If there is one thing that unites all mothers it is the weight gain that occurs during pregnancy and then persists after birth.
On average a woman gains about 35 pounds during pregnancy, and in addition to the extra weight stomach muscles are weakened as a result of stretching, which leaves the tummy fat looking loose. Many mom’s never manage to get back into their old clothes, but if you are not breastfeeding there is really no reason why you cannot regain your pre-baby figure with a little bit of hard work and some dieting. Generally when someone claims to have “tried everything to lose weight” after giving birth this usually means they have tried to lose weight by:
- Going on a fad diet plan that leaves them feeling exhausted and hungry all the time
- Taking diet pills all of which fail to do anything without a proper diet and exercise regime
- Joining a commercial gym, then failing to workout on a regular basis due to family commitments
- Buying home cardio equipment but not using it frequently or intensively enough
- Joining aerobics classes and fitness clubs
- Try crazy fad diets that leave you feel tired and sick
- Doing pointless ab exercises for hours on end
So, if this sounds like you, then know that you are not alone. The real reason why many women fail to lose weight after giving birth is that none of the above methods, no “diets” or workout routines will ever help you lose weight on their own. Weight loss requires a complete system that takes into account nutrition, diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors.
As a mum you do not have as much time for yourself so you cannot spend 2 hours in the gym with an hour relaxing in the sauna like you used to. Children come first and need your attention. So, how do you get fit and slim again?
Fast Intensive Workouts
Luckily the best way to lose weight is to workout quickly. Gentle, slow paced exercise, such as walking, jogging or cycling slowly are not as time efficient at burning fat as fast and intensive workouts. Follow these general rules:
- Exercise at least 3 times per week to a high intensity, ideally exercise daily
- Exercise for at least 45 minutes, ideally for 60 minutes a day
- Perform full body workouts, such as squats, lunges, push ups
- Use weight training methods such as shoulder press, curls, deadlift
- Perform intensive interval training with short sprints followed by recovery exercise
Sensible Eating Habits
The other factor to lose weight is to ensure that you are eating a healthy diet that will encourage weight loss. You may still think that fat is the problem, but it is not. The real problem is sugar and refined carbohydrate, processed food and junk food. Follow these dietary rules:
- Never skip breakfast
- Stop eating bread, cakes and cookies – no excuses
- Eat more eggs at breakfast
- Eat more protein for lunch and dinner – chicken, turkey, fish, lean meats
- No junk food, candy, sugar, soda, chocolate or fast food
- Only eat low GI vegetables and fruits
- Drink water when thirsty
- Drink coffee before exercise
Start Exercise as Soon As Possible
Exercise is vital as soon as possible after birth. Only by exercising the abdominal muscles be strengthened again, and more muscle helps to raise metabolism and burn fat too. Also exercising helps prepare the body for future pregnancies.
If you want to lose your mommy tummy then the answer is to follow our simple rules on how to lose belly fat. Only with a healthy diet and regular exercise can you regain control of your midsection. Pull those muscles in and burn that fat off with sensible eating and exercise, not creams.
The only way to lose weight quickly and keep the weight off is to follow a tried and tested routine. Buying expensive cardio equipment or diet pills will not help, but following a nutrition and exercise program will give good results. Learning how to do as many different healthy weight loss exercises as possible will help you to get in shape. Once you have learned how to exercise properly and intensively at home on your own you are in a much stronger position to get fit and lose weight.
It is certainly possible to lose all the baby fat quickly – just look at celebrities such as Katie Holmes, Heidi Klum or Kerry Katona. Just be prepared to sweat, a lot!
Breast Feeding – Considerations for Health
For breastfeeding mom’s losing weight is possible as although you need to take in additional nutrition to produce milk you can still burn fat if you stick to a healthy diet and start exercising. Exercise is not a problem once you have recovered from childbirth and daily workouts will get you back in shape.
Some Health Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breast feeding is good for both your health and your child’s.
- It can help you to lose weight
- Reduces risk of breast cancer
- Hormones released when breastfeeding help the uterus contract (reduces belly)
- Reduces risk of child becoming obese
- Less change of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
- Research shown that breastfed babies are more intelligent
- Mothers suffer less depression and “baby blues” if they breastfeed
- Passes on anti-bodies to the child
- Better nutrition that formula milk, so makes bigger and stronger babies
- Less chance of baby developing allergies and intolerances to dairy
When breastfeeding you do need to eat a lot of healthy food, plus drink more water than usual and take plenty of more rest. Breastfeeding women require around 600 Calories a day more than normal and these calories have to be healthy – lots of green, fresh fruits, vegetables, pulses, protein, plus a lot of water. So this of course does make it harder to lose fat. Also, if you start an intensive fitness plan you will need to remember to hydrate thoroughly.
The Loneliness of Motherhood
Emotional eating is one of the major causes of weight gain, and new mothers are susceptible to loneliness and depression.
A survey carried out by Mother and Baby magazine, and reported in The Telegraph, interviewed 2000 women and concluded that just over 53% of mothers feel lonely and isolated and about two thirds of them feel disconnected from a normal life. While tiredness has always been part of early motherhood, isolation has recently started to become more common between new mums.
When a woman leaves work to have a baby, her life changes abruptly, it is like being in a different universe, as old friends without children tend to drift away, grandparents normally live far away, neighbors are not always available to help and other mums are not always your “cup of tea“. Also, as babies are very demanding, it is difficult to restore the old social life back.
On average first time mums spend 90 minutes a day with other adults, which involves going along to play groups, where mums can meet other mums. In most cases mums of newborn babies goes along a playgroup feeling very tired and the babies are too small to enjoy themselves. So, it ends up being a frustrating exercise. Although it is a good idea to go to play groups when you feel ready, as it is a great way to meet other mums and share your experiences. In this way you don’t feel alone and you realize other mums are going through similar experiences and you can learn from one another. It is great when you get to know other mums that you identify with, and a new friendship is formed.
Women that live in the countryside have even less social life than city mums, as they are more isolated and there may be no many activities available for mums with newborns, whereas city mums can go to shops more easily and meet up with other mums in town.
These days mums are left by themselves to look after their new arrival, as grandparents tend to live far away in most cases. Having to look after a newborn by oneself can be very hard for new mums and the taboo of postnatal depression make mums keep their frustrations and desolations for themselves. Pressures from society discourage mums to discuss solution for ‘baby blues’ and postnatal depression, so mums tend to put on a brave face in fear of being misunderstood by others.
People tend to assume that mums and babies bond straight away and mums are quite happy looking after their little bundle of joy. However, in reality mums feel physically and psychologically drained as new babies are very demanding, and sleep deprivation takes its toll, making it hard for mum to enjoy quality time with baby.
Luckily the maternal instinct kicks in, making mums pull it through and some how be capable of caring for their new arrival. Having said this, the more support the mum gets the smother is the adaptation to motherhood. There are many organizations that can help. See the links below for further help with coping with motherhood and guidance about postnatal depression.