In almost every woman’s magazine we see, they always show a new celebrity mom that shows how they made their weight loss look so effortless. But the reality is that dropping post-delivery pounds can be challenging. Every woman dreams of losing all the extra pregnancy pounds and weight gain the moment the baby finally arrives, but the fact is no woman jumps right back to her pre-baby body so quickly.
It is important to keep your expectations in check: Depending on the size of your newborn (which is usually between 5 to 10 pounds), and precise weight of your amniotic fluid and placenta (which you deliver at birth), most pregnant women can lose up to 12 pounds during delivery alone. Considering that the average pregnancy weight gain is between 25 and 35 pounds, which can definitely pave the way to a healthy start!
They can be found in your breast tissue, blood supply, fat stores and enlarged uterus. In fact, giving birth might not shrink your baby belly very much at all, at least for the first six weeks until your uterus shrinks back to around its pre-pregnancy size.
Always give yourself a cheat day once a week. You will end up bingeing if you don’t give yourself one to look forward to. Eat only real food and say no to artificial anything. Know what you are eating, and look at the ingredients. If you don’t know what some of the ingredients are, then don’t eat it. There are lots of things you can do to get into shape again, but it’s really important to give yourself a break: Your body just gave birth to another human being. Things get moved around, stretched and grow in order to make that happen.
Don’t focus on getting your body back but on creating a healthy, happy, and possibly a sexier you.
Having a baby is quite possibly to most amazing and joyous moment of a woman’s life. But it is also a big sacrifice to spend the next 9 months feeling low in energy, bloated, and cranky during those sleepless nights. Luckily, you can bounce back! You CAN feel sexy and energetic again with lots of helpful information, and a great cup of coffee. Don’t let people talk you into thinking that you will never be able to wear fitted and fashionable clothes again. The truth is some people give on themselves. But with a little help and guidance, you will not!
Luckily, you can bounce back! You CAN feel sexy and energetic again with lots of helpful information, and a great cup of coffee. Don’t let people talk you into thinking that you will never be able to wear fitted and fashionable clothes again. The truth is some people give on themselves. But with a little help and guidance, you will not!
Lucky for you, you get a big head start on your weight loss right after the birth. The baby, placenta, and the water weight account for a big proportion of the weight you've gained throughout the pregnancy. Most women lose about half of their pregnancy weight right after childbirth. The postpartum period is not the time for dieting or exercising, but don’t worry. You can still lose the weight, and won’t even need a personal trainer!
First, let's look at what a realistic weight loss goal might be. Many women strive for their body to bounce back to as it was, but as the saying goes, “It took you 9 months to gain the weight, give yourself 9 months to lose it.” If you are not a Victoria Secret model, you do not need to be strutting down the runway in lingerie just two months after giving birth. I might even pursuit in saying that you shouldn’t be worrying about that even if you are a supermodel.
Ideally, you should allow your body to rest and fully recover after giving birth. You should be gazing in awe and admiring your baby. You should be cuddled up in bed with your baby developing a closeness of breastfeeding. In fact, your midwife or doctor will probably not give you the all clear for exercise until your Lochia has stopped, which will take about 8 weeks.
Tip: Never eat after 7 pm, except water.
Don't start working out until you are mentally ready for the challenge. Taking care of a newborn is fatiguing, and attempting to lose the weight before you're truly ready will ultimately fail. Do it when you're ready, not when everyone else thinks you should do it. When you are ready to lose your baby weight and shape up, focus on living a healthy lifestyle and get the right nutrition in your diet, instead of obsessing about losing weight. You will find by giving the cells in your body the right balance of vitamins and minerals this will step up your metabolism and digestion, which are both keys to weight loss and feeling energetic. Stop worrying about calories and start thinking about nutrition and health. Your baby and your body will thank you for it.
How quickly you can get your figure back depends not only on how well you care for your body during pregnancy but also on the body habits you carried into the pregnancy. If you exercise regularly and eat healthy before and during your pregnancy, you are likely to reclaim the figure you want more quickly than if you brought a poorly toned and undernourished body to the birth. If you gain more fat than your body and your baby needs, it will take you long after the birth to lose the excess. You will lose around half the weight gained when you deliver your baby (this includes the baby, amniotic fluid, and placenta).
During the first few weeks postpartum, you will lose a few more pounds of excess fluid. You will continue to shed pounds if you continue to eat carefully, exercise regularly and breastfeed. Breastfeeding may help take off some of those pounds between three to six months postpartum when milk production is at its highest. During the first nine months postpartum, you will have around 5 to 10 pounds to burn off. Realistically, it takes around six to nine months to shed off whatever healthy weight gain during pregnancy you put on. Many women who eat right and exercise still maintain a few extra pounds after giving birth and gain a fuller figure as a mother.
