Losing post-pregnancy weight is a top priority for many new mums, but weight loss after giving birth can be a different process from before pregnancy. Dealing with a new body, a new schedule and a new child are all factors that can complicate the post-pregnancy weight loss process, but it's definitely possible to get your pre-baby body back.
Here are 10 tips to help you set and achieve realistic weight loss goals:
Set realistic weight loss goals & expectations
Don't expect nine months of pregnancy weight to disappear the first time within the first few weeks. Your body changes a lot when you're pregnant so it's unreasonable to expect that you'll immediately get your pre-baby body back. Many mums lose about 5kilos when they give birth and can expect to lose approximately one pound per week once they start a post-pregnancy diet, so use these standards as approximate goals. As long as your doctor has given you the all-clear to change your diet, and you aren’t breast feeding, you can start Atkins on Phase one which will kick-start the weight loss process by switching your body from burning carbs to fat, for energy.
Focus on changes you can control
Instead of making major changes in your daily routine, focus on changing small habits you can control. For example, watch your portion size, stock your fridge with healthier foods and take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible to keep moving and stay healthy.
A negative attitude won't do anything to assist with weight loss! Celebrate when you achieve small goals and don't stress if you don't hit some of them right away. Focus on your accomplishments thus far and embrace your new curves.
With that being said, incorporating exercise may help to speed up the weight loss process. Make sure you speak to your doctor before starting an exercise programme. Start slowly – walk with your baby in a stroller round the block a few times and increase distance/speed over time. This is great bonding time with your baby as well as increasing your fitness level.
Do your Kegels
Many women do Kegel exercises throughout their pregnancy to prepare for childbirth, but Kegel exercises post-delivery are just as important. Doing regular Kegel exercises can help tone and control your bladder muscles and will help reduce your risk of incontinence. Simply contract, hold and release your muscles, working up to longer and longer holds.
Work your abs
If you're trying to work your abs, modified crunches and push-ups are the way to go. With your doctor's permission, try modified crunches: Lie on your back with your knees bent, exhale slowly and slowly extend one leg along the floor, then inhale and bring the other leg back to the bent-knee position. Also, doing regular sets of 10 push-ups will help get your upper-body strength back; babies are heavy, so you'll need plenty of arm strength.
Get baby involved in the workout
Part of the reason new mums may have difficulty finding time to work out is that they don't want to be away from their baby. So why not incorporate your infant into your workout? Hold your baby securely to your chest while you do light squats and lunges; the baby will serve as extra weight for your workout. Just make sure you're in shape enough to ensure both you and your baby's safety.
Don't crash diet
Crash dieting is not a safe or healthy way to lose weight for anyone, especially new mums. You want to lose the weight slowly and steadily, without putting any undue stress on yourself or your body. If you’re breastfeeding then start on Phase 3 of Atkins at 50g carbs which will give you a greater range of foods like fruits, pulses and more vegetables. Refined carbs have little nutritional benefit to you or your baby so there’s no harm in reducing them from your diet. Don’t forget to include protein with each meal and healthy fats such as avocado, olives, oils and nuts. Eat plenty of red, orange and leafy green vegetables and one or two servings of fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or grapefruit daily.
Spread out your meals
Don't get all of your nutrients from one meal that you wait to eat until 3 a.m. Spread out your meals over the course of the day and make sure to get an even amount of calories at every meal. Since your sleep schedule will be off, you'll need to be fueled at all times of day. Good low-carb snacks include vegetables with guacamole dip, or hard-boiled eggs, or a slice or two of turkey with cheese.
One of the most important parts of any post-pregnancy diet plan is staying hydrated, especially if you're breastfeeding. Drink water—not soda or fruit juices high in sugar—throughout the day to stay refreshed and more alert. Staying hydrated can also help speed up your metabolism, leading to easier weight loss.