Postpartum Weight Loss – 3 Strategies for New Mothers

Have you recently brought a beautiful baby into this world? Well, wow! You have just done something incredible!

Let’s consider your body, the changes it’s gone through, and, look at three key strategies to get back to great tone and a healthy weight.

As you began your journey through pregnancy, you were diligent in maintaining proper nutrition throughout your pregnancy to support you and your child’s needs.

Then you underwent the powerful, sudden and extremely physical process of giving birth, whether by natural or medical means.

Your body has gone through a dramatic transformation.

Here are three strategies to remember as you begin your post-birth weight loss journey: Taking it easy on yourself, prioritizing your health, and balancing nutrition and exercise.

1. Take it easy on yourself
Recognize that your body has gone through a nine-month transformation culminating in the climactic encore of the birth of your child. Because your body has gone through a nine-month transformation, returning to your pre-pregnancy form may take a little time. Your body will need time to recover from the actual birthing process, particularly if you had any health complications or medical procedures.

2. Prioritize your physical and mental wellness
It should be about you and not what others think of you. Aspire to be the best possible version of yourself instead of comparing yourself to others or an ideal based on society’s projected picture of perfection.

Adopt a maintain a healthy lifestyle that prioritizes your well-being while taking into consideration your post-pregnancy needs and a healthy weight and appearance will follow.
3. Balance Nutrition and Exercise
As with any weight management journey, you will have a two-pronged approach: nutrition and exercise. Let’s go through a few key points for each that are relevant to postpartum wellness:

When it comes to nutrition, a key rule is to pay attention to your body.

Eat when you’re hungry. You may be eating more frequently than you’re used to, but your body is letting you know. Just focus on healthy options AND to pay attention to how much you are eating each time.

If you never were much of a meal planner before, this may be a good time to start. Initiating meal planning at this time helps particularly during the trials and joys and caring for your small child. It will also help you create a healthy example as your child grows.

If you are breastfeeding, then keep in mind that you should follow similar nutritional choices that you had made during your pregnancy. Research from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) indicates that breastfeeding can help accelerate weight loss, but recommends a daily multivitamin, an extra 300-500 calories per day for milk production, and three additional servings of protein to preserve lean body mass.
You can make extensive use of your freezer for a few things: when you’re to tired to cook, to control portion sizes (particularly for those sweet cravings), to avoid unhealthy temptations, and to reduce the temptation of ordering out.
Prior to incorporating any exercise regime, it is imperative that you discuss your personal physical issues with your doctor and progress slowly.

As with any exercise plan, you should focus on your whole body, and not just target your abdominal region specifically.

Beyond this, there are two major areas that you may have to contend with:
     • the separation of your large abdominal muscles known as diastasis recti
     • a weakened pelvic floor

Similar to your meal planning strategy, make your exercise a daily activity, incorporate your child into your routine whenever possible, and ensure that you have comfortable appropriate clothing to give you quality support.

Simple activities that may take some time include:
     • walking (with your baby and/or your dog)
     • deep, full-body breathing, incorporating all of your abdominal muscles.
     • Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor
     • dancing
     • baby-friendly gyms (whether it is a mother-baby fitness class or a gym that provides childcare)
As your child begins to eat more solid foods, you reduce or stop breastfeeding, and your major back and abdominal muscle groups have strengthened, you can reassess your exercise activities, goals, and timeline. At this point, you may shift to a strategic weight management plan to get back to your pre-pregnancy figure.

10 Ways to Get Those Calories Burned Without a Trip to the Gym

Want a slimmer body?  Know you need to burn more calories but not making it to the gym in spite of your best intentions?  You’re not alone!   Fitting time in the gym between work, commuting, family, chores, friends, and sleep is a big challenge for many of us!

Fortunately, relief is at hand when you realize that there are many ways to up your activity and daily calorie burning without a gym.  Read along for a great list of 10 ways to do just that!

Before getting to that list, though, consider three important points:

First, though, remember it’s possible to out-eat any activity level and still not lose weight so controlling your food intake is still important.

Second, be clear on both the health and weight loss results you want. What are your goals? Mobility Weight loss? Strength building? Increasing your fitness level might require a structured exercise program but that’s a topic for another blog.  Here you are looking purely at the calorie burning benefits of activity so you can be flexible.

Third, for most of us, starting small is the way to go. Increase your activity progressively so your body can adjust. It may be easier than you think to increase your NEAT (Non-Exercise activity thermogenesis), or all those daily activities that aren’t that vigorous.

So, here’s our list of 10 ways to burn calories without the gym:
  1. singing in the shower or on your commute
  2. some of those basic inside household chores: cleaning, laundry, sweeping, cooking
  3. some of those basic outside household chores: yard work or gardening
  4. low impact activities that use your mind and body: hopscotch, jump rope, darts, badminton, charades, mini golf, bowling, dance)
  5. regular walks, perhaps with your dog or window shopping
  6. practice good posture 
  7. fidget
  8. basic stretching
  9. get chilled to make your body shiver
  10. use apps to help track your movements 

Think about how your typical day flows, keeping these activities in mind, and imagine progressively adding more of these activities to burn more calories on a daily basis.

How can you add NEAT movements into your day? An early morning, lunchtime, or after dinner stroll? A screen break to stretch and socialize? Seated exercises at your desk or on the couch? Active social activities? Singing and dancing along as you complete various tasks?

The more you move, the more your body uses energy. While these activities won’t necessarily burn a lot of calories, the increased mobility often will make you want to do more. And you don’t need a gym to do them.

What other calorie-burning activities can you think of? Share in the comments!