Yes, You Can Lose All That Baby Weight & Here's All You Need to Know!
9 mins read
Health & Fitness for Moms
One baby, a million questions! Pregnancy and childbirth lead to so many physical and emotional changes that most new mothers tend to feel overwhelmed. If that’s what your condition sounds like, here are some answers that will put you to ease.
As important as it is for a new mother to tend to her newborn’s needs, it is also necessary for her to pay attention to and take care of her own health. Pregnancy leads to an average weight gain of about 15 kilos. That is a lot of weight to gain over less than a year!
If you have been eating right during your pregnancy, chances are, you will have gained only the recommended amount of baby weight as per your BMI (body mass index). Nonetheless, it is more important now than ever before for you to watch what you eat and how much you weigh. How are you going to run around for your baby if you are not fit enough to even walk up the stairs?
Common Questions on Post Delivery Weight Loss
We are sure there are a lot of questions buzzing in your mind about your postpartum health, with the biggest one being ‘how to lose baby weight’! Worry not mom, we have you covered, with answers to all your basic postpartum weight loss questions. Ready? Here we go!
NOTE: Each woman’s body is different. Two pregnancies of the same woman can both be different too. Always consult your gynaec before taking any step towards your health. They will know your case-history and will be able to guide you best.
When can I start exercising post delivery?
Minimum 6 weeks post-delivery
If you have had a difficult delivery – vaginal or Cesarean – you must give yourself time to recuperate. While we understand you want to get on with getting fit and may have set yourself a goal too, it is important that you realise: your body just popped out a tiny little human being! Honour and respect this. Having said that, it is advised to wait for at least 6 weeks before resuming workout postpartum.
What is the best postpartum exercise?
Cardio for weight-loss; strength-training for muscle gain
It is best to start with light stretching and cardio. Having had your movement restricted for so long must have put your body into a resting mode. Starting with severe exercise immediately may backfire and put you in more pain. Walking is the best exercise you can start with. Combine it with floor exercises and yoga, and you will be able to make your exercise work for your perhaps frantic nerves too! Track your performance: try each day to cover the same distance faster, or to cover more distance in the same time. As your performance improves, include light strength-training under supervision to build muscle strength. This will also help you manage your baby as she gets bigger.
WATCH: Mommy-Baby Workouts Means Everybody WINS!
Can I diet for postpartum weight loss?
Yes, but NO crash diets.
Dieting has an ugly connotation in today’s world. You go on a diet, people diss you and say things like, “Oh, she’s on a diet!” You don’t diet, and people diss you saying, “Do you know how much calories are in that?” It is natural to feel conflicted.
What you need to do is to understand that: dieting does NOT mean starvation! The food you eat is now going to benefit two people – you and your baby. Everything you eat is going to pass onto your munchkin through your breastmilk. Even if you are not breastfeeding, what you eat will decide how fit and able you are going to be of taking care of your baby.
Start with clean eating: everything that’s fresh, home-cooked, is a big YES! Say no to sugar as much as you in, in all forms – tea, coffee, energy bars, chocolates, desserts, fruit juices, etc. Focus on making healthy food choices. Every time it is time to eat, look at your food and ask yourself one simple question – What’s in it for my baby and me? Consult a good dietician and chalk out a meal plan that will incorporate all food groups
How to know if I am doing excess postpartum exercise?
Are you exhausted all the time? Then, yes.
While it is good that you are focused on losing weight, if you find yourself exhausted to the point that you are failing to keep up your energy levels through the day, it could mean you are over-exerting yourself. A good workout should leave you feeling charged-up, happy, relaxed, and positive. This is because exercise releases endorphins in the body – hormones that make you feel energised and positive.
So if your workout routine is, in fact, leaving you feeling drained, take a chill pill! Also, never, ever, skip the cool down after a workout.
Should I avoid exercise before breastfeeding?
Depends on your baby!
Surprised? It’s simple.
