How to Lose Baby Weight
Losing baby weight can be hard for some women. While the first few pounds naturally shed themselves within the first week or so after giving birth, that remaining weight can really cause some frustration. There are several things you can do to speed up the process and make it a little easier.
Starting a New Routine
Take it slowly.For the first six weeks after giving birth, you shouldn't try to diet and exercises. Plan to take the weight off gradually over the course of the next year before you return to your pre-baby weight.Celebrities may seem to bounce back to their pre-baby weight after a couple of weeks, but this immediate change is not realistic. In fact, trying to lose the weight right away can be harmful for a number of reasons.
- You may damage your muscles, which are still weak from giving birth.
- If you're breastfeeding, restricting calories can affect your milk supply.
- After giving birth, you need plenty of energy to keep up with your new baby's needs, and restricting calories or exercising too early will leave you weak and fatigued.
Consider the benefits of breastfeeding.While studies are conflicting on whether breastfeeding actually helps women lose baby weight faster, it may help in your individual situation. If you're pumping instead of breastfeeding, you may still reap some of the metabolic benefits, but studies are not conclusive at this point.
Do light exercise after six weeks.When you feel ready (and your doctor gives the OK), start taking walks with your baby and doing light exercises at home. Doing heavy workouts at the gym will still be hard on your body, so focus on exercises that feel manageable and don't wear you out too much.
- Find some baby activities that double as amusement for the child and activity for you. This could include pushing the baby around the block in a stroller or dancing around with her in your arms.
- The simple act of carrying your baby around in a sling or baby backpack can add some extra pounds, increasing the effort you put into walking and providing a novel experience for him.
Getting Back in Shape
Watch your snack intake.If you're tired, it can be easy to just grab whatever is handy. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream, try something a little more healthy but equally filling. Keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked with nutritious foods so you don't reach for something that can set you back.
- Fruits, carrot sticks, granola and cereal bars, nuts, wheat crackers, low-fat cheese and yogurt are all relatively easy to prepare but will leave you satisfied.
- If you take some time to split bulk foods into individual portions ahead of time, that will help when you don't have the energy to prepare something.
Sleep when you need to.It may be hard to find time to nap, but this will help reset your body to give you more energy in the daytime and give your body the rest it needs to repair itself, which includes losing pregnancy weight. In addition, sleeping when you're tired helps decrease the amount of cortisol in your blood; this is the stress hormone that can make it harder for you to lose weight.
Do heavier workouts.After the first few months, you can go back to your previous workout routine. You may find at first that you've lost fitness; be patient with yourself while you work back up to your pre-baby fitness level.
- Try cardio exercises like running, swimming, biking or hiking several times per week for half an hour at a time.
- Do light weight training to gain muscle strength.
- Take an aerobics class designed specifically for new moms. The instructor will focus on "trouble" areas to help you get back to your pre-pregnancy body.
- Take a post-pregnancy yoga class to improve your muscle tone.
Locate a support group for new moms.This could be a "mommy and me" type class or just a fun group of ladies in your town who lean on each other for support. These women can help you stay motivated and focused on your goal of losing baby weight.
Targeting the Stomach Area
Do the right abdominal exercises.During pregnancy, the outer muscles in your abdomen stretch to make room for the growing baby. After the baby is born, those muscles can stay stretched and separated, giving your stomach a pouched appearance. To get the muscles back into shape, use the following techniques:
- Brace your stomach. Sit or stand up straight with your shoulders back and focus on tightening your stomach muscles and sucking your stomach in. Repeating this exercise throughout the day helps tighten the muscles over time.
- Make the exercise harder by using a weight. Hold a dumbbell outstretched in front of you while you tighten your stomach muscles. You can even use your baby as a weight.
- Don't do crunches. Doing crunches can actually cause the muscles to stay separated, since it puts pressure in the wrong place.
Avoid foods that make you bloated.You can make your stomach look slimmer by avoiding foods and drinks that cause bloating and make your stomach look distended. Limit the following substances while you're trying to lose baby weight:
- Salty foods. Salt causes water retention, so stay away from salty snacks like chips and pretzels.
- Carbonated beverages. Sodas, even plain soda water, causes gas, and can make your belly look bloated.
Drink plenty of water.Drinking water will help you lose water weight and flush toxins from your system. You'll look slimmer, and you'll feel more healthy and energetic. If drinking 8 glasses of water a day is tough for you, try getting water by drinking herbal tea and eating whole fruits and vegetables.
- Talk to your doctor if you're having a hard time losing pregnancy weight.
Sources and Citations
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