Were you surprised that you still have post baby weight once your baby was born? Although you may think that once you give birth ALL your extra weight will be gone – sadly that is not the case. Most pregnant women lose at least 12 pounds after giving birth, the reality is that most have also gained at least 25-35 during the pregnancy. It was great for the baby but now what?
The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to get back into shape quickly. Just remember that your body has been through a lot recently so don’t stress it. Focus on a healthy and happy new you and the pounds will come off.
Breastfeeding and Weight Loss
It may seem daunting to have 20 or more pounds to loose but it may be easier than you think if you are breast feeding your little one. This is because producing milk for breast feeding can burn up to 500 calories a day! That’s right, 500 calories and just for sitting on the couch. Even better is that breastfeeding stimulates certain hormones to be released and this help shrink your uterus with the added benefit of reducing that post baby belly.
Your Post Baby Diet
You should really wait until six weeks after giving birth before you start to even think about limiting your diet. Your body needs nutrition at this time to recover, feed your baby and to ward off stress and infections.
If you are breastfeeding than remember that your calorie requirements will be a lot higher than normal. The exact number of calories your body needs during this time will vary depending on how active you are and your BMI. Make sure the foods you do eat are packed with the proper nutrients.
Being a new mom is a wonderful time in your life. It can also be very taxing and exhausting for your body, mind and spirit at times. But by nourishing your body with these great superfoods, you’ll be energized, strong, and sharp, and ready to take care of that bundle of joy.
Enjoy These Superfoods to Fuel You
Beans and legumes are good sources of protein, fiber, calcium, iron, thiamine, and niacin. Make a big batch of beans when you have time and freeze them in small containers. Be careful with canned varieties, as they’re usually higher in sodium and their nutritional value is a bit lower since they’re processed using high temperatures. Soybeans provide more protein than any other bean or legume, making them a staple either the vegan or non-vegan. Soybeans are rich in many nutrients, including calcium and iron.
Include plenty of whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet, and oats as they’re a great source of fiber, minerals, protein and B complex vitamins. Buy the least processed grain types you can find, since many of the commercially prepared grains have had the nutritional and beneficial germ and bran removed.
Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, watercress, and spinach are especially important while pregnant or lactating because they supply so many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. Dark leafy green vegetables also are rich in phytochemicals like beta carotene and lutein which protect against many forms of cancer.
Vegetables from the cabbage family such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are wonderful sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. They are also rich in phytochemicals that have anticancer properties. Dark green leafy vegetables and cabbage family vegetables provide important nutrients that help to promote a plentiful milk supply for your baby.
Nuts and seeds are good sources of fiber, protein, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Be sure to eat flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts to get omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for baby’s brain and nervous system development as well as your own health. Nuts and seeds can be eaten raw or toasted, and work great in a salad made of dark leafy green vegetables.
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Lastly, it’s important to drink plenty of water, and make sure you’re getting plenty of rest during this time. A well-hydrated, well-rested body recovers more quickly, and ready to take on the challenges that life with a newborn baby brings with it.
What Exercise You Can Do After Having a Baby?
Walking is definitely the first thing you can start to do post baby plus this is something you can do WITH your baby and you both get fresh air. Your body is adjusting to very little sleep and the demands of a newborn so take it easy for the first few months.
Postnatal pilates, yoga or swimming are ideal as a next step. Here you can focus on yourself and not worry about your baby for that small amount of the day. Ideally two to three times a week will get you back in shape after six to eight months, but be patient — it can take up to 12 or 18 months to feel normal and energised again.
Once you have more energy and want to increase your activity levels, a combination of strength training and low impact cardio is the best combination.
Strength Training to Lose Post Baby Weight
A combination of diet and resistance training has been found to be the most effective method for reducing weight and improving heart health. In addition, a study of 20 breastfeeding women found that when women included resistance training in their exercise, they experienced significantly less bone mineral density loss and muscle loss than women who didn’t exercise).
Finding time to exercise with a baby can be difficult, but there are gyms that offer classes for mothers and babies, as well as YouTube videos such as this one can help you do it at home.
Meditate to Ditch the Post Baby Weight
According to Sarah Anne Stewart of Holistically Slim, “Meditation is often thrown out the door and disregarded because people question how sitting and not burning calories can help them lose weight. But our body is a mirror reflection of what’s going on in our minds. If our primary focus is on losing weight, we cut ourselves off from the emotional and mental beings we are, and that prevents us from understanding why the weight is showing up in the first place.”
So slow down, breathe deep and become more mindful. It may not only help you lose weight but you will also have the added benefit of reduced stress hormones which is good all round.
What you need to remember the most is at this time is that you are amazing and your body doesn’t need to reflect perfection for you to know and believe that. Learn to love your body with the good and what you think is the bad because producing a baby is a gift and you just rocked it.