While pregnancy and childbirth can take their toll on your body in many ways, it’s not always the physical changes that are most challenging. Emotional changes related to pregnancy and motherhood can also affect your body image and self-esteem – especially if you struggle with your weight during pregnancy, or find it difficult to bounce back into your pre-pregnancy clothes right after the baby is born. Luckily, there are several great tips out there that can help you lose the extra weight – and then keep it off! Here are ten quick and effective tips to help you shed that post-baby weight once and for all!
1) Don’t skip breakfast
Without eating, your body is working at a higher rate of burning calories. Skipping breakfast means you’re starving yourself – which will slow your metabolism down, making it harder to drop pounds. When you eat breakfast, you’re better able to go about your day without cravings for more food (which can lead to excessive snacking). Also, when we don’t eat for a long time our bodies produce less leptin, which tells us we are full.
2) Exercise daily
There’s no better way to burn fat than regular physical activity. If you’re just getting started, aim for at least three 30-minute sessions a week of anything that gets your heart rate up, like running or cycling. The more fit you are now, though, the faster you can lose later, so try adding one more session per week every month or so. And remember: Exercise isn’t just about working out; it’s about eating well too.
3) Eat every three hours
When you eat smaller meals throughout your day, instead of three big meals, it helps keep your energy levels high. Plus, when you eat that often, your metabolism stays in high gear so you can continue burning calories efficiently. If you’re nursing (or bottle feeding), schedule a time immediately after every feeding for a mini meal or snack.
4) Drink green tea
Green tea is packed with antioxidants that can help speed up your metabolism, which means you’ll burn more fat. A review in Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that drinking at least 2 cups of green tea each day led to a 4% increase in total body fat loss over 12 weeks compared with a placebo group. Green tea isn’t calorie free, so if you add milk and sugar, it can have about 61 calories per cup. However, adding lemon juice will keep your drink flavorful without adding calories.
5) Put down the napkin!
No, seriously! Piling high your plate with food can make it seem like you’re eating more than you actually are. And for a number of reasons, eating slower keeps us at a healthy weight. When we eat quickly (or gobble down food from a jar or bag), we consume more calories than if we had taken time to enjoy our food.
6) Don’t stress out
A study from Australia found that women who were stressed out about postpartum weight loss had lower levels of leptin—the hormone that helps you feel full—and higher levels of ghrelin, which stimulates your appetite. What’s more, stress is linked with increased cortisol, a type of belly fat storage hormone. In other words, if you want a flatter stomach and calmer state of mind, avoid stress wherever possible.
7) Eat more fiber
Eating a diet rich in fiber helps you feel full longer, which means you’ll be less likely to gorge on unhealthy snacks or meals. Research even shows that eating more high-fiber foods reduces your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Aim for at least five servings of fruits (fresh fruit, dried fruit, frozen fruit—it all counts!) and vegetables every day.
8) Drink more water
Staying hydrated can help you shed pounds fast. If you’re really serious about losing weight, drink at least eight glasses of water a day. (You can also try adding natural fruit-based flavorings.) Not only is water an easy way to cut back on calories, but it’s also associated with weight loss. One study found that drinking two cups of water before meals helped people lose an average of 5 pounds over three months!
9) Take your vitamins
After your baby is born, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough vitamins. Women who have just given birth should try eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, grains and proteins. It may also be beneficial for women who are breastfeeding their child(ren) to take multivitamins while they are doing so as well.
10) Love yourself and be happy
Post-baby weight loss isn’t always about how many extra pounds you need to shed. A lot of it comes down to how good you feel about yourself. The most effective way of losing that weight is by simply being happy with your body. If you’re in love with who you are and loving life, then everything else—including dropping those postpartum pounds—will fall into place.