To top
11 Feb

getting back into shape postpartum: how I’m doing it

when I was in Florida in January, I hit my pre-baby weight, the weight I was when I got weighed at my first official sonogram appointment. I weighed 144 pounds!

in mid January (about a month ago) I was being extra healthy and doing high-intensity, hour-long workouts almost everyday, in preparation for my little sister’s wedding. I wanted to look my best, but most importantly, feel my best. about 3-4 weeks of that helped me shed the extra 5 pounds that I had leftover from my pregnancy.

HOWEVER, starting with the wedding itself, I’ve been a little off my healthy game. I’ve had some nervous energy surrounding my childcare situation (what to do?!) and I am SUCH an emotional/nervous energy snacker/eater. if I’m stressed, I eat. if I’m nervous, I eat. if I’m scared, I eat. SO, I put back on a few pounds (I haven’t weighed myself, but I can feel it) since hitting that goal weight, so I figured, “what a better time to share about my post-partum shape up journey than now?” I figured it would reinvigorate my goals and hold me accountable (which is how I lost 30 pounds in the first place and committed to a healthy lifestyle!)

and while seeing that number on the scale was gratifying, it was also skewed. I’m not as fit and conditioned as I was when I find out I was pregnant. so, 144 completely toned is a lot different than 144 semi-toned. thus, while it felt good to reach the goal on the scale, my next goal is to firm back up again!

ALSO, your body is completely different after you have a baby. your fat cells are stored in different places on your body, your body requires more calories if you’re breastfeeding, and you aren’t in the same shape as you once were pre-baby. oh, and there’s the whole pelvic floor rehab thing (I seriously pee my pants during Orange Theory Fitness classes, it’s mortifying, but there’s nothing I can do – and I wear thick pads!)

so, while I hit that goal number on the scale, I told myself the whole time that the number wouldn’t be that important – it would just be one stage of my postpartum fit journey. kind of like the first big “milestone.”

 

how I reached my goal weight post partum

but before I get into my goals moving forward, let’s talk about how I finally reached my goal weight and what I did to get there. and let me tell you – during my pregnancy, I was EXCITED for the postpartum shape-up challenge. I was looking forward to “starting from scratch” and working to get back into shape. there’s something about a fresh start!

what I quickly realized is this: if you stay in shape during your pregnancy, getting back into shape postpartum won’t be a struggle, really at all.

honestly, the weight peeled off in the beginning from breastfeeding and within 6-7 weeks postpartum, I was fitting into all of my pre-pregnancy clothes. they were a bit snug, especially around my hips and thighs (where a lot of breastfeeding mamas store fat), but I fit. I was eating an extra 300-500 calories a day and still managing to lose weight. so, I have breastfeeding to thank for that initial weight loss! I probably went from weighing 175-178 when I gave birth to about 155.

however, your uterus is still super swollen and you retain a LOT of fluids, so you still look pregnant for the first few weeks. there’s nothing you can do about that and during this time, I was kind to myself and was liberal with my diet. I wanted to eat healthy to feel my best (because what’s worse than having a food hangover when you’re also working on 2 hours of sleep?! NOTHING), but I definitely let myself eat something sweet if I was craving it or have an extra serving or slice. I really, really listened to my body and what it wanted and gave it.

here are some photos taken 3-5 days after giving birth:

 

then, I hit a bit of a plateau and that’s because I wasn’t eating as healthfully as I could be (I was using the, “I just had a baby!” excuse). I was splitting a bag of chips here and there with Lu at night, ordering fries instead of salad with my meals when we went out, and indulging in desserts.

eating better

basically, I started watching my diet more – it’s a very basic equation: eat well and you’ll lose weight/maintain a healthy weight. I wanted to make sure that I was still eating enough to support breastfeeding, so I started cutting out the crap (ie the chocolate bar at night) and replaced those calories with an extra serving of lentils with a meal, a large serving of nuts and raisins, almond butter with banana, or a nutrient dense smoothie or lactation bar. I started eating smarter, eating foods that would nourish me, give me energy, make my skin glow, and get better absorbed and not just sit on my hips (like a chocolate bar will.)

most importantly, I listened to my body’s hunger cues. if I was hungry, that’s when I’d eat. I wouldn’t just “eat to eat.” this led to eating 3 large meals a day and 2-3 snacks per day.

