How to Burn off Baby Weight
Weight gain during pregnancy is vital to the health of the baby and mother. However, shedding the excess fat can be a problem for many women and many women may gain more weight than recommended. When losing weight from a pregnancy, caution needs to be exercised in order to avoid any complications with the healing of the mother’s body. Luckily, there are many safe ways to burn off weight gained during pregnancy after the baby has arrived that can be done with the new baby and at the new mother's pace.
Determine Realistic Approach
Work with your doctor.You can begin the conversation on weight loss during your final pre-natal appointments if you feel the need, but it is best to begin discussing weight loss after the baby has arrived.
- Follow post-partum instructions. These are valuable and will help your body recover. Recovering is the first step in achieving your pre-pregnancy body.
- Discuss weight loss at first post-partum appointment. This is usually 4 to 6 weeks after birth. You can decide if weight loss is something you can do on your own or if you would like the help of nutritionists or trainers. The doctor will help guide you to the healthiest ways to lose weight for your situation.
Set attainable goals.Trying to lose all the weight in 6 weeks is not a healthy attainable goal. You may weigh more than you did pre-pregnancy due to enlarged breasts, especially if breast-feeding, and enlarged uterus. It takes time for the uterus to return to normal size and breast-feeding requires extra fat stores.
- Do not live by the scale. Using a scale is a good way to track overall progress, but can mislead women when it comes to losing pregnancy weight. A better method to measure progress at first is to measure waist size with a tailors tape.
- If you notice your waist size is slowly decreasing, then you are more than likely losing extra adipose (fat) tissue in one of the most vital areas, your torso. Also, you can track how you feel. For instance, as you lose weight you may have more energy and become less fatigued. These are signs you are becoming healthier and you should continue what you have been doing.
Write your goals down.After you have discussed weight loss with the doctor it may help to log your goals and timelines. Checking progress once a week or every other week can be helpful in staying motivated. You will want to avoid obsessing though.
- Remember, checking progress everyday can be misleading because bodies fluctuate daily in terms of water weight. It is the long-term progress that will help you understand if you are losing the extra baby weight.
Move at your own pace.Being a new mom brings many new responsibilities. You will need to work weight loss into this new schedule. It is best to move at a pace you feel comfortable with rather than forcing it.
- If your goals seem too aggressive based on your new schedule then you should scale back or increase the amount of time you are giving yourself.
Wear fitting and comfortable clothes.Trying to squeeze into old pants to soon may make you feel worse about your weight and would not be comfortable. Also, do not overcompensate by wearing clothing that is too large because this may make you appear larger than you are and also may not be comfortable. Clothes that fit will flatter your body the best and be the most comfortable.
Accept that you may be a different size than you were previous to pregnancy.Pregnancy causes many changes in a woman’s body. The increase in hip size may be permanent. Also, breast size may change over the long run. If you are concerned, talk with your doctor and they will be able to let you know what may not change.
Do not diet unless instructed by a doctor to do so.It is very important after you give birth to eat a healthy diet with enough calories.
- Many diets do not allow for enough calories or limit certain food groups. This can result in mal-nutrition and increased healing time after child birth.
- USDA’s Myplate is a good place to look if you are unsure what a well-balanced healthy diet should consist of.
Develop Healthy Habits
Breastfeed your child if possible.Breast milk provides the best nutrition and nurture for your baby, and it benefits the mother as well. Breastfeeding releases a hormone that helps the mother relax and it lets your uterus know that it is time to return to normal size.
- Many women experience uterus contractions during breastfeeding that occur because of the shrinking of the uterus, so don't be worried if this happens to you.
- Breastfeeding can burn 600 to 800 calories a day. Doctors recommend consuming 500 extra calories a day when breastfeeding, but you are burning more and that leads to weight loss. It is feasible to burn off the extra baby weight with breastfeeding alone if you gained only the recommended amount of weight.
Drink plenty of water daily.Water is essential to hydration, especially if you are breastfeeding. You will need the extra water to help with milk production.
