The birth of a child is a joyous and emotional time, full of surprises as you get to know your new bundle of joy. However, there is one very unhappy surprise that mothers aren’t always prepared for. Though they may have been a healthy weight before they became pregnant, they won’t be afterward. Pregnancy weight does not disappear with the birth of your child.
In fact, if a woman is of a normal weight before she gets pregnant, the likelihood is that she will only lose 80% of the weight she gained. If she is overweight before becoming pregnant, she is likely to only lose 60% of that weight.
Excess weight negatively affects your health. It can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and a variety of other complications. Beyond that, it can really make you feel crummy about yourself in a time when you should be happy.
There are many factors that can lead to postpartum weight problems. When you have chronic stress during pregnancy your body makes a chemical called cortisol. This is the stress hormone, and it makes you store energy for flight or fight circumstances. Fat stores, of course, are your body’s long-term energy reserves. Unfortunately, the increase of cortisol along with the changes to your metabolism caused by sleep deprivation and rampant snacking can make losing weight feel impossible.
However, there is hope! If you want to lose that pregnancy tummy naturally and safely, just read on. I have some tips to help you do just that. However, there is one thing to keep in mind as you read. You will not lose the pregnancy weight in a few days or weeks. As long as you are losing a pound or two a week, you’re doing well. It can take up to a year to reach your goal.
Decide If You’re Physically Ready
This one may seem like a no-brainer. However, it’s not as simple as just deciding that now you’re going to lose weight. You need to figure out if your body is physically ready. Generally, your uterus takes from six to eight weeks to shrink back down to its pre-pregnancy size, but that is not the only change your body underwent while you were pregnant. Organs shifted around, your skin stretched, and your pelvis expanded. Your body needs time to heal and rearrange.
It is also a good idea not to focus on regaining the shape of your pre-pregnancy body. The main goal is to lose the remaining baby weight for your health. So, when you go for that six to eight weeks checkup after everything is healed, it’s time to talk to your doctor.
Why Talking To Your Doctor Is Important
Your doctor should be an important player in your weight loss journey. They know your medical history and any unforeseen problems with weight loss you might not have considered.
Furthermore, your medical professional can help you set a healthy, reasonable goal weight. If you were not overweight before the baby, you can use your pre-pregnancy weight as a goal. If you were overweight, you can ask your doctor what a healthy goal for you would be. They will likely use a measure called the BMI (Body mass index) to figure that out. This invaluable tool will help determine the percentage of fat in your body and then where you fall on the BMI scale.
Count Your Calories
It’s important to remain aware of a number of calories you’re consuming in a day, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories. For that reason, you need to eat a lot of food to make sure there’s enough nutrition for both you and your baby. Anywhere between 2,000 and 2,400 calories per day should be sufficient. However, if you are feeding your child formula, you don’t need the increased nutrients. For that reason, women who aren’t breastfeeding need to eat 1,600-1,800 calories a day.
Eat Nutritious Food
As tempting as it may be to just live on TV dinners and takeout until you feel better, this won’t help your body recover from the stress of delivering a child and definitely won’t help you lose weight. You need to eat as organically as possible. Look carefully at nutrition labels. If the food contains ingredients whose names you can’t pronounce, you should find another option.
Though cooking your own organic foods may not always be an option, there are still things you can do. If you like orange juice for breakfast, why not invest in a juicer and make some yourself? Just remember that not all oranges are equal and you need to choose a suitable variety that has enough juice to make the project worthwhile. Egg white omelets and steel-cut oats are also good choices. For lunch, try whole-grain wraps that feature baked chicken or seafood. Fill half your plate with lean vegetables, use a fourth for lean protein and the other fourth for a whole grain. That way you can be sure you’re eating a balanced meal.
Don’t forget to Snack
When you’re a new mother, snacking is very important. After all, several small snacks throughout the day will really help you keep your energy up. Just remember to make sure that your snacks are healthy. Homemade kale chips and popcorn are great snacks. However, remember to limit the butter on the popcorn.
Exercise is Important
I know it might seem like the last thing you have time for when you have a new baby is remaining physically active. However, incorporating some exercise into your day is necessary for weight loss. You can even do some exercises with your baby. This type of physical activity helps with their neuromuscular development, though please check with your pediatrician first.
Even if you don’t exercise with your baby, it’s still okay for you to move around. Put the baby in a high-quality baby swing so that you have both hands free. Then you can lift weights or do crunches.
It is also okay, after the first couple of weeks or so, to take your little one outside. Make sure they are dressed warmly and that it’s a mild day. Then put them in a sturdy backpack carrier or stroller and take them for a walk. A lot of babies actually find walking to be quite soothing, and it is a common remedy if they have the colic. Beyond that, getting some fresh air and a brisk walk will improve your mental and physical health. Walking is an excellent way to lose that postpartum tummy.
Losing extra baby weight is important. However, do not try to regain your pre-pregnancy shape.
Do not be encouraged if it takes up to a year or longer to get the pounds off. This is normal. Try for only a pound or a pound and a half a week. If you lose more than that, increase your caloric intake.
Don’t forget to grab some gentle exercise, with or without the baby. If you follow these tips, you will soon be a much happier, healthier new mother.