There's no denying that pregnancy is an incredible experience unlike any other. You're growing another human, after all, and that's pretty amazing. But because it's so unique, pregnancy — and the after-effects — can be tough on our bodies, too.
And while every woman is different, the truth is that for most of us, it takes time and patience to get our strength, stamina and physique back after giving birth. And that's more than OK. (Did we mention that you just grew another human?!)
So we're not here to talk about "bouncing back" or "getting your body back" after pregnancy. Instead, we're sharing postpartum weight-loss stories from real women who made a commitment to get fit after baby and achieved the kind of results that will help them stay healthy and strong to keep up with their little ones for many years to come.
Here are their inspiring stories in their own words.
Maranda Boiter: Lost 100 Pounds After Pregnancy With Intermittent Fasting and Exercise
After her first pregnancy, Maranda Boiter topped 230 pounds and was uncomfortable just tying her shoes. She cleaned up her eating and hit the gym, and the weight started to come off — and then she got pregnant again.
While thrilled, the new pregnancy was emotional for Boiter, who felt like her hard work was "going to waste." After the birth of her son, though, she got back to work.
A key factor in her weight-loss journey was learning just how much she was really eating and adjusting her calories, factoring in the snacks that were sneakily adding up throughout the day.
With the addition of meal prepping, intermittent fasting and a regular exercise routine, Boiter was able to drop 100 pounds. Now, she regularly runs races and has more energy than ever.
Read Boiter's full story in her own words and learn how she overcame her two biggest challenges — sugar cravings and emotional eating. Plus, hear about the Facebook group that has kept her motivated.
Lauren Mead: Dropped More Than 200 Pounds After Baby With Small, Simple Changes
More than a decade ago, Lauren Mead was pushing 400 pounds and could barely read her young daughter a story without stopping to catch her breath. That, coupled with a health scare, made her vow to lose weight and get healthy for the sake of her family.
Mead's weight-loss success didn't come all at once, though. A messy divorce caused a setback, and health conditions forced her to take the process slowly. But that turned out to be key for Mead: She credits her weight loss to sticking with small, incremental changes over several years rather than trying to overhaul her lifestyle all at once.
She set weekly goals, focused on cleaning up her diet at first and then incorporating exercise. In the beginning, her goal was to ride her exercise bike for just five minutes one day a week. Now, several years and more than 200 pounds later, Mead does cardio most days and lifts weights three days a week, too.
Check out Mead's motivating story, including how she overcame her history of addiction and her best piece of advice for other moms on a similar journey.