By now, you guys should know that I have three kids – Henry, Clara & Porter. I’m often asked how I got back in shape after each baby. To be perfectly honest, with hard work and determination. I’ll be the first to admit that I can be VAIN! And it isn’t always vanity for the sake of what OTHER’S think – I just don’t like letting MYSELF down. Like most women, I worried about whether or not I’d look the same, whether I’d lose the baby weight, whether I’d be able to get into “those” jeans, and if I could somehow make stretch marks the “new black”.
I think the biggest challenge with each up and down cycle was trying to come to grips with the fact that I would never get my old body back….
…So I just went ahead and got a better one!
Before: 40 weeks with Henry’s pregnancy weight – Summer ‘08
After: 9 months later – Summer ‘09
Before: 41 weeks pregnant – Summer 2010
After: One year later – Summer 2011
Pictures might lie a little. You can’t see the vein that popped in my forehead from flexing so hard.
Losing The Baby Weight: What worked for me
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: nursing works!! Breastfeeding burns an average of 500 calories per day! That’s as many calories as some workouts, and you aren’t doing anything except what God made your body to do! Another advantage from nursing is that it causes your uterus to contract and your stomach to flatten/tighten. Extra calorie burn = more cupcakes to eat. Plus a flatter stomach!! I’ll take it!! Cuddle time with your children is just an added bonus!
Exercising throughout pregnancy
I had two healthy pregnancies and was fortunate enough to continue for the entire 42 weeks. I remember taking a step class the day before giving birth to Henry. The gym manager gently put her hand on my shoulder and in the nicest way possible said, “Please don’t let your water break on my floor”. I smiled… and kept working out.
While I did alter some exercises (core work, chest press on the ball instead of a bench), I continued exercising at the same intensity that I did while not pregnant. I also allowed for more rest days in between workouts. I listened to my body, and my body told me to keep it up. I really believe that it helped me get the baby weight off quicker afterwards, because I wasn’t trying to start over at square one.
Like I said, I kept weight training throughout each pregnancy, with some modifications. After each delivery, I would take about 6 weeks before getting back into the gym to lift. The benefits of doing weight bearing exercises are VAST! A raise in metabolism for HOURS afterwards, increased flexibility and muscle tone, better balance, less likelihood of injury….the list goes on and on. I lift 3 times per week, alternating upper and lower body, and work my core every other day.
High Protein, High Fiber
Protein and fiber help to keep you fuller longer, so I try to incorporate both at every meal. Plus, you’ll need protein to help repair those muscle fibers you’re tearing while lifting.
For me, exercising is the easy part. Controlling my diet proves to be MUCH harder. I don’t like people telling me what to do, therefore, sticking to a diet is not for me. I try to eat intuitively and listen to my body. About 80% of my “diet” consists of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. The remaining 20% is made up of daily indulgences, i.e. brownies.
Having the support and help of Travis has been CRUCIAL in finding time to workout. Everyday, when Travis gets home from work, he watches the kids and lets me go to the gym. He HAPPILY does this because he knows how important it is to me. When you take care of a newborn all day, it is quite refreshing to be able to leave the house, clear your mind, and SWEAT. If it weren’t for Travis and his support of my passions, I’m sure it would have taken much longer for me to get back down to my goal weight.
And there you have it! I’m proud to say that after five pregnancies (we have two babies in heaven), I weigh less now than I did when I got married. Not only that, but I have more muscle, eat a more balanced diet, and just feel better overall. I guess that’s what reading fitness and food blogs will do to you! INFORM and INSPIRE!
I hope that after reading this, you are just that: informed and inspired!!
Great job! I worked out my whole pregnancy too. Took about 9 months to get my pregnancy weight off.
Wow! Your results are amazing! I’m at the beginning of my journey. Planing to loose 10 pound. I did’t realize that breastfeeding consumes so much energy – 500 kcal!
Hey there! I just found your blog, and I’m so glad I did! I can’t wait to read more posts!
yay! glad to have you!!
