Most women put on weight during pregnancy because our bodies naturally store more fat to ensure we have all the calories we need for the baby to grow and postpartum to breastfeed. But, although you use up more calories while you are breastfeeding, your body still naturally holds onto more weight to ensure you have all the calories you need to feed your little one.
As most mums know, it can also be extremely difficult to eat healthily once your baby has arrived! As you struggle with sleepless nights, perhaps another child, and running around taking care of your baby, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of snacking on biscuits, chocolate and high-sugar convenience food.
As a mum of two I know from experience that after a long busy day the last thing you want to do is spend ages preparing and cooking a healthy meal.
Many mums also don’t recognise the need to drink plenty of water postnatally, and often mistake feelings of dehydration for hunger.
And finally, for most new mums their hormones are still in a period of fluctuation, which can cause mood swings, cravings and make it even more difficult to lose weight!
But despite all this, there is no reason, once you’ve had your baby, why you can’t gradually get back your pre-baby body and have the figure you want.
But it should be a gradual process. In fact for most mums it takes at least 9 months.
Don’t be disheartened by the celebrities you see on the beach 6 weeks after giving birth in a tiny bikini. Many of them have a team of nutritionists, fitness experts, surgeons and nannies on hand to help them achieve this! And don’t forget the power of airbrushing!
Here are my five top tips to help you start your journey to postnatal weight loss the healthy and natural way:
The first step is to ensure you don’t continue putting on weight after your pregnancy, especially if you plan on having another baby. It’s vital you get back into shape first in order to reduce the risk of pregnancy complications from being overweight.
Gradually get your body back into balance through healthy regular eating, with three meals per day and a snack in between each. Reach for a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit instead of the biscuit tin, or some vegetable sticks with hummus.This will help to keep your blood sugar levels balanced, which is vital for hormone balance, weight loss and stress management.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, to flush away any toxins or excess hormones and to help your body to regain balance and prevent water retention.
Try to find some relaxation time. Now I know this is extremely difficult when you have a new baby, but stress can actually make it even more difficult to lose weight and promotes extra fat storage. It can also imbalance your hormones and make you more susceptible to postnatal depression. Go for a gentle stroll with your baby once a day, join a postnatal pilates or yoga group, or when you can get a babysitter have a massage, ideal for relaxation and postnatal healing.
Group encouragement: research shows that people who join a weight loss group tend to have more success with losing weight. That’s because of the group environment, as long as it’s supportive and informative.