- Water will also help you feel full so you don’t over-snack throughout the day. This can help keep weight off and help with excess bloating.
- You need enough water so that you are not thirsty, your urine is fairly clear in color and you are going to the bathroom every few hours.
Sleep when you can and try to sleep enough.As a new mother, sleep may be hard to come by, but being well rested contributes positively to overall health. It is important for your mental and physical health to try to find ways to get enough sleep.
- Lack of sleep can cause an extra release of stress hormones that promote weight gain. It also leads to exhaustion which can lead to making poor decisions when it comes to your health and staying physically active.
- You should aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night, with at least one block of 3 hours uninterrupted sleep.
Control your stress level.Stress hormones, especially cortisol, contribute to excess weight gain. try to have some time to wind down each day in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Eat the Right Foods and Eat Well
Eat the way you want your child to eat.When your child starts eating solids, you will most likely aim for the most nutritious foods with many fruits and vegetables for her. It is good time to start evaluating your diet to determine if you would feed your child what you eat. If not, you probably need to change your eating habits. This doesn’t mean you have to give up everything. You can start by adjusting your main meals to be more nutritious and balanced and go from there.
Eat small meals with snacks through the day.How you eat can be just as important as what you eat. By eating more frequent small meals you will maintain blood sugar and energy levels better. This will keep you satiated and help with over-eating at other times during the day. Good snacks to eat are whole nuts, cheese and whole grain crackers, fruits and vegetables.
Consume foods that give you the maximum nutrition.Your body will require so much more after child birth, and even more if breastfeeding. You will want to continue taking your prenatal vitamin and eat foods packed with nutrition. You will require extra calcium, healthy fatty acids, folic acid and protein.
- Eat foods like milk, fish and whole grains, and avoid foods that are high in empty calories or fat calories. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and this will help you feel full longer as well as aid in digestion.
- The best way to ensure you are getting the most out of your foods is to eat from every food group. USDA’s Myplate is a great place to learn how to eat and track your progress.
Eat when you’re hungry and stop eating when you are full.When people over-eat they confuse the biological function that tells the body when to stop eating. This can make it hard to know if you are full until it is too late.
- The best way to overcome this is to only eat if you feel hungry, eat slowly to give your body time to process the amount of food being consumed and stop when your body begins to give signs of fullness. This method often works better than counting calories and many women find they lose weight with less effort.
- The amount you eat will vary depending on energy expenditure, so don’t be surprised if you consume more on some days and less on others.
Exercise When Your Body is Ready
Avoid excessive tummy toning exercises.Abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy to make room for your baby. These muscles may take a long time to reconnect properly and doing too many crunches can further exacerbate the separation causing a “pouch” appearance in that area.
- Some exercises tone abdominal muscles that are safer after childbirth. These involve isolating and engaging the muscles of the abdomen and can be done while sitting or standing.
Break exercise up throughout day.It may not be feasible to exercise the recommended 30 minutes a day all at once, but this can be broken up into smaller increments through the day. Not only does this relieve the stress of finding time, but it will also help maintain energy levels and mental health through the day. Try doing 10 minutes of exercise at a time spread through the day. Each increment can focus on a different aspect, such as cardio or strength.
Work with your baby.Walking with your baby in a stroller is a great way to begin getting exercise. When you feel up to it, try walking with the baby in a sling or carrier for the extra weight resistance. You can also try yoga, stretching and dance exercises that can be done with your child.
- If you are unsure how to work your baby into a fitness routine check the local gyms and health clubs for mommy and baby classes.
Incorporate strength and cardio training into your exercise routine.Cardio is good for your heart and weight loss. It will burn more calories and give you extra energy. Strength training will help keep muscles in shape, burn extra glycogen and tone. Strength training also has long term positive effects on metabolism.
QuestionWhich stomach exercises should be avoided?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAny that strain your back muscles. The specific exercises vary depending on the individual.Thanks!
- If you need to find other new moms in your area, many social sites, such as meetup.com, have local groups that you may be able to join. Just remember to always meet in a public place and take precautions before meeting a group of strangers.
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