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“I feel like I’ve tried so many things and I still don’t see significant weight loss!” Do you know this feeling? Perhaps all too well. We tried it all – watching what we eat, cutting down this and that, exercising more – but nothing seems to really work. Why? That’s what we’re here to talk about today.
But first, we surely can’t discuss this topic without mentioning the best method to lose postpartum weight; breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is not only good for your baby; it can also help you lose weight during pregnancy because your body stores fat to store energy and feed your baby. Women who breastfeed their babies for at least the first few months tend to lose weight faster than they gain during pregnancy, even if they do not breastfeed.
Ask any mother why she wants to breastfeed and she will tell you all about the health benefits of breastfeeding and how free breastfeeding can help you lose weight. While this is true, many mothers reach a plateau and gain more weight later on down their breastfeeding journey.
Losing weight after giving birth can be a challenge and you may find it hard to do so. While some women can shed baby weights through diet and exercise, others find it difficult to get rid of excess fat stored in them.
So, what exactly causes you to not lose weight further after birth?
You set unrealistic expectations
Magazines and celebrity stories would make you believe that losing weight takes time after pregnancy. In a study conducted in 2015, 75% of women were heavier a year after giving birth than during pregnancy. And honestly…what’s the problem with that? We just grew a human being inside of us, weight gain should be the most expected part of it.
One of the most important things new mums should know is to be patient with your body. According to Cheryl Lovelady, Professor of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, women should be able to lose extra weight within six months of giving birth. This means that women should start with a normal BMI before pregnancy and strive to return to that BMI and women who were overweight or obese before pregnancy should strive to “return as quickly as possible to their pre-pregnancy weight and continue to lose weight,” Nicklas says.
You are not getting any help at all
…which means that you are occupied with your baby or resting from attending to your baby at all times. Unfortunately, losing weight after having a baby can be a challenge – especially when you don’t have the help that gives you time to exercise, relax, or focus on setting a better lifestyle.
It does not necessarily mean you have to leave 100% of the newborn chores to your helper or other family members, but just leave enough for them. This way, you’d get to also include your own recovery and weight loss as part of your priorities. By having an extra hand around the house, you’d perhaps get even more time to visit post pregnancy spa that can help tackle your body issues! Of course, if you are not keen on going out right after birth, a lot of services do in-home treatment – like us at PNSG with post natal massage services so you don’t have to step out of the house at all!
To accompany through all maternity stages, we also offer pregnant massage and postnatal massage, including slimming massage that can be effective for even long-time mothers!
You are not actually eating ‘right’
Starving yourself is a huge NO. You might also be cutting down carbs or other important nutrients that you think are contributing to weight gain, but the truth is, at this point, you need energy the most. Depriving yourself of the sources of energy can make you lose energy easily so if you do this, you might as well throw that plan to get into workout out the window.
The good news is that it is never too late to make small, healthy changes to help encourage your postnatal body to drop the old baby weight – all it takes is a gentle little nudge in the right direction. If you are struggling to lose weight while breastfeeding, just be patient and those extra pounds will decrease when you are done.
With that said, it is still worth following the general rules of staying off processed foods with high salt content and keeping yourself hydrated at all times. If you find that you make a nutritious choice of foods, reduce unhealthy snacks and exercise regularly, but still don’t lose your extra baby weight, it may be time to pay attention to the quality of your sleep, which brings us to the next reason:
You are not getting enough rest and sleep
…which is quite normal – even though it should not be widely normalised. That’s just how it usually is, especially if you do not have a helper in the house and has to manage on your own with your spouse. This, among other factors, can result in sleep deprivation.
Sleep and ample rest are crucial to restoring your energy. You’ve used up a lot of it during labour and childbirth. Did you think you’ve given yourself enough time to rest and heal after that?
Not all women have the same experience of losing weight after having their second child. However, a lot of mothers specifically find it hard to lose weight because not only their regular exercise schedules are now disrupted, but also because they do not get enough sleep to begin with. Not getting enough sleep, of course, leads to feeling weaker than usual.
For many new mums, it can be frustrating to not be able to effectively lose the extra pounds and deal with clothes that don’t fit. Getting back into shape is not as easy as eating and exercising properly, especially if you are occupied with taking care of your little one, as new parents usually are.
All in all, while it is possible for women to lose weight in pregnancy without making significant changes in their lives, the natural lifestyle change that occurs at birth can bring new challenges. Take the time after birth to adjust to your new roles and responsibilities.
Regardless, mommies, don’t lose hope, because experts agreed that it is possible to return to your weight before pregnancy if that is your goal. Just be sure to take it slow and give your body some love! When you’re ready to get pampered in a rejuvenating massage (pssst…we also provide Slimming Massage!), PNSG is just a call away!