A GUIDE FOR LOSING WEIGHT AFTER PREGNANCY

A GUIDE FOR LOSING WEIGHT AFTER PREGNANCY

With special focus to Nigerian and African Women.

Pregnancy changes us. The change most times is drastic, and especially for us here in Africa, with our culture (the whole pumping you with food after childbirth and all that). 70 percent of women never get back to their former size after childbirth, and of the remaining 30 percent, 15 percent don’t lose the big tummy.

After childbirth, you might notice that you still look pregnant despite the fact that you have already given birth, this is absolutely normal. It takes between four and six weeks for your uterus to fully contract back to its normal size. Remember; please do not make the work harder on yourself. Do not over it during the pregnancy, the more you overeat, the harder it is to lose. Ensure you eat healthy during the pregnancy, but please please please do not overeat.

Diet
With no intent to criticise our culture, I would say that the habit of pumping women with tins of milk after childbirth and daily pounded yam is totally uncalled for. A lot of women add more weight after pregnancy than they did during pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, you really need to eat well, but not over eat. You should eat healthy, lots of Vegetables, Fruits and Salads, drink lots of water and continue with the routine drugs given to you at the hospital. The myth that if you don’t drink multiple tins of breast milk after childbirth your milk would dry up is fallacy. What happens to the poor women who can’t afford milk? Does their breast dry up? How many market women have you heard that complained that their breast milk dried up because they could not get powdered milk to drink? Please avoid daily pounded yam and the likes after childbirth.

Breastfeeding is one of the easiest ways to lose pregnancy weight. I always remember the episode of desperate housewives, where a mother was feeding her fully grown up son with breast milk, because she wanted to stay slim. However, I am not saying we should breastfeed till they are ten or eleven, but at least one year. Remember the WHO guideline says two years. Breast milk contains calories, and the more you breastfeed the more you lose calories.

Exercising
According the American college of Obstetrics and gynaecology, if you were active before the deliver, and you had a normal delivery with no complication, you can start walking and doing minor strengthening exercises for your abdomen as soon as you feel strong enough. However if you had a caesarean section, you should wait several weeks before starting any exercising.

For the exercises, we shall focus on three parts:

a. Cardio: Initially, after childbirth you should not do any strenuous cardio exercises. Start slow and steady: while some of us may be so eager to jump on the treadmill and start working out day and night, this might be dangerous. New mothers need to start slow and steady, start about 15 to 20 minutes every day, 3 days a week. The best form of cardio I advise for new moms is walking. Walking is a great exercise for women who just gave birth, please do not waste your maternity leave watching Nigerian movies all day and drinking milk. WALK! Walking can be done anywhere, any day and any time. For the first few weeks, you can walk 15 to 20 minutes every day, and then you increase both the time and the intensity as time goes by. A good form of walking is using the stroller, for those who live in areas where they can move around with the stroller. Taking your baby out in the stroller would help you burn some calories.

b. Strength Training
Please for those that had a caesarean section, I would advice that you stay away from this until your doctor says it’s okay for you to do this Pregnancy weakens some parts of the abdomen, While it isn’t possible to reduce only one spot, i.e. reduce only the tummy, you can however strengthen your abdominal muscles, so that after you lose the fat overlying them, you won’t have that flabby tummy that you see on some women. Sit-ups are useful, back exercises and tummy exercises. If it’s possible, get a tummy bench, and while you are watching African magic or Movie magic, you could be working on your tummy and losing weight. I am placing a link here to the video for abdominal exercises should you be interested in doing them. : http://africanweightloss.blogspot.com/2009/06/easy-do-at-home-tummy-exercises.html

c. Toning of your arms to prevent the popular ‘Christian mother arm’ could be done with dumbbells, you can carry 5kg dumbbells daily, this would help greatly.
Things that prevent us from exercising:
1. Fatigue: this is a common complaint, most women are very tired or often complain of fatigue after childbirth
2. Busy Schedule: some women jump back to work after childbirth, while some who are at home get overwhelmed with taking care of the baby and feeding him or her
3. Time constraints –Most women complain of Lack of time, they claim that there is never enough time to wake up an exercise.
My usual reply to this is: HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT
I believe this all depends on how bad you want it. IF you were promised 1million naira at the end of the month just to wake up at 4 am every day, most of us will not even go to bed at all to ensure we are still awake at that 4am. There is never enough time in the world. If it’s important to you, you shall make out time. If you normally wake up at 5 am, try waking up at 4 thirty instead. Begin with the end in mind. I suggest you picture two things in your head. One of them is you being slim and shapely at the end of the next three months, and the other is you being fat and shapeless, lying down at home and your husband comes home and rushes straight to the bed so you won’t ask him for sex. Picture that several times in your head; I am sure no one would need to urge you to wake up by 4 and exercise. Also try splitting your workouts, there is no need to do a 2 hour work out at once, split it, 30 mins daily or 30 mins twice daily. Be consistent, watch your diet. Heidi Klum is no magician, even after her house of kids; she still looks like a 20 year old. It takes hard work and dedication.

Hope this was useful. If you have any questions what so ever, please mail me at trimandtrendy@gmail.com

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40 Comments

    1. Chomsy

      Its more easier done than just said. Its all abt determination and will. I was a size 10 before i got pregnant, it took me constant exercise to maintain that size. And am seriously bent on going back to 10 by the 3rd month after my delivery because i couldnt just avoid d pregnancy weight gain.

