It has been two weeks since you had your baby. By now, you expect that you’d have shed most of the baby weight you gained during pregnancy.
After all, you’ve seen celebrities do it.
Sadly, your current body may be far from its pre-pregnancy state. There may be fat in your tummy, arranged in rolls that weren’t there before. Perhaps, your clothes still don’t fit and putting on jeans has become a deep struggle.
Just like you, many women struggle with shedding excess weight after childbirth. In fact, most give up along the way, thinking it is an impossible feat.
If you’re in these shoes, you need not worry.
Losing baby weight is achievable and we are here to help you with the right way to go about it.
What Is Baby Weight?
Weight gain during pregnancy is normal.
Your body stores extra fat to prepare for childbirth and breastfeeding. Storing too much causes excess weight gain, called “baby weight”.
How Can I Lose Baby Weight Fast?
A combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise is the best way to get back to your pre-pregnancy shape.
The extent of weight loss achievable varies from woman to woman. The amount of weight gained during pregnancy also plays a role.
However, regardless of your body type, we have compiled some tips to help you lose the extra pounds, especially around your tummy!
1. Calorie Counting
Counting calories is a great way to lose weight. Experts recommend that your calorie budget should be designed so that you lose no more than 1 pound (approximately 1/2kg) per week.
This can be achieved by subtracting 500 calories from your daily calorie requirement, creating a weekly deficit of 3,500 calories. This equates to 1pound.
As a nursing mother, you do not need to subtract from your daily requirement. Producing breast milk requires about 450-500 extra calories. Therefore, taking the same number of calories as you did before getting pregnant would still help you lose weight.
2. Food Logging
A food log is a diary where you record down everything you eat. It is an efficient way to keep track of calories. You can do this with a physical diary where you write down everything you eat.
Calorie counting apps can also be used to keep track of your calorie intake. Some of these apps give you the caloric content of foods.
This helps you know the right portions to eat for your budget.
3. A Healthy Diet Is Key
A healthy diet does not translate to boring food, neither does it mean eating fruits and vegetables only.
Your aim is a well-balanced diet that provides the right nutrients in the right quantity, at the same time, helping you lose general body weight and tummy fat.
Some modifications you could make to your diet include;
- Cutting back on carbs (White bread, pasta and chips)
- Including more protein (Lean beef, Seafood, Eggs and Beans)
- Eating more vegetables (Tomatoes, Bitter leaves, Water leaves, Cabbage, Cucumbers and Carrots)
- Consuming only healthy fats (Olive, Coconut and Avocado oils)
- Eating high-fibre foods (Oats, Abacha [African salad], Avocados and Whole-wheat bread)
- Taking more fruits (Apples, Berries and Oranges)
4. Avoid Junk Food
Junk food is not your friend when trying to lose to baby weight, especially around your tummy.
It does very little for your body.
Sugary drinks, alcohol and foods containing refined sugars are high in calories and low in nutrients. In addition, processed, fried and salty foods like chips, cookies and baked goods do not help you.
Try replacing them with fresh, whole foods and watch the inches disappear from your waist!
Other Means of Losing Baby Weight Include:
5. Getting More Sleep
Lack of sleep may affect your weight loss negatively. The recommended amount of sleep is 8 hours a day. Although it may prove difficult with your newborn, try to get as much sleep as you can.
Exercise is a great way to burn extra calories. Go easy if you are a new mum, you can even try taking a walk with your baby. Yoga is also a good way to help you relax; some poses like the camel pose could help reduce tummy fat.
Pelvic exercises like kegel exercises are also encouraged. You could also include cardio exercises, e.g. jogging, running, and cycling as time passes. The good thing about cardio exercises is that they also help to tighten loose skin after childbirth.
7. Ask For Help
Your partner, family and friends are there for you. They could help prepare healthy meals or take care of your baby. This allows you rest, catch up on some lost sleep and exercise.
Also, if you need professional help, your doctor, family nurse, or a psychologist could offer support.
