If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen me sharing some stories lately of being at the gym and working out. It took a few months post-pregnancy, but I’m finally feeling good enough to get back into shape.

Now, I discussed this briefly in a previous blog, and I want to make it clear: this time around, I took my time making sure I was ready to start hitting the gym again. A lot of moms have shared that they feel this intense pressure to suddenly go back to their previous size as soon as they push out the baby. I should know; I felt this when I had just given birth to Zion, and I put myself under so much stress to bounce back. But we all know this is not easy! Caring for a newborn requires round-the-clock attention. And while a new momma can take steps to keep themselves healthy during those early days, nobody should feel like they have to do an intense regimen right off the bat.

If you’re a new mom, or soon-to-be new mom, please take your time to take care of yourself. Parenting is stressful, and when you’re focused on the baby, it’s easy to lose sight of what you should do to take care of yourself. That includes not taking any pressure from anyone. Instead, once you feel ready, make a few conscious steps to get back on the right path. Here are some of the tips I followed and took to heart this time around. I’m sharing these with you and trust they will be helpful for you as well.

Don’t rush.

You might have a big sigh when you look at the mirror and see that your post-pregnancy body is a little softer or bigger than usual. But the important thing is not to rush. It’s pointless if you try to crash diet or exhaust yourself working out. Baby steps (no pun intended!) are perfect to help you ease into a healthy regimen, so try to map out what’s realistic and what makes you feel good.

Be mindful of what’s on your plate.

post-pregnancy body

It can be so easy to snack on chips or chocolates when you’re feeling down or stressed. But this is the time to nourish your body and give it the right fuel. Stick to vegetables, lean proteins like fish or chicken, and fruits. You don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite food: look for healthy alternative recipes. There are a ton online. Allow yourself the occasional cheat meal maybe once a week, but not more.

Find alternatives to rice.

White rice is one culprit for stubborn excess pounds. I switched to cauliflower rice, which has the same texture but has much fewer calories and is better for your body. I basically use a cheese grater to grate the cauliflower, steam it for 5-10 minutes, then add olive oil and some garlic. Done! You can also do this with broccoli.

Keep yourself moving.

post-pregnancy body

If you’re still a bit intimidated by the gym, try activities like post-natal yoga, or even simple walking. After all, exercise really helps boost your mood, apart from the other great benefits it has. While baby is napping and you have someone to watch him for some time, just take a walk around your neighborhood. It all adds up.

Blast music when working out.

Just a caveat here: make sure that when you do, you are ready to work out and that your doctor has given a go-signal for you to do so. But music that makes you want to move is one of the greatest motivators when you work out. No judgments if you love your classic ’90s tunes or love a ton of Katy Perry. Put on whatever feels good and get moving! I have a couple of playlists on Spotify if you’re interested.

Breastfeed, but only if you can.

Yes, breastfeeding has a ton of benefits, including helping you lose weight steadily. However, I know a lot of moms who put so much pressure on themselves to breastfeed their infant, but sometimes they can’t. If this is the case, it’s okay. Your child won’t be any less loved, and you have so many other ways to shed the baby weight.

Drink water.

post-pregnancy body

Make sure you’re on track to your eight-to-ten glasses a day! Water keeps you hydrated, is better than many sugary drinks, and keeps you full. If you feel hungry or peckish, it’s usually because you are dehydrated, so chug away. I like to keep a reusable water bottle with me at all times so I don’t have an excuse.

Tone down your coffee.

This might be the hardest thing to do for some people, but sometimes, you can be drinking extra calories thanks to all the extra milk, cream, sugar, or syrup that’s in your coffee. If you still need the caffeine boost, learn to drink it black. You can also try cold-brewing your coffee, which gives it a better flavor without the need for creamer or sugar. Better yet, switch to green tea, which has properties that can help boost your metabolism.

Stay positive and know that it will take time for your body to lose the baby weight.

post-pregnancy body

It took you nine beautiful months to grow a child, it won’t take you two months to lose weight post-pregnancy. Try not to sweat it too much, and instead focus on your overall health and happiness.

Don’t compare yourself to models on Instagram, or other moms!

As much as I love Instagram, it can be so hard for a new mom to see these photos of other moms who look coiffed, slim, and perfect. But again, social media just shows you a part of these people’s lives, not the entire thing. We are all different and operate on different timelines, so when you’re feeling down, just keep the phone away!

The truth is, getting back into shape post-pregnancy has the same basic principles as trying to keep healthy even if you haven’t been pregnant yet. But what you always have to be mindful of is your mental state. You cannot pour from an empty cup. You cannot care for your baby the best way you know how if you feel dragged down or pressured. So just take it slow. Don’t think of it as losing weight, but see it as you caring for your body, and nourishing it with what it needs.

I hope these post-pregnancy tips will help you! We’re all in this together, so know that I believe in you, momma! If you have more questions or even have some tried-and-tested advice of your own, be sure to leave me a comment. 🙂