The world is an exciting new adventure for new moms, but many want to find the meeting place between their old selves and their new identities. While each woman is unique and her body has responded to the complex changes that pregnancy brings, there are some things that women can do to shrink the gap between the “old” and “new” versions of themselves, and, in the process, bring out the best of both!
Tough Love or Facing the Music
Gaining weight, not just that associated with the baby themselves, is natural. And among women the amount gained, as well as that gained in subsequent pregnancies, varies. Pregnancy experts say 25 to 30 pounds is pretty average for moms-to-be.
Getting back your body may be the goal, but women are advised to ditch hard-and-fast expectations about how much they’ll lose and how fast, as each woman is different and the factors that affect weight gain or loss are likewise complex.
he most important part of your post-baby-body plan is patience – and lots of it. Building on a steady fitness plan, it can take 10 months to one year to shed baby weight gained, but if you stick with it, and make the process as stress-free as possible, it is possible to do.
Easy does it
Walking or postpartum workouts are good starts, since they stress low-impact on your body. It took nine months or more to put the weight on, but doesn’t hold that as a yardstick for how long it will take to shed the weight. Having a baby brings with it additional hormonal and other changes that affect how your body responds to exercise, stress, and certain diets, so easy does it. Experts say that a few weeks after baby comes is a good time to resume your prior exercise regimen, in general.
It’s up to you
Time is on your side, since no one can bat an eye about those lovely baby handles you put on in the name of love – including you. It takes time to get back to where you were, because your body needs to heal. Six weeks is the recommended amount of time to wait to get back into your full exercise routines, longer if you had a C-section.
Also, experts advise getting the “green light” from your doctor before ramping up the exercise routine. Also, check for persistent sleep deprivation and exhaustion, both of which have been linked with sluggish metabolisms and retarded weight loss.
Work with your new workout window
Now that your mom, you’re living for two, which means less time for everything, including exercise. One way to support your pre-baby body campaign is by wearing a postpartum belly wrap.
These can be worn before birth and after and have been shown to help the abdominal muscles re-knit after childbirth. As for exercise, don’t set unrealistic expectations about time commitments, but rather work with the time you have. If you only 10 – 15 minutes to exercise for a while, use them, don’t write them off because you used to work-out for 30 minutes and don’t think it’s worth it.
As one study found, walking is just as beneficial as running, so if all you’ve got is time and energy for is a 15 minute walk – walk it out! The benefits of any exercise are cumulative, and eventually, you’ll reap the rewards of making a consistent habit of doing what you can, when you can.
The benefits of breastfeeding
According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the natural act of breastfeeding can eliminate weight retention. (Nursing burns an extra 600 to 800 calories a day – wow!)
No more milkshakes (at least, not three times a week)!
The cravings of having a baby create some bad eating habits that are likely still with moms after baby’s debut. But, if you want to shed the extra weight, your diet has to get back to basics: whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products.
- Tracy Brown, “Bye Bye, Baby Weight,” Pregnancy & Newborn, http://www.pnmag.com/motherhood/bye-bye-baby-weight-2/.
- Charlene Williams, “Belly Wraps,” The Band Specialist, http://www.thebandspecialist.com/.
About the author:
Vivian Dubois is a mother of twins girls and enjoys working out, spending time with her family and cooking. To know more about the author, connect with her on Google+.