The postpartum journey has surely been a very long road ahead, especially in terms of going back to the initial weight before being pregnant. We are sold this idea of snapping back in just a matter of weeks post having the baby which is completely false and an unrealistic mindset that is fed to us via social media. In reality, the average person would take months to years to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight. Yet because of these impractical expectations we women have set for ourselves, we find it hard to come to terms with the truth that it will take time. In fact, we are hard on ourselves daily for not achieving these unrealistic goals. Sometimes it’s not just us that are hard on ourselves but the very people around us that scrutinize us for not losing the weight fast enough.
However, the journey for weight loss is a very personal one, whether it be weight loss to be achieved postpartum or weight loss for the sake of improving your overall health. Every single one of our bodies is different which means that it will take us varying amounts of time to achieve different or similar weight loss goals. No time limit should be put on weight loss because at the end of the day even if it takes you weeks, months, or years to get there, the most important part is that you are taking the first step.
So this brings me to the question of what improves the success of achieving our weight loss goals? Obviously, aside from having realistic goals the second biggest factor is support. After having my son Ali, I had gained a whopping 55 lbs and I knew I needed to make a lifestyle change if I wanted to lose this weight. It took me almost a full year and a half to drop 40 lbs and I could not have done it without the support of family and friends. Initially, I had the great support of a fellow mom who was my neighbor, we made sure to stay active while on maternity leave by getting out at least 3 days of the week. Then I had the support and motivation from my cousins, friends, and sister when it came to healthy eating. We would give each other new recipe ideas and set weekly goals for ourselves to achieve whether it be nutritional or physical activity goals.
When we do things alone, we can easily find ourselves falling through the cracks as we get demotivated. In the Quran we are told by Allah”….Help each other in acts of piety and righteousness….(5:2)” (1). By taking care of the very body that Allah has granted us and helping one another to achieve such goals we are doing acts of righteousness which is something we should continuously foster within ourselves and our communities. Furthermore, even science supports the notion of supporting one another as research has shown that individuals who participated in weight loss programs with family and friends did a better job of keeping the weight off in the long-term (2). So with this being said, why not stand together to support each other in achieving our goals as we are stronger together than we are alone!
Written By: Raya Haddass