Are you a new mom? Does staring at your reflection in the mirror makes you feel uncomfortable? It Shouldn’t! Because your body has taken all those changes you’ve gone through in the 9 months in its stride, stretched to its limit to keep your baby safe and comfortable. If you did put on weight during that time, it was all for a good cause – to provide your precious child’s growth.
As you gain (weight), so shall you lose! Here’s some good advice to help you become stronger and healthier even as you burn off those extra pounds. Follow these 7 tips to help you bounce back to your self again…
Take it Easy – all in good time
A flabby belly and stretch marks could make you itch to start your workout as soon as possible, but it is better to go slow. Depending on the type of child delivery you had, you can start with pelvic floor exercises. Move on to stretching and light exercise gradually. Do not attempt high-impact activity for many months because breastfeeding and the pregnancy hormones affect all your joints. Leisurely walks are relaxing and rejuvenating.
Make a flexible exercise schedule
Your joint ligaments and uterus get back to pre-pregnancy size in about six weeks after the arrival of your baby. After consulting your doctor you can start with the exercises you were doing in the last trimester of pregnancy. Be realistic when you plan your exercise schedule. Your sleep-deprived body may not be ready to follow a strict fitness regime! Take note of your baby’s sleep pattern and then plan. The age-old saying, ‘sleep when your baby sleeps’ holds good any day!
Build a strong core
Your core is not just the abs. It has all the muscles that make up your midsection, and also your hips and your back. As you know, all these areas undergo changes during pregnancy – overworked, weakened, or shortened – that make your core weak. Researchers have found that exercises such as yoga dolphin plank on a ball, yoga boat, and the yoga side plank are the most effective. Pilates and aerobic exercise could be attempted later on.
Breastfeeding and postpartum weight loss
Breastfeeding promotes weight loss in the range of 0.45-0.5 kg a month, during the initial 6 months after childbirth. However, remember to eat an extra 300-500 calories daily in order to maintain your energy level and boost milk production. Make sure these calories must come from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; not from desserts, cheese, fried snacks, or fatty meats!
Eat smaller portions to lose weight
All through pregnancy, you hear the chant, “Eat for two!” and reach for that extra helping that there is a danger of this practice becoming a habit even after childbirth! When you are already struggling to cope with motherhood and the demands of your tiny bundle of joy, dieting is out of the question. Eat healthy, small-sized portions instead, more frequently. Snack on carrot sticks, wholegrain crackers, slices of apples or yogurt to satisfy your hunger pangs and cravings.
Tone your post-baby belly
Flaunting your pregnant belly is one thing, but who wants a bump however small after childbirth! Your belly that stretched out like a balloon to house your baby needs time to get back to its (near) normal size. Exercise your stomach muscles and your waist. Simple floor exercises and yoga are gentle and can be done with your baby beside you!
Drink lots of water
Though it sounds simple, it is one sound advice! If you drink water frequently throughout the day, you not only keep your body hydrated but also speed up your metabolic process. When your stomach is full, you will feel satiated and not have those hunger pangs and comfort-food-cravings.
But more than anything else, be patient, stay calm, focus on regaining your strength and enjoy your baby. Weight can wait!