After having a baby, many women feel pressure to get in shape as fast as possible. However, the best approach is a slow and steady routine combining exercise and good diet. When done right, getting back in shape after pregnancy can be fun and have great results.
Be realistic and don’t burn yourself out
Expecting to get back into shape instantly by intense exercise and a restrictive diet is completely unrealistic. If you try to do this, you’ll burn yourself out fast and not have the motivation to continue trying to lose weight afterwards. Then you’ll be stuck with the extra pounds you didn’t burn off in your two-week spurt of exercise. It took you nine months to gain your baby weight, and will probably take the same amount of time to lose it. So don’t expect instant results; even a little progress is something to be happy about.
Not only does breastfeeding provide your baby with important nutrients it can’t get anywhere else, it may also help contribute to weight loss after pregnancy. Studies show that breastfeeding triggers the release of certain hormones that help your uterus get back to its original size faster than if you didn’t breastfeed. Keep in mind that breastfeeding will only add a boost to your weight loss. You still need to exercise and eat right to get the true benefits.
Have fun exercising
If exercising is fun, you’ll be more likely to do it. There are “Mommy and Me” exercise classes where you can do engaging exercises along with your baby. Of course the baby’s exercises will only be for fun, but you’ll be doing activities that really help you burn off some of that extra baby weight. If you’d rather exercise without the distraction of your baby, see if a friend or family member will be your exercise buddy. You may even be able to find a group that pairs up new mothers to work out together.
Eating right is a cornerstone of any weight loss plan. Avoid any fad diets; these are never healthy and while you might lose a few pounds at first, they’ll come back as soon as you start eating normally again. Fad diets often promote near starvation, which is no good when you need to keep yourself healthy and breastfeed a baby. The best post-pregnancy diet is low in fat, but not fat-free. It should be vitamin-rich and high in fiber as well.
Ignore harmful messages
Celebrities who have just given birth often pop up two weeks later on magazine covers looking like they were never even pregnant. This promotes the idea that after giving birth, you should go to extreme measures to lose weight and look better than before you were pregnant. This is a dangerous idea for you and your baby. New moms should focus on spending time with their baby and forming a bond above all else. You can lose weight at your own pace while being a mother. Never let these unhealthy messages get to you: eat right, exercise, and take care of yourself and your baby. That’s all you need to do to get your body back on your own time.