Losing the extra pounds you gained during pregnancy is no easy feat, especially when you’re busy taking care of your new addition. The good news is that these tips and tricks have been proven to help shed baby pounds once and for all — no fad diets or crazy restrictions allowed!
1. Boost Healthy Fats
It may sound strange, but it’s true: You have to eat fat to burn fat. Foods like almonds, avocados, extra virgin olive oil and pumpkin seeds — all sources of healthy dietary fats — keep you satiated and fuller for longer.
Pass on the pretzels and sugary processed snacks, and try a small handful of pistachios or almonds instead. Make salad dressing with olive oil rather than using fat-free bottled versions. (Just remember to stick to the recommended portion sizes.)
2. Eat Veggies Early in the Day
Eating leafy greens and other vegetables in the morning helps get you in a healthy mindset from the get-go, just like working out earlier can do. Blend a big handful of spinach and a few frozen cauliflower florets into your next breakfast smoothie. You likely won’t taste them, but you can rest assured knowing you’re well on your way to meeting your daily veggie quota before lunch.
Not a smoothie fan? Add spinach and sliced mushrooms to an omelet. Both are low in calories and boast a high water content, which adds volume without weighing you down. Pretty flawless, huh?
3. Find a Fun Way to Work Out
Recruit a friend, and take turns watching each other’s babies so you can hit the gym. (Bonus points if you can find a baby-friendly gym!) From yoga to boot camp, there are plenty of group fitness classes that are proven to boost motivation. Find one with great music and an atmosphere that you’ll look forward to each week. Getting back into the habit can be the hardest part of exercise. Treat each workout like a doctor’s appointment; it’s you time and non-negotiable!
No gym membership? Taking a walk with baby in the stroller gets you out of the house (where there’s a high likelihood of snacking out of boredom rather than hunger). Try keeping the changing table upstairs so you have to climb steps each time you change a diaper. Stay as busy and active as possible.
It may sound obvious, but besides hormonal changes, one of the biggest causes of post-pregnancy weight gain is mindless eating. New moms often spend more time at home and may snack more than they should.
Thirst can often disguise itself as hunger. Try having a glass of water before, during and after feedings. Add frozen fruit (such as watermelon cubes or grapes) to your water for a flavor boost. Warm liquids tend to be more satisfying than cold, so you can try fun new flavors of tea to keep it interesting.
5. Eat Breakfast at Home
When we say skip the drive-through, this may mean the coffee shop, too. It can be tempting to grab one of those delicious-looking pastries every time you order your daily java.
Make preportioned smoothie containers that you can dump in the blender in the morning, or portion out baggies of old-fashioned oats, cinnamon and dried fruit for easy morning prep. When all else fails, a banana and granola bar are far healthier than any drive-through option or office doughnut and bagel spread. You’ll save time, money and lots of calories by eating in the comfort of your own home.
Alexis Joseph, MS, RD, LD is the whole foods enthusiast and registered dietitian behind the plant-based food blog Hummusapien. She is also the co-founder of Alchemy, an innovative café located in Columbus, Ohio that intersects health care and food. Connect with her via Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.