Health Experts Share 10 Mistakes That SLOW Down Post-Baby Weight Loss!
8 mins read
Health & Fitness for New Born, Baby
With all the happiness and excitement of childbirth comes something else we must face – weight gain! It is healthy and highly recommended for pregnant women to put on weight; the baby needs it to grow properly in the womb. However, this weight becomes adamant and stubborn after delivery, refusing to shed itself even though the little one is now out in the world!
While it is hard enough to lose post-baby weight simply because of the way our bodies transform, there’s something that makes it even harder: postpartum weight loss mistakes.
We spoke with some postpartum fitness experts to understand where we go wrong in our weight loss journey. They pinpointed some very common habits and day-to-day practices that most of us make, without even realizing that they’re affecting our weight!
Here are the weight loss mistakes women make that slow down results. Let’s see how.
Postpartum Weight Loss Mistakes We Must Avoid
1. Sitting or Breastfeeding in the Wrong Posture
The simple fact that our posture might be wrong doesn’t strike us when we are trying to lose weight. However, experts strongly recommend checking your posture when trying to shed post-pregnancy kilos. This is especially important for breastfeeding moms who often feed in a hunched-over position, or mothers who carry their baby on the side. This body posture can lead to back, neck and shoulder problems. It can also slow down the time you take to get back into shape.
Instead: Use a breastfeeding cushion or pillow to support your back when feeding your baby. Also be careful to carry/hold your baby in the right position. Try not to carry the baby on the side but in front or behind, so that the weight is more symmetrical.
2. Trying to Lose Weight Too Soon After a Normal Delivery
There is a common belief that a woman who has had a natural birth can get back to everything straight away. Many people suggest you start household chores, all the baby-care chores, and even basic exercise a few days after you’re back from the hospital. This is not at all advisable!
While it is true that women who have had a vaginal delivery take less time to recover than C-section moms, they too need a lot of time – at least 6-8 weeks. Trying to lose weight too early will only slow down your efforts and can even harm your health.
Instead: Focus at this time on getting as much rest as you can. Lie down when possible and use ice-packs to deal with any inflammation. It is not recommended to start exercising before your 6-8 weeks postnatal check and after thorough examination by your doctor.
3. Doing Situps for Flat Belly
This is a huge misconception among many new mothers. We assume that situps will help us get a flatter tummy after delivery. However, as per experts, sit-ups can actually slow down weight loss. This is because many of us go through abdominal separation during pregnancy. Doing this exercise can only make it worse and even become painful!
Instead: Focus on doing pelvic floor exercises that work on your deeper and lower abdomen. These too must be done gently. Do not take up any exercise regimen before consulting your doctor first.
4. Running For Quick Weight Loss
Going for a quick run is the preferred mode of exercise for many mothers, with women opting to jog in the park or in the open area outside their house. However, running is a very high-impact activity. It is not recommended for postpartum women as it can impact your weak pelvic floor. The pelvic floor has undergone 9 months of pregnancy stress and the connective tissues in your body are likely to still be weak.
Do this quick test: Wait until you have a full bladder and then do some light jumping and coughing. If you feel any discomfort or urine leakage, it is a clear sign that you are not ready to start running yet.
Instead: Prefer to go walking. It is a great way to get some quick exercise as well as beneficial for your emotional well-being. Experts also recommend light swimming – as long as it isn’t high impact.
5. Cutting Down on Carbs to Lose Weight
When asked how we propose to lose weight, a lot of us say – “we have cut down on carbohydrates!” Carbs are often seen as the weight-loss enemy, especially for postpartum women struggling with the sudden, extra kilos. But this is not an advisable practice. Experts say that it can actually have the reverse effect by slowing down your weight loss! Let’s understand why this happens.
Our bodies need a lot of energy in the postpartum stage for breastfeeding and for recovery. If we deprive ourselves of the energy-rich carbs, the body will try and compensate by inducing a sugar craving. And when you eat these sugary, fattening foods to satisfy your cravings, you end up putting on weight.
Instead: Opt for slow carbs that will provide you with energy through the day. Such carbs are digested and absorbed slowly so they help regulate your blood sugar too. Here are some healthy options:
Wholegrain foods like pasta
Fruits such as apple, oranges and plums
What are the best Indian snacks to eat when trying to lose weight? Can you eat carbs at night?
Watch: Renowned nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar and Karishma Kapoor share personal tips on losing weight after pregnancy!
6. Not Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep can be a luxury for a new mother since the baby takes up all her time - day and night. However, if you don't get enough sleep, it can seriously mess with your efforts to lose weight. The body needs sleep to relax, rejuvenate, and regulate your metabolism.
Instead: Try and sneak in sleep whenever possible, never mind routines! Ask your family and friends to look after the baby so you can get some shut-eye time. If you're finding it exceptionally hard to get sleep, or have developed sleep disorders such as insomnia and restlessness, please discuss this with your doctor.
7. Confusing Thirst With Hunger
This is a simple mistake that many of us end up making, simply because of lack of hydration. Postpartum bodies need a lot of water to boost recovery, and fluids are also crucial for breastfeeding. However, in the chaos that is a new mother’s life, it is easy to go for long minutes without drinking water. This sometimes induces a feeling called “head hunger”.
Head hunger is basically thirst that the mind confuses as hunger, inducing you to grab a bite. Over time, this can lead to over-eating as well as dehydration – both conditions that are detrimental for health and fitness.
Instead: Keep drinking water through the day to keep yourself hydrated. Also consider having a drink when you feel a craving for something sugary or fatty. It can help you understand if you are really hungry or not.
8. MultiTasking While Eating
There is so much that a mommy needs to do after delivery that where’s the time to sit down and eat? This is one of the commonest mistakes many new mothers unknowingly make, and which slows down their weight loss. This is mainly because when you eat while multitasking, it is harder to control your portions and thus overeat. Research has also found that distracted eaters eat more than women who are paying attention to what’s on their plate.
Instead: Please try to sit down during mealtime and eat off a plate. If possible for you, try and get a family member to look after the baby while you are eating. Postpone chores and even answering the phone while you are eating.
9. Eating 'Diet' or 'Health' Foods
This might seem odd - after all, diet foods are supposed to be good for you and help you lose weight, right? The fact is - diet foods are often highly processed and loaded with artificial sugar, sodium or preservatives. These ingredients are not just fattening, they can also impact your overall health in the postpartum stage. Even worse, such foods might make you feel hungrier and you'll eat more frequently. This too will make you pile on the kilos instead of losing them.
Instead: Avoid such synthetic diet foods but stick to wholesome, fresh and home-made meals in the postpartum stage.
10. Forgetting to Plan Your Meals
As a new mom, you're always on your toes, with feeding your baby taking up a lot of your time. If you have older kids, or if your little one has now started solid foods, you have even more on your hands as far as planning meals is concerned. For many moms, this means that they end up ignoring their own meals. When you haven't prepared/planned your own meal, you eat whatever is handy. These foods are usually not the healthiest (junk foods, granola bars, sweets, etc.) and play a part in impeding your weight loss efforts. Instead: Try your best to also plan your own meals when you do the planning for the kids and the rest of the family. At no cost should you skip meals. Keep healthy snacks such as fresh fruits, nuts and seeds handy. Also try and opt for nutritious but quick recipes that you can prepare in less time. Here are 22 breakfast recipes under 400 calories that can be prepared quickly.
We at World Of Moms have made a note of these common mistakes and are going to be very careful to avoid making them from now on! Do tell us if you know any more such mistakes that can slow down weight loss in women.