Losing weight as a mom with young kids can be so stressful! However, I believe it is essential for our long term health. Losing the baby weight and getting back to your normal weight and into your regular clothes will give you a real boost emotionally and mentally. And to keep making progress, it’s important to have a good way to measure the progress you’re making.
Below are 4 strategies I’ve used over the years to lose the baby weight 3 times. I’ve found it helps to mix it up, and really I would recommend doing as many of these as much of the time as you can in order to help increase your awareness of your status and progress.
Whether you are motivated or not, making progress or not, knowing your status is fundamental to finding the right nutrition and exercise routines that will be effective for you.
There are three popular ways of measuring your progress at home. You should use all of these methods, and not worry about needing anything fancier, except maybe a calculator to determine your BMI. You should also keep a fitness journal, whether you use a blank journal or buy one with writing prompts.
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1. Step on a scale. Weigh yourself every morning, after you go to the bathroom and before you get dressed. Use a basic digital scale and record your weight down to one decimal every day, for example ‘148.6’. Your weight will fluctuate about 3 lbs up and down within a day or even a week, but when you see a number you haven’t seen yet, then you know you are making progress, and as you scan previous days and weeks you should see where the largest number you ever see begins to get smaller, just as the smallest number you see gets smaller.
Follow this method and you will be able to catch glimpses of weight loss when they appear, and celebrate without being unduly affected by the days you don’t see new numbers. Just know that it takes time.
2. Take your measurements. Buy a soft measuring tape. You don’t need a fancy one, you can buy one that’s typically used for sewing for pretty cheap. Keep it with your fitness journal and take your measurements once every two weeks. Take a deep breath and exhale, relax your muscles and measure your bust, then repeat with your stomach and your hips. If you are lifting weights regularly you’ll want to also measure your biceps and hamstrings since you will see progress in those areas as your muscles get stronger.
Recording your measurements regularly is especially important if you are lifting weights or doing any strength building with your cardio, because while building muscle is a really good idea it can make it take longer to see progress on the scale. When this happens you may see progress with the measuring tape before you do on the scale and that is perfectly okay. This happened often for me when I was taking a group training class at the gym and losing the baby weight the second time.
3. Try on clothes. Pick one or two items of clothing that you love and miss and are close to fitting. Try them on every 2-3 weeks and take note of how they fit. These can be jeans that don’t quite button, or a dress that technically fits but you don’t want your stomach to look as big.
My personal goal is generally to not wear clothes out of the house that might make me look at all pregnant, and I still spent 6-8 months after each of my sons’ births explaining to strangers that I wasn’t pregnant – I had already had the baby.
After the first one I learned to fudge the truth a bit when the baby wasn’t with me and they asked me how recently I’d had him. (I should add this to my list of 30+ reasons to lose weight).
4. Keep a fitness journal. You can use a blank journal or notebook, but I recommend a fitness journal with writing prompts. I am using this 16 week guided journal by Fitlosophy and I love it!
Find a journal you will enjoy using and begin to record your weight every morning (make it a daily habit but if you miss it once don’t sweat it), your body measurements every two weeks, and try on some clothes you want to fit into at least once a month. You can also incorporate this into your bullet journal if that is what you use. The point is to record your progress over time, as well as some notes about what you are doing and how you are feeling, so that you can look back over a stretch of time and evaluate what worked and why.
Note: if you’re motivated by using a fitness tracker or a pedometer, then keep using it and choose useful numbers to record in your journal.
Estimate Your Target Weight
The closer you get to your ‘normal’ or pre-baby weight, the more you should focus on how your clothes fit and how you feel instead of numbers on the scale. We each have quite a range that can be healthy, depending on factors such as temperament, lifestyle, body type and how much muscle we’ve built. Look up a BMI calculator and chart. You can google BMI calculator to get your BMI and then look at this chart to find your healthy range.
Know your numbers and track your progress so that you know when to celebrate and when to make a change because you’re not seeing results.
One of the most effective weight loss strategies is simply making a change. You’ve got to track your progress so that when you aren’t making progress you know it and you can make adjustments.
Of course the ultimate motivating factor for a big challenge like weight loss is accountability. If you’re serious about losing weight, or want to be, Join the Community and hang out in our private Facebook group where we give each other support, encouragement, and accountability for whatever challenges we’re tackling.