5 Weight Loss Secrets From Real Moms

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First things first, no matter if you're trying to lose the baby weight, have shed most of it or haven't started yet, repeat after us: you're a gorgeous, awesome mom.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, there's no denying that if you've added a few extra pounds to your frame after being pregnant, you might like to get back to how your body was before you carried that 8-pound wonder for nearly 10 months.

You may think that to actually lose the weight, you'll need to cut calories (and all of those celebratory blue-or-pink cupcakes) and hit the gym five times a week. And you might also be thinking: who has time for that when you sleep three hours a night and have spit-up on all of your clothes? Here's the good news: These moms blasted their baby weight by making small shifts to their lifestyles. While some focused on doing things they love—like gardening—others cut out foods that are notorious for making you bloat and gain weight. Read their inspiring stories and try one of their awesome tips this summer.

Don't "Work Out"

Real-Mom Weightloss Secret - Don't work out

After Michaele C. Samuel in Clinton, Md., gave birth to her son, now a healthy, happy 1-year-old, she was inspired to lose the baby weight, stat. She knew that eating healthy and well-balanced meals was important, especially since she still planned on having a bit of dessert. But even though she lost all the baby weight and got back to her pre-baby body, she didn't exercise. Instead, she focused on doing physical activities that kept her happy, while using the calorie-counting app LoseIt. "I gardened and did DIY landscaping projects," Samuel says. "I might not have worked out, but my gardening work was pretty intensive: tiling, planting, hoeing and pulling weeds."

Michaele's lose-the-baby-weight tip: "Stay active—and monitor what and how you eat! Just think of that expansive wardrobe you have!"

Cut Something Out

Real-Mom Weightloss Secret - cut something out

Tasmania, Australia-based Emily M. Morgan was inspired by her sister, who lost a lot of weight by giving up one single thing: fructose. So, knowing that she wanted to have a baby, and that a healthy weight was important to fertility, she decided to give up fructose, too. It was a rough start though—she cut out all table sugar, added sugar, dried fruits and juices but didn't notice the results right away. "I could see my sister's weight dropping off her so even though I wasn't really noticing any weight loss in myself, I kept hoping it would work," Morgan says. "I wasn't checking the scales after the first month, so it came as a great surprise when I checked my weight six months later and found I'd lost 24-pounds!" Morgan soon got pregnant with Ellie, now a happy 3-year-old, and then Harry, now 10 months old. While sugar might not be the thing that's causing you to hang onto those baby pounds, another ingredient might be. Try an elimination diet like Whole30 to figure out what's preventing you from losing the weight.

Emily's lose-the-baby-weight tip: "Find something that won't interfere too much with your lifestyle—losing weight doesn't mean you have to become an avid exerciser if you weren't before. Instead, focus on something you can cut from your diet. Once you start losing weight, you'll have more energy and then you might get into exercise."

Workout With a Friend—or Hubby

Real-Mom Weightloss Secret - workout with a friend

Having a newborn is a lot of work—and even more shocking to your life (and um, your marriage) when it's your first child. Boise, Idaho-based mom Gloria Miller was inspired to shed the weight from her first child, Emmy, now a 2-and-a-half-year old, by her husband's active lifestyle. "My husband is a former college football player and police officer and needs to stay fit and in shape for his work," Miller says. "His drive to be healthy and fit for his work and family are an inspiration to me to do the same." When there isn't much time for a date night, now that they have another girl, Olivia, 15 months, working out is the one-on-one time they need to stay connected.

Gloria's lose-the-baby-weight tip: "Remember—it took nearly 10 months to gain the weight, it'll take a while for it to come off. It's a slow process—but don't give up."

Use Your Baby to Strength-Train

Real-Mom Weightloss Secret - use baby to strength-train

When Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE and creator of the blog Mommyhood Bytes gave birth to her son, Joey, on Christmas Day, she faced a lot of challenges. Not only did she suffer from that infamous lack of sleep, but it was cold outside in New Jersey, where her family lives, so her access to physical activity was limited. "So, I got creative," Palinski-Wade says. "I wore [Joey] everywhere! We walked together and I created a bunch of exercises I could do while baby-wearing." She even got the approval from her doctor to wear him when she walked on a treadmill. All of that added resistance from an increasingly heavier baby aids in losing weight and building muscle faster, and Palinski-Wade was able to lose all of the baby weight in six weeks!

Erin's lose-the-baby-weight tip: "Don't stress! If you need to take a nap instead of hitting the gym, that's okay. Listen to your body and don't push too hard. Also, don't forget the importance of drinking water and having pre-made healthy snacks and meals at hand so you're not hungry."

Vary Your Workout

Real-Mom Weightloss Secret - vary your workout

Sonjia Kenya knew she wanted to lose the baby weight after giving birth to her son, Phil, now 2-years-old, so she got started as soon as she could. At four weeks postpartum, she began running barefoot on the beach in Miami, where her family resides, weight-training, group fitness classes and exercises on the cardio machines. And when she could bring Phil, she did. "I breastfed for a year, and while that helps some women, it didn't really help me lose weight," Kenya says. "Losing the baby weight was the hardest thing I ever did, but I stayed motivated because I wanted to fit into my pre-baby clothes. But more importantly, I wanted to be a hot, healthy mom that could inspire my son to be fit!"

Sonja's lose-the-baby-weight tip: "Remember that you are worth it! Your baby deserves a happy mom who has a good self image and you deserve to be happy with the way your body looks and feels. You're still a hot mama!"

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