 

as I felt better, I slowly started working in workouts (around 7-8 weeks postpartum) whenever I could/had the energy. if my mother was visiting, I’d have her watch the baby when he napped so I could go to the gym. OR, on the weekends, I took advantage of Lu being home and worked out. I rarely had the energy in the evenings, and I usually was cooking dinner, feeding the baby, and was exhausted from a sleepless night.

basically, I made sure to get in 2-3 workouts a week. after about a month of eating better and exercising a couple days a week, I was around 150 pounds, so I had lost an additional 5 pounds.

since I know I’ll get asked the question, here’s what a sample day of eating looked like:

  • breakfast: oatmeal with almond butter, banana, blueberries and a side of scrambled eggs OR a high-protein smoothie with granola
  • post-workout snack: usually a lactation bar OR a Square Organics protein bar.
  • lunch: a tuna salad sandwich with avocado and greens OR a bowl of roasted veggies with avocado, lentils and tahini
  • afternoon snack: nuts and raisins (about 1/2 cup nuts with a small handful of raisins)
  • pre-dinner snack: a smoothie, some almond flour crackers with vegan cream cheese, or a banana with almond butter
  • dinner: fresh fish with brown rice and veggies OR some chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and greens
  • dessert: a piece of dark chocolate

exercising

THEN, my sister’s wedding was coming up and I knew I wanted to look and feel my best, so that’s when I kicked it into high gear with the exercise to help me tone up and help turn the remaining fat into muscle and slim down. I went from doing 30 minute workouts 2-3 days a week to doing 20 minute high-intensity workouts (using the Nike Training Club App) with 20-30 minute runs OR hour-long sessions at Orange Theory Fitness 5-6 days a week. I noticed my stomach tightening back up, my legs slimming because of the running, and my arms strengthening.

by the time my sister’s wedding hit, I hopped on the scale, because I felt really good and had a feeling I was back to my “old self” and sure enough, the scale didn’t lie: I was back to 144 pounds, I had lost the last 5-6 pounds, and I definitely looked more toned and felt wonderful!

moving forward

like I said, the past week has been an “off week” for me, I haven’t been eating as cleanly or portion-controlled as I could be. but, alas, life happens – and the decision of what to do with Luca in terms of childcare has been stressing me out and I’ve been compensating with mindless eating habits.

 

moving forward, my goals are to continue toning up and eating well. more than ever, I want to be in the best shape of my life so that I can have the most every possible for Luca!

in terms of exercise:

  • fit in at least 3 spin workouts a week (I have a Peloton bike!)
  • fit in at least 2 strength training workouts (I have dumbbells at home and will do bodyweight exercises)

in terms of diet:

  • cut out the late-night snacking
  • cut out sugar/keep it to a small piece of dark chocolate
  • eat vegan for 2/3 meals/day (I find that when I consume animal protein, I tend to eat more during the day, because it’s less fiber-filled than a vegan/vegetarian diet)

and that’s it!

let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to share my journey with all of you!

15 Comments
  • Lauren

    You’re amazing! I’m 7 weeks pp with twins and want to start incorporating real workouts again (other than walks around the neighborhood). How did you find the time to do your longer workouts 5-6 times a week? Any tips? Were these workouts at home or were you having someone watch Luca for you? I’m trying to convince the hubby to let me get a Peloton bike. Also, would love to see your review of Orange Theory. Do you think you’ll continue?

    Sun February 11 at 10:00 pm Reply
  • Jessica Duggan

    Love this post!! My son was 7 weeks on Friday so I am just starting my PP journey and am so excited to get back into working out. You look amazing mama!

