Already thinking about how you're going to lose the weight after your baby is born? You're not alone.

Most women who start out at a healthy weight when they get pregnant are able to stay fairly steady with their weight gain throughout pregnancy. It's the post-baby phase that is the struggle.

Newborns are notoriously challenging to care for in those first few months (although, oh so cute!), and of course, you'll have your own physical health to look after as well, especially if you have a C-section.

Before you know it, if you were lucky enough to have maternity leave, you'll be heading back to work, and you’ll look back at the previous six months and wonder: Where has all the time gone? Then, you’ll look down and see that same extra 20+ pounds hanging on. What can you do about it?

Choosing Your Own Path

First, remember that if you want to lose weight after your baby is born, this must be something that comes from your own desires and not anyone else's. It's you who gets to decide how you eat when you eat, how much you eat, and what you weigh.

In this way, try not to compare yourself to others. If your mother-in-law says she “didn't gain an ounce over the weight of the baby” when she was pregnant or if your friend tells you how they lost the weight "instantly through breastfeeding only!" just nod and smile. Don't look to actresses or pop stars either. Focus on yourself. This is your journey, and you deserve to make it your own.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

You should never crash diet right after your baby is born — or ever! Crash dieting doesn't work. Fad diets don't work. And trying these tactics can be especially dangerous to your health and wellbeing when you’re a new mom. If you're breastfeeding, these diets can also be dangerous for your baby. You need to get enough calories and healthy nutrients in your body in order to feed your child.

This means that slow and steady wins the race. When you decide to start dieting and your doctor gives you the okay, go slowly. Most experts recommend that healthy adults lose anywhere from one to two pounds a week, and no more, for effective weight loss.

Losing Weight the Healthy Way

Losing weight the healthy way means losing weight through diet, exercise, and a few tactical tips.

For your diet, be sure to stick to lots of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains. Drink lots of water as well. This will not only help you stay full, but it will also keep you hydrated, energized, and regular with your digestion.

Calorie counting is always a big part of any weight loss program. You'll want to keep your calories limited and create a deficit. 3500 calories equal one pound of fat, so if you can create a 500 calorie deficit per day, you'll lose about one pound of fat per week, on average.

To help suppress your appetite a bit, take advantage of some tactical tips like using cannabis as an appetite suppressant. Just be sure to clear this with your doctor, and don’t use cannabis while breastfeeding. You’ll also want to choose a reputable dispensary Tucson residents frequent. Other good appetite suppressants include peppermint and ginger.

For your exercise plan, walking and strength training with free weights are easy, fast, and effective. Going for just a thirty-minute walk every day (with or without your baby) can be highly effective at burning calories and strengthening your body post-baby. Strength training will provide you with muscle definition and tone.

Final Tip: Don’t Wait to Plan

One thing that will definitely be integral to your weight-loss success after you have your baby is planning as far in advance as possible. This is easier said than done, but if you can actually start planning for your post-pregnancy weight loss before your baby is even born, this can be a great strategy for being successful in your desired timeframe.

Basically, while you’re still pregnant, you’ll want to look into the future and imagine that your baby has been born. You already know that you want to get back to your fighting weight as soon as possible and in a healthy and non-stressful way. What can you do now to set yourself up for success in the future?

Starting to plan during your pregnancy isn't easy, to be sure. You're already planning for the birth, your postpartum recovery, caring for a newborn, sending out birth announcements, and many other important things. But don't forget about your physical and emotional health beyond your baby as well. If losing weight safely and efficiently is important to you, it's definitely worth thinking about now and planning for in advance.

Congratulations on your new baby — and good luck!