You've had your baby. You're anxious to get back into your old clothes. What do you do next? The combination of a healthy diet and exercise will be your fastest way back to the body you want. There are many different ways for new mothers to work on losing the weight they gained in pregnancy. You may enjoy the group efforts of some diets, such as Weight Watchers, or prefer a standalone diet option. No matter what you choose, you can be successful.
Burning more calories than you take in is the key to losing weight. Your body burns calories all day; even breathing uses up calories. Find small ways to expend calories during your day, in addition to eating well. Beware of fad diets while you are in the postpartum period. Your body is taking on the enormous task of repairing itself. Your body really needs the calories to help repair the damage done by pregnancy, which takes a great toll on your body. During this time, it is very important to eat a balanced diet.
Recent research has shown that the sooner you lose the postpartum weight, the easier it comes off. In fact, after the first six months postpartum, you are very unlikely to lose the weight you gained in pregnancy. So make the most of the energy you have and get started!
Your diet should consist of a variety of fruits and vegetables, fiber, protein, and other nutrients. All of these will help replace nutrients lost in the pregnancy process, as well as rebuild stores of certain vitamins and minerals used in pregnancy, like iron. Eating a wide variety of foods helps ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need.
You should eat when you are hungry. Your body will send you signals to eat. Do not ignore these signals; they're your body's way of telling you it requires energy. Drink plenty of water. This helps you avoid becoming dehydrated. Even slight dehydration can make you feel tired and sickly, an experience you definitely don't need in the postpartum period. (See Chapter 9 for more information on feeding yourself and your baby.)
Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to help your body lose weight postpartum. The fat stores that your body accumulated during pregnancy were designed to help you breastfeed. These fat stores won't be tapped into unless you're breastfeeding.
Do you have to eat a special diet when breastfeeding?No. Your regular diet, whatever that may be, should be fine. Some people say that you should avoid certain foods, like Indian or Mexican food. But Indian and Mexican women certainly don't, so why should you?
Breastfeeding your baby will burn between 500 and 1,000 calories a day. It would take a good workout to expend that many calories. Feel free to consider breastfeeding your secret weapon of weight loss, but don't assume it will do all the work for you.