Weight is one of the most vital factors, irrespective of the point of life you are now in. An overweight or obese woman is bound to have an array of physical and psychological issues, right from a disturbed menstrual cycle to PCOS and infertility conditions to bouts of anger and jealousy. The most effective way to overcome these issues is to lose that excess flab. By losing flab, we don’t mean meeting the height to weight figures on your weighing scale. Along with losing weight, you need to tone up and become fit. And, that is precisely what we shall pen down here for you – how to lose weight before and after pregnancy.
The journey is a tough one with countless hurdles and temptations blocking your path to success. The key is to hold on to your goals very strongly. Read on to know what exactly you should do to get into good health.
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Loss Tips
Pregnancy is a very delicate period in life where you prepare yourself mentally and physically for a complete makeover in your life. It is very important to keep in mind that this preparation is not a spontaneous one. If you are planning to start a family, you need to ensure that both your body and mind are ready for that. And, if you are overweight or obese, or had a history of weight, there is a deeper level of preparation that should go into the process.
Here are a few handy tips that you could always rely on when it comes to losing weight before becoming pregnant.
1. Identify The Target Weight
Knowing your target weight will enable you to plan how much time it would actually take you to lose weight. While a maximum of five kg weight loss is allowed per month, the ideal would be three kg per month. You can use various ways to identify your ideal weight, which could vary with various factors. On a rough estimate, a 31-year-old woman with a height of 5’6” and a broad body frame can weigh up to 70 kg. Check with your doctor for best results.
2. Go Off Your Diet Plan
If you are on a diet to lose weight, then please stop dieting. Switch to a diet plan that is balanced and provides you with nutrients, sufficient to keep up your fertility levels. Studies suggest that women on diet have a tendency to put on more weight during their pregnancy.
3. Cut Down On The Calorie Intake And Eat Healthy
If you are planning to lose weight, cut down on the net calorie intake. However, make sure that the net calorie intake doesn’t fall below 1,500 calories per day. Studies suggest that a calorie intake less than 1,200 calories is known to have a negative impact on the pregnancy. Do not go completely off the carbohydrates or omit fats as such. Everything in the right proportion is essential to ensure that your pregnancy is a smooth one.
4. Start Exercising
Exercise is a must. You cannot lose weight without exercising. If you are not an exercise freak, then walking could be a good idea. Just plug in your earphones, turn on your favorite music, and start walking. Try burning 500 calories with the exercise and eliminate another 500 calories with your healthy diet. Make sure that you restrict your exercising limit to a maximum of 45 minutes.
5. Take Supplements
Check with your doctor for any deficiencies and follow the supplements advised, if any, to rule out the chances of any complications. You can even try some weight loss supplements, such as green tea to pep up your journey.
6. Do Yoga
You might be wondering what yoga has to do here when you are already exercising. Yoga is not just about some physical exercise. It is one of the best ways to nourish your body in a wholesome way. Along with helping you shed the fat and tone up your body, it will keep stress levels at bay. It can also help in easing the infertility issues. It will prepare you for that sweet journey of motherhood.
7. Stop Drinking Alcohol And Smoking
Let those bottles of whiskey and other alcoholic drinks go down the drain. Throw away the cigarette packets. Both these are dangerous for you and your baby. Plus, they slow down your weight loss process.
Make sure you consult your doctor and nutritionist before taking any steps related to weight loss.
Post Pregnancy Weight Loss Tips
Your bundle of joy has arrived, and you will be shocked to notice that your expectations and reality are poles apart. Though you have your entire family and friends to support and care for you, the journey is an arduous one. Your weight now comes to add to your woes. This happens with all the women who just delivered. Losing the weight you gained during pregnancy should be done with complete patience and utmost care.
Most mothers start out at a weight gain of about 25 to 40 pounds during a healthy pregnancy. Hence, it should not be difficult to go back to the pre-pregnancy weight with healthy meals and exercise. For those who were overweight before the pregnancy and gained more weight than was advised, the weight loss is a gradual and slow process.
