It is very important to be precise here, since weight gain and loss can feel very precise. 49.5 pounds sounds a heck of a lot better in my head than 50 pounds, and 10.5 weeks sounds better than 11 weeks:)
The three main things I did were:
1. Weight Watchers
2. Exercising 5-6 days a week
3. Reading books, magazines and blogs about fitness and weight loss to keep me motivated.
Before: 3 days before giving birth... After: 10.5 weeks later...(sorry I don't have one of only me)
I have used Weight Watchers before, so I know that the system works for me. I need to write down everything that I eat, and have no food "off limits" in order to see results. Of course, as I get more fit, I wind up making better food choices anyway, since it feels better, but coming right off having a baby, I needed to know that I could eat anything, but I had to track it (write it down online or in the app).
I did the online version of the plan, since I knew the basics, and who can get to a meeting with a newborn? Not I. I read the blogs on the site, used the app to track my food but also my water intake, and overall just shifted the amount that I was eating. Plus, no more nausea really helps me chose to eat veggies, rather than anything that I think won't hurt coming back up:)
I started a few days after giving birth with simple breathing exercises to strengthen my abs. I used a video from Fit2B (not an affiliate link) and just worked my way up. My husband and I started walking each day, first for 5 minutes, then for 10, then 15. Maybe I was up to 30 minutes of slow walking by 2 weeks postpartum, so nothing crazy, just moving my body outside. Sometimes I would walk on our treadmill at home too.
The real game changer was starting doing Jillian Michaels (you know her from the Biggest Loser) DVDs at home. I started with 30 Day Shred, Level 1, and I couldn't even get through the whole thing for a few weeks! I just kept at it, doing a few more reps each day, resting less, then adding in Level 2 once I felt stronger. By the 11 week mark when I had lost all of the weight, I was doing all 3 levels of 30 Day Shred, plus level 1 of 6 Week 6 Pack. (It took another 2 months before I could do level 2 of 6 Week 6 Pack without stopping)!
The DVD's were perfect for after having a baby since they are short (22 minutes to 40 minutes), and I could pause to go nurse/change a diaper etc then come back to them and pick up where I left off. The stress of getting to a class at a specific time was just too much for me in that newborn stage, you never know when the baby will be hungry or have a diaper blowout...
I read the following books (usually while nursing)!
Slim By Design, by Brian Wansink Ph.D.
The End of Overeating, by David A Kessler, M.D.
The Everygirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness, by Maria Menounos
Thin Side Out, by Josie Spinaldi
Skinny Thinking, by Laura Katleman-Prue
Mindless Eating, by Brian Wansink Ph.D.
Each one gave me a little push to make positive changes. from reorganizing my refrigerator so the fruits and veggies are at eye level and the junk is in the crisper, to always leaving a bite on my plate, each one helped me to make tiny changes, usually 1 change per week.
I also rewarded myself whenever I went to the grocery store and *didn't* buy a donut (my pregnancy craving this round). I would buy as many health and fitness magazines as I wanted. Whether or not I did the workouts or cooked the food, I was motivated to keep on track, keep going, and just the act of tearing out an ab workout served to motivate me a little bit each day.
Oh- and I kept losing weight! That might be the craziest part of this. Instead of just stopping or plateauing at my pre-baby weight, I kept losing, another 23 pounds, getting back to my wedding weight (technically 2 pounds less)! I'll write another post with those tips to stay motivated (and pics!) soon.
Here's a link to the workout I did. You can find lots for free if you are an Amazon Prime member, or I bought this one for less than $10. (affiliate link, but I bought it and love it, so you know it's good)