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How to lose the excess weight gained during pregnancy?

During my pregnancy, I gained 15 kgs, which is the ideal weight gain for an Indian mom. And my belly was the only place where all this weight accumulated. So, I believed that once the baby pops out, I will do some dieting and easily get back to my pre-pregnancy weight in a couple of months. However, the famous techniques of crash dieting and heavy exercises was strictly prohibited by doctors and it was even not possible for me. As a breastfeeding mother, I was always hungry. Just a couple of hours after heavy breakfast, my stomach would start growling as if I had nothing in breakfast. As a result I was tempted to munch on something or the other all day long. And if I resisted the temptation to eat, my energy levels dropped down and I felt lethargic. To avoid hunger pangs, I made a few dietary changes which were also helpful in losing post-delivery weight.

1.      6 small meals with snacks: The 1st change I made was breaking down the meals throughout the day. Instead of having 1 heavy meal, I broke the meals into 3 main meals and 3 mid-meals. Adding fruits, nuts, sprouts, yogurt in snacks keeps you full and takes care of nutritional and energy requirements too. The Nutty Energy bars are wholesome, nutritious and so easy to cook at home. I saw its recipe on Mother’s Menu by Shazia Khan. She not only explains the recipe on the show but also explains the nutritional benefit of each recipe. You can watch the show – “Mother’s Menu” on food and Lifestyle channel LF with Chef Shazia. Every Mon-Tues – 2:30 pm.

2.      Replace normal cereals with whole-grain cereals: Whole grain cereals like ragi, bajra, oats, brown rice, jowar are fiber-rich foods that help in weight loss. Studies show that soluble fibre slows down digestion which keeps you full for longer hours and reduces the frequent hunger pangs. Fibrous foods reduce calorie intake too. Also, cereals like ragi helps in maintaining healthy levels of insulin in the blood, which in turn aids in weight loss.

3.      Include beans and legumes like chickpeas, black beans, rajma: In most of the Indian households, yellow dal is a staple food. And post-pregnancy, when the mother is busy taking care of the newborn, a yellow dal comes as an easy and light food, while rajma, chane becomes occasional treats. However, if you wish to lose the post-delivery weight, replace yellow dal in one meal with legumes like chickpeas, black beans, rajma, etc. However, prepare them with a little oil and light spices. Legumes are protein-rich foods that have such nutrients and amino acids that promote the burning of fat and calories. The high fiber content in the beans and legumes also satiates your hunger for a longer duration.

4.      Avoid food high in starch content: Vegetables like white potato, yam and pumpkin have high starch content. Instead include green leafy vegetables, capsicum, cauliflower and fruits which provide the variety of nutrients and vitamins to support your quick recovery after delivery and helps in reducing fat too.

5.      Say yes to good fats: We always believe that the first step to weight loss is to say no to all kinds of fats. However, on the same calorie intake, a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids leads to weight loss similar to low fat diets. MUFA diets are more effective in weight loss than high-carb diets. For cooking use mustard oil, olive oil, rice bran oil which are high in MUFA and helps in reducing belly fat. Walnut, almond pistachios, avocado are few other dietary sources of monounsaturated fatty acids which can be included in mid-meal snacking.

6.     Stay Hydrated: Water helps in burning calories. The more water you drink, the more you’ll feel satiated, reducing your calorie intake. It is important to stay hydrated during breastfeeding to replace fluids lost through milk production. Drink a glass of water before having your meals. It keeps you full and you don’t end up overeating. You can also include liquids through milkshakes, smoothies, soups, stews, fresh juices in your diet.

A mom takes 9 months to put on all the weight during pregnancy. So give your body at least the same time you spent in accumulating the weight. Losing 1 pound in a week is a healthy weight loss regime. So eat every 2-3 hours and sleep well. Have patience with your weight loss and soon you will start fitting in your pre-pregnancy clothes.

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