Here is a guest post written by Alan Murray
You can’t expect your figure to go back to your pre-pregnancy shape straight after birth! Its takes time for the womb and your stomach to re-adjust to its normal size. Expect it to be around 4 weeks.
Don’t rush back into weight loss after the birth. It is a very stressful and busy time and you don’t need the extra strain of trying to lose weight.
1. Waiting around six weeks to start your diet is sensible. Remember your body has been through a lot and needs time to recover! The average weight gain for a mother during pregnancy is 25-35 pounds. Expect to lose around 13 pounds after the birth. This gives you around 12 to 22 pounds to lose. A reasonable target to lose this weight is 8 months. Losing 1 or 2 pounds a week is an easier proposition. Don’t push yourself too hard to lose the weight. Give your self reasonable targets that are obtainable.
2. Be careful when trying to diet when breastfeeding. Your body needs extra nutrition to produce the milk, but your body is very effective at milk production so you don’t need a lot of extra calories. Be guided by your appetite and eat when hungry. If you don’t feel hungry at all, be aware that postnatal depression can cause lose of appetite. See your doctor if you are feeling down and you don’t feel like eating.
3. Take your baby for walks – your baby will appreciate the fresh air and you will burn calories! Taking exercise will also make you feel better. Even going walking around the shops or a stroll in park. It will also give you bonding time with your child.
4. Breastfeeding burns around 500 calories a day and is of course best for baby. You should be eating around 1800 to 2000 more calories a day when nursing. Remember that everything you eat is going to baby as well so don’t go over board on junk food.
5. Make up or buy healthy snacks for when you are at home. You will be spending a lot of time in the house and you are probably not going to resist the urge to snack! So be prepared and have plenty of healthy options rather than cakes or biscuits.
What about making up a smoothie? Get in a few of your 5 a day. Research points to liquid foods can make you feel full for longer.
Honey and yogurt. A pot of honey and yogurt for a 120g pot is around 140 calories and is a tasty snack!
Dried fruit – such as mango, prunes and apricots.
Potato wedges – put them on oven foil or paper, to save on the grease on the baking tray. A very nice low fat potato option!
Plenty of fruit – always have fruit in your bowl, buy a combination of different fruits to stop your self getting bored! Why not try something you have not eaten before?
6. What about a postnatal exercise class? This is a good way to lose weight and also you will meet other mums in the same situation. After you have had your post natural check feel free to get your self out to a regular exercise class. If you are breastfeeding try to exercise after you have feed the baby. Research points to some babies shunning the breast completely or feeding less than normal.
7. Eat when you are hungry! Don’t skip meals, hunger is a natural instinct and will always win! Plan your meals and eat a sensible amount of calories for each meal. You need to learn the difference between actual hunger and emotional hunger.
8. Drink water – Most people do not consume enough water during the day. If your urine is yellow then this is a sign of dehydration. Drinking water will help refresh your body – try sipping water throughout the day. If you replace that sugary drink with a glass of water you are reducing your sugar and calorie intake. We sometimes think we are hungry but we actually just thirsty. Get into the water habit!
9. Increase whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Foods high in fiber will help you feel full for longer. Whole Grains are high in complex carbohydrates which give you long lasting energy. Vegetables are high in fibre and have a generally high water content meaning they are low in calories and fat free. Fruits are also high in fibre and are a good source of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
10. Base you meals around these three food groups and you will be well on your way to achieving your goal.