When we exercise, our body chemistry changes. This may affect the composition of your breastmilk. This was discovered in a 1992 American Academy of Pediatrics’ study. However, this change is not too drastic, and may not affect your baby to the extent that she may refuse to breastfeed.
Nevertheless, for a host of other reasons like tiredness, fatigue, body-odour and sweat, etc. you may not want to feed your baby post-workout. Here are a few ways in which you can deal with this situation:
Pump and store your breastmilk before you start exercising.
Plan your exercise in such a way that you breastfeed your baby before starting.
If your baby gets hungry in spite of all this, you may consider giving her formula feed. However, always remember – there is no substitute or comparison for a mother’s milk!
Does postpartum exercise decrease milk production?
Exercise has been found to have no direct link to the amount or quality of breastmilk produced by a mother’s body. So don’t worry! On the contrary, all the positive and constructive benefits that exercising has on your physical and emotional well-being might pre-dispose your body to be healthy and produce adequate milk for your baby!
How long does it take to lose baby weight?
Depends on your body and workout.
Realistically speaking, you can set yourself a year’s target to lose all your baby weight. You gained it in a year’s time, remember? So losing it in a year shouldn’t be difficult.
An average of 1.5 to 2 kilos of weight loss each month is healthy and a good measure of weight-loss. With proper guidance from a fitness expert, a dietician, and your gynaec, this shouldn’t be so difficult either. Remember to set yourself realistic and small goals to make your weight-loss achievable.
Does breastfeeding promote weight loss?
This is how it works.
Breastmilk production is a calorie consuming and exhaustive process. The more you breastfeed, the harder your body will work to replenish the supplies, and the more calories you will end up burning!
In anticipation of breastfeeding, your body gains more fat and stores it during your pregnancy. The easiest way, therefore, to get rid of this fat is to utilise it for what it’s meant for!
If you supplement breastfeeding with also eating the right kind of food, your postpartum weight loss journey will definitely speed up!
However, a lot of women will argue that breastfeeding actually made them put on weight! While this may be true, the correlation here is wrong! The act of breastfeeding in itself will never make you gain weight. It is all the other things that we do along with breastfeeding that make us pile on – using breastfeeding as an excuse to snack, giving in to a sedentary life under the pretext of breastfeeding, etc.
When you stay awake past your bed-time, your body understands this and prepares to help you stay awake.
As a result, your body demands food.
Typical foods that suffice this kind of hunger are high-sugar foods, because they supply instant energy to the body, with little effort.
The longer you stay awake, the more you eat, and the more difficult it becomes to shed those kilos!
Another way in which lack of sleep makes weight loss difficult is: if you stay awake but don’t eat food, your body goes into starvation mode. As a result of this, the next meal that you eat gets completely stored in the form of fats because the body prepares for another bout of starvation.
What foods to eat for weight management post pregnancy?
Lots of fibre, complex carbs, fresh fruits and veggies, proteins, and dairy.
Fibre will keep your system clean and get your digestive cycle back on track. Complex carbohydrates will ensure your body keeps a healthy basal level of blood sugar (which will, in turn, control your hunger pangs). Fresh veggies cooked in a healthy way with a minimum amount of oil, will take care of all your vitamins and minerals, and so will fruits. Proteins will help in the rebuilding of muscles, and dairy products will ensure you consume healthy fats and a good amount of calcium.
Along with all this, it may help to take a look at if you need to start taking postnatal supplements like calcium, iron, etc. Not every woman may need these, but some may. It is best to consult your gynaec.
What foods to avoid for weight management post pregnancy?
No sugar, processed foods, stored/packaged food.
The main culprit that prevents you from losing weight postpartum is sugar. The next culprit is any kind of processed, stored, or packed food. Avoid anything that is easy to consume. There are no free meals in this world! So always make sure you (or somebody) had to work to put the food on your plate! Always opt for fresh, home-cooked and nutritious meals.