Postpartum Weight Loss Dos and Don’ts
Some try fad diets while others exercise to the point of exhaustion. If you’re ready to get serious about losing the baby weight, but still want to remain healthy, here are a few postpartum exercise and diet dos and don’ts to remember.
Do Speak to Your Doctor First
Before beginning any diet or exercise routine, it’s integral to speak to your gynecologist. Generally, your gynecologist will insist you wait until at least your six-week postpartum checkup before beginning even the simplest, low-impact workout routine. If your baby was born via C-section, your doctor might recommend you wait even longer. If you’re feeling ready to go before your first postpartum checkup, try keeping it simple by performing low-impact exercises, or even simply taking your baby for a 30-minute walk every day.
Do Listen to Your Body’s Cues
You passed your six-week postpartum checkup with flying colors and are ready to begin shedding that baby weight. After your first workout, you begin to feel lightheaded or nauseated. For many women, even those who were extremely fit and active before pregnancy, that first postpartum workout is very draining on the body. Stop immediately and rest if you feel overwhelmed or sick. If you’re working out within the first few weeks after giving birth and begin to notice heavier than normal vaginal bleeding, call your doctor or midwife immediately.
Don’t Expect the Weight to Fall Off
Even if you’ve always found it easy to either maintain a healthy weight or lose weight prior to pregnancy, don’t be surprised when it takes anywhere from six months to one year to get back into shape. Pregnancy and childbirth are extremely traumatic experiences, and your body needs time to heal and get back to normal. Instead of worrying about losing the weight quickly, pay more attention to how your body feels and try to restrict your weight loss to one to two pounds per week.
Don’t Let Losing Weight Interfere With Motherhood
Many women become so obsessed with regaining their pre-pregnancy shape that they begin to overlook the simple joys of being a new mom. Instead of focusing your attention on losing weight, enjoy the precious first few months of your baby’s life. It’s both mentally and physically exhausting enough to adjust to parenthood, so instead of focusing on the negative aspects of your body image, revel in the fact that you’re the proud parent of a precious baby.
Do Eat Healthy
It’s simple enough to tell new moms to “eat healthy,” but this isn’t always that easy. Between getting back to work, diaper changes, late-night feedings and keeping your house clean, it’s easy for a new mom to pick-up a candy bar or chips instead of fixing a healthy snack. Far and away, the easiest way to eat healthy is to shop healthy. Only purchase high-fiber, low-fat snacks and meal options. If you don’t have junk food readily available in your home, you cannot consume it.
Do Get As Much Rest as Possible
Finally, one of the most important aspects of losing postpartum weight is to get plenty of rest. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially when your baby requires constant attention throughout the day and night. If you’re unable to get at least six to eight hours of sleep each night, don’t hesitate to catch up during the day. It might mean skipping the dishes or leaving the floor unvacuumed, but it’s important to put “get plenty of sleep” at the top of your “must-do” list.
Having a baby is mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting enough without the added pressure of losing weight. Instead of beating yourself up for not heading to the gym enough or napping instead of doing the laundry, remember that you’ll get all the exercise you need in a couple of years while chasing after a precocious two-year-old.
About the Author: Jillian Harmon is a blogger and new mother. Jillian was able to drop the baby weight by exercising, getting plenty of sleep and enjoying the amazing foods available through diet to go.