Looking pregnant even after childbirth can be disconcerting, but it is normal. Some get back in shape faster while others may take a longer time. If you are on a mission to get back in shape, it is always tempting to go on a crash diet. While a rapid weight loss can bring noticeable results within a short time, it can impact your physical health and well-being. Try adopting a gradual weight-loss approach instead and set realistic targets for your weight loss. It requires patience, but you get better results in the long run.
I want to get back to shape fast, should I go on a diet?
New mums who are breastfeeding should NOT go on any calorie restriction diet. The energy and nutrient requirements of breastfeeding mums are higher. According to the Health Promotion Board, energy requirements for lactating women may be as high as an additional 500 calories. Another point to note is that whatever nutrients a new breastfeeding mother consumes will be consumed by her baby too.
The good news is that because of the increased energy requirements during breastfeeding, most new mums will experience some weight loss during this period. Focus on providing good nutrition in the form of healthy foods to your child and yourself. You can start to lose the postnatal weight once you have weaned your baby off breast milk.
Should I avoid certain foods for me and my baby?
The key to healthy eating is to have meals that are balanced from the four food groups i.e. rice and alternatives, vegetables, fruits, meat and alternatives. If you only eat certain types of food, you will be missing on the nutrients that other foods can provide. Practice moderation when consuming “not so healthy” foods, for example, limiting deep fried foods to maximum twice a week.
I hardly have time for myself now, what should I do?
Your baby is the new boss. But taking care of yourself is as important caring for your little one. In order to have such a luxury of time, as a new mum, you can either plan your time around your baby’s nap times or ask someone to tend to your baby while you are having your personal time.
Having a proper mealtime instead of eating mindlessly is also crucial for your body. Tune in to your meal, its flavour, smell, temperature, texture and taste. This would then enable you to listen to your body’s cues of hunger and feelings of fullness. Take care of your body and you will have the strength to care for your baby.
It is best to eat a healthy balanced diet instead of cutting down on meals. Remember that your body needs time to recover and is normal that it takes months to return to your pre-pregnancy weight.