A Guide to Nutrition, Exercise and Hormones
Shedding those extra kilos may seem impossible while dealing with the challenges that motherhood will thrust upon you. While you care for your child remember that taking care of yourself is just as important. With a positive mindset and focus losing your pregnancy weight will be a cinch.
One of the key things to consider when trying to lose weight (whether it is after pregnancy or not) is your nutrition. The food you intake plays a vital role in the way you lose weight. Not only can you control the amount of calories you are taking in, but you can also ensure that you’re getting the right amount of nutrients for both you and your growing baby (especially if you are breast-feeding).
There are a wide range of diets to choose from, all with varying positives. The most common diets are those that control calorie intake to help reduce weight, but there are a number of other diets such as cleanse diets, lifestyle diets and even diets for differing belief systems. Choosing the right meal plan comes down to you as an individual and what your personal needs and requirements are.
Remember, if you are thinking of following a diet or new meal plan after giving birth in order to lose weight, it’s important to give your body time. It is advisable to wait until your 6 week postpartum checkup before changing your calorie intake and if you’re breastfeeding, many experts say you should wait until your newborn is at least 2 months old.
It’s also important to note that all new mothers will have different results to each other. Some women cannot get to their exact pre-pregnancy weight or shape, with some women finding they have different body shapes after having children, including wider hips, a larger waistline and a softer belly. By having realistic goals for your weight loss after pregnancy, you can be happier with your results, no matter what you achieve.
Walking is one of the best exercises to get started with. It may not seem like much of an exercise, but it’s a great way to get started, is low-impact and is one of the simplest ways to get started with a fitness regime. The best part is, you can start with a short stroll and go as far or as short of a distance as you want. You can also bring baby with you in a stroller, which means it’s even easier to get exercise into your day without having to find a babysitter.
Kegel exercises are also a really great option. Not only does it help with your fitness, it helps you to tone your bladder muscles and reduce incontinence which may be experienced after childbirth. Doing this several times a day can help you to tone your muscles and feel an overall improvement in your bladder. Leaks caused by sneezing, laughing and picking up your baby should be reduced significantly.
If you’re looking for a tougher workout, after your initial walks, you can increase your distance and pace and even start jogging and running. A visit to your local gym can also help you to use equipment not found at home such as cardio and weight training equipment. You may also want to join a group session for added motivation.
Remaining motivated by setting yourself more challenging exercises is good, however it is important to ensure your exercises are safe. Childbirth puts a tremendous amount of stress on your body which will affect your ability to perform certain exercises safely. Activities such as horse riding and downhill skiing are ones you must avoid.
For further information on the best types of exercise to try post-pregnancy, you can read more here.
Hormones can play a huge role in the way we lose weight. Even with all of the right foods and proper exercise, if your hormones aren’t in check, you may find that losing weight is almost impossible. One such hormone that could be causing problems is insulin.
Women in their childbearing years are often more susceptible to insulin resistance, which many find out they suffer from when trying to lose weight after having children.
This is another reason why it is important to wait at least 6 weeks after giving birth before starting on any weight loss regime. This period is an imperative time for the body to heal, recuperate and recover from your pregnancy, which also includes rebalancing of hormone levels.
There are also post-pregnancy conditions that can affect weight loss, such as postpartum thyroiditis, which is a condition where the thyroid produces unstable levels of hormones. An overactive or underactive thyroid can encourage weight gain, so it’s important to seek assistance from your doctor if you feel like your nutrition and exercise efforts are falling short. A few tests of your hormone levels with a doctor may be able to shed some light on the situation.
Remember, losing weight after having children isn’t the easiest task for many new mothers and it can take some time. It’s important to take your time on your weight loss journey, stay healthy and enjoy the process.