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Easy Ways to Get Your Body Back After Having A Baby
Health & Fitness
Are you longing to return to your pre-baby body but have no idea where to begin? These simple tips will get you there fast.
Get up and move: Most new moms are too sleep-deprived and overwhelmed to even think about exercise. That's OK, says Renee M. Jeffreys, M.S., Most women's bodies aren't ready for serious exercise until six weeks after giving birth, anyway—longer if they've had a Cesarean section.
Breastfeed: Breastfeeding burns an astounding number of calories: 500 to 700 a day. This means that many women can actually increase the number of calories they take in and still lose weight quickly and safely. But be aware that as soon as you stop breastfeeding or begin to taper off, your calorie needs will plummet. You can really pack on the weight if you don't adjust your diet downward and/or your exercise routine upward.
Watch calories and fat: Say no to empty-calorie foods like sodas and chips, as well as fad diets that eliminate entire food groups. Instead, aim to eat a variety of lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and plenty of low-fat dairy products.
Eat healthful snacks: Eating too much sugar can send your blood-sugar levels on a roller-coaster ride, and when your blood sugar drops, you're more likely to eat the first thing you can get your hands on. To avoid temptation, keep only nutritious foods at your fingertips. Also stock up on low-fat milk and yogurt for snacks, as studies have shown that calcium from these sources can aid weight loss.
Get with other new moms: Carolyn Pione of Cincinnati just didn't feel as if she had the time or energy to exercise after she had her baby. Then, some pals who had formed an early-morning running group showed up on her doorstep urging her to join. At first Pione couldn't keep up. But she kept at it and eventually lost all her baby weight. And now she runs in 5k's, something she never would have been able to work up to without the help of the group.
Take naps: "Getting plenty of sleep has been shown to help with weight loss because you're not compelled to binge on high-calorie, high-sugar foods for energy," says Sheah Rarback, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition at the Mailman Center for Child Development at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Strange sleep cycles like those forced on you by a newborn can upset your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose your pregnancy weight. So take a nap anytime the baby does, housework be damned. That way, you'll keep your energy levels—and your potentially naughty cravings—in check.