Unlike celebrities have us believe, many women’s post-baby weight loss journey isn’t quick and easy. In fact, four in 10 women struggle to get back to their pre-baby weight within six months of the birth. It may be difficult to lose those kilos, but not impossible.
Here are 10 surprising reasons you’re struggling with post-baby weight loss…
1. You overestimate kilojoules burned by breastfeeding
‘Pregnancy weight is harder to shift because it’s there to help support your breastfeeding,’ says fitness expert Laura Williams.
Solution: It takes about 2 000 extra kilojoules a day to produce breast milk, so the takeaway habit (a whole pizza is about 3 000 kJ) you’re allowing yourself may be surplus to your requirements.
2. You’re sleep-deprived
Disrupted sleep makes it harder to stick to a healthy diet. ‘Poor sleep triggers the hunger hormone ghrelin, so we consume more high-kilojoule foods for energy,’ says Laura.
Solution: Research shows that a regular sleep routine is just as important as how much shut-eye we get. Offset wakeful nights by napping when your baby does. We know this is easier said than done, but when you can do it, we suggest you grab your eye mask and go for it!
3. You drink kilojoules
Need coffee – now! Unless you drink it black (which only has about eight kilojoules), you add extra kilojoules with each splash of milk or teaspoon of sugar. If you like your cappuccino large, you could even be looking at nearly 1 000 kJ per cup…
Solution: Note how much milk and sugar you add to hot drinks daily. And avoid shop-bought high-kilojoule coffees.
4. You exercise too hard
A tough fitness regime, without adequate rest, triggers hormones that make you hang onto extra weight, especially around the tummy. ‘Reintroduce exercise slowly and be patient,’ advises personal trainer Tommy Wilkes.
Solution: Take your workouts down a notch and alternate gym-time with walking.
5. You overestimate the energy you burned exercising
Research shows that people often think they burned more kilojoules exercising than they actually have, so it’s pretty easy to eat-out a workout.
Solution: Monitor kilojoules in versus out with a fitness tracker.
Read More: 7 of the best online workouts
6. You have a thyroid problem
Postpartum thyroiditis, which affects around five to seven percent of new mums, first makes the thyroid gland produce too much, then too little of the thyroid hormone, leading to symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland, such as lack of energy and some weight gain.
Solution: Ask your doctor to test your levels of thyroid hormones. Most women get better on their own within a year, but an underactive thyroid can be permanent and require daily medication.
7. You can’t break bad pregnancy habits
Peanut butter straight from the jar? Sweets after every meal? Some pregnancy pick-me-ups are hard to shake.
Solution: Set yourself up to succeed rather than to fail. If treats aren’t in the house, you won’t be able to eat them, says psychologist Art Markham, who calls this tactic ‘managing your environment.’
8. You’re stressed
Stress – a part of most new parents’ lives – can trigger the release of the hormone cortisol, which can be bad for your health and contribute towards fat storage in the midsection.
Solution: Exercise regularly. Research shows that a brisk 10-minute walk may be as good as a 45-minute workout for reducing anxiety.
9. You’re still in your maternity clothes
Yes they’re comfy, but they give you no motivation to stick to your post-baby weight loss plan.
Solution: Try on your pre-pregnancy jeans every week – fitting into them again should be enough incentive to eat healthily and exercise regularly. Plus, you’ll regain a much bigger wardrobe.
10. Your metabolism may slow down after pregnancy
This means the rate at which you burn kilojoules is slower.
Solution: ‘Eat more protein and fewer carbs,’ says Tommy. ‘It’s harder for the body to digest protein, so it has to work harder to do it – burning more energy.’
Disclaimer: Always consult a doctor before starting a new exercise regime or eating plan. You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. New moms should wait a minimum of six to eight weeks to start exercising unless otherwise advised by a doctor.