Having a baby who is entirely dependent on you can thwart your attempts of losing weight after pregnancy, but with these postpartum weight loss insights, nothing is impossible.
Congratulations on the arrival of your latest family member! What a bitter-sweet joy it brings. As a busy mom, it can be a daunting task to raise your little one. Amidst the doubts, change of diapers, nursing and wet burps the words ‘I’ and ‘me’ will probably take a back seat. Your life will most likely revolve around your baby. This way, you barely consider your own needs, primarily as a new mom. But you may be thinking of losing weight after pregnancy after gaining a couple of pounds. Weight loss after the baby can be quick or slow depending on your diet, exercise regimens and the amount of weight gained.
Table of Contents
- Losing Weight after Pregnancy: 6+ Facts Moms Should Know
- Why I am Not Losing Weight after Pregnancy
- When to Start Weight Loss after Delivery
- Best Postnatal Exercises
- Do Not Do too Much too Soon
- Top 10 Practical Tips for Losing Weight after Pregnancy
- 6 Tips to Lose Weight after Pregnancy While Breastfeeding
Losing Weight after Pregnancy: 6+ Facts Moms Should Know
Weight gain during pregnancy is a perfectly normal occurrence. Most women gain approximately 25-35 pounds which is essential in supporting the baby’s nutrition. Postpartum weight loss duration will vary from a mother who gained 40 pounds and one who added 30 pounds.
Why I am Not Losing Weight after Pregnancy
For most new moms, it can be a struggle to beat the weight loss plateau especially if your hands are full and you are tired. These are some reasons why your post-pregnancy weight loss may be stalling.
1. Crash dieting has become your norm, but…
It results in constant starvations that in turn increase your cravings for unhealthy foods. Also, when you starve yourself, your body goes into survival mode. Hence, it stores lots of fats that it should instead burn. So you need not immensely reduce your intake of calories in a bid to lose weight.
The remedy is eating right. Whole grains, lean meat should form the bulk of your diet. Such foods keep your stomach full as well as nourish your body. Therefore, your baby gets all the needed nutrients when you breastfeed him/her.
2. Too much intake of healthful meals
Although whole grain food, nuts, and foods that are rich in protein significantly impact your overall health, you need to check on the portions you take. If you take too large portions, then the extra calories are stored as fat. Eventually, it will take you longer to snap back to your pre-baby body.
3. You are unintentionally self-indulgent
Let’s say at your home dinner is ready at 6 in the evening. The norm is for your kids to eat early, take a bath then you tuck them in bed. Followed by your late supper. Possibly, you nibble on your kid’s food and their treats while on it. Without knowing this together with your late ‘adults’ meal could be one reason you can’t fit on your pre-baby skinny jeans.
4. Patience is not one of your strong virtues
After delivery, you lost a few pounds that include the baby weight itself, that of the amniotic fluid and placenta. For the upcoming six months, it is possible that you will lose a bulk of the baby weight. However, you need to be patient and set realistic goals. Losing 1-2 pounds on a weekly basis is achievable, and it will be less strenuous on your body.
Forget how fast celeb moms get back in shape a few weeks after delivery. They are lucky enough to have personal trainers, dieticians, nannies and coaches at their beck and call. They have enough time to focus on their bodies which is also majorly due to commercial purposes. Therefore, seeking the needed support and giving your body time can do the magic.
5. You work out wrongly
Your doctor should recommend the start of a postnatal exercise program. He or she needs to clear you before you start any workouts because exercising too soon may have adverse effects on your body.
Low impact exercises that include brisk walks, stretching and modified push-ups are best for mothers who gave birth normally. For those who had a C-section, it can take several weeks before your body is ready for workouts.
6. You do not rest enough
As a new mother, sleep deprivation can be an inevitable phenomenon. You may find yourself sleeping when your baby naps because when she is awake she needs your undivided attention. Obviously, you know that sleep renews your energy. But you should know that lack of sleep results in low body energy which you may compensate for by overeating. Also, less sleep triggers high cortisol levels that reduce the metabolism of calories.
Frankly, lack of sleep is almost unavoidable as a new mother. But to alleviate the situation, cortisol spikes can be kept on a low with other controllable factors such as low intake of caffeinated beverages and less stress.
When to Start Weight Loss after Delivery
Postpartum weight loss is a program that can be taken up from six weeks after delivery according to experts. Once you go for a postnatal check-up after six weeks, you can consult with your doctor on the specifics of post-baby weight loss.
