Losing weight after pregnancy without breastfeeding
In the first 6 weeks after the birth you should definitely avoid dieting and starving. Non-nursing mothers often find it more difficult to lose weight after the birth. To lose weight without breastfeeding it helps to change your diet slowly.
You should have breakfast every morning, no matter how hungry you are. Smoothies with curd cheese are ideal because they contain few calories but a lot of protein and fruit. Fruit and vegetables should make up the bulk of your diet, and you should also take enough vitamins and trace elements.
Carbohydrate sources such as rice or noodles should be eaten mainly at lunchtime and in manageable quantities. Carbohydrates after 4 pm, sweets, alcohol and sweetened drinks should be avoided. For dinner, light foods such as salads or soups should be eaten to stimulate fat burning overnight. In addition, at least 2 litres of water should be drunk daily.
Prognosis – the dreaded yo-yo effect!
In order to lose weight healthily and in the long term and not to become a victim of the so-called yo-yo effect, a change in diet and not a radical crash diet should always be the goal. The latter – despite advertising promises to the contrary – are unfortunately only rarely crowned with success. Many of these one-sided and very extreme slimming concepts work with strict rules that lead to a high calorie deficit.
However, if you consume too few calories, the body suffers from this deficit and understands it as a signal to switch to starvation mode. The metabolism is reduced and you generally consume fewer calories. Once you have reached your desired weight and are eating again as before the diet, you will gain weight rapidly because your metabolism is still working at its slower pace.
The weight increases rapidly and often even exceeds the initial weight. However, if you lose weight slowly with a healthy diet and a healthy amount of physical activity, the chances are good that you will maintain a normal body weight in the long term. It is important to realise that you cannot or should not die all your life, but that a healthy diet is a lasting, satisfactory solution for everyday life.
You can and should pass this on to your children. A balanced but not too strict diet is of great importance for their growth and development. In addition, a natural, intuitive approach that is actively practiced by both parents significantly reduces the risk of becoming overweight later on.
Cause of the weight increase
The cause of the extra kilos after a pregnancy is to a large extent completely normal and unavoidable. Every pregnant woman will – more or less – gain weight. On the one hand, the weight of the baby naturally plays a role, on the other hand water retention and also muscle growth of the uterus are important for the birth process, hormonal breast growth and the creation of fat reserves for the breastfeeding period.
Exactly how much gain is okay and healthy depends on the starting weight of the expectant mother. For women with a normal body mass index (BMI) – i.e. BMI between 19 and 25 kg/m2 – this means a weight gain of about 10 to 15 kg. As a rule of thumb, those who were very slim before pregnancy can and should gain more weight than those who already have some “fat reserves” in the sense of being overweight at the beginning.
In order to get through the exciting phase leading up to the birth in good health, you should be careful not to “eat for two”. A pregnancy is neither an illness nor a free ticket to do everything you ever wanted to do. Not all the extra kilos that are added over the course of 9 months are due to the unborn child.
Of course a pregnancy should be a time of joy and also of pleasure. In order to be able to supply the growing child and yourself as a pregnant woman well with all important vitamins, minerals and sufficient energy, it is best to listen to your “gut feeling”. Am I hungry?
If so, what for? Am I more in the mood for sweets? Or something hearty?
A healthy body knows its needs and tries to communicate them to the mind. Not least for this reason, certain cravings or ravenous attacks during the extreme situation that pregnancy represents for the body are completely normal. But what about the mothers who have gained more than the recommended 10 – 15 kg and want to get rid of this extra weight?
For these women, roughly speaking, what is recommended for those who want to lose weight applies – if you consume fewer calories than your body uses up, the pounds will drop. So if you want to lose weight, you should eat fewer calories and/or burn more calories. For the former, there are many different methods – from low carb diets to clean eating, to name just a few.
Breastfeeding women in particular should take great care to maintain a balanced and healthy diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, good fats (e.g. avocado, olive oil, nuts or fish) and sufficient protein (e.g. milk, yoghurt, meat). These and other important substances are not only needed by the mother’s body to stay healthy and strong, but also by the infant in its breast milk.
In order to boost the energy metabolism, in addition to breastfeeding, walks in the fresh air with the baby carriage are a good idea shortly after birth, when the female body still needs a lot of rest and regeneration time. The extra exercise consumes extra energy, the baby benefits from fresh air and can always be close to the mother in the pram. Later on, the mother’s training should be extended towards endurance sports (such as walking, jogging or even swimming) and supplemented by strength training. This is the ideal way to support healthy, permanent weight loss.