How much you weigh post-delivery and how long it will take to get your pre-baby body back is difficult to say. The truth is, it varies from woman to woman and there are factors which influence the speed and success of your weight-loss goals.
For instance, how much did you gain during pregnancy and will you be breastfeeding? Is your diet healthy post-delivery and what are your plans for exercise?
Whatever your answer is, one thing is clear: you need to be patient with your body and with yourself. After all, you’ve shifted into a new phase of your life and, as a consequence, things will inevitably be different.
In the 24 hours following birth, your tummy will shrink because most of that weight was, after all, baby.
If you’re breastfeeding you’ll need around 500 extra calories per day. Even so, women who breastfeed tend to lose more weight.
In the weeks after the baby is born, try not to jump on the scales. This is the time when you need to feel supported. Hormones are beginning to level out but you may still feel extra sensitive. Seeing an unwanted number on the scale won’t help your mood. Instead, concentrate on eating healthy and getting outdoors as much as possible.
You may find that you lose up to 20 pounds in the first month or so after delivery. If you didn’t gain too much during pregnancy you’ll almost be at your pre-baby weight.
At around six weeks, the uterus returns to the pelvis and its original size. Your postpartum tummy will likely be looking smaller at this point.
If you continue with healthy eating, after the first few months, you’ll be close to your normal weight. You should also be able to exercise as normal at this point.
Sometimes, skin loses its pre-pregnancy elasticity and may not return to normal. But don’t panic because there are ways to combat this too. For example, the mini tummy tuck is a great solution for those who live a healthy balanced lifestyle but still have concerns about excess tummy fat. And we’ve linked a video just in case you’d like to know more about it.
In the meantime let’s look at 7 ways to get back into shape and lose weight after pregnancy.
1. The abdominals
Only once you get the go-ahead from your medical practitioner, you can get back into your regular exercise routine.
But if you’re looking to tone that post-pregnancy tummy, crunches aren’t the answer. Working those outer abdominal muscles without strengthening the underlying ones is very ineffective.
The key to a flatter tummy is to tone the deepest abdominal muscle. The transverse muscles. It’s important to seek guidance from a professional when it comes to changing your fitness regimen, so speak to your personal trainer or yoga practitioner for guidance.
2. Calorie counting
Counting calories helps to highlight any problem areas in your diet. That includes ensuring you are consuming the right amount of calories. Post-baby it’s important to sustain energy as well as nutrition.
Try keeping a food diary to help keep track of what you’re eating. These days you can find some great apps to help you track what you eat too.
Eating the right amount of calories may also mean tracking your portion sizes. As well as encouraging you to make a healthier meal and snack choices.
3. High fiber foods
Studies show that eating high fiber foods as part of a healthy diet can greatly increase weight loss. Soluble fiber, in particular, helps keep us satiated by slowing down digestion. This is thought to reduce hunger hormone levels and calorie intake.
4. Premium protein
Make protein part of your daily diet to help boost metabolism and decrease your appetite. Protein takes more energy to digest it than other types of foods. This means you’ll be burning more calories and aiding weight loss.
It’s also thought to be an appetite suppressant and has the bonus of helping you build muscle. Healthy sources of good protein that are easy to implement into your diet include lean meats, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, and legumes.
5. Good cardio
Cardiovascular exercise, like cycling and running, are calorie activities. And they have many health benefits, such as preventing chronic illness later in life.
Though exercise on its own may not promote substantial weight loss, combined with a healthy, balanced diet it will definitely help you reach your weight loss goals. In fact, it’s the amount of exercise, not intensity, that’s important for fat loss and health. So simply taking a long walk is a good beginning (not only for your physical health but your mental health too).
Especially since post-delivery, your body needs time to heal, a walk is a sensible option during this time. How long you need to wait for postpartum before you exercise with depending on numerous things. For example, how the fit was you before pregnancy and were there any complications?
Almost immediately, assuming there were no complications in pregnancy or childbirth, you should be ok to do some pelvic work too. But wait until the body heals before taking on intense workouts.
6. Healthy Snacking
Processed foods are one of the worst things for weight loss. They tend to be full of sugar, bad fats and salt. Stick to fresh, home-cooked meals and avoid baked ready-made and packaged foods.
Try replacing high calorie sugary, refined carbs with nutrient-rich, whole foods. Sugar and refined carbs are high in calories and usually low in vitamins and minerals.
Studies show links between diabetes, heart disease and some cancers with processed foods. So this is a good time to cut out sugary drinks, fruit juice, and other baked goods. When you visit the supermarket, look at the labels. Get to know the ingredients and beware if the first ingredient is sugar.
So stick to the fresh food sections and stay away from the packaged and frozen areas.
7. No Alcohol
Most of us enjoy a glass of wine in the evening and there’s nothing like a cold beer in the summer months. Small amounts of alcohol may even offer some health benefits. But when it comes to losing weight, alcohol is all calories and no nutritional value. In fact, alcohol may be the culprit behind our weight gain. And it also adds dangerous fat around the organs.
Post-pregnancy, alcohol can pass through breast milk to the baby. So it’s best to be avoided completely before, during and after pregnancy. It’s also important to note that there is no safe level of alcohol for babies.
The truth is that we all lose that postpartum weight differently. Putting pressure on yourself to bounce back to pre-baby weight is unhealthy for you and baby.
Fad diets do not promote long-term, healthy weight loss. Instead, they deny your body of nutrients and delay your healing. If you’re breastfeeding, fad dieting may be depriving your baby of calories and nutrients too.
So take a breath, get your rest, enjoy this special time, take care of your emotional and physical wellbeing first and don’t push yourself too hard in the pursuit of that pre-baby body.