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Categories: Health & Wellness

Losing weight after baby can often feel like a daunting task. It's easy to become discouraged by the lack of movement on the scale or to feel unmotivated to develop a healthy and effective plan for losing the weight and toning your body. In this article, we deal with some of the obstacles you may face in your post-partum weight loss as well as providing some helpful tips to achieve your personal goals.

After the birth of your baby you can expect to lose an average of 10 lbs. This is a result of the birth of the baby, delivery of the placenta and loss of blood volume and fluids. After that, a healthy weight loss averages 1-2 lbs. a week although a breastfeeding mom may lose more. However, your body?s ability to shed fat (especially that stored on the hips and thighs) may take more effort and planning on your part before you see the results you want.

Your hormones play a huge role in your ability to lose weight after birth. Sleep deprivation is an unfortunate reality for most new mothers. The disruption of regular sleep causes the hormone cortisol (often associated with weight gain) to increase. Moderate, chronic sleep deprivation is associated with increased appetite but also with a decreased interest in exercise. It is suggested that the lack of sleep is disrupting the hormones that regulate glucose, metabolism and appetite. As a new mom, what can you do to counter this? The best answer: Sleep when baby is sleeping, go to bed at the same time every day and ensure that you are getting adequate rest.

Stress hormones, which are naturally released during the post-partum period, may make you feel exhausted and overwhelmed, decreasing your desire for exercise. Counter the natural effects of these hormones through a commitment to exercising regularly. It will help you sleep better, reduce stress and anxiety and have improved body image.

New moms are busy moms. The amount of work and energy you expend caring for your new baby makes it very easy to neglect yourself. Skipping meals or eating infrequently is a common phenomenon but it can also be a contributing factor to the lack of movement on the scale. It may seem counter intuitive, but eating will actually help you lose weight. Try these tips to boost your metabolism:

  • Prevent your glycogen levels from dropping and causing fat to be stored in your body by eating small, frequent meals. Eat every 3 hours to prevent this drop in levels, reduce cravings and promote a higher metabolism.

  • Plan meals in advance to help keep you focused on nutritional requirements and avoid reliance on last minute rushed meals that are often over-processed.

  • Consult with a nutritionist to learn what it takes to build a healthy mommy body and help ensure that you are getting adequate calories to sustain you and your activities as a healthy, active mom.

They say you've got to move it to lose it! Sometimes the hardest part of your fitness routine is simply making the decision to put your shoes on. Developing a support network with an exercise partner or personal trainer can help you stay committed and motivated to keep moving. Better yet, socialize with active people. This will reaffirm your own personal choices towards health and wellness and will help keep you on track!

Establish a routine. When possible, it is best to have set days and times for exercise - discipline is essential for a successful exercise program. Activity in the morning will help to establish a higher metabolic rate. It's a great time for cardio, a brisk walk or attending a fitness class.

Finally, shift your focus. As women, we often place the focus on goals related to body image. While not forgetting that a positive body image is conducive to elevating self-esteem, I believe that taking the focus off losing a set amount of weight and inches will actually help you achieve your goals. Focus on the steps you are taking for your health - like feeling energized and happy, improving sleep and developing better eating habits. Give yourself opportunities to be proud of your body's ABILITIES by completing fitness challenges - like running a certain distance, walking every day or completing a sequence of strength moves. You will be surprised by the results!

Jennifer Rogers is the owner of FITMOM Durham. A pre and post natal fitness specialist, Lamaze Childbirth Educator and mother of 2 busy boys.