What You Should Avoid
Depriving yourself of food is going to harm you and your baby. Food is not your enemy, your body needs it to stay alive.
Losing excess baby weight is necessary, but starvation is not the way to go about it. Sticking to a healthy diet and exercise plan is a better approach guaranteed to get you desired results.
9. Crash Dieting
The best weight loss plans are the long-term ones. While crash dieting may give you fast results, these are only temporary.
You would most likely end up gaining all the weight you lost, or even more! Same thing goes for skipping meals.
Comparison Is Wrong
Do not compare yourself to other mothers.
Everybody’s weight loss journey is different, some may take longer than others. Therefore, you should focus on yourself and your baby. You would lose the weight in due time.
How Long Does It Take To Lose Postpartum Weight?
For most women, the extra weight gain during pregnancy is lost within 6-12 months after childbirth.
However, it is essential to note that many factors come into play in this process. If you follow the strategies listed above, you’re guaranteed to lose all that baby weight within this time frame.
How Much Weight Can I Lose After Childbirth?
In the first week after delivery, most new moms can lose up to 6kg of the weight gained during pregnancy. This weight loss includes the ‘removed’ weight of the baby, placenta and amniotic fluid.
In addition, it is necessary to note that the extra fat that comes during pregnancy wouldn’t just disappear on its own. Following the strategies listed above would help you on this weight loss journey.
Why Is It So Hard To Lose Weight After Having A Baby?
Even after following the tips above, it may still be hard to lose postpartum weight if you are:
- Still Healing
- Not Eating Enough
Here’s the good part: With a lot of patience and the tips in this article, you’d lose all the extra weight you want to.
Losing Baby Weight And Breast Feeding
Producing breast milk uses up calories. When these calories are gotten from the fat stored in your body, you lose baby weight faster. Additionally, regular suckling by your baby leads to the production of oxytocin.
This hormone causes uterine contraction and helps it shrink back to its pre-pregnancy state. This would, in turn, reduce your tummy size.
It is crucial that you do not lose too much weight too fast. This would not be good for you and your baby. The quantity and quality of your breast milk could suffer. Aim to lose weight gradually. This would give you enough energy and keep your milk supply high.
Achieving a healthy weight after pregnancy is important, but it should be done the right way. Being realistic would help you avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Furthermore, keep in mind that despite what many women’s magazines and celebrity stories portray, weight loss after childbirth is not automatic. It would take time, and you may not go back to your pre-baby weight straight away.
Although the amount of weight you lose after giving birth may vary, it is important that you return to a healthy weight range.
The best way to achieve this is through a healthy diet and exercise.
- Anisha Nair 2018, Yoga after Delivery-Getting Back into Shape After Childbirth, Firstcry Parenting, Viewed on June 16, 2020, <https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/yoga-after-delivery-getting-back-into-shape-after-childbirth>.
- Donna Murray 2020, Breastfeeding and Losing Too Much Weight, Verywell Family, Viewed on June 16, 2020, <https://www.verywellfamily.com/breastfeeding-and-losing-too-much-weight-431877>.
- Elise Mandl 2017, 16 Effective Tips to Lose Baby Weight After Pregnancy, Healthline, Viewed on June 16, 2020, <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/weight-loss-after-pregnancy>.
- Kris Gunnars 2019, 50 Foods That Are Super Healthy, Healthline, Viewed on June 16, 2020, <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/50-super-healthy-foods>.
- Maria Masters 2019, Losing The Baby Weight: The Truth About Shedding Pounds After Birth, What To Expect, Viewed on June 16, 2020, <https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/losing-baby-weight>.
- Nicci Micco 2020, Lose That Baby Fat, Parents, Viewed on June 16, 2020, <https://www.parents.com/parenting/moms/healthy-mom/lose-that-baby-fat/>.
- Sarah G. Miller 2016, The Best Ways to Lose Weight After Pregnancy, Live Science, Viewed on June 16, 2020, <https://www.livescience.com/53768-how-to-lose-weight-after-pregnancy.html>.
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