So you’ve had your baby- congratulations! You may have questions about how your body has changed. Nearly everyone retains some of the weight gained with pregnancy, so you are not alone if that’s why you’re here. There are many good reasons to pay close attention to weight gained during pregnancy and take steps to address it. And, now that a large part of your brain and your time is devoted to caring for your baby, you don’t have time or energy to waste on misinformation! So, I would like to take a moment to address some common post-pregnancy weight loss mistakes so that you can make sure that getting back to your healthiest weight is a smooth path.
Mistake #1: Thinking that the weight will come off with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding does help a little bit with weight loss, and there are many good reasons to breastfeed your baby. But, studies show that breastfeeding only completely reverses pregnancy weight gain for women who gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy (25-35 lbs if you start pregnancy at a healthy weight), and for women who started their pregnancy at a healthy weight. For women who struggled with a higher weight before pregnancy, and for those who gained more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy, breastfeeding alone is not usually enough to ensure all the weight gained comes off. So, for many women, some additional effort to intentionally reduce weight may be required.
Mistake #2: Waiting for the weight loss to come. As you heal and recover after birth, your body will return and you will start to feel more like yourself. For this reason, you might assume that eventually your weight will also come back to what it was pre-pregnancy just with the passing of time. However, the study of weight trajectories after pregnancy reveals that the majority of weight loss will occur within the first three to six months after birth, and weight stabilizes after nine months to a year. So, if you are not able to fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes around the time of your little one’s first birthday party, it may be time to consider some intentional effort to get your weight back to your healthiest weight.
Mistake #3: Jumping into weight loss just after birth. Society often praises a quick return to a fit body after pregnancy, and we often hear stories straight from Bollywood about bouncing right back. You may be tempted to jump into a strict diet as soon as you are home from the hospital. But, pregnancy and birth is hard on the body and breastfeeding requires a balanced, healthy diet. During birth and after you may lose a lot of blood, for example, and recovering your red blood cell count requires food rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, folate, and B12. You also need to breastfeed your baby, and the nutrition of your breastmilk completely depends on your diet! Therefore, it is important to eat a balanced and healthy diet that is not restrictive in foods or quantity just after pregnancy. Just as you have newfound patience in your motherhood with your infant, have that patience for yourself as well. Dieting to lose weight can wait until you have fully recovered and until you start feeding your baby solid foods so they have other sources of nutrition besides your milk.
So, when you’re ready, it may take a bit of intentional effort to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. Increasing activity and following a calorie-reduced diet plan is the most tried and true approach to start with. Find an activity that you enjoy and carve out time for it, and find a trusted and healthy diet plan to get started. Also, check out all our free resources at Dhurandhar.com for helpful tips.