You see pictures of celebrities following the births of their babies and wish you could look like them. Weeks after giving birth and they appear back to a size two. Take heart, because these pictures are usually faked and Photoshopped. It is virtually impossible to slim down only a few weeks after pregnancy, but women all over the world think if those actresses can do it, then it must be possible.
However, it is both unrealistic and unhealthy for the average woman to lose baby weight so quickly. Unlike celebrities, most women don’t have personal trainers, nannies, and chefs to assist them in getting back into shape. Strict diets and intense exercise programs are dangerous for new moms—especially if they are breastfeeding, delivered via C-section, or had a rough pregnancy. Plus, they can easily leave you feeling even more exhausted and overwhelmed than you do already.
Slimming down following pregnancy is possible, it just may not happen as fast as you’d like. Here’s some advice from the boot camp in Santa Rosa about losing those pregnancy-induced pounds.
Don’t Rush It
Your body just grew and birthed another human being. It needs time to heal and regain its energy. You shouldn’t even consider dieting until after you’ve had your six week check up.
If you’re breastfeeding, eat no less than 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day in order to keep up your strength and milk supply. You may feel hungrier than usual, but eating for two doesn’t mean eating two servings of everything. Breastfeeding moms need only 500 extra calories a day than usual. Rather than counting calories, eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Remember, many moms are surprised by how quickly they lose their pregnancy weight just by breastfeeding.
Moms who choose not to breastfeed can begin dieting after six weeks. Just be sure to eat enough calories to meet the physical demands of caring for a newborn.
Thumbs Up for Exercise
While postpartum dieting gets the thumbs down, exercise gets the OK. When you feel strong enough, exercise is beneficial to burn calories, increase your energy level, and lower your chances of developing symptoms of postpartum depression. If you had complications during pregnancy or delivery, it’s best to get your doctor’s approval before strenuous exercise. Other women should wait at least six weeks before doing exercises that place stress on your joints such as jogging or tennis.
Get Out the Stroller
One of the best workouts for new moms is walking. Start off as slow as needed and increase the pace when you feel up for it. Walking is also an activity you can do with your new little one. Strap your bundle in the stroller and you’re good to go. Most babies love being outdoors, just dress him or her appropriately for the weather.
Just as it takes time to regain your pre-pregnancy weight, it may take six months or more to get back to your pre-pregnancy fitness level. So take your time. With regular exercise and a healthy diet, you’ll be able to slowly work those extra pounds off.
Work Your Core
Where’s your baby weight? For many women, it’s around their middle. This weight can be difficult to lose, but it is possible. The muscles in your abdomen may be stretched out and weak, so it’s important to spend time working your core and back muscles.
Again… Take it Slow
The Santa Rosa boot camp wants you to remember to give your body time to return to its former shape. Aim for weight loss that’s slow but steady. Your primary focus these days should be on your new little one. Your perfect body will come soon enough. Cherish the early days of your baby’s life, as they’re gone too fast to be worrying about counting calories.