Getting back to a healthy weight after having a baby can be difficult, as we’ve experienced firsthand. Taking care of a newborn, adjusting to a new routine, and recovering from childbirth can be a stressful experience.
It is essential to return to a healthy weight after childbirth to avoid complications in future pregnancies.
A healthy postpartum weight can help you take on parenthood with more energy. We’ll go over some safe ways to lose weight after giving birth to help you get there.
If you’re wondering what it means to gain “baby weight,” here are a few reasons why it happens during pregnancy and why you won’t need it after your baby is born:
Pregnant women who are within a healthy weight range, according to the CDC, should expect to gain 25 to 35 pounds (11.5 to 16 kg) during pregnancy.
Pregnant women underweight, overweight, or carrying multiple babies have different weight gain recommendations. To find out how much weight you should gain, use the interactive calculators provided by the Institute of Medicine/National Academies.
Additionally, your healthcare providers may have a different recommendation for you based on your circumstances.
The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology reports that pregnancy weight gain is made up of the following:
Breast tissue blood amniotic fluid uterine enlargement fat storage during pregnancy
The extra fat provides an energy reserve for labor and breastfeeding. On the other hand, excess weight gain can lead to an overabundance of fat. As the name implies, this is commonly referred to as “baby weight.”
According to the CDC, an estimated 50 percent of all pregnant women gain more weight than is healthy.
After the birth of a child, it is common for women to gain a significant amount of weight and some related complications such as the following:
- Being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
- Pregnancy carries a higher risk of complications
- Pregnant women with gestational diabetes face increased health risks.
To help you shed those extra pounds, we’ve compiled a list of proven strategies below and lost weight after having a baby with these helpful tips.
Don’t go on a fad diet
When you go on a crash diet, you restrict your caloric intake to the point where you lose a lot of weight quickly.
After having a baby, you need to eat well for your body to recover. In addition, the CDC says that if you are breastfeeding, you will need more calories than usual.
A low-calorie diet is likely to be deficient in essential nutrients and leave you feeling fatigued. When caring for a newborn, this is the exact opposite of what you need.
If your weight is stable, you can lose 1.1 pounds (0.5 kg) per week by cutting your caloric intake by 500 calories per day. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, this amount of weight loss is safe for nursing mothers.
It’s possible to reduce your caloric intake by 300 calories and burn an additional 200 calories through exercise, resulting in 500 calories being cut from your daily calorie intake.
Keep an eye on your calorie count
Calorie counting isn’t for everyone, as we’re well aware of here at eHow. Counting calories can help you figure out how much food you’re consuming and whether or not your diet is working as intended if intuitive eating isn’t working for you.
Additionally, it can help you make sure you’re getting the calories and nutrition you need.
Doing so is as simple as:
- Taking pictures of your food to help you remember what you’ve eaten and using a calorie counter app on your smartphone
- Being held accountable for your daily caloric intake by discussing it with a companion who is also keeping track
You can lose weight by reducing your caloric intake and making better food choices when you use these methods.
Stock up on protein-rich foods
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, including protein in your diet can increase metabolism, decrease hunger, and reduce calorie intake.
Compared to other nutrients, the protein appears to have a more significant “thermic” impact. The body has to expend more energy digesting it than it does with other foods to burn more calories.
Protein has been shown to reduce hunger by increasing the hormones GLP and GLP-1 and decreasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. Having fewer hunger hormones results in less irritability!
Fun fact! Healthy protein sources consist of the following options:
- Nuts and seeds legumes nuts and seeds low-mercury fish
Avoid sugar and refined carbs if possible
Despite their allure, sugar and refined carbohydrates are high in calories and low in nutrients. In addition, there are wholesome and mouthwatering alternatives.
According to research, increased weight, diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and even cognitive decline have all been linked to a high intake of refined carbs and added sugars.
Sugar can be found in a variety of foods, including:
- Sugary beverages
- Fruit juices, sweet spreads, and cakes made with refined sugar and white flour
- Biscuits or pastries
Be sure to check food labels before you buy it at the store. If sugar is listed as one of the first ingredients, it’s probably best to steer clear of the product.
Reducing your sugar intake is simple if you stick to whole foods like vegetables, legumes, fruits, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and yogurt and avoid processed foods altogether.
Here are a few ideas for low-sugar breakfasts to get your creative juices flowing:
Get up and do something
Moving your body has numerous health benefits, but it can also speed up weight loss. Getting your heart rate up and burning calories is one of the many advantages of cardio exercises like walking, jogging, running, cycling, and interval training sessions.
According to the CDC, exercising lowers blood sugar levels, improves heart health, and may even lessen the severity of diabetes and several cancer-related complications.
A review of eight studies found that exercise, when coupled with a healthy diet, can help people lose weight.
According to the study, dieters who also exercised lost an additional 3.7 pounds (1.72 kg) on average compared to dieters alone, and aerobic exercise is critical for weight loss and heart health in particular. A simple walk can significantly impact your weight loss and general well-being.
