Losing baby weight the right way
Losing weight after a baby is hard work! Tackling the needs of a newborn while finding the time to regain that pre-pregnancy figure can feel like an insurmountable task. By eating six small, filling meals a day, and incorporating exercise into your day, you will be back to your pre-baby you in record time.
There is some truth in the "nine months on, nine months off" theory of weight loss. What does that mean? It means that it took your body nine months to put on the necessary weight to ensure a healthy baby, and it should take AT LEAST that long to come off. This is a hard truth, but a simple one, and once you wrap your head around it, it will save your sanity in the long run. Whatever you do, DON'T look to celebrities as the norm when it comes to post baby weight loss. Remember, these people are PAID to look a certain way, not only that, but they have a wealth of assistance in the form of nannies, caterers, and, of course, MONEY.
So get it through your head that it will take time to regain your figure, but that you will. Immediately after birth, you will still look about six months pregnant. Until your uterus contracts completely, you will have a puffy belly. Do NOT, under any circumstances, try on your pre-pregnancy jeans when you return from the hospital. Don't do it! Put them away, FAR away, if you can. If you can't wear your maternity clothes for one more second, buy some transitional clothing in a larger size- don't LOOK at the size, but just buy what makes you feel beautiful. That's step one.
Around the one month mark, if you get the OK from your OB, you can start working out. Working out is KEY in the long term weight loss that you're looking for. You can crash diet all you want, but that weight will bounce back on, believe me, and wreck your metabolism along the way, so stick to the basics.
If you're nursing, you're probably ravenous all of the time- you are making high quality milk for that little person you just made. Cut yourself some slack and eat when you're hungry, but be choosy with what you reach for. High protein snacks are your best bet, because they will help you feel full for longer. Try to stay away from too much sugar- as tempting as it may be to feel that instant energy surge, the subsequent crash will hit you all the harder. Working out when you're nursing adds even more hunger, so sticking to a schedule of six small meals a day is going to be the most beneficial for you.
What types of exercise will be the best for you? Any that get your heart pumping for at LEAST thirty minutes a day. Start out with a brisk walk- push the stroller for an extra boost. Add five minutes of running into your walk, followed by five minutes of walking. Go at a pace you feel comfortable at, but that still challenges you. If you can hold a conversation, you're at the right pace, if you can sing a song, you're going too slow. Keep in mind that in the initial postpartum period, your joints are still pretty loose due to the relaxin that your body produced to make way for baby. Run on a level surface, when possible, and stay away from contact sports or those that require sudden directional changes.
Another point to consider- your breasts! If you are nursing, and even if you are not, for the first month or so, your breasts will be much larger and heavier than they were pre-baby. Wear a supportive sports bra, or even TWO to hold the girls in place and minimize sagging later.
Now that you're working out, let's talk about what to eat. As fun as it was to eat whatever you wanted to while you were incubating your little one (You did, right?), in order to lose that weight you have to majorly overhaul your diet to reflect the fact that you're no longer "eating for two". Some nursing women lose weight by simply nursing- after all, you burn about 500 calories a day by producing breast milk, and that adds up to about one pound a week, simply by feeding your baby.
Unfortunately, that only works up to a point. Many women find that they hit a plateau, with an undesirable amount of weight still lingering around their hips and belly. Sorry ladies, but if you are committed to breast-feeding, you are probably committed to this belly fat too- it ensures that your baby is getting high quality milk with plenty of fat in it- vital for baby's growth. So you gals, just keep up with the healthy eating and exercising, and know that the extra weight should come off soon after you wean your little one.
Some great ideas for meals at this time which will leave you feeling satisfied AND help you lose the weight are:
Breakfast: add 1/2 cup rolled oats to a microwave safe dish, cover with milk until floating, add a whole raw egg and whisk together. Put in the microwave for two minutes, Add a little maple syrup and a dollop more of milk and BAM! a fast, filling breakfast in under five minutes. You can add apples, raisins, or other fruit to give it a little more kick too.
Lunch: Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey, and cucumber and carrot slices with hummus. This meal again is PACKED with protein, and very good for you.
Dinner: Stir fried salmon chunks with a shot of teriyaki and fresh ginger, steamed green beans and Jasmine rice. Eat like an Asian- If you notice, they eat the majority of rice and vegetables, and have just a small portion of the meat to add flavor; totally opposite what most Americans do, which is make the meat the main part of the meal.
These are just a few ideas to get you into the mindset of healthful eating and daily exercise. Once those two things become habits, you will lose that baby weight and KEEP IT OFF. It may take until peanut's 1st birthday to fit into those pre-pregnancy pants, but you will have established healthy habits for a lifetime.