Congratulations! Welcome to motherhood. You are now into the ‘4th trimester’ You’re hoping to get rid of the pregnancy weight in much less time than the nine months it took to get there. Even though your pre-baby wardrobe dresses may look extremely appealing, give yourself time before you try these skinny jeans and dresses again. Shedding the baby fat healthily will require patience, perseverance and planning as your hormone levels are still fluctuating, you have a little someone to take care of, and you have a sleep schedule that leaves you craving for more, so have patience.
Stop comparing yourself with celebrity moms
Your favorite celebrity may have gone from pregnancy size to a size six in the blink of an eye but she may not have done it in a way that was kind to her body. And remember that celebrities have a lot of finances for top trainers, dietitians and personal chefs. Give your body at least 6 weeks to recover from pregnancy and labor.
Tips to lose post baby weight.
Exercise is key…
Exercise has also been shown to decrease the risks of postpartum depression. Exercising restores muscle strength, tone your body and boosts your metabolism, thereby helping weight loss. Always Start slowly (10 to 15 minutes) and gradually build up your endurance and strength but stop if you get overly tired or feel any pain. Aim for a daily 30-minute walk. Considering Bahrain’s weather which does not allow for any outdoor activity, stick to home exercises and but remember to not overdo it though.
Start with a few weeks of regular walking, then add in low-intensity jogging (again with your doctor’s permission). You could alternate between walking at a fast pace for 2 minutes and jogging for 1 minute. Swimming and bicycle riding can be good additions.
Incorporate some resistance training in your daily activity like trying to lift some light weights – some plastic bottles filled with sand or water or even carrying your baby helps too.
Remember with Vaginal delivery or a C-section, start exercise after consulting your doctor.
A Strange Myth…
‘People say that breastfeeding mothers should avoid exercising as it can make their milk sour.’
The lactic acid produced while exercising may affect your milk’s taste just like many foods do BUT exercise will not make your milk sour. So don’t worry about your baby rejecting your breast milk or feel gassy if you exercise.
Tip for breast feeding mommies: exercise after feeding, when your breasts are empty because then exercising will be more comfortable.
No dieting please. Pretty please
If you deprive yourself of certain foods, you put yourself at risk of further padding your waistline? Sceptic? Well, pregnancy hormones and stress of being a novice mom, can give you extreme cravings of foods but stay away from fad diets that promise quick, unrealistic, weight loss as studies show that it is difficult to comply with an overly restrictive diet and when you drop out, you are likely to experience sugar cravings and a decreased metabolism which will derail your weight loss goals.
Eating healthily is the best way for losing weight.
1. Schedule with 3 main meals and 1 or 2 snacks: This will help keep your blood sugar and energy levels constant so you’ll feel less tired and fewer hunger pangs will hinder the way of healthy food choices.
2. MUST for breakfast: Eating within 1 to 2 hours of waking up will help boost your metabolism which will assist your body in spending more energy. Breakfast will not only help prevent overeating later during the day but it will also provide you with a fresh energy supply to take care of your baby.
3. Add veggies and fruits to your daily meals: Vegetables and fruits are full of fiber that can help you feel full faster and will prevent constipation. They also contain loads of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can boost your recovery.
4. Protein as a main meal: Proteins induce satiety and can help you eat less without any feeling that you’re depriving yourself. Have an egg or a cup of low-fat milk at breakfast, some lean meat/ skinless chicken or turkey/ legumes/ tofu for lunch and dinner. Make sure to consume fatty fish (tuna, salmon or mackerel) twice a week for a sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
5. STAY well hydrated: Research suggest that drinking enough water will render your body more efficient in ‘burning’ calories. As a guide, your urine should be clear (or pale yellow) and odorless.
6. Don’t rush through your meals: Your body needs about 20 minutes to signal to your brain that it has had enough to eat. So, if you go for that 2nd serve less than 20 minutes after your 1st, chances are you may overeat.
7. Healthy snacks: Vegetable sticks and a hummus spread, a fruit and nut salad, with some Greek yoghurt or a slice of whole wheat toast with some peanut butter. Sounds delicious… 100 to 150 calorie snacks with 50% carbs, 30% fats (ZERO trans fats) and 20% protein are good alternatives.
8. Cut the sugar and avoid refined products: Choose quality foods. Sugar flooded and refined products lack many nutrients and they have also been shown to induce sugar cravings and fatigue as they cause spikes and rapid declines in your blood sugar levels.
9. Additional convincing…Cutting sugar and refined products = Decreased fat storage + Reduced risks of inflammatory diseases + a Slower ageing rate! Cheers for whole grains?
Follow your baby’s sleep pattern
Less Sleep causes your body to release cortisol, stress and hunger hormones that have been associated with weight gain, so take a good nap when your baby is sleeping.
Breastfeeding really helps
Breastfeeding uses up a lot of calories but if you choose to formula-feed your baby, then simply cut back a bit on calories and exercise a little bit more.
Babies grow very fast! So enjoy with their smiles.
Dr. Maimoona Liaqat, FCPS
Obstetrics & Gynecology Consultant
Bahrain Specialist Hospital