Lots of women will wonder about that question: what’s the best way to lose weight after pregnancy?
Have you noticed the only time it’s socially acceptable for a woman to put on weight is when she’s pregnant? But then as soon as she’s given birth, she’s expected to lose any of that weight and be straight back to her pre-baby figure.
For those who do want to lose weight they gained while pregnant, this pressure can make things worse. It’s difficult to make healthy lifestyle choices from a punishing place, rather than a patient, nurturing one.
The portrayal of pregnancy in TV and films does nothing to help lighten this pressure. We’ve written about how pregnancy in reality differs from Hollywood.
Here we want to talk about the best ways to look after yourself post-pregnancy. Becoming a new parent is a life-changing experience. Your baby becomes your top priority, but it’s still important to remember to look after yourself as well. We understand this can be challenging so we’ve put together our best tips to help you look after your health.
Mental Health First
The most important element of your health to focus on after you’ve had a baby is your mental health. So many women experience depression after giving birth, it’s considered normal and sometimes brushed off as “baby blues.” It’s very common for both parents to feel worried, low and alone – as if no one understands what they’re going through.
Remember, you are not alone. If you are struggling with your mental health, please seek the advice of a health care professional. There is support if you need it and you can find out more here.
Our expert team’s research shows that seeking mental health support and / or focusing on self care, before joining a weight loss programme, is much more beneficial to new mothers. If you are looking to lose weight after pregnancy, being in a better place mentally can help you lose weight sustainably.
Depression and / or low mood can act as a barrier to weight loss as it can lead to emotional eating. You may also struggle to find the motivation to look after yourself. Looking after your mental health before your physical health can be hugely beneficial. Being kind to yourself is the best way to start losing weight.
Finding that time to look after yourself when you’ve just had a baby can feel impossible. It’s very common for new parents to feel guilty about looking after themselves. Remember that as a parent, you are the most important person in your baby’s life. So give yourself permission to take the time to look after yourself so you can give your baby the best version of you.
Try to fit in half an hour to focus just on yourself and do something you enjoy and find relaxing. Whether it’s popping on a podcast, making yourself a cup of tea, or reading. We’ve written about finding a self-care routine that works for you.
Having a support system can also be a huge help to new parents. As we’ve said already, having a new baby can make lots of people feel isolated at the start. Talking to people can break this barrier and help you feel alone. Your support network can be whoever you want it to be. From family and friends to Facebook groups and local mum meet-ups. Talking with new parents who are going through similar experiences as you can help relieve some of your stress and worry.
It may feel like work to maintain relationships in your life but spending time with others is so valuable. Plus, it’s another way of looking after your mental health, which as we know is very important as a new parent.
Getting back into the routine of regular physical activity after having a baby can be complicated and daunting, both physically and mentally. However, it can have some great benefits for your mental and physical health. There’s no rush and you can take it at your own pace, let yourself ease back into it. Walking can make a massive positive difference, though some people don’t think of it as physical activity.
Bear in mind that after having a baby your core muscles, such as your lower back and abdominal muscles, are much weaker. Plus, your ligaments and joints are much more supple. This means that there is an increased risk of injury, so be careful, take things steadily and above all, listen to your own body.