Health

How to Lose Weight After Pregnancy

Women may gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy, making postpartum weight loss a notable endeavor. We’re here to offer easy and effective tips to help you achieve your pre-pregnancy body. Let’s begin your journey towards natural weight loss!

Lose Weight After Pregnancy

What Should be Your Goal?

During pregnancy, your body undergoes significant stress, necessitating a gradual recovery process. To avoid post-delivery complications, it’s important to approach weight loss slowly and steadily. Consider incorporating weight loss exercises and a balanced diet plan around two months after delivery. By this time, your body has naturally shed some weight.

Factors like increased blood volume, uterine and breast enlargement, and fat accumulation contribute to pregnancy weight gain, supporting a healthy pregnancy. After delivery, your blood volume returns to normal within a week. Over the next six months to a year, your body naturally loses excess fat through dietary adjustments and exercise.

According to the National Library of Medicine, aiming for a weight loss of one and a half pounds per week is realistic. However, be mindful of your diet, especially while breastfeeding, as extra calories are essential. Avoid cutting calories too drastically, as it can lead to muscle and fluid loss, potentially causing health issues and weight regain later on.

Set achievable goals, such as starting an exercise routine, adopting a nutritious diet, and prioritizing self-care, to support consistent weight loss of one and a half pounds per week, starting two months post-delivery.

 

Try Exclusive Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding fosters a strong bond between mother and child while offering health benefits to both. It helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer for mothers, while aiding in shedding post-pregnancy weight by burning calories to produce milk.

Maintaining an adequate calorie intake during breastfeeding is crucial to sustain milk production. Therefore, aiming for a one-and-a-half-pound weight loss per week won’t compromise milk production, allowing for safe and gradual weight loss.

Research by Marian P. Jarlenski and colleagues shows that breastfeeding for three months accelerates maternal weight loss. Mothers who exclusively breastfed their babies shed an extra 3.2 pounds compared to those who supplemented with formula.

Another study involving 132 mothers who exclusively breastfed for four months found significant benefits in infant weight gain and maternal weight loss. Breastfeeding not only nurtures a healthy relationship but also aids in regaining pre-pregnancy figure.

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Adopt These Eating Habits

If you eat less, you might reduce milk production. Your baby requires certain nutrients through milk, so having a balanced diet enriched with essential nutrients is necessary for avoiding illness.

Here are tips for healthy eating habits:

  • Shorten the gap between meals: This will help you eat less because you will not feel too hungry just two to three hours after a previous meal. With this habit, you need to eat five to six small meals along with snacks in between these meals.
  • Eat consciously: Distractions can increase your calorie intake by 71 percent. Distraction can also increase the desire to eat food, while consciously eating can increase satiety. Therefore, consciously looking at your meal while your baby is asleep can reduce your calorie intake.
  • Eat slowly: The speed at which you eat affects your appetite. Research has concluded that eating a meal for over 30 minutes favors earlier satiety than eating the same meal in 5 minutes.
  • Keep a record of your calories: You can use mobile apps for calorie tracking or a food diary and dietician assistance to help you monitor your calorie intake.
  • Make nutritious food easily visible: Your brain wants to eat the food it often sees so it helps to keep the food in your diet plan on the front rows of your shelves.

Eat At Least 1500-1800 Calories

Your nutrition will determine the amount and composition of breast milk. Especially if you are on a specific diet plan, a balance between energy requirement and energy cutoff must be kept. According to animal research, a dietary restriction can result in a 52 percent milk reduction.

Reduction in physical activities can prevent the reduction in milk due to dietary insufficiency. However, in high levels of deficiencies in the nutrients, your body begins to burn its stored energy, which can lead to weakness.

Research indicates that short-term fasting doesn’t cause milk reduction. Another study also suggests that you can safely reduce energy consumption to 1500 calories per day without affecting milk production. Decreasing the calories below 1500 calories in one day causes a 15 percent reduction in milk.

Decreasing calorie consumption can affect prolactin, a hormone that takes part in producing milk. Therefore, diet plays more than one role in lactation.

 

Enrich Your Diet with Proteins and Fiber

To reduce weight, you should know the theme behind eating less and healthy food. Your stomach should feel full despite fewer intakes. That means your satiety needs to be sustained and your diet should be such that it maintains your body’s proteins at an optimum level.

