Any mom who is guilty of still wearing maternity clothes when her "baby" is already walking and talking knows how hard it is to lose that last baby weight. Squeezing in time for a workout and planning healthy meals can become low priorities when the needs of your family, work and other obligations demand your attention. Take heart however—with baby steps in the right direction, you can lose that baby body.
The hard truth
Although celebrities seem to leave the hospital with their bikini bodies immediately, the fact is even after your uterus begins to shrink, you may still look somewhat pregnant after giving birth for several weeks or longer. This "fun fact" from babycenter.com is not the only tough news to hear. Other common complaints new moms have include incontinence, swollen feet, hemorrhoids, hair loss, back and hip pain and a belly "paunch". (It's a good thing babies can redeem themselves by being so cute.)
When choosing a physical activity, it's important to find something you like to do says Susan Leytze, ACE Certified Trainer. "Walking and swimming are great starting points. Gradually add alternate modes of aerobic activity like cross trainers, bikes and group classes."
If you are interested in a gym, find one that includes childcare. Consider paying extra for a personal trainer; he or she can teach you how to use the equipment properly and design a custom workout so you get the most out of your time there.
It's still possible to work in fitness throughout the day at home or work. "I'm not a gym person," says Keely M., mom to two babies. "I walk with both kiddos in a stroller and the dog when it's nice outside. We go to the pool whenever possible. I walk in a lot of airports for work. We also play chase in the house and have dance parties."
"It took nine months to gain weight," says Leytze, "and it can take the same amount of time to get the weight off. Any routine that is low to moderate and gradually increases in intensity, and combines strength training will give you results. New moms can also increase their odds by napping more. The more rested Mom is, the less cravings of high calorie, high sugar foods she will have."
The skinny on eating
Staci Small, registered dietician and owner of Wellness Philosophy Inc. in Greenwood, says "I have found with my practice that the nutrition factor plays a slightly heavier role than exercise when trying to lose weight. Baby carrots and hummus make a great quick snack as there is no preparation," she says. "Other great go-to foods are walnuts and almonds."
"Use a slow cooker to easily prepare healthy soups and other meals," suggests Small. "Cook chicken in the slow cooker and then make a large batch of chicken salad that will last a few days. You can make chicken salad healthy by adding vegetables and dried fruit."
Be smart about the smartphone
Use technology to your advantage and find an app designed to help you get fit like "Lose It!" This free app enables users to track daily calories and exercise. "Lose It!" can walk you through designing a daily calorie goal. Enter the food you eat throughout the day and it will keep a running total of actual calories against the goal. You will quickly be able to see how to eat lower-calorie foods in order to stay within your limit.
Appreciate your amazing body
Although it may take some time to regain your former physique, it's important to remember what your body was able to accomplish. Leytze reminds us that the number on the scale is not the most important thing, but how happy and healthy you are. "You have a beautiful magnificent body that gave you the best gift ever!"