Like most women, I was anxious to get my body back post pregnancy. I can remember after having my first son, being very disappointed that my body didn’t “snap back” immediately like most of the celebrity moms on social media, and dealing with insecurities due to this. Three pregnancies later, I now know every woman’s journey to getting their body back in shape will vary and each of their postpartum “snap back” looks different!
During the first few months, taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical – dealing with self-imposed and societal pressures to lose weight right away, can result in Postpartum Depression (PPD) if you are not careful. It is important for new mothers to be realistic and patient; it took around 40 weeks to form your pregnant body and it could take nearly as long or longer to be back in your old jeans. Your genetics, pre-pregnancy body, medical condition, how much weight you gained during pregnancy and Diastasis Recti are all contributing factors to also consider.
Doctors say it’s okay to start working out 6-8 weeks after giving birth; however, between breastfeeding and sleep deprivation; I was always too physically and emotionally exhausted to do much for the first 6 months. Despite this, I pushed myself really hard (too soon) after my first pregnancy and it actually did more damage than good. After my second and third pregnancies, I eased my way into a workout regimen and the results were great!
So how did I lose weight post pregnancy?
Losing weight is one thing but keeping it off should be the goal, and to achieve this it’s important to understand how your body works. A healthy and effective weight loss plan has 6-8 hours of unbroken sleep, drinking a lot of water and taking in less calories than you burn with 80% diet and 20% exercise.
1. SLEEP- Getting quality sleep is an important part of weight maintenance and energy levels. Inadequate sleep interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates, manage stress, and maintain a proper balance of hormones.
2. WATER- Drinking water helps with digestion, boost your metabolism, cleanse your body of waste, reduce water retention and acts as an appetite suppressant. It is recommended to drink at least 2 liters of water per day.
3. DIET- Restrictive diets work but they are temporary and unhealthy! I do not recommend them at any time, but especially if you are breastfeeding because both you and your baby need a balanced, nutritious diet.
To lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off, I believe in the “everything in moderation rule” and getting your macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates and protein) count right. Where you get your calories from does matter, so these are two important steps in achieving your goal.
According to Women’s Health magazine “To shed a single pound, you need to achieve a 3500-calorie deficit. So, if you’re following the 80/20 ratio, you’d want to burn approximately 750 calories through exercise and cut an additional 3,000 calories through dieting, says Matheny. That’s a total deficit of 3,750 calories for the week”.
I achieve this diet through meal prepping, drinking a lot of water and tracking my calories. My meals consist of some the most delicious ingredients, they’re packed with nutrition, not carb free and I treat myself to a “cheat” once a week! See my favorite post-pregnancy recipes here.
A. 6 weeks to 6 months Once given the clear to exercise by your doctor, I would recommend easing into a fitness routine that at first, consists only of walking and pelvic floor strengthening; then gradually increasing to a light jog, intermediate yoga/ Pilates and diastasis repair.
It is important to listen to your body and not exert yourself in the first few months; this will help to prevent injuries, improve your flexibility, reduce your chances of getting loose skin, tighten your core, strengthen your pelvic floor and give a long-term result.
See my favorite post pregnancy beginner exercises here.
B. 6 months onward- Now’s the time to pick up the pace if you’re getting more sleep and you feel ready to do so; again, listen to your body — if you need more time, take it! Cardio (Zumba/Dance, Spinning/Soul Cycle, Swimming or Jogging), HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Weight Training are my go-to for a slimmer, more toned body.
Pregnant? See my article on Pregnancy Diet & Exercise here.
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