Weight loss after pregnancy is the number one objective for most new mums – so how do you do it?
How do you achieve postpartum weight loss whilst caring for a new baby?
The main reason mums give for their weight gain is childbirth. Having a baby can play havoc with your figure if you let it.
Weight Gain During Pregnancy
For the average women – is there such a thing? – the recommended weight gain during pregnancy is 28lbs. The average weight gain during pregnancy is 25-40lbs.
We’ve had clients that have put on over 40lbs during pregnancy, that’s not unusual. However, much of that extra weight gain is due to overeating and has nothing to do with the pregnancy itself.
I know, I know, I went through periods where I thought, “what the hell, I’m fat anyway, I’ll lose it when I’ve had my baby” – big mistake!
You lose around 12-15lbs giving birth and if you put no more than around 30 lbs on and breastfeed, you’ll lose your pregnancy weight in around eight months. Certainly no longer than 12 months.
Just stick to a healthy, nutritious eating plan.
Put on more than 30lbs and it will take a bit longer.
When Should I Attempt Weight Loss After Pregnancy…?
The most important thing after giving birth is the health of your baby and you.
It’s tough, I know, but forget about weight loss for the first three months and give yourself around 8-10 months to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.
I put on 24-28lbs during my two pregnancies, which is pretty normal and breast fed both of my children for six months.
I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight in less than seven months.
I ate lots of healthy, nutritious food, exercised when I could (pushing a baby into town is great for that!) and breast fed.
My tip is to give yourself time. You need lots of energy for baby and your hectic routine. Particularly if you’ve got older children and a job.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding…
The best and most nutritious start your baby can get to life is breast milk. It’s the perfect food and really all your baby needs for the first 4-6 months.
Both of mine started sprouting teeth at around 3-4 months so it got a bit tough on my nipples for a while!
As far as weight loss after pregnancy is concerned, breastfeeding is a must!
Your body is designed to deposit and store fat during your childbearing years. Particularly during pregnancy.
It stores tens of thousands of calories to nourish your growing baby before and after birth.
So what do you think happens to all those stored fat calories if you don’t breastfeed?
Easy, they stay stored as body fat.
Your new born baby needs around 500 calories a day. A pound of fat has 3,500 calories.
Eat a healthy diet of no less than around 1,800 calories a day and you can expect to lose around a pound of fat a week from breastfeeding alone.
However, do not even think about dieting for at least three months after giving birth. And realise that it takes around six months for your body to return to normal.
The Benefits of Exercise…
Unlike dieting, exercise won’t interfere with breastfeeding.
I was exercising – walking and gentle aerobics – a couple of weeks after giving birth. Basically as soon as my doctor had checked me over and given me the all clear.
I really noticed the difference in terms of my general feeling of well being as well as some weight loss after pregnancy.
Pelvic floor exercises helped to tighten and tone my stretched abdominal muscles. My midwife recommended Kegel crunches to tighten my vaginal muscles during and after pregnancy. They’re really easy to do:
When contracting, don’t use your abs or rectal muscles. Concentrate on squeezing your pelvic floor muscles.
You won’t lose weight doing these, but you’ll stop any incontinence and enjoy sex a lot more – so will your partner!
Abdominal crunches also helped my muscle tone.
Again, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program, particularly if you’ve had a C-section or experienced any complications before or during birth.
The Bottom Line…
You can achieve weight loss after pregnancy and get your shape back.
Successful weight loss after pregnancy takes a little care and some patience. Give it around three months before you actively start trying and eat a healthy, nutritious diet in the meantime.
Try a little exercise, breastfeed and enjoy being a mum for all it’s worth!.
Check out our healthy weight loss plan when you’re ready as well as our best exercise for weight loss.