Baby weight. Oh-so-easy to put on and notoriously difficult to get rid of. But even with everything that’s been thrown at you, we’re sure you’ll be able to dig deep and find it in yourself to start working at returning to your pre-pregnancy weight. Women are incredibly resilient and you might be surprised at how much your body can achieve if you just help it along a little.
Get Moving – Even When You’re Not Working Out!
Not everyone has personal trainers (like the svelte celebs splashed across page 3 and Instagram) to help them lose pregnancy weight. But just heading out for a walk and some fresh air every day is a great way to restart a more active lifestyle.
- NEAT or Non-exercise activity thermogenesis or the calorie burn from non-exercise activity like standing or walking around the house or doing chores, can help you increase your calories used every day. You can increase your NEAT levels by standing at your desk, walking about during work calls, or walking to the shops instead of driving.
- Physical activity helps with your overall health and may reduce risk of postpartum depression too!
You can start light exercise a few days after a vaginal delivery and about 4-6 weeks after a C-section. Do check with your doctor before you begin your fitness regimen. Slowly build up your routine, gradually increasing duration, frequency, and intensity. Try and fit in between 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise at least thrice a week, more if you can manage, to help with weight loss. Then add in 2 to 3 days of muscle toning workouts that help you regain strength in your abdominal and pelvic area.
Don’t Skip Meals, Skip The Fad Diets
Extreme diets aren’t great for your body that’s already recovering from a major change. Meal skipping isn’t wise either. Fad diets and meal-skipping can leave you worn out and undernourished at a time when your baby really needs you and won’t help you lose weight in the long run. Eat a healthy balanced diet that has plenty of fresh fruit and veg, wholegrains, and lean protein, including:
- Omega-3 fatty acids from fish like salmon. The DHA helps with your baby’s nervous system development and could lift your mood as well.
- Iron-rich foods like daals/legumes, meat help you keep up your energy levels and combat fatigue.
- Calcium-rich foods like yogurt/dahi, milk and green leafy vegetables can help you meet the 1,000 mg of calcium your body needs daily when nursing.
- Vitamin and mineral-rich fruit like blueberries and citrus fruit, help meet your enhanced need for vitamin C and healthy energy-boosting carbs.
Avoid Empty Calories
Think twice about whatever you eat or drink. The swig of cola you might absent-mindedly knock back is all sugar, calories, and not much else. Trade fruit juices (often loaded with sugar) for a serving of fresh fruit instead. Stock up on healthy snacks like nuts and roasted seeds or homemade yogurt instead.
Breastfeed Your Baby
If you’re able to, try and breastfeed your baby – according to some, it may help with your own weight loss goals too. Whether or not it directly helps weight loss, your body needs about 500 calories to meet your baby’s needs if you’re exclusively breastfeeding your little one and you can adjust your dietary intake to create a calorie deficit to help weight loss.
Getting your sleep is more important than ever. You don’t have to be the poster child for exhausted new moms. Consider this – new mothers who get five hours or less of sleep every night are likelier to retain their pregnancy weight longer than women who manage their 7 hours nightly. That’s because the tiredness from inadequate rest causes the release of stress hormones like cortisol that are linked to weight gain.
Getting adequate water is an important piece of the puzzle. Ensure you drink at least 8 to 12 glasses a day. Keeping a filled water bottle handy at your side and refilling it through the day can help. If plain water seems boring, have fruit-infused water or homemade nimbu paani.
Don’t Try and Rush It
Don’t expect too much too soon, you already have a lot on your plate. If you’ve gained over 35 pounds (15.87 kg) during the pregnancy, you’re likely to take a year to knock it off. More importantly, if you’re nursing your baby, losing too much weight too quickly could interfere with your milk supply. Losing up to 1 pound (0.5 kg) a week is usually okay. Plan for at least 6 months to return to your pre-baby weight.
Find a Cheerleader
Everyone needs a cheerleader. Someone who’s rooting for you on the inevitable low days. It could be a friend who’s been through it all like you. A sympathetic co-worker. A parent or sibling. Or even your partner. The important thing is not to go it alone.
Consider joining an online support group of other women who’re new moms and trying to lose weight just like you are. You could swap tips, share success stories, celebrate the little wins and help each other through the lows.
A supportive forum like MamaXpert’s community can be the ideal balance. Give it a test drive!