Do you have both a beautiful new baby and the baby weight to show for it? Getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight after baby can oftentimes be a frustrating battle for many women. But it’s so important to get your body back to a healthy weight after delivery. It’s recommended that women within a healthy weight range gain around 25-35 pounds during their pregnancy. Unfortunately, nearly half of pregnant women gain more than this recommended amount of weight. There are serious health consequences to hanging onto this excess baby weight, such as higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, complications in later pregnancies and the risk of being overweight. Plus if you want to get pregnant again, you’ll have a greater risk for complications, if you go into the pregnancy overweight. Eek!

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Save yourself the struggle and follow these 8 Post-Pregnancy tips to get your body back to your pre-baby weight and even better:

1. The Numbers Game

After delivering a baby, your body requires great nutrition to heal and recover. Also, if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need more calories than normal to keep up with your baby’s nutritional demands. Being smart about the number of calories you take in and the types of foods you’re choosing is key. To count calories smartly and support your awareness of the foods going into your body, you can use an app, keep a food diary or even take pictures of your food throughout your day to keep good track of what you are consuming. Using this method of awareness can help you reduce your portion sizes and help you choose healthier foods = all help you lose the extra baby weight.

Karina’s Tip: Aim to decrease your calorie intake by about 500-1,000 calories a day to help your body lose between 1-2 pound per week. For a woman who is breastfeeding, it’s best to stick to the 500-calorie deficit, so that you won’t have negative effects on your milk production.

2. You’ve Had Your Cake, Now Throw It Away

Okay, you’ve spent the past nine months growing this beautiful baby and most likely giving into your cravings of things you normally might not splurge on. Well, your baby is here and it’s time to stop with the splurging. Start to make those nutrient-dense food decisions. You’ll notice that these nutrient-dense calories go a long way. You will feel more energetic (even if the baby is keeping you awake at night) and feel full longer without more intake.

Karina’s Tip: Your diet should be filled with lots of fruits, veggies (especially leafy greens), whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, foods high in Vitamin C (helps heal wounds such as a C-section) and foods high in iron (helps with postpartum symptoms).

3. Say NO To Processed, PLEASE!

You should always pass on processed foods, but especially now that you are trying to eat healthier and lose the extra weight. Processed foods are chalked full of added salt, fat, sugar and unfulfilling calories. These bad-for-your-health foods include cookies, baked goods, chips, candy, fast foods and high sodium frozen foods. These foods do nothing good for you. Period. A high intake of refined carbs and sugars is associated with an increase in heart disease, weight, diabetes, and even some cancers. Processed foods should be a big no-no!

Karina’s Tip: It’s hard to go cold turkey when it comes to processed foods. Sugar and salt are addictive and unfortunately everywhere. You may be so used to grabbing for convenience, but try to get rid of one processed food every few days and stick to whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, chicken, fish, eggs and nuts. Your health and body will greatly thank you.  

4. Fiber, Fiber, Fiber and more Fiber

Fiber should be a frontrunner in your diet plan because it helps you feel more satiated and therefore you eat less. Eating lots of high fiber foods has been shown to assist with weight loss, so it’s wise to make sure you are adding lots of fiber-heavy vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes to your diet.  

Karina’s Tip:

Morning Fiber: oats and berries

+ Lunch Fiber: greens with chickpeas, kidney beans or carrots

+ Dinner Fiber: steamed broccoli, lentils or brussels sprouts

= Keeping your hunger at bay, your digestive system moving, your body filled with good-for-you-foods and your calories down.

5. Perfect Proteins, Por Favor

Protein is the perfect plus in your diet because it helps decrease your appetite, reduce calorie intake and gives your metabolism a needed boost. Your body uses more energy to digest proteins than most other nutrients, which can result in more calories being burned overall.        

Lean Protein Options:

  • Meats: chicken, turkey, lean beef, pork

  • Fish: salmon, halibut, trout, shrimp

  • Eggs: made anyway

  • Dairy: low-fat options, especially Greek yogurt

  • Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans

Karina’s Tip: Stick to around 3-4 ounces per serving and aim to get around three servings of protein per day. A little of protein goes a long way in helping you feel full.

6. MOVE it to LOSE it

Once you get the go-ahead from your doctor post-delivery, it is the time to get back into a strong exercise routine. Exercise alone may not help you lose the baby weight, but if you combine it with your smart nutrition it definitely supports a weight loss program. A little exercise can make big feel-good strides when you are ramping things back up. Exercise improves heart health, reduces diabetes risk and does the body good in general, especially helping with a happier and more patient mood.  

It’s important to add both a cardio and resistance training into your exercise program. Cardio (power walking, jogging, running and cycling) helps you burn calories. Resistance training (weight lifting) helps you retain muscle mass.  

Karina’s Tip: Finding the time to exercise with a new baby can be quite difficult, but there may be gyms in your area that offer classes for mothers and babies and mobile apps that can help you do a quick workout right from your home. A jog with the stroller was always my go-to.  

7. Water On The Rocks

Drinking enough water is absolutely a must for anyone trying to lose weight. Drinking water helps boost metabolism, reduces appetite and calorie intake, provides hydration and aids in a healthy digestive system. Aiming to drink at least 34-68 ounces (1-2 liters) of water a day is vital in supporting your weight loss plan. For a woman who is breastfeeding, staying hydrated and getting enough water is super important to replace water lost through milk production.

Karina’s Tip: I keep a liter bottle filled with water around my house, in my handbag and in my bathroom so there are no excuses to not drink enough water. I also drink 1-2 glasses of water 30 minutes before a meal to help with digestion and satiety.

8. Sleepy Head

Sleep deprivation can negatively impact weight loss efforts. That is not good news for new moms since most are in serious need of a good night’s sleep. For a new mother to get the sleep she needs is a real challenge and can definitely hinder weight loss efforts. 7-9 hours of sleep is important for metabolism, mood, energy, and the hormones that signal hunger and fullness. Remember sleep deprivation and the stress of a new baby can negatively impact weight loss so be gentle with yourself!

Karina’s Tip: Sleep when the baby sleeps. All of your errands and your to-do lists CAN wait, but getting your weight and feel-great health back into check cannot. Sleep is needed and is an important part of your weight loss efforts. So if you are reading this and everyone else is asleep, go crawl into bed. We can talk later…

Learn more about The Karina Method and how you can put yourself and your health first today.

Karina Heinrich