Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.
Are you worried about this?
One of the things a lot of women are told in their pre-natal class is “Don’t worry about the extra pounds, they’ll drop off likes stones when you’re breastfeeding” and then when the moms have had their lovely babies and they are ready to start exercising and fix their Diastasis Recti and hip-issues the question inevitably comes;
“Why am I not losing weight? I thought it was supposed to be easy when I started breastfeeding?” and then the nasty thoughts, and self-doubt, start to creep in “What if I never lose this extra fat?”.
The last thing you need when you’ve just had a baby is a loss of self-confidence with regards to your body. Being pregnant and giving birth is traumatic enough, and a sense of “loss” for your old body is also quite normal, but we don’t need to add to that by adding unrealistic expectations about what it will be like after you’ve given birth.
A lot of women don’t start to lose the “baby-fat” until they stop breastfeeding and this should really be explained in your NCT/NHS pre-natal class.
So here we go;
Yes, breastfeeding burns tonnes of calories. Anywhere from 300-450 calories a day, more if you have twins, which is A TONNE of those bad-boys. Sounds like it should therefore be easy to lose a few pounds a week, doesn’t it? And that’s what the “breastfeeding helps lose fat claim” is based on.
What they don’t tell you is that you’ll need to eat more as well. You really don’t have a choice. So that’s some of the calories back on.
Here’s a real shocker; You’ll also get less sleep when you have a newborn. And we know that sleep has a real impact on fat-loss. If you don’t get your solid 8 hours, and you won’t, your body will be that little bit more stressed. And stress, inevitably, leads to your body holding onto fat.
Talking of stress; Having a baby is not as easy as some websites make it seem it is. It’s not the dream that most women are sold when they are younger. It’s hard graft, it’s messy, it’s exhausting and it’s stressful. As with the lack of sleep; More stress = tougher fat-loss.
And then we have hormones. Prolactin, the hormone released when you’re pregnant to help breastmilk production, also makes you gain 5-10 pounds. In most cases your prolactin levels will drop when you stop weaning, and that will help you lose that 5-10 pounds.
So what can you do?
First of all, and admittedly easier said than done; don’t worry about it. I’ve written about this before, you’ll be busy enough with your shiny new baby and all that comes with that. So try to enjoy it for a while without worrying about a few extra pounds.
Secondly; Make some healthy food choices. I know it’s easier to grab a sandwich or something nice, carby, sugary when you’re on the move and tired from a lack of sleep but we all know the issues with that. IF you can find the time for a bit of meal prep and make sure there’s always a healthy’ish option to grab when you have a minute or two to eat then that will really help.
Thirdly; Be sensible with your exercise. You’ll be moving around enough, feeding, changing nappies and all that fun stuff. So, in the beginning, just be sure you’re doing a nice simple routine. The home routine I give all my “new-mommy” clients only takes 6-7 minutes to do and is not intense. This means you can do it every day and it won’t wear you out. But it does target the right muscles.
I know you’re busy..but…
Fourthly; Try to find some “quiet time” for yourself. Just a 5-10 minute slot where you can sit back, relax and destress a bit. I know there’s always something to do but taking care of yourself should be one of your first priorities. Quiet time does not mean watching telly, sitting on Facebook, playing games and all that. It should really be quiet time, just sit, close your eyes and take a few minutes to breathe.
Finally; Be patient and realise it’ll be OK. I’ve written about this many times before but the fat you gained during the pregnancy is just like “normal” fat. It’ll come off if you give it time. Yes, during the period you’re breastfeeding you might be 5-10 pounds heavier than you were before your pregnancy because of the effects of the Prolactin, once you accept that, and realise that with the right training you can still tone and shape your body you will be much happier.
Trust me when I say you’ll be OK with a bit of time and effort. In the mean time just take care of yourself and your young one.