It goes without saying that many women appear to hold on to at least a couple of kilos postpartum, and a quarter of women retain about 5 or more kilograms a year after giving birth. After giving birth, the last thing that’s likely on a new mom’s mind is going on a diet. If you are ready to banish your belly pooch and lose that baby fat for good, here are 10 ways:
1. Start Slow
You might be eager to get back into your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans, but be patient. It can take up to a year to lose the weight and tone the belly, which is completely normal and even preferable. The amount of time it takes to see results also depends on your pregnancy, whether or not you had a cesarean section and your own body. Be sure to get the green light from your doctor to start working out again, usually around six weeks postpartum.
2. Get Physical.
Most new moms are too sleep-deprived and overwhelmed to even think about exercise. That’s perfectly OK, since most women’s bodies aren’t ready for serious exercise until six weeks after giving birth, anyway longer if they’ve had a Cesarean section. Start by walking around the block, if it feels good and doesn’t cause or exacerbate bleeding, walk a little farther the next day.
When you’re breastfeeding, you need an extra 500 calories a day, or about 2,700 total. But since breastfeeding burns 600 to 800 calories a day, even if all you do is sit comfortably and feed your baby, you could still be losing weight. Some lucky women can drop all their baby fat, and then some, through breastfeeding alone.
4. Lift Weights, Get Strong.
Weight training will go a long way toward speeding up your metabolism. However, instead of going to the gym or investing in a set of dumbbells right away, incorporate your baby into your routine. Hold the baby to your chest and do lunges, or do lunges behind the stroller as you walk. Or lie on your back, holding the baby above your chest, and slowly press her up toward the ceiling several times.
5. Watch Calories And Fat.
Say no to empty-calorie foods like sodas and chips, as well as fad diets that eliminate entire food groups. Instead, fill your diet with a variety of nutrient-rich meals containing lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of low-fat dairy products.
6. Take Naps.
Getting plenty of sleep has been shown to help with weight loss because you’re not compelled to binge on high-calorie, high-sugar foods for energy. Strange sleep cycles like those forced on you by a newborn can upset your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose your pregnancy weight. Take a nap anytime the baby does, housework be damned.
7. Eat Healthful Snacks.
Eating too much sugar can send your blood-sugar levels on a roller-coaster ride. And when your blood sugar drops, you’re more likely to eat the first thing you can get your hands on. So skip the sugary treats. To avoid temptation keep only nutritious foods at your fingertips. Also, eat high-fiber snacks like figs and raisins or whole-wheat crackers with veggies.
8. Get With Other New Moms.
It can be helpful to connect with other moms for regular exercise. If you don’t feel like you have the energy or the time to exercise, you can form an early-morning running group with some new moms in the same situation.
9. Free Your Mind.
Simply put, you’re probably stressed, and it sucks. Here’s why: When you’re worried or feel like you have no control over what’s happening in your life, your body reacts by releasing the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline into your bloodstream. High levels of cortisol make you crave fatty, sweet, salty, crunchy foods.
10. Pull In, Squeeze and Tighten.
Not only does your stomach stretch during pregnancy to accommodate your growing baby, but the abdominal muscles may actually tear. So exercises that force you to draw the navel into the spine, or make you squeeze as though you’re going to be punched in the stomach, target the deep muscles underneath the rectus abdmoninus, and the external and internal obliques and help to engage the whole core. Try pelvic tilts, reverse crunches, plank exercises or a Pilates program.