Best ways to safely lose weight after pregnancy
Nothing can beat the feeling of joy when a woman gives birth to a baby. However, for many women, that feeling is met with mixed emotions and frustrations because their bodies have changed due to pregnancy. Multiple studies show that many women retain between 2.5 and 5 pounds following the birth of their children, but at least one quarter of women retain 11 pounds or more. Although this may not seem like a large amount, if a woman has multiple children without losing weight in between, the pounds can add up quickly.
There is more at stake with postpartum weight than just a woman’s body image. The extra pounds can lead to serious health issues later in life including chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. In addition, psychological damage from poor body image cannot be ignored. This is why it is important that you develop a healthy strategy for losing weight after your pregnancy. The following ideas are some of the best science-backed ways to do it.
Wait until you are ready
This is more a word of caution than a weight loss suggestion, but it is essential to remember. After you have a baby, there should be an appropriate resting period to allow you to heal and become physically ready for exercise and weight loss. You do not want to get so caught up in restoring your body to its previous state that you push yourself beyond the limits your body can handle.
Consult a professional
One of the best ways to lose weight following a pregnancy is to consult a professional and have them guide you through a process that is specifically designed to match your needs. For example, a weight loss medical assistant can give you specialized advice on things like nutrition while breastfeeding, which foods you should avoid and the type of exercise that is healthy and safe for your body. Seeking the help of a medical assistant, or someone in a similar occupation, is one of the best ways to achieve healthy weight loss.
If you decide to breastfeed postpartum, then you have a unique advantage. Women who breastfeed burn approximately 500 more calories than those who do not breastfeed. Women who want to lose weight are generally instructed to add just 330 extra calories to their daily diet, which allows the body to burn more calories than it takes to breastfeed. The resulting caloric deficiency results in weight loss. According to one study, women who breastfeed tend to reduce their post-pregnancy weight retention by six months.
Make a nutrition and complementary exercise plan
The healthiest weight loss regime for new moms is a combination of good nutrition and exercise. "Overall, programs which target combined nutrition and physical activity strategies have been more effective than those which focus on just one of these,” says Paige van der Pligt, who is a researcher at the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research at Deakin University in Australia. Van der Pligt’s assessment comes after a review of several studies that focus on weight loss in postpartum women.
This does not mean that you should focus on extreme caloric deficiencies and train for a marathon. Instead, women should make small changes in their diet and their activity levels to increase the rate of weight loss. For example, engaging in high intensity interval training (HIIT) is one way to burn calories quickly and effectively.
Although weight loss after pregnancy is important in order for the mother to reach a healthy weight, it should not be the only consuming priority. It is essential that women make their weight loss goals a gradual process following a pregnancy in order to shed the pounds and keep them off long-term.
Also here is a good infographic from Home Fitness Life, discussing many good ways to lose weight after pregnancy the healthy way.