did mostly weight lifting over cardio – always! If you don’t know what the heck to do for weight lifting, please follow a program or go to the gym with a friend who can help you. I highly suggest trying a Jamie Eason programs (it’s free!). You will not get a “toned” look by running on the treadmill. You MUST lift weights. However, listen to your body and start off with very light weights, or even body weight exercises. Ease your way into it and then increase your weights as you go. I am so glad that I had a good muscle base before I got pregnant. I believe it is one of the reasons I was able to bounce back quickly. However, even if you didn’t do much weight lifting before having a baby, it’s never too late to start. It will be the best way to lose any extra weight you are holding onto.
A day in the life of Melanie
*I am not suggesting you follow this to lose weight. I am also not recommending the ingestion or use essential oils for weight loss. This is meant for a reference of my daily routine. Please do your own research before using essential oils.
Breakfast – 2 eggs, 2 slices of rye toast with butter, 1/4 avocado + berries.
Coffee with 2 milks 1 sugar. Yum! I like to read a bit of my Bible if Norah is napping and enjoy my coffee.
Fill up a bottle of water with 1-2 drops of essential oil. I add one drop of peppermint oil in my water during my workouts or if I want to feel refreshed and energized. During the day I like to drink citrus fresh, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit and orange essential oils in my water. *I will only ingest pure, organic therapeutic grade essential oils. See bottom of post for more info.
I apply peppermint essential oil to my body before exercising, and recently have been rubbing my thighs and belly with grapefruit or citrus oils. I also use a DIY coffee scrub with citrus oils in the shower occasionally. My skin and body loves the oils! They have enhanced my life dramatically!
I get to the gym before noon and do a workout similar to what’s posted above. I sometimes stay home and run on my treadmill if I can’t get to the gym.
Snack – usually a banana or something quick. I love snacking on “Aussie Bites” from Costco lately too.
Lunch – whole grain sandwich or wrap with chicken lunch meat. Usually something easy. I like adding a bit of Caesar dressing to my wraps (told you I’m not counting calories). I also like adding hot sauce, a slice of cheese, lettuce and whatever else I can fit in. Sometimes I will just make a big salad and throw everything in it. If I eat a salad for lunch, I will probably have more snacks during the day. I love snacks. I love food. Who am I kidding.
Snack 2 – large handful of healthy crackers with guacamole/hummus. I usually have another coffee here too. I will drink more water and fill up the bottle I used before.
Dinner – I love making salmon or white fish or chicken breast + rice with tamari soy sauce (we love organic white basmati) and a steamed vegetable with a bit of butter. I like to swap out rice for sweet potatoes, quinoa or couscous too! If I have time, I will make brown rice instead of white rice.
Later snack – vanilla or plain greek yogurt with berries and sliced almonds (my favourite snack!). Sometimes Thomas and I eat popcorn while watching a movie or tv show. I also love snacking on grapes!! I usually only have one snack at night, plus a big cup of herbal tea.
I always go to bed with a full belly. There is a lot of controversy over eating late at night. I have always had a bedtime snack and do not stop eating past a certain time because it will cause me to gain weight. Even when I was at my smallest weight, I had a late night snack. When you are weight lifting, you need to fuel your body. You get hungry more often as well. If you are not exercising regularly, a late night snack would not be a great idea. For me, I love my late snacks and it has never affected me negatively! I actually think it helps my metabolism and sustains my muscle mass. I certainly don’t eat chips every night, but greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or occasionally eating popcorn is something that I enjoy and will continue to do!
So there you have it. A typical day in my life. I also clean, do laundry and hold a crying baby for a lot of my day. But I don’t think you all want to hear about those details. hehe!!