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Nutritionist's Tips To Lose Post-Pregnancy Weight

A healthy woman within a healthy weight range will gain anywhere between 12-18 kgs during her pregnancy in a healthy way. This figure varies depending on every individual.

The pregnancy weight consists of [1]:

1. The baby

2. Placenta

3. Amniotic fluid

4. Breast tissue

5. Blood

6. Uterus enlargement

7. Extra fat stores.

The extra fat here is what is needed to support childbirth and breastfeeding. But a majority of the women put on excess weight after pregnancy leading to many disorders. The most common ones are as follows [2]:

1. Being overweight

2. Risk of diabetes

3. Risk of cardiovascular/ heart diseases

4. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

It is essential to shed the extra fat accumulated during pregnancy. If this fat stays for a long time, it has been associated with obesity 15-20 years later in life as well. Although it is essential to shed off the baby weight, it is also important to have patience and healthily lose this weight [3].

It takes nine months to make a baby, and the body goes through a lot of changes internally. A woman should ensure she is nourished well from within while she tries to lose the weight. A healthy breastfeeding mother needs extra 450-500 calories per day, and these should come from all the nutritious foods.

Looking at this, one might feel that losing pregnancy weight while consuming 500 extra calories will be impossible. But the interesting fact is that producing breast milk and feeding burns almost the same number of calories.

Listed below are a few ways that ensure you are well-nourished and that you shed the pregnancy weight as well.

1. Set realistic goals:

This is the most important step in your weight loss journey. Do not get influenced by what magazines or celebrities tell you. Post-pregnancy weight loss takes time. Set your target on the basis of your capability. A healthy weight loss is anywhere between 500 gms-700 gms per week. The first three months, you might not notice much change in weight, in fact, it might increase given the fact that a mother is adjusting to the new routine, the physical activity is negligible, she is sleep deprived and the calorie intake increases [4].

2. Do NOT starve:

A new mother needs the best nutrition. She needs to recover from childbirth and support the immense changes her body went through. If you are breastfeeding, then you need extra 250-500 calories. Please ensure these calories come from natural food sources that have a variety. An ideal meal plate will have roti, lentils, curd, salads and cooked vegetable. An ideal snack can be a glass of milk, fruits or two boiled eggs [5]. Hence, please exclude excessive sugar in any form and excessive visible fats. Make sure to include food fats like nuts, seeds, milk, eggs. These give you other nutrients as well and not just fats.

3. Set an eating plan:

It's important to make an eating plan and include fibre and protein-rich foods. Have your main three meals at almost the same time each day. Make sure to include 2-3 snacks that are well planned in advance. This will help you stay away from packaged sugary foods. A few good snacking options are fruits, milk, aliv ladoo, fenugreek seeds ladoo, Fox nuts, nuts and seeds trail mix, dried fruits like dates, figs, prunes and the likes [6].

4. Exclude packaged, processed foods and excess sugar:

Packaged processed foods do not contain any nutrition but provide excessive calories. That's the reason it is called empty calories. It will fill you up but will be unable to provide nutrition. These foods also cause an energy crash as quickly as it leads to an energy rise. Thus leading to further cravings [7].

5. Physical activity:

How soon can you start exercising will depend on the type of delivery you had, whether you faced any complications, and how has the recovery been. In most cases, you can start brisk walks within a few weeks. You can choose to start when your body feels ready in a few weeks [8][9]. Bodyweight training or resistance training is the best method to tone up the pelvic muscles and tighten the belly.

6. Sufficient sleep:

This might sound difficult with the erratic schedule of the baby, but lack of sleep is linked to excess body weight. Take help from family and friends and ensure you take an afternoon nap along with the baby. The body tends to hold on to fat if one is sleep-deprived [10].

On A Final Note...

While you adopt these ways, please make sure you are patient with yourself and do not expect any miracle to happen soon. Motherhood is a beautiful journey. Weight loss should be taken as a by-product of healthy eating practices while you are taking care of your baby.

In a nutshell, a healthy diet, breastfeeding and moderate physical activity will help you shed the excess weight from the body in a gradual, sustainable manner.