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Losing Weight Post Pregnancy

written by: SamarO • edited by: BStone • updated: 1/14/2009

Soon after delivering a baby, women want to return to their pre-pregnancy weight. Some can't wait to head to the gym, others feel guilty wanting to concentrate on themselves when their baby needs all the attention. Learn how to lose weight without going on a proper diet.

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    Weight Gain during Pregnancy

    The ideal weight gain during pregnancy is between 25 lbs to 35 lbs but can be higher or lower depending on the pre-pregnancy weight. After giving birth, a mother loses approximately half the weight she gained while she was pregnant. Many women find it hard to lose weight and not still look pregnant after delivering a baby.

    But losing weight after delivering a child is hard and tedious work involving changes that require patience. Doctors don't advise dieting till after a few weeks. So, instead of going on a diet, women return to their normal eating habits before they became pregnant, which includes cutting back on the overall amount of calories carbohydrates while pregnant. They return to feeding only themselves instead of themselves plus the baby.

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    Healthy Diet

    A well balanced diet is essential for both the mother and the baby after the delivery. Try to develop a healthy, varied diet which includes fresh fruits and vegetables, foods that contain protein, fibers and starch. Milk and other diary related products are important to maintain energy too. Eat snacks such as nuts, raisins, crackers etc. It is a good way to maintain energy throughout the day and keep the habit formed by cravings during pregnancy from adding to your weight.

    Fruits: Including fruits in your diet can lead to weight loss. Fruits are rich in vitamins, enzymes and minerals. Oranges and strawberries have Vitamin C in abundance, apples are laden with iron, bananas are potassium power houses – the list goes on. A breakfast comprising only of fruits is especially helpful as it gives the energy needed during the day and lessens the intake of calories and carbohydrates in your diet. When taken between meals as a snack it fills up the stomach enough so as to not eat as much during meals.

    Vegetables: The most common way to increase intake of vegetables in our diet is through salads. Not many people realize that they can eat salad as a meal even when they’re not dieting. Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, onions, carrots, cucumbers etc all have extremely beneficial qualities. Vegetables are filled with nutrients that a new mother needs to keep up with her nutritional requirement. Adding boiled chicken for more taste to a salad is also a great option.

    Dairy Products and Poultry: Milk and other dairy products are extremely important in a postpartum diet. However, choose the low fat option of dairy products such as skimmed milk, low fat yogurt or cheese etc. Fish is also a great source of protein. Including fish in your diet twice a week or so is great for health and make up for the lack of meat in your meals if you’ve curtailed their intake. Be sure the fish you choose are low in mecury, such as light tuna, salmon or haddock. Avoid fish high in mercury levels such as shark or swordfish.

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    Avoid Junk Food

    Of all the calorie accumulators, junk food leads the race. Avoid fries, burgers and deep-fried foods. Eat salads instead or home cooked meals. Sandwiches make an excellent alternative as long as you're careful of fatty condiments such as mayonnaise or peanutbutter. If junk foods turns out to be too much of a temptation, don’t bring them in the house.

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    Eat Smaller Portion

    Another way to lose weight without going on a diet can be to start eating smaller portions. Instead of skipping meals and costing your body important nutrients, eat less and have fruits as snacks between meals to fill you up. Lessening your food intake at meals reduces the intake of calories making it easier to lose weight.

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    Drink Water

    Soft drinks or sodas are high in calories and loaded with sugar; both of which play a big role in weight gain. Swap soft drinks in favor of water or even low-calorie flavored water. Not only will drinking water instead of soda cut hundreds of calories per day, it speeds up metabolism, washes out all the harmful toxins from the body and keeps the baby and the mum hydrated. Water intake is also important for the mother after giving birth.

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    Have Patience

    It took nine months for all the weight to be gained; it will take atleast half that time to go back to your pre-pregnancy weight. Every case is different, but it usually takes four to six weeks for a mother to start losing weight. The key is to be patient.

    Being healthy is more important than being slim. A crash diet will be harmful for both the mother and the baby. It can affect your health and in some cases, post partum depression can also occur, which will affect the quality of care that you provide for your child. Take things slowly and start by watching what you eat.

    Doing too much too soon can be exhausting for new mothers. Don’t overdo and risk losing steam after a while. Remember, it is not advisable to start a serious diet until two or three months after the birth or until your periods have regularized. Moderation is the smart way to go about losing weight as it gives the needed time to recover and get used to the myriad changes in your life and body.