When you first get pregnant, you are expected to gain weight. In fact, if you didn’t gain any weight there would be a cause for concern. Not only are you eating for two, but you are housing a tiny little life inside of you. The problem isn’t how much you weighed while you are pregnant, but after you give birth.
Many women find it very difficult to lose the weight that they put on during their pregnancy even months after they have given birth. The truth is that, if you are willing to put fourth the effort, you can get your figure back.
The path to getting in shape after having a baby starts with knowledge. The more you know about your body, living a healthy lifestyle and doing the right types of exercise, the more likely you will be to succeed in your weight loss goals.
Eating The Right Foods
Most people assume that the best way to lose weight is to cut back on calories. After all, if you stop bringing in calories, your body will burn more and more until you are thin, right? While technically this type of thinking is sound, there are many factors that you should consider before trying any low calorie diets.
First of all, when you begin to take in less calories, your body knows. Your body will compensate for this lack of nourishment by going into “starvation mode”. When you enter starvation mode, your body will conserve as many calories as it can. This will result in a drop in your metabolism, a lack of energy and a decline in your health.
You should also consider the welfare of your newborn baby. Mothers who breastfeed will need to eat a healthy diet to be able to produce the nutrients that your baby so desperately needs. Even mothers who are not breastfeeding will still need the energy that it takes to keep up with the hourly feedings and constant flow of dirty diapers.
Starving yourself or lowering your intake of food is never a good idea. When it comes to losing weight by controlling the food you eat, you are much better off using the replacement method. Don’t cut out food in general, replace the unhealthy food you eat with a healthy alternative.
For example, cut out sweets and replace them with fruits. If you are craving something sweet to eat, do not give in to temptation and consume candy or unhealthy snacks. Replace this eating habit with something much more healthy. Vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients but have much less calories than carbohydrates and meats. Don’t completely cut out proteins and carbs, just increase your veggie intake. The more veggies you eat, the less hungry you will be for other things.
You might also want to eat more and less at the same time. Most of us eat three meals a day. Often times these meals are larger than they should be and because they are separated by so much time, we often snack in between. Consider eating six half meals a day. These meals will be half the size but you will eat them twice as often. This will lessen the desire to snack and will speed up your metabolism all without increasing your calorie intake or effecting your health.
As you can see, replacing foods that are very high in calories with a healthy alternative will not only help you losing weight but also keep you healthy for your sake and your newborns.
Starving yourself is never the answer! You are going to need energy to keep up with your new baby, and if you’re breastfeeding, you have to make sure you’re getting the nutrients that are needed to produce breast milk.
Getting The Right Exercise
The first thing that you should think about when considering post pregnancy exercise is your health. Only very light activity should be attempted before you pass the eight week mark. Before two months have gone by, your body will still be recovering from giving birth and even some mild exercises could do more damage than good. This is true of most typical pregnancies. You should consult with your doctor before doing any strenuous or new exercises.
One of the most effective ways for new mommies to get in shape is through strength training. Instead of trying to burn away all those calories, use them the way they were intended to be used, as fuel. Turn all those extra pounds into lean and healthy muscle. Don’t worry, strength training isn’t going to turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger. If done properly, weight lifting can tone your body and even give you curves where you want them. This type of exercise is one of the most effective ways to lose unwanted body fat.
If you are looking to burn away some of that excess fat all while increasing energy levels and your overall health, you will want to incorporate cardiovascular exercises into your daily routine. A good cardio workout can come from running, bicycling, jogging, or even a brisk walk. The reason why this type of exercise is so beneficial to new moms is because it will help you in three very important ways.
Increasing your heart rate will not only strengthen the muscle but it will also improve your entire cardiovascular system. Over time, your body will become more efficient at delivering oxygenated blood to vital organs and muscles. You will not only be healthier but full of energy. You will feel less fatigued and sleep much more soundly. If all that wasn’t good enough, another byproduct of increasing your heart rate with exercise on a daily basis is a temporary increase in your metabolism. Basically, when you are working out your body will burn calories as much as five times faster. As you can see, cardiovascular exercise is extremely helpful in many ways.
