When a new baby arrives, getting rid of excess baby weight is usually the last thing on your mind. But after a month or two of changing diapers and late nights in the nursery, you might start wondering how you should go about getting back to your pre-baby weight. Fortunately, there are several simple changes you can make to your routine which can help you get on track for losing the baby fat. This article describes the changes you can make to your diet, exercise routine and lifestyle to make sure the weight comes off fast.
Change Your Diet
Making good choices as far as meals and snacks go is one of the best things you can do to start losing the baby fat you gained during pregnancy. Here are a few tips for making good food choices that will help you lose weight:
- Make sure you eat breakfast. Skipping this meal can keep you from losing weight as quickly as you'd like. If you don't have a big appetite in the morning, consider making a fruit smoothie in the blender. You can also eat a healthy cereal with low-fat or fat-free milk for a healthy start to the day.
- Avoid fried and processed foods. Instead, buy whole foods at the store and make them at home. Broil or bake some chicken or fish for a healthy lunch or dinner.
- Eat some fruits and vegetables every day. These make for excellent side dishes or you can even dip some fruits and veggies in a healthy sauce like hummus for a light snack.
- Limit your intake of sweets since these have more fat and calories than other foods. Find a healthy snack to satisfy your sweet tooth instead, such as some dried fruit or a cup of low-fat yogurt.
Now that you're no longer pregnant, you won't need as many calories to get you through the day. However, if you are breastfeeding it's important to keep in mind that you will still need about 200 to 500 calories more per day than a mom who is not breastfeeding. Incorporate this extra caloric intake with the healthy eating tips described above if this is the case. Also, remember that certain foods and beverages - like spicy foods, caffeinated drinks and raw vegetables - may make the baby gassy or have an upset stomach. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your diet while breastfeeding.
Make Exercising a Priority
Now that you've started eating right, it's important to get your exercise routine back on track as well. However, it's important to make sure you get the approval of your doctor before starting any type of exercise beyond walking. Here are some tips for how to start exercising to lose baby fat:
- Start slowly by taking your baby for a walk each day in the stroller. Wear comfortable walking shoes so that you can pick up the pace a little and walk for longer distances as time goes on.
- Once your doctor gives the okay, start incorporating some aerobic exercise into your routine. Go for a jog, ride a bike or swim to get your heart pumping.
- Work your abs to get rid of excess fat in your belly area. Crunches are an ideal way to tone the abdominal area, but make sure you are doing them properly. Focus on contracting your abs during the exercise, and don't use your arms and hands to help pull your head up off the ground.
- Start lifting weights. This is a great way to get your body toned up all over. If you don't want to buy weights or join a gym, consider other alternatives like stretch bands.
General Tips and Advice
Here are a few other helpful tips and tricks for getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight:
- It takes about four to six weeks after giving birth for hormonal changes to set in to reduce the size of the midsection where your pregnant belly once was. This is a great time to start thinking about losing your baby fat because natural body changes will have done the first part of the work for you as you adjust to life with your new baby.
- Breastfeeding moms tend to lose weight faster than those who don't breastfeed. That's because nursing naturally burns calories.
- Don't push yourself too hard or too fast. You'll need enough energy to take care of your baby, plus vigorous exercise and strict dieting could release toxins into your breast milk.
- Keep in mind that you might not be able to reach your pre-pregnancy weight or shape. While you may get close, pregnancy can cause some permanent changes in your body so it's okay if you don't look exactly like you did before you got pregnant.