Gaining weight is an essential part of pregnancy. My gynecologist told me that as per my body type, I should gain about 200 grams per week. This is considered healthy. So, I had marathon eating sessions. My family also did their best to fatten me up. I had a feeling that my preparations for postpartum weight loss and the tips I had received would help me get back in shape after my delivery.
I couldn't have been more mistaken. After my delivery, getting back to my original shape looked like a dream!
My preparations showed no results, and I found myself flipping the pages of a magazine, marvelling at how quickly celebrities lose weight. The stories gave me a motivational adrenaline rush, but also revealed something important. I needed to stop believing in some of the ridiculous myths that had been fed to me. If I wanted to kick off my journey of weight loss after motherhood, I had to see the facts for what they were.
I have listed here some of the myths you should never believe in when you are trying to shed post-pregnancy kilos. I have also explained, based on my experience, what ACTUALLY works:
Myth #1: Breastfeeding will make you lose weight very quickly
First of all, there is no connection between breastfeeding and losing weight. Yes, medically, your body requires a lot of energy to prepare breast milk and this is why nursing does burn calories. But your body also needs extra calories to make this happen at all! That is why, during breastfeeding, a hormone called prolactin is released in our body that stimulates milk production as well as hunger. If new moms intake lesser calories, they will also feel less on energy -
and this is a bad option when your baby is so very demanding at this
This myth became known to me only when it happened to me. I was advised to have additional calories when breastfeeding so my body could utilize them well and my newborn would have enough milk to feed on. I realized that my baby totally relies on my breast milk for her food, and I needed to consume a calorie-rich diet to make this possible. Result - no weight loss!
Also Read: The Huge Myth About Breastfeeding and Weight Loss
Myth #2: It is possible to lose enough weight and return to the exact same shape after pregnancy
While I agree that weight loss is certainly possible, it is highly unlikely that you will ever have the exact same body that you had before pregnancy. Really, it is not possible. You know there have been changes which cannot be undone - from sagging breasts to baby pouch, something or the other will remain as it is as a permanent mark of motherhood. Well, then how come celebrities come back to the same shape? Here's my answer: Victoria's Secrets!
Myth #3: If you hit the gym and workout, you'll shed weight fast
Okay, so let me get this straight: you have a little bundle of joy at home, who is 100 percent dependent on you from diaper changing to feeding and everything else. So, how do you propose to leave baby back home and join a gym? This was really not a favorable option at least for me, and I am sure many moms will agree.
I did start some home workouts but I would feel so lethargic and sleepy that they failed to be effective. My baby would cry the entire night and sleep during the day. As a result, my sleep cycle had also become bizarre. Honestly, my baby took so much time during the day that going to a gym seemed like a myth. This is not an excuse - simply the truth.
Myth #4: Regular exercise can will help you attain a stomach as flat as before
Now that my child is older, I have managed to take time out for daily workouts. So, I have been working out regularly for 5 years now. But here's the dismal truth - yes, I feel fitter and more energetic, but I have failed to attain a flat stomach. The baby pouch is evident and very much visible and I think will remain forever. Some mothers may be able to achieve this, I am sure, but for many of us, a flat stomach will just not happen. I think we need to accept this and focus instead on staying healthy overall.
Myth #5: Following a strict diet can help your postpartum body look like a super model's body
After my delivery, when I was breastfeeding, dieting was a big no. I stayed away from any strict dieting all the time breastfed my child as I did not want him to be deprived of milk or nutrition. Even today, I am not a big believer in dieting. Fad diets and weight loss pills neither attract me nor do I believe they are effective in the long run.
What Actually DID Help Me Lose Weight After Pregnancy
Now that I have told you the baseless myths I battled with in my endeavour to lose extra weight, let me also share what eventually did work. Yes, I have managed to lose a good amount of weight over time.
Only three things have proved useful for me:
1. I exercise portion control while eating and believe in smaller, more frequent meals
3. I have undergone a weight loss program with a certified nutritionist and trainer.
4. I have kept patient and given myself time. It took my body one whole year to even start coming back to the earlier stature and energy level.
With continued effort, I have managed to get closer my pre-pregnancy weight. The goal is not achieved yet but I keep myself motivated. If you too are going through this journey, I'd suggest you remember that weight loss will take time. Don't lose hope or start panicking too soon.
Today, I might look bulkier or plumper than I did before I had my child. But my new look makes me feel more beautiful as it is the beauty that lies in mommyhood, in being a mom. Yes, having a healthy weight and looking good is important. But what's more important for me is staying close to my baby. I have learnt to love my new body, including the bulges and curves that my baby's birth has given me.
So, stay focused and keep moving on in your fitness journey, but don't forget to cherish each moment of mommyhood alongside!
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