For many women, it can be a struggle trying to achieve a healthy weight after pregnancy while juggling to be a new mom and responsibilities. Taking care of a newborn and adjusting to a new routine while recovering from childbirth can be really demanding physically, mentally and emotionally. But if you plan on becoming pregnant again, it is important to return to a healthy weight after your delivery.
What is “Baby Weight”
It is recommended that women within a healthy weight range gain between 11.5kg to 16 kg during pregnancy. This weight gain consists of the baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, breast tissue, more blood, uterus enlargement and extra fat stores.
The extra fat acts as an energy reserve for birth and breastfeeding. However, excess weight gain can result in too much fat. The consequences of keeping this excess weight can result in a heightened risk of diabetes and heart disease, greater risk of complications in later pregnancies and higher health risks for women with gestational diabetes
Here are some tips to help you effectively lose your baby weight!
1. Be Realistic
Despite what many women’s magazines would have you believe, losing pregnancy weight actually takes time. Women usually retained 1 to 3 kg of their pregnancy weight gain after 12 months. Depending on how much weight you gained during pregnancy, it is realistic to expect to lose 4.5 kg over a period of 1-2 years.
Dropping weight gained during pregnancy overnight is an unrealistic and unhealthy goal. It took nine months to make a baby and it’s probably going to take you another nine months to get back to the weight you started at. A combination of good diet and exercise, you should be able to achieve the weight loss that you desire over time. While the weight loss after birth may vary for each person, the most important thing is that you return to a healthy weight range.
2. No Crash Diets Please, You Are Breastfeeding
When you are breastfeeding, you can’t go on a restrictive diet as your body requires good nutrition to heal and breastfeed. In order to produce breastmilk, your body requires the nutrients and energy provided by healthy, well-balanced meals. Breastfeeding an infant requires more calories baby than pregnancy. The body burns through 500 calories a day to produce milk for your infant. But it requires only 300 extra calories a day to nurture a fetus.
The bad news is that many women find that five to 10 pounds stubbornly cling to their bodies and refuse to let go until they stop nursing. The good news is that your body burns fat to make breastmilk. So if you continue to do Yoga and eat a healthy meal of nutrient-dense foods (fruit and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain bread and cereals), your body will naturally shed its pregnancy padding as you breastfeed.
3. Getting Into The Groove
Labour is a big shock for a lot of women. After the baby’s born, your body needs time to recover before you start exercising to lose that lingering weight or get back to your regular workout routine. It’s a good idea to do some Prenatal Yoga even before you give birth to your body gets into the rhythm of working out.
But if you haven’t done so, do not fret, start by taking short walks to ease yourself back into your usual workout routine. After 4-8 weeks, you can start doing Postnatal Yoga to help energize your body, burn fats and tone up your pelvic muscles. Those moms who’ve had a Caesarean often need longer to recover before exercising than others. So get the go-ahead from your doctors!
If you’re eating well, you don’t have to worry that exercising will affect your body’s ability to produce breastmilk. Exercising will not affect the quantity or composition of breastmilk or the growth of your baby.
4. Choose Foods With High Water Content
Foods high in water (fruits, veggies, soups, teas) fill you up with fewer calories. Water adds weight and volume without adding calories: It lowers the calorie density of foods. Research conducted by Pennsylvania State University on appetite control shows that people who have soup before a meal eat significantly less. Warm foods are more filling than cold, so drink a hot cup of tea between your meals.
5. Consume Food With Healthy Fibre and Protein
Eating food that is high in fibre has been shown to help with weight loss and targeting the reduction in belly fat. Soluble fibre may also help you feel fuller for longer and reducing hunger hormone levels. Additionally, soluble fibre is fermented into short-chain fatty acids in the gut. These help increase levels of the fullness hormones.
Including healthy protein in your diet can boost metabolism, decrease appetite and reduce calorie intake. Protein has a greater thermic effect meaning the body uses more energy to digest it than other types of foods, resulting in more calories burned. Protein is also able to suppress appetite by increasing the fullness hormones, as well as reducing the hunger hormone ghrelin.
Set the tone for the day with a spinach and mushroom omelette for breakfast, or have baby carrots dipped in hummus as a mid-morning snack. Two benefits: You meet your fibre and protein requirement, and getting the day off to a good start means you’ll be more likely to defend your success come nightfall.