Pregnancy. 40 weeks of awe-inspiring, even magical natural processes happening simultaneously in the mother’s body culminating in the birthing of a tiny human life into the world. The aftermath of the arduous journey often leaves mothers with a bundle of joy but a greatly changed body.
It’s not uncommon for a new mother to carry excess baby weight for months after delivery; it is oftentimes the unavoidable by-product of the joyous process. So how is it that some new mothers are able to snap back like a jigsaw puzzle that has been temporarily disassembled? The secret to getting back that elusive body after a grueling nine month-long gestational period is – drum roll please – a healthy lifestyle that includes diet and exercise.
Just look at Teyana Taylor in Kanye West's stunning "Fade" video. She was able to return to her beautiful pre-pregnancy physique in seemingly the blink of an eye. My question is, was she even pregnant? The answer, of course she was. So, what was her trick? What’s the secret that only a few seem to know? That’s just it, there is no trick, no silver bullet, no secret. Again, it’s eating right and exercising.
There is no need for a special low calorie, low fat diet, as nursing will significantly burn calories. A nursing mother should consume at least 1500-1800 calories per day as she will burn 200-500 of those from breastfeeding alone. New mothers should lose no more than 1.5-2lbs per week as rapid weight loss could compromise the quality of a mother’s breast milk and lower her metabolism by sending her in to starvation (storage) mode.
Nonetheless, breastfeeding is not a license to scarf down candy bars, potato chips and baked goods. The first way to begin a healthy diet is to refrain from consuming processed foods loaded with sugar and salt. A diet moderate in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates is key to avoid triggering fat storage. In addition, strength-training builds lean muscle, which can boost the metabolism and burn 70% of the calories you consume each day. Exercises that build lean muscle include squats, push-ups, overhead presses and other total body movements.
With patience and stick-to-it-ness, baby weight can be lost in a few short months and make returning to that sexy slimmer physique even more attainable. Always be mindful of any postpartum restrictions to exercise and be sure to receive clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Dr. Ivan Hernandez aka Dr.Ivan, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, FMS
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