Motherhood is a complete new phase in women’s life. In this phase, you not only get an added responsibility of your kid but also the additional weight and then you find yourself often wandering off to your past days, when you were leaner than your current size. When you look at yourself in the mirror after the delivery, you realize that “Oh My God! I have put on so much” and you start thinking that “how can I shed off this weight quickly?” Mothers, who are lactating, see an extra 500 calories burn off per day. That’s a plus……Mommies!!! But at some point, you will reach the stage, where you hit the plateau and say, “why am I not losing any more weight?” Want to get rid of those extra pounds after pregnancy? Keep reading….
CAUTION: You should start any exercise or yoga only after doctor’s clearance. If you had a normal delivery, you can start exercise after 45 days of your delivery. If you had a C-section, start exercise after 6 months. But once again remember, doctor’s clearance is essential or you could probably harm your body than do any good.
How to lose weight after pregnancy with Exercise?
1. Focus on your breathing. As you breathe in, your abdomen should bulge out and as you breathe out, your abdomen should go in. This is also known as Pranakarshan kriya (breathing exercise) in yoga. It helps you to get maximum oxygen for your body, thereby helping all your organs to work more efficiently. When all your organs work more efficiently, your body requires more energy, for which it will start breaking the extra fat stored in your body, thereby helping you with weight reduction. Try to do this as and when you can.
2. Walking is a good way to lose weight. If you add on intervals of fast pace in your walks, you get more benefit. Why? Because when you add fast-paced intervals, you would see your heart rate raising, similar to what you see when you exercise or run on the treadmill.
3. Work out with your baby: Exercising is the best way to get back in shape after pregnancy but with all that household chores piling up and stretching yourself to keep up with the baby, job and home, you must be wandering that “How do other mommies find the time to exercise?”. Even though you are stretched between work and home; I’m sure you have been able to spend time with your little one, every day. Why not combine some of this time with your workout? Let your baby watch you exercise. Click here to see a good video which I would recommend you to watch as it has many stroller exercises, which you can do while strolling your baby.
4. Abdominal Crunches are also a good way of losing fat around your belly but read following before doing it. During the nine months of pregnancy, your abdominal muscles get stretched to a good extent, as you have the baby growing inside. Immediately starting with your abdominal crunches might harm your body. Your rectus abdominis muscle can be torn due to the stretch during pregnancy.
Test your Rectus abdominis muscle before you start the crunches.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent.
- Keep your fingers pointing towards each other on your belly button.
- Push your hands down.
- Lift your head up as you breathe out and try to feel the ridge of your muscle at your belly button or below it.
- If there is a gap, you will feel it, which indicates you have a tear in your Rectus abdominis muscle; doing crunches would worsen the condition further.
At this point, you have to work on your transverses abdominis which is the deepest muscle of your abdomen along with your multifidus muscle which runs along your spine. Increasing the strength of both of these muscles, strengthens your core and protects your back from injury or overstraining.
How to lose weight after pregnancy with Yoga?
Yoga has asanas(postures) which can be helpful to you in toning your body especially your abs. It also helps you fight the depression or anxiety that you develop after pregnancy.
1. Tiryaka Bhujangasana (modified):
- Lie on your abdomen, your hands near your chest and your feet are together.
- Raise up from your upper body and only about half an inch from your knees.
- Breathe in and turn backwards, hold your breath for 10 counts and then turn back to the center and breathe out.
- Repeat the same thing on the other side.
- Do it for 2-3 times, you can take rest of 10-15 seconds in between 2 rounds, if you are tired.
Click here to see the video (we are going to modify it while doing. Keep your knees 1/2 an inch above the ground and keep your feet together.) Avoid doing this asana if you have back pain
- Stand with your feet 2 – 2 1/2 feet wide.
- Turn your right foot on the right side.
- Breathe in and raise your left hand and touch it to your ear.
- Breathing out bend from your waist on the right side.
- Hold in this position for 10 counts with normal breathing and then breathing in come up slowly to your initial position.
Click here to watch Trikonasana Video.
- Kneel on your knees on the mat.
- Breathe in and take one hand back trying to touch the heel of that foot.
- Make a circle with the other hand while taking it back to touch the other foot heel.
- You will feel a good stretch on your abdomen and back muscles.
- Hold that position for 10 counts with normal breathing.
- To come back, encircle your one hand anti-clockwise and then release your other hand.
Click here to watch Ustrasana Video.
4. Mahabandh, where you breathe out, pull your anus upwards (Mulbandh), pull your abdomen in (Uddiyan Bandh) and lock your chin to your chest and hold your breath till you can. You have to pull your abdomen inside as much as you can keeping your back straight. After holding it for a while, first release your Mulbandh, then release your Uddiyan Bandh and finally unlock your chin. With this, you are not only working on your core but also on your back. Click here to see the detailed explaination for Mahabandh.
5. While lactating mothers can perform Uddiyan Bandh and you will see the fat around your abdomen start reducing with regular practice. It also helps to strengthen your back muscles at the same time. You could also do this as you take your baby for strolling. Click here to see the detailed explaination of Uddiyanbandh.
Remember, starting slowly and then adding on the exercise time will help, rather than immediately targeting one hour in the start and getting bored later. You can start with as little as 10-15 minutes a day and gradually work your way up. You can also spread your workouts in short bouts of 10 – 15 minutes for 2 – 3 times a day. Small things like using the stairs wherever possible, parking your car far from the parking lot and walking to the mall or the store also counts. The goal should be to remain active.
How to lose weight after pregnancy with Diet?
Exercise and diet go hand-in-hand. So, if you want good results then along with exercise, you have to be careful of what you are putting in your mouth and at what time. I don’t say you have to go on any specific diet or completely eliminate a particular food group but your food intake has to be balanced with carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals., so ensure you add on whole grains, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid junk food and beverages. You can have unsweetened juices. Try out small tips like following:
- Have good heavy breakfast.
- Make sure your main meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner contain both proteins and carbohydrates (plain salad for lunch / dinner won’t be a good idea, add on some beans to it or throw in some meat or take a bowl of yogurt on the side – idea is to add on proteins with the carbs).
- Try to eat every 2-3 hours to raise up your metabolism.
- If you want to burn the fat in your body, keep a gap of at least 2 hours between your bedtime and the last food you put into your mouth.
- Sipping on more and more water is going to be of great benefit and that would also curb your cravings for the extra snacks which your body does not really require.
My advice in the end is Take It Slow……Try to make one change at a time. Try one thing for a week and see if it suits you. If it does, then continue it and add on another change while you continue with the first one and if it does not suit you, leave it and try another change. Remember, it is not necessary that all the things will suit everybody as every individual is different but you won’t know whether one thing suits you or not unless you give it a try. Something similar happens when you go shopping for clothes you are unable to say if certain dress would suit you or not, unless you try it
Come on mom, you can do it!!!