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How to Lose the Baby Weight in 6 Weeks

And why it’s ok to want your pre-baby bod back!

How to Lose the Baby Weight in 6 Weeks
*We’ve partnered with Mountain Buggy to help you achieve your #fitmomintentions. Ask a new mom about her postpartum body and she may reluctantly admit she wants to shed a few of those baby pounds. Yet, many messages in the media make you feel ashamed for even mentioning weight loss; we’re supposed to be proud of our new body, no matter how uncomfortable we feel in it. While we’re all for embracing your postpartum bod, we’ve also got your back if you wish that bod was slimmer. So for Part 3 of our #fitmomintentions series with Mountain Buggy, we’ll show you how to lose weight while working towards a goal, using a 6-week workout curated by our fitness editor Roma Van der Walt. Meet Well Rounded reader Stephanie, who got real about her #fitmomintensions in an email to us: Before I was pregnant, I was coming off a high. I had completed an IRONMAN: 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running. I trained everyday for 8 months, and raised over $60,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And then I got pregnant. High risk and high emotion, I ate my feelings and felt awful in my own skin. Which led to more feeling dinners and shower meltdowns. Did I mention that I got engaged while pregnant, and my wedding is in two months? Harper was born after over 24-hours of Labor and multiple epidurals. She almost died at birth and was in the NICU attached to machines when I held her for the first time. Once I started working out (which is almost daily), I would feel guilty because I was away from her. With 25 lbs and multiple diets that haven’t moved the needle, I cried out of sheer disappointment and embarrassment at every wedding dress appointment. I am looking for a running stroller routine that would enable me to work out and reach my goals, all while being with my daughter, and showing her the place I feel most strong and confident.

Well Rounded Reader Stephanie training with her Mountain Buggy Terrain.

Roma says: “Weight Loss postpartum is a loaded topic. After all, this is the time when we completely devote ourselves to another human being, their needs (and there are so many!) come first and our disheveled self comes second. However, in many instances we are also prepping to return to the world outside of our newborn bubble, whether that’s for work or otherwise. “Stephanie not only wants to trim down for her wedding, but she also signed up for multiple half-marathons, a 70.3 IRONMAN and a bunch of 10-milers and Olympic distance triathlons. I admire Stephanie’s commitment to going after her goals. The caveat is however, that these intense periods of training and life have to be no more than several months at most and then we have to give ourselves a break again.” Below is a 6-week program to help you get extra fit, fast, slim and stay sane as a new mom. It’s structured as training for a race of at least 10K (or a wedding!) at the end, but can be used for weight loss even if you have no end-goal. WEEK 1:
  • Find a coach. Just like in every other area of life, having a coach to oversee your progress and hold you accountable, is crucial.
  • Invest in a training journal such as the Believe Training Journal by fellow new mama (of two) and badass runner Lauren Fleshman or sign up for myfitnesspal to track your training and weightloss.
  • Sit your partner down and warn them. The next six weeks may be hectic, they will require some emotional leniency on their part and some understanding of your fatigue, desperation, elation, frustration and added piles of laundry.
  • Stock up your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate, coconut flakes, peanut-butter, Ezekiel raisin toast, pre-boiled eggs and good full fat yoghurt. Hell hath no fury like a hangry mother.
  • Schedule an annual physical and have your hormones tested, especially if you have larger fitness goals in mind. The female athlete triad is particularly scary for nursing moms, resulting in anemia and possibly osteopenia (brittle bones) and 25% of mothers get diagnosed with thyroiditis about 5-6 months postpartum. Thyroiditis most often follows a curve of HYPERthyroidism (yay weightloss, scary cardiac symptoms) followed by HYPOthyroidism (oy, it’s not your baby that’s causing the fatigue) and in another 25% of cases women will stay chronically ill with Hashimoto’s disease.
  • If you are aiming to do a longer-distance race down the line, sign up for a 5k and use it as a so called ‘rust buster.’ For more structured training, we need to know your current fitness to be able to build fitness. So, if you run the 5k in 30 minutes, your mile pace is about 9:45/ mile. This is valuable information for the coming weeks. Ideally schedule another 5k for 3 weeks later at the half-way mark of your training plan.
WEEK 2:
  • A good pre workout breakfast should include easily digestible carbs, so for example a piece of toast with banana, or oatmeal with blueberries. Plan to run out 3 days a week. If your partner doesn’t have to be out of the house too early, ask them to do breakfast with the kid(s) or take the baby in your running stroller.
  • Right after finishing a workout, is a crucial window to keep your body burning, so have a quick snack or shake and then nurse, shower, get ready and have a bigger meal later. The ratio should be 4:1 carbohydrate to protein, toast with a boiled egg, a shake with banana, almond milk and berries.
  • Set your schedule for the week: 3 medium cardio sessions running or swimming or biking and one longer session on the weekend where you possibly combine two of the above and train for at least one hour or longer. If you can fit it in, add one more day for a more intense workout during the work week.
  • Work on your core and back with this move for your deep core.
WEEK 3:
  • How is your weight loss progress going? Make sure to weigh yourself first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom. Either do it every day and you will quickly find that there are fluctuations or do it 1-2 times a week and watch more overall progress. The best way I have found to lose weight is to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. So work your way from carb richer meals to low / no carb at dinner. Please don’t eat salad for lunch, you will find yourself hungry within hours and starving by dinner time. Your body burns more carbohydrate during the day when you are active but needs more protein and good fats for repairs of muscle tissue at night. Also, carbohydrates bind water which will make you “heavier” on the scale the following morning.
  • If you don’t have diastasis recti, it’s time to chisel your midsection. Incorporate a plank on your elbows into your week at least 3-4 times for 60 seconds.
  • Don’t skimp on some strength work which will benefit your cardio. Try this routine with your little one.
  • Extend your weekend training, by adding a second day recovery run after you do the longer session the previous day. Maybe you can get your partner out with you, run to the playground or go swimming together. Make it fun for all. Your children take on fitness as a lifestyle if you live it and make it fun for them.
WEEK 4:
  • How is your sleep? I know that for many new moms that’s a difficult topic but sleep is the single most important recovery tool, health benefit and key for our adrenal health which keeps our metabolism running well. If you are a night owl who loves to scroll on social media, shut it down and head to bed when your children do, at least for a few nights per week.
  • Two weeks out from your race, it’s time to put the wine glas down. Alcohol contains empty calories and not drinking for two weeks will do wonders to your body’s definition. Your body metabolizes alcohol before anything else so when you drink wine and eat, many of your dinner’s components are literally put on the back burner until the body is done metabolizing the drinks. If the glass of wine is your reward mechanism, try and make that a few pieces of dark chocolate, a nice bottle of Kombucha, or a raw healthy dessert like avocado cacao mousse.
  • Time to increase your training load during the week, and add a long session on Saturday and an easy recovery on Sunday. Always start with a warmup of about 10 minutes before running faster portions and try adding strides at the end of your easy runs. Strides are acceleration runs to about 80% of your maximum speed over about 100 yards. Always recover fully before doing the next and do about 3-5 of them.
  • Race a second 5k if you’re up for it. I bet you that you will run at least 1-2 minutes faster overall.

