5 best post-pregnancy weight loss tips

By Estelle Low   — March 16, 2017
  • 1 / 6

    Like it or not, motherhood is associated with weight gain, eye bags and crazy hair, with weight gain being the most devastating (duh!). It’s no wonder many new mums stress over losing kilos and fitting into their pre-pregnancy clothes – myself included – landing themselves in the sea of postnatal despair.

    Surprisingly, I had little time to think about weight loss after my baby was born. Sure, I aspired to one day fit into my size S yoga attire again, but my mind was consumed by more pressing worries: Would I have enough breast milk? What’s the best way to burp my baby? Is she getting enough sleep?

    Whenever I had time to check out the mirror, I’d eye my bulging belly and thighs critically, wondering if I’d have to live with those extra flab forever. On bad days, I’d hatch plans to join HIIT workouts or a Bikram yoga marathon – which I didn’t act upon, due to sheer exhaustion from taking care of baby.

    As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. By week 10, I’d shed the 14 kilos I put on during my pregnancy – no restricted diet or gym sessions involved. Granted, several kilos were due to baby, placenta, fluids and lochia (pregnancy blood and tissue). And the rest? I surmise it was because I was mindful of my diet, sleep and level of physical activity.

    So here, my five rules on losing baby weight naturally.

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  • #1: Don’t make weight loss your goal
    2 / 6 #1: Don’t make weight loss your goal

    At least, not in the first few months after you deliver. You’d experience stress from taking care of baby and trying to get enough rest. Stress releases a hormone cortisol, which slows down metabolism – so don’t fret over your post-baby body.

    Top of the list: Allow your body to recover from the rigours of pregnancy and childbirth – you’ve done an amazing job of creating a human being and bringing him to this world! – before starting a workout regime.

    Related: 3 medication mistakes parents make

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  • #2: Busy yourself with baby
    3 / 6 #2: Busy yourself with baby

    So long as you have your hands full from diaper-changing, carrying, feeding, burping and bathing baby, it’s likely that you are burning enough calories to help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight.

    Ask any mum: A day of those baby chores are probably equivalent to two hours in the gym! Though I had a helper, I was hands-on with the chores. They kept me sweaty all day, and let me bond with baby.

    Related: 4 tips to pump more breast milk

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  • #3: Think of food as sustenance
    4 / 6 #3: Think of food as sustenance

    If you’re breastfeeding, you’d need 400 to 500 more calories a day. But that’s not your ticket to go wild at meal times. Stick to your usual “healthy” diet – for me, that meant plenty of lean meat, greens and water – and up your intake of protein and fibre to make up the extra calories. Increase your fluid intake by drinking more water and broth-based soups, instead of sugary drinks.

    Related: Confinement recipe: braised beef tenderloin with Yomeishu sauce and soba noodles

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  • #4: Turn every task into a workout
    5 / 6 #4: Turn every task into a workout

    Good news: You actually don’t need to hit the gym to blast extra calories. Just make your chores more physical than required. Since my baby enjoyed being carried, I incorporated bouncing squats and walking lunges while holding her.

    The result? My baby was thoroughly entertained while my thighs and butt enjoyed a good burn. At home, I set up different zones for my baby to sleep and play – living room in the day, bedroom at night – which meant more opportunities for walking and taking the stairs. Every step counts!

    Related: Going out with baby: 7 common problems and solutions

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  • #5: Sleep, sleep, sleep
    6 / 6 #5: Sleep, sleep, sleep

    You heard the advice “sleep when your baby sleeps”? Follow it. Thanks to the two- to three-hourly feedings, you’ll likely only manage four to five hours of sleep daily, at least in the first few months – that’s way under the recommended eight hours.

    To make up for the lost zzz’s that slows down metabolism, I resolved to nap at least once in the day, and slept in as late as my baby would allow me to. During my maternity leave, I let myself snooze past my usual alarm, waking up only when I felt ready to take on the day.

    A version of this story first appeared on Shape.

    Related: Baby sleepy during the day, awake at night: what to do

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