Although you want to return to your normal weight, this is not a good short term goal. Try not to put undue pressure on yourself – you have many new skills to learn and a new lifestyle to adapt to. Losing weight quickly can affect your ability to maintain your breast milk supply.
There are however a number of positive steps you can take to make sure you reach your goal in the longer term. Let’s take a look.
When will I get back to my normal weight?
When you give birth, you lose around 6 kilos (13 pounds) immediately. When you return home again, you continue to lose water and, once your uterus returns to its original size, you will lose another 2-3 kilos (4-7 pounds). If you are breastfeeding, you will get back to your normal weight more quickly because producing milk uses fat stores in your body and burns up lots of energy.
It is important to allow the weight to come off slowly. This process should happen naturally as long as excess kilojoules are not consumed. Aim to give yourself around 6 months to get your figure back naturally before resorting to an energy restricted eating plan.
Do I need to go on a special diet?
No. Your body needs some additional energy and nutrients to meet the extra requirements of feeding and generally looking after your baby.
As a guide:
- Eat a wide variety of foods (including breads, cereals, rice, pasta, vegetables, legumes, fruits, milk, cheese, yogurt, lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds).
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast.
- Take the time to have a nutritious lunch and dinner.
- Have your meals at regular intervals.
- Have balanced meals and snacks, without too much fat or sugar.
If you would like more specific information on how to lose weight safely and effectively, consult your doctor or an accredited practising dietitian, who will provide tailored dietary advice based on your lifestyle and your physical condition.
How can I get a flat stomach again?
Your stomach muscles and skin need toning up as they become distended and stretched during your pregnancy. A few gentle toning exercises will help you get your stomach firm again.
Before giving your stomach muscles a workout, you must first ensure that any physical damage as a result of giving birth has healed and is back to normal again. Speak with your doctor to find out what is best for you and when you can.