For those of you that are concerned about losing weight after the baby arrives, do not despair. First time moms are often shocked at how dramatically their bodies have changed shape after giving birth. You need to understand that these changes are completely normal and that your body requires time to return to its pre-baby shape. Just be patient and make the necessary healthy modifications to your lifestyle and you will get there.
Don’t restrict yourself; instead take positive steps towards reaching your goal. Do not resort to a fad diet, rather you should choose a healthy eating plan. Your diet needs to support your body and provide essential nutrients and vitamins. Below is a healthy food pyramid recommended by nutritionists:
· Eat mostly: vegetables, dried peas, beans, lentils, cereals, whole grain bread, fresh fruit and nuts.
· Eat in moderation: lean meat eggs, fish, skinless chicken, low fat milk, yoghurt, cheeses. These foods are high in protein but also contain some carbohydrate and fats.
· Eat in small amounts: oil, margarine, reduced fat spread, butter, sugar – these foods contain mostly fats and simple sugar (carbohydrate).
Postnatal exercise offers many benefits. First, it helps your body in the recovery from labor and birth. Next, it assists your body in returning to your pre-baby shape and achieving a healthy level of fitness. Additionally, it increases your energy and helps to reduce stress and depression – vital factors when coping with a new baby. Remember that your body has gone through a major change and will need time to adapt. It is important to wait to start any abdominal workouts until your stomach muscles return to normal; during pregnancy the stomach muscles divide down the middle.
Start out with some light walking in the first three weeks after giving birth. Just put the baby in the stroller and get walking. Begin with 30 minutes per day, and then start going faster and further as you get fitter. You can add some hills for some extra resistance. There is really no better exercise than walking and your baby will enjoy it as well.
If you are unable to get outside due to the weather or time of the year, buy some exercise DVD’s. There is an awesome selection of workouts designed specifically for post-natal exercise available today. While baby is sleeping, in a bouncer or bassinet next to you, you can exercise. Or better yet, let dad have some special time with baby.
Pelvic and Stomach Exercises
Stomach and pelvic floor exercises are particularly important for regaining your pre-baby shape. Weak stomach muscles increase the chance of injury and pain in your lower back. Weak stomach muscles can also make you continue to look pregnant even after you have had the baby. Do stomach and pelvic floor muscles every day, as soon as your doctor gives you the go ahead.
Water is extremely important. It plays a vital role in general health, fitness, and body composition goals. You should strive to drink at least 8 glasses of water (that’s 2 liters) every day.
You should wait six weeks after childbirth before you make significant changes in your diets or activity level. This time allows your body to recover from labor and delivery. In addition, if you are breast feeding, it is best to wait two months before changing your diet, as your body needs all the energy it can get to nourish your baby. The good news is that breastfeeding will naturally help to speed up weight loss. The right time, ideally, to begin any weight loss after pregnancy is once you have established a routine with your baby.
Weight loss after pregnancy is achievable with gradual adjustments. Be confident, set goals and soon you will experience an increase in your energy level, and properly nourishing your body will soon become second nature.