Weight loss in the UAE: “How I lost almost 15 kg in two months after giving birth”
The last time she gave birth, it took about six months to get back into pre-pregnancy shape and this time around, Indian expat Diljeet Kaur was motivated to get back into shape faster. “I wanted to be an active, energetic parent,” she says. “Besides, I’ve always loved dressing up and I wanted to wear my favorite outfits,” she laughs.
Kaur had always loved being active, but after giving birth to her first child five years ago, she took all the traditional precautions. “I always heard from my parents and grandparents at home that after giving birth a mother should rest for 40 days, not take a bath for 11 days, do no household chores, etc. So the weight loss came gradually. This time I only took a week of active rest and my husband helped with the cooking and household chores,” she told Gulf News in an interview. .
By the time the five-foot-five mum gave birth to her second baby on November 26, 2021, she weighed 71.3kg. “I had decided during my pregnancy that I would work on losing weight quickly after giving birth,” she says.
“I had decided to get back into my (pre-pregnancy) shape and did a lot of research and watched tons of YouTube videos about staying healthy and losing those extra ounces. I wanted to do it the healthy way without fall into a crash or strict diet, which is not suitable for a nursing mother,” she adds.
And so, the 32-year-old started by putting away the sugar. “No cold drinks, no junk food, no non-vegetarian foods except eggs,” she says.
Kaur also credits breastfeeding with helping her lose those pounds. “I strongly vouch for breastfeeding, it’s the way to go, it gives immunity and nutrition and at the same time it helps a mother burn calories,” she explains.
Aysha Abrar, a Sharjah-based lactation consultant based in the United Arab Emirates, explains that around 500 calories are burned with each breastfeeding session.
Other Benefits of Breastfeeding
A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association, indicates that breastfeeding reduces mothers’ risk of cardiovascular disease. Aysha Abrar, a breastfeeding consultant based in the United Arab Emirates, adds that breastfeeding reduces the risk of diabetes and even cancer. “Statistics indicate that babies who breastfeed exclusively for at least the first six months of life and up to two years have higher ratios of intelligent and emotional development,” she adds.
Kaur did, however, consume panjiri – a North Indian mixture of lentils or flour, seeds and spices cooked in ghee (clarified butter) – which is both nutrient-dense and flavorful on a daily basis. . This mixture is often given to pregnant and breastfeeding women in Indian households. (As she followed a recipe found online, she cut back on the sugar used to keep the calorie count low.)
A panjiri recipe
This recipe comes from the blog Simpleglutenfreekitchen.com and has been adapted to the taste buds of Diljeet Kaur.
400 moong lentils (washed and dried on a towel)
150 g unsalted raw seeds (melon, pumpkin and sunflower)
25-50 g dry ginger powder
25-50g ajwain (powdered)
1 3/4 cup Desi ghee or coconut oil
1. In a heavy-bottomed or nonstick skillet, dry roast the whole moong over medium-low heat, until nutty in flavor, about 8-10 minutes. The grains will turn copper-brown. Let cool for 5 minutes and grind (1 cup at a time). Working in batches, process until the lentils look like a fine powder. Set aside.
2. In the same skillet, toast the almonds, stirring frequently, until golden. Remove from the heat, coarsely chop and add to the ground lentils.
3. Next, add the pumpkin seeds to the skillet. Grill until light brown, start to pop and smell good. Stir frequently as the seeds roast. Transfer to a plate to cool.
4. Dry roast sunflower seeds, melon seeds, fennel seeds, flaxseeds and foxnuts the same way as pumpkin seeds and process them in a food processor or grinder. Coffee.
5. Wipe out the pan, add ghee or coconut oil and put on medium heat. Add the raisins and roast until they puff up and start to change color. Add them to the bowl with the other ingredients.
6. Mix everything well to combine. Add the date sugar and powdered ginger. Taste and adjust the sweetness. If you feel the mixture is dry or hard to swallow, add more ghee or coconut oil.
7. Cool the panjiri. Eat or store in a dry, airtight glass jar at room temperature.
Kaur says, “I start my day with Ajwain or Carom seeds in hot water and eat three moderate meals and nothing after seven.”
A menu of the day
Breakfast: a slice of wholemeal bread with sweetened jaggery tea
Lunch: Moong lentil chili with a vegetable and yogurt,
Chickpea flour chili with vegetables and yogurt
Brown rice and paneer
Dinner: Vegetables in yogurt, vegetable soup, sautéed vegetables, oatmeal khichdi or paneer
Snacks: Milk, fruits, fox nuts, nuts and salty Indian snacks.
“I made sure to keep walking 2,000 steps in the first days after giving birth and went up to 8,000 steps after a month.
“Sometimes when my baby is crying, I take her for my walks,” she adds. (Kaur takes three walks a day — each a 20-minute stint after a meal.)
Today, about two and a half months after giving birth, Kaur is down to 56.9 pounds and is working hard to lose that last pound.
Kaur laughs as she talks about the bewildered looks she receives. “No one can believe I gave birth a few months ago,” she says, adding that all of her old outfits look good on her. An added bonus: “I have more energy to play with my children,” she says.
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