There is nothing worse than being asked when your baby’s due months after the stork has delivered. You may have a few pregnancy pounds to shift but pregnant seriously? There’s hardly a woman on this earth who hasn’t wept at the sight of her more ‘generous’ post-baby body, but I’m going to show you how some simple changes can get you back to your best.
Also check out this Post-pregnancy diet plan
1. Go steady
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To loose your baby weight follow a steady weight loss plan, shedding no more than 1 to 2 pounds a week. Here’s why:
– If you’re breastfeeding, a low cal diet affects milk production.
– You’re going to be really hungry. Pretty soon that biscuit tin looks mighty inviting.
– People who choose low cal fill up on all the wrong things, making it more likely you’ll gain rather than loose the post-baby belly.
2. The no-diet rules
– The secret to weight loss is keeping blood sugar levels constant, so that’s you eating every 3-4 hours.
– Have 3 meals a day, with a snack between breakfast and lunch and another between lunch and dinner.
– Meals and snacks should contain protein, non-starchy veg and complex carbs. That means meat, fish, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, beans, nuts and seeds. Veg options are green leafy veg – spinach, chard, kale, salad leaves – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, peppers, avocados, etc. and complex carbs are brown rice, sweet potatoes, wholemeal pasta, quinoa.
– Step away from sugar in ANY form, including biscuits, cakes, jams and jellies, soft drinks.
3. Make every mouthful count
Pregnancy leaves your body depleted of nutrients so fill up on plenty of veg (and a little fruit), nuts and seeds to top up your reserves. Nutrient dense foods keep you fuller for longer. ‘Empty calories’ from sugar and white carbs lead to cravings.
4. Preparation in advance
Plan meals and snacks ahead of time so you’re not tempted to feast on the bad stuff. Chop vegetable sticks (carrots, peppers, celery, cucumber, etc.) to have with hummus, and keep cottage cheese (flavoured, if you like) in the fridge to eat atop oatcakes.
5. Blend it
Smoothies are the perfect snack or breakfast replacement if you’re short on time. Choose a good handful of green leaves (I can’t recommend spinach and watercress enough), and throw in some nuts and ground flaxseeds along with a small handful of fruit and a cup of water for consistency. All-fruit smoothies will leave your energy levels crashing later in the day.
6. Watch portion size
For snacks, we’re talking a small handful of nuts or seeds, two oatcakes or a snack pot of hummus. For lunch and dinner, at least half your plate should be filled with salad and non-starchy veg. The remaining quarters should be made up from protein and complex carbs.
7. Drink up
Filtered water is your friend. People confuse dehydration with hunger and end up over-eating. Even mild dehydration can zap energy. Work up to 2 litres of water a day. Water (along with the fibre from all that fruit and veg) also keeps you regular, which can help beat the bloat.
8. Get moving
Apart from weight loss, the benefits of exercise are legend. Feel-good hormones help you keep your chin up in the face of adversity and can also boost body image and energy levels. If you’ve only just had your baby, get the go-ahead from your doctor first.
You don’t have the hit the gym to loose your baby weight but a gym with a crèche is a good place to start.
Walking is great exercise for new mums. A brisk walk can get blood pumping and muscles working. A pedometer costs less than £10, and you can count your way to the perfect goal of 10,000 steps per day.
DVD workouts are worth a look-in, and there’s something for everyone whether you like dance-based moves, pilates or a weights-based virtual class.
Many towns have buggy fit-style classes so baby can come, too, and you can both have a lot of fun making new friends.
Even if you’ve exercised through pregnancy, you can’t just go back to your workouts like you just skipped a week. Take care of yourself; start slowly, take it easy (on the abs especially) as pregnancy hormones relax ligaments and loosen joints, making you at greater risk of injury.
9. Rest and relax
If you’re sleep deprived, you’ll struggle to shift the weight. When you’re tired your body produces the stress hormone cortisol, which keeps that mid-section squishy. Lack of sleep is also linked to hunger hormones. Listen to the folks that say nap when your baby does.
10. Be kind
To yourself. Everyone has bad days. If one day your plans go a bit wrong, move on. You know what? You just created another human being. Loosing baby weight is a long distance event. And tomorrow is another day.