Here is how to lose post pregnancy weight in a healthy way.
1. Devise SMART Goals
Plan your goals in such a way that they are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Remember, the journey has to be progressed slowly. You gained weight over 37 to 40 weeks, and you need at least 40 weeks, if not more, to shed the same. Talk to your doctor and nutritionist, and identify a good diet plan that will be in sync with your goals. Also, come up with an exercise plan that is not too harsh, but strong enough to ensure that you keep losing weight.
2. Eat Healthy
Starving is a strict no-no when it comes to weight loss, especially since you are breastfeeding. Eat nutritious foods, such as fruits, veggies, grains and nuts, and proteins. Disallow processed and refined foods in all forms. Include apples, bananas, whole wheat, ragi, oats, almonds, bell peppers, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, dals and lentils, etc., in your diet. You can even include dates in your diet as in-between snacks to stay full and keep constipation away. Drink three glasses of milk every day to meet the calcium requirements. You can remove the cream from the milk and use it. Restrict coffee and tea, as their excessive intake is known to cause acidity problems.
3. Eat Super Foods
When nursing, the mother’s body needs the most nutrition, and so the food must be chosen carefully. Super foods are those that are packed with nutrients and are good for the body. Fish is full of DHA, which is good for the baby. Dairy products like milk and yogurt are rich in calcium and good for the body.
Dieting, or going on a specific diet with strict restrictions would delay the weight loss process. A diet that deprives you of food adds to the post-pregnancy stress and could, in turn, cause post-pregnancy weight gain. Also, it is sure to harm the baby, as milk production will get affected. Instead, it is better to eat a well-balanced diet that provides adequate nutrition and health. Carrot sticks and crackers are excellent for snacking. The calorie count should not go below 1800 a day.
5. Drink Plenty Of Water
Water is an amiable friend when it comes to weight loss. This colorless, tasteless liquid is essential to flush out your toxins. It also keeps you away from urinary infections, a common condition prevailing during the post-delivery period. Drinking water keeps you full and prevents you from snacking too often. It also prevents dehydration and boosts the metabolism.
Drink at least 2.5 liters of water, preferably lukewarm. You can even add one tbsp of honey to each liter of water you consume to boost up your weight loss and to flaunt a flawless, radiant skin.
6. Start Exercising At The Right Time
It is quite impossible to start exercising as soon as you deliver the baby. Your body needs rest, and it takes at least six weeks for you to adjust to the new routine. So wait till you complete six weeks, go for your first postnatal checkup and consult your doctor to know if your body is ready for exercising. If you get a positive nod, then kick off your exercise routine. The ideal one would be a 20-minute brisk walk with gentle yoga stretches to strengthen your lower back, pelvic muscles, and uterine muscles.
Walking, running and jogging, or any form of cardio is recommended for exercise post pregnancy. Aerobic exercises are also important. Exercising not only helps with weight loss but also helps with de-stressing as it releases endorphins in the brain. There are many classes which offer sessions for new mothers to help lose weight. Swimming is one of the popular methods of weight loss chosen by new mothers as it gives the body a complete workout and helps tone the muscles.
7. Breastfeed Your Baby
Breastfeeding contributes to the body’s metabolism and helps the mother go back to her pre-pregnancy weight faster. Studies have proven that women who nurse their baby are bound to burn 800 calories more than a non-lactating mother. Besides, breastfeeding boosts the baby’s immunity and helps you burn calories at the same time.
8. Sleep Well
Sleeping is essential for you to lose weight. Lack of sleep causes stress that leads to binge eating and weight gain, so proper eight hours of sleep is important for the body. When the body is tired, it secretes cortisol which contributes to weight gain.
With an uncertain routine in front of you, it is really difficult to catch up with a good night’s sleep.You can compensate for this by taking few naps during the day when your baby sleeps. Remember, a dip in the metabolism levels could actually waste all your efforts.