A Guide to Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss
It’s easy to feel helpless when trying to lose weight, especially when you’ve just had a child and are gearing up for the whirlwind years of early parenthood. Between the sleepless nights, the seemingly infinite crying, and the momentous “firsts” like walking and talking, it can be hard for new moms to find time for self-care, much less time to think about their diets. Losing weight while taking care of a newborn is never easy, but don’t feel discouraged! By adhering to a lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise, you can lose those extra pounds in anywhere from six months to a year, according to LiveScience. So, here are a few important things to consider when trying to shed those extra pregnancy pounds!
Weight gain during pregnancy isn’t just from fat or the baby itself, but also from the placenta, the growing uterus and breasts, and increased volumes of blood and fluids according to the National Institutes of Health. While a lot of this weight gain is natural and to be expected, gaining too much weight during pregnancy can put the baby at risk of high birth weight, obesity later in life, and several health defects or metabolic issues according to a 2015 review cited by LiveScience. The weight gained during pregnancy is generally a good predictor of weight retained afterward.
From healthy eating apps to natural herbal supplements, there are so many ways to keep yourself fit and healthy. A great way to get started is by surrounding yourself with healthy foods. It’s hard to keep eating healthy with sweets and junk food sitting in the pantry, so make an effort to revamp your food supply. Whatever you do, avoid drastic diet programs or any quick fixes. There’s no magic bullet to losing weight, so just make incremental adjustments. Drastic diet plans can actually stress you out, causing you to gain weight instead of losing it. Focus on nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and certain dairy products. Also be sure to avoid empty calories, especially desserts made with an abundance of processed sugar and fat.
When you feel ready, aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Finding 30 minutes a day to exercise may be difficult for some, but you can always take it slow by breaking it up into 10-minute increments, then work up to 20-30 minute sessions. Simply moving around for a few minutes a day can benefit you; one of the best ways to do this is by walking. Walking is cheap, convenient, and most anyone can do it. You can even include your baby in a stroller or walk with friends to make it a social activity. This is a great way to stay motivated to exercise after pregnancy.
Expect Quick Results… at First
During delivery, you lose an average of ten pounds simply from the weight of the baby, the placenta, and the amniotic fluid. After delivery, you lose additional weight from excess fluids over the course of a few weeks. What remains is extra fat that was gained during pregnancy, which will take longer to lose. With regular exercise and a healthy diet, you may be able to lose about a pound per week, according to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic. However, don’t be discouraged if this is not the case for you. Just as we all gain weight at different rates, we lose weight at our own paces too.
Keep in mind that this is going to be a difficult and time-consuming process. Ask a friend to be your workout buddy, seek out the help of a dietician or nutritionist, include your baby in your exercise, and ask your family to keep you moving. Whatever you do, just don’t go it alone!