    Sun February 11 at 10:08 pm Reply
  • Jessica

    I have had three kids and gained 100 pounds with each due to gestational diabetes. It was tough to lose the weight but I too have a peloton (I follow you!!!) and it took time and healthy eating and the weight all came off. You are doing a great job and are an amazing inspiration and I love your recipes and your blog etc. childcare will work out. We did nanny for a while and then switched to daycare. My kids are 5,4 and 2 and are all doing great. Luca will too no matter what you decide. He will just be loved by more people whether it be a nanny or teachers! Can’t have enough love!!!

    Sun February 11 at 10:17 pm Reply
  • Julie

    You look amazing, Ali! Like, super super impressed. It seems like you’ve really been able to maintain balance as well, which is great! I have always worked out at home and just recently started streaming LEKfit classes. It’s kind of a trendy LA workout, but I’ve seen great results from the Sculpt and Bounce classes. It’s also just something that is totally different than anything I’ve ever done, which is really cool. Just thought I’d mention it if you are looking for some fun at home workouts.

    Sun February 11 at 10:25 pm Reply
  • Becca

    You CAN do something about peeing your pants! I’ve been going to a mommy and me workout (bonus for taking babe to the gym with me!) and we do diaphramic breathing at the beginning and end of each workout and some Kegel work and I’m definitely seeing a difference (I went for a run over thanksgiving and peed halfway through and had to get back home in the cold! Ran for 30 minutes Tuesday night with no problem. Can’t have a full bladder still, but def an improvement) I recommend finding someone certified in postnatal fitness (I assume it’s easier to find out there, but I know it’s hard to fit it all the things and be Mom) to help!

    Sun February 11 at 11:02 pm Reply
  • Kim

    When you do your veggie bowls what are your portions of quinoa and lentils?

    Sun February 11 at 11:10 pm Reply
  • Stef

    Would you mind sharing some of your go-to vegan options? And, how does Lu like vegan dinners?! (Could use some pointers for my fiancé!) thanks!

    Sun February 11 at 11:47 pm Reply
  • Elise

    You can totally do something about the stress urinary incontinence! I’m a physical therapist who also does some pelvic floor rehab. They have to have a lot of us back east where you live!

    Mon February 12 at 12:13 am Reply
  • summer

    I second the comment about pelvic floor rehab. My daughter is 5 months and my pelvic floor is definitely not the same as it was pre-baby. This limits the type of exercise I can do but I just started pelvic floor physical therapy (had never heard of it before pregnancy) and am hoping it helps get me back to my old self. And it’s covered by insurance.

    Kudos for your honesty about postpartum realities! Women need to start talking about these issues more so we know what we’re experiencing is normal.

    Mon February 12 at 12:14 am Reply
  • Pooja

    Thank you for this post! You look amazing!!! Do you count calories when you are watching what you eat? What is the portion size for quinoa and lentils in your veggie bowls?

    Mon February 12 at 2:58 am Reply
  • Jess

    Check out Beyond Basics PT in NYC.. they are wonderful!

    Mon February 12 at 3:36 am Reply
  • Kait

    Have you looked into pelvic floor rehab?! It can work wonders…it does not have to the ‘normal’ for women to pee their pants after childbirth! Pelvic floor PT and pelvic floor rehab patient as well (11 months post partum from a vaginally delivery). It would be so great for you and your own comfort and confidence with working out as well as valuable to your readers to know this option exists and can be so helpful!!

    Mon February 12 at 2:54 pm Reply
  • Rebekah

    Did you wear any type of Bella Band or compression gear post-partum?

    Mon February 12 at 6:35 pm Reply
  • Rose Dzindolet-Faith

    I try to eat about 1,200 calories a day (2 meals & a couple snacks of fruits) Motivation is a huge issue for me. How do you stay motivated?

    Tue February 13 at 2:15 am Reply
  • Linda

    I am sorry to hear about the pelvic floor issues. This doctor who has her own YouTube channel provides lots of help in that area. Check out Brianne Grogan’s website for gem fusion fitness and https://mailchi.mp/femfusionfitness/854569-854801?e=d4a1d8134f.

    Fri February 16 at 1:47 pm Reply

Leave a reply