How to lose the baby weight?
It takes time to recover from childbirth and the changes that occur in your body during pregnancy. Losing weight too quickly can have an impact on how quickly you recover. Your doctor will be able to give you the green light to begin gentle exercise after about 6 weeks. Then, gradually increase your exercise intensity because hormones are still circulating in your body, making your ligaments stretchier than usual and making you more prone to injury.
Knowing when to lose weight is dependent on your overall health, pre-existing medical conditions, and the type of birth you had. When you believe you are ready to begin losing weight, consult with your doctor first, followed by a dietitian before embarking on a weight loss plan in the first few months after giving birth.
Is weight loss more difficult after pregnancy?
Weight loss after having a baby should not be difficult, but there is a bit more to consider when trying to keep yourself and your baby healthy. Losing weight after pregnancy should be gradual and gentle 2kg per month is an excellent goal. Losing weight too quickly can have serious consequences for your health and ability to feed and care for your baby.
If you are breastfeeding, you should wait until your milk supply is established before reducing your calorie intake; otherwise, your milk supply may be affected. This could be anywhere between 2 to 6 months after childbirth. Following that, you could gradually reduce your energy intake to around 500kcals per day without affecting your milk supply. Remember that breastfeeding burns a lot of calories, so it can help you lose weight without making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
What to eat when losing weight after pregnancy
Caring for a baby is not only physically demanding, but it can also put your emotional stamina to the test. Eating a nourishing and varied diet, rich in wholegrains, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables is critical for keeping your brain functioning well while sleeping less.
Healthy eating tips to encourage gentle and healthy weight loss after a baby:
- It is very easy to forget to eat. Having 5-6 small meals or snacks throughout the day can help you maintain your energy and boost your metabolism. Consider boiled eggs with cherry tomatoes, cheese and vegetable sticks, a small handful of nuts and dried fruit, yoghurt, a bowl of cereal and milk, a smoothie, and so on.
- Eat slowly if possible. I know it's easier said than done, but when you have the opportunity, slow down your eating so that it takes around 20 minutes to finish your meal. This will assist you in feeling complete. When you eat quickly or with distractions (and there are many when you are a new mother! ), you don't notice your fullness gradually creeping up on you, and before you know it, you have over-eaten! Aim to eat until you feel subtle fullness and then eat again in a few hours when your hunger returns.
- Drink mostly water or milk. Soft drinks and juices are high in empty calories and are easy to consume in large quantities for extra energy. Even those containing artificial sweeteners can be detrimental because they deceive the body into craving more and more sweet foods. Instead, eat some nice sweet fruit.
- Eliminate empty calories from your diet. Socializing with other mothers can help you feel supported and connected to your community during a time when you may feel very isolated. And socialising usually entails eating cakes and drinking coffee, both of which are bad for your waistline. Cakes and cookies are those 'extras' in-between meals that go unnoticed but prevent you from losing weight. Instead of meeting at a café, ask friends to join you for a walk and then go out for a healthy meal.
- Drink plenty of water, especially during meals, as it can help you slow down your eating while also improving your hydration.
- Eat protein at lunch, dinner, and as a snack. Protein is necessary for rest, fullness, and energy. This involves including a palm-sized piece of meat with each meal. And more isn't always better. Larger portions of meat can cause weight gain due to the extra calories, but they have no benefits for protein metabolism.
What if I can’t seem to lose any weight?This is a good time to speak to your GP about a referral to a dietitian. They can then have a very close look at your dietary patterns and energy needs before providing some guidance on meal ideas and portion guides that are specific to your needs.