How to lose weight the healthy way after childbirth
Weight gain is inevitable during pregnancy. Depending on the pre-pregnancy weight, women usually gain between 15 and 35 pounds in a healthy pregnancy. Up to 12 pounds of this weight will be shed following childbirth. However, it can take longer to lose the remaining pounds and return to the original pre-pregnancy weight.
If you have just given birth, you may be eager to get back in shape. However, you shouldn’t resort to extreme diets and strenuous exercise. You should continue to eat healthy and exercise with caution, as your body needs time to recover from childbirth. If you are breastfeeding, a healthy, balanced diet is also essential to meet your baby’s nutritional needs.
Nevertheless, you can lose your baby weight and reclaim your body the healthy way. Also, if you gained your pregnancy weight in a healthy manner, it will not be too difficult to get rid of the extra pounds.
Here is what you can do to lose weight without any adverse side-effects.
Alter your diet to suit your needs
Crash diets aren’t suitable for post-pregnancy weight loss. Instead, alter your diet to support weight loss while still meeting your nutritional requirements. Include foods loaded with nutrients but with low calories and fat. Follow these tips to plan the ideal diet for weight loss.
- Fiber is an essential component in such diets. Add oats, lentils and beans to your daily diet. They enhance metabolism and also keep you full and satisfied for longer.
- Exercise control over the intake of sugary and processed foods. Not only are such foods unhealthy, they also promote weight gain.
- Instead include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. These foods contain water, that hydrates your body and fills you up for longer.
- Make sure to include calcium sources like milk and yogurt in your diet. These foods will keep your bones strong and also compensate for the loss of calcium from your body when you are breastfeeding.
Start with gentle exercises and slowly build up your activity levels
Your body can take up to six weeks to recover from child birth. Wait till you are comfortable and free from pain before you start exercising. Check with your doctor first, especially if you had a C-section. It is vital that you start with simple exercises for short amounts of time and slowly build up.
Begin with brisk walks and stretching exercises. Later add aerobic exercises and strength training to burn calories and get your body into good shape. Gradually increase the time you exercise, and stick to a regular schedule. If you are unable to exercise in a single stretch, break it up into smaller sessions throughout the day. Stop if you experience pain. This is a sign that you are overdoing it.
Stay hydrated throughout the day
Water is the ideal drink, as it aids digestion and is also an appetite suppressant. Drink water before your meals, and you will be satisfied with smaller portions. Also, your body has higher water requirements when breastfeeding. So, increase your intake of fluids. Avoid caffeinated beverages and fizzy drinks.
Try flavoring water with lemon, and your food cravings will reduce. Lemon also imparts a refreshing flavor to water. Raw fruits, vegetables and salads are other good sources of water. Warm liquids like herbal teas and fresh lemonade can be used as thirst quenchers that help you feel fresh.
Stick to correct portion sizes and eat on time
Portion control is important to realize weight loss. Smaller meals throughout the day keeps hunger at bay. With this option, your body will be actively digesting food at all times. This prevents sugar level fluctuations. As a result, you will have to eat less. So, graze throughout the day and choose healthy snacks and meals. If you wait too long between meals, you will have a tendency to overeat to overcome your hunger. Use smaller plates and stop eating as soon as you feel full.
Choose to breastfeed
Breastfeeding mothers need at least 1800 calories a day to meet their energy needs and the nutrition needs of their baby. When you breastfeed, your body relies on fat stored in your body as well as extra calories from your diet to produce breast milk. Include low fat but nutrition-dense foods in your diet to meet your energy requirements. Your body will use the existing fat reserves for milk production. This will cause weight loss.
Nonetheless, make sure that you do not lose more than a pound and a half every week, when you are breastfeeding. You can cut down on calories in your diet, so long as you do not do it too rapidly. Rapid weight loss can drastically deplete your milk supply and release toxins from your blood stream into your milk. This can harm your baby’s health and is not recommended.
Be realistic with your weight loss expectations
Remember that it took nine months for you to achieve your pregnancy weight. Hence it is unrealistic to shed this weight immediately after your baby is born. Quick weight loss is unhealthy and can lead to several complications in the long run.
If you started your pregnancy at a healthy weight and gained only the recommended number of pounds, it can still take six months to return to your pre-pregnancy weight. If you gained more than the recommended amount of weight, expect to take longer to get rid of this. Realize this early and set fair expectations. Stay motivated and you will be happy with your progress.
A consistent weight loss plan that combines healthy, balanced dietary habits with physical activity will yield the best results. Set your expectations correctly and you will be on the right track to lose weight the healthy way after having a baby!