3. Don’t Count Calories
Let’s face it, worrying about the calorie content of every forkful is utterly depressing. “Counting calories, in my opinion, takes the enjoyment out of eating and doesn’t encourage us to get in touch with our bodies and simply eat good, nutritious food,” says Cox.
“If you eat nourishing, healthy food and exercise regularly, there should never be a need to count calories as a way of life.” Sure, tracking calories or weighing food may help you better tune in to how big (or small!) of a portion your body really needs in the short-term after having a baby, but it’s no way to live! Practice eating slowly and really chewing every bite, and you’ll be better in tune with your hunger and fullness cues over time.
4. Practice Some Body Love
“I believe that loving yourself and your body is such an important—and frequently overlooked—component of weight loss,” says Cox. “When you convince yourself that you are heavy and loathsome by looking at your body with disgust and criticizing your belly rolls, then you will subconsciously self-sabotage to remain in that condition.”
This doesn’t mean you have to learn to love your cellulite or back fat, but try reversing body-bashing thoughts by looking at yourself in the mirror and saying loving things, such as, ‘I love you.’ “It might take as long as a month to do it with a straight face, but give it a try,” says Cox. “When you truly love yourself and accept your body, I promise that taking care of yourself and making the lifestyle changes necessary to reach your body’s ideal weight will be infinitely easier.”
5. Get Out And Mingle
Socializing may seem like a frivolous activity (especially when you’ve got a colicky baby and are totally sleep deprived), but a Gallup poll finds that the more time you spend mingling, the more happy and less stressed you’ll feel. In fact, your mood improves with each hour you spend a day socializing. “Many new mothers have amazing girlfriends but don’t feel that they have enough time or energy to nurture these relationships,” says Cox.
To get out more, find a gym that has a daycare center and great classes so you can workout while socializing. Make a monthly coffee date with other mom friends and bring the kids. Have your husband watch the baby so you can get dressed up for a girls’ night out and can talk about stuff you can’t talk about with him. Call your best friends on your hands-free device during your drive time to keep up-to-date on their lives. “Mothers, in particular, thrive with a network of healthy, compassionate, and encouraging friendships,” says Cox.