The answer is eating fewer calories and expending more calories.
(I bet you know this already.)
That's REALLY all there is to achieve weight loss. A barrier to maintaining health weight for life is that in our often-cushy first-world life, we make it so incredibly easy to move less and eat more. Cheap, calorie dense foods are everywhere from your co-workers desk, to a half-eaten piece of cheese on your kid's plate.
This reduced amount of movement and activity leads to the slow progressive weight gain that many parents have experienced. A couple of years have gone by, and your life has changed, and now your weight is up 10 pounds. Without making any adjustments to your lifestyle, another 10 years will go by and another 10 pounds will likely creep on to your body.
Have you seen Wall-E where the rolly-poly people roll around in space? Not that far fetched. Think about all the items incorporated into our daily lives to keep us from moving and/or make it much more difficult to move around on our own power. Consider a shopping trip to a big box grocery store. You likely need to drive there to be able to reach the destination, and get your food home. Walking and biking, especially with kids in tow, is often not a viable option.
You arrive at said big-box store and the door opens for you. You push around your purchases in a giant chart, you're certainly not carrying them on your back. After grocery shopping, you need to stop at a smaller store across the street. The problem is, it's across 5 lanes of traffic, with no cross walks. You have to drive the 500 yards to get there, walking is barely an option. You drive home and the garage door opens with the push of a button. Machines have taken plain old movement out of our lives.
In addition to all of this automation, many of us (me included) sit at a desk for more than eight hours a day for our work. It's so hard on our bodies because it's NOT hard on our bodies. We aren't meant to not move.
All of these small in-actions add up into less calories being spent everyday everyday everyday. These calories are then stored by our bodies as emergency supplies of calories to use in case we have to start moving a bunch.
Step 1 of weight loss for new parents to move more everyday. Don't use automatic doors. Walk. Stand. Don't worry about heart rate, reps, or breaking a sweat. Start incorporating more movement into your day, everyday.
Some people find pedometers to be a useful tool in gauging how sedentary/active you are day-to-day. I used to wear one all of the time. I'll have to find mine and start wearing it again. The basic goals of using a pedometer is to wear it on your waist band and it will measure the amount of steps you take through out the day. The basic goal is reach 10,000 steps a day to achieve weight maintenance and 12,000 to 16,000 for weight loss. Weight Maintenance can be a great practical goal for new parents, especially if weight loss feels too difficult. Your not loosing weight, but your not gaining either. And that's OK.
Next post, why should you listen to what I'm telling you anyhow??