Most women gain between 5-18 kgs during pregnancy. And then, when the baby comes, are left trying to figure out how to juggle motherhood and the pressure of returning to their pre-baby weight. Whether you need to drop 5kg or 20kg, here are the most effective ways of losing weight and getting back in shape post-childbirth. Keep in mind that an overall exercise plan, combined with a healthy diet, will help you increase your metabolism and burn more calories overall.
Breastfeed your baby
The rumours are true, at least for many moms: Nursing burns up to 500 calories per day, as much as many forms of exercise. Of course, it’s important to make sure you get enough calories to produce lots of milk for your infant, but there’s something very satisfying about knowing you’re burning extra calories, even while at rest.
Plan meals each day that feature natural, rather than processed foods. Eat between 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day if you are breast-feeding to ensure your infant has adequate nutrition. The secret is to eat small meals frequently. “It’s helpful to combine protein and carbs even at these small meals, as the right proportions will make the energy you get from them last even longer. Avoid high-calorie foods that do not fill you up,” Kolkata-based gynaecologist Dr Ratnabali Ghosh says.
Incorporate exercise into your day. Most of new moms will not maintain an exercise program if they find it to be drudgery. The solution? “Put on some music and dance with your baby. If you have never been a big fan of exercise, look for fun workouts, however brief, and involve your baby, so it is fun for both of them. Another choice could be speed-walking,” Dr Ghosh says.
Tone muscles, especially around your belly
Lifting your baby will keep your arms and legs toned, but the belly fat most women hang on to post-delivery is harder to address. Lift weights every other day during the baby’s nap time or first thing in the morning. You can also do simple crunches for upper and lower abdominal muscles, as well as obliques.
Weigh yourself about once weekly
Regular check-in times on the scale will enable you to monitor your weight loss progress and ensure you lose weight at an appropriate rate after giving birth.
Drink water throughout the day to help you stay hydrated and feel full. Avoid excessive caffeine if you are breast-feeding. Prepare several meals in advance to help you avoid eating high-calorie fast food after a busy day.