If you recently had a baby, I first off want to say congratulations! Your body has done an amazing miracle bringing human life to this world. So, you should be nothing but proud of your postpartum body and not put any unnecessary pressure on yourself. However, if you do feel like getting healthier to be your best self even as a mom, there is nothing wrong with that at all. After all, running after a toddler will require you to have a lot of energy and stamina. Here are some tips and tricks to help you bounce back and lose the baby weight without any fad diets or rigorous gym regimen.
One of the healthiest changes that I implemented was to move away from toxic low-calorie or elimination diets. Growing up I was struggling with my weight and yoyo-ing a lot. Looking back this does not surprise me as I was always dieting and constantly restricting myself. This left me feeling unsatisfied and eventually led to bingeing. I stopped this at some point and practiced portion control instead. This does not mean staying hungry after eating. But rather, eating foods I actually like and eating more mindfully.
Listening to my body finally helped me understand what my body needs. This, in turn, made me intuitively eat more vegetables and fruits and cut the stuff that did not sit well with my body. Thankfully, I learned this before having a baby as it helped me bounce back and lose the baby weight without any pressure. I have applied that same method during pregnancy and postpartum weight loss.
2. How to apply this during pregnancy and postpartum
During my pregnancy, I was a little nauseous and low on energy so I was craving a sugary treat every day. Fruits and natural juices were not cutting it for me to curb these cravings. So I started eating a dark chocolate cake-pop and some slightly sweetened iced-tea every day. When I had more high caloric cravings after having my baby such as milkshakes, I wouldn’t stress too much about it because I was at a point where I could trust my body to crave what it needs. As I was mainly having nourishing foods such as vitamins and healthy proteins, it was not such a big deal to have a sugary or fatty treat in moderation.
I still bounced back to my pre-pregnancy weight effortlessly and in a healthy way. No crazy diets and workouts that were too strenuous for my fitness level! Therefore, I find it silly to tell people that there is a maximum amount of calories they should eat or that there is some one-fits-all kind of diet. Everybody is different, burns calories differently, and has different needs.
3. Start doing moderate exercises
First, you must check with your OB/GYN on when you can exercise again after giving birth. Usually, it will be six weeks for vaginal births and eight weeks for c-sections. Keep in mind there is a plate-sized wound inside your body from the placenta detaching from the uterus. You want to make sure to heal that first. There is a reason why so many countries give women months of paid maternity leave in order to recover.
Also, your body retains a lot of water in the first couple of weeks. In order to keep moving, I started taking my newborn for walks in a stroller. Not only did it help me get some fresh air and gentle exercise, but my baby would fall asleep during these strolls. Since he was born in the summertime, I usually opted for walks later in the evening when the temperature was more moderate. Once you get cleared to get back to exercising, the type of exercise will depend on your level of exercise. Also, make sure you do not have an abdominal gap to see what exercises to avoid and what to do to heal the gap. Last but not least, there are special three-piece belly binders you can use right after giving birth. They help support and strengthen your abdominal muscles directly in the first few weeks.
4. Breastfeeding – Baby weight loss blessing for some, weight loss curse for others
Breastfeeding can burn up to 500 to 700 calories per day which is a quick weight loss method for many women. But there are a lot of women who experience the opposite. I am part of the latter group. I felt like was going on preservation mode since I was burning extra calories through nursing/pumping. While I lost most of the 30 pounds that I had gained during pregnancy quickly, my body was holding on to an extra 10 pounds of baby weight while breastfeeding for six months. However, these extra pounds came off quickly after. Keep in mind that if you are breastfeeding, your baby is getting all the nutrients through you. Therefore, it is important that you nourish yourself well which will also help your recovering body to heal.