As soon as I gave birth, all that was on my mind was postpartum weight loss. When I first got pregnant, I researched probably about everything a woman goes through and after pregnancy.
I am this type of person who will google even a slight change on my body. And I think it kind of helped in knowing everything that happened to me and most times I wasn’t caught off guard by the things that happened to me.
Then I thought one like me maybe in need of such an article and I wrote on probably everything I had searched on.
Postpartum weight loss involves a good diet plan, workout exercises and a strategic plan to execute weight loss after birth.
In this article, I researched why pregnant women gain weight, foods to eat for postpartum weight loss, exercises and equipment needed to work out to lose weight after childbirth.
I made this article much helpful and I linked to more detailed posts I wrote specifically on postpartum weight loss.
What causes weight gain during pregnancy.
It’s healthy and proper for pregnant women to gain weight. Of course, you have a baby in your womb that grows every day and so gaining weight is normal. But what is the healthy weight a pregnant woman should gain? How can she lose that weight after childbirth?
How much is the normal weight?
Pregnancy increases appetite in almost every woman. And it’s so normal and obvious because you are eating for two people. Most women never think of their diet and they just follow their desires and appetite.
Some do regular exercises and others not at all. With all those different variations, there couldn’t be a maximum or minimum weight gain. And so how much weight gained will depend on your pre-pregnancy weight. That’s where body mass index comes in.
The body mass index
This is a method used to determine whether a person is overweight, underweight or with a normal weight. It’s used on mothers when they are starting their antenatal.
It’s measuring the relationship between height and weight. A BMI under 18.5 is considered underweight, one between 18.5 and 25 is normal weight, that between 25 and 30 is referred to as overweight.
For someone who has a BMI above 30, she is considered obese.
Is putting on too much weight or too little weight harmful?
Mothers who put on too much weight have a high risk of complications during delivery.
They are more likely to produce overweight babies above 4kg and they might need a cesarean section. The extra weight may also be hard to shed off after delivery.
On the other hand, women who don’t put on enough weight during pregnancy the process may cause harm to the baby.
Babies might be born too early or very underweight.
How can underweight pregnant mothers gain weight?
If an underweight mom gets pregnant and finds it hard to put on weight, then she can seek advice from the doctor to see the cause and find solutions.
It is also not healthy having dropped weight since your last visit to the doctor since the weight of pregnant women should be increasing.
She is advised to have a balanced diet and drop her weight loss plan if she has been on one. By increasing her food intake especially protein-rich foods like meat, pork then her weight will likely increase if its been nutrient deficiency that has been causing the underweight.
Find out more about Weight gain during pregnancy
How to lose weight after giving birth
Losing weight after giving birth is a series of events. You have to check the diet, workouts and habits. It’s a commitment you must take for a faster weight loss. It worked for me, here is my guide to losing weight faster.
Have a healthy and balanced diet
However much you may want to lose weight after childbirth, never choose an option of starving yourself or skipping important meals. This might even kill you.
Think about it, your body has lost blood and energy and so by denning it fuel you make matters worse. And also when you don’t have a designated diet plan, you may end up adding on weight instead of reducing to shape.
Foods with high fiber content will work out here to give your body the required nutrients yet make you satisfied over a long period to avoid overeating. Fruits and vegetables should also be added to your diet plan.
Read a detailed article about Food after delivery that will make you lose weight.
Set an achievable and realistic weight loss goal.
We all want to lose weight fast but don’t set goals that might cause harm to you or your baby. Don’t believe an article that tells you how to lose 5kg in 5 days.
Liar and that’s a workout or diet plan that might cause serious injury to you. The best weight loss progress is losing 1.5 pounds each week. This is healthy and won’t cause harm to either you or the baby.
Read this article if you are struggling about How to set realistic and achievable weight loss goals.
Drink often or follow this simple rule I was told after childbirth ”’drink as your baby feeds”. Whether its breast or bottle feeding, have a glass of water nearby as you also hydrate. Make it a habit.
As it is in any weight loss plan, drinking water is very much advised. It will make you feel satisfied to avoid unnecessary snacking because our bodies sometimes misinterpret thirst for hunger which might make you overeat.
Stay away from sugary drinks, sodas, and highly processed drinks as they carry lots of calories. Water being calorie-free will deliver its purpose of quenching thirst and aid in weight loss.
