Losing the Baby Weight: Chatting with Beth!

We’re going to do something a little different on the blog today – a guest post! By now, you’re starting to get a pretty good feel for Sherrie and I and how we parent, but as the saying goes, it takes a village.  We are very blessed to have many mommy friends surrounding us.

Today we’re chatting with my best friend, Beth.  Beth and I have known each other since seventh grade (that’s a lot of years, so we’ll just leave it at that).

Her son, Roy, just turned one! How cute is he?!

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Beth is also a Registered Dietitian and Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist.  It’s her job to counsel patients everyday on proper nutrition and eating habits based on the different conditions that they have.  I thought what a better way to tackle the idea of losing baby weight than to talk to a professional!

I sat down with Beth to have her answer some of the questions I had when it came to losing baby weight, here’s how it went:

You had your baby! Congratulations!  Since you are reading this article, you are probably looking to lose that extra baby weight you gained during pregnancy.

There are many factors responsible for our weight gain during pregnancy – the baby, our milk supply, the placenta, the fluid around the baby, and an overall increased blood supply.  Not to mention any fluid retention you might be having (that’s those puffy feet and ankles).  Upon delivery, you immediately lose the weight of the baby, placenta, and fluid.  This is likely the only time you will ever drop 10-15 pounds in a day.  You will lose another 4 pounds as your uterus shrinks and your belly bump goes back down.  Everyone’s uterus contracts back to its original size at a slightly different pace and breastfeeding speeds up the process.  An overview of pregnancy weight gain can be found here.

Even when your uterus has returned to its normal size (about the size of your fist), your body will be … different. Remember, your pelvis had to shift to carry the baby and then, if you had a vaginal delivery, it separated to allow the baby through.  Your hips are going to be wider, and sometimes it’s a permanent change.  Your ribcage also expanded while you were pregnant to allow more room for baby.  That change can also be permanent, but it varies from person to person.  Then there are your milk-filled breasts.  Chances are your old bras are now laughably small compared to the cup size needed to hold your breasts while your milk supply regulates.  My suggestion, buy some new clothes.  You need to feel good in your post-pregnancy body!  Eventually, if you put in the work, you will return to pre-pregnancy status but it’s important to feel good along the way.

Once you are cleared to exercise, usually 6 weeks for a vaginal delivery and 8 weeks for a cesarean, walking is the best way to get started.  It’s low impact and works a large variety of muscle groups, you get out in the fresh air, and you can bring baby along.  If you are really looking to get into an exercise routine, I suggest having at least one session with a personal trainer to develop a plan that is right for your skill level and goals.

For breastfeeding mamas, you need to be cautious and be sure to maintain your milk supply while losing weight but you also have the advantage of burning additional calories by breastfeeding!  The general recommendation is to stay above 1800 calories/day while breastfeeding.

First, some basics on weight loss… basic weight loss theory says that if the calories you eat are less than the calories you burn, you will lose weight.  To maintain your health we need to look beyond calories and into where your calories are coming from.  Calories come from three sources: carbohydrates, protein, and fat.  The human body needs all three of these, in appropriate amounts.  A typical “zone” diet will direct the dieter to consume 50% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20-30% from protein, and 20-30% from fat.  Great, but what does this mean in terms of choosing food?  Let’s look at a 2000 calorie diet: to have the correct balance of macro-nutrients (carbs, protein, and fat)  your daily requirements are 2 servings of fruit, 2-3 servings of vegetables, 6 servings of grains, 5-6 ounces of protein, and 3 servings of low fat dairy.  Now that brings us to that pesky serving size.  Not only is eating the correct food important, but so is how much of it you eat.  A great portion guide can be found here.

Unfortunately, there are no specific foods to “burn fat”, make you lose weight faster, or specifically target your belly.   Your best solution to healthy, sustainable weight loss is good old fashioned diet and exercise.  The up-side is that they are scientifically proven to create a lasting change.

Do you have more questions for Beth? Ask them here and she’ll answer! And follow along with her on Twitter. She also has an instagram for the yummy and healthy foods she makes for Roy, it’s called Toddler Gourmet – you can check it out here.

Emily signature (and Beth!)

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