Getting back into shape after giving birth is a lot easier when you control your weight while you are pregnant. It is also one of the best ways to prevent or minimize pregnancy stretch marks.
But because not every expectant mother has the luxury to exercise or eat a balanced diet, the next best solution is to shed the pregnancy weight after giving birth.
How to Get in Shape after Pregnancy
If you want to see results, get the right timing. That is, don’t try and lose the baby weight right after giving birth. Your body needs to return to pre-pregnancy hormone levels, water levels, and blood volume levels for exercise or reduced caloric intake to have any effect.
This means up to 12 weeks after giving birth.
So give yourself this much time to enjoy being a new before you start working on and worrying about losing weight.
Reclaim healthy mentality about food
Many women feel that they can eat anything and get away with it when they are pregnant. This is one of the reasons that expectant mothers pack in extra pounds that are becoming harder to shed off when the time comes.
The added weight, however, is the least of your worries.
It is the mentality of eating anything and too much that you need to overcome after the baby is born.
You need to replace it with a healthy food mentality.
Reduce portion sizes
Portion sizes are only a problem at the end of a pregnancy if a mother resumes eating large portion sizes after giving birth.
Some expectant mothers tend to eat less while pregnant due to the sizable amount of space that a baby occupies.
If you continue to eat less after pregnancy, losing weight would be easier. But not when you eat more once the baby is out.
Eat multiple times a day
This is probably the best news for new mothers. No one wants to starve themselves, after all.
Eating multiple times a day decreases the feeling of hunger and increases metabolism, which makes it an ideal part of any weight loss program.
Of course, you still need to remember to eat only healthy food and in reduced portion sizes.
Make sure you load up on foods that offer new mothers maximum nutrition, such as fish and milk and yogurt.
The former is packed with DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid that aids in the healthy development of the brain and nervous system of newborns. Milk and yogurt, on the other hand, are high in calcium that is essential for strong bones.
You also need to increase your intakes of protein-rich sources, such as chicken, lean meat, and beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Avoid a decrease caloric intake immediately
Too many calories may be to blame for the added postpartum weight but avoid reducing intake immediately. This is especially true for mothers who underwent C-section.
Natural birth or not, however, extra calorie intake is needed for the body to heal. It also helps produce milk needed for breastfeeding.
Stock up on essential calories
A minimum total of 1500 calories are needed for the body to heal and deal with postpartum changes.
If your diet lowers your calorie intake below the minimum, you should add in an extra snack or two to meet the needed caloric requirement.
Just make sure to keep your food choices healthy and balanced at all times.
Drink plenty of water
There are two things that drinking plenty of water can do – keeps you from getting dehydrated and keeps you feeling full longer so you don’t eat too much.
Studies also showed staying hydrated can speed up your metabolism.
How much water you drink however doesn’t necessarily have to be the recommended 8 glasses a day.
Use the color of your urine as a guide to determine if you’re drinking enough fluids.
If it is relatively clear, then you are drinking enough. The same is true if, about every 3 to 4 hours, you go to the bathroom.
The idea that breastfeeding can help lose weight still up for debate.
Some studies show that it can burn calories, while others find no difference in weight loss between women who don’t breastfeed and those who do.
What is certain, however, is that you need at least 400 extra calories if you are breastfeeding, which the body uses as part of the basal metabolic rate.
If your baby is a big eater or you have twins, add slightly more calories.
But remember not to use breastfeeding as an excuse to eat anything and to eat too much. Maintain a healthy food mentality at all times.
Do post-pregnancy workouts
Vaginal health also gets affected after childbirth. You can do kegel exercises for it or use a tightening cream. However, the vaginal tightening creams may have side-effects that you need to know first. Therefore, consult your gynecologist. You can exercise right after the doctor has released you or after the baby is 6 weeks old, depending on the kind of activity you have in mind.
But timing is still important.
So start your postpartum workout with walking. You can even make it a new-mommy and baby bonding time. The stroller can be used as a piece of fitness equipment for doing walking stroller workouts.
Once the time is right or you think you are ready for more challenging activities, practice the same exercise you did before the baby was born.
Experts suggest that you add in the exercise you performed during your third trimester of pregnancy and then work backward.
Between 4 and 6 months of your post-pregnancy, exercise starting with those you did during the third trimester, adding what you did in the second trimester, the first, and right end with whatever exercises you did before pregnancy.
They also recommend that you start with strength-training exercises sooner than later to rebuild a strong core. A pelvic tilt or a modified sit-up are two great options.
Get a good amount of sleep
Losing the baby weight is harder when you are sleep deprived. You also lose the motivation to eat healthily and take good care of yourself.
Unfortunately, getting 7 hours of sleep is impossible when a baby summons you like clockwork throughout the night.
If you can’t sleep for 7 hours straight, sleep when your baby sleeps and catch as many naps as you can during the day.