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While the arrival of a new baby isn’t the ideal time to create a new exercise and diet regime, it’s perfectly possible for new mums to reclaim their figure – even if it means taking baby along for the ride. The secret lies in long-term investment rather than falling for promises of quick-fix solutions.
Don’t expect miracles – it takes approximately 40 weeks to gain pregnancy weight, so it can easily take a similar length of time to lose it.
Do not start dieting in the weeks after giving birth – especially if breastfeeding. Reducing the amount of food during this period can cause the body to start breaking down fast in its quest for energy. The result is the production of chemicals known as ketones, which can be harmful to the baby. What nursing mums can do is make sure they eat sensibly – breastfeeding isn’t an excuse to indulge.
Pregnant women need approximately 300 extra calories per day. Those that are breastfeeding need a further 100. Therefore, after the birth of baby and the cessation of breastfeeding, the calorific intake can be reduced by between 300 and 400 calories.
Cut out foods that are high in fat and sugar, such as crisps, biscuits, sweets and fried foods.
After so long without alcohol, many mums are keen to indulge. While continuing to abstain is the ideal course of action, those that drink should avoid cocktails and beer. Fizzy drinks and fruit juices are also full of calories.
The body has been through a lot while giving birth so take it easy to start with. Try gentle pelvic floor exercises and those that get the lower tummy muscles moving. Avoid the temptation to start with more challenging exercises such as sit-ups.
Taking a daily walk with the baby is a good way to improve the body’s circulation and overall fitness. Walking is also emotionally beneficial and can help reduce any feelings of anxiety or depression.
After approximately six weeks, the body will be primed for more intensive exercise. Swimming is now an option due to the reduced chance of picking up an infection from the pool. Alternatively, try running or other aerobic exercises such as tennis or aerobics. Anyone who experience pelvic or back pain during pregnancy should talk to their GP before undertaking more strenuous exercise.
Friends and family
A new mum’s nearest and dearest can provide much-needed inspiration to regain a pre-pregnancy figure. This is especially true for single mums, who might want to start thinking about internet dating or forming other new relationships.
Finding an exercise group is an easy way to keep motivated and to meet other new mums. While meeting people in large cities can seem daunting at first, even the smallest groups can quickly lead to new and inspirational friendships. For single mums joining a match-making site such as eHarmony London dating is just one of the areas ripe for exploration.