5 Reasons You Aren’t Losing the Baby Weight

The pressure new moms feel to get back to their “pre-baby weight” is insane. According to a survey by BabyCenter.com, 61 percent of new moms said they expected to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight by their baby’s first birthday. Your body just performed a miracle and gave you the biggest gift of all. Spend the first year of your baby’s life soaking up memories rather than feeling the pressure to “bounce back after baby.” There’s nothing wrong with setting a good example for your child by striving for strong and healthy, but lose the unhealthy obsession with the scale. Be kind to yourself, and your body. Treat it as the temple and shrine it deserves to be after all that it has gone through. For those of you who are approaching the journey with grace, have patience when it comes to results. If you’re doing all the right thing and not seeing any improvements, here are 5 possible reasons you aren’t losing the baby weight.

Reason #1: Your body is still healing

Remember that your body went through a complete transformation, including gaining gestational weight and fluctuating hormones. What people don’t know tell you about pregnancy is that the hormones alone can take a while to recalibrate. Your body grew a baby and it’s normal for everything to be changing postpartum. Add in breastfeeding and it can take even longer. After you have a baby, the main focus is on caring for your infant while your body is healing from pregnancy and delivery. Give yourself time for getting back to where you want to be and embrace all that your body has done for you. It has shown an incredible amount of strength, and that alone is worth celebrating. If you’re still not seeing any results after consistent healthy eating, resting and light exercise, talk with your doctor about adjusting your hormone levels.

Reason #2: You’re not eating the right amount of foods

There’s a misconception that in order to lose weight, you just need to cut calories. Your metabolism is not the same after having a baby. And if you’re breastfeeding, you need to be consuming an additional 250 to 500 calories in order to keep up with milk production. If you aren’t eating enough, you could also gain weight as a result. Eating less doesn’t mean you’ll automatically lose weight. Instead, what happens is your body will store fat. What you can do is pay attention to portion sizes, read food labels and consume real, whole foods. Avoid high-calorie drinks and drink plenty of water. Also take note of how many “good” foods you’re consuming. Even nutrient dense foods can be detrimental to your progress if you’re eating too much of them.  

Reason #3: Quality sleep is hard to come by

When a new baby arrives, restful sleep goes right out the window. Your patterns are disrupted. The duration is limited to short bursts of sleep rather than a good stretch of quality rest. Lack of sleep can cause cortisol spikes, which in turn, affects metabolism negatively. A recent study found that women who get fewer than five hours of sleep per night are 32 percent more likely to experience major weight gain. Unfortunately, a lack of sleep is a realistic expectation of motherhood. To make sure cortisol levels stay balanced, avoid caffeine, excessive stress and overexerting yourself at the gym too soon after birth.   

Reason #4: It’s too much, too soon

Before you start any kind of workout plan, you need to get cleared by your doctor to even begin exercise. This means you need to plan on rest and recovery taking at least six to eight weeks after giving birth. Remember how much your body has changed and don’t rush it. Too many women return to high-impact exercise too quickly, which can lead to complications like diastasis recti, pelvic issues and overexertion. Focus on low-intensity workouts for the first several months as low-impact cardiovascular exercise along with pelvic floor and core work can help your body heal from pregnancy and delivery. There are some really great pregnancy workout apps that you can use for postpartum. You can also consider working with a postnatal trainer to create a plan tailored to your specific goals.

Reason #5: You just need to be more patient

It took your body nine months to create a beautiful life and understandably, it will take as much time or more to get back to where you were. Effective weight-loss goals aim for a loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week, which is also realistic for busy moms tending to newborns. Think about what you can do today to move toward your goal. Is it walking for 30 minutes? Is it doing squats while you’re rocking the baby to sleep? The saying is true that you want to shoot for a healthy lifestyle, and those are habits that take time to cultivate. For now, focus on what you can do while enjoying this precious miracle that you created. Our bodies are brilliant, miraculous and beautiful. Treat yours with kindness, patience and love and results will come, in more ways than one. Be gentle with yourself; you got this, mama!

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