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Have you heard or seen stories of moms who got their postpartum tummies back into the previous shape just weeks after delivery? Yeah. I am not saying it isn’t possible, but it’s very rare.
I mean, I understand why celebrities and super-models try so hard to lose the baby belly pouch as soon as possible. But for the rest of us – let’s give our bodies some time to cope with the changes.
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Things you should know about weight loss after having a baby
Weight loss after having a baby is not an easy task. It requires a lot of patience, persistence, and most importantly – being kind to yourself.
I´ve been down that road and can reassure you that it is totally possible! That’s why I want to share with you some realistic postpartum weight loss tips and what to really expect the first year after having a baby.
1. Breastfeeding is not a diet
Yes, it burns calories. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it will just melt those extra pounds away, although you might have heard it from other moms.
It is far more complex than that.
While some moms manage to lose weight while breastfeeding, that does not mean nursing itself should be treated like a no-effort diet.
Breastfeeding itself can help you to lose weight provided that you don’t overeat. However, breastfeeding mothers tend to feel hungrier, which means you may end up snacking more than you actually burn by breastfeeding.
Losing weight while breastfeeding can be tricky, as it is affected by so many factors like hormones, your activity level or weight gain during pregnancy.
The fact is:
Breastfeeding helps you burn up to an estimated 500-800 calories a day. But it’s not a diet.
Breastmilk is a unique mixture full of vitamins, fat, and immunity boosters. As your body isn’t used to create this kind of fluid normally, it has to work harder to produce it, hence the increased calorie burning.
2. It´s your hormones
Weight loss after having a baby varies for each mom. Getting back into shape isn’t always as simple and straightforward as eating healthy and exercising more.
You might be struggling to shed the baby weight and feeling like you’ve hit the plateau. It can be pretty discouraging that despite all your efforts, your weight just hangs around the same number.
There is actually perfectly natural, scientifically proven reason, why the scale isn’t moving and why it shouldn’t get you down.
It’s your HORMONES.
Or hormonal imbalance, to be more precise. This is a factor that many moms don’t always take into consideration when it comes to weight loss. There are many studies showing that hormones after pregnancy affect your weight loss and are actually preventing your body from shedding that extra pounds.Because of this hormonal cocktail flowing through your body, weight loss after having a baby int the first year may be incredibly hard (if not impossible). Click To Tweet
Not only sleep deprivation causes your body to crave sugary foods. The stress brought on by caring for a newborn and the lack of sleep increases the level of cortisol – the hormone is responsible for weight gain.
I struggled myself with this big time. I almost gave up on trying. Only about 12 months postpartum I finally started to notice bigger changes in terms of my body shape and scales.
The good news is:
You can actually help your body to cope with your hormonal imbalance naturally. I wrote a whole e-book about this topic here, it’s FREE so make sure you check it out!
3. Non-existent me-time
When you are a new mom, your days are probably filled up with diapers, burps, and feeding around the clock. Even if you manage to squeeze ten minutes-long precious break, you’ll rather enjoy your coffee while it is still hot than working out.
And I get it. I was the same.
You might just want to settle for the fact that at this stage of life, you don’t have time to exercise, but – hold your horses there!
No matter how busy we are, there is always SOMETHING we can do for our own wellbeing. I’ve put together some great ideas for you to choose a busy mom workout routine that fits your needs and schedule. I did these simple and short workouts in my early postpartum months.
There are also many other activities you can do to forget about mommying for a little while and feel like yourself again.
It’s about being able to spend some time all by yourself, doing what makes you feel good. Here are a few easy ways how can you sneak in some self-care into your busy mom lifestyle.
4. The mommy tummy
You know what I’m talking about. The “pooch”.
The truth is: our core muscles have been stretching a lot during pregnancy, so they need to regain strength to return to its previous shape.
Strong core muscles fill in the looseness in the skin, creating a visibly tighter appearance.
The whole core involves all the muscles that surround your midsection, including your back and pelvic floor. These are the two muscle groups we tend to forget about when trying to get rid of that mommy tummy.
But they are so important and should be an inseparable part of your core training!
When it comes to strengthening your postpartum core, it is always better to start with gentle exercises (even if you don’t have ab separation). Don’t throw yourself into a “100 crunches a day” regime straight away. I´ve put together a simple core workout that helped me to get rid of the pooch 2 times around. And the best thing about it is that you can do it from the comfort of your home! Check it out here.
However, there is one condition causing your baby belly pooch that requires a bit different approach than the “usual” mommy tummy. It is called Abdominal Separation or Diastasis Recti. This condition means your belly sticks out because the space between your front left and right abdominal muscles has widened. This is caused by much pressure on the belly during pregnancy. Here is how to check yourself for diastasis and what exercises are suitable for you in that case.
Medical disclaimer: Information about treating diastasis recti are based on my own experience with treating this health problem and should not be considered as medical advice. You should always consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider if you think you are suffering from any medical condition.
5. Saggy skin
Loose skin and stretch marks are those undeniable signs that you’ve grown a little human inside your belly. Sagged skin is pretty much manageable and with patience and persistence, it can be reverted.
There are multiple ways how you can improve skin elasticity. Keeping your skin hydrated and boosting collagen creation is crucial. Check this out to find out all about postpartum skin treatment that worked for me amazingly.
Hydration – both in and out, is the key here.
Water helps to improve the elasticity of the skin. Only elastic skin is capable of getting back into its previous shape. Try to drink water regularly throughout the day to hydrate your body and skin from the inside.
In addition to water intake, you can improve the appearance of your tummy skin by applying lotion or oil on a regular basis, ideally twice a day. I used to do this ” belly slathering” ritual during both my pregnancies to prevent stretchmarks and I just got so used to it! Even now I can’t go to sleep without putting oil all over my belly.
Aim for skincare that contains collagen and vitamin C – this miracle vitamin stimulates your body to produce more collagen. Use pure Aloe Vera in the form of a drinking gel or a body moisturizing gel. This amazing plant has a cell-growth stimulating property that can help boost collagen production in your skin (that is why it is widely used for treating cuts and wounds).
Give your body TIME to recover
Timing is everything.
And yes, it can take up to 1 year postpartum to actually see any major changes.
BE PATIENT. A healthy and active lifestyle will help you to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight eventually.
However, sometimes, it is good to step back a bit to try to embrace your postpartum body and the fact that women’s bodies change after having a baby.
Do you struggle with weight loss after having a baby? I would love to hear about it and see if I can help! Let me know in the comments below 🙂