When you have had a baby and have formed some kind of routine in your new life as a mom, you may start thinking about returning to your pre-pregnancy weight.
It is normal for an average woman to gain 25 to 30 pounds during pregnancy – and women normally lose 10 to 12 pounds during delivery. However, some women gain more weight while they’re pregnant – and shedding those unwanted pounds may take more effort and time.
The good news is that getting back to pre-baby weight isn’t as difficult as you think – if you know how to help your body achieve its ideal weight.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is one of the key factors that will help you lose weight after pregnancy, but there are also other factors that will help you get back into shape quicker.
When there’s a new baby in the house and you’re trying to find your feet as a new mom, forgetting to eat is very easy. However, skipping meals and grabbing a quick sugary snack here and there won’t do you or the baby weight any favors.
To successfully shed pounds after pregnancy, you have to eat to lose weight. While this may sound counterintuitive, what we really mean is that how and when you eat matters more than you think – and it will affect how quickly you’re able to lose the baby weight healthily.
1. Eat Small Meals, More Often
Eat 5-6 small meals a day and treat yourself to healthy snacks between the meals to keep your energy levels up. Healthy energy levels are the key to losing weight safely, as well as being able to breastfeed without feeling drained. Plus, having more frequent smaller meals will reduce the chances of overeating, as you’ll never approach the dinner table feeling like you’re absolutely starving.
2. Eat Mindfully
We often rush through our meals, and when you’re a new mom – it’s especially easy to fall into the habit of doing so. Eating quickly may seem convenient – but that isn’t helping your body lose weight. When you’re rushing through your meal, you’re less likely to notice that you’re feeling full – and more likely to overeat. Eating more slowly will not only help you notice when you’ve had enough but will also leave you feeling more satisfied, as you will have enjoyed your food more.
3. Snack On Protein And Fiber
The combination of these two nutrients will help you feel full for longer – as well as help with your digestion and regularity. Snack ideas include raw bell pepper, carrot with hummus or a bean dip, a slice of whole-wheat toast and a hard-boiled egg and apple slices with peanut butter.
4. Drink Enough Water
It can be easy to confuse hunger with thirst, and reach for a snack even though what our body really needs is water. Make sure that you drink enough water throughout the day – keeping a water bottle next to the spot where you feed the baby will help. Then you’ll remember to drink when your baby does.
5. Choose Food Wisely
It is easy to think of pregnancy as your opportunity to “eat for two” and whatever you desire. The truth is, both of these “truths” are myths, as you only need about 200 extra calories a day when you’re expecting a baby.
After you have given birth and are aiming to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight, saying no to things like sugar, sodas and junk food is crucial. It’s best to keep them out of sight – and stock up on healthy snacks, making it more convenient to go for healthy options.
For the first six months after delivery you may need to consume up to 300 additional calories as breastfeeding burns a lot of calories – but to help you get back to healthy weight, you need to make sure those calories come from healthy foods that’ll help you lose weight faster.
6. Breastfeeding Can Help Burn Calories
When you breastfeed, your body naturally burns 300-500 calories a day, because it needs energy to produce breast milk. Which is why, it is normally recommended to consume some extra calories while breastfeeding to help you maintain your energy levels.
If you are trying to lose weight at the same time, then you must do it gradually. Experts agree that breastfeeding can help new moms lose weight – however when you’re breastfeeding, it’s even more important to make healthy diet choices because you’ll need energy and lots of nutrients to keep up.
It is crucially important to make sure your body gets enough protein, calcium, iron and vitamins. Simple things like eating more whole grains and veggies and reducing your intake of sugary foods/ saturated fats (soft drinks, fried foods, desserts, cheese, fatty meat, etc.) will ensure you maintain a healthy diet that is needed for breastfeeding – and help yourself lose weight more naturally.
7. Take Up Mild Exercise
Studies have shown that taking up a regular mild exercise program after giving birth is not only great for your health – but it can also lower the risk of post-partum depression.
There are a number of ways you can mildly exercise your body after pregnancy, but things like walking or swimming are widely regarded as the best for beginners, as they’re easy to do and do not put stress on your joints.
Do Workouts With Your Baby!
There are a ton of ways you can work out with your baby, which are both fun and great for getting back into shape. These exercises are easy to incorporate into your day – and can be done in minutes.
Doing them regularly is a fun way to tone your muscles as well as lose the baby weight. Note that before you begin the workouts, you have to make sure that you feel strong and balanced enough to hold the baby. Note that some of the exercises can only be done with a baby that’s at least 10 to 12 weeks old.
8. Get Enough Sleep
This may sound like mission impossible when you’re a new mom, but sleep is crucial in helping you lose weight after pregnancy. When we are tired, we tend to reach for high-calorie (and often unhealthy) snacks to keep us going throughout the day in an attempt to feel more energized.
Not getting enough sleep also upsets your metabolism, making it more difficult to burn calories and lose weight naturally. We understand that babies disturb the normal sleeping cycle – but to help you get enough sleep, take naps when your baby does. That will help you keep your energy levels up, reduce the chances of you snacking on unhealthy foods – and boost your mood.
Aim For Slow-And-Steady Weight Loss
Medical professionals recommend aiming to return to pre-pregnancy weight by 6 to 12 months after giving birth, which means that you should take your time when it comes to losing weight after pregnancy.
Give yourself until your 6-week check-up before you start exercising to lose the baby fat. Your body needs time to recover after childbirth, and while some new mothers may be ready to start exercising and aiming to return to their pre-baby weight sooner, others may not – and that’s fine too.
Taking little steps towards achieving healthier weight are enough to get you started. It is also important not to drop below the minimum number of calories you need too soon (i.e. between 2,000 – 2,500 calories for breastfeeding women; about 2,000 calories for women who aren’t breastfeeding).
Losing weight after having a baby may seem daunting at first, especially if you put on quite a lot of weight throughout the course of your pregnancy. However, it isn’t as challenging as it may seem – if you know how to help your body recover and get back into shape gradually.
However, remember that each pregnancy and delivery are different, therefore it is important to check with your doctor before engaging in an exercise program. They will be able to advice whether it’s the right time to start aiming to lose weight and guide you in the right direction.