How to lose tummy weight after pregnancy

what to eat after child birth

You’ve had a baby, but you still look pregnant. Don’t worry. It’s entirely normal for some weight to hang around your mid-section after you’ve given birth. There was a lot of growing and stretching going on for nine months, so it makes sense that our bodies don’t spring back right away.

Feeling your squidgy, soft tummy for the first time can be quite confronting. And many women can’t wait to lose their mum tum. But unfortunately for most of us, it’s not going to be like in the movies when the new mum leaves the hospital in her size six jeans. Instead, it will take some healthy eating, a little exercise and a bit of patience.

The good news is there are some ways to speed up the process. By following a few simple measures, you could be back to your pre-pregnancy shape within a few months. Just be realistic about your goals, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember, you’ve just grown a human; that’s a big deal, so your body deserves all the extra love and appreciation.

How to lose tummy weight after delivery

Although it may feel like all the weight you put on during your pregnancy is sitting around your belly, there’s actually a lot more to it. Your abdominal muscles have stretched open to accommodate your growing bub. In addition, your small intestine and stomach have scootched over to create more space, and your body is surging with hormones that increase the elasticity of your connective tissue.

So take a moment to appreciate the hoops your body has jumped through to protect your little bundle of joy. And then, follow the below steps to start to get rid of your stomach pouch.

1. Breastfeed

Breastfeeding burns on average between 300-500 calories a day. Plus, when you first start breastfeeding, your uterus contracts which can help to reduce the bloating and swelling in your stomach area. However, breastfeeding isn’t a license to eat cake. Breastfeeding allows you to at up to 300-500 more calories per day, but if the calories you’re eating exceed the calories you’re burning; you won’t lose weight.

Instead, if you aim to eat slightly fewer calories than you’re burning, you can safely lose weight without affecting your milk supply.

2. Eat enough calories

We want to eat less calories than we burn, but only slightly less. We don’t want to radically reduce the number of calories we eat.

Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, eating enough calories is essential to get rid of stubborn belly fat after pregnancy. If we restrict our calories too heavily after birth, our body thinks it needs to hold onto weight because we must be enduring a famine.

Dramatically cutting calories may be tempting, but research shows it’s not effective and not safe. Also, being hungry (or hangry!) all the time is not sustainable and can lead to overeating and weight gain.

The best thing you can do for yourself and your little one is to nourish your body with as many nutrients as possible. Replace low-nutrient, high-calorie foods with nutrient-dense foods. 

Foods to incorporate into your diet if you want to lose your postpartum belly include:

  • Avocado: Full of healthy fats, avocado will help you feel full longer and will help you ward off the blood sugar spikes that cause fat storage.
  • Bananas: Bananas are full of potassium which helps to limit sodium in the belly and reduce belly swelling.
  • Greek Yoghurt: bursting with good bacteria for your gut which is great for you and bub. It’s also an insulin stabiliser that helps to prevent your body from storing calories as fat.
  • Whole Grains: Whole grains will help you stay on top of your game and will provide long-lasting energy to help curb your sugar cravings and mindless snacking.

3. Exercise

Research shows that getting back into a very light form of exercise as soon as possible after giving birth helps to reduce anxiety and mental health conditions. It also speeds up postpartum weight loss and allows women to gain back their cardiovascular fitness faster.

Before doing any exercise, you’ll want to get the green light from your doctor. High-intensity activities like running, skipping, crunches, push-ups or anything that involves heavy lifting are a no-no for at least six weeks and, in many cases, longer. The type of exercise we’re talking about is a walk to the coffee shop each day or some light stretching. It’s more about moving your body rather than exercising. It might not seem like much, but it can make a world of difference to your mental wellbeing as well as your weight loss journey ahead.

4. Eat more protein

Protein plays a major role in building and healing tissue in the body. If you’re not eating enough protein, your abdominal muscles will take much longer to repair and reform to their original state. In addition to this, protein helps us to lose belly fat. Protein has the highest energy demand of all the macronutrients. This means the energy used to digest protein burns more calories than when we eat fats and carbohydrates.

Lastly, protein is super satiating, which means it helps to keep you feeling full throughout the day. One of the main reasons people crave sugar is because their diet is lacking in protein. Do you ever crave something sweet right after a meal? That’s a sign you need to up your protein.

Some great sources of protein to include in your diet include:

  • Lean red meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Legumes (chickpeas, beans and lentils)

How to get rid of overhanging belly after birth

So, we’ve spoken about how to lose tummy weight after birth. But how can we help our muscles and tendons heal to allow ourselves to return to our pre-birth physical shape and achieve a flatter stomach?

1. Wear compression tights

Relaxin is the hormone responsible for making our muscles and tendons nice and stretchy during pregnancy. After birth, relaxin remains in our bodies for a while. So, Compression tights are a fantastic way to help hold our muscles together while we wait for the hormone to return to a normal level.

Compression tights are super tight, and many women find they’re too uncomfortable. If you don’t choose to wear them, your muscles will return to normal. However, it will take a lot longer. Health professionals recommend wearing compression tights within the first few days after birth and for up to six months.

2. Try a belly band

Belly bands are a fantastic option for women who don’t want to wear full compression tights. In addition, they’re perfect for women in hotter climates as not as much skin is covered.

A belly band is worn only around the abdominal area and fastened with Velcro, making it easy to take on and off. The significant difference between the belly band and compression tights is the band doesn’t provide medical-grade compression as the tights do.

How can In Shape Mummy Health Shakes help you lose belly fat?

The In Shape Mummy Health Shake is designed to help mums lose stubborn belly fat. It’s a breastfeeding-specific meal replacement shake used by thousands of mums Australia-wide to help them get back to their pre-pregnancy weight.

The shakes are packed with protein to help heal any damage caused to your abdominal region and help keep you feeling full. They’re also enhanced with 25 vitamins and minerals to ensure you’re nourishing your body from day one.

Most mums like to replace one meal a day with an In Shape Mummy smoothie. We recommend adding things like fruit, oats, nuts, nut butter, seeds and vegetables to your smoothies to ensure your calories are high enough to support you throughout the day. In addition to this, you can replace one snack with a health shake. When replacing a snack, we recommend just having the mix with your favourite milk.

If you want to connect with other mums who have had fantastic results using In Shape Mummy, join our Facebook group, the In Shape Mummy Breastfeeding Support Group.

Shevi is a qualified nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food sciences. As a new mum herself, she is passionate about postnatal-related nutrition. Shevi has worked alongside some of the most famous leaders and celebrities in the fitness industry throughout Australia and the UK.

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