Having trouble getting rid of the extra baby weight? I know I did when I had my kids. I also noticed that it gets harder as you get older.
So, for all moms who’ve been where I was after pregnancy, here’s how to lose weight after giving birth.
I’m not going to sugar coat it. It was difficult, especially in the stubborn areas like your belly, hips and thighs.
The good news is, it doesn’t last forever. And, with a bit of work and perseverance, you’ll be able to get back into fighting figure.
To help you get there faster, we’ve put together a guide. This will help you shed the extra weight quicker.
What is “Baby Weight”?
Gaining weight during pregnancy is both normal and healthy. Besides your baby, the extra weight comes from the amniotic fluid, breast tissue and additional fat to name a few. The fat stores provide you with reserve energy during childbirth and breastfeeding.
This is why the Institute of Medicine considers gaining between 25-35 pounds during pregnancy healthy.
But, gaining too much weight during pregnancy can lead to excess fat even after giving birth. This is what’s often referred to as “baby weight.”
Baby weight carries over after you’ve delivered your child. And, it’s something that most moms want to shed.
In addition to your change in physical appearance, baby weight actually comes with a few consequences. Among them are:
- Increased risk of developing diabetes.
- More likely being overweight and developing heart disease.
- Possibility of developing gestational diabetes.
- High risk of future pregnancies.
How Long Does It Take to Lose Baby Weight?
Keep in mind that you gained a lot of weight during the last 9 months. And while the baby is out, it will take some time for the baby weight to come off.
This is normal. And, it is to be expected.
Unfortunately, the body takes quite a bit of time in getting you back to your old figure, or at least close to it. During the first 2-3 weeks, you can expect to lose anywhere from 8-20 pounds as amniotic fluid is removed from your body.
It takes about 6-8 weeks for your uterus to return to its normal size.
Your hips and pelvis though will take a bit more time to get back where they were pre-pregnancy.
Research shows that gaining less than 30 pounds during pregnancy and breastfeeding after childbirth help speeds up your slimming process.
How Do I Lose This Baby Weight?
These are a some of the most effective ways to shed extra pounds post-pregnancy, and weight around your belly.
Breastfeeding helps you burn between 300-500 calories a day. This is because breast milk contains nutrients that are designed to help your child grow. Also, it is loaded with immunity-boosting chemicals.
Because your body doesn’t usually produce breast milk, it needs to work to produce it. Thus, burning calories in the process.
This is why breastfeeding moms can lose weight even if they eat a lot or sit around all day.
Do keep in mind that when you start weaning your child off breast milk into formula, the number of calories you burn will go down significantly. This means you may easily pack on weight if you don’t cut your calories.
Research shows that moms who breastfeed their kids are more likely to weight nearly 4 pounds less than non-breastfeeding mothers 6 months after giving birth.
2. Watch Your Calories
To help boost your weight loss efforts post-pregnancy, it’s essential to monitor how many calories you consume.
Remember, during the past few months, you’ve been eating for two. As such, your appetite, and stomach have gotten used to consuming more food. That’s going to change. But it takes time for your body to re-adjust.
This means that if you continue to eat like you did when you were pregnant, you’re likely to add extra weight. Also, you’ll want to supply your body with energy to replenish it after giving birth.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to skip junk food, sugary drinks and pastries.
Instead, focus on foods that contain a lot of nutrients. Lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains help you feel satisfied while providing your body with essential vitamins and minerals.
3. Eat Healthy
Eating the right foods will help fill you up. And, they’ll also promote weight loss. Here are some of the things to remember when trying to lose weight after childbirth.
Choose high fiber foods
Fiber helps to improve gut health and digestion. Also, it makes you feel full faster. Thus, limiting your appetite, so you eat less.
Eat healthy proteins
High-quality proteins like chicken, fish, lean pork and beef help you lose weight by helping you feel fuller.
Also, they are the building blocks of muscle which allow you to burn more calories in the long run.
Proteins are also the hardest to digest. This makes your body work more in doing so, using more calories.
Skip added sugars and refined carbs
Studies have shown that added sugars and refined carbs cause weight gain. Also, they spike your blood sugar soon after eating. Both are high in calories and don’t offer a lot of nutrition.
