Are you having trouble losing post-pregnancy weight? Experts say the key lies in eating a balanced diet and including workouts like Kegel and aerobics. Previous studies have shown that breastfeeding the newborn also helps you lose weight faster. Another study showed that factors like sleep deprivation, food cravings and not being able to take out sufficient time to work out causes most new mothers to put on weight even if they follow a healthy diet.
Include fruits, vegetables, leafy greens and whole grains in your diet.
Nutritionist Ria Wahi lists some foods to include in your diet, while fitness expert Tarvin Dedha shares a few workouts:
* Your diet must include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein like fish, soy foods and lean meats. Choose skim or low-fat milk. Leafy greens containing iron are also good.
* Vitamin C can help with wound healing for mothers who delivered via C-section.
For cravings on the go, opt for hummus with wholegrain crackers.
* Wholegrain crackers with hummus or nuts are healthy too. Stash some in your purse in case you get a craving on the go.
* Have a cup of wholegrain cereal with low-fat milk. A hard-boiled egg with some fresh sauteed mushrooms, low-fat cheese with a piece of fruit and plain greek yogurt are good options too.
Kegel exercises should be done right after birth to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
* Kegel or pelvic floor exercises: Kegel helps in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which support the pelvic organs. It gets weakened by the birth process and should be exercised right after birth. It may seem a little tough to do this just after giving birth. However, try doing only as many as you can and later increase the duration as per your choice.
* Pelvic tilt will tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles and relieve backache. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Tighten your stomach and hip muscles to tilt your pelvis, flatten your back against the floor and hold for a count of two to three seconds. Do not arch your back, stick out your abdomen or push with your feet to do this motion.
* Ankle circles to enhance circulation: Make 10 circles with your ankles clockwise, then repeat counter-clockwise. Do it in different positions such as sitting or lying down. Repeat the pattern three to five times.
Gentle aerobic activity can help you lose weight.
* Leg sliding/stretches: Lie on your back with one knee bent. Keep your back flat while sliding the heel of the straight leg up and down the surface on which you are lying. Work only within the range where you can keep your back flat.
* Aerobics: You can begin with gentle aerobic activity. You can begin as soon as you think you can handle it. Consult your healthcare provider before resuming.
* Walking: Follow the instructions of the nursing staff to get out of bed and start walking as soon as possible.
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