Are you concerned about the changes your body has undergone due to pregnancy? Do you think it is impossible to get back to your pre-pregnancy state, or at the very least close enough?
The extra weight you gained is due to your growing baby, bigger breasts, and increased body fat stores. If you intend to become pregnant again, it is important for you to return to a healthy weight.
Managing your weight after birth is not the easiest endeavour due to the stress of the postpartum period and adjusting to the baby’s routine. However, below are five tips to help you manage your weight.
- SET REALISTIC GOALS: The first thing you should know is there is a high chance that you may not return to your pre-pregnancy weight as the changes caused by pregnancy may be long-lasting.
You need to accept that your waistline will not go back to the way it was, and comparing yourself to other women will only make you frustrated. With that said, you can set a realistic goal for yourself and map out a plan to stick to. The length of time required for weight loss can also depend on the amount of weight gained during pregnancy.
- BREASTFEEDING: Breastfeeding has been shown to help burn calories. While breastfeeding, it’s important to eat a healthy diet. Some women experience weight gain because they tend to eat more during breastfeeding, especially fat-rich meals. This, coupled with little or no exercise, will lead to weight gain.
- AVOID CRASH DIETS: These are low-calorie diets advertised to help you quickly lose weight. After delivery, it is important to take nutritious meals to help your body fully heal and recover. Breastfeeding mothers also require more calories to help with milk production.
- DIET AND EXERCISE: You should be mindful of your daily calorie intake to ensure you’re not taking more than your body needs, as the extra calories will simply be stored as fat. It’s also recommended that you eat foods that are rich in fibre and eat healthy proteins like eggs and dairy. Avoid alcohol and discipline yourself to eat only healthy snacks like nuts, vegetables, and dried fruits. Avoid overly processed foods and refined carbohydrates. Diet should be coupled with exercise to get the best results. Only engage in strenuous exercises when you have fully healed, and if in doubt, check with your doctor about the type of exercise you could do, especially if you delivered through a caesarean section. Walking is, however, a good exercise that can also help with weight loss.
- STAY HYDRATED AND GET ADEQUATE SLEEP: Drinking water is beneficial for everyone, especially those trying to lose weight. It increases your metabolism and makes you feel fuller. Not getting enough sleep adds to your stress and makes you more tired. It also makes it more difficult to stick to your weight-loss plan. As much as you can, take naps, especially when your baby is sleeping.
Don’t compare yourself with others. Some people have help, and you may not have the amount of time or support they do.
Do what works for you, and most importantly, be kind to yourself.
Give your body time to heal, as child-birth is stressful, and it’s okay for you to take your time.
To return to your pre-pregnancy weight, it’s advisable to give yourself about 6 months to one year.
Remember to ask for help from your health care provider, family, or friends. This is a difficult process, and it helps to get all the support you can.