7 tips to achieve healthy post-pregnancy weight loss
We’ve all seen celebrities postpartum sporting barely a shred of a bump around their middles and thought with incredulity– wait did this woman just pass a baby from her lady parts two weeks ago?
These include but are not limited to Bethenny Frankel, Heidi Klum (and oh every other model to grace a catwalk; Adriana Lima, Gisele Bundchen), Jessica Alba, Ellen Pompeo, And the list goes on of celebs who a month, at most, postpartum look like they were never even preggers.
Of course when I see celebs stick thin two weeks postpartum, I immediately think back to my body postpartum and all I can say is after I had my son, who was just six pounds, I was still lugging around a solid 25 pounds of baby weight- that didn’t dissipate as soon as I delivered him. Believe me, it’s not like I was shoveling eclairs into my mouth as soon as I popped him out and yes I did briefly breastfeed (as so many of these celebrities claim breastfeeding just “melts the fat right off”) and no I certainly didn’t experience that miraculous melting off of fat. In fact, I struggled to lose each and every one of those pounds and was no where near getting into skinny jeans even a month postpartum.
So rather than stew in my jealousy and feel bad about the fact that eight years later I’m finally “almost” down to my pre pregnancy weight, I asked the esteemed Dr. Caroline Cederquist, Founder and Physician at Cederquist Medical Wellness Center and Founding Physician of BistroMD to get her thoughts on whether or not us regular women should attempt such losses, and even beat ourselves up over the fact that our post baby weight loss is coming off much slower than that of our celebrity mommy counterparts. And here is what she had to say:
#1 Is this healthy?
Dr. Caroline Cederquist: After delivery, the body is relying on fat that is stored in pregnancy to allow for breastfeeding. If a woman drops all of her pregnancy weight in a very rapid time frame, it can impact her ability to establish her breast milk. One may wonder if it is alright to lose weight so rapidly if a woman is not breastfeeding. It would not be healthy to either restrict caloric intake or to engage in heavy exercise to accomplish a dramatic weight loss in a few weeks.
#2 Is this normal?
Dr. Caroline Cederquist” Losing all the weight gained two weeks after giving birth is not what the majority of women experience. A healthy pregnancy weight gain can vary between 15-30, or more commonly between 25-30 pounds on average, depending on the health and the weight of the mother before she becomes pregnant.
#3 What are the consequences of shedding pounds that fast?
Dr. Caroline Cederquist: The human body needs to recover from the significant metabolic effects of carrying and nourishing a child for nine months. Most women have some vitamin and mineral depletion after pregnancy as the fetus takes what it needs. For example, if a woman is calcium deficient during pregnancy, her fetus takes calcium from her bones to meet the need. Further restriction of nutrition with crash dieting will only aggravate this nutritional issue and lead to more problems in the future. Women also have hormones released just prior to delivery to allow the baby to be born. These hormones loosen the ligaments and a woman may be more prone to injury especially with heavy exercise.
#4 Why should post pregnant moms not feel pressured to follow in these celeb footsteps?
Dr. Caroline Cederquist:New moms should not feel pressure to follow in the footsteps of celebrity moms due to the consequences outlined above. Women celebrities are in a different world where the importance of physical appearance is excessive. If a woman has gained weight in pregnancy that is within the normal recommended amounts, she will lose that gained weight in a period of a few months as long as she eats well. Pregnancy and nursing should hopefully motivate women to eat healthier than they ever have with whole foods and avoiding chemicals and food processing. It is not a license to eat everything in excessive amounts and eat junk food that a woman normally does not allow herself. That type of intake will cause weight gain that remains even when the baby is a year old.
# 5 What is a healthy post-partum diet and schedule for shedding pounds?
Dr. Caroline Cederquist: A healthy postpartum diet for shedding pounds is to ensure she has protein at every meal and ideally every snack. I recommend eating at least three meals and 2-3 mini-meals all containing protein. It is very important to not become deficient in protein. Have 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables and keep grain intake to whole grain. Some women retain ten pounds above their normal weight while nursing but will be able to lose this when their baby is weaned. However, keeping on 50 extra pounds due to nursing is too much and women will need to take a real assessment of her diet and enlist some help from a dietitian.
Here are Dr. Caroline Cederquist’s 7 tips for healthy post-pregnancy weight loss:
#1 Do not skip meals! Hunger is not a healthy sign of weight loss.
#2 Eat three meals and two to three mini-meals which contain 10-15 grams of protein.
#3 Ensure adequate fluid intake. Most women need more than 64 ounces after delivery to allow for the liberation of retained fluid with pregnancy
#4 Try to rest. This is important. Your baby will be up a lot and you have to recover. Not sleeping affects the ability to lose weight. Don’t worry about cleaning your home. Trust me, I have had four children and I have no pride in the fact that on March 5th 2002 my living room was all picked up. Taking care of yourself and your new baby is most important.
#5 Try not to overdo it on meals that are very high carbs like pasta. They are easy but often will leave you more tired afterward.
#6 Ask a caregiver to grill some nice chicken breasts or cook a pork loin so you always have them around to add to your lunch or snack.
#7 Continue to take a good multivitamin like the prenatal vitamin as long as you are nursing, to ensure you do not develop deficiencies
If you are exhausted and worn out after several weeks, don’t assume it is just from the pregnancy or delivery. See your doctor and ensure your thyroid is working correctly and consider being tested for nutritional deficiencies especially if this was a multiple pregnancy or one recently after another pregnancy.
Tell us; how long has it taken you to get back to your pre-pregnancy baby weight?