The struggle to lose weight post baby is real. Unfortunately, so is the pressure to the lose weight. However, where some moms are able to lose weight easily after giving birth and while breastfeeding, other moms just double in size when they are breastfeeding, sometimes prompting unkind enquiries.
I remember how a new mom, Ronke, had reached out to me months back, over ways she could lose weight and get her pre-baby body back. She wasn’t doing it for the right reasons though. Apparently, some other people business minders had been pointing out how other women who gave birth around the same time as she did have gotten their body back, and there she was, still “all over the place”.
They said these harsh statements in the presence of her husband, and he had not come to her defence, which resulted in a fight between them and his eventual confession that he thinks she’s gaining too much weight.
Right after that, Ronke went into a frenzy trying to lose weight, while still breastfeeding her baby; portion control and clean eating weren’t helping much, and that hurt her self-esteem a lot, and to an extent, it still does as she is still breastfeeding, which I suspect is the main reason her weight keeps creeping up.
However, before making the move to start portion control and clean eating, Ronke had been enjoying her Omugwo, the different delicacies brought for her and more. And that is so like many other new moms. After going through childbirth, most moms tend to want to take it easy with the eating and just indulge a bit, which is not a bad idea, but it is so easy to get stuck in unhealthy eating patterns all in the name of chilling.
The truth is, for many new moms, it takes a full year to drop the baby weight, but no one actually likes to hear this part.
In this post, we will be looking at some of the food traps new moms need to avoid, if they are really interested in losing the post baby weight.
You’re so focused on the baby, you ignore your own hunger pangs
This happens a lot to new moms. I can’t count the number of times my mom had to remind me to eat. I would just forget as I felt full, but it is a really a major food trap you don’t want to fall into, if you are looking to lose weight as a new mom.
Waiting to eat until you’re really hungry means you will likely overdo it. So rather than wait that long, set an alarm to remind yourself to eat throughout the day, instead of running around on empty. You really don’t want to deal with the consequences and your baby surely doesn’t need that drama.
So, please eat, even though you are trying to lose weight.
Your cupboards are bare:
When your cupboards, fridge and/or freezer are empty, then you are a lot likely to eat the next handy thing, and that might not be healthy at all.
The solution is simple; make sure your cupboards are stocked with healthy snacks, fresh fruits and vegetables, and easy non or minimally-processed meals that you can make on the fly. You can also stock your freezer with healthy, pre-made meals.
Also, you could consider banking some of the offers of home cooked meals – asking folks to spread them out over a month or two. (Rather than having all of your neighbours bring you home cooked delicacies in the first few weeks!). You will look weird oh, but you are doing yourself a world of good.
You are dehydrated:
The need for fluid as a breastfeeding mom cannot be overemphasised. And even when you are not breastfeeding, it is important to keep taking the fluids in.
Just as it is easy for a new mom to forget to eat, so it is for her to forget to drink water. And often times, thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so if you’re not hydrated you may eat more than you should.
To solve that challenge, you need to eat more potassium-loaded foods like banana (in moderation), in addition to drinking more water.
You can also “eat” your water by consuming juicy fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon or cucumber.
Staying hydrated is especially important if you’re breastfeeding. It is needed to replace the fluid contained in the milk your baby drinks. If the fluid is not replaced, then you may have trouble metabolizing and digesting the food you eat, and therefore increase the risk for constipation, and no new mom wants to deal with that at all.
You’re avoiding certain foods because you are breastfeeding:
Thanks to some unconfirmed old wives’ tales, new moms tend to avoid certain foods and fruits because they might upset baby’s digestion.
Unfortunately, these foods and fruits are helpful weight-loss tools. Take for instance, cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, which fill you up for very few calories, while spices add loads of flavour with no calories at all.
Plus, nursing moms especially need extra calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6 and folic acid. By cutting out specific foods, you may miss out on some of those nutrients.
Another food trap is, you are not eating enough
One of the things people generally reduce when they are trying to lose weight is how much they eat, and new moms are not exempted from taking this approach. However such a move is self-defeatist in the long run.
A drastic calorie reduction means you will not be getting enough nutrients, resulting in fatigue (which you don’t need any more of), greater susceptibility to colds and flu (thanks to lowered immunity), as well as cosmetic effects, like hair loss and dull skin.
Doctors say that most nursing moms need 2,000 to 2,300 calories total per day—and no fewer than 1,800. If you’re not breastfeeding, aim for 1,200 to 1,500 high-quality calories a day.
Avoiding these food traps are key to losing weight in the months following childbirth. You can check this link to find out how to safely lose weight while breastfeeding.
Goodluck with the weight loss.
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