After delivery, most mothers start thinking about how to shed the extra kilos they gained during pregnancy. Many mothers will go on a crash diet (not eating enough) or a fad diet (popular diets that limit certain types of nutrients). Yes, some diets may make you lose some weight at first. But those first few kilos you lose are fluids and may gain back. Therefore, it is important to go on a healthy diet with daily exercise to help you shed the extra kilos.

When can I start to lose weight?

Give your body some time to recover from labor and birth; do remember that it took you 9 months to gain 11-16kg if you were normal weight. You can start to do some gentle exercise (walking, pelvic floor exercise and stretching) as soon as you feel up to it. However, you should wait six weeks or so before doing strenuous exercise.

 

How to lose weight safely?

Eating right and making smart choices will speed up your recovery after delivery, it will also help to energise you so you could keep up with the demands of being a new parent. During this recovery period, you should aim to increase nutrient dense foods and limit empty calorie foods.

 

Eat Right to Lose Weight

Nutrient dense foods will provide energy for women’s busy lives. A healthy diet includes:

  • Five to six servings of whole grains such as whole grain bread, cereal, pasta, brown rice or oats.
  • Three servings of low fat dairy such as low fat milk, yogurt or cheese.
  • Five to six ounces of protein such as lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, peas or nuts.
  • Two cups of fruits-fresh, frozen or canned without added sugar.
  • Two and a half cup of colorful vegetables – fresh, frozen or canned without added salt.
  • Avoid skipping meals. With a new baby, many new moms forget to eat. If you don’t eat, you will have less energy and it won’t help you to lose weight.
  • Eat 5-6 small meals a day with healthy snacks in between (rather than three large meals).
  • Eat breakfast. Even if you don’t normally eat in the mornings, this will help you kick start your day and feel less tired throughout the day.
  • Choose low-fat maternal beverage to ensure that you are getting the recommended amount of calcium, choline, DHA, folic acid, vitamins and minerals in just 2 cups to support breastfeeding and to speed up recovery.
  • A healthy diet with exercise will help you shed the extra kilos.

 

Manage Meals the Smart Way

  • Avoid skipping meals. With a new baby, many new mothers tend to forget to eat. If you don’t eat, you will have less energy and it won’t help you to lose weight.
  • Eat 5-6 small meals a day with healthy snacks in between (rather than three large meals).
  • Eat breakfast even if you don’t normally eat in the mornings. This will help you kick start your day and feel less tired throughout the day.

 

Exercise

Exercise will help you lose fat instead of muscle. Once you’re ready to start losing weight, eat a little less and move a little move. You may be tempted to push yourself into a hard routine for fast weight loss. But rapid weight loss is not healthy and is hard on your body. Don’t overdo it. If you do not usually exercise, start off with 15 minutes of brisk walking with your baby in the stroller everyday then gradually increase it to 30 minutes a day.

 

Contributed by Tan So Fie
(Master of Science, IBCLC Nutritionist)