How do you do that? Is it possible for regular people to look just like they did before they got pregnant a few weeks after having a baby — or is that reserved for celebrities with personal trainers on their hands?
Many people say that you should wait at least six weeks to start weight loss efforts, and it’s true that it is best to get the green light from your doctor at your postpartum checkup before exercising or going on a diet. On the positive side, weight loss after pregnancy begins when you give birth.
Your baby, the placenta, and the amniotic fluid all weigh quite a bit. You’ve probably never managed to lose that much weight in a matter of hours before! Even after the birth, most new moms will start losing weight without any conscious effort. Breastfeeding mothers burn between 200 and 500 calories a day just by nursing.
If you are after a flat tummy, higher fitness levels, and more rapid weight loss, it is very likely you will have to do a little more than just nurse, though. When can you go on a diet and start working out? If you have had a c-section or even stitches after tearing or having an episiotomy, you should definitely see your doctor first, and ask whether it’s OK
. It is also good to take into account that the abdominal muscles need time to move back together after being separated to accommodate your baby during pregnancy. Working your abs before this happens can result in a permanent “river” between those muscles.
Dieting is fine, as long as you don’t starve yourself. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, make sure not to include foods from all major food groups, and cut out the “bad stuff” — saturated fats and refined sugar — as much as possible. Avoid the temptation to go on a crash diet to lose weight, because this will not work in the long term, and you may end up weighing more than you did before you started.
If you are breastfeeding, it is especially important to decrease the amount of calories you take in gradually rather than suddenly, to avoid putting your milk supply at risk.
Losing those postpartum pounds, and regaining that flat abdomen, is a gradual process. Some lucky moms do manage return to the same weight and fitness level they had when they started trying to get pregnant rather soon, but others will have to accept that it takes a while.
Don’t torture yourself and do invest in some new, comfortable outfits that fit well and look great. Focus on being healthy, track your progress, and be proud of it.
Olivia writes about fertility, pregnancy and beyond at Trying To Conceive.