7) Be patient with yourself
It took about 9 months to put on the weight so don’t expect it to come off in a healthy way any sooner than that. Plan to lose no more than 1 to 1.5 pounds a week for healthy weight loss that you won’t regain. Patience and perseverance are key to staying motivated and keeping the weight off in the long-run.
6) Shoot for low-calorie foods
Eat foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, protein and fiber, such as salmon, sardines, tuna, lean meat, chicken, eggs, beans, yogurt and whole grain foods. Look for ways to substitute carbs in your diet. Have a healthy eating plan for when you go out to eat. Plan and prepare low-calorie meals ahead of time. That way, when your are hungry you’ll have healthy options ready and available.
5) Eat healthy snacks
Rid your kitchen and pantry of fat-filled processed foods. Load up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy products, lean meats, poultry and fish. A motivating factor if you are breastfeeding is if you wouldn’t let it into your baby’s tummy you shouldn’t be eating it. Have some yogurt or sherbet for dessert instead of high calorie pastries. Prepare some cut up veggies or kale chips ahead of time so that when the cravings strike you have healthy options on hand.
4) Get some sleep
From waking up to breastfeed every 3 hours to taking care of the home, post pregnancy is notorious for being a time of sleep deprivation. I typically gain more weight when I’m sleep deprived. And I’m not alone. In fact, sleep-deprived participants in one small study of 30 people ate an average of 300 more calories per day, according to research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And a larger study of 225 people found that those who only spent four hours in bed for five consecutive nights gained almost two pounds more than those who were in bed for about 10 hours, over a week. Your body also burns calories when you sleep, without any work. Make a conscious effort to try to get some rest. At the cost of house chores, try to sleep when the baby sleeps. Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee or cola that can keep you awake. Try to create an environment conducive to sleep in your bedroom.
3) Get moving
If you’re strapped for time or don’t have gym access, seek opportunities to get moving as you go about your day. Take your baby for an hour walk in the stroller twice a day. I remember my daughter loved the change of going outside and looking at the trees and birds after being in the house all day. Better yet, if you are well-healed post delivery walk with your baby strapped to you in a carrier. You’ll burn between 300 and 500 calories per hour depending on your weight and your infant’s size. Take the stairs when possible. If you don’t have dumbbells, do some strength training exercises that don’t need weights. I like to do exercises that combine cardio, muscle toning and allow relaxation at the same time. For me these are cycling, walking or yoga. What works for you? Do what is easiest for you without causing extra stress. Do touch base with your doctor before you start an exercise regimen.
2) Drink up
In addition to helping your breast milk production, drinking lots of water fills you up and some studies show even increases your metabolism. You can gauge if you are getting enough water by the color of your urine (it should be mostly clear and you should be urinating every 3-4 hours). Shoot for at least eight to ten glasses of water a day. Add light flavor with a lemon or orange slice. Have water with your meals instead of juice or soda. Have a glass of water before each meal. Sipping on water in between each bite helps you fill up faster and eat fewer calories.