It’s usual for a woman to put on weight during pregnancy. But what’s important is to lose weight after pregnancy. If you have been cautious (or lucky by sheer chance!), you will need to lose only about 5 -10 Kg weight but if you had been careless (or unlucky), you may need to lose about 15 to 18 Kg weight after pregnancy.
How to go about losing weight after pregnancy?
Take a gradual approach.
Yes, your body gained weight for a reason and it took nine months to gain all that body fat. Now, if you don’t give your body a little time, you would be in trouble. Your body needs to get ready before you start losing weight. So, don’t be in a hurry, just watch what you eat and move your body properly.
In fact, in the first month after pregnancy, do not worry about losing weight. In this period, you have already lost some weight, the weight of the baby, the placenta and the amniotic fluid, you have lost all of them. You are already lighter than before. Even after this period, you will lose some weight of the extra fluid over the next few weeks. Once all these weight go on their own, it is then when you need to put extra efforts to lose weight that you gained during pregnancy.
However, you should lose all that extra weight within 6-12 months after you give birth to your baby. Aim for losing 1 pound every week starting after 6-8 weeks of giving birth to your lovely baby. If you don’t lose weight within this period, you may have to retain that extra fat for longer.
If your pregnancy started with a normal weight and you gained the average 25-35 pounds (about 11-16 kg), you won’t need more than 2-3 months to lose all that pregnancy fat provided you monitor what you eat and how you move your body. On the other hand, if you had been obese even before pregnancy then you might need to work more upon your body for some more months to get back into shape.
Three Keys to Lose Weight after Pregnancy
There are just 3 things that tremendously help you lose weight after pregnancy:
- Exercise or physical activity
The first two things are needed to lose any kind of weight and not just that which is gained after pregnancy. The third one, however, is specific to pregnancy weight gain.
Diet Remedies to Lose Weight after Pregnancy
You don’t need to go on extreme diet to lose weight after pregnancy. You just need to bring in small changes in your daily food habits. These changes should focus on including more nutritious foods in your diet and excluding the empty calories from it.
Diet means Healthy Diet to Lose Weight
Yes, diet is not the fad diet or crash diet. It means having healthy diet which includes more nutrition and less of junk foods.
- Start your day with breakfast. Never skip it. Just choose healthier options for your breakfast. Whole grain cereals, whole wheat bread, eggs, fruits, low fat dairy products etc. make up excellent breakfast for anyone, even new mothers.
- Never skip meals. You not only need to recover your body but also provide nutrition to your baby. So, stay energetic by having regular meals so that you take care of yourself and your baby properly. Also, you won’t feel like exercising if you let yourself starve.
- Have more of fruits and vegetables and less of sugars and junk foods.
- Stock healthy snacks all around yourself. Apple. carrots, wheat crackers, nuts, coconut, sprouted beans are some of the healthy snacks that you can try whenever you feel hungry.
- Have super foods like fish because you need nutrition at its best. After all, you are nursing a baby too. High in nutrients and low in calorie, super foods will help you lose weight fast. DHA and omega 3 fatty acids in fish will help develop the brain and nervous system of your baby.
- Yet another super food is the whole range of leafy greens. Spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli etc. are rich sources of vitamin A. This vitamin is good for you and your baby too. All the vitamin C and iron loaded greens along with a host of antioxidants are also low in calories. What else do you need to lose weight!
- Eat boiled, baked, steamed foods and avoid having fried foods.
Watch your Drinks to Lose Weight After Pregnancy
If you are eating healthy yet not losing weight, you must watch what you are drinking. Sweetened and artificial beverages add calories to your diet and you don’t even realize this.
- Drink lots of water. This helps eliminate dehydration, fluid retention and bloating. It also flushes out toxins from your body and prepares your body to get ready for maximum health.
- Avoid having sodas and colas
- Have natural fruit juices without adding sugar
- Have healthy natural drinks like coconut water and lemon water. Don’t add sugar to lemon water. If needed, add some honey.
