After your baby is born, you must be really looking forward to getting your pre-pregnancy bod back in the midst of adjusting to your new routine and taking care of your baby. However, giving birth to a precious life is not easy, and you will need to recuperate to slowly recover. You may wonder, what is the best for me to jumpstart that weight loss plan after delivery? And how can I lose the baby weight healthily?
The Best Time to Lose the Baby Weight
If you are breastfeeding, it is recommended to wait till your baby is 2 months old, before starting a healthy weight loss plan to avoid affecting your milk supply. However, it is generally ideal for mothers to actively lose weight after your baby’s 6-month birthday. This is to ensure a smoother recovery and gives you extra time to adjust to your new life.
The Right Concept
First and foremost, don’t expect to regain your pre-pregnancy bod immediately after birth. In fact, giving birth might not shrink your baby belly very much at all. You should expect to wait at least 6 weeks after birth when your uterus shrinks back to around its pre-pregnancy size. After you deliver, you will notice your weight slowly drops, and you may compare to others who are shedding the weight faster than you. Everyone sheds weight at their own pace, influenced by several factors such as basal metabolic rate, daily diet, lifestyle, age, etc. So, take it easy! As a rule of thumb for good health and steady milk supply, you should aim for a weight loss goal of 2-3kg per month.
To lose weight and keep the weight off, a healthy diet coupled with regular exercise, and a good lifestyle is the way to go. Firstly, no matter how busy you are, do not skip your main meals, as it keeps your energy and body metabolism up. Adopt this principle of “small frequent meals”, which means adding snacks in between your main meals, and of course you will need to size down your main meals. This is effective in keeping the hunger pangs away, making portion and calorie control easier.
After giving birth, regardless whether you are breastfeeding, you will need to ensure your diet is balanced and nutritious to let your body heal completely. Opt for foods that are low in sugar, fat and salt. To prepare your main meals, you may refer to the MyPlate guideline, which is to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables and to fill a quarter of the plate with carbohydrates (preferably wholegrains), and the last quarter with protein foods. For your snacks, you can select those with high fibre and protein content. For instance, swap your ice cream with this simple frozen yogurt recipe. Just add strawberry slices into your unflavoured yoghurt, freeze them, and voila!
If you are breastfeeding, you should consume an extra 500kcal compared to your pre-pregnancy diet, which amounts to 2 cups of low-fat milk, a medium banana and a cheese sandwich as it requires more energy. Moreover, breastfeeding can burn an extra 500-800kcal, helping you to achieve that weight loss without the extra effort. Breastfeeding also helps shrink your uterus (and your post-baby belly)!
Regular exercise, coupled with a sensible diet, not only helps get your body in shape, it increases your basal metabolic rate, which means you will burn more calories at rest and speed up your weight loss. However, it is important to consult your doctor first, before starting any exercise, to make sure you have fully recovered. Generally, it is only after 6 weeks post-delivery, when your wounds are completely recovered, that you may commence your exercise plan. You should start with gentle exercises, like a walk around the park, and when your body gains strength, gradually increase its intensity.
For a successful weight loss, you need all the support you can get. So get your family and friends on board, and invite them to join you. Get rid of the junk foods lying around in your household, and eat healthily together. Instead of watching the TV, take a walk with them, engage in outdoor activities, and spend quality time together.