Giving birth comes with its own set of complications and difficulties. Apart from the entire change in your routine to taking care of the baby 24*7, there is another struggle that women encounter.
The added pounds on your body that have now become a part of your life are no longer attractive. It is already daunting to tend to every need of the baby that one may never get time to focus on self. Losing the baby weight after pregnancy is on top of your mind but takes a back seat because of the busy schedules.
Many women neglect or take their own sweet time to come back to their earlier weight. Doctors, however, suggest that you should come back to the healthy weight as soon as possible to stay fit and avoid any other complications.
For women who want to plan another pregnancy in the future, losing weight is the first hurdle that needs to be taken care off.
Weight gain between the range of 25 to 35 pounds is considered to be healthy. In most cases, any lower or higher weight gain can indicate some complications or underlying conditions. This weight gain is due to the weight of the baby (obviously), amniotic fluid, placenta, extra blood, fat stores, breast tissues, and enlarged uterus.
Complications of gaining extra weight:
- Risk of getting obese
- High risk of getting heart-related ailments, diabetes, gestational diabetes
- Higher chances of problems in the next pregnancy
Let us look at a few tips to lose the postpartum weight with the best practices followed by mothers around the world.
8 Effective Tips to Lose Baby Weight After Pregnancy
Tip 1: Be Honest and Realistic
Irrespective of what you see in magazines or movies, losing baby weight needs effort and time. It is not easy to lose weight. It may take more than a year to lose the entire pregnancy weight. Many women lose most of the weight in the first year and retain about 5-10 pounds for up to 2 years. If you have gained a lot of weight during pregnancy, then give yourself time to lose it. You may also have to accept that a few pounds may stay with you for a long time.
Exercise and a nutritious diet can help you lose the weight eventually. The only important thing to keep in mind is that you need to return to a healthy weight.
Tip 2: Diet Is Everything
Once your baby is out doesn’t mean you can go back to eating all the junk or start dieting. Both of these things will make sure that you will hamper your health. Delivery exerts the body and it needs nutrition to recover from childbirth.
Additionally, if you are breastfeeding then you need a lot of calories to keep yourself and the baby healthy. Anything less in the diet will leave you exhausted and tired. You should never start dieting until you breastfeed. As a matter of fact, the more you breastfeed, you are likely to lose weight naturally. Thus breastfeeding is good for both you as well as the baby. Breastfeeding is likely to initiate weight loss within a month up to 6 months. If you notice no weight loss even after breastfeeding, then it is probably due to physical inactivity.
In case you are not breastfeeding, then exercise and dieting are more than enough in the first few months.
Tip 3: Make Note of Your Calories
While counting calories isn’t essential, it can benefit you in many ways. Assessing what you eat can also help you in analyzing what is working for you and what isn’t. New mothers need more calories than a normal woman. So it is important to intake an adequate amount of calories. This will keep your nutrition and energy in check.
Many mobile apps can help you track whether you are overeating or under-eating throughout the day. You can also make note of what you are eating in a diary. These techniques will help you increase or decrease the portion sizes. It will also let you know whether you are eating healthy and eating food that assist in weight loss.
Tip 4: Fiber and Protein-Rich Food
Fiber-rich food helps a lot in losing weight in general. So if you are looking at losing postpartum weight, fiber needs to be in your diet every day. Fiber can also keep you full for a long time. It slows down the digestion and reduces the hormone levels that cause hunger. Eating fiber-rich food will help you in reducing calorie intake.
Healthy proteins are also a great source to boost metabolism, reduce calorie consumption by decreasing appetite. Proteins need a lot of energy to get digested in the body than any other nutrient or food. This results in more calories being burnt. Just like fibers, proteins also help in suppressing appetite, reducing the hunger hormone and make you feel full for a long time.
So, binge on fiber and protein to stay full, get the right nutrition and also aid weight loss naturally.
Tip 4: Discard Junk
If you have junk food at home, you are bound to eat it one fine day. It is, therefore, a great idea to skip the junk and buy healthy snacks only. Stocking junk food is a common thing at any obese person’s home. If you want to stay healthy with the right weight, have healthy food stocked at home. Eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, yogurt, fresh juices or any other nutritious snack.
Protein bars, shakes, canned food and juices, ice cream, cakes, pastries, biscuits, desserts are all a source of unhealthy weight gain. This is because of the refined carbs and added sugar in it. Along with weight gain, they also are the cause of heart ailments, diabetes, and worst cancer. Read the label carefully before putting something in your trolley at the store.
Processed foods are a strict no during weight loss. These are high in salt, sugar, calories and have a lot of unhealthy fats that act against weight loss. Pre-packed and fast foods like cookies, candies chips, ready mixes should be avoided as much as possible.
It is ideal for keeping all these away from your kitchen as long as you haven’t come back to your desired weight.
Tip 5: Avoid Alcohol
You might have the urge to drink a glass of wine due to its well-known health benefits. But you need to understand that a glass of alcohol is filled with calories and zero nutrition.
Alcohol is a good source of putting unhealthy weight and excess fat in the body, especially around the belly. It also reduces the quantity of breast milk and also passes to the baby while feeding. So breastfeeding moms should avoid consuming even small quantities of alcohol.
Tip 6: Exercise
There is nothing better than working out when looking to lose weight. Depending on your health conditions, you can start as little as walking for 10 minutes. If you are in good health and can take out more time running, cycling, dance, aerobics or any other cardio exercise that you enjoy. It will help you in burning calories as well as cope up with postpartum depression. It has other health benefits as well. Improved health, reduced risks of diabetes, heart-ailments are a few to name.
Exercise needs to be combined with the right nutrition to see good results for weight loss. Any kind of exercise is beneficial. However, if you had stitches after giving birth or had a cesarean birth, then start exercising after consulting your doctor. There are many factors that your doctor will consider before giving you a go-ahead for exercising. Pelvic exercises can be started right away as it will help in the quick recovery of your vaginal muscles.
Tip 7: Drink Lots of Water
The importance of water cannot be stressed enough even for a normal person. Drinking excess water itself aids in weight loss for overweight women. Apart from this, water keeps you full, thus reducing appetite.
Breastfeeding women, in particular, should stay hydrated to make up for the loss of fluids in the body. Drinking at least 2-3 liters of water every day should be your aim. If you exercise vigorously then increase the intake accordingly. Less water intake will weaken your muscles and not help in weight loss.
Tip 8: Sleep Well
Sleep is as important as food. Sleep helps your body recover and rejuvenate. So lack of adequate sleep will never help in weight loss instead increase the weight. As a new mother, sleeping for 8 hours straight is impossible. So you should aim at getting as much sleep as you can.
You can sleep whenever your baby is sleeping. Take help from family, friends and other sources to get sufficient sleep. As your baby grows, you will be able to make up for the lost sleep.
In conclusion, weight loss cannot be achieved by just one factor. A good diet, enough rest, and exercise form the basis of losing baby weight after pregnancy. All this combined with good habits and a fixed routine will help you get back in shape.