How to achieve healthy postpartum weight loss
When you have a baby, your body goes through some serious changes. It’s natural to take a while to reach the weight you were familiar with before falling pregnant.
Allow yourself time to rest and recover! Even if postpartum weight loss is a priority for you, it should be about optimising good health, not freaking out over hitting a certain number on your bathroom scales.
Here are some tips to achieve postpartum weight loss the healthy way.
Avoid strict diets
It is a waste of time to crash diet to shed your baby weight quickly because a lot of it will come back once you start eating normally again. Instead, focus on eating healthy and nutritious meals as the best way to start your postpartum weight loss journey.
Aim to reduce your intake of the not-so-good foods (processed, high sugar, and high fat). Instead of chocolate and chips, choose veggie sticks and low sugar fruits. Focus on the non-processed foods you love and fill up your pantry/fridge so you can grab something tasty and filling any time you are hungry. Keep sugary treats out of sight so you are not tempted by them.
As a new mum, you need all the nutrients you can get to make sure your body can recover and heal. It’s important you’re producing the energy to look after yourself and bub so restricting yourself from too many foods will just make life difficult.
Crash dieting can also reduce your milk flow… another reason to keep your intake of food up, not down after childbirth.
Breastfeed if possible
Not every mother breastfeeds… and that’s ok.
However, if you’re able to and feel comfortable doing so, breastfeeding can actually fast track healthy postpartum weight loss within the first few months after your baby arrives.
Studies show that nursing your baby can help to burn up to 500 extra calories each day. Bub is getting good nutrients and you can safely shed those kilos!
Remember to keep up your fluids while you are breastfeeding so you don’t become dehydrated. Take a water bottle wherever you go and add a squeeze of lemon or a few slices of cucumber if you want to for flavour. Be careful about caffeinated drinks as the caffeine can transfer through your breastmilk to your baby.
Of course, drinking booze while breastfeeding is a no-no.
When you do have a night off, remember those delicious cocktails are filled with sugar (sorry to remind you), and they’ll only hinder your postpartum weight loss goals.
Reduce your alcohol intake and opt for another refreshing drink like sparkling water with a hint of natural flavouring as part of your journey to feeling more like yourself again.
Get the sleep you need
Sleep deprivation is believed to be linked to retaining more weight postpartum because your body isn’t getting the time it needs to recover from your day. Not great news for a new mother!
Lack of sleep will make you feel sluggish and drained, which could tempt you into choosing sugary drinks or snacks to put a little pep in your step. These will slow down your progress so make sleep a priority and try to catch a few zzzs during the day while your baby is asleep.
With all that being said… sometimes getting enough sleep just isn’t an option. If your weight is frustrating you, remember that a lack of sleep will hold up your progress. Go easy on yourself and try to be patient. You will have a full night’s sleep eventually and be able to switch out of survival mode.
Start a slow and steady exercise routine
Now’s the time to take it as easy as possible with exercise. Your body is recovering from natural birth or c-section (which comes with its own challenges) and shouldn’t expect to do the same hardcore workouts you did before you fell pregnant.
You can gradually return to light exercise once your doctor approves, but you don’t need to put too much pressure on your body. Start with a walk every day, and some light weight training if you’re comfortable doing so.
Consider speaking to a personal trainer who specialises in postpartum weight loss. They may be able to design a program or recommend the right routine to safely work out and lose weight if that is your priority.
Wear comfortable, flexible workout clothes including a nursing crop and don’t forget some supportive postnatal recovery tights which offer compression around your midsection as you recover from your pregnancy. These will help you feel great while you’re easing back into a workout routine as a new mother.