Post child birth it is important that you shed all the weight as it is associated with obesity and weight gain later in life, but even more important is that you do it the healthy way and patiently. You put it on over 9 months, your body has been through a physiologically challenging time, give it a break. Crash dieting, poor nutrition, inappropriate physical activity can be very seriously damaging to your health.
During delivery you lose almost 3-4 kg with the baby's weight, placenta, and amniotic fluids. The first week sees additional weight loss because off the additional fluid losses. The fat that accumulated needs to be worked on.
1. Eat everythingStress of adjusting to a new baby may add to your weight so don't add more stress- eat when you are hungry, choose healthy and the weight will come off. While breast feeding do not restrict your calories too much, eat whole some foods that provide you with nutrients rather than empty calories.
Choose Whole grains like wheat, Bajra, and Ragi which not only provide energy to remain healthy and recuperate,but also fibre to add bulk to the meal and keep the food longer in the sytem. It also helps with constipation , a common problem for lactating mothers. Whole grains are a good source of a number of essential Vitamins, and minerals like folate and phosphorus which nourish your baby as well.
Adequate Proteins help heal and add satiety to the meal. Include good quality proteins from milk, yogurt, beans, lentils, fish, egg and lean meat, nuts and seeds. Sprouted and fermented grams help increase the bioavailibity of Iron , an important nutrient for post pregnancy nutrition. Nuts and seeds also add essential fats like omega -3 to help your new born develop a healthy brain and nervous system. One ounce of these makes for a healthy and filling snack.
Oils and fats are essential for everybody. Even if you are looking at reducing your weight, do not go on a fat free diet. It just isn't healthy. Eat mostly plant based oils like from peanut, ricebran or mustard ,they are good sources of healthy polyunsaturated oils.Desi ghee and butter are also healthy. All provide the same 45 Kcal/5gms, so enjoy the variety.
Whole fruits and Vegetables add vitamins and essential minerals to your meal . While citrus fruits add VitaminC, the green leafy ones add Vitamin A crucial for you and the baby. By choosing a fruit or vegetable for a snack you choose fewer calories, more nutirents and health
You do not need to eat for two people so choose smaller portions, do not skip meals. Traditional til ladoos and gond pinnis are healthy, so is desi ghee, by limiting the intake you maintain your weight and good nourishment at the same time.
2. Drink lots of fluids it helps with feeding your baby. Water is by far the best fluid for you. It helps fill you up and research has also found that drinking adequate water helps lose weight. Taking a glass of warm water with meals is a traditional way of improving digestion, there by controlling weight. Milk is another essential drink it helps you get adequate calcium of good quality and protects your bones while adding proteins. Calorie free drinks like sugar free aam panna (no artificial sweeteners), bael sharbat, chaas, and traditional zeera and ajwain water all help in easing the flow of breast milk, hydrate, and keep you full.
Breast feed your baby. It provides the little one with immunity and other numerous benefits. It also helps you lose weight, especially the fat from your body. While breast feeding the body uses fat cells stored in your body during pregnancy to fuel the milk production. This along with the diet calories all get used up. Also while breast feeding you can add up to 600kcal to your diet, but don't use this as an excuse to eat junk.
3. Get active
Exercise is an important part of reducing the post pregnancy flab the healthy way. If you have had a normal (vaginal) delivery and have been exercising during pregnancy, you can start light exercises after 2-3 weeks when you feel up to it. If you have had a c-section or any other complications during pregnancy then consult your doctor before starting out. Start with light exercises for your back and abdomen and gradually add aerobic and strength training as you go along. If you cannot spare 30min in a go break it up to 10 min at a time. Involve your baby in your exercise routine-You can lift your baby above you while lying down for strength training, taking your baby out in a stroller is a good exercise as is carrying him around. Experts advice feeding your baby before exercising to be comfortable from engorged breasts.
Exercise is also helpful in dealing with postpartum depression and relieving stress.
4. Get Enough SleepSleep deprivation, common to new mothers, makes it harder to lose weight. Tiredness increases the levels of Cortisol, which may promote weight gain. Moreover when you are tired or sleep deprived, you may just not care about or feel motivated enough to do anything else. So nap with your baby, catch up on sleep and rest, so that your energy levels remain high and you are able to take good care of yourself to. The great Indian family is a support system you must take advantage of to stay healthy.
Motherhood is the most joyous time for any lady, so enjoy it. Do not be hard on yourself, it may take you 6-9 months to get back into shape whether you breastfeed or not. Loosing half to one kg a week is a good enough target.