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Protein helps maintain the body mass within healthy limits, and fibers will prolong the state of satiety. Daily protein intake ranges from 0.8-1.2 grams per kilogram of your body weight.

The foods that you need to focus on eating are:

  • Beans
  • Apple and pear
  • Peanut butter
  • Whole wheat toast
  • Carrots
  • Bell pepper
  • Boiled eggs
  • Whole fruit (avoid fruit juices)
  • Broiled food
  • Baked food
  • Grains and legumes
  • Brown rice
  • Broccoli
  • Low-mercury fish
  • Dairy

Avoid refined carbs, alcohol, and highly processed foods because they are high in calories and low in nutrients. Hence, sugar and carbs can increase weight. So, keep away from cakes, pastries, biscuits, sugary drinks, and white flour.

Your diet plan should be sustainable. Therefore, you need to make the food tasty and attractive enough that you want to eat. You can add garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, onion, or herbs seasoning. Additionally, oils, cheese, nuts, and seeds can add to the flavor of your meal.

Drink Much More Water

Water keeps your body hydrated, fresh, and increases satiety. Consuming water before breakfast can reduce your energy intake, helping you regulate your calories and stay on track. Studies have shown that drinking 500 ml of water half an hour before a meal can lead to a 13 percent reduction in energy intake, making water consumption an effective strategy for long-term weight control.

Replacing sugary beverages and soda with water is also beneficial. Drinking water after meals instead of diet beverages can further aid in weight loss and provide additional benefits, such as improving insulin resistance. Research conducted on the effects of water versus diet beverage consumption in a 24-week diet control program found that individuals who consumed water lost an average of six kilograms, while those who consumed diet beverages lost five kilograms.

Weight loss programs should prioritize water consumption over diet beverages. Setting a goal of drinking at least two liters of water per day is advisable, and breastfeeding mothers may need even more than that.

 

Try to Get Enough Sleep

As a new mother, getting enough sleep is a challenge. You need to take care of the young one and focus on your daily chores. However, you cannot negate the importance of sleep in helping with weight loss after your pregnancy.

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A research review aimed to find the impact of sleep on weight retention after pregnancy. Sleep deprivation and stress can lead to sustained obesity after pregnancy.

You can maintain sleep hygiene by following some basic techniques:

  • Try to get into bed during the first portion of the night. Most of the sleep develops during this period.
  • Turn off electronics, take a warm bath, or read a book before bed.
  • Make your bed before you go to sleep and keep unfolded laundry, exercise bikes, and stacks of books outside your bedroom.
  • You can also hire a caretaker for your baby while you are asleep to help you get better, uninterrupted sleep.
  • Try to train your child for regular sleep after four months of age. For this, you can consult your pediatrician.
  • Try not to consume excessive caffeine during the day because it can cause trouble getting sleep.
  • If you are sleep-deprived during the day, try taking a 20-minute catnap. It is usually enough to refresh your mood and keep you alert.
  • Avoid sleep medications.

 

Combine Your Diet Plan with Exercise

Engaging in both cardio and resistance training can accelerate weight loss. Activities like walking, cycling, or bodyweight exercises contribute to achieving a healthier body mass. According to research, coupling regular exercise with a strict diet plan can result in more significant weight loss—about 3.7 pounds more compared to those who solely adhere to a diet. Before initiating any exercise regimen, it’s crucial to consult your doctor, especially considering the postpartum recovery period.

According to the CDC, participating in moderate-intensity physical activity after childbirth aids in weight loss and enhances heart and lung health. Strive for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week to maintain an active lifestyle and uplift your mood. Incorporating resistance training into your routine helps preserve healthy muscle mass and boosts heart health.

Incorporating resistance training into your routine helps preserve healthy muscle mass and boosts heart health. Studies published in the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders highlight the effectiveness of combining resistance training with a diet plan for weight reduction.

Conclusion

Postpartum weight loss is a significant endeavor for many women, and adopting a gradual and holistic approach is key to achieving success. By incorporating a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate rest into your routine, you can effectively support your body’s natural recovery process and work towards regaining your pre-pregnancy figure. Consulting with healthcare professionals before embarking on any significant lifestyle changes is essential, particularly concerning exercise regimens and dietary adjustments, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Remember, patience and consistency are crucial on this journey, and by prioritizing your well-being and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can achieve your weight loss goals and embrace a healthier, happier you after childbirth.

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