While every mommy-to-be carries her baby differently, most begin gaining weight shortly after conception. Weight gain is an essential part of a healthy pregnancy. The fact that the female body can grow a new person, is nothing short of amazing. If you’ve recently had a baby, you’re probably beginning to wonder how to shed those excess pounds. These 10 Extremely Useful Ways to Lose Weight After Pregnancy, are both safe, and effective.
On average, an expectant mother puts on 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. This, of course, is more than just excess fat. This weight also includes the baby, the placenta, extra fluids (including blood), an increase in breast tissue, and enlargement of the uterus. Pregnant moms put on this excess weight in order to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
When it comes to postpartum weight loss, there are a number of things that you should and shouldn’t do. It’s important to keep in mind that the healthiest way to lose weight is by making slow and steady progress. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before changing up your diet or beginning a new exercise routine. As a new mom, following these steps will allow you to be the healthiest version of yourself for your new bundle of joy!
1. Properly Fuel Your Body (NO Crash Dieting)
Your body requires a certain amount of calories in order to recover from pregnancy. Properly fueling your body also allows it to produce a sufficient amount of breast milk. Extreme dieting not only leads to nutritional deficiencies, but also can take quite a toll on your energy levels. Obviously, you need all of the energy that you can get when you have a newborn!
Just because your body requires nutrients and calories to recover, does not mean that you can’t lose weight at the same time. Crash dieting is a terrible idea because when your body thinks it’s starving, it will hold on to excess fat and cause your metabolism to plummet.
Studies have shown that moderate diet and exercise allow a new mom to safely shed excess pounds and inches. 3500 calories make up one pound of fat. A safe daily caloric deficit for a healthy woman is 500 calories per day. If you’re taking in 2000 calories daily, you can consume 200 fewer calories from food and burn off the remaining 300 through exercise. This will essentially allow you to lose 1 pound per week, which is a safe and steady progression.
2. Keep a Food Journal
It’s important to track exactly what you’re eating when you’re trying to lose weight. Writing down each meal in a food journal will keep you accountable and ensure that you’re not consuming too many calories. Maintaining a clean diet will also help you stay within your daily caloric allotment.
Often times, when we’re stressed or tired, we choose foods that are quick and easy. Most of the time, this means unhealthy, high-calorie foods. As a new mom, time is something that you probably don’t have a lot of. Food prepping takes a little time up front, however, it can save you more time in the long run. Spend some of your free time buying low-calorie snacks and prepping healthy meals. This way, when you grab something to eat, it will help you get closer to your goal instead of further from it!
3. Eat More Protein and Fiber
Protein and fiber share the ability to suppress your appetite by increasing your feelings of fullness. A high-protein diet aids in fat loss by helping you to maintain, and even build muscle mass, thus increasing your metabolism. As you may know, a faster metabolism means that you’ll more burn calories and fat throughout the day. Soluble fiber plays a similar role in weight loss because it is more slowly digested. This means that it will also keep you satiated for a longer period of time.
Good sources of lean protein include meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Some of the best sources of soluble fiber include peas, lentils, beans, broccoli, and Brussels sprout.
4. Avoid Sugary, Processed Foods
It’s no surprise that these foods are chock-full of calories and are lacking in nutrients. Obviously, eating these foods will be counterproductive to your weight loss goal. The best idea is to not even bring sugary, processed food into the house at all. That way, you won’t even be tempted by them! By purchasing nutrient-dense, whole foods, you will feel better and lose more weight!
5. Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is important for anyone, especially a new mom. Water can replace the fluids lost while breastfeeding. A general rule of thumb is to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day, although you can feel free to drink even more. Water has also been shown to boost metabolism and stave off hunger. Drink up! You and your baby need it!
6. Breastfeed, if You Can
Breastfeeding has numerous benefits to offer both mom, and baby. Breast milk is loaded with nutrients and antibodies that are wonderful for the child’s health. Breastfeeding also helps the new mother lose some extra weight. Studies have shown that breastfeeding can reduce the size of your uterus. Another study revealed that after 6 months, new moms who breastfed lost, on average, 8 pounds more, than the moms who didn’t.
7. Perform Cardiovascular Exercise
Every pregnancy and birth is different. It’s imperative that you speak with your doctor before you begin a postpartum exercise routine. Once you’ve been cleared, performing consistent cardiovascular exercise can make a significant difference in how much body fat you lose. When combined with a healthy diet, the results will be even greater. Besides weight loss, cardiovascular exercise improves heart & lung health, protects against disease, and provides a natural energy boost! What new mom doesn’t need that?
Research suggests that weight loss success may be less about intensity, and more about duration of exercise. This is excellent news for new moms. You can start out with a slow walk and progress into jogging & running. Cardiovascular exercise should definitely become a part of your postpartum workout routine. Plop your baby in a stroller and take a few laps around the neighborhood. After you get the green light from your doctor, you can also incorporate some of these workouts into your exercise routine:
8. Connect with Other New Moms
Meeting up with other new moms can be a huge relief, both mentally, and emotionally. Newborns bring plenty of joy into our lives, but also quite a bit of stress. Stress can cause you to hold onto belly fat, so finding something that relaxes you and relieves some of that stress, can be extremely beneficial to your health.
If there’s no new-mom groups in your area, put one together! You can assemble a walking or running group to burn extra calories. By designating a workout time with a couple other women, a few times a week, you can stay accountable. Having an accountability buddy can be an extremely useful tool to keeping you motivated and on the path to success.
9. Incorporate Strength Training
Strength training is an essential component to any well-rounded workout routine. Once your doctor has cleared you to lift again, you should start incorporating weight training back into your workout regimen.
Strength training has a number of weight loss benefits to offer you. Lifting weight consistently not only helps you maintain current muscle mass, but can also help you add to it. It’s important to understand that weight training won’t make you look ‘bulky’, but it will tighten & tone your muscles, giving you a more slim, athletic figure. Increasing muscle mass will boost your metabolism, helping your body to burn more fat. Strength training also increases bone density, improves balance, relieves stress, and even helps you sleep better.
Related: Total Body Transformation eBook
10. Sleep as Often as Possible
As a new mom, it probably seems like you haven’t slept in ages. Many newborns wake up multiple times per night, which means you probably aren’t getting the highest quality of sleep. When you do get the chance to catch some Zzz’s, you should take full advantage of it.
Not getting enough sleep can cause you to hold onto excess weight and has even been shown to lead to sugar cravings and excessive snacking. If you’re exhausted, ask your friends and family to help. They want to see you happy and healthy! Being well-rested allows your body to let go of excess fat and helps you make better choices when it comes to diet and exercise. Working out more will also provide you with deeper sleep and a better night’s rest.
Congratulations on becoming a new mother! Take some time to enjoy the experience! When you’re ready to begin losing weight after pregnancy, you can begin incorporating these principles into your daily routine. Integrating just one or two of these ideas won’t make much of a dent in your weight loss goal, however, practicing most (if not all) of these things can get you back into tip-top shape!
Let us know which one of these is your favorite way to lose weight after pregnancy. Do you have any tips and tricks that worked for you when you were trying to lose that post-baby weight? Let us know in the comment section!