Research shows that if you don’t lose that “baby fat” before your child’s first birthday, you probably will never get back to your prepregnancy weight. One year after delivery, nearly a quarter of new moms are still packing an extra 11 pounds or more! Here are some tips to help you get back to prepregnancy weight.
Find a Healthy Plan:
Avoid the temptation to try fad diets. Choose an eating plan or weight loss regimen that:
- Promotes portion control
- Includes all food groups
- Encourages gradual weight loss
A goal of one pound per week of weight loss is realistic.
Your weight loss plan should also:
- Encourage optimal protein intake
- Control total carbohydrate intake
- Focus on carbohydrates with a lower glycemic index
This plan will also help to control blood sugar and insulin levels, resulting in fewer mood swings.
Leverage The Power of Protein:
Studies have shown that a breakfast with adequate protein will improve appetite control, promote satiety, and help you avoid unhealthy snacks. Diets higher in protein will also help you keep the muscle as you lose the fat.
The general population consumes approximately 15% of calories from protein. Higher protein diets generally feature protein levels of 20 to 30% of calories. These levels of protein are considered to be safe by the Institute of Medicine, for adult women, including for women who are pregnant and lactating. Be sure to consume adequate water, which also helps you achieve your weight loss goals.
For a 2,000 calorie diet, 100 grams of protein equals 400 calories, (20% calories from protein.) Distribute protein evenly throughout the day. Suggested meal plan is 30 grams of protein at each meal and 10 grams as snacks.
Research shows that a combination of diet and exercise is more effective than diet alone in helping women return to prepregnancy weight. Research also shows that women who are physically active experience less depression, both during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Consult your physician for appropriate physical activity.
Stop Emotional Eating.
Moms with poor marital/partner relationships and less social support may be more prone to postpartum depression and weight management issues. The extent to which eating becomes emotional will have a strong effect on weight management. Check out my blog on emotional eating for more tips.
Military Moms Challenge:
New moms who are active duty military face a special challenge. Returning to a healthy weight and normal Body Mass Index is critical for them to maintain their career. A new book, Perinatal Mental Health and the Military Family, will be released in January 2017. I’m pleased to be a contributing author to this resource for military families.