One of the recurring thoughts of new mothers is to regain their pre-pregnancy weight and fitness.
It is a path that should not be taken in haste, your body has done a tremendous job, it has made a new life grow within itself by nourishing it and making it come to light. A considerable effort, a physical and emotional commitment that needs time to be metabolized and overcome.
So be kind, grateful and happy with everything you have done. But most of all give yourself some time.
Postpartum is a period that can be particularly stressful, baby care is very demanding and will absorb a lot of your time.
It is certainly important to return to a healthy weight after childbirth, not only for an aesthetic question but above all for the general well-being of the woman, but it must not be the absolute priority and it must not create further stress.
Weight gain during pregnancy
The guidelines recommend weight gains in pregnancy within certain reference ranges based on your body mass index present at the onset of gestation.
According to research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, weight gain in pregnancy consists of weight due to:
- the child
- the placenta
- the amniotic fluid
- breast tissue
- the blood
- the increase of the uterus
- the extra fat deposits
The extra fat acts as an energy reserve for childbirth and breastfeeding. However, excessive weight gain can cause excess fatty tissue buildup.
Almost half of pregnant women gain more weight than recommended by international guidelines.
The consequences of not being able to lose that excess weight accumulated during pregnancy can affect a possible subsequent pregnancy (increasing the risk of complications such as the risk of gestational diabetes) or in any case on the general health of the woman (increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes ).
How to lose those extra kilograms that were accumulated during pregnancy?
These are just useful tips for adopting a lifestyle that can help you lose weight. We always recommend that you contact a good person nutritionist to be followed step by step in achieving the desired weight, in a correct and personalized way to your condition.
1. Set yourself realistic goals
You will surely follow some famous new mothers who show themselves with a “flat stomach” a few weeks after giving birth. Despite what the magazines and stories of vip moms would have you believe, losing weight after pregnancy takes time.
In a 2015 study, 75% of women one year after giving birth weighed more than they did before pregnancy. Of these women, 47% weighed at least 4.5 kg more 1 year after giving birth and 25% weighed 9 kg more.
Of course, with a good eating plan paired with exercise, you should be able to achieve the best goal for your health.
2. Don’t go on a crash diet
Crash diets are low calorie diets that aim to make you lose a large amount of weight in the shortest time possible.
After giving birth, your body needs good nutrition to heal and recover. Also, if you are breastfeeding, you will need more calories than normal.
It is likely that a low calorie diet deprives you of important nutrients and it will probably make you feel tired. This is the complete opposite of what a new mom needs when caring for a baby and maybe even suffering from lack of sleep.
Assuming your weight is stable, and you have that extra 5-10kg that you can’t drop, if you decrease your calorie intake by around 500 calories per day, this will stimulate weight loss of around 0.5kg per week. . This weight loss, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is considered safe for breastfeeding women
Compared to non-breastfeeding women, exclusively breastfeeding women consume 400 to 500 calories per day to produce the full amount of milk that most babies need from birth to 6 months. Two-thirds of these calories should come from meals and snacks containing foods from all five food groups. The remaining calories from the weight gained during pregnancy.
Breastfeeding weight loss varies between mothers depending on physical activity, the amount of weight gained during pregnancy, and how much breast milk is produced.
Attention: women who consume fewer than 1,800 calories per day they can reduce the amount of milk their body produces. Stress, anxiety, and fatigue can also reduce milk production. Then prioritize your well-being: Relax and sit down to have three meals a day. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids and choose healthy snacks between meals. Physical activity of moderate intensity, such as brisk walking, is also good and does not reduce the volume of milk.
3. Breastfeed if you can
The World Health Organization (WHO) and all health organizations and associations recommend breastfeeding. Breastfeeding your baby exclusively during the first 6 months of life (or much longer) has many benefits for both woman and baby:
- Provides nourishment: Breast milk contains all the nutrients a baby needs to thrive in the first 6 months of life
- Supports the baby’s immune system: Breast milk also contains important antibodies that help the baby fight viruses and bacteria.
- Reduces the risk of disease in infants: Breastfed infants have a lower risk of asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, respiratory disease, ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and gastrointestinal infections.
- Reduces the risk of maternal diseases: Breastfeeding women have lower risks of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
- research has shown that breastfeeding can support weight loss after childbirth.
Recall that in the first 3 months of breastfeeding, no weight loss or even weight gain may occur. This is due to the increased need and calorie intake, but also to reduced physical activity during breastfeeding.
4. Monitor your calorie intake
If you find that your eating plan is not helping you to lose weight, try to monitor the calories you introduce, to understand what and how much you are eating and what you can change. It also serves to understand if you are consuming enough calories and nutrients to provide you with the energy and everything you need to stay healthy.
Cone to take into account the calories?
- filling in a food diary, written or photographic
- using a calorie tracking app
You can share your calorie intake with another mom who is making your journey to confront and support you.
Using these techniques can help you reduce portion sizes and choose healthier foods, which in turn aid in weight loss.
We reiterate once again the importance of being followed by a nutritionist who can give you the correct indications for eating well and losing weight.
5. Eat foods rich in fiber
Eating high-fiber foods would help you lose weight.
For example, a 2019 study of 345 people, an increase of 4 grams of fiber over what participants ate before the study, led to an average weight loss of 1.5 kg over 6 months.
According to a 2015 clinical study, foods rich in soluble fiber (legumes, oats, barley, avocados, figs, plums, apples with peel, berries, broccoli, etc.) can give a sense of satiety by slowing digestion and reducing hunger hormone levels.
These effects on digestion can therefore help reduce calorie intake, although the results of studies overall are mixed.
6. Stock up on protein
According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, including protein in the diet can increase metabolism, decrease appetite, and reduce calorie intake.
Studies show that proteins have a greater “thermal” effect than other nutrients. This means that the body uses more energy to digest it than other types of foods, which results in more calories burned.
Research also shows that proteins are also able to suppress appetite by increasing the satiety hormones GLP and GLP-1, as well as reducing the hunger hormone ghrelin.
Healthy protein sources include:
- lean meats
- low-mercury fish
- Nuts and seeds
- dairy product
7. Keep healthy snacks on hand
The foods around you can have a big effect on what you choose to eat. When looking for something to nibble on in the pantry, you need to be able to choose a healthy alternative (such as fruit or yogurt).
Research has shown that just having fruit on hand is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI).
Likewise, a comparative study showed that having junk foods on the kitchen counter is associated with weight gain.
In conclusion, avoid keeping junk foods or foods rich in sugars and fats at home and within reach.
8. Avoid added sugars and refined carbohydrates