Childbirth is the greatest gift a woman can receive and a life-changing moment. Nothing is really the same after you come home from the hospital with your precious little toddler in your hands. You probably feel and know you’re not the person you were yesterday and deep inside you are okay with that. It’s a new challenge you’re willing to face head-on no matter how stressful or unpredictable it might get. However, what you truly wish was the same as yesterday – is your dress size. Now, of course, there are other things you are occupied with, primarily getting used to the new routine, making sure your baby is getting all the nutrients and care he or she needs and living up to the expectations that come with the pivotal role of being a mother. All of this happening at the same time can be overwhelming and will impact your mood significantly, so additional stress from looking at the mirror is the last thing you want. Luckily, you’re already on the right track and should be able to fit in your favorite jeans again very soon, so don’t be tough on yourself right away. You’ve already lost some of the excess weight you gained during pregnancy due to breastfeeding right away and postpartum hormonal shifts that tend to speed up your metabolism. Now it’s just a matter of finding that old Instagram picture you were always proud of and setting a goal to become your old fit-self.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some top tips to help you out.
Whether you choose to breastfeed your newborn or not is completely up to you, but if you’re still debating, here is why you should consider it in correlation to weight loss.
Aside from the fact it provides all the needed nutrients for your baby, along with antibodies (especially in the first few weeks) that protect from illnesses and strengthen the immune system, breastfeeding also burns calories, and it burns a lot. Typically, you can spend anywhere around 500 to 800 calories a day, depending on your munchkins appetite. You might ask yourself, how many times should you be feeding your baby a day? There is no set number, it boils down to keeping track of signs and feeding your newborn whenever he’s hungry. Remember to keep track of your calorie intake, especially when you decide to stop breastfeeding, it’s crucial to adjust your diet at that point in order to avoid a Yo-Yo effect.
- Diet Carefully
Thanks to your body, breastmilk is not really affected by what you eat so there is no need for a strict eating regime in order to provide your baby with everything it needs to be healthy and well fed. The only thing you might really want to pay attention to is having a good intake of iodine and vitamin B12. The reason why you would want to diet is mainly for losing weight and your own health benefits.This should by no means be a strict diet, depriving you of your favorite snacks in such a sensitive period. A basic guideline to follow is that you want to have variety in what you eat, well-balanced meals and you never want to be hungry. Having enough fuel in the tank is key for new mothers.
- Eat Healthily
If you’re nursing a toddler with a huge appetite, you’re going to need all the milk you can produce, and in order to provide him with an all-you-can-eat buffet, your meals are going to have to be regular and composed of nutrient-rich food that comes with a lot of health benefits. Food that provides a lot of minerals and vitamins would be vegetables, several dairy products(low-fat milk and yogurt), and fruit. Stick to lean meats like fish that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acid and chicken that has less saturated fat than beef for instance. Round off your diet with some whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Avoid highly processed food and too much sugar. Resist giving in to your worst cravings and skip getting take-out at Wendy’s.
- Stay Hydrated
It is super important to drink as much water as possible and stay hydrated. Your breastmilk is composed of 90 % water so getting dehydrated is easier than usual. It’s also recommended to drink water half an hour before your meal, this way you’ll prevent overeating and will make you feel full quicker.
- Be Creative When Exercising
No one is expecting you to be at the gym from day one. Go slow and give yourself time. Try with walking to the grocery store or up and down the stairs. Go for a stroll with your newborn as often as possible, even if it’s just for 20 minutes around the block. Before you start a real workout regime, make sure to consult your physician and get a clearance. The time frame for your body to heal is individual and will depend on whether you delivered your child naturally or by c-section.
- Get That Beauty Sleep
Even more important than exercising is getting a good night’s sleep. While this might be nearly impossible in the first few weeks, try to get as much rest as you can. Take power naps when Dad is on duty or sync your sleeping pattern to your baby. Sleeping will replenish your low energy levels and will prevent your metabolism from slowing down. Depriving yourself of sleep will just make you even more stressed out than you already are and will substantially affect your weight loss goals.
- Baby Products And Finding A Supportive Community
In order to make things a bit easier on yourself, look for baby products and devices that will assist you with taking care of your newborn. Are you at a stage where you’re considering going back to work, but still want to provide your youngling with breastmilk? Look at breast pumps and continue burning those calories even more. Read some baby product reviews and talk to your fellow moms to find out what works best for them. Not everyone can find the motivation to go through this weight loss process by themselves, especially with everything else going on in their life. This is why finding a supportive community can be tremendously helpful. Also seeking professional help from a NASM certified personal trainer and a nutritionist can provide you with a personalized plan that will yield the best results.
The best advice you can get is to remember to enjoy your baby and your new role. Don’t rush things, keep your diet healthy and limit your stress levels. Combine that with these tips and the baby fat will shed off in a matter of no time.