So, it’s a good idea to skip fruit juices, sweets, and white carbs.
Stay away from processed foods and junk food
These foods contain a lot of sodium, fat and sugar. Plus, they’re calorie bombs.
More importantly, they’re often addictive, which means you’ll keep coming back for more once you’ve taken a bite. This makes it hard to “eat just a little.”
Wine and beer have been shown to offer a few health benefits. But, with weight loss, they only give you extra calories and no nutrition.
Keep in mind, each bottle of beer contains nearly 150 calories on average.
Even worse, alcohol tends to store fat around your midsection.
Thus, giving you the dreaded belly fat. Finally, if you’re breastfeeding, do know that alcohol can be passed to your child via breastmilk, albeit in small amounts.
4. Get Back into Exercising
Don’t worry if you just want to sleep after giving birth. You aren’t alone.
Most moms are sleep deprived during pregnancy. Also, giving birth takes a lot of energy out of you. Research shows that most women don’t feel ready to get into any serious physical activity under one and a half months after giving birth. If you delivered via Caesarian section, it would take a little longer.
Once you’re ready, take things slowly.
You can start by walking indoors at first. Then, work towards walking around the block.
Once you’ve gotten past your 6-week checkup, you’re about ready to get back to 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise up to 3-5 times a week.
It would be a great idea to use this as an opportunity to bond with your newborn. You can push their stroller around for 30 minutes at a time. This will help you get back into exercising and burn a few calories along the way.
5. Lift Weights
Resistance training is a good way to get rid of fat while retaining muscle. It also helps you burn more calories as it boosts your metabolism. Just as importantly, lifting weights helps you maintain bone density.
To make it more effective combine it with a proper diet. Studies have shown that doing so works better for weight loss than doing one or the other individually.
When getting back into shape, there’s no need to go to the gym just yet. You can lift objects at home like water or milk jugs. You can likewise do workouts lifting baby which lets you enjoy some quality time with them.
6. Be Realistic
It’s imperative not to compare yourself with celebrities.
Often, you’ll see the magazines talk about the actress or model lose all her baby weight in 6 or 12 weeks. Those stories don’t always turn out to be true.
Also, many celebrities intentionally limit weight gain during pregnancy, which isn’t always good for the child.
The reality is, it takes time for your body to shed the baby weight. Research tells us that women still keep between 1 to 6.6 pounds of the weight they gained 12 months post pregnancy
A separate study found that 40% retain more than 5.5 pounds of their pregnancy weight. And, another 14-20% maintaining 11 pounds or more.
Often it takes about a year to get rid of most of the post-baby weight. How much will depend on the amount of weight you gained during pregnancy, your diet and how much exercise you do.
7. Get Enough Rest
Lack of sleep is linked to weight gain. Research shows that moms who are sleep deprived are more likely to retain baby weight.
Also, carrying a child to term forces you to irregular sleep patterns. This wreaks havoc on your metabolism. And, it will take time for it to get back to normal.
Health experts also tell us that sleeping a lot helps new moms lose weight because it keeps them away from food. Sleeping prevents you from snacking or binge eating. It also keeps you from giving into your sugar cravings.
The bottom line is, don’t worry about spending a lot of time sleeping and napping. It’s good for you. And, it’ll help you lose weight as well.
8. Eat Healthy Snacks
Eating a lot during pregnancy is okay because you were eating for two. But, you’re now just eating for one.
The problem is, your appetite hasn’t gotten the message.
Just like the rest of your body, it takes a while for your hormones to get things back into order. So, soon after giving birth, you’ll retain your hunger and want to eat a lot.
Thus, it’s essential to keep healthy snacks around. They’ll prevent you from just taking anything, including junk food in between meals.
Healthy snacks like Greek yogurt, skim milk, nuts and fresh fruits make for good options. They don’t contain a lot of calories and are loaded with nutrients.
9. Join a Support Group
If you don’t feel motivated to exercise, try joining a group. Walking groups or those practicing tai chi in the park every morning makes it easier to be consistent.
In addition to the companionship and conversation, studies show that group-based activities help you lose as much or more weight than if you went at it alone.
Having people to talk to, especially those who can relate to you and your situation makes working out more enjoyable as well.