It’s an obvious truth that after giving birth most women’s bodies make considerable adjustments. Broad hormonal changes are common and mood swings are not unusual. But one thing that many women will focus on (sometimes too much) is losing that weight and body fat gained during pregnancy.
In order to do that safely and in a way that produces beneficial long-term results, take it slow and steady. Weight reduction and regaining muscle tone after birth takes time.
Hype in the media about rapid weight loss after pregnancy is common. Articles are written on celebrity moms that show them making miraculous changes after birth to regain those million dollar figures.
But such individuals usually have better than average metabolic systems in the first place. That’s part of what gives them an edge in that profession.
They also have very expensive consultants, trainers and money to burn on equipment. The average women could forego a lot of needless guilt by not trying to emulate their results. Instead, focus on what’s normal and average for most new moms.
It generally takes up to 6 months for a woman’s body to return to ‘normal’ after giving birth. Normal, here, just means the average metabolic rate and hormonal amounts that were experienced before conception. In some areas, and to some degree, those norms may never return. Motherhood often produces some permanent changes.
Calorie reduction should not be an overriding concern during a period of breast feeding. Apart from the still-required (though somewhat less) additional amount of energy, the added stress of worrying about weight is not something new mothers need. Night feeding and continual round-the-clock care for a year or more is difficult enough without unnecessary, self-imposed psychological burdens.
For the first few months, the focus should be very much on eating a healthy diet. A 2000 calorie diet that includes 50% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, 10% fat with adequate fiber is a good common sense starting point.
Notice the numbers don’t add up to 100%. Every diet should leave some leeway for enjoyment, increase or decrease of the other factors, etc. Going to extremes is the most common mistake most make when considering nutrition.
Moderate exercise is good, but here again the keyword is ‘moderate’. New mothers are busy enough without having to worry about whether they are getting that 5-mile run in every morning. The focus should be on gradually increasing stamina, tone and overall fitness. The goals should be mood-elevation and general health, not looking like a movie star.
After a few months, the program can be stepped up to desired levels in a graded way. The average gain during pregnancy is between 25-35 lbs and during birth about 12-14 of this is lost immediately. The other 12-21 pounds can be shed over 6-8 months without risk. Take it slow and steady and your results will persist over the long term.