By Mary Bush
On average, a woman gains between 25 and 35 pounds during
her pregnancy. During labor and immediately after
delivery a new mother might shed 10 to 15 pounds of that.
This leaves from 10 to 25 additional pounds of weight left
on the new mom's "new" body. It can be a source of great
shock, disappointment, frustration, and despair to a woman
to discover that after giving birth she can no longer fit
into the clothes she wore prior to the pregnancy.
Losing weight after pregnancy is not a fool's errand, but
neither is it an easy errand; it requires patience, a
realistic attitude, a positive outlook, and when it comes
down to it " persistence and dedication. A realistic outlook
by any means is to expect to lose no more than 1 or 2 pounds
per week. For an extra 10 to 25 pounds, then, that can take
anywhere from 2 months to 2 years.
There's no quick fix to losing weight after pregnancy " not
a sustainable and lasting one, at least. So the best way to
succeed is to start out with realistic expectations for the
time frame in which to achieve your results and with the
commitment to seeing the process through, however long it
Now that you have the right mental attitude, let's go over a
few suggestions for ways to get rid of that unwanted weight
Don't start right away: Contrary to the "do it now"
mentality you're normally advised to live by, when you've
just given birth, your body needs time to adjust to the
changes it's undergone over the preceding 9 months.
Remember, you are not "returning" to the state you were in
before your pregnancy; you're in a new state you've never
been in before. You are in the body of a new mother, and
this body needs time to get used to this new way of being.
Avoid weight-loss dieting of any sort for a good three
months after delivering. Don't worry about exercise so much
as just being sure you remain active and moving around. You
can use your menstrual cycle as an indicator of when your
body is ready to take on a more intentional program of diet
and exercise; when it normalizes, you're ready to go.
Start slow: Your body is still healing from the pregnancy, and
diving headlong into a heavy-duty exercise regimen may be
too much of a shock to your newly-adjusting system to do you
any good at all. Walking around the block or the park with
your baby is an excellent way to begin, and it primes your
body exquisitely for taking on more extensive and intensive
exercise at a later date.
Set yourself up for success: That means keep your
kitchen stocked with fresh and healthy foods, particularly
snacks, so when you feel the urge to eat something, you have
only suitable options around. Several smaller meals throughout
the day will serve your ends far better than just 2 or 3 large meals.
And don't try and starve yourself. You'll do no good to your new
baby that way, and you'll invariably find yourself binging sometime
later on to compensate.
Have patience with yourself. The period of time following
pregnancy is already exhausting and exasperating enough, on
so many levels. Don't burden yourself further with guilt,
shame, and unrealistic expectations.
Shedding excess weight after pregnancy is not an easy task,
but it can be done. Every body is different. Rather than
comparing your rate of postpartum weight loss to that of any
other new mother, focus on sticking to the slow and steady
path to the long-lasting results you crave: a body that
glows more than it ever did during or before you got