Although a baby weighs only about 8 pounds, a woman can gain as much as 40 pounds during pregnancy, dependent upon her pre-pregnancy weight. The growing body of a pregnant woman and the developing fetus inside of her require a large daily caloric supply.
Studies suggest that during the early gestation period of a mother, her body undergoes hormonal changes that favor an increased storage of fats from excess calories and a heightened sensitivity to insulin to meet the maternal and fetoplacental demands.
To supply the necessary calories, changes within the body results in food cravings and increased food intake in mothers. At the initial stages of pregnancy, weight gains due to this change in eating habits are not apparent. The excess calories are converted to energy due to the increased insulin sensitivity.
However, during the later stages of pregnancy, the mother's’ sensitivity to insulin drops, thereby increasing the blood concentration of glucose and fatty acids. This results in a steady increase in fat stores, and subsequently, weight.
Losing Weight After Pregnancy
Half of the weight gained during pregnancy is shed gradually within the six weeks following childbirth for most women. The remaining weight comes off naturally over the next few months. However, for some women, the eating habits and behavioral changes acquired during pregnancy are incorporated into their lifestyle making it difficult to shed the extra pounds.
Since the body will try to shed the excess weight naturally within the first 6-12 months postpartum, it is wise to plan out your weight loss after pregnancy. Losing weight after pregnancy will be a lot easier and will most likely be permanent if done immediately after pregnancy, as well.
Tips for Losing Weight After Pregnancy
Although pregnancy and childbirth are natural parts of the life phases of a woman, they cause changes and stress to the body that only end after giving birth. Immediately following delivery, a woman’s body enters a recovery stage during which these changes are reversed and the damages done are repaired.
Although it would serve a woman well to lose the weight immediately after childbirth and return to her pre-pregnancy body, any effort to do so delays a woman’s recovery after childbirth.
Here are some healthy and natural ways for losing weight after pregnancy:
Take Time Losing Weight
Before attempting to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy in as little time as possible through harsh methods, realize first that your body is biologically designed to accumulate fat to support the fetus during pregnancy and the baby after childbirth.
The weight you gained is important. The best plan is to allow it to shed naturally over time. Also, put off any plans for weight loss until your baby is at least 2-3 months old.
The primary purpose of the remaining fat deposits in a mother after childbirth is to support breastfeeding.
To ensure that the mother is capable of providing the nutrients needed by a growing baby after giving birth, the body accumulates fats, particularly during the last stages of pregnancy. Thus, a woman must slow down on losing weight after pregnancy for the growing child.
Losing weight too fast after pregnancy affects the rate at which milk is produced in the mother. Allow the natural weight loss processes that is triggered during breastfeeding – it causes a woman’s body to burn off calories naturally. Over time, you will be surprised at how much weight you lose while breastfeeding with little or no effort.
Don’t Deprive Yourself of Food
Don’t skip meals. Not only will you harm your body by doing so, but you will also affect the quality and the quantity of the milk you produce. Instead, split your meals into 5-6 small meals throughout the day. This ensures that you constantly get nourishment which is needed by your body to produce milk.
Studies also reveal that eating small meals at a regular interval hastens metabolism thus facilitating weight loss.
Fat burning processes that happen while you are attempting to lose weight and while you breastfeed produce compounds that need to be flushed out of the kidneys. Thus, you need to keep yourself well hydrated.
As much as possible, avoid drinks and beverages that contain sugar such as sodas and juices. They can significantly affect how you lose weight and can even cause you to gain weight. Instead, drink as much as 9 cups of water a day.
Choose Your Fat
Fats are essential parts of a diet, particularly the healthy fats such as omega-3 that are present in fishes and beans. They are also contributory to the neural development of your baby.
However, some fats are bad. Transaturated and saturated fats, or the fats present in meat products and fried foods, contribute to weight gain and are bad for your health. You must avoid foods that are rich in those types of fats.
Avoid Fad Diets
Fad diets or those diets that promise rapid weight loss after pregnancy will help you lose weight at their declared duration with but one consequence - they have a rebound effect. You will gain weight faster than you lost it after you have given up these diets.
Another issue is that you risk losing muscle mass rather than fat with these crash diets.
You may find it difficult to engage in an exercise during the first few days after childbirth. That is okay. The trick is to start off slow and gradually increasing your pace. Similarly, you must not attempt to lose much weight in a short period of exercise. Chances are, you’ll just stress your body and will regain those pounds back.
Engage in a regular exercise routine and gradually increase your pace. Remember that your target is to lose the weight you accumulated in the next 6-12 months. The slower and the more consistent the weight loss process is after pregnancy, the more likely you’ll sustain the loss and the process.
Set Realistic Goals
Although most women will get their pre-pregnancy bodies back after few months, some women sustain lasting effects on the shape of their bodies after pregnancy.
Don’t set weight loss goals or expect over-reaching results. This will only frustrate you and discourage you from continuing with your activity as soon as you stop seeing considerable progress towards your set goal.
Losing weight after pregnancy needs not be difficult. Just as the weight gain during pregnancy is natural, weight loss comes off naturally after childbirth.
The trick to getting the best results is keeping your weight loss activities in sync with this natural weight loss process.