Most experts differ on how soon a woman should start weight loss after delivery. Some approve it sooner after birth while others advise on resting for a full six weeks. Although some women’s bodies snap back to full recovery fast due to second or subsequent pregnancies, others need more time. Those who had tough delivery may require a more extended period to heal. Otherwise, giving your body a six-week rest is more advisable.
You can start with light exercises that are less strenuous and proceed with more impactful exercises when your GP gives you a clean bill of health.
Also, to start weight loss after delivery, a balanced diet goes hand in hand.
Best Postnatal Exercises
For body toning, it is best to start with exercise that are postnatal friendly. The best postnatal exercise is in consideration of how you gave birth. For mothers with C-section wounds, slow walks goes a long way in accelerating healing and prevent blood clots.
You can also do stretches and Kegels that are gentle on your body. Some mothers prefer pram based walks while others go for slow pace running in parks around them. To feel motivated, you can enroll in classes where you will meet mothers like you. Make new friends and get the needed support that will uplift your mood whenever you are exercising.
You can also consider getting a fitness expert who specializes in postnatal training. Otherwise, you also have the option of finding programs around your area like gyms, yoga centers or any fitness center that can be of help.
Such exercise will help you burn some calories hence shed off some weight. A bout of exercise will also rejuvenate your body giving you the energy to maneuver through the day without feeling weak. Exercising also suppresses your body’s craving for junk and sweet foods. Instead, you will have an immense appetite for organic and healthy meals.
Do Not Do too Much too Soon
If you just recently delivered, doing traditional sit-ups or crunches can be unbearable for your body. Most women experience a condition known diastasis recti which is the separation of abdominal muscles due to excessive pressure. Diastasis Recti can happen after giving birth to a high weight baby or carrying multiple pregnancies. Abdominal obesity also leads to intra-abdominal muscle separation. Therefore, overexertion when exercising can increase the gap of the abdominal muscles. Although this condition may not affect your wellbeing, it is better to be cautious.
Experts claim that most postpartum moms have low cortisol levels. Therefore, overexertion while exercising can bring your body to a standstill. It is because your adrenal glands will have to produce high amounts of cortisol to increase your body’s heart rate and blood supply to muscles. If tests show that your cortisol levels are below normal, it is advisable to forgo strenuous workouts until your body is ready. Meanwhile, you can focus on light exercises. This way, you will recover much faster.
Additionally, if you hemorrhaged after delivering, you might be anemic. You need to restore the iron levels in your body and regain strength before attempting tough workouts. For moms with C-section or episiotomy incisions, vigorous exercising can impede healing. Also, the flexibility that you once enjoyed while pregnant may lessen. It is because your joints are loose making them vulnerable to injury.
Late pregnancies and birth can also result in complications such as joint and back pains. Thus, your body may not be ready for exercising post pregnancy. Consult your chiropractor or therapist when you experience such problems since they have a remedy for such conditions.
Top 10 Practical Tips for Losing Weight after Pregnancy
Become a yummy mummy in no time with these 10 surefire tips for losing weight after pregnancy.
Tired of rummaging through your wardrobe trying to get that cool outfit that will just fit you right? Well, we’ve got you. If you have had enough of ill-fitting clothes, losing weight after pregnancy must top the list of your priorities. It could be your new love handles or that bulging waist that prevents you from putting on that lovely sundress or those sexy skinny jeans. A quick fix is shopping for new clothes, but this will only give you instant gratification which is short term. On the other hand, shedding some kilos will not only uplift your self-worth, but it gives you back your pre-baby body that you relentlessly yearn for.
With a plethora of tips for losing weight after pregnancy on the web, you may not know where to start. But with these practical strategies, you will not have a weight loss plateau to concur.
1. Choose Homemade Meals over Takeout
This is one guilty pleasure of many. The stops at Starbucks for that delicious croissant weekly for breakfast can significantly derail your weight loss goal. If you always pass by such a food store, how about you reduce your frequency there. If you stopped by daily, try to do so once a week and later as you improve self-control, once every two weeks is excellent. This way you cut back on gaining extra calories.
Also, the type of food you eat at eat outs or takeouts tend to be out of your control. They may be full of fats and most times you don’t check the portion sizes. On the flip side, you can make tasty, hearty meals at home that are low fat and nutritional. These include lots of veggies, proteins, whole grain foods instead of white flour, nuts and fruits.
