In today’s society, there is an obsession with the way in which we look and, in particular, a lot of new mums feel extremely pressurised to get back into shape quickly.
Do you often say to yourself- Surely, it’s not that hard to get back into shape…. Celebrities ping back into shape after a few weeks why can’t I do the same?
I proposal the question-
Is it realistic to ping back into shape after a few weeks and if so what is the safest and suitable resolution?
Some mum’s exercise through their pregnancy and there is no doubt that they will return to their pre-baby weight within 60-120 days, but on an average the new mum takes around 409 days to gain back their post-baby figure.
What is the safest and suitable way to regain the pre-baby figure?
Firstly, if you’re breast- feeding it’s not a sensible idea to reduce your calorie intake, what you’re putting into your body is extremely important during this period. The baby will be relying on your nutrient stores, this shouldn’t be a period where you’re focusing on losing weight. You have to remember that on average you will lose around 330-500 calories per day from breastfeeding.
Before returning to any exercise, you should get the all clear given by your doctor. The general rule of thumb is that you should allow at least 6-8 weeks (natural birth) before returning to gentle exercise and 10-12 weeks if you have had a caesarian. Once, returning to the gym you should make sure you continue working on the pelvic floor exercises and work on building a core foundation- skip the crunches, they will not help. Focus on functional core exercises such as the; bridge and superman.
You might find that your body shape is different and that you’re holding more fat around the legs, stomach and bum. The reason for this is that the body produces the hormone estrogen, which is essential for childbirth and breastfeeding. Without, specific toning exercises it will be difficult to re-gain your previous shape. By gradually introducing the toning exercises (focusing on big muscle groups), it will help boost metabolism and speed up the loss of fat. You don’t need a fancy gym or expensive gym equipment to get results; you can use a park bench to carry out- press ups, lunges, squat thrusts, step ups and tricep dips.
70% of weight loss will be triggered by changes towards your diet and the reminding 30% is down to exercise.
Most importantly, you should be fueling your body with nutritious food, this will not just benefit you it will also benefit your baby if you’re breast -feeding. The types of foods, which should be encouraged, are; whole grains, fruits- especially berries (high in antioxidants), red meat and spinach (improve the iron stores), lean meats, flax seeds, fish (high in omega 3), eggs and oats.
Avoid processed food and try to cook with fresh ingredients as often as possible.
Returning to your pre-baby weight should be carried out in a sensible and achievable manner. Focus on making small and realistic changes to your diet and try to incorporate an exercise routine, which will fit around your schedule. Remember 20 minutes of exercise, is better than being sedentary.
Be in the healthy lifestyle game for the long term, not just the short-term.