Shedding the baby weight after giving birth
This has been a highly requested blog. However, before I begin sharing tips on how to shed the baby weight, I first want to say that if you’re a new mom, congratulate yourself. Don’t feel too pressured to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight right away. Pushing a baby out into this world and caring for him/her is already a tough job, so take it easy and remember that as long as you focus on having a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle, you will be fine.
Having said that, I would now like to share with you some of the things that helped me stay healthy during my pregnancy and shed the baby weight afterwards. Hopefully you’ll find these tips useful as you go through your own journey to fitness.
The Struggles I faced
Almost all my life, I’ve been concerned with health and wellness. In a way, I completely embraced the saying that “health is wealth”. I considered myself quite disciplined when it comes to managing my cravings and choosing food that is good for my body.
However, during my first trimester, I totally lost control. I suffered from nausea the entire day! It would start the moment I woke up and got progressively worse until it was time for bed. The only thing that helped momentarily alleviate my nausea was to scarf down carbs. So I found myself consistently munching on junk food – french fries, pizza, chips…you name it.
Thankfully, the cravings subsided on the 2nd and 3rd trimester, so I was able to (barely) stay within the recommended weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds during the entire duration of my pregnancy.
Maintaining a healthy weight by having a balanced diet and exercising regularly (given that my OB approved it), facilitated a relatively fast labor and delivery. Nathan grew just right in my tummy – not too light and not too heavy. This meant that he was able to develop well without gaining too much weight. Otherwise, it would have been harder for me to push him out when it was time. So here are my tips…
Tip #1: Don’t let yourself go. Having a baby inside you doesn’t mean you eat for two. While you certainly don’t want to go on a diet, make sure that you are only eating for 1.1.
Here’s how fitpregnancy.com illustrated this principle,
“During the first trimester, shoot for an increase of about 100 calories per day more than your ideal pre-pregnancy calorie intake, or the equivalent of a glass of skim milk. In the second trimester, you’ll want an extra 250 calories per day, the equivalent of a mid-afternoon snack of 10 walnuts plus an apple. And in the third, you’ll need an extra 300 calories per day, the equivalent of three pieces of fruit.
When choosing foods, remember that everything you put into your body is passed along to your baby through the placenta, so your calories should come from the purest and most nutrient-dense sources.”
Did I always follow this principle? Of course not. The key though is that I didn’t give up on pushing myself to eat healthily despite the cravings. I also made sure that I stayed active, which brings us to Tip #2…
Tip #2: If your doctor allows it, stay active during and after your pregnancy. This does not mean you need to hit the gym. Just do something you love, whether it is swimming or going for short walks.
One month after I gave birth, I started going for a walk around the UPLB campus once a week. I then increased this to twice a week when my OB gave me the green light to work out after 6 weeks post-partum.
Presently, to be honest, I only go to the gym once a week but I also swim and do a home workout regimen. My home workout only takes 30 minutes and it includes some exercises shared by Dana, a mom and fitness trainer who created quick and easy exercise programs for moms on the go, which can be found in her Instagram account.
After I’m done with her workout, I do one round of going down and up the stairs of our building (we live on the 16th floor). This is already part of the 30 minutes that I’ve allocated for exercising, so I finish just in time for my son’s feeding.
Lastly, to get my tummy back in shape, I use an app called the 7 minute ABS. For android users, you can download it here.
Tip #3: Breastfeed if you can. Not only is breastfeeding best for babies but it also enables us to lose 300 to 500 calories a day! However, knowing this did not make me indulge on additional food that will not be nutritious for my son, Nathan. I pretty much went back to my diet before I got pregnant, which helped bring me to my pre-pregnancy weight faster.
I only added more good fats in my diet, such as avocado, full fat milk, and nuts. I also eat a lot of whole grains such as brown rice, cereal bread and quinoa. I found that eating these types of food helped maintain my milk supply as well.
Tip #4: Moderation is key. Do not deprive yourself. While it is advisable to limit your intake of sugar and processed food, give in to your cravings from time to time. If you’re at a party, go ahead and have a small slice of cake. Enjoy it and move on afterwards. The key is portion control.
Also, I find that the more you think about food, the more you end up indulging. So instead of going on a “diet”, focus on eating well for you and your family.
After giving birth, I knew that having poor nutrition while breastfeeding would deplete my body’s own reserves. I also believe that my baby would develop a taste for whatever I put in my diet. Because of this, I rarely over indulge in junk or fast food. But I will on occasion have chips or dessert. Again, I believe in moderation, not deprivation.
Tip #5: Make sure to carve out time for yourself. Being a new mom can be overwhelming, especially for those who do not have help. I also find that we women are generally more critical about ourselves. So it’s not surprising that sometimes, we take the stress out on food.
Carving out time for ourselves ensure that we are filling up our tanks so that we have more to give. Having our “me-time” can translate to just a few minutes in the morning when we get to do something that relaxes or refreshes us. Don’t feel guilty about it. A lift in your spirit will immensely benefit your family. Remember that emotions are contagious.
Anyway, I hope the above tips help. If you’d like me to share my daily routine or diet just let me know by leaving a comment down below.
Continue to shine and I’ll catch you in my next blog!