After childbirth, most moms are eager to get back in shape as soon as they can. It’s no wonder since we put up with huge pressure from the media to lose post-baby weight just weeks after the delivery. They show us examples of numerous celebrities with amazing abs literally minutes after they had a baby and create unrealistic goals for all “ordinary” women out there. This is what makes most women suffer from post-partum depression and makes them think that appearance comes first – before a healthy body and mind.
Extreme post-partum obesity is not healthy either. However, by following a few simple rules and giving yourself some time, you can easily bring your old body back without sacrificing yours or your baby’s health.
Patience and Gradual Change
The first good thing you can do for yourself is to nurture patience, set a realistic goal and work towards it with dedication. Avoid working too hard and too soon – don’t even think about losing your weight before the 6th week after the delivery and give yourself some time to adapt to a huge change in your life. If you are too hard on yourself, your motivation level may drop and you may find yourself under stress, discouraged and depressed.
You need to realize that celebrities have much more resources than you and that they probably had less weight to begin with. Also, their appearance is part of their job and it doesn’t mean they always lose their weight in a healthy way. Every long-term and healthy change is gradual and slow – if you needed 9 months to gain weight, don’t expect less to lose it. The average time to get back to your old weight would be around a year. Never start a diet or exercising program without your doctor’s approval.
Great Exercises for New Moms
The first fitness program you should adopt (after the doctor gives you permission) is a daily walk with your baby in a stroller. This way, you will both enjoy an active day without hitting the gym. It’s important to be aware of the fact that regular physical activity does wonders for depression and physical condition. A fast, long walk is more than enough to start getting back in shape and increase circulation, heart rate and good mood. Experts recommend at least 2.5 – 3 hours of walking per week.
When you are ready for more challenging exercise, you can start with strength-building practice. Although cardio training is extremely important, it’s better to begin building a strong core and working on muscles that have gotten stretched after the delivery (belly and pelvic area, gluteus and hips). If you worked out during the pregnancy, you can do the exact same exercises, but in the reverse order. Be careful with exercises that are stressful for the joints (running, jumping) and avoid them in the beginning.
Healthy Weight-Loss Tips
A standard, weight-loss diet is never recommended after the delivery, especially if you’re breastfeeding. If you lose more than 0.5 kg per week, it’s a sign that you’re not taking enough calories. Approximately 2000 calories per day (1800-2200) should be taken if you want high-quality milk with enough vitamins and nutrients. If you’re hungry – you will harm not only yourself, but your baby as well.
It’s important to take lots of different foods rich in protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, fibers and vitamins. In short, you need a balanced diet to keep a high level of energy and prevent extreme bursts of hunger that will make you eat junk food full of bad sugars. Never skip breakfast and always have lots of healthy snacks (fruit and vegetables) between meals. Again, don’t forget the proteins found in meat, milk and eggs.
Here is a short list of foods your diet should include. Of course, if you’re intolerant or allergic to any of them, just remove them from your menu. Eat lots of fish that’s packed with good fatty acids, milk, yogurt, chicken, beans, grains, lentils, brown rice and whole grain pasta, all season fruit and vegetables. Drink lots of fluids (water and natural juice) and breastfeed your baby. That’s the best and healthiest way to go back to your pre-baby weight.
Of course, there are certain shortcuts to achieving a desired weight and body shape. A mommy makeover that consists of two or more surgeries is perfect in cases when even exercises and proper diet don’t help, especially if a woman has areas of loose and saggy skin. It’s the fastest way to bring your old body back and boost self-confidence when all other methods fail. Women usually opt for one (or more) of these procedures: tummy tuck, liposuction, breast augmentation, lift or reduction and genital rejuvenation.
However, there are several prerequisites that need to be fulfilled before scheduling a mommy makeover surgery, as they are not available or suitable for everyone. It’s important to be aware of all the risks that every surgery carries, weigh all pros and cons and reach the wisest decision. If you have realistic expectations, if you stopped breastfeeding and smoking for at least half a year and don’t plan to have any more children, you can consider plastic surgery as one of the best solutions for post-baby weight loss.