- Do not start your weight loss program instantly
- Breastfeeding can help with weight loss
- Eat foods rich in protein and fibre
A lot of couples planned their pregnancies during the lockdown with work-from-home giving them an opportunity and some extra time at hand to plan a family. This time also allowed people flexible working hours and a break from daily commute and public transport which can be quite stressful, making it ideal to work towards conception.
It is not an uncommon fact that women gain some extra pounds during pregnancy which takes a while to shed even after the baby is born. It is at this time that women turn to health and fitness centres and personal coaches, to get back to their pre-pregnancy size and weight. However, owing to the pandemic, all gyms and fitness centres were shut for a long time this year, leading new mothers to resort to online fitness classes and training. While this may have been a boon for some, it has also been a bane for many women struggling with their weight in the absence of personalised coaching.
Given that 90% of the digital fitness content is generic in nature, they are not equipped to dealing with the individual challenges women face while following a postpartum weight loss routine.
Today, we bring to you some mandates and tips that must be followed, while working towards postpartum weight loss to make the process comfortable, practical and less stressful.
1. New mothers should never rush towards weight loss too soon after their delivery. With a newborn, you are mostly sleep-deprived and trying to adjust to a new life which is a very overwhelming situation in itself. While the body is healing from the entire pregnancy experience, it is recommended that you wait for at least 6 weeks before starting your weight loss journey, and always consult your doctor before starting.
2. Eat homemade food. If you are breastfeeding, don't eat for two but just have 300-500 more calories than your maintenance calories since the diet of a newborn is way lesser than that of a grown-up, and those extra calories will be harder to burn.
3. Practice breastfeeding as that's beneficial for the baby's health and it also burns calories.
4. Start by walking - 10 minutes after every meal is sufficient. There is no requirement of overdoing anything. If the diet is in check, you will naturally shed the stored fat during pregnancy just by breastfeeding and doing regular household chores.
5. It is advisable to keep small boxes of fresh fruits, nuts, or salads handy to munch while breastfeeding or after it, when hunger pangs strike. Try avoiding packaged foods or biscuits to curb these hunger pangs. Plan ahead and be ready with such alternatives.
6. Focus on protein and high fiber foods. These 2 things are satiating so you don't crave "calorie dense" but less nutrient-rich foods.
7. Take care of your posture. Constant breastfeeding, Baby holding & diaper changing may shift your muscles and ligaments towards imbalances and the new (wrong) posture becomes comfortable which is not good in the long run.
8. Sleep when the baby sleeps. It is extremely crucial to maintain proper sleep both during and after pregnancy, so you have to be very particular about it. Other things can be managed by someone else, sleep is yours.
By following these simple and easily doable tips, any new mother can shed her postpartum weight over a period of time. Usually, it looks harder in the initial stages right after childbirth, but sometimes the extra size is actually due to the abdominal muscle separation since the body creates extra space to accommodate the child in the womb. This condition of muscle separation is called 'Diastasis Recti'. Diastasis Recti can also be associated with incontinence, lower back pain, and hernia. Abdominal separation resolves when your muscles have reverted back together to less than two finger widths, or when you can tell that your midline has become strong and elastic, from six to nine months postpartum. A conjunction of the right exercises, workout, sleep and stress management can definitely help improve your posture and regain core strength. With a host of misconceptions both on the internet and social media regarding correction of Diastasis Recti, it is best to get yourself an expert to handle DR and its associated problems.
(Asheesh Grewal, Founder and CEO, MyHealthBuddy)
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