It may have something to do with the army of personal coaches, nutritionists and chefs (and probably the odd nanny or two), all lined up to organise things on their behalf. Must be lovely, but back here on planet Earth, ordinary mums need a bit of love, support and guidance to gradually get that body back into shape.
So what are the steps that lead us back to a body that no longer wobbles, or at least wobbles in all the right places?
- Give yourself some time. It’s wise to be in no rush to slim after having had a baby. The advice varies, but generally speaking, get going at around 6-8 weeks after baby arrives, and allow yourself up to a year to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight and shape. A gradual beginning which progressively ramps up in activity tends to work best for most mums.
- For best results, pair up exercise with diet. A good diet enhances the speed at which exercise improves health. Plenty of the right kind of exercise won’t tone you up and shed the pounds if you’re still indulging in sugary, fatty foods. But as mentioned above, it rarely works to go cold turkey on your diet. Cut down on the fats gradually and transition to a leaner diet.
- Breast feeding. The benefits of breast feeding are well established, but did you know that breast feeding your baby can shift up to 800 calories a day? It’s true that breast feeding mums require more calories, but still, you usually burn more than you take on. Some mums even attribute all their weight loss to breast feeding, but bear in mind that as you taper off, to reduce extra calorie intake to avoid pilling on unwanted weight.
- Got a friend who’s a new mum? Perfect! A support network makes a huge difference when losing baby weight, and nothing works better than another mum with the same challenges. Just make sure it becomes the kind of support that results in greater fitness and weight loss, and not the kind the ends up with you both agreeing that TV, prosecco and pizza is the best way forward!
- Take naps. Yes, take a nap! Nothing ruins your natural sleep patterns quite like a new baby, so you’re going to need to catch up on your sleep whenever you can. Don’t be tempted to grind it out with energy drinks and chocolate bars – it’ll only further upset your metabolism and help you gain weight. Take a nap and let the other chores wait.
- No gym? No problem! All the usual household and baby tasks you do every day, work perfectly well as exercise, as long as you’re looking after your diet at the same time. Taking baby for a walk, taking baby swimming – all the little things add up. And as your health and fitness slowly improves, so does your confidence to push a little harder, walk a little further and a little faster.
Having the perseverance and belief to keep going is what gets you there, plus of course, the encouragement from your partner that your efforts are bearing fruit! Just make sure you’re cutting yourself some slack on your off-days, and giving yourself lots of credit when you make some progress.
There’ll be no stopping you!