Now that you just had your baby, you’ve got a lot to think about: when to feed them, what to do when they cry…
And how to lose that stubborn baby fat you packed on during your pregnancy.
Every new mom is eager to get back her pre-baby body, but one of the most important things to keep in mind is to be patient with yourself.
Here are some tips to help you lose those extra pounds after pregnancy and feel confident in your body again.
Getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight can realistically happen in about 6 to 12 months following delivery. Most women lose half of their baby weight by 6 weeks after childbirth (postpartum). The rest typically comes off over the next set of months.
A healthy diet with regular exercise will help you drop the pounds. Breastfeeding can also help with postpartum weight loss.
As a new mom, your body needs maximum nutrition, especially if you’re nursing.
You need to give your body the time to fully recover from childbirth. If you lose weight too quickly after childbirth, it may make your recovery time take longer. Give yourself until your 6-week checkup before making an attempt to slim down. If you’re breastfeeding, wait until your baby is at least 2 months old and your milk supply has normalized before drastically cutting calories.
Set attainable goals, like losing about a pound and a half a week. You can accomplish this by eating healthy foods and incorporating exercise once you’re approved by your OBGYN for regular physical activity.
Women who exclusively breastfeed need about 500 more calories per day than they did before pregnancy. Get these calories from healthy choices like fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein.
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t drop below the minimum number of calories you’re required to have.
If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll want to lose weight at a slow pace. Weight loss that happens too quickly can make you produce less milk. Losing about a pound and a half (670 grams) a week shouldn’t affect your milk supply or your health.
Breastfeeding causes your body to burn calories, and that will definitely help with losing weight. If you’re patient, you might be in for a pleasant surprise at how much weight you lose naturally while breastfeeding.
There are a few strategies where you can eat to lose weight. These healthy eating tips will help you lose weight safely.
Don’t skip meals! With a new baby, many new moms forget to make time for a meal. If you don’t eat, you’ll have less energy, and it definitely won’t help you lose weight. Aim to eat at least 5 to 6 small meals throughout your day with healthy snacks in between (instead of 3 bigger meals).
Eat breakfast. Even if you aren’t used to having breakfast, get into the habit of eating every morning. Not only will it give you the energy you need to start your day, but it’ll also keep you from feeling drowsy later on.
Slow down. When you take your time eating, you’ll notice that it’s easier to tell that you’re full. As tempting as it may be for you to multitask, try to focus on your meal one bite at a time since you’ll be less prone to overeat.
Pick nonfat or low-fat dairy products.
When you’re craving a snack, try to go for foods that include fiber and protein to help keep you full (i.e. raw bell pepper or carrot with bean dip, apple slices with peanut butter, or a slice of whole-wheat toast with a hard-boiled egg).
Stay hydrated and drink at least 12 cups a day. Keep a water bottle close to where you normally feed the baby. That way you’ll remember to quench your thirst when they do.
Limit drinks like sodas, juices, and other beverages with added sugar and calories. They can add up and make it harder for you to lose weight.
Choose broiled or baked over fried foods.
Limit sweets, sugar, saturated fat and trans fats.
Don’t crash and burn. Avoid going on a crash diet (not eating enough) or a fad diet (popular diets that restrict certain kinds of foods and nutrients). They’ll probably make you drop pounds in the beginning, but those first few pounds you lose are fluids that will come right back.
Other pounds you lose on a crash diet may be muscle instead of fat. You’ll gain back any fat you lose on a crash diet the moment you get back to your old eating habits.
Be Realistic. You might not be able to return to your exact pre-pregnancy shape. For many women, pregnancy causes lasting changes in the body. You might have a softer belly, wider hips, and a larger waistline. Make your goals regarding your new body realistic.
Exercise will also help you lose fat rather than muscle.
Once you’re prepared to start losing weight, eat a bit less and move a little more day by day. Although you may feel the urge to push yourself into a hard routine for fast weight loss, rapid weight loss isn’t healthy and takes a toll on your body.
You don’t want to overdo it. Just a quick walk around the block with your baby in the stroller is a great way to start adding exercise to your daily routine.
If you want more women’s health tips like these or are still struggling to lose that stubborn baby fat, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ghea, a top female OBGYN in Fort Lauderdale, by calling 954-473-2011, visiting her office at Westside OB/GYN Group, or filling out an online request.
She’ll be more than happy to get you closer to achieving your goal – to be a happy, healthy, and positive role model for your little one!