By Lacy Arnold, LeanMoms
If you’re a mom, or about to become one, you may be worrying about what happens once your round pregnant belly isn’t so round anymore. If this isn’t your first pregnancy, you already know what happens—it gets soft.
The good news is that your belly doesn’t have to stay that way for long! If you want your get rid of your baby fat quickly, avoid the following mistakes:
Mistake 1. Tackle weight loss like it has to happen tomorrow, and then give up when you don’t see results.
Be patient. A new baby is unpredictable and takes weeks, if not months, to get into a routine. Start small. Choose one thing to focus on at a time, conquer it, and then add in one more change or habit.
Mistake 2. Don’t recognizing that your hormones are adjusting and may be out of balance for a while.
Hormones can drastically affect weight loss. Eat one half to one avocado per day to help supply healthy fats while your hormones balance. Many women find that the avocado helps with hunger, too. Your water weight will be constantly fluctuating, so stay away from the scale! Instead, choose a pair of jeans you want to fit into and use them to gauge progress.
Mistake 3. Make poor food choices because you’re over-tired or in a rush.
Eat smart. Choose nutrient-dense, whole foods such as almonds, fish, green veggies, quinoa, berries, and coconut oil instead of sweets or processed foods.
Eat often. You and your baby both need to eat every 2 to 3 hours. Finding time for this can be tricky, but the more you become aware of it and the more you plan ahead, the easier your meals will fit into your busy schedule. Keep a bag of raw almonds or carrots in your diaper bag or purse to save you from caving into that Snickers bar or nibbling on your children’s French fries. Cook several meals all at once and store them in the fridge or freezer for later.
Mistake 4. Work out too soon after giving birth and burn yourself out—or worse, get injured.
Your body needs time to recover, especially your abs! Pregnancy stretched them to their max, and when you begin to work them too soon–before 4-6 weeks—you can develop diastasis recti (permanent separation of the abdominal muscles). Diastasis recti require surgery to repair. If you have a C-section, your recovery time is longer than 4-6 weeks. Always make sure to follow the advice of your medical doctor when it comes to the right time to start any exercise program. When it is time, abdominal vacuums and planks are two of the best ab exercises for new moms.
Mistake 5. Do long cardio sessions.
Short, high intensity workouts spread throughout the day are best, especially with a newborn. Get creative! Squats or walking lunges while comforting a colicky infant can help to tighten your tush and tone your thighs while soothing your baby.
Mistake 6. Don’t get support with your fitness plan.
It’s especially important that you socialize with other moms and women to help prevent post-partum depression and to get help quickly if it develops. I recommend choosing a fitness program that involves the support of other women. We do much better together than alone!
Mistake 7. Choose to do nothing or say you’ll begin “when the baby is older.”
You can start right now by creating a vision and goals. Then, choose one thing a week to focus on. A little progress is better than no progress. And even if you have set-backs, at least you’re mostly moving forward. You’re a mom, so it will help if you remind yourself to take baby steps.
*Bonus* Mistake 8. Don’t Meditate.
Studies have shown that moms have higher levels of stress than most top executives. Stress leads to increased amounts of the hormone cortisol, which can greatly influence belly fat. By meditating for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day (many moms do it while breastfeeding their babies), you can help keep your mindset where it needs to be and stay focused on sculpting your beautiful body and life…baby and all!
By avoiding the mistakes we discussed above, you’ll cruise on past that post-pregnancy baby fat hurdle and be slipping into those favorite jeans before your baby can even say “Mama!”
For more healthy tips to help you reach your weight loss goals, check out Lacy Arnold’s LeanMoms.