After you’ve had your baby, you may be eager to get back into your pre-pregnancy clothes. Many women are surprised to find that their body doesn’t immediately come back once the baby’s out. While you may lose several pounds during the days immediately after birth, you’ll have to work a bit harder on the additional fat that you gained during your pregnancy.
If you want to lose weight, you need to eat healthy foods–and fewer calories than you’re used to. One way that you can find success in managing your diet is to simply eat only healthy foods. You probably were doing this for your baby, but you should continue doing it for yourself. Focus your diet on fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain foods. Another way to watch your diet is to determine how many calories you need to eat to lose weight and keep track of the foods that you eat. This allows you to eat some of your favorite “bad” foods while still losing weight. Find out how many calories you should be eating through a website like MyPyramid.gov, which factors breastfeeding into its calculations if you are breastfeeding your baby.
The standard advice has always been to wait six weeks before starting an exercise program, giving your body time to heal. The Mayo Clinic suggests that this is changing. If you exercised throughout your pregnancy and had a vaginal birth, you may be able to start doing mild exercise–such as walking–a few days after giving birth. The key is to take things slowly. Don’t start out by trying an hour-long jog. Start by going for a walk around the block. Work your way up to your previous level of fitness.
Breastfeeding uses additional calories, and if you are not eating enough food to support your body while breastfeeding, your weight loss will actually stall. In most women, breastfeeding requires an additional 750 calories per day, so if you want to lose weight, BabyFit.com suggests eating an additional 500 calories each day. Make this 500 calories of healthy foods–it’s not an excuse to eat an extra bag of chips. You may do well to eat small healthy snacks every time you feed your baby.
As a new mother, you may find that it’s difficult to find a time when you can exercise. Don’t let this stop you. Find ways that you can use baby in your routine. For example, you can put your baby in a stroller and take her for a walk. You can also wear her in a sling as you do strength-training exercises like squats and lunges.
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