It is healthier for women to lose the weight which they have gained over the course of their pregnancy as soon as possible.
The time it takes you to return to your pre-pregnancy weight and shape largely depends on how much weight you gained while pregnant.
If you allow for a 3 month recovery period after giving birth, then you should easily be able to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight within 6-8 months. As a general rule, you should be aiming to lose no more than 1 kg in a week. Anything faster will have adverse effects.
(A) If you exercised during pregnancy and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, it’s generally safe to begin light exercise within days of delivery or as soon as you feel ready.
(B) If you had a C-section or a complicated birth, talk to your health care provider about when to start an exercise program.
Research shows that exercise helps new moms preserve muscle mass—and thus appear more toned—than moms who drop weight just by dieting.
Here are some guidelines for affecting post-pregnancy weight loss:
- Always check with a medical physician before beginning any fitness program
- Be sure to keep the water flowing. Aim to consume half of your body weight in ounces a day
- Take your time and start off slowly
- Drink at least 10-12 glasses of water every day.
- Keep healthy snacks handy such as raisins, popcorn, wheat crackers, and nuts.
- Eat lean meats such as boneless chicken and the leanest cuts of beef.
- Eat whole grains (breads, cereals, pastas) instead of the “white” versions
- Don’t be fooled by foods that are labelled as non-fat. Most are loaded with calories and can have hydrogenated vegetable oils and/or high fructose corn syrup
- Resist the urge to indulge in a fast food meal.
- As soon as you feel ready, start light exercise. Weather-permitting, take a 10 minute walk with the baby every day and slowly increase your time to 20 minutes per day.
- Find easy ways to increase your exercise like parking farther away or using stairs instead of elevators.
- Breastfeeding burns about 500 calories per day so the longer you breastfeed, the more calories you burn.