Losing baby weight can be challenging for many moms. Over the years, I have grown pretty sure that the tendency to accumulate fat after pregnancy in certain areas of the body is related to changes in the metabolism as a result of pregnancy hormones.
In fact, many moms notice that no matter how much diet and exercise they do, the fat accumulated on their thighs and abdomen does not seem to want to go away and the shape of their body is permanently changed.
Your hormones after pregnancy need some time to re-adjust and find a new balance.
There are many aspect weight loss after pregnancy that include more than just dieting and exercising.
In fact, losing baby weight is a metabolic process that needs addressing hormonal balance at different levels.
Step #1. Follow a Healthy Diet
Eat foods that turn up your metabolism and avoid foods that turn it down. Chose lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods and refined carbohydrates, sugars, and give up coffee.
Have protein mostly from sprouted beans and seeds, lean chicken and turkey, salmon, cod, tilapia, and organic eggs.
Have small meals every 3 hours. Never go hungry and drink lots of water. Increase your fiber intake and add essential fatty acids to your diet. Avoid over eating and do not eat 2 hours before going to bed.
Step #2. Practice Yoga
There are many exercise routines perfect for the post birth period that can be performed at home. I like Yoga because it is the best way to keep flexible, burn calories, and build lean muscle that will help regain your pre pregnancy weight faster.
Postpartum yoga has an additional benefit: it helps you relax and relieves tension from your body, which in turn prevents the bad effects of stress hormones like cortisol.
Learning way to cope with stress is very beneficial to new moms who become overwhelmed by the responsibility of looking after a newborn baby.
Please make sure to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise activity and do not exercise 8 weeks after giving birth.
Step #3. Chose Breastfeeding
Some moms lose weight while breastfeeding. Not all moms have this experience, though. I believe it is a hormonal factor and some genetic as well. One of the reasons your body puts on weight during pregnancy is to help store the caloric energy it takes to breastfeed your baby.
Making milk uses up fat stores from pregnancy, in fact breastfeeding moms consume more calories (you need 500 extra calories per day). Make sure to follow a healthy diet and that the extra calories come from nutritious healthy food and not junk food.
Also, breastfeeding contributes to hormonal health because the hormones released by sucking (prolactin and oxytocin) influence the overall balance of many of your other hormones and keep estrogen levels low.
Step #4. Avoid Overeating
Overeating sends messages to your brain that stimulate fat accumulation making losing baby weight even harder.
Eat seeds, nuts and lots of fruits and vegetables when hungry.
If you need to, take extra fiber before a meal to help you feel full and prevent you from eating too much during a meal.
Step #5. Have a Good Night Sleep
If you do not recharge your batteries every night your body cannot detoxify and heal your organs putting more stress on your metabolism.
Also, there is a link between sleep and the hormones that influence your eating behaviour.
If you are sleep deprived, you tend to have higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which increases appetite and food cravings. As a result you do not feel full and desire to eat more.
Try to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night. If your baby wakes up to feed, ask for help so that you are not the only one getting up and losing precious sleep.
Step #6. Eliminate Stress
Stress releases cortisol, a hormone that causes weight gain. You can reverse this process by learn relaxation and by taking time to yourself.
Make sure to take extra stress reducing supplements like B complex, Magnesium, Vitamin C and Zinc when you feel stressed out. I would strongly recommend taking a good quality of all natural breastfeeding vitamins.
Make sure to supplement with a formula specifically designed for breastfeeding moms. Your prenatal vitamins will not have sufficient nutritional value for milk production.
I really like Nursing Blend, which was scientifically-designed by doctors and nutritionists to specifically meet the nutritional needs of nursing mothers. This blend contains the right minerals and vitamins for lactation with the proper amounts of vitamin D and Bs, which should increase during lactation.
Step #7. Release Harmful Toxins
Toxins in your body disrupt weight control signals and turn off the metabolic pathways that break down fat. Eliminate toxins is always part of losing baby weight after pregnancy.
Consider doing a liver and a colon cleanse to help toxins elimination.
Drinking green tea and eating cruciferous vegetables, watercress, dandelion greens, cilantro, and take probiotics (Lactobacillus and Bifidobacter) help normalize the gut flora and reduce endotoxins.
Note: if you are breastfeeding, do no do a detox until the baby has been weaned off. Toxins released go into the breast milk and harm the baby.
Step #8. Increase Fiber Intake
To help stabilize your blood sugar by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates take extra fiber.
Try to gradually increase your daily fiber intake to 30-50g by eating legumes, nuts, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
Step #9. Balance Your Thyroid Hormones
Balance your low thyroid by avoiding sugar, increasing fiber, eating low sodium foods, introducing alkaline foods to your diet, eating low glycemic index foods, taking omega-3 fatty acids, and eating kelp, which is rich in iodine. Avoid hydrogenated fats and high-fructose corn syrup.
Step #10. Boost Your Immune System
Losing baby weight is often related to your overall level of health and stress which can affect your immune system. When you are weak, your body is busy fighting invading organism and cannot metabolize nutrients properly.
Make sure to take herbs and supplements that support your immune system.
Also, avoid a strict low carb diets and heavy exercise routine because they can weaken your immune system.
The immune system is heavily dependent on glucose and the amino acid glutamine. When the carbohydrate and protein supply is low, your immune system can be compromised. So, when trying to lose weight do not cut more than 500 calories a day.
Also make sure to consume adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates to prevent putting your body under stress and suffer the immunosuppressive effects of cortisol.
Adding the right supplements to your diet while exercising can help your metabolism work better.
Co Q10 and NADH to help increase energy production.
Creatine powder to provide energy to your muscle cells while exercising.
Alpha-lipoic acid to protect mitochondria (cell power energy factories) from oxidation.
Amino acids arginine and aspartic acid building blocks important in many metabolic pathways.
Before taking any supplements talk to you health care practitioner if you are still nursing.
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