Can I get back the body I had before having babies? This is the question of millions of mothers who find themselves struggling with their new postpartum weight.
To begin with, gaining weight is normal, even healthy, for an expectant mother. How much should you gain? Well, for average sized women, 12 to 18 kilos is ideal. If you’re underweight, you could be advised to try add a little more while overweight women are advised to try keep the weight gain minimal. Keep the weight gain limit in mind so you don’t add too much.
Does this mean you should consider dieting when pregnant? Absolutely not. There are basic precautions that you can take to regulate your weight gain. The cliché of ‘eating for two’ during pregnancy is highly deceptive. Go for nutrient-rich healthy foods and observe a balanced diet. Shop for lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Having your supplies ready will reduce the chances of impulse fast foods and junk.
Eat several small meals throughout the day; which will also help control nausea, heartburn and indigestion. Keep hydrated as well. Even when the occasional craving strikes, eat in moderation. The ice cream can be just a scoop, not a whole jar. If you crave for cookies, you can opt for low-fat/ gluten-free options.
Don’t be couch potato – Walk. Swim. Ride a bike. Ensuring that you gain just the necessary and not excess weight when pregnant is key to regaining your pre-partum body.
Once you’ve delivered, do not let the issue of your weight consume you right away. Enjoy your baby and settle into motherhood. Avoid being pressured by comparisons to other mothers; especially the fuss created by the so called celebrity mums, who post photos of their slim selves just months after birth. Remember your body took 9 months to get there, and is likely to at the very least, take a similar duration back.
Avoid dieting- instead go for healthy foods especially since you need sufficient nutrients for breastfeeding. Load up on calcium which will help your bones recover. Legumes are highly recommended since they’re high in protein and fiber with minimal calories. Add milk, yogurt and fish onto your list alongside other natural foods.
In many cases, with such a diet and regular exercise, the baby weight just sheds naturally. However, there are those who are not so lucky. The extra kilos hang on for years. If you’re in this category, here are some possible reasons why you’re not losing weight:
- Insufficient sleep could be interfering with your hormones and making it difficult for your body to burn calories. Even with your hectic schedule, find time for some decent sleep. Sleep as the baby sleeps, even if it’s during the day.
- Even with healthy foods, don’t take too much. Whole grains, legumes and nuts also have calories, albeit in small amounts.
- You could be shedding the weight, just slower than your peers due to genes and other factors. Be patient. The baby-weight loss journey is different for every woman.
You do not have to achieve your body just as it was before the baby. If you’re BMI is in the appropriate range, at least you can be sure your health is not compromised. Wear that little extra weight as a badge of motherhood!