Do you know that drinking water helps you lose weight? Here is an article about Interesting facts about drinking water for weight loss.
Know when to start workouts.
The healing time after childbirth is estimated to be from six to eight weeks. This is a period that your body will need to heal from the process of childbirth.
Check out by your doctor and ask if you are fit to start workouts. This will help you from getting injuries and also not to delay if you want to lose weight as soon as you are fit to exercise.
Start to work out
Either you doing home workouts or gym, do exercises that will help you burn fat. Get a workout guide a magazine, instructor, youtube videos or an article online that will help you. And caution on this, get workouts from a reliable source which will be effective yet safe.
Go easy on yourself
Listen to your body don’t rush to push yourself at the early stages of workouts. Start the workouts slow and increase gradually as you get stronger and a lot more fit.
Simple walking is guaranteed to burn calories and so don’t start with difficult sets and reps of workouts on day one. Stay safe.
It will turn out boring if you are a lone wolf. You might lose commitment and the desire to work out and so, get support from a friend, baby father or a group.
This will help you achieve more towards your goal. If you choose to join a moms’ group, you will share useful ideas on weight loss and child care which will make you achieve more. So don’t hesitate to join a nearby group or maybe ask from an experienced mom.
Keep track of your progress.
This will help you to know how much weight is lost and whether you are on track or still struggling. It will encourage you to work out more and to know where to change if no positive progress is met.
By keeping track of calories consumed, you can know your work out target depending on the calories you consume and need to burn.
Get a mobile app to help you in keeping records and to remind you to work out.
Never get discouraged
You may hear success stories and see celebrities lose weight in a few weeks after childbirth. But don’t let their stories disappoint you or make you feel you are lazy.
Models and celebrities have a more advantage like a good nutritionist, personal instructors and it’s their job and so they might be more committed to losing weight than you.
Sometimes, those photos you see are photoshopped or illusions. Just be you, don’t put yourself in shoes of so ”successful people” as it might make you feel a failure which you are not.
Don’t make a mistake of working out 7 days a week or spend a full day working out. No, it’s not beneficial to get a life outside workouts and live moments.
Don’t get so much tied onto losing weight, if it’s eating a bar of chocolate once in a while, do it just don’t make it a habit.
Try also to get enough sleep. Our bodies don’t come to a halt as we sleep but a lot of calorie-burning activities take place we sleep.
It’s estimated the body burns around 440 calories from a 7-hour sleep which is close to calories burnt from 50-minute jogging.
Therefore, getting good sleep will not only help you lose weight but also relieves the body of fatigue, stress, and body healing.
To get to know how to lose weight while sleeping, read this article The ultimate guide on how to lose weight by sleeping
Happiness will give you positive energy to work out and help you lose weight. Research shows that in some people, stress causes weight gain.
Try to stay away from negative vibes and have fun. Hang out with family and friends, go out and play with your baby it will help you burn calories for a faster weight loss after childbirth.
Best Equipment for after pregnancy home workouts
During workouts, work out gears and equipment are used. The gears are what you wear during workout and equipment the props you use to workout. Both of them are so important and it would be a boring workout if either of those are missing.
Best gears for workouts
Working out in sports gear will make you feel confident and boost your moods. The flexibility and comfort will make you work out more and appear cute as you do the sets and repetitions. Below are some of the essential workout gears.
This is a gear that will give you comfort whether you working out in a gym or at home. It goes an extra step to give you the grip and hold your breasts in one position as you work out. Wearing a sports bra will give you confidence and most of all the comfort and flexibility.
Working out in any random sweater pant you own may kill your mood or tear as try to stretch. Yoga pants provide comfort and flexibility and it should be among the things you shop for your home workouts. Also looking smart and feeling confident will boost your moods to workout more and effectively.
Sometimes, sports bra may not be applicable for any reason as you work out. This makes having an athletic shirt in your wardrobe of great advantage. Athletic shirts can absorb sweat, stretch along with your workouts without the worry of tearing.
These are the shoes that will give you comfort as you work out. Runners or athletic shoes will bend along with you as you work with good aeration to give fresh air to your feet as you exercise.
If you have ever tried your old pair of sneakers, you will know of the discomfort they bare as you do exercise. Ordinary sneakers might be slippery too which may cause falls and serious injuries.
These are made to give you firm grips and to protect your hands from injuries from some workouts which may bruise your palms.