Swimming is one of the healthiest and effective exercises for people who are looking to get into shape. It combines cardio with resistance training. People who swim for a few hours a week will be more tone and have a healthier heart rate. Another benefit of swimming is that it is the one exercise that puts little to no strain on your joints, making it ideal for anyone who develops join pain from running or lifting weights. Swimming a few laps three or four times a week may be all that it takes to get back into shape.
That said, for the most part, the types of exercises you do will depend on how often you exercised before you became pregnant. If you were a runner before the pregnancy, you should have much less trouble getting back into a routine of jogging daily. If you never exercised in the past, you will want to start out with a much more mild routine and work your way up. No matter what your prior experience, you should always gradually the intensity when starting a new workout routine.
The key to losing weight and getting healthy with exercise is to get into a routine. It may take a while but if you keep it up, all that work will pay off.
How Long Will It Take To Get In Shape?
There is no easy answer to this question. There are so many factors that can determine how long it takes for a person to get to their goal weight that it can be impossible to calculate.
For instance, your genetics are part of the equation. Some people are just born thinner. They lose weight faster and therefore will recover from a pregnancy much more quickly than others.
It depends on how much time you are willing to spend on getting fit. A new mom who power walks for an hour a few times a week will get into shape more slowly than a mother who jogs a few miles daily. The more you exercise and the more committed you are to losing weight, the more quickly you will reach your goal.
Are you planning on breastfeeding? Mothers who breastfeed tend to lose their pregnancy bellies more quickly, and for good reason. When you breastfeed, you are constantly replenishing your milk supply. Where do you think that milk comes from? What does your body use to make it? Your body uses vitamins, nutrients and calories to produce the milk your baby needs. With all these extra calories being burned, the mother will lose weight more quickly than someone who chooses to bottle feed.
Though you may be in a rush to get to your goal weight, there are two things that you should always remember. Never sacrifice your health to drop a dress size and never stop living healthy. It may take time, but if you eat right and exercise, you will eventually reach your goals. You shouldn’t be counting calories or calculating your measurements. You should be concentrating on increasing your overall health, the rest will follow.
How Can I Find The Time To Exercise And Eat Right?
This is where quite a few people get hung up. Whether you have a career to get back to or you are a stay at home mom, it can be hard to find the time to eat healthy and workout. This is especially true when it is just so much easier to give up. Finding the time to set aside to exercise can be a huge challenge for many people.
The truth is that most people will never be able to find the time to live healthily. This is why you will need to take the initiative and make time. There are lots of creative ways that you can find to get in shape.
- Take the stairs and not the elevator.
- Park your car further away from the supermarket.
- Go window shopping at the mall.
- Take your baby for a walk in the stroller.
- Do a few crunches first thing in the morning.
- Run up and down the stairs twice instead of once.
When your baby gets on a more steady schedule, you will have more time to yourself. When your baby is taking his or her afternoon nap, do a few exercises right in the comfort of your own home. This is the best time to do your strength training. With a few weights you can get a full workout in 10 to 15 minutes. Sit-ups and crunches are all simple exercises that can be done anywhere in a short amount of time. By regularly squeezing these workouts into your daily routine, you will be decreasing the time it takes for you to get back into shape and increasing your health.
This is a good 10-minute full body workout you can start by trying:
If you are worried about eating healthy foods, it helps to prepare meals ahead of time. Not knowing what you are going to make for dinner night after night often leads to a trip to a fast food restaurant or a phone call to the local pizzeria. Make sure you plan your meals for the week. Prepare the food during the day so it is easier to cook that evening. This will ensure that you do not cheat on your diet and get all the nutrition that you need to keep up with your family.
As you can see, as long as you are willing to take the time to do what is necessary, you will be able to get back in to shape in no time at all.