How fast should I lose my baby weight?
Give yourself about six weeks to get back to normal and focus on eating a healthy diet this time. You will most likely be sleep-deprived, exhausted, and lack energy to exercise, prepare healthy meals, or do what is needed to lose weight during these six weeks.
It can take up to a year to fully lose all your baby weight. You should be losing weight gradually, such as a pound or two a week. Don’t feel pressured to go on crash diets or exercise all the time to lose the baby weight; you need to stay healthy and energized in order to take care of your recovering body and your newborn baby.
Why can’t I just do what the celebrities do?
Celebrities can afford to lose their baby weight so quickly because they have enough financial resources to hire help for the baby and employ a personal trainer to get them back into shape. However, losing weight that rapidly can be unsafe.
Restricting your calories or going on a crash diet will not help you lose weight. It is most important to get good nutrition, plenty of sleep, and physical activity. However, it can be difficult to get lots of sleep and enough physical activity with a newborn. A nutritious diet will be your best bet, since it can help you recover some energy and will keep you healthy until you have an opportunity to resume a normal sleep and exercise schedule.
Low-calorie diets can also help you lose weight quickly; however, they can lead to a loss of lean muscle tissue and a decreased energy level. This can be very harmful since a decreased muscle mass lowers your caloric needs and can make it harder to lose weight and you need a high energy level to cope with a newborn baby.
If you’re nursing, you cannot restrict calories. It can severely affect the quality of your breast milk.
How can I diet?
Don’t. An “official” diet could derail your postpartum weight loss plans. Being deprived of your favorite foods while dealing with the stress of a newborn could cause you to actually eat more. Instead, you should focus on having a well-balanced variety of foods. You can trim your calorie count but be certain you’re still getting a minimum of 1600 calories a day and that your diet is nutrient-rich.
You’ll need balanced meals 3 or 4 times a day for stamina and energy. Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy foods so that you won’t be able to satisfy your cravings with junk foods. Make sure you have lots of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and high-fiber foods in your kitchen to use for meals or to snack on, since these foods will fill you up without filling you out. Be certain to drink lots of water but watch the amount of alcohol you’re imbibing since alcoholic drinks have high calorie counts.
What about exercise?
If you exercised during pregnancy and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, it’s usually safe to begin light exercise within days of delivery or as soon as you feel ready. If you had a C-section or a complicated birth, make sure you talk to your health care provider about when you should start an exercise program. Generally, you should be able to start light exercise about 4 to 6 weeks after delivery.
When your health care provider gives you the go-ahead:
- Get comfortable. If you’re breastfeeding, try to feed your baby before you exercise so that you can avoid the discomfort caused by engorged breasts. Wear a supportive bra and comfortable clothes when you exercise.
- Start slowly. Begin with simple exercises that will strengthen your major muscle groups, such as your abdominal and back exercises. Gradually add exercises of moderate intensity, such as brisk walking or cycling on a level surface.
- Include your baby. If you’re having issues finding time to exercise, try to include your baby in your routine. Take your baby for a daily walk in his or her stroller or baby carrier. Keep your baby next to you when you stretch on the floor or you can even include your baby in strength training activities – like lifting your baby above you as you lie on your back.
- Don’t do it alone. Ask other moms to join you for a daily walk or try a postpartum exercise class. Working out with others could help motivate you.
Remember to drink lots of water before, during, and after each workout. Stop exercising if you experience pain, since that could be a sign you’re overdoing it.
How does breastfeeding relate to weight loss?
Breastfeeding can also help you lose weight gained in pregnancy. This is because when you breastfeed, you use fat cells stored in your body during pregnancy and calories from your diet to fuel milk production and feed your baby.
How do I tell if my weight loss goals are realistic?
Many women lose more than ten pounds during childbirth, including the weight of the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid. In the first week after delivery, you’ll lose additional weight as you shed retained fluids. However, the fat stored during pregnancy won’t disappear on its own.
Through diet and exercise, it is reasonable to lose about one pound each week. It could take six months or longer to return to your pre-pregnancy weight, whether you’re breastfeeding or not. Even after you lose all your baby weight, your weight could be distributed differently.
Remember to be gentle with yourself as you accept the new changes in your body. Most importantly, take pride in your healthy lifestyle.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013, July 31). Weight loss after pregnancy: reclaiming your body. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/weight-loss-after-pregnancy/art-20047813?pg=1
Watson, S. 8 tips for losing weight after pregnancy. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/8-tips-for-losing-weight-after-pregnancy?page=1
Zelman, K. (2013, Oct. 17). Expert Q&A: losing the baby weight. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/expert-qa-losing-baby-weight