How I Lost the Post-Pregnancy Baby Weight

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Push Your Limits

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As a United States Marine Corps veteran, Darcy Peters is used to pushing herself past her physical limits. While training or deployed, “you don’t have the luxury of stopping when you’re tired or uncomfortable,” says the Fit Foodie Mom blogger and mother of three. She applied that same mindset to losing baby weight. When she found it difficult to move with greater intensity, she slowly reintroduced exercises into her routine; when she felt guilty for taking time to workout, she reminded herself that without giving herself 100 percent, she can’t give her children 100 percent.

Photo: Darcy Peters

Re-evalute Your Lifestyle

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Before giving birth to her son, Emma Guilfoil rarely worked out and allowed her naturally fast metabolism to make up for eating whatever and whenever she wanted, but a difficult pregnancy motivated her to change her lifestyle. Suffering from kidney infections and gestational diabetes throughout her term “made me super aware of what I ate and what the consequence might be,” she says. In addition to cutting down on sugars, Emma attributes the loss of her pregnancy weight to yoga and cooking homemade meals for her family instead of dining out. (If you’re cutting back on sugar but can’t shake that sweet tooth, try one of 10 Tasty Coconut Oil Recipes.)

Photo: Emma Guilfoil

Squeeze Workouts in When (and Where) You Can

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Nora Gifford quickly realized that with a newborn baby, “an imperfect workout is better than no workout at all.” When a 45-minute session didn’t go as planned, she would walk with her daughter outside or through the grocery store, knowing that even a short burst of activity would set a positive tone for the day. Additionally, Nora keeps her breakfasts, lunches, and afternoon snacks between 250 to 400 calories, “so that I can enjoy my dinner, complete with a glass of wine and even a cookie or two.”

Photo: Nora Gifford

Hold Yourself Accountable

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After giving birth to her first child, Stephanie Hamm was diagnosed with postpartum depression and struggled to find her identity. She started Fit Mom in Training to cope—and to hold herself accountable to her goals of rediscovering running, joining a gym specializing in small group training, and switching to a primarily plant-based diet. “My biggest motivation (aside from my kids) has been the knowledge that I have this one life to live and this one body with which to live it,” she says.

Photo: Stephanie Hamm

Set a Personal Goal

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Ellen Hunter Gans considers herself lucky that she was 12 weeks pregnant when she ran the 2013 Boston Marathon, slowing her pace and putting her far from the finish line when the bombs went off. Stopped a quarter-mile from the end, Ellen automatically qualified for the 2014 event, which helped her get back in shape. “I had to start doing 20-mile runs when my son was only 12 weeks old,” she recalls. “I almost certainly wouldn’t have started running so much so soon if I hadn’t been so determined to finally cross that finish line, for me, for my son, and for everyone who was affected that day.”

Photo: Ellen Hunter Gans

Don’t Make Excuses

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Previously overweight, Diary of a Fit Mommy blogger Sia Alexis knew that clean eating and a healthy mix of running, lifting, and core strengthening exercises were key to shedding pregnancy pounds. But perhaps most crucial to Sia’s success was her no-excuses philosophy. “I didn’t have time to make it to the gym, so I created my own gym at home,” she says. “While my son napped, I got my workout in. If he woke up, I wore him in a baby carrier and still got my workout in. It’s all about patience and compromise.” (We all need extra motivation sometimes! Next time you’re in a rut, try one of 8 Ways to Guarantee Your Workout Will Happen.)

Photo: Sia Alexis

Find a Healthy Balance

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Jennifer Blaise Kramer did prenatal yoga while pregnant, but after giving birth believed it was important to vary her routine to effectively lose the weight. She alternated between Vinyasa flow yoga and barre to tone and Zumba and spinning to raise her heart rate and burn a ton of calories. A lover of cooking, eating, and baking with her three daughters, she also finds balance in her diet. “I try not to eat processed foods and restrain from picking at all the kids’ leftovers, knowing I’d much rather skip those scraps of grilled cheese for a good glass of wine at the end of the day,” she says.

Photo: Jennifer Blaise Kramer

Don’t Focus on the Numbers

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Emily Howald Sefton taught barre until she was 30 weeks pregnant, but when she went back to class as a student eight weeks after giving birth to her daughter, the moves she had once been able to do easily felt impossible. As she jumped into her post-pregnancy workout routine, Emily made small, non-scale goals to measure her progress, like signing up for a race and fitting into her rehearsal dinner dress. “I’m never going to have the same body, but it’s worth it,” she acknowledges.

Photo: Emily Howald Sefton

Find a Support Network

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Even as a Fitness Universe Champion and former NFL cheerleader, Brooke Griffin struggled to lose the weight she gained while pregnant. She wanted to share her frustrations with other moms, and when she couldn’t find an outlet, she created one herself. Through Skinny Mom, Brooke has been able to share her experience of getting that body after baby—for her, it was plyometric workouts and clean, simple eating—and form the community she craved. “The success of the moms in the Skinny Mom community motivated me to continue being the best that I could be,” she says. “From seeing their posts on social to hearing directly from them, the Skinny Mom community has been truly rewarding.” (Take it a step further and sync up with other moms offline to workout together and hold each other accountable. After all, there are many reasons why Having a Fitness Buddy is the Best Thing Ever.)

Photo: Brooke Griffin

Be Proud of Yourself

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Briana Anderson burned a ton of calories breastfeeding her son, but it wasn’t enough to shed all the baby weight. In order to meet her weight loss goals, she started weight training. Every day, she finds something to be proud of—whether it’s mastering the squat machine she couldn’t do three months ago, noticing the definition of the muscles in her arms, or increasing the amount of weights in her routine (she currently squats more than 100 pounds and deadlifts 90). “This journey I’ve taken has taught me to love my body in all shapes and forms because it can do amazing things!” she says. (Nervous about weight-training? Start out with 16 Deceptively Simple Body-Sculpting Exercises.)

Photo: Briana Anderson

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