And, as a new mom, enjoy being showered with the homemade meals from friends and family. Eventually, they do more good than harm.
2. Fend off Cravings with Nutritional Snacks
If you are the type with an uncontrollable sweet tooth, this is for you. Stop the late night pantry raids by indulging in dietary meals. For instance, cut back on high-calorie sweets by eating apples and bananas. Nibble on carrot sticks and pretzels whenever the temptations strike. Such snacks have natural sugars that are nutritionally better than the processed sugars found in M&Ms and other sweets.
Also, if you are a working mom, you can pack this snacks in packages that you can carry with you to the office. Otherwise, to keep the cravings at bay, eat like a king in the morning. This is because such cravings are fueled when you do not eat well hence your body craves for unhealthy food.
3. Drink Lots of Water
The impact of water on baby weight loss or any weight loss can never be overstated. When you take enough water on a daily basis, you suppress your appetite as well as remain
hydrated. As a breastfeeding mom, plenty of water is essential as it is needed in milk production.When your appetite is kept in check, you are more in control of what you eat. Therefore, you can manage your weight and even lose some kilos.
4. Sneak in Light Exercise When Possible
For instance, if you are a stay at home mum, or winter break has you confined to your home, exercising indoors is vital. Take a stroll in the park with your baby. Go for early morning walks before getting ready for work.
Purchase or download aerobic exercise videos that you can use for workouts in the house while caring for your baby. Also, take the stairs instead of the elevator when in malls. Putting in such subtle exercises can help you burn calories little by little. Later, it will be a significant addition to your weight loss plan.
5. Exercise with Baby
This may sound cheesy but you will be amazed at the benefits it brings. If you do crunches, squats and sit-ups you can use your baby as an added weight to overcome. Put your favorite music and bring your two left feet. Imagine you are on the dance floor busting some moves that have everyone watching. Dance your heart out to the beat and see your baby laugh at your quirky dance moves.
In the end, you will have step-up your weight loss game by sweating out. So never second guess dancing or exercising with your baby.
6. Enroll in Baby-Friendly Gyms
Find gyms in your area that have a program for caring for infants while you work out. This way, you will have a peace of mind while exercising. You can hit the treadmill, put in some cardio, lift weights and even go for a sauna to relax while they attend to your baby.
7. Hire A Remote or Local Personal Trainer
For some of us a pep talk may not be enough to jumpstart losing weight after pregnancy. Some women need a slight push to get motivated. So getting a personal trainer can be an excellent idea. The trainer will take you through exercises while emphasizing on high impact exercises depending on your body needs.Moreover, they can provide emotional support to help you achieve your ideal body.
8. Get Needed Support
Sometimes you will find yourself struggling with balancing your life when the baby comes. It does not hurt to involve friends and family who can help you. Whether you stress eat, you can confide in someone who can be of great help in dropping that habit.
Also, when you feel supported you get a renewed energy to focus on your wellbeing. It may include postpartum weight loss.
9. Set Achievable Goals
When you start your plan of losing weight after delivery you may have set the bar too high. Planning to lose a pound per week is reasonable. You gained the baby weight for the nine months leading up to your delivery. Therefore, it is unrealistic to want to shed it off in a few weeks.
Reducing your daily calorie intake is better than crash dieting or eating irregularly for the sake of cutting weight.
10. Eat Superfoods
Superfoods are those that are richly packed with nutrition. They include high fiber foods, nuts, whole grain foods, kale, berries, salmon and more. Such foods are low-calorie foods, but they are healthy. They are the best for a safe post-pregnancy weight loss regimen.
Losing Weight after Pregnancy: Facts on Breastfeeding, Gastric Sleeve Surgery and C-Section Delivery
6 Tips to Lose Weight after Pregnancy While Breastfeeding
Although breastfeeding is one known way of losing some weight, it is not a reliable way for most mothers. Losing weight after pregnancy while breastfeeding makes one part of the equation. You will need to incorporate other post-pregnancy weight loss tips to see results. Nursing mothers burn approximately 500-850 calories. But remember breastfeeding makes you hungry, and if you add on sleep deprivation, your body will crave for unhealthy foods.
Therefore here are tips for losing weight after pregnancy while nursing.
