According to the CDC, women can gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. Hence, it can be a major task after pregnancy to get your pre-pregnancy body back. We will help you achieve your goal weight with easy and effective tips.
So, let’s get started on the journey of losing extra weight naturally!
Table of Contents
What Should be Your Goal?
Your body suffers much stress during pregnancy, and it takes time to recover. Therefore, you will need to lose weight slowly and steadily to avoid complications after delivery.
You can start weight loss exercises and a diet plan two months after delivery. By this time, your body has already lost some of the weight on its own without any intervention.
Your body gains weight due to increased blood volume, uterus and breast enlargement, and fat accumulation. All these factors help you in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
However, your blood volume comes to a normal level one week after delivery. After six months to one year, your body will lose extra fat with diet and exercise.
According to the National Library of Medicine article, you can set a goal of losing one and a half pounds of weight per week. Moreover, it is important to carefully select your diet plan because extra calories can help while breastfeeding your child.
If you cut your diet below the minimum calories required, your muscle and fluid will be lost. This can lead to health issues, and there is a chance that your body will gain weight after some time.
Good goals to have are to start exercising, eating a healthy and calorie-conscious diet, and practicing other forms of self-care starting two months after delivery to maintain losing one and a half pounds per week.
Try Exclusive Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding not only builds a warm and healthy relationship between you and your child but also provides health benefits to both of you.
Mothers can prevent high blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. In addition to these benefits, breastfeeding can save you from retaining extra pounds after pregnancy. It decreases the obesity risk while burning the calories to produce milk.
While breastfeeding, you have to take care of your calorie intake so that it does not drop below the required calories to make milk. Hence, one-and-a-half-pound weight loss in a week will not affect your milk production, and you can lose weight easily and safely.
According to a study by Marian P. Jarlenski and colleagues, three months of breastfeeding can help reduce maternal weight faster. The mothers who exclusively breastfed their babies lost an extra 3.2 pounds than those who used formula supplementation.
Another study involved 132 mothers who exclusively breastfed their babies for four months. This study concluded that breastfeeding could significantly help the weight gain in infants and weight loss in mothers.
Breastfeeding a healthy relationship between you and your child can also help you regain your pre-pregnancy figure.
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.
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:
- Apple and pear
- Peanut butter
- Whole wheat toast
- Bell pepper
- Boiled eggs
- Whole fruit (avoid fruit juices)
- Broiled food
- Baked food
- Grains and legumes
- Brown rice
- Low-mercury fish
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 will keep your body hydrated, fresh, and increase satiety. If you consume water before your breakfast, your energy intake reduces. In this way, you can regulate your calories and stay on track.
Scientists found that drinking 500 ml of water half an hour before a meal led to a 13 percent reduction in energy intake. Hence, water consumption is an effective measure to develop long-term weight control.
You also need to replace your beverages and soda with water. If you drink water after your meal instead of diet beverages, you can reduce weight even faster, and it can provide other benefits, such as improving insulin resistance.
There is research on the effects of water and diet beverages consumption in a 24-week diet control program. This research concluded that the weight reduction in water-consuming people was six kg, while those who used diet beverages experienced a weight reduction of five kg.
Weight loss programs should preferably include more water than diet beverages. You can set a goal of drinking at least two liters of water every day. As you are breastfeeding your baby, you may need even more than two liters of water.
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.
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
You can do cardio, and resistance training can help you reduce weight faster. Schedule a walk, cycling, or bodyweight exercise in your routine to achieve a healthy body mass.
According to an analysis, you can lose weight effectively if you exercise regularly and combine it with a strict diet plan. This combination can result in extra weight loss of 3.7 pounds compared to those who only follow a diet.
However, your body needs time to heal after the delivery of your baby, so you need to consult your doctor before starting exercises.
According to the CDC, you can indulge in physical activity at moderate intensity after having a baby. It increases weight loss and improves heart and lung health.
Physical activity of 150 minutes per week is essential to keep your body active, and it keeps you in a good mood.
Additionally, resistance training can maintain healthy muscle mass in your body and it is also essential for your heart health. According to the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders, the combination of resistance training and a diet plan is the most effective strategy to reduce weight.
You can lose weight after pregnancy, but it can take some time. Avoid alcohol and processed food. Moreover, breastfeeding and exercise can help you lose weight even faster.