Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Swedish Method to Lose that Baby Weight!

A big issue for moms (everywhere, I think) is losing that post-baby pregnancy weight.  Granted a ton of it comes off after delivering your baby, but I see posts in magazines and online about moms who just can't lose those last 10-15 pounds.  One thing I noticed upon arriving to Stockholm was that all of the moms here are stick skinny.  Aside from their comfort breastfeeding in public (no La Leche League here needed!), they all tend to look like they never gave birth.  There's no "mommy pouch" in front and they are all carrying <2 month old babies around.  Why is this? How can so many magazines be making money on telling you their tips when these women just seem to do it so effortlessly?    Is there some secret that they know that we don't?

Nope -- here are my main two observations:

  1. They walk a few hours every day
  2. They don't own cars (the main reason for point #1)
It's actually very easy.  At first I gave all of the credit to their Viking-genes and just thought Swedes were "naturally thin."  No, they are "naturally" fit -- their lifestyle and societal norms make it (somewhat) expected to get out of the house and walk around everyday.  During your parental leave, you push a large stroller, often through snow, for several hours a day.  If you've ever pushed a stroller with a child in it for just 1 hour, you will quickly realize what a workout it truly is.  Now, put that stroller into 4 inches of snow and you'll very quickly be winded, tired and sore. (Walking through snow is essentially like walking on the beach -- you have no traction and each step seems to be 'in place' rather than propelling you forward).

Combine ALL of that with the numerous hills that comprise Stockholm and it's absolutely no surprise at all that Swedish moms lose all of that baby weight without having to even think about it.  They just live their lives -- a normally active one -- and the weight falls off.  Breastfeeding plus walking for hours and lugging a huge stroller (and baby) up stairs, escalators, buses and trains means that calories expended greatly outweigh any conceivable caloric intake.

Deep snow makes for tough pushing
Not owning a car means that you have to walk everywhere (duh). It also means that when you go to the grocery/liquor store, you only buy what you can carry.  This means that you can only really carry enough food for 2-3 days max before you have to go out again.  This works out your arms and also means that you are only eating what is absolutely necessary.  You're not stocking up on food to snack throughout the day and you're not wasting food (and money) because you eat everything before it expires. What a life!

It's that easy folks!  So there is no "secret Viking gene," just good old fashioned exercise and a reasonable diet.

One major difference is that the moms in Stockholm do all of the above and they still look fabulous.  Their hair and makeup are perfect and they wear heeled boots (why I don't know).  For me, personally, I'm about comfort and warmth so I look more like this:
Hajah what? Another hill??

 and less like this:

So in conclusion, you too can do "The Swedish Method" to lose that weight -- ditch the car and walk to the grocery store every 2 days. Push your stroller outside for a few hours every day (go up every hill) during your maternity leave and I guarantee you will be back in your pre-pregnancy jeans before you go back to work.


  1. ahhh whatttt???? hahaha. Make perfect sense. I think I need to relocate my office and house so that I can do this! Stupid hour drive each way. fyi - i'm back in my pre-pregnancy jeans - but only the waist part fits. The leg/butt area is too loose now! Thank you breastfeeding! However - that journey is quickly coming to an end - how do I get back in shape without the current breastfeeding calories burned each day? I wish being active was more a part of my lifestyle at the moment. I'll need to get up early to get in a workout - something I haven't done in (I'm embarrassed to say) over a year and half! I think I'll take Dean for a walk around the lake this weekend! You've taught me - "Don't Fear the Cold!" :)

    1. Take Dean for walks after you pick him up from daycare. Or go for long walks on the weekends if it's too much during the week. It's tough to get up in the morning to work out but once you do, you'll actually have more energy to get through the day. Never fear the cold!!


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