How to lose weight after your pregnancy?
Research suggests Australian women retain up to one third of their pregnancy weight for life. This is also true for each subsequent pregnancy.
It is one of the many challenges a new mother faces, and not necessarily the greatest, but can be the most annoying. There is a way forward but like any weight loss outcome it is not easy.
First we should look at what happens in a typical pregnancy. Weight gain occurs during pregnancy for many important reason, and this has been a successful adaption for the human race for thousands of years. Calorie and water retention have been crucial to the survival of women at risk in centuries past, but now with plentiful supply of both, the adaption can seem rather useless. Let’s look at where the average weight gain is distributed
Normal weight gain in a pregnancy (10-15kg)
- Breasts 1kg
- Uterus 1kg
- Baby 3.5kg
- Placenta and amniotic fluid 1kg
- Blood 1kg
- Water retention 2 kg
On the day of birth up to 5kg will be lost. However persisting water retention for up to three weeks and physiological breast development with lactation will often flatten out immediate post-natal weight loss as a number on the scales! Don’t be despondent. Build good habits and don’t focus too heavily on ‘getting your pre-baby body back’.
If you are breast feeding, then often your appetite remains stimulated the same way it has been during your pregnancy. Breast feeding increases your metabolism, but correspondingly increases your appetite. Between 500-800 calories per day are burnt during breast feeding. If you are not breast feeding post-delivery, remember to substantially decrease portion size at that stage.
Same helpful tips to achieve your healthy weight goal.
- Don’t crash diet, just build good eating habits
- Lose your weight if possible before ceasing to breastfeed
- An initial goal is to lose half of your pregnancy weight gain by six weeks post-natal.
- A realistic achievement after six weeks is a half a kilo weight loss per week (equivalent to 3500 calories). To do this you must look to trim 500 calories from your typical diet each day in a manageable way.
- Exercise assists from four weeks post-delivery with simple activities such as walking. Walk to local facilities and shops rather than drive.
- After six weeks post-delivery progressively increasing your exercise challenges will pay off, but leave jogging to last.
- Think of joining an exercise group with other mums to help you stay focussed.