Want to lose your baby weight? Think positive, say scientists

The key to shifting your pregnancy weight gain, find US researchers, is simply believing you can find a way to exercise

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Most of us struggle a bit to lose the weight we gain in pregnancy but some of us definitely find it easier than others. And now US scientists think they know why: it’s all in the mind.

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Self-belief plays a key role in whether you end up getting enough exercise to positively affect your bodyweight during and after pregnancy, says scientists from Michigan State University.  

And, though we all tend to face the same obstacles to exercise – lack of time, lack of motivation and lack of childcare – it’s those of us who simply believe we can overcome those obstacles who actually get the exercise hours in.

“The women we studied who had difficulty believing they could overcome barriers that often occur in daily life, or just thought they weren’t cut out for physical activity were the ones who retained 11 to 13 more pounds of pregnancy weight later on,” says Professor James Pivarnik, who co-led the study.

By contrast, those who had higher levels of self-confidence about exercise recorded 4 to 5 times more physical activity during pregnancy and were still clocking up almost 3 times more activity than the others 6 years later.

“We know that it’s beneficial for a woman to be active in some way during and after pregnancy so she can regain her fitness and help with weight loss,” Professor Pivarnik adds. “But what can affect this is whether women think they can or can’t do it.”

Of course, as the scientists point out, it’s really critical that mums receive proper support to conquer the daily issues that can stymie exercise plans – and that may now include a confidence boost to help us truly believe we can do it.

“As well as knowing the current activity guidelines, healthcare providers and fitness professionals need to be aware of common obstacles to exercise after birth,” says Professor Pivarnik.

What do you think? Do you reckon losing your babyweight is all about self-belief? Or is it more complicated than that? Do please leave a comment and let us know…

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