During pregnancy, the average weight gain for women typically falls between 25 to 35 pounds. Following childbirth and immediately after labor, a new mother might naturally shed around 10 to 15 pounds of that gained weight. However, this still leaves an additional 10 to 25 pounds on the new mom’s body, which can be a source of significant shock, disappointment, frustration, and despair. It’s common for women to discover that their pre-pregnancy clothes no longer fit.
Losing weight after pregnancy is not a futile endeavor, but it is not an easy one either. It demands patience, a realistic attitude, a positive outlook, and above all, persistence and dedication. Realistic expectations dictate that you should aim to lose no more than 1 or 2 pounds per week. For the additional 10 to 25 pounds, this journey can span anywhere from 2 months to 2 years.
Quick fixes for post-pregnancy weight loss are not sustainable or lasting solutions. Therefore, the best approach is to begin with realistic expectations regarding the timeframe for achieving your desired results and a commitment to see the process through, no matter how long it takes.
With the right mental attitude in place, let’s explore some recommendations for shedding postpartum weight:
- Delay the Start: Contrary to the “do it now” mentality, it’s essential to give your body time to adapt to the changes it has undergone during the nine months of pregnancy. You are not “returning” to your pre-pregnancy state; you are in a new phase of motherhood. Allow about three months after delivery before considering weight-loss diets or intensive exercise. Monitor your menstrual cycle; when it normalizes, your body is likely ready for a more structured approach to diet and exercise.
- Start Gradually: Your body is still in the process of healing after pregnancy. Diving headfirst into a strenuous exercise routine might shock your newly-adjusting system. Begin with light activities such as walking with your baby around the block or in the park. This gentle start will prepare your body for more intense exercise in the future.
- Create a Supportive Environment: Stock your kitchen with fresh, healthy foods, especially snacks, to ensure you have suitable options when cravings strike. Opt for several smaller meals throughout the day rather than a few large ones. Avoid starving yourself, as it won’t benefit you or your baby and can lead to binging later on.
- Be Patient with Yourself: The post-pregnancy period is already challenging in many ways. Don’t burden yourself with guilt, shame, or unrealistic expectations. Understand that your body has gone through significant changes and give yourself the time and grace to adjust.
- Celebrate Your Unique Journey: Remember that every woman’s body is different, and comparing your postpartum weight loss to that of others is not productive. Instead, focus on a gradual and steady path towards the lasting results you desire – a body that radiates more than ever before, during or prior to your pregnancy.