What You Need to Know Before Losing Weight After Pregnancy

losing weight after pregnancyIt’s been a tough 9 months, but you made it. And, look what you got? Pause while reading now for a deep breath and huge smile.

I’m hoping you had a healthy pregnancy, and are now ready to focus on your post-natal health – not on simply losing weight after the 9 month belly stretch.

Chances are you’re somewhere in between the heaven of snuggling your little one, soaking up every ounce of that new baby smell (I just loooove that!), cherishing the little squeaks that come out of that little bundle of perfection, and the hell of not having slept more than 3 hours in a row in weeks, being covered in dried spit up like it’s a fashion statement, and wearing the same pair of sweatpants for the 4th day in a row.

Welcome to da mom’s club.

If you’re already putting pressure on yourself to drop the baby weight, I want you to take a breath. We’ve all been there. You’re skipping a super important step that I’m gonna make you take, so buckle up. I want you to focus on making sure you’re eating the right things, rather than focusing on what you need to stop eating, to lose.

Good nutrition is critical in the post-natal period to help you recover and keep up with the demands of motherhood. You need strength to carry that baby with you all day and lift him in and out of that carseat. You need stamina to stay up half the night and fold all that laundry each day. You need your wits to think when her last feeding was and where the new box of diapers you bought is hiding. You also need to replenish your body with nutrients after a long 9 months of giving to your baby.

Now is the time to provide the best nutrition for you and your mini you, not a diet plan that you either you, society, or your loved ones are pressuring you to get on. You’ll get there. But this first please.

Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you need to be aware of what you’re putting into your body.

If you’re breastfeeding, eating well is a prerequisite for maintaining adequate milk supply. Most mothers require roughly 500 extra calories per day during lactation to keep up with the demands of breastfeeding. Remember, the baby will take nutrients from your body, so be sure to eat well so you can support you and your baby.

Hard core “dieting” during lactation is never appropriate because you need to recover and your baby needs proper nutrition. While breastfeeding, you will still lose weight if you eat a balanced, healthy diet adequate in calories and nutrients.

Get These Nutrients In Before Losing Weight After Pregnancy:

Calcium:  Your calcium stores were likely depleted during pregnancy to help your baby grow and develop. You need to replenish them for your health now. Make sure to eat plenty of calcium rich such as kefir, yogurt, broccoli rabe, collards, sardines, sesame seeds and almonds to replenish your stores.

Omega 3s:  Omega 3s are critical for your baby’s brain and eye development.  If you’re breastfeeding, try to incorporate foods high in omega 3s, such as salmon, sardines, walnuts, chia and flaxseed. Studies have shown that Omega 3s also play a role in weight loss.

Antioxidants: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to get the necessary antioxidants to help keep your body as healthy as possible. Pregnancy is an oxidative state, meaning we create more free radicals during this time than at other times. So, we need more antioxidants to combat those “bad guy” free radicals. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals, preventing cellular damage involved in aging, cancer, and a variety of other diseases. Fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds and legumes contain antioxidants. On the top of my list of favorites are blueberries, apples, spinach, broccoli, artichoke, pecans, and lentils.

B-Vitamins:  Eat plenty of whole grains and dark greens to ensure your body gets the B-vitamins it needs to maintain proper metabolic pathways. B vitamins play an important role in carbohydrate metabolism, red blood cell formation, and work to promote healthy nerves. They’ve also been linked to easing stress and reducing anxiety.

Protein: Lean protein found in foods such as organic grass fed beef, poultry, fish and eggs are important to your post natal eating plan because it keeps you satisfied (and not reaching for the homemade cookies your neighbor dropped off) and is also critical for repairing your body from the wear and tear of the previous 9 months. You’ll also find iron in these high protein foods which is important for preventing fatigue and replacing the iron that may have been lost in blood during birth.

Fluids: Make sure to drink a lot of fluid (water especially).  If you’re breastfeeding, you may be depleting your fluids through the milk you are producing. Try a splash of fresh lemon or cucumber for added flavor.

Avoid alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and medications (speak to your MD):  Most everything you eat or drink goes directly to your baby through breast milk. Don’t eat or drink anything you wouldn’t want your baby to have. Let this be motivation to you to read labels carefully and ditch all processed foods loaded with chemicals.

Exercise:  If you’re feeling good and your doctor has given you permission to exercise, moderate to intense activity is highly recommended for the bod – and the mind!  This will help with your energy as well. Don’t feel as though you have to join a gym, either. You can get a great workout in the park while pushing the babe.

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