Vicky Warr, pregnancy and postnatal fitness specialist answers a very popular question
Like a lot of other new mums, I want to lose my baby weight but I need to shift more than a few pounds! What are your top 5 tips to get started?
I talk to a lot of my pregnant clients about their postpartum exercise routine, especially the ones that have been very active or avid gym goers. Many think that they’ll get straight back into their exercise routine after their doctor’s check but the reality of having a new baby means not only do you have to think about the reality of time, you also have to think about the type of exercise you do. Although many want to shift the weight, some parts of your body require immediate attention; these are your pelvic floor and core muscles. You’ll no doubt have noticed that your posture will have been affected and you may have some aches and niggles combined with fatigue so being realistic is the best approach whilst being mindful about the changes that have occurred to have when starting back into postpartum fitness
Here are my 5 tips to get started and notice a difference!
Tip 1: I’ll talk food first as it’s easy to make a few positive changes to your meals and food that will make a huge difference and kick start your metabolism so you’ll burn calories more readily and in turn lose weight. Eat protein at every meal as this helps improve your muscle tone. Good sources of protein include lean meat – chicken and turkey, fish, beans and pulses, quinoa and tofu. A good breakfast would be: 2 boiled eggs (protein), with a slice of rye bread or quinoa bread (ideally avoid wheat as it tends to be taxing on the digestion) and half a grapefruit or bowl of berries.
Tip 2: Swap all ‘beige’ carbohydrate foods such as bread and pasta for salads, soups and vegetable based dishes with chicken, fish or turkey. For lunch go for a vegetable soup with salad on the side. For dinner roasted vegetables with grilled chicken or salmon.
Tip 3: Move with a fast paced walk every day as this is the easiest exercise to fit into daily life with a baby. Walk on various different terrains – grass, and bumpy paths and include some hills. Aim for 30 minutes a day, six days a week, getting out of breath and wear good trainers. After 2 weeks increase your pace or duration to keep improving. If you take the buggy, be sure to walk ‘tall’, drawing your navel in towards your back.
Tip 4: Re-train your tummy muscles and pelvic floor from the inside out first so that you strengthen your pelvic floor and heal any abdominal separation or diastasis. If your pelvic floor and core is weak, you’ll increase the intra-abdominal pressure by doing the wrong exercises – stomach crunches, planks and deep twists which will then prevent healing and may lead to an organ prolapse. So do pelvic tilts, the heel lifts and the leg slides which are the best postnatal exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor and core. My 7 exercises to do to tone your mummy tummy guide shows you how to do these exercises correctly. In turn you’ll then flatten your tummy muscles, having brought them back together together. Seek out a specific postnatal DVD, online videos or a group class or personal trainer who can show you the correct abdominal exercises and instruct on the right technique.
Tip 5: Hydrate by drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day and herbal teas and green teas. This is a simple tip but again effective, water improves your energy (for your exercise) and helps with any sugar cravings, which are detrimental to weight loss, you may feel due to the hormonal changes.
It can be overwhelming when you’ve just had a baby and often you’ll find although you vow to lose weight taking action and sticking with it is the hard bit. Do seek help for accountability whether it’s a fitness buddy or trainer that way you’ll find it far easier to stay on track when you have the added responsibility of a new baby in tow. For a simple guide check out