Losing weight after pregnancy — why it's so hard and how you can do it

Losing weight after pregnancy — why it's so hard and how you can do it

Monday, August 10, 2020

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YOU can only use the 'I just had a baby' excuse for retaining the pudge for so long, but after that, you may have to admit that losing weight after pregnancy is hard, and will take some lifestyle changes.

Many new moms face this challenge — how to get the drive to get to the gym or into a fitness programme, when they're worrying about daycare and breastfeeding, late night feedings and doctors visits, and all the other demands that come with a baby.

And so mom's fitness is often the last item on her list, until pretty soon the baby is two, heading off to kindergarten, and mom is wondering why she still has that mummy tummy.

Why is it so hard to lose weight after having a baby?

Indeed, weight loss after pregnancy can prove more difficult for some women than others. The success, even for those with a strict fitness routine, will depend on body type and metabolism.

There are also some women who believe that exercise will alter the nutritional quality of the breast milk, or cause the supply of milk to dry up, but these are unfounded.

Standardised exercise is very important to the holistic recovery of women after they give birth, and if left unattended, that mummy tummy may become permanent. So what can you do?

Start early

Strict, rigid exercise sessions are not recommended initially, but once you get the all-clear from the doctor, try to work out for a few minutes each day. This can be as simple as walking around the community with the baby.

Eat right

Fitness and weight loss cannot be achieved if you are not willing to eat healthy and rest. It is useless doing one without the other. Sure you are breastfeeding and need the extra calories, but these should not come as empty calories and fatty foods. Eat healthy and in the correct proportions, and get adequate rest.

Eat on time

While motherhood comes with time constraints, you should not force your body to operate on one or two meals daily. This is a sure recipe for overeating. Rather, set a schedule as best as you can, to have your meals on time and in the right proportions.

There are a number of routines specifically designed for women after childbirth, even at home. These include:

Spot jogging

All this requires is that you jog on the spot for 30 seconds to one minute, which means that you can get this done while you do housework, or while the kids are doing their homework.

Body weight squats

Stand with legs shoulder-width apart, lower yourself as if sitting on a chair (keep knees behind toes), then return to start and squeeze the glutes. Do three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions. If you have a dumb bell you can add this to the routine and grab a pair of resistance bands to add resistance.

Bicycle crunches

Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground and pull your navel in — this will target your deep abs. Put your hands behind your head and bring your knees in towards your chest and lift your shoulder blades off the ground, but be sure not to pull on your neck. Straighten your right leg out to about a 45-degree angle to the ground while turning your upper body to the left, bringing your right elbow towards the left knee. Make sure your rib cage is moving and not just your elbows. Now switch sides and do the same motion on the other side to complete one repetition. Do three sets of 20 repetitions.

Squat jacks

Start with your feet together, then squat down into a chair pose with your back straight and hips back. Stay low, jump with your feet out into a squat position, then return to chair pose. Do three sets of these for 20 repetitions each.

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