5 Healthy ways to lose weight after pregnancy

  • 3 Minutes Read
Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Have you had a recent pregnancy? Whether it was six months ago or if your little one just turned three, you may be asking yourself why you are gaining weight.

If the scale has been going up instead of down, do not lose hope. Instead, take time for yourself and check out these 5 tips to get the scale moving in the right direction!

gaining weight after pregnancy

Why am I gaining weight after pregnancy? Think about how life changes with motherhood

Here are 5 healthy ways to lose weight after pregnancy

1. Prioritize physical activity

If you have been wondering, "Why am I gaining weight after pregnancy?" I encourage you to ask yourself, "Have I made it a point to be active on a regular basis?"

As your child grows into a toddler, you might be catching up on sleep. Still, you probably feel like you have less personal time to exercise, especially if you work outside the home. And when you do have free time, exercise might not be the first thing on your mind. Physical activity is not only important for weight loss. It is vital for mental health as well, so how do you make it happen?

What about finding a way to be active with your child?

For example, if your child is really young, the stroller is a great solution. Or perhaps carry your baby in a backpack, which builds upper body strength. As your child gets older, you might find ways to do strength training while s/he plays in the yard or at the park. Squats and lunges are great ways to build strength, and you can do them just about anywhere.

You working moms might consider exercising during your lunch break. To set yourself up for success, try eating a mid-morning snack, so you have some fuel onboard when workout time comes. If you are tempted to work through lunch, set the alarm on your phone. This will break your focus and serve as a reminder that it is time to step away from the computer. If you miss a few workouts, don’t beat yourself up! Get back on track as soon as you can.

2. Avoid the temptation to clean your child’s plate

Are you finishing those last few crackers or cheese chunks that your toddler didn’t eat? There are lots of reasons moms get into the habit of finishing their kid’s plates. It could be that you hate the idea of wasting food or that you haven’t prepared yourself a snack and so you are truly hungry. By the end of a week, those extra nibbles add up in extra calories. Over time, this type of mindless eating easily contributes to weight gain. Instead, try scraping their leftovers into the trash, and take a moment to prepare yourself a healthy snack.

3. Limit food fixes for stress or boredom

This is a lot easier said than done. Parents of young children have plenty of opportunities to feel stressed. If you tended to be an emotional eater before pregnancy, you might return to this counterproductive coping strategy. Identifying triggers and keeping tempting treats out of the house are two strategies that can help you get a grip on this. Partnering with other moms nearby can help by offering social support. You can have babysitting co-ops, playdates, group visits to playgrounds, and other outings to get your mind off problems and share ideas with others. You aren’t the only one dealing with parenting issues, and you aren’t the only one working to maintain a healthy weight.

4. Plan your meals (and your child’s) ahead of time

Meal planning saves time and money and helps to organize your week. It also can save calories as you’ll have 100% control over your cooking.

Take some time to plan meals based on what your family enjoys eating, and what you know will help you to feel your best! From there, build a grocery list and set aside time to do some prepping. Try to cook once and eat twice. Doubling or tripling recipes will ensure you are prepared for lunches or weeknights when you arrive home late with little time or energy to deal with dinner.

Tips around meal planning for weight loss
Looking for quick and easy dinner ideas

5. Revisit the portions you eat

One reason you may be gaining weight after pregnancy is that you are eating more than your body needs. Here’s a quick and easy way to keep portions in check and make nutritious and balanced choices. Use the plate method. Grab a plate that is 9 inches in diameter. Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Then fill one-quarter of your plate with whole grains and one-quarter of your plate with lean protein. If you are still hungry, add a serving of low-fat dairy and one serving of fresh fruit. Keep your meals to one plate, and make sure to eat slowly.

Additional tips for portion control

Bonus tip: Strive to avoid a sedentary life

Reducing the amount of time you spend in sedentary activities is another one of the many healthy ways to lose weight after pregnancy. However, this may be one of the hardest changes to make. Our sedentary lifestyle, whether in the car or in front of a screen, affects parents and kids alike. Why not try turning TV or computer time into outdoor playtime instead? And if you find yourself driving your little one all over for activities, you might think about switching to options closer to home that allow for more physical activity. On the weekends, make sure to include active time for the whole family, such as exploring a nature trail or on a trip to the park.

In the end, taking the time to commit to a healthy lifestyle helps you to feel good and serve as a positive role model for your kids!

Related content

Our top tips to ensure you meet your nutrition requirements for pregnancy and beyond

How to get positive support to lose weight and keep it off

4 Strategies for creating a healthy lifestyle for your kids while trying to lose weight

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Dec 29, 2023

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