Monday, December 27, 2010

10 Tips For Your Post-Baby Bod

By Rachel Laber

Rachel's experience after gaining and losing weight from her first pregnancy encouraged her to become a certified Personal Trainer. She now helps others "commit to the game" and live a healthy lifestyle free of fad diets. She lives with her husband and two kids in Agoura Hills, CA. Read more about her health musings and personal experiences at

10 Tips For Your Post-Baby Bod

Once you're pregnant, there’s no excuse to turn into a human garbage disposal.
Do not assume you will lose the weight right is not a free for all! 

We carry the kid for nine long months, then push them out for a grueling number of hours, then feed them, nurse them, carry them, soothe them, rock them, bathe them, change them and burp them for long months after. We deal with tantrums, cranky hours, sleepless nights, sleep training, potty training and eventually new sibling training... and the cycle starts all over again!

Yes, of course we do it lovingly, with a full heart, and wouldn't take back a second for anything. But, do we really need to be doing it all with an extra 10 lbs of unwanted stubborn weight? With all the stuff we got going on, wouldn’t it be a lot easier to feel good, be healthy and have the energy we need to deal with daily life?

So lets get started with the basics. Even if you're months after giving birth - or even years- its never too late! Use these tools to guide you and whip that body back into shape!

1.) Learn healthy eating habits. The most important rule of all. This applies before, during and after pregnancy. Of course, theres no better time to start than before you get pregnant. You're doing yourself and your unborn child such a huge favor by starting early on. The food you eat affects your entire being and, especially when you're pregnant, these are the foods you're baby will be living on for nine whole months. Once you're pregnant, there’s no excuse to turn into a human garbage disposal! Do not assume you will lose the weight right after; it is not a free for all! It’s probably the most important time of your life to be eating healthy, so adapt these habits now to ensure they stick for life. Here is a breakdown of the types of foods I like, but as you'll see in the next tip, they don't all need to apply to you.

FRUITS: All types. They're sweet, delicious and are filled with vitamins and nutrients. I can’t start my day without a grapefruit. I love apples, oranges, pineapples, grapes, mango...every type! Just be careful - some fruits are high in sugar so try to limit those. I can eat bags and bags of grapes during a sitting and they do have quite a lot of sugar so I need to watch it there!
VEGGIES: I buy the romaine lettuce from Trader Joes. Spinach, cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, yellow squash, onions, peppers, carrots, and pickles! Yes, pickles are considered a veggie and a darn good one! I use lots of veggies all week for omelets, salads, stir fries, roasting....everything! If I need a snack I love baby carrots and snap peas. They're also super easy to bring places. I’'ll buy other random veggies here and there but the ones mentioned above are staples I always have in my house. All veggies are great and if you chop them up and keep them in your fridge, you’ll get yourself used to snacking on then when you're bored. And you'll be saving yourself hundreds of calories!
STARCHY VEGGIES: I love sweet potatoes, butternut squash and acorn squash. You can do some much with them! Generally I'll just chop them up, sprinkle cinnamon and roast it in the oven at 425 for 45 minutes. You can also make them savory with olive oil and fresh herbs!
MY GO-TO CARBS: I always have brown rice, oatmeal and sweet potatoes in the house. They are the most filling and the best carbs out there for you. Quinoa, spelt, oatbran products, buckwheat products, wheat-berries, Ezekiel bread and whole wheat products are also great alternatives but I've found that my staple three are the most filling and easiest to adapt in any recipe!
PROTEINS: The leanest and best protein out there for you are egg whites, white chicken and white turkey. You can have lean red meat as well, but I wouldn't suggest having too much. Yes, you can have whole eggs too, but don't go over two a day!
Misc: I also have lots of green tea, lemons, soy sauce, spices, ketchup, tomato sauce, chummus, almond butter, peanut butter, olive oil, sugar free/fat free pudding, peanut butter puffins, spelt pretzels, buckwheat pancakes mixture, truvia, almond milk, nuts, raisins, dried fruit, etc.

2.) Create a regimen that fits YOU! Ever see a girl wearing a great dress and you buy the dress immediately thinking it will look just as good on you, only to try it on and it looks gross? Too big here, too small here...but it looked so good on her! Well yes, because honey, everyone has their own unique frame. Something that will look amazing on you will look gross on someone else. Same with everything in life: You are your own unique individual and something that will work for someone else will not always work for you. If you hate chicken and veggies, then a low-carb eating regimen is obviously not something you should be trying. If you're constantly on the go and don’t have a minute to sit down and breathe, then an eating regiment that requires you to sit down and eat three large meals a day is obviously not going to work for you. So, get in touch with yourself. Understand what types of foods you do like, and will eat. Don’t fool yourself. I need something sweet in the morning so I make my protein pancake with truvia and cinnamon and that satisfies my sweet tooth. If I got bored of that I would try french toast with whole wheat bread, almond milk, truvia, egg whites, cinnamon, vanilla with fresh fruit on top. If I need savory, I’ll make an egg white omelet with different types of veggies and whole wheat toast. On busy days, prepare small snacks. Make pancakes for the go. Fruit and almond butter in bags. Sandwiches are great for on the road. But this all boils down to understanding the foods you like and lifestyle you live. The previous tip is very important to give yourself the basic education in making healthy choices for you. So adapt what you know about healthy foods and use that to create the foods you like. Experiment, try different things. Make healthy versions of the foods you already eat. With a good understanding, you’ll make better choices...and even develop good eating habits for your children as well!

