After having a baby, some celebs seem to lose weight so quickly! Heidi Klum was back in supermodel shape in as little as six weeks! But is a few weeks to lose the baby weight you’ve gained over nine months a realistic expectation for you?
HLN: For a woman of average height and weight, how much weight is OK to gain during a pregnancy?
Christine Avanti: About 30 pounds is a healthy average amount of weight to gain during pregnancy. That’s what I usually tell my clients. But most women gain more than that, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
HLN: How quickly should a woman expect to lose the baby weight?
CA: It’s completely personalized. Not everyone follows a strict nutrition and exercise plan. A lot of women think they do, but when you look at what they eat, they actually aren’t. There’s a difference between what’s reasonable and what’s doable: I can’t say you will lose 2 pounds a week if you’re often sneaking a Ben & Jerry’s into your diet. If you’re gaining a lot more than your recommended weight, you’re packing on more time to lose the weight.
HLN: Can you break the weight loss down for us by weeks?
CA: With the baby, women usually lose about 10 pounds immediately — that’s a good guideline. Healthy weight loss is about 1 pound a week, but I think it’s OK to lose more than that. What Jessica Simpson has done is about normal — I wasn’t blown away by her results. She says she’s lost 40 pounds in four months. That calculates to 2.2 pounds a week: In my opinion, it’s totally OK to lose about 2 pounds a week, as long as the individual is healthy.
HLN: When is it safe for a mom to get back to her fitness regime?
CA: You can get back into working out about a week after giving birth, and exercise like you always have. If you’re a sedentary woman, don’t start exercising now — it could be dangerous.
HLN: So how much of the weight loss is fitness and how much is nutrition?
CA: Both, but the biggest thing is discipline. Focus on eating a healthy diet and eating every four hours. I’ve worked with women with the worst cravings, but if they eat every four hours, the cravings just disappear. And eat a balance of protein and carbs with every meal — that stabilizes the two hormones responsible for cravings: insulin and glucagon. When your blood sugar is stabilized, you’re not craving anything. It’s easy if you’re getting up every couple of hours to feed the baby anyway!
HLN: Is it true that breastfeeding naturally helps you lose weight?
CA: When a woman breastfeeds, she’s burning an extra 500 calories a day. If you’re doing it consistently, every day, then it gives you a 500-calorie deficit a day, which equals about 1 pound weight loss a week. As long as you don’t eat it back, you’re doing great: Breastfeeding can make you a lot hungrier.
HLN: What are some of the best foods to eat after pregnancy?
CA: The protein and carb combo — I call it the PC combo. Light cheese with a small piece of fruit, for example. Or a hard-boiled egg with whole wheat crackers or fruit or even fresh squeezed orange juice, if you’re really in a rush. Just hard-boil some cage-free eggs on Sundays — they’re full of omega 3. You could also go for an FC combo — a healthy fat and a carb combo that also stabilizes blood sugar and is a good option in the afternoons. Examples are apple slices with almond butter or carrots with hummus.
HLN: What are some of the worst foods to eat after pregnancy?
CA: Processed foods. I can’t say it enough: There’s nothing worse. I know a lot of moms like to go for energy or granola bars, but I would stay away. Not all bars are bad — some brands are decent — but read your labels: If something has more than 10 ingredients, it’s not a real food — skip it. Real food comes from the earth, that’s why I’m OK with egg and fruit, which have no preservatives, refined sugars and salts, or coloring.
HLN: What’s your advice for cooking for the entire family? It seems like what dad, mom, and baby should eat are completely different things.
CA: It depends on how much time you have to cook, but whole wheat pasta with ground turkey and red sauce is a great option — so yummy! For fall, you could do chicken and rice soup with arugula salad, or chicken baked or roasted with yams and a green salad. You could also do a stew using filet mignon. Some women think that’s expensive, but how expensive is it if you’re going to the doctor all the time because of heart disease? I’d rather put more money into food than health care.
What’s the biggest challenge for moms when it comes to getting back in shape after having a baby?
CA: Prepping your meals — it is challenging, but you have to be committed. Also, if you let a year or more go by, it’s much harder to lose the baby weight. It’s far better to lose it right away. And if you haven’t lost the baby weight in 10 years, it’s just laziness, I’m sorry. Get your butt in the gym!