They will keep your palms bruise-free and soft so as you don’t scratch your baby with bruised palms.
Trouble choosing the best work out gear? , I got your back with How to choose the best workout gear for women.
What equipment do I need for home work out?
This will give you the workouts, repetitions and sets you have to do. Whether it’s from a magazine, YouTube, DVD, online article or an app on the phone it’s a must-have for efficient workouts. And choose workouts from a reliable source for effectiveness and safety.
On this, you will lay, roll and do all yoga poses and stunts here. It’s must-have multipurpose equipment whether you doing the plank, sit-ups or yoga. It will give you comfort and convenience better than what an itchy carpet can do.
With plenty of exercises that need a yoga ball, it’s the equipment you can choose to own or leave. But if you so much into yoga then it’s an equipment that will make yoga simple and better.
Ab roller and knee pad.
One of my favorite tummy flattening equipment. You will need an ab roller if you want a flat tummy and to strengthen your core.
The ab roller is capable of stretching the core muscles making you sweat that fat out to get rid of that belly fat faster.
These will increase your strength and stamina.
If you are into skipping cardio type of workout, then you should own a skipping rope. And it’s one of the exercises you can easily involve someone just to give you company. Some skipping ropes come with weighted handles which make workouts a bit challenging for better results.
Read on how to choose the best equipment for workouts: Best equipment for a postpartum home workout plan
Postpartum weight loss Workouts
Below are some of the workouts you can do to get in shape. They are aimed at burning your body and belly fat, improve your stamina and posture.
It may not sound less of a workout but it’s very effective when it comes to getting women in shape, improving their stamina and strength yet it’s simple. It can be your first workout as you get stronger then move to other hard exercises.
How to do it :
- Start at a slow steady pace.
- Increase gradually over time with the distance and time taken.
- You can involve your baby too in a front carriage to add on extra load for more benefits
- As you get used, you can increase the speed and intensity.
This is a workout that targets the pelvic floor which involves squeezing and relaxing of pelvic and genital muscles. The muscles targeted to support the bladder, uterus and rectum.
This exercise is very important to women after childbirth as Kegel exercise improves bladder control and its related problems like urine incontinence.
Kegels also fight against pelvic organ prolapse by strengthening pelvic organ support.
The bottom line, doing Kegels will make you have control of your body system and save you from embarrassing situations.
How to do it:
- Lie on your back, it will be much easier in this position. Later you can do it in different variations like sitting, standing.
- Squeeze the pelvic muscles, release (rest) and then repeat.
- The long hold variation: Squeeze the pelvic muscles, hold for several seconds, release and then repeat.
- Contract and release variation: Tighten and relax the pelvic muscles quickly many times in a row.
- Hold for three, relax for three variations: this is when you contract the pelvic muscles for three seconds, relax for three seconds and then repeat the procedure.
- Increase the intensity gradually as your muscles get stronger.
It will strengthen your abdominal muscles, relieve back pain and correct your posture.
How to do it:
- Lie flat on your back with knees bent on an exercise mat.
- Flatten the back as you tighten the abdominal muscles
- Bend the pelvis lightly and hold for about 10 seconds.
- Do a set and repetition you can afford and increase as you get stronger.
This is a workout that will get rid of that tummy fat and back pain.
How to do it
- Start in a push up like position with your body straight but resting on your elbows
- Don’t lift your but just keep that position
- You will feel the tension in your belly.
- Take rests and increase seconds you hold gradually.
How to do it
- Start in a standing position with feet shoulder length apart and hands to the side.
- Squat down with your chest upright.
- Then immediately jump up and repeat the procedure.
- Do 3 sets of 10 jump squats.
- Increase repetitions as you get stronger.
Women too can do pushups. They will increase your heart beating rate and of course burn calories.
How to do it
- Startin a high plank position with your body flat line from head to toe and feet close to each other.
- Bend your elbows as you lower your chest to the floor then straighten your arms as you pullback in the starting position.
- Repeat, try to do 3 sets of 5 pushups and increase repetitions as you get stronger.
- Keep the body flat all the time as you perform the pushups.
It’s an exercise we used to do in kindergarten hope you also did, if so then it won’t be hard. I recall being nicknamed ”apart, together”.
How to do it.
- Start with feet shoulder-width apart and arms to the side.
- As you jump clap overhead and bring your feet together.
- Then go back to the starting position.
- Repeat the jumps doing a set of 3 with 10 repetitions.