- Limit your intake of caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee. Instead have herbal tea without sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Do Exercises to Lose Weight after Pregnancy
This is a must. You must be physically active if you want to lose weight. Yes, even after pregnancy. Gone are the days when your mom or grandmother would restrict you from moving from your bed. You can start walking just after giving birth. However, if you have had certain complications during pregnancy, it is always recommended to consult your doctor whether or not you can move your body after pregnancy? And if yes, how much strenuous exercise can you do and after how many days? Obviously you can’t lift weight just after giving birth. But you can always ask your gynecologist as to after how many days can you start doing vigorous activities to lose weight.
- Start walking after 4 weeks of giving birth if not advised against it by your doctor.
- Initially, you may walk lesser but gradually, increase this routine to 45 minutes a day for 5 days a week.
- If you can’t walk for that long at a go, break up the time. Walk for 10-15 minutes for 3-4 times a day.
- Move your body regularly. Don’t sit at a place for more than half an hour at a stretch. For example, when watching TV or reading book or working on computer, get up after every 30-40 minutes and walk for 5-10 minutes.
- Other than walking, if you want to do other exercise, first get the approval of your doctor.
Other Ways to Move Your Body
Apart from walking, you can move your body in many other ways:
- Dance a little. You don’t need to go zumba, just a refreshing dance to feel happy and of course, to lose weight. Do this in front of your baby to make him happy too. In fact, you can hold your baby while dancing slowly and steadily. Feel the amazing bonding between you two and as a bonus shed some weight too! But be careful and give support to your baby’s head and body while he is in your arms while you dance. Never dance vigorously while holding your baby, restrict yourself to slow dance moves.
- Play with your baby. Nothing can match this. Hold your baby in your arms and swing him slowly. Be careful though. Let your baby sit on your bent legs while you lie down and rock your legs. Take utmost care to hold your baby properly. If you are not confident enough, don’t hold your baby while moving your body like this. Just let him sit beside you and watch you delightfully.
Breastfeed to Lose Weight after Pregnancy
What is unique in the efforts to lose weight after pregnancy is that you can do so while your baby breastfeeds.
If put simply, breastfeeding burns calories and thus it is helpful in losing weight after pregnancy.
Did you know, women who breast feed their babies, burn approximately 500 extra calories in a day. This comparison is with those women who are not breast-feeding.
However, breast feeding is not essential to lose weight. You can lose weight just by having healthy diet and exercising. Nonetheless, breastfeeding can boost the rate of fat loss. So, it’s on you whether you want to breast feed your child or not. By the way, breastfeeding also ensures best nutrition for your baby.
Sleep a little more to Lose Weight
In a study, it was found that mothers to newborns who slept less than six hours faced more difficulty in losing weight after pregnancy. Those who slept for seven hours or so were lucky to lose weight easily when compared to sleep deprived moms.
When your body doesn’t get enough sleep and rest, hormones like cortisol and other stress hormones are released inside the body. One of the side effects of these hormones is weight gain.
There’s one more reason why lack of sleep might hamper your weight loss efforts after pregnancy. When you are tired and sleep deprived, you are not able to move your body. Also you do not feel like putting efforts to have healthy meals. You eat whatever you get a chance to lay hands on. After all, you are already tired and how can you employ your mind and body to follow healthy habits!
So, sleep a little more though it is quite difficult with your baby who demands all your attention all the time.
- Change your daily routine as per your child’s. Sleep along with your baby. This may not be possible all the time but once or twice a day, catch a nap when your baby is doing so.
- Take help of other family members. Don’t be shy of asking to babysit or take care of your baby while you sleep for a while.
- If possible, hire help. You can always be a little relaxed when there are two people to take care of the baby instead of you alone doing so.
Losing weight after pregnancy is not that difficult. It just needs a will and the right efforts to do so. Eat well, move your body and breast feed your child while you remain relaxed. All this is quite a good combination to lose weight after pregnancy.