mummy and child exercising

It may take you some time to get your body back to its pre-pregnancy weight and appearance. But doing so is possible. There are some steps you can take to not only speed up the process, but also keep from stressing out as you deal with adjusting to your new life as a mother.

Exercise

As soon as your doctor allows you to do so, start exercising. Not only will this help you lose those extra pounds, but exercise also helps to relieve stress and helps you sleep better. Start slowly, perhaps with an evening stroll. This is a good time to push your new baby in a pram, which adds to the effort required. Other good choices are yoga, and dancing. Consider taking some me-time at a yoga studio or cardio class.

Get Plenty of Rest

My pediatrician insisted my husband provide the midnight feeding for our newborn daughter. I asked him why and he refused to answer. When I had my ten-day postpartum visit, he asked me if I had followed his directions. I had and asked him again for his reason. His response was, “How do you feel having a full night’s sleep these last ten days?”

Smart doctor! He knew the importance of a good night’s rest to avoid postpartum depression and to have the energy necessary to care for a newborn. Adequate sleep helps your body wash out stress hormones and revs up your metabolism to help you burn calories efficiently.

Develop a Routine

Having a daily routine will help you adjust to the many responsibilities necessary in caring for your newborn. I was an extremely spoilt child – my mother did everything. As a result, developing responsibility has always proved challenging. The only way I could deal with parenthood was to make sure I had a schedule. It was not carved in stone, but having a set day and time for tasks such as laundry, housecleaning, and dishes helped me assume some control over the stressful areas in my life.

Eat Healthy

  • Eat Smart

Choosing foods packed with nutrients like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein – chicken, fish, and low-fat dairy – and healthy fats.

  • Eat Natural

Stay away from pre-packaged and processed foods as much as possible as they are generally high in sodium and less nutritious and can sabotage your weight loss efforts.

  • Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water reduces the urge to snack, helps keep you system digesting your food properly, and maintains a good supply of breast milk if you choose to breastfeed.

  • Increase Fiber

A good fiber intake helps your body clean itself and boosts weight loss. Choose wholegrain pasta, bread and cereal; brown rice and quinoa; and fresh fruit and vegetables.

  • Snack Healthy

It takes plenty of energy to be a mum, especially if you are breastfeeding. You should actually eat every 1 ½ to 2 hours to keep your metabolism revved up. Choose fruits, veggies such as celery or carrot sticks, or a slice of low fat cheese to keep the snacks around 100 calories each.

  • Measure Your Meals

Breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day, lunch next, and you should end the day with a light dinner of mostly veggies and a 4 ounce serving of protein. Try to limit eating carbs only at lunchtime. An afternoon exercise session can work off most of these carb calories. Also, grab a measuring cup to make sure your serving sizes are not too large.

Relax

There is no way around it; being a new mum is stressful. Some activities can help you relieve the tension.

  • Take a soak in a hot tub with plenty of bubbles.
  • Read a good book – something just for fun.
  • Listen to your favorite music.
  • Have a cup of coffee or tea in a quiet corner and think only happy thoughts.
  • Take a walk outdoors.
  • Have lunch with a friend.
  • Get a massage.

Relaxation significantly decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increases the feel-good hormone called oxytocin. The goal is to improve your mood, increase your sense of well-being, both of which can help you lose weight.

Many mothers do not reach their pre-pregnancy weight until six months to a year after their baby is born. It does take time. However, this is a good time to modify your eating behaviour and become a healthy role model for your child. Focus on taking good care of you and eating healthy, and those pounds will come off.

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