For a new mother, one of her most occupying thoughts is the baby weight. After watching your body grow for nine months, getting your old body back may seem like an impossible feat. While most women go crazy trying to burn out all that weight at the gym, let us tell you working out is not the solution to everything. With the weight also comes the issue of skin that stretches largely to accommodate the fetus. To go back to your pre-baby body, you need to learn a few facts that will not only help you get the body you desire but also maintain it.
Losing weight after pregnancy depends on many factors like the lifestyle you lead, how much weight you have put on, if you are breastfeeding or not, if you delivered naturally or through C-section, there are many a things to consider before you put yourself on a strict diet or start losing mind at the gym. It’s better to understand your body and what it needs first because now you also have a child to care for who is primarily and mostly dependent on you.
The Initial Weeks
Your body starts changing the instant you go through labor. After having the baby, you lose a lot of blood, body fluids and amniotic fluid that accumulate to help the development of the fetus. On average, 12 pounds of weight is instantly lost with labor. The belly skin that was stretching to make room for the baby, shrinks down almost immediately. Up to almost a week, you keep losing fluids so it’s a good idea to not jump straight into weight loss diets but keep a check on how much you are losing naturally first.
By six weeks after delivery, your uterus returns to its original place and size which means that your belly will become smaller and flatter. This is a good time to start your weight loss regime as your body has had enough time to make the repairs inside. Other than that, your body’s response to weight loss regime also depends on things like age, weight gained during pregnancy, your eating and drinking habits.
Your body starts changing from the moment you conceive and the changes go on for the coming nine months. This is why doctors also believe that you should give yourself 9 months after pregnancy to lose the weight. However, with proper guidance from your doctor and trainer you can have your dream body back in a few months.
Read on to find out how you can start working on your pre-baby body:
Wait A While
As mentioned earlier, your body starts returning to its normal working mechanism after pregnancy so it’s best to wait six weeks at least before you put yourself on a harsh fitness regime. Your body is repairing itself, give it time to do so especially if you have had labor complications or a C-section. Even after six weeks, don’t forget to consult your doctor before you decide it’s time for you to start on your bikini body.
While your first instinct would be to start cutting down on your food intake, DON’T! Remember your body has just gone through a major ordeal and is working hard to return to its normal state. Furthermore, there is a child whose primary nutrition source in your body. To cut down on food means you are cutting down on your child’s food too. Your body needs proper nutrients and calories to produce quality milk which is essential for your child’s health. Prepare a rich diet with the help of your doctor so you can have the amount of food you require while also managing your weight. Your body needs 2200-2400 calories when you are breastfeeding to maintain the milk production. There’s also need for calcium, folate, protein, iron and vitamins which you must fulfill for a healthy body. Fill your diet with rich meals that contain lean meats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
Exercise is crucial in your weight loss regime however, don’t forget that there has to be well thought-out pattern. For your body to respond well to exercise, you need to set yourself a work-out schedule of yoga, cardio and walking. In fact, doctors suggest you give your body a little exercise right after labor by walking every day. As your body gets better at around six weeks, gradually introduce harder exercises. Doctors also believe that exercise and yoga can help you from the very common postpartum depression which is nowadays observed in many women due to the unhealthy lifestyle. It may feel a bit too much for mothers who are sleep deprived and easily exhausted however, exercise will help you gain energy soon. So gather a little courage and get working. Try to fit in some crunches, squats, walks and even some zumba into your routine between changing and feedings as you may not be able to work out at stretch with an infant in the house. Find an exercise buddy as company will make it more fun and engaging.
While most of the calories are consumed by your body for milk production, did you know breastfeeding is actually helping you shed some pounds? Apparently up to 600-800 calories are burned through breastfeeding alone so you can be sure that you are losing weight constantly whether you work out or not. However, don’t take this opportunity to gorge on. As soon as you stop breastfeeding, your calorie intake will shoot up your weight again so set yourself a good calorie diet to prevent any unwanted weight hike.
A good diet is a must definitely, however the number of times you eat is also crucial to your body. Instead of sticking to the usual 3 full meals a day schedule, divide your meals into at least 6 throughout the day. This will keep your blood sugar levels in check which in turn will spare you from overeating. Take good meals in the day mixed with snacks every now and then. Keep your fresh veggies and fruits around. Just because you are losing weight does not mean you have to stop yourself from chomping on your favorites. Instead, find healthy substitutes that will soothe your cravings and help you lose weight too.
Whatever you do, always carry a water bottle and remember to drink from it too! Water is important to keep you hydrated amidst the exhausting schedule. More water intake will also keep your stomach full killing your need to eat more while also boosting your metabolism. Other than water, also graze on food with high water content in them.
Take naps throughout the day to restore your energy. New mothers are almost always sleep deprived. While you cannot change that, you can always fit in naps in your busy routine. This will keep you well rested so you will not need to feed on high sugar foods for energy to keep active through the day. Ask your husband, friends or relatives to watch your baby for a few hours so you can fit in some sound naps.
So these are some of our tips that will help you lose those extra post-baby pounds. Always remember that it took nine months to build that belly, so it will take the same at least to lose it. You cannot expect to work out and see a flat belly the next day. Be patient. Your body will take time, maybe longer than planned but it will eventually get there. Note your progress and keep yourself motivated.