It is time to begin your healthy eating and weight loss plans and increase the amount of weight-bearing exercises you are doing to get the toned limbs showing through. This can be done with squats, mini push ups, core work and light weights, remember that you need to lose the excess fat to show off the muscles so make sure you are following a healthy eating plan to lose the excess weight.
When starting on any weight loss diet, always make sure you get off to a great start by clearing out your pantry and fridge by throwing away any junk food; this includes all chocolates, processed foods, and fatty foods and replacing them with fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grain bread, rice, and pasta. This is essential as when you have bad days there will only be the good food to snack on, and no junk food in sight to throw your weight loss off track.
It is quite common to feel down and not like yourself for the first couple of weeks after childbirth. You are still recovering physically and mentally from labor and delivery, dealing with postpartum hormones, and adjusting yourself to live with the newest, precious, and a most demanding member of your family. All of this can leave you drained, feeling exhausted, cranky, and anxious.
And while feeding yourself may be the last thing on your to-do list, eating healthy food, having regular meals and snacks, and a few simple steps can boost your energy level and your mood. With your amazing and exhausting new 24 hour job, you barely have time to take a shower or even change your clothes. It is completely natural to be focused on your new bundle of joy, but it is important to remember your health. Parenting takes a lot of energy, and even more if you are fueling milk supply for your little one.
Since your body needs a generous amount of rest and proper nutrition to recover from delivery, feed your baby, and fight off any infections, you shouldn’t even think about dieting until your baby is at least six weeks old, no matter how anxious you are to get back into your pre-pregnancy shape. This will give you enough time to let your body recover.
Once the long and tiresome six weeks have passed, you’ve gotten the OK from your doctor, and feel ready to start your post-baby diet you must make sure to continue taking in enough calories. If you are breastfeeding and you don’t eat enough calories, your body ends up reducing its milk supply drastically. What’s more, burning fat too rapidly can trigger the release of toxins that couldn’t end up in breast milk. Even for those who are not nursing, not eating enough calories can make your body think you are starving, which confuses your body and cause your metabolism to slow down, making weight loss much harder for you in the long run.
Tip: Try including as many red chilies in your diet as possible. They contain a chemical called Capsaicin, which increases energy production in the body and stimulates the metabolism which is great for weight loss. It reduces inflammation in the body which is also great for sore muscles.
Omega 3-s fatty acids are mainly found in fish, nuts and seeds are essential to a healthy diet. They help your body function and helps protect against heart disease. Some studies show lower overall rates of depression, including postpartum depression among new moms, in countries where people eat substantial amounts of fish.Pediatrician James Sears, a co-author of The Baby Book, suggests new mothers stock up on food rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like wild salmon, flaxseed oil, and walnuts. He believes these enhance brain function and can help with depression. “Omega-3 oils really help the brain work better,” Sears says.
Whether you prefer yogurt, milk, or cheese, dairy products play an important part of healthy breastfeeding. Milk delivers a boost of bone-strengthening vitamin D. In addition to providing protein and B vitamins, dairy products are one of the best sources of calcium. If you're breastfeeding, your milk is loaded with calcium to help your baby's bones develop, so it's important for you to eat enough calcium to meet both you and your baby’s needs. Try including at least three cups of dairy each day in your diet.
Boost your energy as a new mom with iron-rich foods like lean beef. A lack of iron can drain your energy levels, making it hard for you to keep up with the demands of a newborn baby.Nursing moms need to eat extra protein and vitamin B-12. Lean beef is an excellent source for both.
Iron-rich beans, particularly dark-colored ones like black beans and kidney beans, are a great breastfeeding food, especially for vegetarians. They’re also a budget-friendly source of high quality, non-animal protein.
Breastfeeding moms should be sure to get two or more servings of fruit or juice each day. Blueberries are an excellent choice to help you meet your needs. These satisfying and yummy berries are filled with good-for-you vitamins and minerals, and they give you a healthy dose of carbohydrates to keep your energy levels high.
You might tempt yourself to cut back on carbs to help lose the baby weight but don’t. Losing weight too quickly may cause you to make less milk and leave you feeling sluggish.Mix healthy, whole-grain carbs like brown rice into your diet to keep your energy levels up and running for hours. Brown rice provides your body the calories it needs to make the best-quality milk for your baby.
