I’m nearly 8 months postpartum and am both happy and proud to say that my baby weight is nothing more than a memory. I worked hard to lose that weight after both pregnancies but the second time around, it was much easier. Part of it was the fact that I stayed much healthier and active during my second pregnancy which resulted in less gain in the end. I also learned a lot about fueling my body properly and using food to live and not live for food. That’s not to say that I didn’t indulge or that I don’t indulge, believe me, I do but I’ve learned a lot about balance and about how eating good food can make me look and feel amazing, inside and out. My end goal was ultimately to lose the baby weight and the muffin top that came with it but it was vital to me to do so in a way that was gradual, healthy and motivating to me. I wanted to have the energy I needed to play with my kids and the calories I needed to ensure I could breastfeed as long as I could (I’m still breastfeeding). Because I had a c-section and then a subsequent infection that landed me back in the hospital, I wasn’t able to do any exercising for 8 long weeks after Baby O arrived. Even when I was given the go-ahead, I had to start slow because my body was still healing and I didn’t have the stamina (or the time) to do long, hard workouts.
During that time, I had to rely solely on nutrition to begin reshaping my body. It wasn’t about dieting for me at all. It also wasn’t about losing the weight as fast as I could. Rather, it was about living a lifestyle that was a permanent shift instead of a temporary upheaval.
Here are some of the ways I lost my baby muffin top without resorting to starvation, fad diets or unhealthy amounts of vigorous exercise.
1. Don’t drink your calories: I do love me a green monster smoothies but I don’t fill my cup with sugars, juices, or empty calories that do nothing but add extra, unnecessary overflow in my stomach.
2. Lean, green and clean: I have spent the last couple of years cleaning up my diet (I’m a big believer in slow and steady winning the race) and eliminating as many of the junkie foods as I can. I eat mindfully and gravitate toward clean foods with little to no processing, cooking from scratch and meal planning as often as I can.
3. Fill up on fresh: Many people will say that it is not easy to buy fresh and organic because it is expensive. I do agree with this, to a point. I live in an area with a very short growing season, which translates to a lot of imported foods a good part of the year. It is definitely not cheap but there are many ways I can get the fresh food I like without taking on a second mortgage to pay for it all. More on that another day.
4. Empty your pantry, fill your fridge: My pantry used to overflow with boxed, convenience foods that were quick and easy to prepare but had an ingredient list longer than my arm (and I have long arms…in case you wanted to know). Many of these ingredients I had no idea what they were. Gradually, I’ve gotten rid of these foods and filled my pantry with things like quinoa, dried beans, legumes, oats and more. Not only does it make my pantry look pretty (I do love me a good mason jar display after all!) but it means I always have a staple supply of healthy, economic foods to work with.
5. Allow yourself to indulge a little: People…eating well shouldn’t feel like a death sentence! Your food should always be enjoyable, colourful and tasty. Even so, I still love me a little treat now and then. I find when I eat well, I feel well and I have zero guilt about indulging myself in something spectacular once in a while. Everything in moderation. The key is to be mindful about it. Allow yourself a treat but don’t go crazy.
Notice that these 5 tips don’t involve any exercise? Not to diminish the importance of physical activity in any way, shape or form. What this goes to show is that diet is just as important and just as effective in losing that muffin top as exercise. You can run endless hours on a treadmill and not see any changes in your body if your diet is sub-par.