When you were still pregnant, it was extremely important that you were having sufficient intake of nutrients and calories to feed your increased calorie needs. Not only did you need to send part of those nutrients to your unborn child, lugging the extra load and the need to lactate meant that your food intake had to increase and thus, your weight too.
Now that you have given birth to a healthy, beautiful little new member to the family, there is no more reason to keep the additional weight gained over the course of your pregnancy. It is important to note that while you are focused on shedding those pounds, you cannot neglect the nutrients essential for the longer-term needs that early motherhood involves and the post-delivery healing process that can take some time to complete.
Hold Your Horses
Give your body some time to recover from labour. Not only is the 40-week pregnancy and the hours of delivery uber stressful to the body, but it is also just as stressful to the mind. Collectively, your body is not ready to take on another journey.
Take some time until it is past your six-week postpartum assessment before you go back to watching your food intake. If you are breastfeeding, it is recommended that you wait till your infant is at least 8-10 weeks old. During this time, you will want to make sure your breast milk is not short on essential nutrients for the baby. It is most advisable to consult a qualified healthcare professional before embarking on any weight-loss regime.
The body’s healing process requires optimal nutrition to work to its full potential and going on a slimming diet may cause you to suffer from a nutrient deficit. The deficit can delay your recovery, develop malaise and even affect mood (a kid is already emotionally-draining). Additionally, your diet may also affect the quality and quantity of your breast milk. Be patient and let the healing finish first.
Be Ambitious, Focused And Patient But Also Realistic
Pregnancy is a time when women experience great changes to the body. Keep in mind that you may not return to your exact pre-pregnancy conditions. And it’s not just all in your body, it’s also the additional demands of caring for a baby and circumstances of life like staying home, lactation and sleep pattern changes that get in the way.
For many women, pregnancy can lead to permanent changes like a softer belly, wider hips and waistline. So do consider the possible changes and go easy on yourself and your diet plan, perhaps with multiple short-term goals that help you achieve your prize gradually over a longer period of time.
Go And Get Some Exercise
You probably don’t want to hear this, but we still have to say it. There is no shortcut to weight-loss. Not for general health, not for obesity management, and definitely not for post-pregnancy weight management either.
With a healthy diet well-represented by wholesome ingredients and regular exercise, you are sure to be on track to postnatal fitness. Motherhood requires a strong body, so make sure your diet and exercise are helpful for you to shed excess fat, not muscle.
Going for exercise need not take away precious mother-child bonding time. There are ways to you to engage in exercise and quality time with your little one like going on a slow jog with your stroller, low-intensity yoga where you can still keep track of your kid, or simply a walk in the park with your child as a weight.
You should not be going on a weight-loss plan in a blazing sprint of glory to shed 20kg in 30 days. Not only is that very unhealthy, but it also is not feasible too. You will want to safely lose about 500g to 600g every week or two to avoid affecting milk supply and quality if you are breastfeeding.
Women need at least 1,200 calories per day and most women will need between 1,500 and 2,200 calories per day to keep the day going. If you are breastfeeding, your calories needs are even higher – between 2,000 to 2,700 calories per day – to feed yourself and your baby.
Losing weight too fast can not only result in a decrease in milk production but also cause too many toxins and waste by-products previously stored in body fats to be released into the bloodstream make it to your milk supply. Otherwise, your liver will remove those toxins faithfully.
Try looking up diets that are lower in calories from carbohydrates but higher in protein with moderate fat. Aim to cut about 500 calories out from your current diet surplus, but not going below what is the safe minimum through balancing a decrease in calorie intake and an increase in activity level.
No, we are not trying to contradict what we said earlier. The takeaway is that you should decrease your intake in line with your decreased calorie needs, but do not skip meals. Skipping meals can be counter-productive to your regime and even your baby’s well-being.
Skipping meals can make you feel hungry and binge later, affect your mood, cause you to choose higher-calorie foods like fried and fatty foods, lead to increased cortisol production and affect your physiology.
Many mothers find eating smaller meals and spreading the day’s intake to five and six mealtimes with wholesome snacks in between are not just good for the appetite but also fitting to the demanding schedule of a mum. Keep good eating habits like eating a good breakfast, choosing fresh ingredients, not skipping meals, eating the right nutrition and you are good to go!