Bringing your new baby home could very well be one of the most joyous and memorable occasions in your life. As you get into the routine of diaper changing, feeding and sleeping (hopefully!), it’s natural for you to start thinking about losing weight. But it’s important to remember that your body has just been through a lot; giving birth is no small feat, and your body needs time to rest, recover and replenish before you put undue pressure on yourself to get back into your favorite pair of pre-pregnancy jeans. First and foremost, you need to listen to your doctor and his or her recommendations for when you can start exercising and any other important guidelines. Here are some other important tips for how to lose baby weight, with the help of Atkins:
Set realistic weight loss goals:
You typically lose up to10 pounds during childbirth, and you will lose additional weight in coming weeks as you shed additional retained fluids. While the fat you stored during pregnancy won’t disappear on its own right away, it’s also important to lose it in the right way. Focus on losing 1 to 2 pounds a week until you hit your target weight, but keep in mind that depending on how much weight you have to lose, it may take six months or even longer to return to your pregnancy weight, whether you’re breast-feeding or not.
Give yourself some time to ease back into weight loss. There’s never a right time to do a crash diet, but now would be the absolute worst time! You want to lose the baby weight slowly and steadily, without putting any undue stress on yourself or your body. Generally, you could start eating around 50 grams of net carbs a day.
As with all phases of Atkins, build your eating program around protein, including meat, poultry and seafood, eggs and healthy natural fats such as olive and flaxseed oil, nuts/seeds and their butters, and avocados.
Eat plenty of vegetables and one serving of fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or grapefruit daily.
Read ingredient labels and AVOID hydrogenated oils.
Cook meat well but don’t burn it—heavily charred meats can be unhealthy.
Be sure to drink plenty of water. Shoot for 8 (eight-ounce) glasses of water a day, possibly more if you are breastfeeding.
Eat small, frequent meals with healthy snacks in between to keep your hunger in check and your energy level high. If you are breastfeeding, you may feel extra hungry because your body is working around the clock to make breast milk for your baby; the frequent meals and snacks will help you keep you satisfied.
Focus on your body’s hunger cues vs. eating a specific number of calories, and watch your portion sizes.
Once you have the go-ahead from your doctor to exercise, try to walk 30 minutes a day at a comfortable pace. If you already had an exercise routine prior to pregnancy and/or during pregnancy, now’s the time to slowly ease back into it.
If you’re breastfeeding:
You may need to add up to an extra 500 calories a day (for a total daily calorie intake of 2,000 to 2,200 calories) while breastfeeding, but you can safely drop to 1,800 calories a day once your baby is two months old. Remember that you are using your own calories to feed your baby, and cutting calories too early or drastically may interfere with milk production.
When it comes to Atkins, we advise breastfeeding mothers to avoid Phase 1. You should be able to lose weight gradually while breastfeeding by keeping your daily carb consumption around 50 grams of net carbs or above. Nursing a baby requires a reasonable amount of calories, so you should see a gradual weight loss. The issue is that too rapid a weight loss, combined with the concomitant release of toxins stored in fat cells, might also be transmitted into breast milk. Until you wean your child, losing only 1 to 2 pounds a week should be your goal.
If you start losing more than 1 to 2 pounds per week while breastfeeding, you may need to add an extra snack and/or increase your net carbs to slow weight loss down—the vitamins and minerals from the food you eat will get pumped into your breast milk, and the calories for your breast milk are mostly coming from your body reserves (which includes the weight you gained during pregnancy).
A typical day’s menu would look like this:
Breakfast: 2-egg omelet and 1 ounce cheese
Snack: ½ cup berries and 2 ounces nuts
Lunch: Grilled chicken with 2 tablespoons peanut sauce and a large salad
Snack: Greek yogurt and half a pear
Dinner: Lamb kebabs, half a baked sweet potato and 2 cups mixed salad with 1 ounce blue or feta cheese and Greek vinaigrette dressing.
And have fun! This is a very special time you will never forget.