Back to Fab: 5 Practical Ways to Get in Shape After Birth
Simple steps for weight loss that new moms can incorporate from birth that don't involve spending hours in the gym or the kitchen.
Top Tips from Trainer Elle Kealy
I know the moms who workout with me love the way their body strengthens and tones as well as appreciate the ‘me-time’ that getting out of the house and having a sweat gives them, but let’s be honest, the reason they walk in my door in the first place is to try and shift the baby weight.
Everyone is different so losing the baby weight may be easy for some and a struggle for others, and realistically your body will always be changed in some way by having kids. But there are some simple steps that new moms can incorporate from birth that don’t involve spending hours in the gym or the kitchen and can really help with postpartum weight loss.
Mindful eating – or – to say it straight, stop eating for two!
One of the best things about pregnancy is the feeling of freedom to stuff your face with whatever takes your fancy and justify it by being pregnant (come on, you know you’ve done it too!). Even if you’ve been eating healthily through pregnancy it can be tough to transition from a habit of eating a little more, to a little less. Eating mindfully, paying attention to hunger cues and really concentrating on what your body is telling you will help shift the weight faster.
Choose quality foods
If you’re breastfeeding then you want to make sure your milk supply is established before moving onto more advanced nutritional tweaks to aid weight loss, but you can always change the quality of your food to make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients for the baby and to help with weight loss. Try and aim to make the bulk of your meals vegetables, with a portion of high quality lean protein and minimally-processed carbs (think potatoes not pies!) and a small thumb of healthy fats from nuts, seeds, oils and avocados. Try and stick to healthy foods 90% of the time to see faster results. If your kitchen resembles the naughty isle in the supermarket, have a clear out (seriously, bin it or donate it!) and replace your cupboard contents with quality produce instead.
Be aware of portion sizes and what’s in your food
Now is a good time to start being aware of what you are eating and how much. Sometimes we just don’t know what we’re eating and we think we’re doing the right thing, but actually it’s sabotaging our efforts. Learning to be aware of what’s in your food is a skill that takes a bit of practice, but once you’ve got it it makes healthy eating so much easier. Read labels.
Be aware when eating out – things are not what they seem. Last week I had a pretty unhealthy day of eating when we were traveling and decided to be ‘good’ and order a grilled chicken salad with barley and veg in a restaurant. Got home, checked out their website, and my little salad had 1100 calories in it with a ton of fat. A ton. Should have had the pasta. Why was this? Probably because they use an extortionate amount of oil. Moral of the story, even nutrition coaches get fooled eating out, but by checking the facts, next time I decide to have the chicken salad I’ll be making an informed choice. Or…I’ll order the bloomin’ pasta! HK-ers love to eat out, so trying to find healthy options here can be key to getting to your goals.
Go for a walk – get moving!
New moms who are less than 6 weeks postpartum can still get ahead of the game and prepare for a more active recovery when they get doc’s ok to workout, by taking small steps to strengthen stretched muscles and regain core stability and mobility. Walking is fantastic, it gets you out and about and moving again. Start with 20 minutes a day and try and work your way up. Yes, walking around in circles whilst window shopping in Elements/IFC DOES count, just make it brisk. Swimming is also a great way to get moving once you’ve got the clearance to jump in the pool.
Think core, then core some more
If you want to get in shape quicker, then you can spend the first 6 weeks or so of being a new mom taking it easy with a few simple exercises to help re-engage your core. Why? Because if you do this for 6 weeks when you get back into the gym/class etc later on you’ll have already done your homework and will be able to workout more efficiently and with better results and less chance of an injury putting you back on the couch again. You can get a free core workout program here that’s designed for new moms who want to build a solid base in less than 5 minutes day, or visit your physiotherapist if you’d like a more personal review. Remember, no planks or crunches just yet!
Elle Kealy is an international business coach for fitness health and wellness professionals looking to launch their businesses with a bang and women’s fitness expert, personal trainer and nutrition coach helping women around the world eat better and feel fantastic in just 90 days or less. For more information on working with Elle visit