Weight loss after pregnancy is a hurdle that most new mothers face
I gained alot of weight with my first pregnancy. For some reason, during that 9 months, I constantly craved submarine sandwiches, and not the low fat kind. Every day I had to have at least one 12 inch sub.
I gained over 60 pounds before giving birth and considering that my baby weighed just over 6 pounds I had a huge amount of weight to lose. The average weight gain during pregnancy is about 35 pounds including baby. About half of my weight gain was water that accumulated because of toxemia, and was lost very quickly, but that still left another 30 pounds that looked terrible on my small frame.
After giving birth most women's bodies make considerable adjustments. Broad hormonal changes are common and mood swings are not unusual. It takes a few months for your period to return to its normal cycle and for hormones to settle down. But one thing that many women will focus on (sometimes too much) is losing that weight and body fat gained during pregnancy.
In order to do that safely and in a way that produces beneficial long-term results, take it slow and steady. Weight reduction and regaining muscle tone after birth takes time.
Breast feeding is not only beneficial to your baby but the production of breast milk in the mother is a great way to use up some of the body fat that may have accumulated during pregnancy and can lead to natural weight loss after pregnancy. As a matter of fact, your pregnancy fat built up as a resouce for the natural process of breast feeding.
Hype in the media about rapid weight loss after pregnancy is common. Articles are written on celebrity moms that show them making miraculous changes after birth to regain those million dollar figures.
But such people usually have better than average metabolic systems in the first place. That's part of what gives them an edge in that profession.
They also have very expensive consultants, trainers and money to burn on equipment. The average women could forego a lot of needless guilt by not trying to emulate the results of celebrities. Instead, focus on what's normal and average for most new moms.
It generally takes up to 6 months for a woman's body to return to 'normal' after giving birth. Normal, here, just means the average metabolic rate and hormonal amounts that were experienced before conception. In some areas, and to some degree, those norms may never return. Motherhood often produces some permanent changes.
Calorie reduction should not be an overriding concern during a period of breast feeding. Apart from the still-required (though somewhat less) additional amount of energy, the added stress of worrying about weight is not something new mothers need. Night feeding and continual round-the-clock care for a year or more is difficult enough without unnecessary, self-imposed psychological burdens.
For the first few months, the focus should be very much on eating a healthy diet. A 2000 calorie diet that includes 50% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, 10% fat with adequate fiber is a good common sense starting point.
Notice the numbers don't add up to 100%. Every diet should leave some leeway for enjoyment, increase or decrease of the other factors, etc. Going to extremes is the most common mistake most make when considering nutrition.
Next to exercising, a healthy diet is the best route to weight loss after pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about what foods are important for the continuing health of you and your baby. Focus on nutrition, not on weight-loss diets! If you're breastfeeding, your baby's nutritional needs outweigh your need for a slim body and you may find that the act of breastfeeding will contribute greatly to weight loss after pregnancy.
Moderate exercise is good, but here again the keyword is 'moderate'. New mothers are busy enough without having to worry about whether they are getting that 5-mile run in every morning. The focus should be on gradually increasing stamina, tone and overall fitness. The goals should be mood-elevation and general health, not looking like a movie star.
After a few months, the program can be stepped up to desired levels in a graded way. The average gain during pregnancy is between 25-35 lbs and during birth about 12-14 of this is lost immediately. The other 12-21 pounds can be shed over 6-8 months without risk. Walking can be a great way to get some exercise and to get yourself out of the house. I recommend getting a jogging-style stroller for the comfort of your baby and ease of use. They are very manouverable, whether you are actually jogging or just walking and the exercise will help with weight loss after pregnancy without overdoing it.
I found a weightloss program designed specifically for women after pregancy. While I'm not fussy about the name of the program, after examining the contents of her program, I think it gives good specific quidelines for sensibly losing your "baby" fat. Certified personal trainer Holly Rigsby, a mother herself, has produced a series of DVD's that will allow busy moms to work out at home. Right now she is offering 3 free DVDs and a free one month membership to her online fitness community. You can check it out here...Fit Yummy Mummy
Incidently, it took me about 8 months to regain my pre-pregnancy body. This was the time I joined the YMCA and learned to love being fit.
Take it slow and steady and be patient, it usually takes up to a year to get back your pre-pregnancy weight.