Life after you become a mother is never the same – everything from your priorities to your perspectives undergoes a revolution. I remember I was once called the social butterfly among my friend circle, but am today known as the “overly attached mother”. Where shopping for me once meant raiding an entire mall buying outfits, accessories and makeup for myself, with my baby’s arrival I began stocking my tote with nappies, toys, and clothes!
Besides the whirlwind of changes in my schedule, my social scenario, and life choices, what also underwent a major change through the course of my pregnancy and motherhood was my body. Though I always tried to look at the positive side of how motherhood would be a highly enriching and fulfilling process, seeing my body would often pull down my spirits. I still ensured I followed my doctor’s tips on the healthy ways of resuming my old body and I am glad I did!
Here are five safe post pregnancy measures that helped me get back in shape:
Don’t Rush It
I’d often get inspired by how quickly celebrity mothers would get back in shape after their pregnancy, but thank God I didn’t rush to attempt the same. I had a C-section delivery, and my doctor advised that I needed to wait for six weeks before embarking on a fitness quest as heavy workouts could come in the way of my healing process. I then slowly began practicing light-intensity exercises like walking, swimming, kegels and lifting light weights. I gradually moved onto dancing and yoga and I personally believe that dancing helped me a great deal in both, toning up and improving my mental state! My doctor also warned me against fad dieting and as he said it could deteriorate the quality of milk that I would feed my baby.
Make Water Your Companion
I’m personally not a huge fan of water – it’s a little too plain for my liking. My doctor, however, told me that I needed to drink a lot of water (at least 8-10 glasses) to keep my energy levels high throughout the day, as being a new mother can get really exhausting. I kept up with his specified instructions, while supplementing plain water with drinks like lime and coconut water as well. Not only do these hydrating fluids help prevent fatigue and sluggishness, but also help flush out fat in the process of losing weight, an article by Medline Plus reports.
Get Proper Sleep
One of my greatest troubles during the initial days of parenthood was coping up with sleep loss. Little did I realize that my lack of sleep could be the underlying cause for a delay in my postpartum weight loss! A study conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that sleeping for less than five hours a day at six months postpartum can result in the retention of over five kgs at one year postpartum. Post my first month of sleep struggle, I ensured that I caught at least 7-8 hours of sleep in a day somehow. I began reaching out to my family and friends for help to be able to squeeze in some shut eye when my husband would be off to work. Even my partner and I began taking turns to look over our little one while one of us tried to catch some zzz’s.
Stock Your Fridge With Healthy Foods
I think my best decision on giving birth to my baby boy was to consult a nutritionist to help me prepare a diet chart. For me (and for most moms) early motherhood was very stressful, where without any time for preparation or adjustment, I was put in charge of nurturing my little being who depended on me for everything! My natural reflex would have me reach out for high sugar, “stress-busting” foods like pastries, ice cream, and cookies, but my nutritionist advised me that these foods provide little in terms of nutrient value. She warned that they are merely sources of free calories that would only end up adding to my body troubles and mood swings.
I’d begin my day with a good dose of energy-giving, complex carbohydrate-rich foods like whole grains cereal and oatmeal. I’d supplement it with protein-rich eggs and yogurt. My diet also comprised of plenty of green leafy vegetables rich in vitamins A, C, calcium, fiber, iron, and protein. I’d also enjoy at least two servings of fruits daily which are excellent sources of vitamins and antioxidants. For snacks, I’d munch on heart-healthy unsaturated fat-rich seeds and nuts. For my daily dose of calcium, I’d depend on dairy products like milk, cottage cheese, and cheese, necessary for strengthening both mine and my baby’s bones.
It was relieving to know that I’d also be able to lose a lot of weight I’d gained during pregnancy, naturally, while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding moms need to consume 330-500 extra calories, but they also end up burning up to 600 calories in the process, so my doctor strictly warned me against cutting down on my intake of healthy foods. I attribute a lot of my postpartum weight loss to my baby’s hunger pangs.
Through this phase I realized that it rushing to lose weight would not give my body enough time to recoup from the pregnancy. It could even result in problems like cramping and postnatal bleeding. Make sure you remember – good health is a choice that you need to make not just for your well-being, but your baby’s too!