Life after you become a mother is never the same – everything from your priorities to your perspectives undergoes a revolution. Where you were once called the social butterfly among your friend circle, you are today known as the “overly attached mother”. At one time going shopping meant raiding the entire mall buying outfits, accessories and makeup for yourself; today it means stocking your tote with nappies, toys, and clothes for your little one. Pregnancy is one of the biggest changes in a woman.
Besides the whirlwind of changes in your schedule, your social life, and your life choices, what also undergoes a major change through the course of your pregnancy and motherhood is your body. Sure the experience of being a mother to a beautiful baby is highly enriching and fulfilling, but the fact that your body has lost its vitality and tone can pull you down tremendously. To quickly get back to your fitter self, you may resort to high-intensity exercises and fad diets, but these measures can do you more harm than good. Here are five safe post pregnancy measures to get back in shape:
Don’t Rush It
One of the biggest mistakes made by new mothers is that they turn on the weight loss mode immediately after giving birth even before they are mentally or physically ready. Especially if you’ve had a C-section delivery, doctors advise that you wait at least for six weeks before embarking on a fitness quest.
Heavy workouts can hinder your healing process while also exhausting and discouraging you from continuing the weight loss process. It is important that you take it slow initially and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Practicing exercises like walking, kegels and lifting light weights can help expedite your healing process while easing you into the weight loss mode.
Make sure to consult your doctor and fitness trainer before adopting any exercise regimen. Avoid fad diets as they can deprive your body of essential nutrients and impact the quality of milk that you feed your baby.
Make Water Your Companion
Being a new mother is real handwork. It keeps you on your toes all day (and night) long, giving you very little time for leisure and relaxation. In a situation like such, it is important that you keep your energy levels high throughout the day by eating healthy and drinking at least 8-10 cups of water every day.
Apart from preventing fatigue and sluggishness, water also helps flush out fat while you are in the process of losing weight, an article by Medline Plus reports. If you find water too unappetizing, drinks like coconut water and lime water are healthy options too! Stay away from sugary sodas and alcohol.
Get Proper Sleep
Sleep deprivation is a common complaint of many parents in their initial days of parenthood. Did you know that lack of sleep could be an underlying cause for a delay in 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.
It is, therefore, important that you catch at least 7-8 hours of sleep in a day. If handling everything by yourself is coming in the way of your sleep, don’t shy away from reaching out to your family and friends for help, while you squeeze in some shut eye. You and your partner must also take turns to look over the little one while the other catches some zzz’s.
Stock Your Fridge With Healthy Foods
We understand how stressful early motherhood can be. Without any time for preparation or adjustment, you are put in charge of nurturing and raising a little being who needs to depend on you for everything! While you sure may be tempted to reach out for high sugar, “stress-busting” foods like pastries, ice cream, and cookies, you must know that these foods don’t provide much in terms of nutrient value. They are sources of free calories that only end up adding to your body troubles and mood.
Begin your day with a good dose of energy-giving, complex carbohydrate-rich foods like whole grains cereal and oatmeal. Supplement it with protein-rich eggs and yogurt. Do include plenty of green leafy vegetables rich in vitamins A, C, calcium, fiber, iron, and protein in your diet.
Enjoy at least two servings of fruits as they are excellent sources of vitamins and antioxidants. Seeds and nuts make healthy snack options as they contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Get your daily dose of calcium from dairy products like milk, cottage cheese, and cheese. These foods are important to strengthen both you and your baby’s bones.
Breastfeeding mothers naturally end up losing the weight they had gained during their pregnancy. If you are breastfeeding your baby, you need to consume 330-500 extra calories, but you also end up burning up to 600 calories, so cutting down on healthy foods is not required or suggested. Your priority should be to ensure that your baby is getting quality milk.
It is essential that you allow your body to recoup from the pregnancy, no matter how long it takes. Trying to lose weight too fast and too soon can result in problems like cramping and postnatal bleeding. Remember – good health is a choice that you need to make not just for your well-being, but your baby’s too!