Being overweight can come in the way of achieving natural pregnancy and also impact the health of mother and baby during pregnancy. Therefore, women who’re planning a pregnancy need to work towards achieving a healthy weight well in advance. If you’re preparing to conceive in the near future, you should start paying attention to your body weight and general health at least six months before if not more.

Losing weight is not easy and therefore many mothers-to-be need to resort to a carefully crafted diet plan that will help them lose the excess fat without causing a nutritional deficiency. While a fat-free healthy diet coupled with regular exercise is the best way to steady weight loss, you can choose to follow a special diet, such as the HCG weight-loss diet program, after consulting with your physician.

HCG diet is safe to follow before conception, but as it involves ingestion of hormone drops and a low-cal diet, it is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation. So if you want to take up the HCG diet protocol, do it at least four to six months before conception as a complete HCG cycle can take anywhere between one and two months.

That said, before you embark on any pre-pregnancy weight-loss routine, here are 6 important steps you need to take to prep your body for the process.

Determine how much weight you need to lose

Consult your doctor to know the ideal weight for your height, age and general health. Your physician will take into account any existing health conditions, your age, present weight, BMI (body mass index), fat percentage and other factors to determine your pre-pregnancy goal weight. Ask them if taking a prescription appetite suppressant will help in the process.

Based on this information, decide how many weeks or months it will take you to lose the excess weight. If you don’t want to visit a doctor just yet, find out your BMI and work to lower your weight to a range considered healthy for your height and age.

Start a weight-loss diet that’s not detrimental to your health

Instead of frantically going on a fad diet, choose a weight loss program that will help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight afterwards. Don’t deprive yourself of essential nutrients and focus on consuming foods that support female health and fertility.

If you’re losing two pounds a week, you’re on the right path.

Find out your present calorie intake and reduce it gradually

Check your present calorie intake and then work out a plan to reduce your daily calorie count. If you can, take the help of an experienced dietician who will prepare a diet chart suited to your lifestyle and health.

Switching from a very high-calorie diet to vey low-cal meals is a recipe for failure, unless you are following a scientifically proven fat-loss method such as the HCG diet, which works on certain principles that aid fat burn during a specified period. So do your research and avoid crash dieting if you want long-term results.

Before you consider HCG diet, learn about the safety and efficacy of using HCG drops during pregnancy and after you’ve delivered your baby.

Exercise daily

If you haven’t been exercising, now is a good time to start. Changing your diet alone will not help as much in achieving your ideal weight as will a combination of healthy diet and physical activity. Walking for 30 minutes every day is a great way to begin without burning yourself out. Gradually add weight training to your routine and don’t forget to take into account the calories burned during exercise when calculating your daily calorie count.

If you can lose 300-500 calories a day to exercise, you’re in a good place.

Consider prenatal nutrition

As you get closer to the pre-pregnancy phase, ask your doctor to prescribe a prenatal multivitamin supplement. If your doctor already knows about your intention to start a family soon, they will most likely start you on folic acid supplementation on their own. Keep your physician in the know if you’re taking any special medication or hormone treatment for weight loss.

Pay attention to your mental wellbeing

Along with fortifying your physical health, prepare yourself mentally for an exciting new phase of life that will no doubt have its own challenges. Practice patience, calmness and learn to deal with everyday stress without losing your cool. Mental wellness is equally important for a healthy body preparing itself to hold and nurture a new life.