As I came closer to the end of my pregnancy, I hoped I was coming to the end of feeling “large and in charge”. All I could think about was post baby weight loss and getting back into shape. Those first six weeks postpartum were wonderful, but not as wonderful as the words: “You’re free to exercise,” from my doctor. Now that I had the clearance, I was ready to dive right in! … But my body wasn’t. I was back to my pre-baby weight by my two-week check-up, but I still felt miserable. My clothes didn’t fit the same and I didn’t feel attractive. What the heck was I to do now?
There are four tried and true options to post baby weight loss: diet, exercise, breast-feeding, and time.
Post Baby Weight Loss
Dieting is a woman’s initial “go to,” but if you’re breast-feeding proceed with caution. Formula moms, feel free grab that lean cuisine or cut those carbs, but remember to have a balanced diet (the true key to permanent post baby weight loss). For breast-feeding moms, remember that you’re eating for your baby too! What goes in, comes out, so having a balanced diet is not only good for you, but you’re little one too. A key to weight loss is portion control and frequency of meals. If you eat smaller portions more often, you’re likely to have more energy and to be less hungry. This will help immensely with those late night feeding sessions also. (This advice is great for formula mommies too!)
Exercising for post-baby weight loss is a little different as well. While any exercise will help, especially cardio and/or yoga, there are some different approaches that you may need to take. For many of us moms, our ligaments are still loose from pregnancy and childbirth: while our bodies may be healed enough to exercise, these loose ligaments can make exercise complicated. Start easing into your workout regimen and don’t push yourself too hard. If your typical exercise routine is more challenging than your thought, you can always try to “step” it up by increasing the number of steps you take a day. Keep in mind that if you’re breastfeeding excessive exercise can change the flavor (fat content) of your milk, which can cause your baby to start a breast strike.
On average, breastfeeding burns an extra 500 calories a day! Talk about shedding the pounds quickly and easily! (You literally burn extra calories while you sleep!) You can add extra calories to your diet to help increase your energy, but you don’t have to. Women find that they will quickly start shedding weight when they breastfeed and/or pump. However, bear in mind that many women become used to the extra food and forget to adjust when they finish breastfeeding.
The best advice I’ve been given about postpartum weight loss is: it took your body nine months to change to carry your baby, why would it take any less for it to return to “normal.” It takes four weeks for you to notice any changes in your body, which is important to keep in mind. It’s also important to remember that the scale is only one measure of weight loss: when you’re body is turning fat into muscle the changes won’t reflect on the scale as easily. For a true measure of your progress you should measure your inches as well!
So what’s the best way to lose the baby weight? Truthfully, it’s a combination of all four, but even if you decide to tackle one of the four your weight loss will be just around the corner.