How to Get Back In Shape After Pregnancy
Want to shed some post-pregnancy weight? Many moms want to get back into shape after giving birth. Being fit is good for your self-esteem and physical health. Remember though, be patient with yourself and set realistic expectations.
Your post-pregnancy life is filled with many new changes so you need to ease into this new chapter carefully. Listen to your body and follow these tips:
Experts do not recommend dieting right after giving birth especially if you are breastfeeding. The first few months is a critical time for you and your baby and you will need the proper nutrition in order to recuperate. This doesn’t mean being complacent about your eating habits and eating whatever you can get your hands on.
The key is to eat smart so you can maximize your caloric intake without packing in extra pounds. Here are some practical tips for boosting your metabolic rate and lessening your hunger:
- Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. When you miss meals, you feel hungrier and could end up overeating or eating unhealthy food to compensate.
- Spread meals evenly throughout the day by eating small, healthy portions so you don’t get hungry and have enough energy.
- Incorporate high protein foods into your diet (like chicken, fish, beans and lean meat) because they lessen hunger.
- Go for healthy snacks like fresh fruit or nuts over processed food that are high in sugar and salt. Have these snacks nearby when you breastfeed.
- Add fiber-rich foods to your diet as these could help you feel full for longer without the extra calories.
Here’s another reason to be happy about breastfeeding: it burns calories! You burn about 300 to 800 calories per day when you nurse your little bundle of joy. Many moms, including supermodel mom Alessandra Ambrosio, credit breastfeeding (among other things) as one of the activities that helped them shed weight after giving birth.
Here are additional reminders:
- Breastfeeding moms need to consume at least 1,800 to 2,000 calories each day so they don’t become unhealthy or have trouble with their milk supply.
- Breastfeed often and for more than six months. Research has also shown that that frequent and long-term breastfeeding can increase weight loss.
- Avoid fad diets and weight loss drugs while you breastfeed.
Check out this infographic about the many benefits of breastfeeding for both moms and babies:
Drinking enough fluids every day offers numerous health benefits including an improved immune system and better digestion. In terms of weight loss, drinking the right amount of fluids can keep hunger at bay and help you keep full. It can be tricky to distinguish hunger from thirst so the next time you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water first.
Breastfeeding moms are recommended to stay hydrated but not too much as this could disrupt milk supply. Have a glass of water every time you breastfeed your baby.
Get enough sleep
There is a good chance you will gain weight if you are sleep deprived. A new study revealed that moms who did not get more than five hours of sleep were less likely to lose weight than mothers who slept at least 7 hours nightly. When you are sleepless and tired, your body is going to look for ways to get energy and this can manifest in hunger and craving for sugar. You’ll not only feel exhausted, you might end up overeating.
Here are some tips to help you set a healthy bedtime routine when your baby arrives:
- Sleep around the same time your baby sleeps.
- Set a night time routine for you and baby and stick to it. This can include a warm bath, reading a story or singing. Your baby will learn to associate these activities with bedtime and fall asleep faster.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help with chores from your partner or support group so you’ll have enough time to rest and recuperate every night.
Experts recommend exercise not just for post-pregnancy weight loss but overall wellness for new moms. Doing mild regular workouts can help boost energy levels, give you better sleep at night and lower the risk of postnatal depression.
The good news is you don’t have to hit the gym to get in shape. You can put your baby in the stroller and go for daily walks together. Work on this routine gradually by starting with a few minutes of brisk walking per day and slowly move your way up to 30 minutes daily.
- Ask your doctor for advice regarding the appropriate physical activities for you.
- If you’ve had a complicated pregnancy or delivery, make sure you consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise.
- When doing exercises make sure you listen to your body. Consult a doctor immediately if you observe any of the following symptoms:
▪ Difficulty breathing
▪Extreme exhaustion even after mild exercise
▪Sore muscles that do not heal even after 2 days
Many celebrity moms flaunt their post-baby body and it can be easy to feel pressured after seeing their seemingly magical transformations. It helps to remember that these celebrities have resources at their disposal that help get back in shape immediately like trainers, dieticians and even surgery.
Set realistic weight loss goals and don’t compare your progress with other people. Be forgiving and be patient with your progress. This is a beautiful chapter for you and your child so learn to embrace every aspect of it.
Here are some inspiring quotes from celebrity moms who have spoken up against body shaming in the show biz industry:
“Being pregnant finally helped me understand what my true relationship was with my body — meaning that it wasn’t put on this earth to look good in a swimsuit. I was like, ‘Look, I can carry a baby! I’m gaining weight right, everything’s going well.’ And I’ve had that relationship ever since.” – Amy Adams
“To expect someone to look like her pre-baby self immediately is odd. Because you just grew a human and then birthed that human — there’s a lot that needs to go back to where it was. All your organs move around, for chrissakes!” -Zooey Deschanel
“There is no shame in gaining weight during pregnancy (or ever). There is no shame if it takes longer than you think it will to lose the weight (if you want to lose it at all). There is no shame in finally breaking down and making your own jean shorts because last summer’s are just too dang short for this summer’s thighs. Bodies change. Bodies grow. Bodies shrink. It’s all love (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.)”- Anne Hathaway