Nutrition and Exercise Periodization 
post pregnancy will be key to your weight loss plan after having a baby. Proper exercise and nutrition planning is an effective way to lose weight after giving birth.  Think how it took you nine months to conceive the baby. The pregnancy was broken up into a periodizational plan of three trimesters. Therefore, the 3 steps to an effective weight loss plan after having a baby lies within nutrition and exercise periodization.

How can periodization develop an effective weight loss plan after having a baby?

Periodization is the biggest aspect I cover with my clients. It is a method of organizing exercise and nutrition by separating an annual training and lifestyle plan into various periods of time. Just as trimesters are divided up into 3 cycles and constitute a periodizational plan, so it is with an effective weight loss plan after having a baby. Your goal of pregnancy was to have a healthy baby, now your ultimate goal is to lose the baby fat you have gained. Therefore, the periodization plan is divided up into 3 steps to building the foundation of an effective diet and exercise plan.


young woman in white, holding a baby and cooking a healthy meal for her post-pregnancy weight loss plan

Step 1 – recovery with nutrition

It took 9 nine months to have the baby, so expect 9-12 months to take the weight off. The first six weeks to two months should be focused on recovering from labor and delivery. The four R’s of recovery will help you meet your nutritional needs and transition you into Step 2. These Four R’s of Recovery are Refuel, Rehydrate, Revitalize, and Repair. Developing a spoonful diet that meets all your nutritional needs will help you recover faster post pregnancy. Therefore, designing meals and snacks for you to enhance the recovery process is to highlight the “four R’s” in your meals and snacks.

Refueling incorporates carbohydrates, which is the primary fuel for energy. Therefore, incorporating smart choices of carbohydrates with each meal will help you sustain the energy for motherhood. Repair emphases the benefits of consuming protein at each meal, which is the primary fuel for muscles. Rehydrate and replacement of fluids is essential in meeting your nutritional needs through the absorption of foods consumed. It also helps to sustain optimal organ functions. Revitalizing means incorporating a range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients through the use of whole foods such as fruits and vegetables.

By taking a food first approach, moms will help to ensure they meet their needs for essential nutrients, thus helping to avoid deficiencies that could hinder their health and motherhood. Learn more about proper nutritional needs and smart food choices for your individual needs by contacting H2O Nutrition to set up an appointment.

tomatoes, spinach, bananas, and greens for a healthy post pregnancy diet plan

Step 2 – meeting you and your baby’s nutritional needs

There are many reasons that women should breastfeed, such as health benefits to both the mother and infant, economic benefits, and environmental benefits as discussed in the Position of The American Dietetic Association:Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding (ADA2009)

In general, breastfeeding women should consume a healthy, balanced diet in order to breastfeed successfully. The primary goal is to meet 100% of your nutritional needs, which in turn will meet your baby’s needs. Attention should be given to an increased need for energy, fluid, and some nutrients. Requirements for magnesium, copper, zinc, iodine, selenium, and vitamins A, K, and E are increased during breastfeeding. The vitamin B requirements are increased because of a greater need for energy.  By naturally meeting your nutritional needs and breastfeeding, both you and the baby will be satisfied with nutrition and not develop any nutritional deficiencies, which can hinder weight loss. By breastfeeding and meeting 100% of your nutritional needs, you will be impressed with your weight loss. You will be laying strong foundations for a healthy lifestyle for you and your baby. You will also develop the energy you need to incorporate exercise into your weight loss plan after having a baby.

young mother breastfeeding a baby

Step 3 – timing and scheduling 

Now that you have the energy to sustain the recovery process, breastfeeding and losing weight by meeting all the mothers’ nutritional needs, you are ready to incorporate exercise into the periodization weight loss plan. Now you can start incorporating exercise around your nutritional needs. The key to this step is timing and scheduling your nutrition to your exercise. Plan to incorporate exercise as your body permits and time your nutrition around the intensity and duration of your exercise. Thus, the previous foundation of your recovery nutrition should then be implemented after your workouts to help you meet 100% of your nutritional needs post exercise. This will help with weight loss, because you are increasing your caloric expenditure through exercise and recovery. Even as you finish exercising there will continue to be a caloric burn, enhancing weight loss further.  Thus scheduling your meals and snacks around exercise will help you incorporate it in your schedule and thus develop an eating plan based on timing to help hunger and energy levels remain more predictable throughout the day. I highly recommend thus eating at intervals, no more than 3-4 hours to sustain blood sugar levels and avoid a stress triggered snack or convenience food heavy dinner.

smiling woman, exercising with her baby

Summing it up

The effective diet and exercise plan after giving birth is built into 3 steps around a 9-month to 1-year plan. The effectiveness of this weight loss plan  is built upon the periodization of recovery, meeting 100% of nutritional needs, and timing of nutrition and exercise. Developing the strong foundation addressed in these three steps one after another provides the mother the effective weight loss strategies to build a healthy and happy environment for her and the baby. Try it…. What do you have to lose other than your baby fat?


(image credit: onlymyhealth, bloodspot, hdwallpapers, medindia, bodytrim)

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