You’ve given birth, but people still look at your tummy and ask, ‘When are you due?’ It can be very difficult to shed those pregnancy pounds. New moms don’t have time for complicated diets or strict exercise regimens. And there are so many questions: When is it safe to go on a weight loss program? What are the best weight loss tips for lactating moms?
Here are some weight loss tips for new moms. Like all other parenting tips found on o5.com, these are straightforward, practical, and designed to work with the reality of a busy schedule.
Weight Loss Tip # 1: Don’t start too soon
Pregnancy takes a big toll on your body, and the first six weeks with a newborn can be such madness that weight loss is, and should, be the last thing on your mind. For the first two months, focus on resting and adjusting to your new schedule. In fact, most new moms wait three months—when the baby actually starts sleeping more regularly.
And don’t feel guilty for waiting, either! Doing this actually increases your chances of sticking to any weight loss program you eventually choose. If you’re physically rested, calmer, and less emotional (due to hormonal shifts, etc.) you’ll have the discipline and the resolve to stick to your regimen.
Plus, if you start a weight loss program too soon, you will recover more slowly, and feel more tired just when you need all the energy to cope with this big life change. You’ll be more prone to yo-yo dieting, which actually lowers your metabolism.
Weight loss tip # 2: Set realistic goals
Don’t feel pressured by stories of moms like Heidi Klum, modeling in a Victoria’s Secret show just weeks after giving birth. Heidi (and all celebrities who showed up with flawless bodies) have personal trainers and nutritionists, and a whole team of nannies to take care of their kids while they work out. Professional stylists also know how to dress them up to hide the remaining baby weight.
Instead, aim for slow and steady weight loss. The effects may be less dramatic, but they are more permanent than what you’ll get from falling for those weight loss regimens that have you eating something like 500 calories a day.
It’s also important to know that you may never achieve your pre-pregnancy body. The goal isn’t to fit into your old clothes but to be firm up and show off your new mommy curves.
Weight loss tip # 3: Find fun ways to stay active
It’s great to enroll in an exercise program, but if you’re too busy to go back to the gym, you can still burn calories. Walking every day can help you lose weight and also give you much-needed space and ‘me time.’ Or, turn it into a bonding and educational activity and strap your baby in a stroller as you go around the block. You can also buy an exercise DVD that will let you do yoga, pilates or dance routines in your living room while your baby naps or plays with his Dad.
Don’t forget that even housework or baby errands are great opportunities to lose weight! Walking up and down the stairs while carrying the baby, or doing squats while you wait for the laundry cycles, are all ways to squeeze a little exercise into your busy schedule. You can also squeeze in a few abdominal crunches while your baby lies down next to you, and say “Peekaboo!” to him as you go up–he’ll think it’s a game.
Weight Loss Tip # 4: Don’t starve yourself
You need 1,500 calories a day, and 2,000 calorie if you’re breastfeeding. (Check your doctor how much you need given your height and your lifestyle.) You need to eat right to be able to stay energetic the whole day—your baby needs you to be strong! Plus, starving yourself and losing weight too dramatically can even affect your milk supply.
So, a reasonable weight loss regimen will have you losing about a pound a week. The easiest way to do this is to cut 500 calories a day from your diet. You can do this by increasing fruits and vegetables, lowering your fat intake, and avoiding empty calories from sodas or artificial juices.
Another great weight loss tip is to eat smaller but more frequent meals. This helps prevent any energy slumps, and may even fit new mom’s schedules better (babies have a way of acting up when you’re about to sit down to eat lunch or dinner). Stock your pantry with healthy snacks (like half a sandwich and carrot sticks) that you can nibble on while your baby sleeps or plays quietly in his crib.
Weight loss tip # 5: Eat Breakfast
A study by the National Weight Control Registry shows that people who take breakfast lose more weight and keep it off longer.
Weight loss tip # 6: Avoid temptation
Stock your pantry with food that’s good for you. This includes whole wheat bread and cereal, high fiber and low fat food like apples, oranges and berries, vegetables, fish and chicken. Control fat intake even further by baking and steaming these foods-the bonus is that these cooking methods are more convenient—just stick in an oven or steamer, and set the timer.
Photo from wltips.org