This article was contributed by our founder, Agnes Tay who is also a veteran publicist and business strategist.
(Published in Pregnancy & Babycare Guide v15, 2016)
Getting back in shape after having a baby can have its challenges. Agnes Tay from Active Hive takes a look at how you can set yourself up for success with postnatal fitness.
We all know the excitement when a new baby comes along, the responsibility and the feeling that we don’t want to leave the baby alone so that we can spend as much time as possible with this little bundle of joy!
We also desire to get the sleek, pre-pregnancy body back and to do so, we do not have to feel guilty at all. All we need is determination as well as support from your spouse and family members.
Keep these tips in mind and work towards a long-term and sustainable plan to regain your pre-baby body. The keyword is SUSTAINABLE and we can show you how to achieve it by adopting the right calorie input and output approach.
THE BODY AFTER PREGNANCY
Your body will experience various changes during and after pregnancy. Do not be alarmed as these are all part of motherhood. Visible changes that affect your body weight, shape and overall wellness are:
• Loose, sagging skin
• Water retention
• Overall weakness and lethargy
Having a positive and realistic mindset is important after pregnancy. Returning to the exact pre-baby weight or body shape varies from person to person. This is largely due to some changes in our body during pregnancy such as wider hips and a larger waistline.
Never skip your meals or follow fad diets. After giving birth, the body needs time to recover from the labour and delivery. Especially during the first 8 weeks, be it natural birth or cesarean section, and especially if you are breastfeeding, the body needs all the necessary nutrition to regain strength. Any calorie watching should only commence after 8 weeks with a consultation from you doctor.
Dieting might affect or delay your recovery or even make you lethargic. Let your body adjust and work at its best with the right nutrition. Weight can be reduced quite naturally, especially if you breastfeed.
Skipping meals can make energy levels lag and will not help in weight loss as you might end up eating more at other meals. It is advisable to eat five to six small meals a day with healthy snacks in between rather than three larger meals.
Try to squeeze in more fruits and veggies in your meals by making juices and soups, which help in absorption and allows you to take in more nutrients.
Fat has 2 times more calories as carbohydrates or proteins, so try to trim the extra fat from your diet. Choose steamed, boiled or baked rather than fried foods, and limit your intake of sweets, which have extra calories from sugar and fat.
Consume about 8 or 9 cups of warm water each day. Your body is still recovering and you should refrain from drinking cold beverages. Your body needs to be warm for better blood circulation. With better blood circulation, burning of calories will be much faster and easier. Note that there is an alarming amount of calories hidden in juices, soda, and coffee.
Having a healthy, balanced diet combined with regular exercise is the easiest and right way of reducing your weight healthily. Exercise helps you to burn the extra calories and ensures that you are losing fat instead of muscle. Depending on your weight, fat percent, metabolism and muscle mass, it is important to determine what your personal heart rate for optimum fat-burning is. This helps to build your muscles and bone mass which is especially important after pregnancy.
The extreme of weight loss is when a person loses weight through dieting without any exercise. This can be detrimental to health as fat, muscle and bone mass will be lost, leading to lose in overall strength and stamina.
By exercising, it also promotes blood circulation and sweating, which helps to purge toxins from the body and reduce water retention.
Be more active such as having a quick walk or slow jog around your neighbourhood with your baby in the stroller. Other exercises that you can do include yoga, swimming, low-intensity aerobics and cycling. Try to adopt any of these exercises at least 3 times a week for minimum 30 minutes each time.
The key point is to decrease your food or calorie intake and increase your activity or calorie output gradually to burn calories.