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I’ve gained and lost the baby weight three times now. I actually feel like I’ve got this part of life down, if that’s even possible. I’ve mastered how to manage the weight gain during pregnancy, and lose it after. Its a process that, because I’ve went through a few times now, I can offer help!
I wrote a post a bit ago on five foods to help you lose the baby weight, but still pump up your milk supply. That’s an important read because your nutrition is so important to your healthy weight loss. Here are some additional tricks that help really help me!
Tip 1: Walking A Lot: Walking is a powerful tool, that you can do immediately after having a baby. Assuming you are cleared by your doctor to walk around the house, that’s exactly what I do. I am up moving around all the time. Sitting is the fastest way to slow your metabolism down and lose your muscle. Did you know that walking is one of the best ways to cleanse your lymphatic system, which will help you heal postpartum is to walk? Depending on where you live, this is either something you have to do around your house, or if you are lucky, you can get outside! For me, with baby #3, I wear him in the front pack, and I put my other two in the jogger stroller. If I’m walking on a safe path, I let the oldest walk and put the baby and the middle child in the stroller. We just get out and go. When I’m in bad weather, I try to do a lot of walking around the house most of the day. You can get a step tracker to help you get your steps in, if that gives you more motivation to keep moving. It’s easy to sit and hold a newborn all day, but I walk around and hold them, use a carrier like my Baby Bjorn, or move the play seat, DockATot and other things around the house with me. Walking is also going to help you burn the fat you stored while pregnant.
Tip 2: No Napping: Yea, this one some of you won’t like, but for me, if I allow myself to nap, I feel so out of wack, and I eat more. Like a lot more when I wake up, and I am lethargic. You will notice, that if you follow tip one, you won’t get as tired. Sitting makes you more tired than you actually are. Check this out from LifeHacker:
Immediately After Sitting
Right after you sit down, the electrical activity in your muscles slows down and your calorie-burning rate drops to one calorie per minute. This is about a third of what it does if you’re walking. If you sit for a full 24-hour period, you experience a 40 percent reduction in glucose uptake in insulin, which can eventually cause type 2 diabetes.
Obviously, we have new babies, so we’re not sitting for 24 hours, but you get the idea. Sitting most of the day is going to really allow you to feel how tired you are. If you are working on losing the baby weight with your first child, it is harder to make yourself get up and move around because you don’t have older children keeping you busy. When you have more than one child, walking around and moving is a lot easier. Just remember, the more you are up walking around, the more you are telling your body to burn fat. I really like to make my kids stay active because they are happier, and in turn I am more active too!
Tip 3: Focusing on Fruit: I’ve found that fruit really helps me with my sweet cravings, provides lots of water and nutrition. Apples, which I mention how important those are in my article, My 5 Unique Tips To Avoid Swelling During Pregnancy, are like gold. You crave a lot of sugar while nursing, mainly because you are so tired. When you are lacking in sleep, your body craves sugar to pick itself back up. Check this out, which I found on youbeauty.com, discussing a study proving we chose fatty, sugary foods when we’re tired:
Now, an August 2013 study from UC Berkeley, which examined the brain regions that control food choices, adds a new dimension to this connection by pinpointing the neural circuitry at work when we choose to reach for pizza and bagels instead of whole grains and vegetables when we’re sleepy.
The participants (23 healthy, young adults) were shown a series of 80 food images, including a range of low-calorie, high-calorie, healthy and unhealthy items and were asked to rate their desire for each. Researchers scanned their brains (using fMRI) during this selection process after a normal night’s sleep. Then, they repeated the process after a sleepless night.
After a sleep-deprived night, burgers, pizza, donuts and other high-calorie choices were more popular among participants. The scans showed that the brain’s frontal lobe, the control center responsible for complex decision-making, was impaired when it was deprived of a good night’s sleep. On the flipside, they showed increased activity in the brain’s reward centers. These two activities combined led participants to choose unhealthier foods than they normally would after a solid night’s sleep.
So, one way to give yourself the sugar is to eat healthy sugar! Berries are so sweet and yummy, and so wonderful for a new mama! I love trail mix when I’m nursing. You can make it low calorie by having a few nuts, popcorn and chocolate chips. Skinny Mom has a great article with 12 Healthier Trail Mix recipes that are all great. Trail mix is great for moms on the go. We can easily get trapped with low blood sugar, because we are nursing, and opt for a cake pop, but if we have something sweet with us that is lighter and healthier, we are much better off. I also carry an apple with me whenever I go anywhere. It keeps me from getting busy and too hungry and tired, so I eat all the cookies.
These are my three tips, and things that I actually do to help me lose the baby weight. I am moving all day, I eat a lot of fruit, and I don’t nap much. The idea is that you are moving around a lot through out the day, so you don’t sit and think about food, then get tired. You are keeping your body alive. I read a book a while ago, called The Blue Zones, and it really helped me develop habits for longevity and my body. One of the major points in the book, which studies people around the world who live the longest, was that they moved all day. The people who lived long lives were rarely sedentary. Keep that in mind for your own personal health!
Postpartum weight loss doesn’t always come easy. There’s so many hormones racing around, lack of sleep and intense sweet cravings to battle, but these foods are so good for your body and milk supply, as well as keeping you full while trying to lose weight. The true key is to put as many nutrients in your body as you can. The weight naturally falls off, when your body is given what it needs. Your body will also do what its supposed to do, like produce enough milk for your baby, if you give it the fuel to do so!