You've been gaining weight steadily for months on end during your pregnancy. Now that you've given birth, you are more than fed up with those baby pound. You want your old body and clothes back. But how can you lose your pregnancy weight quickly and responsibly?
Your post-pregnancy body
Most pregnant women who had a healthy BMI when they conceived gain between 25 and 35 pounds. A large portion of that weight gain is accounted for by the baby, placenta and amniotic fluid, as well as an increased blood volume and heavier breasts. Weight loss after pregnancy begins with childbirth, when you will lose a huge portion of the pounds you gained. Then, in the few weeks after your baby is born, you will continue to slim down as the fluids you retained during your pregnancy "disappear". But fat stores still make up an average of seven pounds, and your tummy probably won't look as toned as it did before you conceived. Of course, you want to be rid of those extra pounds as soon as possible.
Though it can take the body around six months to completely recover from a pregnancy, your body will feel like itself again after around six weeks. Don't start exercising before you have your six-week postpartum checkup. You will probably be too tired anyway, but if you do ab crunches before this time your abdominal muscles are at risk of permanently staying separated. If you had stitches, they can also come undone. "Dieting" should mean focusing on eating healthy foods. Eat lots of fruit and veg, salads, fish, fresh pasta meals that promote your health and make you feel good. Cutting out unhealthy snacks, refined sugars, and trans fats is fine. Not overeating is good too. But avoid the temptation to go on a crash diet. This will send your body into starvation mode, will put your milk at risk if you breastfeed, and will not help you lose weight in the long run.
Breastfeeding mothers should wait until their milk supply has been established around eight weeks before going on an actual weight loss diet. At that point, it is totally safe to lose around 1.6 lbs a week through dieting. Post-baby weight loss will still be a gradual process, and it is essential to combine eating responsibly with working out regularly. You don't have to join a gym to get in shape, either. Walking, jogging, pilates or light aerobics are all things you could do independently, with your baby in tow.