    1. TRIMANDTRENDY

      You need to take it easy for now, what you can do is start eating healthier first, eat regularly (at three times daily), but start taking healthier foods like vegetables. If you have someone helping you cook, tell them to make okro soup with lots of ugwu leaf and minimal palm oil or vegetable soup. Switch your lunch for a very big bowl of vegetable soup. that way you get in less calories but you are filled. By the time you are 4 months post delivery, then you can start the walks.

      Alternatively, if you can get the bike, then that way the exercise you are doing would not actually put much strain on your belly or on the operation site, then you can start mild stationary bike workouts everyday.

  1. Slim-b

    I had my baby through C/S last July. i actually lost weight after the baby. however i started taking some contraceptive injections in October, ever since i have added so much. an average of 2kg every month. it got to a high around march i joined a gym and did 2hrs of exercise 3 times a week while watching what i ate.

    Only to find that after all the hard work i still added the regular 2kg. i got frustrated and stopped altogether.

    i have stopped the injections but what can i do, i now weigh 78kg as against 71 that i was last September…n nothing seems to work for me

    Please what can i do.

    1. TRIMANDTRENDY

      Good Day slim B. Its been a year since you had your baby, so you can definitely start working on it. I am sure you already know that contraceptives cause weight gain, especially the injections, and fro my practice, women who gain weight fro contraceptive use (especially depo provera) find it hard to lose the weight. Anyway, we can start working on your weight. If you can join a gym good, if you cant then you can workout at home. Can you join the forum and join the food and weight loss diary section, start writing down what you eat everyday so we can see, also write down your daily exercise, and we would work from there. trust me you can lose this weight. Please when posting, state if you are going to join a gym or you are willing to workout at home. Slim-b, you can lose this weight. You can.

  2. angel

    I had my baby via caesarean and she’s 3months now.I’ve lost all the additional weight I gained during pregnancy but my tummy is still not flat pls what do I do

  3. peebarbie

    ‎​​​how I wish I had dis info after my childbirth! I sure wud’nt av loaded myself with dose milo n peakmilk I loaded myself with,cos I did’nt even add while pregnant,it was imediately after I gave birth I started noticing the weight gain and  horrible folds on my side !pls ‎​​​how do I loose dis ugly folds!!!

  4. charity onavba

    happy new year doc. i had my first child last year sept through cs. i ve gone back to my olding day weight which is 100kg i want to loose the weight n can i start exercising n what type of food do i need to eat? i do mind if you can draw plan fr me bcos i really need it.

  5. Amalime mercy

    Dear Doc, i like ur blog. Pls i had my baby november last year i,m still nursing my baby i weigh 85kg and i want lose at least 15kg. Pls what should i do.

  6. charity onavba

    Thanks doc but am still breast feeding but I walk to school n back home everyday instead of bike. Breakfast I go on toptea wt dano slim milk then in d afternoon I eat heavy like beans, rice neba. Am doing baby friendly . For the exercise I don’t know wat to do. The 800cal time table I ve to wait till I stop breast feeding abi? I added you on goggle talk but u r nt alway on line. How is aunty jumoke my regards to her.
    Regards.

  7. yinkkky

    hi doc,
    i had my baby oct 2012 through CS an still breastfeeding and i dont eat much and i really want to loose weight,i cant go to the gym and i do alot of carbonhydrate,please help me with a plan as i plan on stopping breastfeeding in april.
    Regards.

  8. butty

    i had my baby trru c.s.i weight 110 then .now am 100kg.idrink ogi evry morni cos of breastfeeding.what sh i do to reduce this weight.cos pple are now calling me mama at age 32

  9. chelly

    Pls I rili need help ohh.thank God I stumbled into this page.I jst had my second baby and it seems am still adding so much.especailly my arm and tummy.funny when I had my first it wasn’t this bad.though am lazy when it comes to exercise.pls I need ur candid advise

  10. chelly

    Hello dear,luving this blog too.I had my baby and it seems am still adding,the truth is that I don’t eat right,mostly carbohydrate and am still brest feeding doh.buh I think is better to start now.I need a healthy diet.plssss.am new in this forum.hellllp sumone

  11. folly

    trimand,hi its now six month plus since i delivered with ceserean section and now am one of the the obese.i wweigth 100kg b4 deliever now am 115kg.i just need to gok down.what can i do to reach 70kg back.

  12. Anonymous

    I was back to my pre pregnancy weight 1 week after delivery thank God. And it took me a month to have a firm flat tummy. after delivery,i didnt have the chance to drink the milk or eat pounded yam. I took alote of pepper soup though and did jillian micheals 30 day shred and nike osinowo’s abs workout. I wont lie sha,i ate alot while pregnant but God helped me.
    So now im ready to be even slimmer than i was before delivery.im starting the gm diet today:-)

    1. nora

      Gd evening.pls don’t be offended,I saw ur comment on this blog about how u losr ur pregnancy fat,pls explain to me how to do the jillian micheals 30 day shred and nike osinowo’s abs workout.I will be expecting a reply frm u,thnks

  13. tammy

    hello Doc, i am pregnant an in my first tremester. For now am weighing 85kg. Pls can you tell me the types of meals i should eat in other not to gain so much weight during this pregnacy.

    1. TRIMANDTRENDY

      you just need to eat healthy like is written in the post dear, try and do moderate workouts. You would gain weight in pregnancy definitely but the important thing is not overeating and gaining too much

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