Are you thinking about weight loss after pregnancy? If you have recently had a baby you may marvel at images of celebrities showing off flat tummies and snapping back into pre-pregnancy jeans a mere three weeks after giving birth. The pressure continues with unrealistic images of early motherhood on Instagram feeds and photo-shopping. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is the norm and something to aspire to. Unless you have a personal trainer, nutritionist and nanny it is not realistic for the majority of women to achieve this weight loss after pregnancy…. and not desirable from a health perspective either. You need time to recover from the birth, establish a routine with your baby and if you are breastfeeding a reduction in calories is not advisable as this is likely to diminish your milk supply as well as your waistline.
As most women, if they eat normally, tend to return to their pre pregnancy weight six months after the birth the focus should be less on losing weight and more on preventing additional weight gain. It can be all too easy to munch your way through a packet of biscuits while sitting feeding your baby. You are hungry, captive and biscuits are convenient! Lack of sleep (a given with a new baby) and low energy can also lead to overeating, so rest when you can and try the tips below to stay in tune with your appetite.
- Thirst first – the body’s signal for thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Fluid intake is especially important when breastfeeding. If you feel the desire to eat have a glass of water first and reassess.
- Boost energy levels – by balancing sugar rather than consuming it. Eat lean protein with each meal and snack. This slows the rate of sugar absorption keeping levels stable and preventing cravings. Eat regularly and have breakfast soon after rising. Eggs are a nutritious way to start the day with their combination of protein and good fats.
- Fats and oils are not equal – eating healthy fats such as nuts, seeds and fish provides essential fats and protein and help with satiety. Studies have shown people snacking on almonds and including avocado at lunchtime felt more satisfied, were less likely over eat later in the day and didn’t gain weight. Omega 3 from oily fish also helps metabolism and the DHA it contains is important if breastfeeding.
- If you are feeling peckish between meals, choose fresh fruit and some nuts to ward off cravings and help you resist the temptation to eat sweets and biscuits.
- Get out and about with your baby when you’re ready. Walking with your baby in a sling or pushing a buggy is a great way to keep fit and tone up.
Your body has just done the most amazing job. Celebrate that and rather than focus on weight loss after pregnancy nourish yourself with healthful foods, nurture yourself with rest and gentle exercise and resist the pressure to look like you haven’t just had a baby.
Jayne Russell has over twenty years of experience as a pre’ and postnatal massage and nutritional therapist and is the founder of Nom Nom – award winning, certified organic pregnancy and baby skincare. Sign up for your free skincare guide “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” at www.nomnomskincare.com