Safely Losing Weight While Pregnant
It is totally normal as a mum to want to pre-emptively shed the baby weight and get back to your pre-pregnancy body as soon as possible, but it’s actually really important to sit back and appreciate everything your body is going through!
Quick results tend to be fleeting and will most likely end up putting you back a few steps, possibly even back to a worse position than you were in before, not to mention potentially worsening your relationship with exercise and food.
The best way to achieve sustainable, long lasting results is through consistency – exercising regularly and eating healthily, focusing on whole foods.
Some women want to achieve weight loss during their pregnancy – it is important to note that, while it could be possible for women who are overweight or obese (with a BMI over 30), it is definitely not appropriate for women who were at a healthy weight before pregnancy, as this could negatively affect not only your health, but also that of your growing baby.
If you believe you can healthily and safely lose weight while pregnant, the first step would be to chat to your doctor about whether this is something you can achieve.
And if you want to stock up on all our wellness necessities for pregnancy, check them out here.
How to create a nutrition plan when pregnant?
As your pregnancy progresses, your growing baby will depend more and more on you and the nutrients you are feeding it in order to grow and develop healthily.
Being obese while pregnant increases the risks of premature birth, stillbirth, caesarean, heart defects and high blood pressure in the mother.
It is key to implement a slow and sustainable approach to weight loss at this time, ensuring you are still getting all the necessary nutrients into your body.
It is also important to acknowledge that you WILL gain weight during pregnancy – talking to a doctor to assess how much is a healthy amount for you is a great way to ensure you’re healthily losing excess weight while allowing for the inevitable baby weight gain (the number will still go up on the scale!).
Weight loss can only be achieved through a caloric deficit – meaning you are burning or expending more calories than you consume.
This can be achieved through reducing the amount of food you consume, increasing your exercise/energy output, or both.
Reducing your calorie intake
A great way to approach creating a calorie deficit is to work out how many calories you are actually consuming every day. To do this, writing a food diary of everything you’re consuming each day for a week or two is a great start.
From there, have a look at some swaps you could make:
- Smaller portions of higher calorie foods
- Less condiments
- Increasing your vegetable portions
- Choosing water over higher calorie drinks
- Avoiding junk food in favour of snacks such as fruit or rice cakes
- Eat regular, small meals to prevent you overeating or reaching for sugary, higher calorie foods
- Focus on lean protein with every meal – this will keep you fuller for longer and will give you sustained energy
Bear in mind that women should not eat fewer than 1700 calories per day to ensure both you and your growing bump are getting sufficient nutrients. Investing in a great quality prenatal vitamin to take daily can help with getting all the nutrients you need.
What about exercise?
There are lots of incorrect myths surrounding exercise during pregnancy and how it harms your baby. In fact, keeping active during your pregnancy is really beneficial, not only for your physical health, but also for your mental health. It’s also effective in combating pregnancy aches and pains.
As long as you are not pushing yourself too hard and are modifying exercises to make them pregnancy safe, exercising during pregnancy is a great idea!
A great target to aim for is a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day. This could look like:
- A pregnancy safe HIIT class (make sure the trainer knows you are pregnant!)
- Strength training
Accept you will gain weight
Lastly, it is wise to accept and mentally prepare yourself that you will gain weight, especially during the second and third trimesters, as your baby is rapidly growing.
Weight management could be a healthier option during pregnancy – aiming not to actively lose excess weight, but starting to implement healthier habits that could aid you on a weight loss journey after the baby is born.