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While having a baby is a blessing, giving birth is only a beginning, as you will need a lot of energy and strength when you start to take care after your baby and your body.
No matter how easy or difficult you went through your pregnancy, it’s evident that post-baby weight has both psychological and physical consequences.
While some women lose weight due to hormonal shifts after pregnancy which in turn boost metabolism, or from breastfeeding (breastfeeding burns as much as 300 to 500 calories per day), for others, losing weight becomes a difficult challenge.
Today, it seems that women are also pressured either by media to lose weight, seeing celebrities getting their pre-pregnancy bodies unusually fast, or by advertising campaigns that target newly moms. As expectations are high, many opt for another way to get their pre-baby bodies: undergoing a set of procedures in plastic or cosmetic surgery. This, however, is not available or suitable for everyone; some conditions need to be met before this procedure; for instance, if you are doing it for beauty purposes, the operation is not covered with health insurance; Furthermore, the costs of both operation and post-surgery aftercare can be very high. Moreover, these treatments are intended for women who are not overweight, as well as those who are not planning to have any more children.
On the other hand, pregnancy weight gain can lead to some serious health risks such as hypertension or gestational diabetes and it can also trigger depression and can pose a threat to a baby.
Losing weight after pregnancy can be hard; however, one needs to be determined and severe about dieting as the wrong diet plan can trigger health problems.
So how can you lose weight?
The truth is that you’ll gradually lose weight if you make some changes to your diet and exercise regularly.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that many factors contribute to baby fat loss:
- Body composition and muscle tone
- Eating habits
- Racial-ethnic differences
- Overall health conditions
If you watch what you eat, and exercise regularly, it shouldn’t take you more than a couple of months to lose weight and get your pre-pregnancy body back. The best way for you to deal with problems of losing baby fat is to be patient and determined.
But, the important question is: what should you know before you make those changes?
When should you start dieting?
As your body needs time to recover, the first 6 weeks is the period for your body to remain strong and energized. After giving birth, over the next six weeks, you’ll gradually lose the weight of the extra fluid. This means that you should start watching your calorie intake after your six-week checkup.
If you’re breastfeeding, you should wait until your baby is at least 2 months old before you make nutrition changes, experts recommend.
Don’t go on a restrictive diet!
It’s not good to dramatically cut down calorie intake. You need to lose weight slowly, as this is how you gained it. What is wrong with too-rapid weight loss? When you lose weight fast, toxins (that can include heavy metals lead, mercury, persistent organic pollutants, and solvents) that are stored in your body, fat are released into the bloodstream. Moreover, if you’re nursing, dieting can affect your milk supply.
Furthermore, you will need a lot of energy from the food with your baby by your side to do all the things mom do.
Remember: before you consider any diet plan, you must consult your physician.
Don’t skip meals!
Numerous studies show that skipping breakfast, for instance, will sabotage your weight loss efforts. While it can be hard to find time to eat, if you skip meals, you will eat more, and probably feel tired. According to the National Weight Control Registry, 78 percent of the dieters eat breakfast daily.
Remember: skipping meals won’t help you lose weight.
Be choosy about the food you eat!
According to researchers, high-fiber foods such as fruits (apples, oranges, and berries) and raw vegetables (carrots, and red pepper) are good healthy snacks to include in your post-pregnancy diet. Low-fat milk, dairy products and whole grain products (whole wheat bread, whole grain cereal) can help you lose weight as well. You should enjoy fruit or veggie smoothies and vegetable soups.
The easiest way to cut on calories is to reduce fat intake (however, fat is an important nutrient, so don’t eliminate fat from your diet), thus, choose “good” fats rather than “bad” fats. The best fats are mono- and polyunsaturated fats (olive oil, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds, and salmon).
Avoid saturated and Trans fats. Opt for broiled or baked rather than fried foods. Limit your intake of sweets, which have extra calories from sugar and fat.
Remember: calories are hidden in juice, soda, and coffee drinks.
- Raise your energy levels momentarily with healthy snacks: apple slices, carrot sticks, and wheat crackers
- Consume low-fat milk and dairy products for calcium
- Eat lean meat, chicken, and beans for protein
- Don’t forget about the food rich with essential omega-3 fatty acid (salmon, sardines, and tuna) to help you stay alert and concentrate
- Drink up, water will keep you hydrated
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Regular exercise and a healthy diet is the best way to lose weight. It’s important to exercise to ensure you’re losing fat instead of muscles. If you exercise at least 150 minutes a week (a 10 to 15-minute session 2 times a day), it will help you to lose weight easily, especially if you put it in your daily routine.
Many sports clubs and gyms offer different programs created for mums who are dealing with post-pregnancy weight.
If you are ready to begin losing weight, start by having a short walk with your baby, this is excellent cardio training. Before you hit the gym, check with your doctor to find out whether your body is ready for exercise, especially if you had a complicated pregnancy or delivery. Regular exercising will also help you relieve stress and help you sleep better.
Bonus: Read All you need to know about home workout
The sleep cycle can easily change or be forced by a newborn, and it can also change your metabolism. When your metabolism is out of balance, it can be harder for you to lose weight. Numerous studies show that sleep can help with weight loss, as you will not binge on high-calorie foods for energy. To avoid sleep deficiency, and to keep your energy levels, take a nap when the baby does. Moreover, if you don’t sleep enough, you will not have the energy for the workout.
However you decide to deal with your weight, you should give yourself some time. Being patient and realistic are your best allies. You should keep in mind that you might not be able to reach your exact pre-pregnancy weight.
Pregnancy can cause permanent changes to your body, such as a softer belly, a larger waistline or slightly wider hips. You need to be realistic about your goals.
Remember: pregnancy causes massive biochemical and physical changes in a woman’s body.
However, your body always deserves some additional maintenance in the form of healthy food and exercise.
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Last article update: 4/10/2019