Portable and nutritious, oranges are a great food to boost energy. Oranges and other citrus fruits are excellent breastfeeding foods since nursing moms need more vitamin C than pregnant women. If you can't find time to sit down for a snack? Sip on some orange juice as you go about your day, you will get the vitamin C benefit, and you can opt for calcium-fortified varieties to get even more out of your drink.
Eggs are a versatile way to meet your daily protein needs. Scramble a couple of eggs for breakfast, toss a hard-boiled egg or two on your lunchtime salad, or have an omelet and salad for dinner.
Folic acid is crucial to your baby's development in the early stages of pregnancy. But its importance doesn't end there. Folic acid is an important nutrient in your breast milk that your baby needs for good health, and it's crucial you eat enough for your own well-being, too. Enriched whole-grain bread and pasta are fortified with it, and also give you a healthy dose of fiber and iron.
After yet another sleepless night, one of the best foods to boost energy for new moms in the morning is a healthy breakfast of whole-grain cereal. Many cold bowls of cereal are fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients to help you meet your daily needs. Stir up a healthy, hot breakfast by stirring blueberries and skim milk into a delicious serving of oatmeal.
Breastfeeding is an enjoyable way to help post pregnancy weight loss. Lie around all day staring at the perfection of your newborn while burning 500 or more calories per day? You can count me in! Although it is natural and women have been doing it for hundreds of years, breastfeeding doesn’t come easily to all women. Set yourself up for success by reading about breastfeeding during your pregnancy so you can be prepared and off to a good start before the baby arrives. Your body stores up fat during pregnancy that you will use to produce milk and nourish your baby once it is born. When you are breastfeeding, you must continue to eat healthy nutritious foods, especially good fats to maintain your milk supply and nourish your baby.
Remember: if you are nursing your calorie needs are much greater during the first six months after giving birth, that it was during your last trimester. The average woman needs about 2,000 calories a day, while a breastfeeding woman should add an extra 500 calories to maintain their current weight. Make sure the foods you do eat are packed with the proper nutrients. Just remember that whatever you are eating is exactly what you are feeding your baby if you're breastfeeding.
After delivery either C-section or vaginal, it will take time and energy to regain your abdominal muscle function. You may also be dealing with diastasis recti, a separation of your rectus abdominal muscle. Without correct re-education of both your deep and superficial abdominal muscles, a proper function may not be achieved. The C-section incision sites and repairs of perineal tears (episiotomies) can become restricted as the tissue heals. The skin over any incision site should move as easily as the skin on the back of your hand. If it doesn’t, it might mean your scar has soft tissue restrictions that could lead to other issues down the road.
Tip: Aim to lose about a pound a week and give yourself 6 months or longer to return to your pre-pregnancy weight.
It's usually impossible to get enough rest and exercise in the first few demanding months, and it's difficult to eat as well as when you were pregnant. But as consuming as caring for an infant can be, it is important to take care of yourself too. Choosing healthy foods will help keep you energized through your busy days and nights.
Drink plenty of water, and make time to sit down and eat a quick snack or meal, even if you have to put the baby down or hand her off to your partner or a helper for just a few minutes. Don't be afraid to ask friends, neighbors, and relatives for help with grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up, everyone knows how hard it can be. Make each and every meal count.
The best possible food for your baby is breast milk. Breastfeeding burns over 600 calories a day for breastfeeding women who don’t supplement with formula.
[perfectpullquote align="right" cite="" link="" color="" class="" size=""]A study published in the Journal of American Dietician Association shows breastfeeding melts off inches around your hips and buttocks.[/perfectpullquote]
2. Take Your Daily Vitamins
Although a supplement is no substitute for a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, it can be difficult to cover all your nutritional bases during those first few busy tireless* weeks with a newborn baby. So keep taking your prenatal vitamins for a couple months postpartum.
Prenatal vitamins generally do contain more iron than regular multivitamins, which is important because your iron stores may be lessened after pregnancy and giving birth, especially if you had a C-section. Having Low iron levels can leave you feeling fatigued and down. Also, antioxidants including vitamins A, C, and E, may improve the overall brain function.
3. Drink Water Throughout The Day
Water is essential to not only aid in weight loss but to replenish your body and keep you hydrated. Dehydration can make postpartum weight loss worse. In fact, fatigue and anxiety are also symptoms of moderate dehydration. It advised to drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water a day, and shouldn't wait until you feel thirsty. By the time you notice your thirst, mild dehydration may have already kicked in. This is especially important in the early days of breastfeeding because nursing can make you extra thirsty.
