Now that you are no longer growing a new person, your thoughts may turn to weight loss after pregnancy. Many people get far too worked up about this. There seems to be plenty of misinformation about the difficulty of losing weight postpartum. The strategy I will discuss here works with your body's natural inclination to return to normal.
While you were pregnant, you may have found yourself more willing to eat despite hunger and fullness cues. There tends to be a bit more emotional eating or even binge eating during pregnancy. It is an inherently emotional time, and that is not even considering the hormonal changes.
You may have even gained a bit more weight than you had planned. But this is no cause for alarm. Again, most of the additional gain would be from non-hunger eating. It is important to recommit to listening to your body's cues. It is necessary for you to notice non-hunger urges to eat and explore them rather than simply eating for no reason. (See my other articles on this topic for further details.)
Remember that about 15 pounds or so will immediately come off from fluid, placenta and the baby. And over the next few days and weeks, some of that fluid and blood volume with continue to decrease. If you were given fluids in the hospital, you may not come home weighing 15 fewer pounds. Do not fear--this will drop off quickly.
If you are breastfeeding, you may find your weight drops off steadily. Avoid rapid weight loss with this because it absolutely can compromise your milk supply. The weight will come off in time. Some people have noted they tend to hang on to the last 5-10 pounds while breastfeeding. This is quite possible due to breast volume and hormonal influences.
You may find that you start feeling better and want to get back to exercising. You may want to consider doing yoga or pilates, both of which strengthen the core muscles. They also can help you with stress relief, which you may need at this point. Avoid pushing yourself too hard as you resume a workout routine. This can lead to injury, or more likely, burnout.
A combination of intuitive eating (think hunger and fullness cues), with some moderate activity will make weight loss after pregnancy a breeze. Just remember to be patient. Some new moms rush this process because they are afraid they will not return to normal. If you can be steady in your efforts and focus on your new bundle of joy, your body will be back before you know it!
Contact us with any questions about eating and mental health issues. You or someone you know may be in need of outpatient eating disorder treatment.
Jennifer Pereira LPC, RD - Counselor & Dietitian
1. Do you worry that you have lost control over how much you eat?
2. Do you make yourself sick (or use laxatives/exercise) if you feel uncomfortably full?
3. Do you currently suffer with or suffered in the past with eating issues?
4. Do you ever eat in secret?
5. Does your weight affect how you feel about yourself?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, or if you are not satisfied with your current eating patterns, contact us for more information.