Stephanie and Harper.

WEEK 5:
  • In a 6-week plan, this would be your hardest week with the biggest time commitment, especially if you have a larger race upcoming. It’s also the week when recovery plays a crucial role. So book a massage to treat yourself before race week. Don’t book it too late in the week because a good deep tissue massage is quite draining on the body, too.
  • By this week, you should be eating very clean, tried out your outfit for the big day and feel good in it (whether that is your race kit or wedding dress!).
  • Now it’s time to work on some mental mantras. Big events always bring about jitters, but call on your mama experience to calm yourself; I remind myself that I pushed a baby out after 25 hours of labor. No marathon takes that long…
  • Plan your logistics for the big day because it will be here before you know it. Visualize portions of the race before going to sleep at night or how excited you’ll be and how you’ll deal with little snafus of your big day. Most importantly, think about the joy you will feel sharing your big day with your loved ones.
WEEK 6:
  • Whether it’s a social or a sporting event, I like to do a fat load before a carb load. Well maybe not before a social event... Meaning that for 4-5 days, I eat 70% of good fats and protein or more and keep carbohydrates to a minimum. That excludes sugar, most fruit, juice, bread, pasta, rice, even sweet potato. It leaves full fat yoghurt, nuts, seeds, greens, lean meats, fish, eggs, avocado and more. The result is that I can see my body getting more defined and it mentally puts me in “GO” mode.
  • For a sporting event, the last 3 days before, you would reverse and eat about 70% carbohydrate to fill up your carb storage. Make sure to eat your biggest dinner not the night before but two nights before and the lunch on the day before because most of the time, race nerves kick in at dinner the night before and don’t allow us to eat much.
  • Get some “me time” before the big day. Pamper yourself with a pedicure or go for a walk and be alone. As a mom, when have you last been alone? It’s important to hone in, to listen to your inner voice, to really feel all the emotions that the day inspires without the constant noise that is so prevalent in a new mom’s life.
  • Get out there and after it. If it’s a race, break it down into manageable chunks. Tell yourself, you’ll catch that one person ahead of you, then another and don’t give up. If it’s an event, think about getting through each detail. As a new mom, you’ve created life, birthed it and then juggled the most difficult season of your life postpartum. Not many can say that.
  • Soak in every moment! It goes by way too fast.

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