Are you having trouble losing post-pregnancy weight? Experts say the key lies in eating a balanced diet and including workouts like Kegel and aerobics. Previous studies have shown that breastfeeding the newborn also helps you lose weight faster.
Another study showed that factors like sleep deprivation, food cravings and not being able to take out sufficient time to work out causes most new mothers to put on weight even if they follow a healthy diet.
When you’re a new mother, your body needs maximum nutrition, especially if you’re nursing. Choose foods that are heavy in the nutrients you need and light in calories and fat.
Fish is one of these ‘super foods’ because it’s packed with DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid that helps your newborn develop a healthy brain and nervous system.
Milk and yogurt are also super foods because they’re high in the calcium you need to keep your bones strong. And don’t forget the protein. Lean meat, chicken, and beans are low in fat and high in protein and fibre. They’re good for you, and they’ll keep you feeling full for longer.
Speaking to My Medical Mantra, Shilpa Joshi, RD consultant dietician at Mumbai Diet and Health Centre and a National Committee Member of Indian Dietetic Association, said, “After pregnancy, women should include sufficient proteins and carbohydrates in their diet. The ratio for protein should be 15 to 20%, while the ratio for carbohydrates should be 30 to 50% of dietary needs. Follow a balanced diet, keep a check on calories. Avoid consuming ghee laden food, limit consumption of jaggery.”
Joshi added, “Consume methi laddoos and dry fruits for energy. Drink water to remain hydrated. If you have undergone a normal delivery – avoid strenuous exercise. If you have undergone a Caesarean section consult your doctors before taking up exercise.”
Rutika Murudkar, clinical nutritionist at Naraindas Morbai Budhrani, said, “Don’t chase after the idea of losing weight after delivery, the first and foremost important thing is to take care of yourself and your newborn. After pregnancy, the body is low on calcium, zinc, and iron – include foods in your diet which are rich in these minerals. Having a balanced diet is vital.”
Murudkar further said, “Encourage the idea of weight loss only after six to eight months post-delivery, never go on a liquid diet, do not take any medications without consulting your doctor. If you plan to lose weight afterwards, start by losing just 2 kgs per month. Try light exercises such as brisk walking and yoga.”
Kegel or pelvic floor exercises: Kegel helps in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which support the pelvic organs. It gets weakened by the birth process and should be exercised right after birth. It may seem a little tough to do this just after giving birth. However, try doing only as many as you can and later increase the duration as per your choice.
Leg sliding/stretches: Lie on your back with one knee bent. Keep your back flat while sliding the heel of the straight leg up and down the surface on which you are lying. Work only within the range where you can keep your back flat.
Aerobics: You can begin with gentle aerobic activity. You can begin as soon as you think you can handle it. Consult your healthcare provider before resuming.
Walking: Follow the instructions of the nursing staff to get out of bed and start walking as soon as possible.