Winning at Post-Natal Weight Loss: Six Simple Strategies for New Moms — Part 1Written by Susan Peach
A healthy pregnancy almost always involves weight gain. But now that baby’s here, you’re probably wishing those extra pounds would hurry up and disappear! While it won’t happen overnight, these six simple tips can help you lose that extra weight in a healthy way. (If you’re looking for parts 2 and 3 of this article, you can find them both at http://www.mambomoms.com/articles.html)
1) Try to relax and don’t be in too much of a hurry to lose your extra pregnancy weight. Remember, it took 9 months for you to put it on, and you should give yourself at least half that amount of time to take it back off. In fact, eight to 12 months is not an unreasonable amount of time to give yourself. And even if it does take a year to get back to your pre-pregnancy size and shape, those pounds are all more likely to stay off because you’ve lost them gradually.
You definitely should not be thinking about weight loss at all in early post-partum weeks. Your body needs this time to recover from giving birth, readjust to its pre-pregnancy state, and establish a milk supply for your baby. Besides, most new moms find that a fair amount of weight tends to melt off all by itself in these first few weeks as excess fluids retained in late pregnancy are gradually shed.
Remember that gradual weight loss based on sensible nutrition and enjoyable physical activity is best path to permanent weight loss. This applies whether or not weight gain is due to pregnancy, but when you are dealing with all changes and adjustments that come with having a new baby, it’s all more important to take a slow and steady approach so you don’t add to your stress level.
And speaking of stress, recent research shows that when you’re stressed, your body releases hormones that can contribute to weight gain. So try not to add to your stress level at this time by putting unreasonable pressure on yourself to lose that extra weight too fast. Instead, take a long term approach and be sure to incorporate some kind of relaxation into your day, whether it’s having a nap, a warm bath, or receiving a relaxing back massage.
2) Eat well and nourish yourself with healthy foods so you’ll have energy you need to care for yourself and your baby. If you restrict your calories you’ll probably get tired, cranky, and lose energy, making you less apt to exercise and less able to take good care of your baby.
Cutting back too much on your caloric intake can also sabotage your weight loss efforts by forcing your body into “starvation mode.” When your body isn’t getting enough fuel, it becomes much more efficient at using what you do give it, so that over time you will actually gain weight rather than lose it. You are much better off to eat well and get regular, moderate exercise to help shed those extra pounds.
Winning at Post-Natal Weight Loss: Six Simple Strategies for New Moms — Part 2Written by Susan Peach
A healthy pregnancy almost always involves weight gain. But now that baby’s here, you’re probably wishing those extra pounds would hurry up and disappear! While it won’t happen overnight, these six simple tips can help you lose that extra weight in a healthy way. (If you’ve missed part 1 of this article, or want to read part 3, you can find them both at http://www.mambomoms.com/articles.html)
3) Drink plenty of water. You will probably be very thirsty if you are nursing your baby and you should drink as much as your thirst dictates. But even if you’re not breastfeeding, lots of pure water is important in your quest to shed those pregnancy pounds.
First of all, water has no calories, so when compared to other beverages, it’s hands down best bet in terms of weight loss. Diet soft drinks and other low calorie beverages may have only a couple of calories, but your body craves pure water in order to be able to function properly. Besides, many people are concerned about artificial sweeteners used in these products, and caffeinated diet drinks may increase fussiness in your baby if you’re nursing. Go ahead and indulge if this is something you just can’t live without, but make sure you’re not doing it at expense of your water needs.
Secondly, water is helpful in process of burning stored body fat. Studies have shown that not drinking enough water can hinder your weight loss efforts because liver has to work harder to metabolize waste when your body is not properly hydrated.
And finally, drinking enough water will help you feel full so you eat less. This is especially true if you’re eating lots of high fiber foods such as whole grain breads and cereals. The fiber in whole grains will absorb water, making you feel full longer.
Other liquids are fine too, such as juice, milk (dairy or substitutes), and herbal teas. But do try to stay away from those empty calorie soft drinks and anything that’s labeled “beverage,” “punch” or “drink” instead of “juice.” And even though they may be considered healthful, watch your intake of pure fruit juices. Juices contain nutrients that your body needs, but they are a very concentrated source of sugar as well. Whenever possible you are better off to eat a piece of fresh fruit and drink water for thirst.
You should also try to limit your intake of coffee and caffeinated tea. Doing so may help both you and your baby regulate your sleep habits. Some babies get very fussy and hard to settle when mom is breastfeeding and drinks caffeinated beverages.