On average, a woman gains between 25 and 35 pounds during her pregnancy. During and labor and immediately after delivery a new mother might shed 10 to 15 pounds of that. This leaves from 10 to 25 additional pounds of weight left on the new mom’s “new” body. It can be a source of great shock, disappointment, frustration, and despair to a woman to discover that after giving birth she can no longer fit into the clothes she wore prior to the pregnancy.
Losing weight after pregnancy is not a fool’s errand, but neither is it an easy errand; it requires patience, a realistic attitude, a positive outlook, and when it comes down to it – persistence and dedication. A realistic outlook by any means is to expect to lose no more than 1 or 2 pounds per week. For an extra 10 to 25 pounds, then, that can take anywhere from 2 months to 2 years.
There’s no quick fix to losing weight after pregnancy – not a sustainable and lasting one, at least. So the best way to succeed is to start out with realistic expectations for the time frame in which to achieve your results and with the commitment to seeing the process through, however long it may take.
Now that you have the right mental attitude, let’s go over a few suggestions for ways to get rid of that unwanted weight postpartum:
Don’t start right away: Contrary to the “do it now” mentality you’re normally advised to live by, when you’ve just given birth, your body needs time to adjust to the changes it’s undergone over the preceding 9 months. Remember, you are not “returning” to the state you were in before your pregnancy; you’re in a new state you’ve never been in before. You are in the body of a new mother, and this body needs time to get used to this new way of being. Avoid weight-loss dieting of any sort for a good three months after delivering.
Don’t worry about exercise so much as just being sure you remain active and moving around. You can use your menstrual cycle as an indicator of when your body is ready to take on a more intentional program of diet and exercise; when it normalizes, you’re ready to go. Start slow: Your body is still healing from the pregnancy, and diving headlong into a heavy-duty exercise regimen may be too much of a shock to your newly-adjusting system to do you any good at all. Walking around the block or the park with your baby is an excellent way to begin, and it primes your body exquisitely for taking on more extensive and intensive exercise at a later date.
Set yourself up for success: That means keep your kitchen stocked with fresh and healthy foods, particularly snacks, so when you feel the urge to eat something, you have only suitable options around. Several smaller meals throughout the day will serve your ends far better than just 2 or 3 large meals. And don’t try and starve yourself. You’ll do no good to your new baby that way, and you’ll invariably find yourself binging sometime later on to compensate.
Have patience with yourself. The period of time following pregnancy is already exhausting and exasperating enough, on so many levels. Don’t burden yourself further with guilt, shame, and unrealistic expectations.
Shedding excess weight after pregnancy is not an easy task, but it can be done. Every body is different. Rather than comparing your rate of postpartum weight loss to that of any other new mother, focus on sticking to the slow and steady path to the long-lasting results you crave: a body that glows more than it ever did during or before you got pregnant.