Pregnancy is the best thing that can happen to women. The joy of carrying heaven’s blessing in your womb for nine months cannot be expressed by mere words. However, this joy often ceases during the first week after childbirth where many women experience the ‘baby blues’. More often than not, many women experience an all-time low mood and feel mildly depressed. While the leading cause of this post-natal syndrome is mainly attributed to the change in hormones internally, other factors, such as baby-fat weight gain, may trigger mothers to plunge into deeper depths of depression.
To add salt to the wound, so many high-profile celebrity moms seem to be snapping back from their pregnancy with a glorious silky silhouette in almost no time at all, as though they are leaping from the labour bed straight onto the treadmill upon discharge. Heidi Klum, Angelina Jolie, Katie Holmes and Victoria Beckham — these are merely some of Hollywood’s A-listers who have set a ridiculously high benchmark for baby-fat weight loss with their record-time.
If all those pictures of shapely and slender celebrity new moms have left you feeling like you never want to take a peek in the mirror again, take heart! We may have a couple of tricks up our sleeves for you to be looking like your pre-baby self again.
Breastfeed If You Can
Breastfeeding is strongly encouraged — a mother’s milk contains the best nutrients for the healthy development and growth of the baby and builds a closer bond between the two every time the child latches on. On top of that, breastfeeding is the simplest and most effective way to burn calories post-pregnancy, as you can burn a reported 600 to 800 calories a day by just sitting comfortably and feed your baby. Some women are lucky enough to drop most, if not all, of their baby fat through breastfeeding alone.
However, be aware that as soon as you decide to discontinue or taper off from breastfeeding by supplementing your baby’s diet with puree or solids, your calorie requirements will nose-dive. Pay extra attention to your intake after you stop breastfeeding as you can stack on the weight dramatically if you do not adjust your diet downward and your exercise upward.
Start Your Day with Veggies
Naturally, we tend to get busier and more occupied as the day progresses, especially working mothers. As such, most weary moms will crave for comfort food at the dinner table instead of steamed vegetables. Set the tone and have your vegetables early at the start of your day. Try whipping a cauliflower and mushroom omelette for breakfast or indulge in baby carrots dipped in hummus as a mid-morning snack. This way, you not only fulfil your daily vegetable requirement but also arm you with the perfect ammunition to defend your success come nightfall.
Strength training goes a long way towards accelerating your metabolism, making your road to postpartum weight loss a lot less arduous. However, instead of hitting the gym or investing in a set of dumbbells, we suggest you include your baby into your exercise routines for starters. Try holding your baby with both arms extended from your chest and execute some lunges or squats. If you prefer the outdoors, take a walk in the park and perform lunges behind the stroller each step of the way. These movements are easy and fun to execute anytime anywhere and can help you get on the right fitness track while bonding with your child.
Opt for Nutritious Snacks
Consuming excessive amounts of sugar can spike your blood sugar levels and send your body on a roller-coaster adventure. And as soon as your blood sugar drops, you are more than likely to chomp down the very first thing you get your hands on. So when coming up against sugary treats, give them a pass. The trick is to keep only nutritious foods within your arm’s reach, such as an apple or a handful of almonds. You should also stock up on yoghurt and low-fat milk for snacks. These items are rich in calcium and can help with postpartum weight loss by impeding a hormone that permits the body to store fat.
In addition, consuming snacks that are high in fibre, such as whole-wheat crackers with veggies, raisins or figs, can help fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied, while at the same time, aid you with your digestion and regularity. You should also try having small, frequent meals spaced about two or three hours apart and strive for no fewer than six a day. Try sneaking in a snack every time your baby latches on or has a bottle. This will ensure that your metabolism is always revved up, enabling you to burn maximum calories while losing baby fat as well.
Patience Is Key
Patience and dedication are key in your journey to successfully lose the weight you packed on during pregnancy. Having said that, it is important for you to have realistic weight loss goals as slimming down at lightning speed after pregnancy is unrealistic and very unhealthy to begin with. Celebrities do not gain as much weight during their pregnancy and unlike most of us, can afford all the resources needed to devote serious time to get back in shape, such as nannies, chefs, nutritionists and personal trainers.
Never risk beauty for health. It’s never worth it.