3.) Find a sport you love and stick to it. Continuing on the previous tip’s theme, we all enjoy different exercises. Find one you like and do it daily. It’s so important to begin exercising before you're pregnant so that you can continue it throughout. Getting in your daily exercise throughout your pregnancy is crucial not only in keeping your weight down, but for your overall health, an easier delivery and an easier time recovering from the birth. I went through two extremely different pregnancies and deliveries. The first, I did not eat well or exercise, I gained 80 lbs, had a 25 hour delivery and took three months to walk normally again. My second, I ate well, exercised, gained 30 lbs, had a 2 hour delivery and was out doing errands the day after giving birth. So find something - anything! - that will get you active. Jump up and down in your living room if you need to!

4.) Prepare, prepare, prepare! Shop and prepare your food the week before. Write down the workouts you will be doing the coming week. When its written - prepared and outlined for you- you're more likely to stick with it. And when the food is ready and waiting, you're more likely to eat the right thing.

5.) Don’t get obsessed. Don’t focus on the number of weight you’re gaining during pregnancy and don’t start any exercise routine in the middle of your pregnancy without clearance from a doctor. Gain a healthy amount of weight and eat enough of the foods you need. If you're in middle of your pregnancy and have gained too much weight, ask your doctor about what types of workouts they would recommend for you. Walking is definitely a good place to start. It’s healthy and will get you moving. Like I said before, pregnancy is not a time to lose weight so the only thing you should be focusing on is not gaining "too much weight".

6.) Survive the first six weeks. As always, the first six weeks postpartum will be the hardest time for you, your family, husband and baby. It’s a big adjustment. You will be up through the night, you will be nursing (assuming that’s the choice you make) and will have many many new responsibilities. Do not even think about your excess weight during the first six weeks. Do what you need to do to survive it! You will need lots of energy, all the sleep you can get and you will need to eat constantly just to keep up with life. But, again, you don’t need to eat cookies, candies and pizza. Remember the guidelines and eat as much of the healthy foods you like just to keep you going. After giving birth to my second child I thought I was superwoman. Two weeks after giving birth, I decided I would go for a run. Big, big mistake. I wont get into details of what happened, but it just goes to show...don’t fool yourself. There’s a reason the doctors don’t let you do it. So get through these weeks....and then read the next tip! :)

7.) Make time for yourself. The six weeks are up. You've got clearance. But if you're like any normal human being, all you still want to do it sleep any moment you can. Some of you may have other children in the house when baby is sleeping, and then it’s time for mommy to give attention to them. I’ve heard this many, many times. But let me be the mean one here and say it like this: For your sanity, energy, body, attitude, confidence and overall health, find yourself 30 minutes a day and dedicate that time to YOU. We're moms used to handing a lot, but this is 30 minutes that we must dedicate to ourselves. If you're gonna say your kids are more important, well... NOT doing this for yourself is NOT good for your kids. Wouldn’t your kids love it if you had more energy when you're with them? If you were always in good spirits? When we feel good about ourselves it affects how we act around our spouses, our children and even our friends. It will be hard in the beginning when you're not used to it. You may want to cry, scream, and give up many times...but stick it out because the more you do it, the more routine and easy it will become.

8.) Kick things up a notch. It doesn’t end there, kiddo! Once you've got your routine going - and love the new energy and freedom it gives you - take it up a notch. Can you squeeze in another 20 minutes? Add another day? Kick up the intensity. It's very important to keep your body guessing. Our bodies are smart so we have to fool it by trying new things. There are millions of exercises out there, and when you've done one for some time and its becoming a bit easy, move on to the next one.

9.) Share it. Write it. Blog it. Journal it. It's not always easy to stick with healthy eating and exercising. I've been doing it for years and there are days when I simply don’t care. I find it helpful to write down what I eat and the workouts I've done for that day. A great pointer is also writing how you feel. After a day of great eating and a great eating you feel like you can accomplish anything. Your energy and spirits are high and nothing can bring you down. On bad days - where you know you didnt eat well - your energy is low, your spirits are low and you're upset with yourself. Write this all down to help you on days when you need it. It can inspire you to continue and change your mind when you feel like giving up.

10.) Reward yourself! You're a hard worker and it doesn't go unnoticed. Treat yourself to things you like: manicures, massages, new shoes, dinner out with friends and so on. Get all dressed up whenever you can and feel good about how well you take care of yourself. Incentives are great and rewards are even better. This is something you’re doing for treat yourself well when you've reached your goals!


When all is said and done, a healthy lifestyle is something that needs to come into play day in and day out. It doesn't need to be difficult! Use everything you know...and make it work for you!

3 LadyMama voices:

Dalia said... [Reply to comment]

Well I guess this pretty much says it all! Still, though...its the motivation part that gets most of us, I think...I don't know where you find such determination...its almost depressing :(

Rachel Laber said... [Reply to comment]

@Dalia- find someone that will start with you..I'm sure you know plenty of ppl looking to eat well- work out- make some changes..its a lot easier when youre doing it with someone..then once you see changes in the way you look and feel it will be a lot easier to continue on ur own..when we know how good something feels its easier to work for it..but u need to jump start yourself..

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Curious, what exactly is your exercise routine and how do YOU kick it up a notch?

And what would you suggest is the best way to start a real routine when the Dr gives the go after birth? I've heard its best to just briskly walk...but what if you wanna do more?