Weight gain during pregnancy is important for both you and your baby’s health. Women who deprive themselves of essential nutrients during pregnancy tend to have small, sickly babies. Even overweight women still need to gain a minimum of 15 pounds to ensure their baby’s health. After childbirth, however, that extra weight can be a burden when you’re doing your daily tasks; and of course, you want to return to your smaller figure to keep your partner interested. The following tips will help you get rid of your postpartum weight as quickly as possible.
Getting Rid of Postpartum Weight
You gain about 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. In your first delivery, you shed about 12.5 to 14 pounds, which leaves 12 to 21 pounds of excess weight. Some mothers may also gain an extra 10 to 12 pounds during pregnancy because of various medical conditions. It’s difficult to lose all that weight because you have to readjust your body to the new conditions, and also because of the new demands at home as a mother. Follow these tips, however, and you’ll be on your way to being the slimmer you in no time.
Dig in, Shape Up: Diet Tips
- Don’t rush the diet: Don’t rush your diet in the first three months after giving birth; instead, concentrate on eating healthy and developing your exercise regimen. Start on a low-fat weight-loss diet once you feel that your body has recovered enough, and your period has returned to normal. If you’ve gained 22 to 30 pounds during pregnancy, you should be able to lose a pound per week without compromising the quality or quantity of your breast milk.
Always aim to consume about 1,800 calories per day to ensure that you have energy. Never rely on junk food to make the recommended number of calories, and make sure your menu is nutritious. As soon as you feel stronger, visit your doctor for a checkup, and then start your exercise regimen.
- Eat your way to fitness: According to the American Medical Association, a diet that’s low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins and minerals is good for all mothers, regardless of weight. Remember though that you’re breastfeeding, so it’s not advisable to eat a diet that’s fat-free. Keep the fat in there, but don’t consume too much of it. Never go on a crash diet or binge on junk food because you’ll only get sick or gain more weight.
- Take some vitamins: If you’ve just had your first baby, and you’re planning to have another one, you need to keep your nutritional health in tip-top condition. Vitamin supplements are good for active women in their childbearing years. Don’t substitute vitamin supplements though, for real, healthy food. A multiple vitamin supplement that meets all your daily requirements will help a lot in your weight-loss program.
Workout Works Wonders: Exercise Tips
- Exercise to energize: Aside from weight loss, exercise also lifts your mood and prevents postpartum depression. It helps you adapt to your new situation, and doesn’t interfere at all with breastfeeding. Think your exercise plan through before executing it, and make sure that you can do all the exercises comfortably.
It’s a great idea to have a friend or another new mom to exercise with you, so you can compare your progress and keep an eye on each other. The best time to start your program is about six weeks after giving birth. Start with 10 minutes of exercise per day, and then gradually increase it until you reach 30 minutes per day. Pay special attention to the strength and firmness of your pelvic area when you work out. Stick to your exercise regimen, and you’ll soon feel more energized and look slimmer.
- Build some muscles: Your daily intake of 1,800 calories per day will only lead to weight gain if you don’t counter it with some heavy exercises. Workout should include weight training to build your muscles and reduce fat. Muscles operate at a much higher metabolic rate than fat, so they burn calories all day long. Weight training will make you feel great and firm up body parts that have become flabby during pregnancy.
Do some weight-lifting exercises for all major muscle groups at least three times a week. Also, include 30 to 60 minutes of sweat-producing aerobic activities for at least four days each week. Do not reduce your calorie intake any time during your exercise program because this will result in starvation.
- Walking for wellness: Walking is great for mothers because it’s very easy to do and doesn’t require special equipment. All you need is a good pair of shoes, fine weather, and a stroller for your baby. You can even purchase videos that demonstrate this type of exercise. This workout starts six to eight weeks after childbirth and is developed around your child’s need for stimulation.
- Schedule your workout: It’s hard to find time for regular exercise when you’re looking after the baby. Sure, walking exercises with the baby in the stroller help to lose weight, but you need more strenuous activities than that to get slim.Perhaps you can ask a neighborhood teen to come into your home after school to keep an eye on your child while you work out for a few minutes. You may also ask a fellow mother to do some baby-sitting trades with you. If you work full-time, perhaps you can get out at lunch hour and do some aerobic exercises.You’ll initially have some troubles adjusting your schedule but once you’ve planned it all out, you should have enough time to squeeze in those exercises.
- Work your abs: Tired of looking at your chubby tummy in the mirror? Fortunately, you can work on your abs without going to the gym. Every time you feed your baby, simply tighten your tummy for about 10 seconds.A simple way to do this is to imagine that you’ve put on jeans that are too tight for you. Your belly button should feel like it’s both up and back toward your spine. Release your tummy and repeat the exercise 10 times. The great thing about this exercise is that you can do it anytime, anywhere, without anyone noticing. These tummy contractions will get rid of some fat in your abdominal area, and also work your pelvic floor muscles.
Other Tips to Get Rid of Postpartum Weight
- Breastfeed for a beautiful bod: Breastfeeding helps you lose weight during the 12 months after giving birth. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, breastfeeding releases hormones in your body that return your uterus to its size and shape prior to pregnancy. The resulting weight loss, though, isn’t usually apparent until the breastfeeding period is almost over.
Breastfeed your baby while maintaining a healthy, low-fat diet that’s at least 1,800 calories per day. On a standard low-fat weight loss diet, this means you may have to add up an extra 500 calories per day to the regular menu. This is equivalent to one serving of dairy products, one serving of grain, one serving of green leafy vegetables, and one serving of fruit.
While breastfeeding helps you lose weight, don’t count on it for your entire weight-loss program; otherwise, you may gain more weight. Just stick to your low-fat diet and exercise regularly to lose weight quickly.
- Limit TV time: Many moms tend to relax too much at home after giving birth. They spend long hours in front of the TV screen while watching over the baby, and eating some chips. Instead of idly passing the time accumulating fat, do some aerobic exercises or walk around the neighborhood with your child. Watching TV fewer than two hours a day will help get rid a lot of postpartum weight. You’ll also feel livelier outdoors than if you shut yourself indoors.
- Weight loss classes work: According to a study, new moms who want to lose postpartum weight succeed when they participate in weekly structured weight loss classes. In fact, women who attend such classes lose more weight than women who are just given general advice about exercise and diet.According to the researchers, mothers need continual reinforcement after childbirth to make them lose weight, since the added responsibilities of caring for an infant can easily make them lose their focus or give up the program. Participate in postpartum weight loss classes or make your own with new mothers in the neighborhood to keep yourself motivated.
Losing weight after childbirth is sometimes so difficult that some mothers just give up and try to forget about their former slimmer selves. Don’t give in to this thought however, and just continue on your weight loss program. Lots of new moms regain their figures prior to pregnancy within eight to 12 months.
Remember that it takes time for your body to get back to normal, so don’t despair if you see little results in the first few weeks. Stay active, eat properly, and you’ll soon see a familiar figure in the mirror.
Click here for more information on how to get rid of postpartum weight.