When it comes to shedding weight you acquired during a pregnancy, it’s important to be patient. Celebrity moms seem to snap back into shape in an instant after having a baby. But keep in mind that they often have the advantage of employing a team of personal trainers, clothing consultants and chefs to help.
For the rest of us mere mortals, it can take several months for a new mom to get back to her pre-pregnancy size.
So what’s the most effective way to lose post-pregnancy weight short of hiring a full-time chef? Breastfeeding combined with exercise.
Research has shown a link between breastfeeding and retaining less pregnancy-acquired weight after the baby’s birth.
One study showed that breastfeeding combined with exercise activity of moderate intensity at least four times per week produces the best weight loss. That’s because breastfeeding moms burn about 500 more calories a day. Burning 500 extra calories a day can mean one pound of weight loss per week.
This calorie-loss boost, combined with increased activity, can help to accelerate your weight loss.
Of course you’ll want to limit your calorie intake somewhat. But don’t go to extremes in cutting back. As a breast-feeding mom, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients and calories to properly nourish your baby.
Breast milk transfers nutrients to your baby. So you’ll want to make sure you’re eating enough food and the most nutritious type to nourish you both. Good food choices include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
Another reason to eat well is that nursing moms may feel hungry more often than before they started breastfeeding. This is because of the extra calorie they expend. Getting enough rest and adequate exercise and activity, in addition to a healthy diet from the food choices listed above, will help replenish energy stores
In additional to helping you to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy, breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your child. Breastfeeding your child gives your child a stronger immune system, better vision, less constipation – and may protect against childhood leukemia.
So while you’re transferring antibodies that are necessary for the baby’s protection, you’re also getting the added benefit of an increased metabolism, which will help with weight loss. Breastfeeding moms also experience a lower risk of postpartum depression, develop stronger immunity, and may see an increase in self-esteem.
If you’re nursing and struggling to find a good balance in your diet, talk to a dietitian who can help make sure you’re getting all of the nutrition necessary for you and your baby.
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