Grab a tall glass of water, juice, or even decaf iced tea before sitting down to nurse your baby. Breastfeeding moms are especially at risk for energy-draining dehydration. To keep your energy levels and milk production up makes sure you stay well-hydrated. You can vary your options and meet some of your fluid requirements by drinking juice and milk. But be careful when it comes to caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea.
4. Moderate Your Caffeine Intake
Having one or two cups of coffee can help get you going in the morning, but if you're consuming caffeinated beverages all day long, you're more likely to end up jittery, worn out, and unable to sleep during the night. Caffeine makes people agitated, irritable, and restless.
Also, if you are breastfeeding, doctors recommend having no more than 300 mg of caffeine in a day, about what you'd get in two or three cups of coffee, to avoid affecting your baby. Have no more than 2-3 cups a day, or switch to decaf. Caffeine enters your breast milk and can cause your baby to become irritable and sleep poorly.
Giving up all caffeine can cause temporary headaches, lethargy, and crankiness. So if you drink a lot of it, don't just quit cold turkey. Try to slowly cut back to a few caffeinated beverages a day or none at all, if you want to be caffeine-free.
5. Eat 5-6 Small Meals Throughout The Day
Rather than eating three large meals, aim to have at least five smaller meals throughout the day to keep your energy up. It keeps your energy levels on an even pace the whole day long, rather than seesawing you between hunger and fullness throughout the day.
If you do have trouble eating more than one meal a day, let alone several, try keeping the fridge stocked with easy snacks or quick small meals high in protein and/or complex carbs. Try whole wheat bagels or toast with peanut butter, edamame, hummus on pita bread, cheese and crackers, hard-boiled eggs, trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, and yogurt with fruits. Grazing throughout the day will be easier if you have a tasty selection of high-energy snacks to choose from.
6. Always Start With a Great Breakfast
Proteins such as eggs and yogurt and complex carbohydrates like whole-grain bread and cereals are the ideal breakfast choices rather than consuming simple carbohydrates or sugar. Instead of reaching for a plain bagel, a bowl of sugary cereal, or a piece of white toast which are all simple carbs, try having a fruit-and-yogurt smoothie, a bowl of oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, or scrambled eggs on whole-wheat toast. Simple carbs cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash, leaving you feeling sleepy. Complex carbs give you longer-lasting energy, help to keep you full longer because they take longer to digest, and offer your body more nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals. Eating A protein-rich, complex carbohydrate-rich breakfast is very important, and probably the opposite of what most people do.
7. Eat Protein
[perfectpullquote align="right" cite="" link="" color="" class="" size=""]Make sure to eat lots of protein in your diet. It's especially important to get enough protein in your diet now", says Shoshana Bennett, a psychologist on the advisory council of Postpartum Support International (PSI).[/perfectpullquote]
Bennett says that eating small amounts of protein throughout the day helps keep blood sugar levels even and moods stable. And consuming dairy products, poultry, meat, and fish along with low-glycemic carbs like nuts, whole grains, and beans, can boost production of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that gives a calming effect on the brain. These foods will help you stay full and get lean. To add more protein to your diet, try having scrambled eggs for breakfast, a turkey or roast beef sandwich for lunch, and yogurt or cheese with crackers for a healthy snack.
The Protein recommendations are 71 grams a day for nursing moms and 46 grams a day for non-nursing moms, according to the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board.
8. Go Crazy on Veggies
Eat as much of it as you want! Vegetables are not only extremely healthy for you, but they help you to produce breast milk too and increase your supply. Vegetables are also low in calories, but high in nutrients. Leafy green veggies like spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli are filled with Vitamin A, which is good for you and your baby. The benefits don’t stop there. They're a good non-dairy source of calcium and contain vitamin C and iron. Green veggies are also filled with heart concise healthy antioxidants and are low in calories.
9. When You Have a Craving For Sweets, Go For Dark Chocolate
It can be easy to reach for junk food when you're feeling tired and in need of quick calories, but try to resist the urge. Junk food may give you a temporary lift, but that rush comes with an inevitable crash. Don't beat yourself up about it if you do indulge occasionally. But if you have to eat something with a lot of sugar, eat some dark chocolate. High-quality dark chocolate, at least 70 percent cocoa – can improve mood by increasing the serotonin level in your brain.
Some studies indicate that chocolate consumption triggers the release of endorphins, brain chemicals responsible for delighted feelings.
10. Pay Attention To Your Appetite
It's normal for most moms to skip meals and forget to eat on a regular schedule during the anxious first weeks of caring for a newborn. But if you find that you're rarely hungry and eating seems like a chore, your loss of appetite may be a symptom of postpartum depression.