I agree that it’s so key to work out throughout pregnancy, not only for your fitness after baby, but also (I’m hoping, as I’m going to have my first in less than three months!!) for better endurance during labor. There is one fitness and nutrition tenet that is key for ANY life situation, and that is maintaining a healthy balance! :)
This is really inspiring! One of my fears in getting pregnant, is “losing” the body that I have now (which makes me sound really vain, I know). There are just so many negative people who use pregnancy as an excuse to gain a bunch of weight and keep it on for years — I’ve had women tell me, “You won’t have that body anymore once you have a baby, just wait.” Encouraging, right?
My mom always tells me that she got her body back my exercising and eating right, so I know I’ll be able to do it too, it’s just a strange fear I have. I’m hoping that, eventually, I won’t feel this way and then I’ll know that we’re ready to start a family (clearly I’m not ready yet :)).
Anyway, you look amazing, and it’s nice to hear someone speak positively about body after baby!
I’m definitely passing this posts to my friends who need to lose their pregnancy weight.
Congrats on the results!
Hi I am 15 weeks pp. I unfortunately was unable to do anything while pregnant as I was very high risk and was on bed rest for 87 days, 5 weeks of which were in the hospital. I gained 25 lbs. and have lost 15 so far. I am very out of shape due to the bed rest. Any ideas on how I can get into shape and lose the weight. I would love to lose even more than the 10. I don’t even know where to begin, I walk when the weather permits, I breastfeed and that is about it for now. Thankx in advance
Rhonda – Congrats on the new little one!! What a blessing!
I think the best thing for you to do is follow my freelance work for Mom365 – it’s all geared toward new mothers who want to get started with a fitness regimen! There are articles about weight loss, diet and workouts!! Go here: http://www.mom365.com/Blogs/Authors/Lindsay_Wright.aspx
Hi Lindsay, I have a 20 weeks baby and gained 40 lbs of which I’ve lost 25 already. I am breast feeding and before pregnancy I ran marathons I did my last at 3 months and stopped running at 5 months because of placenta previa, I was jogging and walking w stroller but the hot weather was really bad in my baby’s face, I was wondering if you can give me any advice to loose my last 15 lbs?
Karen! First, congrats on losing the first 25! That’s an amazing feat – a lot of women don’t get to feel that accomplishment.
Before I give you advice about losing those last few pounds, I’d need to know what your daily exercise looks like and what you’re EATING. Comment here or email me!
Thanks! I was walking running for 30 to 45 mins a day, but had to stop because I live in Florida and baby’s skin was really bad. Now I’m doing 30 to 45 mins of either p90x or another fitness DVD that works the whole body. In regards to eating, I went back to work part time and it gets a little challenging because I do not get lunch break, just pumping breaks. I have discovered juicing and that has helped me tremendously, I juice vegetables such as carrots, beets, celery w pears apples, bananas dates oranges and have it for breakfast and take some to drink thru the day at work and for dinner I do eat solids like lentils rice and meats . I am eating dinner at about 9 pm beacause I work from 2 pm to 8 pm and get home and start cooking.
Hi Lindsey I am a new reader! I have made LOTS of progress after my second pregnancy and am on a mission to get a better body than before kids. However while I have really toned up on my legs and arms, my stomach is still a problem area. My son is 20 months old and I’ve been working HARD since he was a year old (when we weaned) to get in great shape. Can you direct me to or enlighten me as to how you’ve gotten those abs? I had great abs before kids and they are just okay now, just more jiggly and love handley than I am comfortable with. I feel like working on my core is my next fitness goal. Any suggestions?
love being a mom, hate the extra pounds hope i can keep up, thanks alot
What and incredibly inspiring transformation, Lindsay! And your point about breastfeeding is spot on! It’s a shame many people look down upon it!!
thank you!! i love nursing! So fulfilling!
This post made me want to yell out YAY!! as I read it. I’m 27 weeks today and have been working out consistently throughout my pregnancy. This is my first so I didn’t know how it would all go but so far it’s been really easy to continue to exercise. I’m a little scared of the post-baby schedule and being able to incorporate working out but your post has helped me to realize it is possible! Thanks for the encouragement today. Happy mother’s day tomorrow!!
Oh yay! Love new readers! Thanks, Jill! It’s totally possible to get that body back – good luck!!
