Five stages of losing weight after pregnancy
Pregnancy weight: Losing it in stages
Pregnancy weight can take a lot longer to lose than gain. Very few new mums snap back into shape straight away and it really is better to divide the loss into stages, so that you can set goals and see progress.
Don’t rush into it, or try crash dieting. Slow and steady is the name of the game now. And remember, if you ate more than usual during pregnancy, it might take that bit longer to shed now. Be patient and persevere.
1. Early days: You shouldn’t stress about losing weight at all during the babymoon. Enjoy your time with the new arrival and if someone buys you a box of chocolates, enjoy them. But be mindful of what is going in to your body, particularly if you are breastfeeding. Before giving birth, stock your shelves with healthy snacks like nuts and seeds and your freezer with healthy nutritious meals that can be cooked in advance easily defrosted (e.g. a chilli, lasagne, curry or casserole). Even during the exhausting, bewildering early days you can sow the seeds for a healthy new mum.
2. After the six week check: Once you’ve had the all clear from the GP at your six week check, it’s a great time to get out and about and walk with the baby. Walking at a brisk pace is one of the best exercises you can do in the first few months, and the fact that you can bring baby along is a bonus. Walk tall, take deep breaths, and enjoy the fresh air.
3. Three months in: If you feel up to it, you can raise your game at this stage. Getting value from your gym membership may not be an option, but you could sign up to an aerobics or Zumba class maybe? Or a mother and baby swim session? Or simply stick with walking but increase your distance and pace and go uphill. The options are endless. You will still be feeling tired, depending on how the little one is sleeping, so start off gently and work up to a more strenuous workout. Keep doing your pelvic floor exercises, especially if you are going to be more energetic!
4. Nine months on/nine months off: By now, you should see the ‘old’ you returning. Your body has changed, however, since giving birth and that’s normal too. Don’t get too hung up on the bits you don’t like and focus on improving what you have.
5. Baby’s first birthday: It’s a milestone, for both you and the little one might be on their way to walking, starting to talk and is just one big bundle of cuteness. And you should feel proud of how far you’ve come. If you are not happy with your weight at this stage, it may be an idea to speak to your GP or go to a dietician or nutritionist for advice.
The bottom line is that your body shape will be different and many mothers reach a weight loss plateau. In fact some studies suggest that women retain an average of 10 pounds for good. Remember that’s OK! You have created a beautiful being who loves the whole of you and that’s what matters most.