Why slow and steady is best for losing the baby weight
Keen to lose the baby weight? Take it slow
Nine months on, nine months off (at least!). There’s logic behind that statement. In the early days of pregnancy, the bump grows slowly and towards the end, you may feel more like a beached whale. It takes time for that weight to shed; very few women snap straight back into their pre pregnancy jeans and nor should the rest of us feel pressure to do so.
So forget the ridiculous celebrities who have their astonishing transformations just weeks after birth. These are unrealistic and the truth is slow and steady is the best way forward. A combination of eating healthy, regular meals and incorporating exercise into your busy routine (once you’ve been cleared by the GP after your six week check) will soon and steadily have you feeling more like the ‘old you’.
A realistic loss per week is between 0.5kg and 1kg (1lb to 2lb). It’s not time for extreme dieting or cutting nutrients to speed things up. Not only is this unsustainable in the long term, it will leave you tired, sluggish and unable to cope in the short term. And this isn’t good for you or the baby – especially if you’re breastfeeding.
1. A good start: As a new mum, mornings will be hectic and it’s tempting to skip breakfast and grab a sugary snack later in the morning. Try to make time for some fruit, porridge, yoghurt or wholegrain cereal within an hour of rising. It will give you the energy boost that you need and should sustain you until lunchtime.
2. Water, water, water: You can rarely have enough. A lot of the time when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty and dehydration can be a major cause of fatigue in new mums. Make a commitment to take regular sips throughout the day and keep a bottle in your bag.
3. Nutritious meals: New mums are very focused on their new arrival but you should make time to eat properly. Include five portions of fruit and vegetables and fibre rich foods for slow release energy. Starchy foods (ideally wholegrain) should make up about a third of each meal and opt for lean meats and fish where possible.
4. Healthy snacks: These are key to weight loss. There’s no point having three nutritious, balanced meals and then scoffing two doughnuts to see you through your sugar slump. Have a selection of fruit, seeds, nuts, hummus and carrot sticks nearby.
5. Breastfeeding burns about an extra 330 calories today and may help you keep weight off in the longer term too. It also helps your womb shrink down after the birth.
6. Get moving: Start gently with walking, pelvic floor exercises and stretching. Leave the gym and anything more strenuous until after your check up and longer if you don’t feel ready. Your body has been through a lot and needs time to heal so building up slowly and steadily is key to getting back in shape.