Hi, I just found your blog and I find it very inspirational. I’m pregnant for the first time, 15 weeks, and I love seeing other woman who workout during the pregnancy. I do light cardio (incline walking and ET) during the first trimester, I’m thinking of some jogging/running for the second trimester. I feel great when I workout and really want to go back to shape after giving birth. :)
You nailed it. I was the same way during and after pregnancy and completely agree with all points you’ve made here. It really upsets me when i hear women say that they’re pregnant so aren’t going to workout and are going to eat whatever they want. That only makes it harder on yourself! I’m glad you have this ‘Body After Baby’ post and hope lots of women read it prior to or in the early stages of pregnancy.
Thanks, Christie!! I actually just got a new certification, specifically directed towards Pre/Postnatal Training! So I’ll have a chance to train some preggo ladies soon!
I agree with you 100%! After having two kids, I weigh less now and am so much stronger than I was before I got married! It is possible and it feels amazing to be a strong healthy woman, especially after having my body transformed twice while having babies!
Ditto to everything you said!! And having kids made me want to get stronger and more fit, so that I could lead by example!!
That is amazing!!! You look incredible! Such an inspiration! I have not had children yet, nor plan on any in the near future, but do always think of that dreaded baby weight. It’s inspiring to see someone over come that and in the end come out a better, healthier version! Good for you!!!
I love this like crazy!
just found your blog today! you’re such an inspiration!! Always good to hear stories of woman exercising during and after pregnancy!
Charissa – thanks for reading!! And thank you for the compliment! I’m still a work in progress!
Thank you for the tips! I’m having trouble losing weight after my 2nd baby (he’s 7 months). I do a combination of heavy weights and cardio 4-5x a week and eat mostly unprocessed food around 2200 calories a day. I’m 5’10 and I’d just can’t seem to lose these last 15 pounds, any tips?
Without looking at a food log, I couldn’t really give you a ton of tips. But I’d be GLAD to look through your eats if you wanted to write them down for a week or so. I am NOT a registered dietician and could only tell you what works for me. Let me know!
I’ll keep track on it and email you in a week. Thanks!
I realize this is supposed to be inspiring, but I am so depressed after seeing the state of those abs in comparison to my stretch-marked pooch. Have mercy on those of us who can’t lose the weight, please. ;)
Lindsay, how did I not look at this page before today?! You are such an inspiration. I can’t wait to try some of your workouts & exchange idea!
I LOVE this page on your blog. I am a mother of one and I think b/c he was born out of wedlock (we’re married now) and we weren’t at all ready for the baby I just got so depressed with everything and began eating so much. I gained 60 lbs during my pregnancy! and I am finally back to my pre-prego weight. I have never been healthier. I feel great. Can’t wait to tone up more!!!! I think /w baby number 2 I will work out for the entire pregnancy. I am just so damn vain that once my body was expanding I felt like Alison wasn’t good enough anymore and it took me having a baby to realize there are far more important things in life :D I love being a mom and I love that I’m a mom who runs :) can’t wait to read more of your blog. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for stopping by, Ali!! Good for you to get back to pre-pregnancy weight. There are so many women who don’t and then, over time, they just keep gaining weight.
You’re an inspiration! :) Looking forward to following your blog, even though I have no plans whatsoever of having children any time soon. I like you’re determination! It’s movitating. Saludos!
Thanks girl! Headed to your site now! :)
I forgot to ask, do you feel that exercising helped you prepare for and during childbirth? Rigth now I’m super scared of it.
Absolutely!! Don’t be scared! God made you body to do some extraordinary things – the pain passes away, and you’re left with an amazing (crying) gift.
I love the “crying” part. Great page!!! It’s inspiring to me since I’m a little nervous about having kids for this reason!! And a lot of others. Lol.
It’s totally worth it! Best (and hardest) thing I’ve ever done!
You are AMAZING!!! I’m now starting to seriously work out and take care of myself. I want to have children and be in shape before I do it. Some people think I’m crazy and think that you are supposed to get fat and not work out through the pregnancy. I know everyone is different, but thanks for the inspiration!!!
Thanks, Paulina!! I definitely think that working out before, during and after helps A LOT!! I know that for me, it helped to set time aside each day to do that – 30 minutes to an hour. I also don’t agree with the mentality that says, “now I’m pregnant, I’m eating for two”.