If you had a cesarean delivery, your pelvic and stomach areas need time to heal.
Getting back into shape after giving birth depends on various factors, including the delivery method, any complications, your level of fitness before and during pregnancy, and how you feel physically in general. Your doctor or other medical professionals can assist you in making this decision.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that postpartum women engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week, such as brisk walking, following their healthcare provider’s recommendation.
Then, once you have permission to begin, look for an activity you truly enjoy and will be able to continue long after your weight has stabilized.
Get a good night’s sleep
You already know this is a difficult situation. That little one needs your attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In the end, getting enough sleep will be a good thing for you.
A lack of sleep can cause weight gain. Research shows that women who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to gain weight after birth.
Adults may also be affected by this correlation. According to most meta-analysis, sleep deprivation has been linked to obesity in 11 studies.
New mothers often find it challenging to get a good night’s sleep. Asking for help from family and friends and reducing your caffeine intake are two possible solutions.
If you can’t get the sleep you need, don’t forget that your health is just as important as your baby’s.
Being a first-time parent can be a challenging and time-consuming experience. More than one in nine new mothers from a trusted source experience postpartum depression as a result of sleep deprivation and other stressors.
It’s critical to maintain a healthy weight after pregnancy, but it shouldn’t put you under undue pressure. For long-term success, you must focus on making small, manageable changes.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re having trouble coping, whether it’s because you’re depressed or anxious. Take advantage of the help you can get from family and friends to get some time to yourself to relax or get some exercise.
If you require additional assistance, you may be able to get it from a physician, dietitian, family nurse practitioner, or psychologist.
Make sure your expectations aren’t too high
It takes time to lose the baby weight, no matter what you read in the media or see on the cover of celebrity magazines.
More than 75% of women were heavier one year after giving birth, according to a 2015 study. At the one-year mark, 47 percent of these women had gained at least 10 pounds, and 25 percent had gained at least 20 pounds.
It is reasonable to expect that you will lose around 10 pounds over the next one to two years, depending on how much weight you gained while pregnant (4.5 kg). You may find yourself a few pounds heavier than you were pre-pregnancy if you put on more weight during your pregnancy than you did before.
With a healthy diet and regular exercise, you should be able to lose any amount of weight your doctor recommends.
Do breastfeeding when you can
Breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Several advantages accrue to both you and your child when you breastfeed him or her for the first six months of his or her life (or even longer).
In the first six months of life, breast milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs to thrive, according to WHO.
It also supports the infant’s immune system, as antibodies in breast milk help your baby fight off disease and infection.
Asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ear infections, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and gastroenteritis are all reduced in breastfed infants.
Breastfed babies are less likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes, breast and ovarian cancers than non-breastfeeding moms.
According to research, breastfeeding has also been shown to aid in the loss of postpartum pounds.
You may, however, gain weight during the first three months of breastfeeding. A mother’s calorie needs and intake increase during lactation, while her physical activity decreases.
Fiber-rich foods should be a part of your diet
Your grocery list should include plenty of whole grains and vegetables. Weight loss can be aided by consuming foods high in fiber.
Over six months, an additional 3 1/4 pounds of weight loss was observed when the participants in a researched, increased their fiber intake by 4 grams over their pre-study intake.
You may also feel fuller for longer by slowing down digestion and reducing hunger hormone levels, according to a clinical trial in 2015. Soluble fiber foods (like these!)
Although the results of studies are mixed, these effects on digestion may help reduce calorie intake.
Keep a supply of nutritious snacks on hand
The foods you keep in your house can significantly impact what you eat each day. There is nothing better than a healthy snack when looking for something to eat.
If you keep a supply of healthy snacks on hand, you’ll never be caught without something to munch on. Consider the following suggestions:
- Prepared hummus, sliced vegetables, and dried fruit
- Homemade granola yogurt with granola-covered air-popped popcorn string cheese, nuts, and seaweed
- According to studies related to BMI, having fruit on the counter has been linked to a lower BMI
Similarly, a comparative study found that people who keep unhealthy foods on the counter are more likely to be overweight.
Recommendation: Avoid having processed foods and sweets within easy reach of the kitchen.
These healthy snack ideas are a hit for the office, pantry, or wherever you go.
Limit your intake of processed foods
Eating whole, unprocessed foods makes many of these suggestions much easier, if you’ve been paying attention. Protein, fiber, and sugar are all common ingredients in these dishes.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), processed foods are high in sugar, fats and salt, and calories, which can work against your weight loss goals.
Included in this group are:
- Prepared meals in a box that you have no idea how much calories are in
- Cookies and other sweets made with flour
- Ready-to-eat candy
- Tins of food
- Ready-to-eat cheeses
- Cereals that are high in sugar
- Research is also being done
- Consumption of processed foods has been linked to a higher risk of developing a food addiction
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, these foods account for a significant portion of the nutritional intake of many people.
When you substitute processed foods for fresh, whole, nutrient-dense foods in your diet, you can reduce the number of processed foods you consume.