When my baby turned 2 months, I knew I was ready to start focusing on taking care of myself i.e mentally and physically.
The first 2 months after childbirth for me was filled with a lot of insecurity caused by my weight gain. I didn’t go through postpartum depression but if anything would have made me depressed, it would have been the fact that I couldn’t even stand looking at myself in the mirror. I had totally lost my self confidence. It was a difficult period for me because I couldn’t do anything about it as I needed to heal from the CS, establish breastmilk supply and also focus on taking care of my new born.
During the first month of my weight loss journey (February) , I had my mum coming over to help with the baby so I had quite sometime to work out although I was almost always sleep deprived and tired. Getting back the stamina to work out was another struggle. I started by using the cross trainer. I could do only 15 minutes each day and would take a break after every 5 minutes. But well…I had to start from somewhere.
The following week, I graduated to 30 minutes and would take breaks after every 10 minutes. I eventually increased to 30 minutes non stop while incorporating other exercises like skipping, yoga and dance videos on YouTube.
Sadly in March, due to Covid 19 cases recorded in Ghana, my mum had to stop coming over to help as she didn’t want to put us and herself at risk. Hubby was out of town so I was faced with the difficult task of taking care of my new born by myself while also taking care of myself. Most people would choose to concentrate on the baby and postpone the latter. But I chose to do both no matter how hard. I managed to lose 7.8kg by April.
In May, still alone with the baby, I decided that the only form of exercise I would do was to walk whenever I had the chance. I used videos from Walk at home by Leslie Sansone on YouTube. First 2 weeks of May was really hard as I had persistent headache everyday so I couldn’t work out at all. Had to give myself a break. I got back to my diet and workout when I started feeling okay and strong enough. I did 2 or 3 miles a day depending on how strong I was feeling. Some days, I would do 1 mile. I lost only 2.7kg in May making it a total of 10.5kg within the 3 month period.
What steps did I take to lose weight?
1. Drink warm water with lemon every morning and sometimes at night. I definitely skipped a few days though!
2. No strict diet plan…those things can complicate your life sometimes 😂
Started a low carb diet as I was breastfeeding and needed to make sure I was getting in some good amount of calories. I avoided sugar completely. I substituted with a sweetener or honey when needed. I also tried to incorporate a lot of fibre in my diet.
So here are examples of my diet
A. Sausages and eggs for breakfast. Yam/plantains/ sweet potatoes in small portions with kontomire, eggs and avocado for lunch. Dinner, a bowl of fish light soup.
B. Oatmeal with fruits for breakfast, a big bowl of soup with enough protein to fill me up for lunch and protein shake for dinner.
C. Weetabix for breakfast, a little waakye with avocado for lunch, Salad with a glass of milk for dinner.
D. 2 or 3 lactating cookies with tea or hot chocolate for breakfast, brown rice with any kind of stew for lunch and soup for dinner.
3. Drink a lot water…like a lot!
4. Intermittent fasting for 16 hours. My last meal is usually at 6pm and the next meal at 10am. When I feel hungry in the course of the fasting, I make a cup of tea…either lactating tea or normal tea.
5. No personal trainer. I just set goals to lose 5kg per month and when the month is almost ending and I’m lagging behind, I work harder!
6. Be self motivated, determined and consistent.
Here are a few things I did to ensure I was getting enough nutrients and still maintaining my milk supply as it could dwindle as a result of my new diet and workout pattern.
-Taking Pregnacare breastfeeding pills.
-Lactating tea and cookies to maintain my supply and give me nutrients I may be losing from my diet.
A few times I’d get discouraged by numbers on the scale and would want to throw in the towel and just chop life but I never gave up. I’m a first time mum and I now know that losing baby weight is really difficult but I have been able to do it and so can you!
Doing this was my way of taking care of myself and not necessarily trying to keep up with what’s cool! I also wanted to prove to myself and others that the old wives’ tale of eating a lot in order to produce breastmilk doesn’t always have to be followed. You can eat less and still maintain a good supply. Wishing you all the very best!