One of the first things a new mother sets out to do, other than sleep, is lose the weight she gained through her pregnancy. Many first-time moms are shocked to find that some of those pounds are still in her body, even after the baby isn’t. The good news is that much of this weight will peel off naturally over several weeks’ time. Some may require a little effort, though. If you want to lose weight after a pregnancy, there are several safe and effective methods of going about it.
One important thing to remember, if you’re breastfeeding, is that your dietary needs are different than those of a mom who is bottle-feeding her baby. You’ll need to take in more fluids and more quality proteins for milk production. You’ll also need to take in a few hundred extra calories per day. But, don’t let that make you fear you can’t lose weight. You’ll burn more calories while breastfeeding, too.
The following are three important keys to help you lose weight after pregnancy. Including all of them in your weight loss plans will help you reach your goal weight safely and quickly.
The first important key to help you lose weight after pregnancy is to get enough sleep. New mothers will laugh at this, as sleep is a true rarity for a new parent. However, it is important to your weight loss. Studies have proven that people who get less than eight hours sleep per day weigh more and have a higher body fat ratio than those who sleep eight hours per day. Getting enough sleep prevents excess release of cortisone, which promotes belly fat. It also keeps your energy level up, which will keep you from reaching for a latte or candy bar for quick energy.
The second principle to help lose weight after pregnancy is to drink plenty of water. If you’re breastfeeding, you need extra water anyway. In any case, drinking enough water will help you to feel full, aid your body in metabolizing fat and flush out excess water that has been stored during your pregnancy.
The third key is to eat many small meals per day. This is probably your only alternative to starvation, anyway, as most new parents rarely have the opportunity to sit down for an entire meal. The good news is, you’ll lose weight faster by nibbling all day than you will by eating three square meals. Eating many small meals, evenly spaced throughout your day, will speed your metabolism and keep your insulin levels and blood sugar on an even keel. Of course, you want these foods to be nutritious, not just whatever is available.
Last, you need to begin a moderate exercise program as soon as your doctor gives you the okay. This will usually occur at your six-week checkup, as long as everything is alright. However, even if you were very fit and worked out daily before, you need to approach exercise a little bit differently just after pregnancy. As natural and wonderful as pregnancy and birth are, they were still quite traumatic to your body. For at least several weeks, you will be more prone to muscle and ligament injury, so take it easy in the beginning. Also understand that you’re going to tire much more quickly and with much less exertion than you may have before the baby. Moderate the intensity of your exercise or shorten your workouts for the first month or two. Even 20 minutes of moderate exercise, three times per week, will get you to your pre-pregnancy weight.
Take this time to enjoy your baby and take care of your health. You’ll be able to lose weight after pregnancy, as long as you do it safely and make good food choices.
Photo Credit: Tom’s Thumb