1. Eat Six Mini-meals Throughout the Day
Spreading out your meals for the entire day is one way of watching your portions while controlling milk production. As a nursing mum, your body needs extra calories to sustain your body and to provide sufficient milk. Eating only three meals can set you up for hunger which affects your hormonal levels including the production of prolactin. Prolactin is responsible for milk supply.
Also, waiting to eat after a more extended time will have you eating foods you shouldn’t. Therefore, postpartum weight loss while breastfeeding can hit a plateau.
2. Cut Back on Carbs
But not too much. While breastfeeding, you will need extra calories compared to a mother who is not nursing. You may need to consume 300-500 more calories daily, but it is better to let your hunger determine this. Otherwise, for the sake of weight loss, slightly reducing your calorie intake is better. Keep calorie consumption at 2000-2500 per day.
3. Substitute Unhealthy Snacks with Superfoods
Superfoods that are high in starch and low in fat such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal, lean protein or other high fiber foods can keep you full for long hours. It helps you stave off high-calorie meals like your breakfast cereal or other sugary foods.
To set yourself up for success, prepare easy cook veggies and fruits that you can keep in your fridge. So you can quickly grab them whenever you feel like snacking. Eventually, you will significantly reduce your calorie intake hence regain your pre-pregnancy body.
4. Losing Weight after Having a Baby with Gastric Sleeve
Although weight gain during pregnancy is normal, some women who were obese before pregnancy may need surgical intervention to lose that weight. Losing weight after having a baby with a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass is recommended in such a situation. A gastric sleeve is a weight loss surgery that involves the surgical removal of a section of the stomach to restrict food intake.
According to Raritan Bay Medical Center; Mothers with a BMI 35 or higher need this surgery to prevent obese related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cancer risk, and heart diseases. Studies prove that undergoing this weight loss surgery has a ripple effect on the wellness of the entire family.
The research goes on to prove that child obesity rates significantly decline when their mothers go through a weight loss surgery.
Women who delivered through C-section can also lose weight through gastric sleeve. The weight loss surgery is best done six weeks after delivery, according to some doctors. It will improve your general health and help you easily run around with your kids.
Some experts also suggest that this weight loss surgery should be done 12-18 months after delivery when your weight has stabilized.
5. Weight Loss after C-Section Delivery
For mothers with a C-section incision, weight loss post pregnancy should start after six weeks or two months. Your body needs rest and to recover before starting any weight loss program. A C-section wound needs proper care for fast healing and to keep infections at bay. After a six week postnatal checkup, your doctor will decide if he will give you the go-ahead to start a weight loss program.
If you choose to do some workouts, start with gentle low exertion exercises. Avoid high strenuous workouts that can tear your incision and cause bleeding. Such hard exercising includes squats, bending or heavy exercising.
Exercises for Weight loss after C-section delivery include brisk walks, swimming, light stretches and pelvic floor exercises like Kegels. Such exercises are beneficial as they fasten recovery.
Moving around enhances blood circulation hence preventing the formation of blood clots that can be life-threatening. Also, it is preferable to breastfeed your baby. Nursing your newborn can help you shed off the extra weight gained as it burns calories.
Weight loss after C-section delivery requires proper dieting. Although some women may lose their appetite, they should eat nutritious meals to nourish them and the baby. High fiber foods are excellent for preventing constipation which can be painful especially to the C-section incision as well as keeping your stomach full. Instead of snacking on sweets, ice-cream, potato chips and other processed foods that are high in calorie, eating healthy prevents your weight from being on the upper side.
6. Weight Loss after Normal Delivery
Similar to weight loss after C-Section delivery, vaginal birth requires rest before commencing any weight loss program. For some mothers who had a difficult labor and delivery, it may take longer for them to heal. Otherwise, doctors recommend a two months recovery period post-delivery.
Weight loss after normal delivery can be affected if you had an episiotomy. Although episiotomies are on a decline as your doctor will find the safest way to deliver your child, some women still undergo it. It takes around 4-6 weeks for it to heal. From then your body can be ready for weight loss exercises.
For starters, pelvic floor exercises are the best after a normal delivery. It is because the instruments used during your baby’s delivery like forceps and vacuums can cause pelvic dysfunction. Also, the muscles around your pelvic area can be weaker after birth. Therefore, Kegels can strengthen your core. It in turn helps in better support of your body.
To lose weight after normal birth you will need to eat healthy, reduce high calorie carbs, move around, exercise more and set realistic goals. Also, remember to get rest and take enough water which is known to help in weight management.