HEALTH & FITNESS
A Guide to Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss
It’s easy to feel lost when trying to lose weight, and that feeling can be worse when you’ve just had a child and you’re gearing up for the whirlwind years of early parenthood. Between the sleepless nights, the near-infinite crying, and the momentous “firsts” from walking to talking, it can be hard for new moms to have time for self-care, much less time to think about their diets. Losing weight while taking care of a new baby is seldom easy, but don’t feel discouraged! By following a lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise, you can lose those extra pounds in anywhere from six months to a year, according to LiveScience. So, here are a few important things to consider when trying to shed those extra pregnancy weight loss!
The weight gained during pregnancy isn’t just from fat or the baby itself, but also from the placenta, the growing uterus and breasts, and increased volumes of blood and fluids, according to the National Institutes of Health. While a lot of this weight gain is natural and expected, gaining too much weight during pregnancy puts the baby at risk of being born with a high birth weight, obesity later in their lives, or other health defects or metabolic issues, according to a 2015 review cited by LiveScience. The weight gained during pregnancy is generally a good predictor of weight retained after pregnancy.
From healthy eating apps to natural herbal supplements, there are so many ways to keep yourself fit and healthy. Whatever route you take, consider some of these adjustments. A great way to get started is by surrounding yourself with healthy foods. It’s hard to keep eating healthy when you have sweets and junk food sitting in the pantry, so make an effort to revamp your food supply. Whatever you do, do not go on any drastic diet programs or try any quick fixes. There’s no magic bullet to losing weight, so just make incremental adjustments. Drastic diet plans can actually stress you out, causing you to gain weight instead of losing it. Focus on eating foods that are dense with nutrients—like fruits, vegetables, and some dairy products—and avoid empty calories, especially desserts made with an abundance of processed sugar and fat.
Try To Stay Active
When you feel ready, aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist. Finding 30 minutes a day to exercise can sound difficult (almost impossible) to some, but you can always take it slow by breaking it up into 10 minute increments, then work up to 20- to 30-minute sessions. Simply moving around for a few minutes a day can benefit you. One of the best ways to do this is by walking. Walking is cheap, convenient, and anyone can do it. You can include your baby by pushing their stroller while you walk. You can even include your friends and make it a social activity. This is a great way to stay motivated to exercise after pregnancy.
Expect Quick Results… at First
During delivery, you lose on average ten pounds of weight simply from the weight of the baby, the placenta, and the amniotic fluid. After delivery, you’re losing additional fluids in your body, which will come off easily over the course of a few weeks. What remains is extra fat that was gained during pregnancy, which will take longer to lose. Though, with regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet, you may be able to lose about one pound per week, according to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic. However, don’t be discouraged if this is not the case for you. Just as we all gain weight at different rates, we lose weight at our own paces, too.
Keep in mind that this is going to be a difficult and time-consuming process. Ask a friend to be your workout buddy, seek out the help of a dietician or nutritionist, include your baby in your exercise, ask your family to keep you moving – just don’t go it alone!