Eating poorly can also contribute to mood problems and hurt your diet in the long-term. Your body needs regular, balanced meals and snacks to keep the blood sugar levels stable. When they're not, it can affect your mood. If you consistently have to force yourself to eat, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor.
Note: If you suspect you're suffering from postpartum depression rather than a temporary case of the "baby blues", tell your care Doctor right away as it must be treated right away. PPD is a serious condition that requires treatment. A healthy diet can improve your mood, but it can't substitute for professional help. Warning signs of PPD include insomnia, a severe change in appetite, weepiness or sadness that persists all day, and thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
11. Grab a Piece Of Fruit Instead Of Chips And Dip
Fresh fruits and vegetables are your best choices when you're in need of a quick snack. Fruit gives you a burst of energy but doesn't create a later crash like junk food filled with refined sugar.
Fruits like apples, oranges, peaches, and pears are high in fiber, which helps your digestion. Best of all, most fruit requires no prep work or cleanup and is easy to eat on the go.
12. Move Your Body And Exercise
There are plenty of ways you can exercise, even if you had a C-section. Take your baby for a walk around your neighborhood or at the park. Go to a gym. Join a spinning class. Learn yoga. Try a fitness DVD. Walk up and down the stairs 25 times. Just go easy on yourself if you had a C-section because your body is still healing from the inside.
If you already have older kids, take them to the playground and have some fun. Babies love to be carried all the time, so this can add up to some serious calorie burn! A 150-pound person carrying a 15-pound infant burns 237 calories per hour. As baby grows your calorie burn while baby-wearing increases. That’s a lot of calories burned just by babywearing. An added bonus is that babies tend to cry less when they are worn for several hours per day.
Do whatever you can to move that body. Being a mommy is not an excuse to get lazy and sit on the couch all day, every day. If you find pleasure in sports, join a team or a local YMCA. Do what works for you and keeps you motivated. Just keep moving and the pounds will shred!
13. Keep your skinny jeans
Too many new moms give up on themselves so fast. They throw away all their pre-baby clothes and start this mindset: “Oh, I am a mom, now I can eat what I want and no longer need to care about my health or appearance.” But that’s not true. Now that you have a baby you must be more mindful of what you put into your body. A healthy happy mommy equals a healthy happy baby. Keep the skinny jeans but do yourself if they never fit again. Just please don’t give up on yourself and embrace your newfound curves.
[perfectpullquote align="right" cite="" link="" color="" class="" size=""]According to the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology, it is safe to resume exercise whenever the mother feels up to it.[/perfectpullquote]
Naturally, you should consult your doctor before doing any strenuous exercise. The sooner you are able to resume an exercise routine, the better for your well-being. Exercise produces endorphin, which are the happy hormones that your body naturally produces. It may be quite tricky finding the right time to fit exercise into your daily life with a newborn. But it is not impossible, as long as you make it a priority.
Don't go on fad diets. As a new mother, you have enough stress in your life; you don't need to add the strain and mood swings of a yo-yo diet. New mothers might find themselves having a hard time getting themselves to the gym in the first place, whether the reasons are the lack of a babysitter, money and time. The key to having a successful weight loss is to remain flexible and learn to adapt with your baby. Just remember to take it easy on yourself.
Simple Exercises are a great step to get back into the first few weeks or even months after giving birth. You can start with gentle exercises such a walking, doing pelvic floor exercises, and stretch. Try deeps squats while holding your baby, not only does it give you bonding time but does a good job firming your thighs and back region. Take your baby for a walk around the neighborhood or in the mall; you will appreciate getting out of the house as well.
If you start an exercise regimen, start slow and build yourself up. Nothing can stop you faster than injuring yourself by overexerting too soon. If you can afford to buy a gym membership that includes childcare, don’t be afraid to use it.
Here are three stages ranging from 0-12+ weeks of exercise. Of course, during the first stage, you must take it easy on yourself and gradually progress as the weeks continue.
Goal: Physical recovery, strengthening the pelvic floor and lower abdominals, and gradually increase your mobility
Neck and Back Stretching: Stand up straight with your arms crossed over your chest, behind your neck. Then twist to the left and then to the right. Repeat 10 times on each side multiple times a day
Lower Abdominal Contractions: Sit on a chair with both feet on the floor. Squeeze your pelvic floor off the floor. Remember to breathe! Hold for 5 seconds, relax for 5 seconds and repeat for 5 sets.
Goal: Engage in light to moderate activities, including increased walking and more challenging exercises.
Goals: Your goals in this stage are to engage in moderate to intense exercises that will lead you back to your pre-pregnancy fitness level.
Share your thoughts/suggestions on the postpartum weight loss!
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