- Increase gradually as you get stronger.
Jogging will burn plenty of calories and make you sweat those toxins out. But for the start, start slow and always be with somebody because you might need help.
How to do it.
- While jogging, keep your head straight, hands relax, arms at 90 degrees and don’t lift your knees too high. Lean forward as you jog and at a pace like of a running 6-year toddler.
- Increase in the speed and distance for a better challenge as you get stronger.
Here is an article about the fast result producing Amazing exercises for weight loss after childbirth.
Healthy foods to eat for postpartum weight loss
A healthy and balanced diet plan will get you on the course of weight loss. It’s a matter of choosing your foods wisely and leaving some foods which might spoil your weight goals. It’s a matter of commitment and sacrifice.
Like I am a great fan of fast foods but then I had to limit and have pizza only once in a month. These are some of the healthy postpartum foods for weight loss
These are rich in nutrients and are composed of fiber. The fiber will make you feel satisfied longer which will prevent you from overeating yet it delivers the required nutrients.
Whole grains have got nutrients like fiber, protein, B vitamins, zinc, copper, magnesium and iron.
Adding whole grains to your diet is associated with many health benefits like lowering the risk of heart disease, reducing the risk of obesity, supports proper digestion among others.
Examples of whole grains include millet, oatmeal, whole rye, brown rice, barley, wild rice, buckwheat and whole wheat.
Proteins are very vital for a balanced diet but they tend to have more calories than what you may need. However, lean proteins, offer the nutrients yet they have a low-calorie count.
Lean proteins are attributed to health benefits like the repair of body cells and tissues, muscle growth and regulating body processes.
Sources of lean proteins include plain Greek yogurt, beans, peas, white poultry meat, lean beef, pork loin, egg whites and white-fleshed fish.
They are very essential in a balanced diet. Here are some of the fruits you should include in your diet kiwi, apple, grapes, drupes, berries, bananas, avocado and passion fruits.
These are fruits that have a low amount of calories yet they are rich in nutrients and will aid in weight loss without giving you a nutrients deficiency.
With a lot of nutrients and benefits yet with a low-calorie count, leafy greens should not miss your postpartum diet. If you haven’t been eating your salad or greens its time you change it.
Leafy greens have nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber which help to lower the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and many others.
Leafy greens examples include kale, spinach, cabbage, watercress, microgreens, turnip greens, endive, swiss chard, romaine lettuce and arugula.
Whole grain porridge and water.
For mothers after birth, taking whole-grain porridge will make them satisfied longer yet they are very nutritious and of low calories.
They will make a good breakfast and can be taken every time you feel hungry when it’s not the time for lunch or supper.
Examples of whole-grain you can use to make porridge include freekeh, millet, brown rice flour, barley, rye, oats, amaranth, whole cornmeal and many other whole grains.
Water is calorie-free, it should be substituted for drinks like carbonated soda, highly processed juice, caffeine, and sugary drinks. Water will also help you to reduce the amount of food you eat as it will make you feel satisfied faster thus consuming fewer calories.
Read more on the Foods after delivery that will make you lose weight.
When should you start the postpartum weight loss diet?
Your body will need time to recover and so it’s not advisable to go on a weight loss diet straight after childbirth. By consulting your doctor, you will be notified of when to start the postpartum diet.
How can I make a safe postpartum weight loss diet plan
When making a postpartum diet, try as much as possible to include all major meals of the day and time for snacks. You can choose to do fruits and vegetables every time you feel hungry before a major meal. Follow these few steps while making a postpartum diet plan.
- Always have time for breakfast which is the most important meal of the day.
- Whole grain porridge will make a great breakfast and will deliver as required.
- Eat at least fruits and vegetables 5 times a day. They can be substituted for snacks.
- Eat a lot of fiber-rich foods such as oats, brown rice, beans.
- Avoid fast foods, cakes, sweets, chocolate, fizzy drinks, and sugary foods whenever possible.
- Include starchy fiber-rich foods in your diet. Examples are brown rice, pasta, bread, wheat which are carbohydrates and should take like a third of every meal.
To lose weight after childbirth, you should wait for 6-8 weeks which is recovery time. Even after this period, always inquire with a qualified doctor before you embark on workouts.
Remember to combine a good weight loss work and diet for better results. Avoid the case of starving yourself but rather, get a good diet plan that will help you lose weight.