Many women are keen on getting back into their skinny jeans once the baby is born. The excess weight especially around the stomach can leave you with serious self-esteem issues. If you are keen on getting rid of the post pregnancy flab, there are ways and means of doing so but you will have to be careful not to jeopardize your new born baby’s health.
Vigorous exercise can release toxins in your breast milk and this is not considered good for the baby. However, with certain exercise and diet tips, you can safely lose weight while breastfeeding. This will help you to get back to your previous shape.
Safe Ways to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
Give it Time
If you are serious about your weight loss goals, you also need to set realistic expectations for yourself. Give yourself at least 10-12 months to get rid of the extra weight. It will take that much time to lose weight because after pregnancy the body metabolism tends to become a little sluggish. So be patient and realistic about the weight loss.
Make the Most of Breastfeeding
In addition to sensible eating and moderate exercise, make sure you are also feeding the baby regularly. Regularly feeding the baby every two hours will help you burn extra calories. Breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories everyday so it is actually a good idea to continue breastfeeding the baby as you lose weight. In fact, most doctors do not recommend early weaning just to meet certain weight loss aspirations. Make it a point to feed your baby for at least 6 months before you consider weaning.
Wear Good Support
You may want to lose weight in earnest but your body may not be ready to do so. The breasts especially tend to be very sensitive and engorged in the early months of breastfeeding.
If you are planning to take up outdoor exercise, make sure you wear good, supportive bras as these give the breasts good support and prevent them from getting strained during exercise.
Exercising after a C-Section
For women who have just had a c-section, it is better to wait for at least 2-3 months before you think about joining a vigorous exercise programme.
This is because the incision site remains tender for some time and takes time to heal. Listen to your body. If you feel uncomfortable, do not exercise.
Exercise in Moderation
Start slow and gradually. You can start by taking moderately brisk walks, which will help to kick-start your metabolism. Once the body begins to get used to exercise, you can gradually introduce more intense exercises. If you have been active throughout your pregnancy or have had high fitness levels, you can afford to exercise a little bit more intensively. Just ensure that you first get the green signal from the doctor.
Start Strength Training
One good way of getting rid of the post pregnancy pouch on your belly is to start doing some form of strength training 2-3 times a week. Join a nearby gym and ask a fitness trainer to help you do so. Strength training is one of the best ways to get rid of excess fat and build a lean and sculpted body.
Exercise after a Feed
Always make sure that you engage in exercise after you feed the baby. Your breasts should be empty before exercising. This is important, as exercise tends to release toxins, which can get diluted with your breast milk. It will also be very uncomfortable to exercise with full and engorged breasts.
Diet is the second most important factor to help you lose weight during breastfeeding. You should never go on a starvation diet, as this will seriously compromise the amount of breast milk that you produce and deplete your body of essential nutrients. While the baby’s needs will be met through your nutrient reserves, you will stand to suffer and end up feeling weak, lethargic and anaemic.
Eat a well balanced diet that contains a healthy mix of fats, carbs, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Do not neglect any food group. Make healthy food choices. If you have to cut calories, start slow and cut down on no more than a 100 calories per day. This will ensure that your and the baby’s nutrition is not compromised.
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Consult a Nutritionist
If you are excessively obese or overweight, consult a nutritionist who will help you to chalk out a correct eating and drinking plan for you. This will help you to lose weight and stay energized at the same time.
At all times, remember to keep having fluids especially if you work out. Fluids will be needed not only to compensate for the loss of water from the body but also to make new milk for the baby. By not drinking enough fluids, your body will not be able to produce adequate milk.
Do not Overdo the Exercise
Always remain sane and engage in moderate exercise. Trying too hard and too soon to lose weight especially after a pregnancy is not a good idea. Your body has just recovered from extensive trauma and needs time to bounce back to normalcy. Exercise caution and do not succumb to drastic weight loss measures like diet pills and tea, which can do a lot of harm to the body.
Once your baby is 3-5 months old and has started eating other foods, you can think of cutting more calories from your diet. This will further help you to meet your weight loss goals and break any weight loss plateaus that may have occurred in the last few months.
Eating the Right Foods
Women in India struggle with post pregnancy weight not because their diets are deficient but because they end up eating the wrong foods, which do no nutritional good. It is a myth that you need to have lots of ghee, fried dry fruits or glasses and glasses of flavoured milk to lactate. In fact, avoid eating fatty and calorie-laden foods because they will only add to your weight loss woes and make it difficult for you to shed weight after a pregnancy.