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The Secrets to Weight Loss After Pregnancy

Sarah is a pregnant mother of three who continues to breast-feed her 18-month-old.  After each of her pregnancies,  she has had difficulty losing weight.  With all of her responsibilities, weight loss isn’t a priority.  Still, she wishes that, once this pregnancy is over, she will be able to return to her pre-marriage weight.

The average woman gains more than 25 pounds during her pregnancy.  The procedure of childbirth may result in a weight loss of up to 14 pounds, which means that new moms still have considerable weight to lose once they leave the hospital.   However, some women simply assume that this “baby fat” will never go away.  Yet, it is entirely possible to lose weight during the post-partum period.

A number of medical experts recommend easing into a weight loss program after the birth of your baby.  This means that you will not start dieting until about three months following birth.  You should combine a low-fat diet with moderate exercise in order to achieve weight loss.

Don’t expect instant results.  It will take you a good nine months to get back to your weight prior to pregnancy.  A go-slow approach is best because you need to give your body time to recover after childbirth.  Certainly, you might be able to lose weight faster, but you might be sacrificing valuable nutrients as a result.

Interestingly enough, breastfeeding actually enhances weight loss.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has found that breastfeeding leads to the release of hormones which enable your uterus to return to its normal size.  However, breastfeeding alone won’t bring down your weight.  You need to combine it with a sensible diet and a moderate exercise program.  Keep in mind that you need to have at least 1800 calories a day while breastfeeding in order to keep yourself and your baby healthy.  Still, stay clear of junk food during this period.  You should rely on food with high nutritional value to maintain the proper level of calories each day.

There are many good reasons to exercise during the post-partum period.  In addition to helping to accelerate weight reduction, exercise can help alleviate post-partum depression, improve your mood, and boost your confidence.   Exercise can also “clear your head” so that you’re better able to meet the demands of motherhood.  You might consider joining a “Mommy and Me” exercise class so that your baby can exercise right along with you.  Another helpful hint is to enlist the help of a friend or relative to act as your exercise buddy so that you’ll have some emotional support while exercising.  An added bonus of exercise is that it should boost your energy level, which is quite important when battling the fatigue which comes from caring for a newborn.

Your diet should generally be low-fat but not fat-free; vitamin rich; and high-fiber.   Under no circumstances should you go on a fad diet.  Such a diet could be quite harmful to your health and could actually slow your recovery from childbirth.  It’s a good idea to set weight-loss goals, but don’t go overboard.  Recognize that there’s a limit to the amount of weight you can lose during a given period of time.

You may see a number of actress-moms gracing the covers of magazines shortly after the birth of their children.  They appear svelte and elegant, totally devoid of baby fat.  In the accompanying article, they may even talk about exercising right after childbirth.  Such articles send new mothers a dangerous message:  that you must do all you can to become thin as quickly as possible after your baby is born.  Such a philosophy is not only ridiculous, it’s also unhealthy.  As a result, you’ll need to “tune out” such messages from the media and stay the course with your own gradual weight loss plan.

The time right after the birth of a child can be quite challenging, taxing both your physical and emotional strength.  While it is certainly a good idea to eat healthy, you’ll need to pace yourself as far as weight loss is concerned.  Over time, you should be able to lose the weight you gained during your pregnancy.   In fact, you might find that you’re actually healthier after your baby is born.

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