The CDC states that the recommended weight gain during pregnancy for women within a healthy pre-pregnancy weight range is 25 to 35 pounds. Most of this weight is lost after delivery, but studies have shown that many women hold on to weight, and about one-third became overweight or obese one year after birth. This can lead to serious health concerns later on.
The goal is to lose weight to get to a point where your body can perform optimally and remain healthy. So how can you reach your healthy weight while tackling the most difficult but beautiful thing called motherhood?
Here are some tips:
Take your time
One of the most important things to remember is that you should not lose weight immediately. Losing weight fast will be detrimental to your healing and recovery. Your body is undergoing changes and will need all the energy it can get. If you are breastfeeding, rapid weight loss can also affect your milk supply.
A realistic goal for most women is to go back to their pre-pregnancy weight by 6-12 months after giving birth. Around that time, your body and schedule would have been better adjusted. If you are breastfeeding, this can also be properly established by then.
Your body needs nutrients to stay healthy as you work on weight loss. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides essential vitamins and minerals for healing. Protein and complex carbohydrates provide long-lasting energy and satiation. Fiber-rich foods help with digestion.
With your exhausted state, it may feel difficult to even plan your diet. WeightWatchers describes how a personalized weight loss plan can help you by customizing a diet that is just right for your needs. A well-balanced and tailored diet is useful for new moms since it considers their specific nutrient needs, lifestyle, weight goals, and preferences.
Find ways to exercise
Most new mothers struggle with returning to their usual physical routine after giving birth. The recovery and adjustment can easily take their toll. However, exercise should still be one of the priorities since it helps with weight loss and mood. Studies have shown that physical activity can help ease the negative feelings most mothers struggle with, such as anxiety, isolation, and depression.
Daily walks can be a good way to ease yourself into exercising. Once you have recovered from giving birth, it would be easier to do more exercises such as running or using weights. Check with your doctor before starting exercise, especially if you are dealing with incisions or separation of abdominal muscles.
Drink lots of water
When you are in recovery, and especially if you are breastfeeding, increased water intake is a must. Hydration is needed for cell repair and function. Water also helps in weight maintenance by reducing appetite, leading to fewer calories consumed.
The Mayo Clinic states that the recommended daily fluid intake is about 11.5 cups of fluids for women, plus more if breastfeeding. Keep water beside you at all times, especially if you are unable to get up often while holding your baby. Try to avoid caffeine, and sugary drinks as these can cause dehydration.
The period of adjustment for parenthood is filled with sleep deprivation, and one of our ‘Tips for New Parents on How to Survive Your First Year’ is to take needed time-outs. In addition, getting good quality sleep is linked to better dietary choices, weight loss, and less body fat storage.
Even though it may be difficult to get straight sleep, try to get quality sleep when you can. Prepare your environment to be conducive to sleep. Try to delegate tasks so you would have time to get proper rest.
If you feel you need more support, ask your doctor or check out resources like National Parent Helpline. You have to remember that a healthy you will help you best care for and enjoy your new bundle of joy.