It was 29th March 2018 and one full night had passed since I went into labour. The sun shone in through the hospital windows but I had lost all track of day and night except being aware of the fact that each passing hour was going to get more and more excruciating. At last, at 8:38 am, my 9 month long wait finally came to an end and a little baby boy was handed over into my arms to complete my precious little family.
This beautiful moment is usually followed by lots of challenges for the new mother. After the struggle of coping up with sleepless nights, next comes the ordeal to lose that baby fat you’ve been carrying along all these months. Most mothers find it the most difficult part of having a child and many deter from conceiving again for this very reason. Of course, each person is different and every body responds differently. But there are still a few things I felt like putting out on the table to help the new mothers cope up with this stress in a much better way.
If you are able to follow the simple rules below, this will never become an issue for you in your beautiful journey of becoming a mother. Here’s a picture of me 19 days after giving birth at the birth announcement party of my son.
The journey of losing weight starts not post delivery but from months before you conceive.
With all the medical aid and information available, we are all capable of planning our pregnancies in advance. Once you do decide to conceive, it’s a good time to start monitoring your diet and exercise regimen from the very beginning. Healthy eating and giving up on binging should be a part of your lifestyle. Start appreciating good and wholesome food and learn to avoid unnecessary calories that will make you repent later. A healthy lifestyle will go a long way in helping your body cope up with the stress of having a baby and help you lose weight speedily post delivery too!
I personally made lot of dietary changes such as introducing foods like quinoa and tofu into my diet, eating daily helpings of nuts, fruits, seeds religiously and drinking lots of water.
There is no such thing as pregnancy cravings!
In my two pregnancies, not once have I had a craving! Of course sometimes you feel like eating something you like but so do non pregnant people. Pregnancy should never be an excuse to indulge. Instead this is the time when you should take maximum care of your body and your diet. I am not saying, don’t indulge at all and get depressed. But choose your indulgences wisely and occasionally. Think about the little baby growing inside you and what he needs for his wholesome development and growth.
I am sure gulab jamuns and puris are not going to do any good to him!
Exercise regularly. Remember, exercise and your health is more important than any social outing.
We all like to go out once in a while for coffee, luncheons, dinners etc. But these should not become reasons for missing exercise on regular basis. It’s ok to go to the said lunch half an hour late but don’t skip exercise as this is the most important appointment of the day for you. Instead, pre plan your day and learn to manage your routine better. Ask your spouse to help you and encourage you for the same. Husbands can play a major role in helping you stay fit! After all they are the only people you consciously listen to!
I personally did quite a bit of swimming and found it to be a great form of exercise to tone up my body post delivery. If I couldn’t swim, I would do some form of free style exercise to make up for it. Regular pre natal exercises and daily evening walk was like a ritual for me during pregnancy. Even on holidays I stuck with my routine.
Eat one plate of home cooked food before any outing.
There is no better time to start eating more of home cooked food than pregnancy. Eat up a plate of all the nutritional stuff at home itself before leaving. Such as some paneer, some green vegetable, a bowl of curd etc. This helps in three ways : One, since your tummy is already a bit full, you don’t tend to indulge too much in outside fatty food. Two, eating home food keeps you away from infections that is crucial at this time. Three, since you have already eaten up the nutrition rich food at home, you can happily indulge a little outside occasionally.
It’s all about how much YOU care about being fit!
I am personally very conscious about how my body looks. My husband of course is a big motivation and also it’s always nice to be appreciated by others for being able to maintain oneself. But also, over time I have become so used to eating healthy food that I have stopped enjoying unhealthy food anymore. I think thats great! So, I guess its all about developing good tastes.
Understand the difference between FAT and CALORIES.
We all know that on an average a breast feeding mother needs 500 extra calories (a total of 2000-2500 calories per day) to meet her body needs. However, it may differ from person to person due to factors such as your weight, how much exercise you get, how your metabolism works, and how frequently you’re breastfeeding.
Now here’s what Cleveland Clinic, UK has to say, “A calorie is a measurement, just like a teaspoon or an inch. Calories are the amount of energy released when your body breaks down (digests and absorbs) food. The more calories a food has, the more energy it can provide to your body. When you eat more calories than you need, your body stores the extra calories as body fat. Even a fat-free food can have a lot of calories. Excess calories in any form can be stored as body fat.”
There’s your answer as to what happens when you eat empty calories in the name of being a lactating mother. Why not consume these calories through nutrition rich food rather than sweets and fried food.
Choose to breastfeed!
Pregnancy books are full of facts on how beneficial breastfeeding can be for infants. But it is also a great way to lose pregnancy weight. I breast fed my elder daughter for one full year including 6 months of exclusive breast feeding. And am determined to do the same for my son too.
Finally, I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or have any diet related qualifications. I am just a person who appreciates good health and found the above simple tips useful in gaining healthy pregnancy weight and losing it easily too. I think we all sub consciously know what is good for us and what’s not. It’s just about having the will to make the right choices!