Weight loss after pregnancy may seem a bit daunting, but it is definitely possible to get your pre-pregnancy body back and even stronger than before. But, how do you reclaim your body after pregnancy?
There really is no secret to losing the weight. It takes a commitment to yourself, and to your family, to concentrate on eating healthy foods and including physical activity in your daily routine.
Focus on eating real food
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. They will provide you with many important nutrients while helping you feel satisfied. Real foods do not come in a box or fancy packaging and are made up of one ingredient, the food itself (e.g. beans, sweet potato, cucumber, etc.), not a bunch of scary names making up a “food” product.
Eat at your regular meal times. Schedule them a few hours apart and make sure they contain all the elements of a balanced meal, protein, carbs, and fat in order to keep you satiated until your next meal. It is ok to feel a little bit hungry between meals. It is actually a good sign, that means your metabolism is working like it should be and is called tolerable hunger. Intolerable hunger is when you feel like you have to eat everything in sight. Which brings me to my next point.
You may want to trade your traditional larger meals for smaller, more frequent meals. Most plates today are way oversized. Try using a salad plate for smaller meals and divide it into three sections: ½ for vegetables, ¼ for healthy carbs, like whole grains or fruit, and ¼ for lean protein like fish or beans. Eating smaller meals throughout the day will help to keep your blood sugar stable, and keep you from getting into that intolerable hunger state that I mentioned above.
Steer Clear of Emotional Eating or Eating Out of Boredom
Be aware of your emotions and your triggers, before you eat something, ask yourself, am I really hungry? Or am I eating this to fill some other void? If you find yourself in this situation, distract yourself or change your environment and frame of mind. Take a deep breath and then, go for a walk, do some yoga, call a friend, or take out your favorite magazine.
Include Physical Activity in your Daily Routine
Once you get the OK from your doctor, start including exercise into your daily routine. Start slowly, and include your baby. Take your baby for a walk in the stroller, maybe invite some other moms to join you and get some important socialization in there too. Find some form of exercise that you enjoy doing and include it in small spurts throughout the day while the baby is occupied or napping.
Don’t forget about water. It is very important to keep hydrated before, during and after exercise. Try to keep a bottle of water with you at all times and drink throughout the day.
Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
One pound a week is a healthy and reasonable goal to shoot for. It may take six months or even longer to return to your pre-pregnancy weight, whether you’re breastfeeding or not. Your body has gone through significant changes during your pregnancy and weight may be distributed differently from how it was before pregnancy. Be gentle with yourself as you accept the changes in your body. Try not to be a slave to the scale and instead measure your success by how you feel and how your clothes are fitting.
Above all, take pride in your healthy lifestyle. Enjoy the new addition to your family, and have fun while you find ways to incorporate health and fitness into your day. Your body just went through an amazing transformation while it grew and birthed a new human into this world. It will go through another transformation as it adjusts back to its new normal. Be patient and don’t try to force weight loss. The body doesn’t respond well to those tactics. Trying to force quick weight loss is what triggers the yo-yo dieting effect that you may have heard about. Instead, you want to gently guide your body, by incorporating a healthy and active lifestyle that a is both sensible and sustainable. Be consistent, and take those small action steps every day, and you will be well on your way to reclaim your body after pregnancy.