At the end of pregnancy, women want nothing more than to have healthy babies. Once the baby is home and the routine is set in place, many women have additional priorities on their minds—like losing pre-pregnancy fat. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average woman gains between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. While some of this is lost from birth and the expulsion of the placenta, most of the weight is left behind for you to deal with in your own time. In fact, the average woman is left with five to nine pounds of fat or more when all is said and done. Unfortunately, there isn’t one magic method of losing the fat overnight. Getting back into pre-baby shape requires a culmination of healthy habits into an overall better lifestyle.
After your six-week checkup with the doctor, he or she will advise whether or not you can safely exercise again. If you are given the green light, this is your chance to incorporate regular exercise into your routine. There isn’t one single exercise to blast baby fat; instead, you should focus on regular aerobic exercises, such as walking, running and cycling. For the best results, fit in a few moderate to high-intensity exercises throughout the day instead of one long low-intensity drill.
Other types of exercises should also be incorporated into your plan to get back in shape. Strengthening with light weights helps to build muscles to naturally blast fat during periods of rest. You may also consider adding yoga to your routine. Not only does yoga help manage new mom stress, but the poses can also help tighten your core and elongate your back for a leaner appearance.
(Also read: Safe Exercises For Each Pregnancy Trimester.)
Makeover Your Diet
A lot of doctors recommend utilizing a healthy diet as one of the best ways to stay healthy and support your newborn. However, this is not the same as “going on a diet,” which often refers to fad eating plans for fast weight loss. While you are eager to shed baby fat, utilizing a fad diet will not only leave you deprived of essential nutrients to stay energized, but it will also likely lead to weight gain once you stop.
It is crucial to instead embark on a healthy eating plan that is low in fat and empty calories, such as processed snacks. Also, focus on adding whole fruits and vegetables to every meal to stay satisfied and energized. Frequent meals reduce the likelihood of overeating in one single setting.
Water not only prevents dehydration, but it is an essential component to any weight loss regimen. Instead of partaking in trendy cleanses that don’t offer any real long-term effects, you can naturally remove toxins from the body by simply drinking water. Also, it is easy to misinterpret dehydration as hunger when you are a busy new mom. Try drinking a glass of water before every meal and consume at least eight glasses a day to stay hydrated.
Make Sleep a Priority
This may sound like a joke to an already sleep-deprived new mom, but adequate sleep is imperative to building a fat-burning metabolism. Instead of waking up hours before the baby does to work out, consider sleeping in a little and doing a shorter workout at a higher intensity. You will likely reap the same benefits and your efforts won’t be derailed from a lack of sleep. Also consider napping when the baby does for an afternoon boost.
With a new baby in the home, who has time to socialize? Before you turn down every invitation to an upcoming social gathering, consider the benefits of getting out of the house. Not only will you reap the emotional benefits of regular contact with friends, but you can also lose weight, too. Socializing increases energy levels, making healthy eating and exercise more likely. Plus, moms who regularly socialize with other moms are naturally more active. Even if time is of the essence, consider ways you can socialize with your baby with stroller walks in the park or a group playdate.
When to See Your Doctor
The inability to lose weight after several weeks’ worth of healthy diet, exercise and sufficient sleep may indicate an underlying medical problem. Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is a common occurrence after pregnancy. This condition is marked by the thyroid gland’s inability to produce enough hormones that affects your metabolism and virtually all major body systems. Hypothyroid patients may even gain more weight and have an extreme lack of energy. The trouble is that these symptoms can be difficult to spot in new moms who are busy and sleep-deprived. If you suspect hypothyroidism, your doctor can order blood tests and prescribe synthetic hormones if this turns out to be the case.
Post-partum depression is another common reason why women have difficulties losing weight after delivery. Unlike hypothyroidism, however, post-partum depression poses dangers to both mother and baby. If you feel extremely blue and have thoughts of harming yourself or your newborn, you should seek medical help immediately.
With a commitment to follow a healthy lifestyle combined with perseverance, you will lose the baby fat. This is a gradual process that takes time, no matter how much you long for your skinny jeans. Keep in mind that it took several months to gain the weight in the first place, so you must be patient with yourself when losing the fat. Also you might need to follow up with a medical doctor and a nutritionist if you were considered overweight before pregnancy.