So you just had a baby...Congrats!!! It is something that will forever change your life and will be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. BUT, you don't want to carry that baby weight with you forever??? Why not??? I know, I'm being sarcastic, but so truthful. I've had two babies, I feel your pain. And even being a dietitian, what a struggle it was for me. And still is, I continue to watch what I eat everyday to try and "battle the bulge". I have a few little tips to help you get started and to not give up!!!
1. DO NOT SKIP MEALS
It’s a good idea to try to eat consistently so that you can keep enough energy to take care of that new baby you’ve been waiting 9 long months for! I like to recommend to tailor it to how you normally eat. Some people do better with 5 or 6 small meals a day. Some people tend to eat three meals a day, and maybe a small snack in between meals. As a new mother, I was lucky to get one good meal! Whatever works for you and fits into your schedule, just eat consistently and DO NOT SKIP MEALS. You won’t realize it until it is too late, but you will have less energy, and feeling pretty drained most of the time.
2. DO NOT GO ON A CRASH/FAD DIET
This sound familiar? Don’t eat anything white. Don’t eat any sugar. Just eat soup for all of your meals. Eat this three day diet that has barely any food or calories and you’ll lose 5-10 pounds in a week. These are all fad diets or crash diets. These diets will most probably help you lose a few pounds at first, but it will be mostly fluid and will come right back on. And then you will step back and tell yourself, “Self, I AM STARVING!!” Refer back to #2 and eat a healthy, logical diet.
3. DO EAT A HEALTHY DIET
Eat a healthy diet. How many times have you heard that? Well, it is said over and over again, because it is true. If you want to lose weight in a safe way and to keep it off, you need to start by looking at what you put in your mouth. It’s about what you actually eat and portion size.
Limit sweets, sugar, and high fat foods.
Choose foods that are baked or broiled.
Choose low fat or non-fat dairy products.
Choose high fiber and whole grain breads, cereals and pasta.
Eat lots of fruits and veggies.
Drink LOTS of water.
It sounds pretty simple, but it may require a little planning on your part, just to make sure that you have the foods you need. And, if every now and then, you fall off of the bandwagon, it’s ok….hop right back on.
4. DO BREASTFEED
Yes, breastfeeding burns calories. But, it’s tricky, because the whole purpose of breastfeeding is to give your baby the best nutrition possible. So, if you are not eating enough, you will produce less milk, and therefore less for the baby and less calorie dense. If you are eating high fat foods and sugary foods, then that is what you are feeding your baby. It’s a fine balance, but it is so rewarding. Also with breastfeeding, you need to drink lots of water. So, I guess I can’t say enough – DRINK LOTS OF WATER.
5. DO EXERCISE
The best way to lose weight is to eat a healthy diet and exercise. Your body has just been through a major event and needs a little rest at first. So, don’t rush into it and either hurt yourself, or wear yourself out. I think it’s best to not start an exercise program until your 6 week check up and you are cleared by your doctor to resume normal activities. When you do start, make sure you start slowly and do not do too much at one time. With that being said, I think it’s a grand idea to take the baby for a stroll and enjoy being outside and you are still moving a little, without stressing your body.
6. DO BE REALISTIC
Really can’t stress this enough. You have just put your body through a 9-month Olympic event and it may not go back EXACTLY the way it was. So your goals may change as you go along. I found this out quickly….after I had my first child, I literally got home and went straight to the scale. I thought, I just had a 7lb 7oz baby, I should have AT LEAST lost 15 pounds!!! Well, let’s just say tears were shed when I stepped off of that scale….things got realistic really quickly for me! J Moral of the story, don’t set your expectations too high at the beginning. Be realistic and you can always change your goals as you see results. Most of all, ENJOY YOUR BABY, because they grow up fast!