The Secrets to Weight Loss After Pregnancy

Sarah is a pregnant mother of three
who continues to breast-feed her 18-month-old. 
After each of her pregnancies, 
she has had difficulty losing weight. 
With all of her responsibilities, weight loss isn’t a priority.  Still, she wishes that, once this pregnancy
is over, she will be able to return to her pre-marriage weight.

            The average woman gains more than
25 pounds during her pregnancy.  The
procedure of childbirth may result in a weight loss of up to 14 pounds, which
means that new moms still have considerable weight to lose once they leave the
hospital.   However, some women simply assume that this
“baby fat” will never go away.  Yet, it
is entirely possible to lose weight during the post-partum period.

             A number of medical experts
recommend easing into a weight loss program after the birth of your baby.  This means that you will not start dieting
until about three months following birth. 
You should combine a low-fat diet with moderate exercise in order to
achieve weight loss.

             Don’t expect instant results.  It will take you a good nine months to get
back to your weight prior to pregnancy. 
A go-slow approach is best because you need to give your body time to
recover after childbirth.  Certainly, you
might be able to lose weight faster, but you might be sacrificing valuable
nutrients as a result. 

              Interestingly enough,
breastfeeding actually enhances weight loss. 
The American
College of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists has found that breastfeeding leads to the release of hormones
which enable your uterus to return to its normal size.  However, breastfeeding alone won’t bring down
your weight.  You need to combine it with
a sensible diet and a moderate exercise program.  Keep in mind that you need to have at least
1800 calories a day while breastfeeding in order to keep yourself and your baby
healthy.  Still, stay clear of junk food
during this period.  You should rely on
food with high nutritional value to maintain the proper level of calories each
day.

          There are many good reasons to
exercise during the post-partum period. 
In addition to helping to accelerate weight reduction, exercise can help
alleviate post-partum depression, improve your mood, and boost your
confidence.   Exercise can also “clear
your head” so that you’re better able to meet the demands of motherhood.  You might consider joining a “Mommy and Me”
exercise class so that your baby can exercise right along with you.  Another helpful hint is to enlist the help of
a friend or relative to act as your exercise buddy so that you’ll have some
emotional support while exercising.  An
added bonus of exercise is that it should boost your energy level, which is
quite important when battling the fatigue which comes from caring for a
newborn.

         Your diet should generally be low-fat
but not fat-free; vitamin rich; and high-fiber.   Under no circumstances should you go on a fad
diet.  Such a diet could be quite harmful
to your health and could actually slow your recovery from childbirth.  It’s a good idea to set weight-loss goals,
but don’t go overboard.  Recognize that
there’s a limit to the amount of weight you can lose during a given period of
time.   

         You may see a number of actress-moms
gracing the covers of magazines shortly after the birth of their children.  They appear svelte and elegant, totally
devoid of baby fat.  In the accompanying
article, they may even talk about exercising right after childbirth.  Such articles send new mothers a dangerous
message:  that you must do all you can to
become thin as quickly as possible after your baby is born.  Such a philosophy is not only ridiculous,
it’s also unhealthy.  As a result, you’ll
need to “tune out” such messages from the media and stay the course with your
own gradual weight loss plan.

          The time right after the birth of a
child can be quite challenging, taxing both your physical and emotional
strength.  While it is certainly a good
idea to eat healthy, you’ll need to pace yourself as far as weight loss is
concerned.  Over time, you should be able
to lose the weight you gained during your pregnancy.   In fact, you might find that you’re actually
healthier after your baby is born. 

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