Whether you delivered your bundle of joy six weeks ago or six years ago, you may be looking to get that body back into shape! (There are just a few things in here that won't apply if you've given birth a while back!)
First, here are some points to consider:
1. Be sure to get clearance from your physician that you are healthy enough to begin exercising.
2. If you are breastfeeding, it is perfectly safe to exercise and lose weight. However, keep in mind that a healthy diet and plenty of fluids are necessary. If you are not getting these things, your milk supply will suffer.
3. Take it slow and steady. Just after giving birth, you need to ease back into your exercise routine. Also, aim to lose no more than one pound per week if you are breastfeeding.
4. Although you can lose weight and get back to normal, remember that sometimes pregnancy can alter your body shape a little bit. Accept this and consider it your badge of honor.
Now, let’s talk about getting that body back!
1. Breastfeed! On average, this requires an additional 500 calories per day. That is 200 more than when you were pregnant! Breastfeeding has so many benefits to mom and baby, including weight loss for mom.
2. Eat 5-6, small, well-balanced meals. That’s right, no crazy diets here! Eating plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein are important to fuel breastfeeding and help you to shed pounds.
3. After giving yourself some time to get used to exercising again, incorporate interval and repetition training. This method is helpful in burning a lot of calories and reducing abdominal fat.
4. Take your baby out for walks often. When you can’t get out for interval and repetition training, take your baby for a walk. Babies love fresh air and this is a great way for you to move more.
5. Strength-train the abdominal muscles 2-3 times each week. Do not do this every day because it will only cause injury in the long run. It is better to get a really good workout 2-3 times each week than to train a little bit each day. Switch up your abdominal moves to avoid a plateau. This training will not reduce fat on your abdomen. However, all of that stretching of the muscles while you were pregnant caused them to become extremely weak and unshapely; and this will really help to improve their appearance.
6. Don’t forget overall strength training and cardiovascular exercise. The ideas mentioned above are especially helpful, but you need to be getting plenty of regular cardiovascular exercise. Strength training all of the muscles in the body helps to increase your metabolic rate as well. Increasing your metabolic rate will definitely help with weight loss.
7. Don’t expect results over night. Your belly didn’t become enormous overnight when you found out you were pregnant. Your belly will also not shrink back to that washboard look overnight either. Good things are worth working and waiting for!