The happiness of meeting your first born child after nine months of pure sacrifice and constant body changing is priceless. While you celebrate being a mother for the rest of your life, thinking about the future days ahead – breastfeeding, what to do if she cries, or even where to celebrate your baby’s first birthday – we are sure that you have mixed emotions due to the weight you gained during pregnancy.
Do not fret if you started at a normal weight before pregnancy because gaining 25-35 pounds is usual. It would not take you a couple of months or even years to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight if you just watch what you eat and groove your body.
However, if you were overweight before pregnancy and did not follow the eating habits your doctor recommended, chances are you could have a hard time cutting off those pounds. It could take you much longer time – or even years – to shred the weight off. Keep in mind that any baby weight that you do not cut off could remain with you permanently and holding on to it can even lead to serious health consequences such as heart disease and diabetes.
Losing the baby weight is beneficial not just for you, but for your future children as well. When you are overweight before pregnancy, it could put you and your developing baby at risk for medical conditions such as gestational diabetes and hypertension.
When it comes to losing the baby weight for good, have patience for yourself and do not be too hard for your body. Shedding those extra pounds demands a lot of time and effort, especially when you are a first-time mother who is still figuring things out and familiarizing to a particular schedule. Take note: Most moms do not reach their pre-pregnancy weight until their baby turns one year old.
Just because your favorite celebrity’s post-baby body bounced back faster than any bullet out there, it does not mean they are doing it in a way that is healthy for their body. A registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA) Melinda Johnson MS, RD, said that celebrities lose weight with very strict diets and a majority of them do it by getting into activities before their body is certainly ready for it. She stressed out that the baby weight took nine months to get there and it should take at least that long to get back their pre-pregnancy weight back.
With that being said, and if you have no idea how to begin, here are five tips to help you lose the baby weight for good and fit back into your pre-pregnancy dress, whatever its size.
Breastfeeding is your best friend
First-time mom Naya Rivera revealed that she effortlessly dropped her first 30 pounds (she gained 60 pounds during her entire pregnancy!) just from breastfeeding and lightweight workout. Though breastfeeding is a legit calorie burner that could help you burn at least 500-800 calories a day just by sitting comfortably in your lazy couch, you need to have an additional 400 to 500 calories to help keep your milk production flowing.
According to Sherry Ross, MD, an ob-gyn, and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, if you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, you are bound to lose weight naturally and can expect to drop about 1 pound per week. But still, do not think that you can easily lose weight by cutting calories if you are breastfeeding since eating less than 1,800 calories per day (you must consume at least 2,700 calories) could hinder your milk supply and you will probably feel more exhausted. Just make sure that never use breastfeeding as an excuse to eat whatever you want.
Hang out with other new moms
It is much helpful to get along with other moms and talk about their journey rather than staying at home and stress yourself from all you are feeling. You could catch up with them and have a regular exercise – you lose your baby weight, but you gained amazing companionship and accountability partners! Carolyn Pione of Baton Rouge, La., shared her experience of working out with fellow moms – she never had the energy to get out of their home until some friends who formed an early-morning run knocked on her door one day, encouraging her to join.
When she got pregnant and gained 36 pounds, she could not keep up with anything. But after contemplating things, she felt compelled to join and didn’t even want to miss the daily friendly conversation. Now, she lost all her baby weights with the right group of peers, not to mention that she now runs in 5ks, an achievement she never imagined would work without her accountabilities.
Say no to empty calories. Eat smart and load up on “super foods”
Empty calories such as sodas and chips are a HUGE no when you want to lose that baby weight off. When you are a first-time mom and currently nursing, your body needs maximum nutrition such as lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a lot of low-fat dairy products – they are good for you, keep your bones strong, and help you feel full for longer.
Experts are against going on a diet after giving birth. Tammy Baker, M.S., R.D., a Phoenix-based dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association advised that your body is working to repair itself after pregnancy. Therefore, to get your body back, you have to think of your health first. Eat more “super foods” such as fish (focus on salmon, sardines, and tuna) which is rich in DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid that helps your child develop a healthy brain and nervous system.
Remember to eat small and healthy meals frequently throughout the day to keep your blood-sugar levels steady, which also prevents you from overeating. If your calories are distributed throughout the day, they are digested more efficiently which would less likely be stored as fats.
Move your groove!
The majority of first-time mothers are too overwhelmed with the work they have to catch up, as well as the hectic schedule they need to adjust into. With that being said, they are fatigued to even think about working out and move their grooves out. Do not worry too much because that is totally normal since women’s bodies are not ready for intense training until six months of their post-pregnancy – longer if they had C-section type of delivery.
However, progress is still progress no matter how small. You don’t have to hit the gym right after giving birth. Small steps such as taking a brisk walk with your baby in a stroller for 20 to 30 minutes is enough to get your body working, muscle working, and heart pumping. Not to mention that it burns up to 150 to 200 calories! It benefits not only you, but your baby gets an enough Vitamins from the sunlight as well. Also, try placing your newborn’s diapers farther from the usual – it may be a simple act, but it counts.
Moving your groove out does not only help you keep back in your pre-pregnancy weight, but it also helps you fight depression and pregnancy blues, helps you sleep more soundly, and relieves your stress.
Free your mind
It is given – you are probably stressed, exhausted, and sore from all the things you need to do, especially if you are still trying to absorb the surreal fact that you are now a mother. With this, there is a huge chance that you are not taking care of yourself or eating well. Fatigue, irritability and mood swings would not help you at anything but it just let you crave for fatty, sweet, salty, and junk foods which would just result to weight gain.
Try to squeeze in a quick power nap when the baby sleeps, or treat yourself to a spa just because of one thing: YOU DESERVE IT. If the weather permits, try to go outside and spend time with your baby in a green environment because it could increase happiness, self-esteem, well-being, and improved mood. Also, do not feel guilty by giving yourself a break and having ‘me’ time. It could just be listening to your favorite music, having a cup of tea while reading your favorite book, hot shower or bath, or just by checking your social media networks. These alone could decrease your stress level by 68 percent and would help you lose weight in the long run.
Keeping your favorite dress from the time you were lean is already an enough motivation to keep you going. Knowing the reasons why you want to get fit will help you reach your goal weight.
However, if you are still struggling to lose weight, seek help from a dietitian to aid you with a healthy eating plan that could let you lose weight safely and efficiently; or a doctor to guide you on how much pounds you need to lose or when could you start on your intense training. After all, whether to achieve your pre-pregnancy weight or even lower than it, it all boils down to feeling good and being with your kids for a longer period.