It’s natural to gain weight during your pregnancy – after all, the added fat helps protect and nourish the new life that’s growing inside of you. But once the baby is born, all bets are off. Most women are anxious to drop the pregnancy pounds and get back to their pre-baby bodies. If you’re ready to regain your old figure, read on for more advice on losing weight after pregnancy.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Many women are disheartened to find out that losing weight after giving birth is even more challenging than ever before. And it makes sense – you’re so wrapped up in caring for your new baby that you hardly have the time to exercise or prepare meals. In addition, nature’s working against you – new moms are biologically programmed to hold on to a little extra weight since some of that fat will be passed on to the newborn through breast milk.
But don’t think that this means you’re doomed to weight loss failure. Far from it! You just need to be mindful of your body’s needs when planning a post-pregnancy weight loss plan. Don’t expect that you’ll bounce back like the Hollywood starlets you see in the magazines – many of them have a little extra help in the hospital with shedding the excess pounds gained during pregnancy.
Eat a minimum of 1,600 calories per day
No matter what you do, don’t drop below 1,600 calories each day. Your body needs the energy from the foods you eat to care for your baby – even more so if you’re breastfeeding. Severely restricting your calorie intake puts your health in jeopardy and can lead to dizziness, fainting or more serious physical effects.
Instead, focus on improving the foods you do take in. If, during your pregnancy, you loaded up the cupboards with all your favorite cravings foods, it’s time to clean them out. Get rid of the sweet or salty snacks that taste good, but don’t offer much in the way of vitamins and nutrients, and replace them with fresh fruits and veggies. Keep pre-cut fruits and veggies on hand, along with plenty of low-calorie dips and toppings, so that you won’t be tempted to reach for an unhealthy snack out of convenience.
Get regular exercise
Exercising may be the last thing on your mind when you’re sleeping two to three hours a night with your newborn, but it’s extremely important for your health and for regaining your pre-pregnancy figure. Don’t worry – no one’s expecting you to get out and run a marathon a week after you’ve given birth. Even simple exercises, like walking around the block or doing some gentle Tai Chi will help keep you on the right track.
Many women get caught up worrying about what the best post-pregnancy exercise is, and here’s the answer. The best exercise for you is one that you’ll be able to stick with! Don’t think that running is the only way to lose your baby weight – if you hate it with all your heart and soul, you’ll never be able to stick with it. If you aren’t sure which type of exercise is right for you, check with local fitness centers to see if they offer mother/child exercise classes. You’ll have the chance to experience different types of exercise while meeting with other moms like you.