Whether you’ve recently had your first baby or your fourth, like most new moms, you’re probably wondering what you can do to expedite the process of losing the weight you gained while you were pregnant.
If you’re currently in this situation and want to lose the extra weight but don’t know where to begin, it’s important to first understand what not to do.
Lose Weight: 6 Biggest Mistakes New Moms Make
Falling for fad diets
First things first, stay far away from any diet plan that promises you fast results. These fad diets typically require you to dramatically decrease the number of calories you consume and limit you to only a few foods.
You may see results initially on a diet like this, but you almost certainly won’t be getting all the nutrients you and your new baby need. It’s also difficult to sustain this type of diet, meaning you’ll most likely end up gaining back any weight you lost as soon as you go back to your regular way of eating.
Not prioritizing sleep
This is a hard thing to do when you have a new baby. But, the less you sleep, the more likely you are to retain the weight you gained during your pregnancy or even put on more weight.
Do whatever you can to prioritize sleep while still caring for your baby.
This might mean recruiting help from your partner, a family member, or a nanny to watch the baby for a few hours while you nap.
As a new mom caring for an infant, it’s easy to find yourself so busy that you forget to sit down and eat. Skipping meals isn’t going to do your waistline any favors, though.
Many new moms end up slowing down their metabolism because they restrict calories too much, either intentionally or by accident. When it comes to understanding poor metabolism, one of the first things you need to know is that, if you eat too little, your body will adapt and burn fewer calories to compensate. This causes you to hold on to excess weight.
To avoid this, make sure you have simple, easy-to-reheat meals (soups, casseroles, etc.) On hand that you can grab and eat quickly while your baby is napping or playing.
Over- or under-exercising
In the first month or so after you give birth, you’re probably not going to be doing much exercising, and that’s totally fine. Your body needs time to recover from the stress of labor, and you probably won’t feel up to much more than some light walks.
Once you feel ready to exercise — and your doctor has given you the all-clear to do so, of course — it’s important to make sure you’re getting in a sufficient amount of activity if you want to shed some excess weight.
Prioritize some movement every day, even if it’s just going for a walk or doing some resistance training with your baby (they make a great weight for squats, lunges, and overhead presses).
On the flip side, it’s also important to avoid over-exercising. Taking on too much can leave you feeling fatigued, hungry, and more injury-prone. Start slow and be sure to listen to your body.
Trying to use supplements as a shortcut
It seems that almost every day, there’s a new weight loss supplement being advertised on tv or in magazines.
The reality is that most of these supplements aren’t going to do you any good. They may also be harmful to your baby if you’re breastfeeding, so it’s important to do your research consult your doctor before you even consider taking any kind of supplement.
No matter how eager you are to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy, don’t try to take a shortcut with the latest potion or powder the diet industry is advertising.
Filling up on “diet” foods
Many companies also spend a lot of money marketing low-fat, low-carb, sugar-free products to people (mostly women) who want to lose weight.
It’s easy to grab a bag of low-calorie chips and think you’re on the right track. In reality, though, these foods are usually loaded with ingredients that are not good for you or your baby.
“diet” foods are also, in many cases, highly palatable, which means they’re easy to overeat. This can backfire on people who are trying to lose weight since they may have a harder time practicing portion control.
Instead of eating six servings of fat-free crackers, focus on making whole foods the center of your diet. Fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood, and healthy fats will help you feel satiated and provide you with important macro- and micronutrients.
Losing weight after having a baby can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Avoid these common mistakes and keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to shedding the excess weight.
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Read More: 11 Best Ways to Lose Baby Weight Fast