Having a baby is one of the most rewarding things a woman can do. It is also one of the most stressful, bringing with it a number of struggles such as getting back into good physical shape.
FitPregnancy offers its “easy” tips for getting back into shape after baby and – while I appreciate these tips – I am wondering just how easy they actually are. These tips are great for women with fantastic self control who don’t consume endless amounts of carbs upon giving birth, but how many of those women actually exist?
Let’s take a look at how FitPregnancy suggests losing baby fat.
Get up and move
Yes, this would be one way to get back into pre-pregnancy shape, but I have to object that it actually puts a dent into those excess pounds.
Most new moms are too sleep-deprived and overwhelmed to even think about exercise. That’s OK, says Renee M. Jeffreys, M.S., an exercise physiologist in Covington, Ky. 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.
Managing to get off the couch does help once you’re trying to talk yourself into doing a real workout, though. What is Newton’s First Law? An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion? So, yeah, getting off the couch is a good start.
This is true, yet it’s a myth. I have heard of women who have breastfed their weight right off, but it isn’t as easy as it is touted. Breastfeeding will help you burn approximately 500–700 calories per day, but it will also leave you ravenous. It isn’t difficult to consume an additional 500–700 calories per day, either, which would negate any weight-loss benefits.
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.
Whether you’re a breastfeeding mom or a regular Joe looking to drop a few pounds, the bottom line is that you have to take in fewer calories than you’re consuming.
Watch calories and fat
I’m going to go out on a limb and say this applies to anyone trying to lose weight. New moms may have a tougher time with this, though, because sleep deprivation can make it really easy to reach for high-fat, high-calorie food without thinking.
I mean, who wants to “whip up a salad” when there is a hot dog within reach? New moms are lucky if they get dressed in the morning, so making healthful meals isn’t typically on the agenda.
Tammy Baker, M.S., is a registered dietitian in the Phoenix area and had this to say about taking a step in the right direction: “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.”
Find out the top 10 fruits to eat during pregnancy.
Eat healthful snacks
I find this FitPregnancy tip more helpful because it digs into the damage processed snacks can have on dieting attempts. When you eat too much sugar, your levels skyrocket and plummet, and you are more likely to eat whatever is in your reach.
“To avoid temptation, keep only nutritious foods at your fingertips,” writes Suz Redfearn. “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
If you are lucky enough to be in close proximity with other new moms, help each other out. Misery loves company, so who better to jog with than other sleep-deprived young moms who hate jogging as much as you do?
Really, though, being with other women who need to get their butts in gear the same way you do is a great motivator for all parties involved.
I can hear women who are 10 years removed from having a baby laughing at this tip. The article suggests that women “take a nap anytime the baby does, housework be damned,” but that’s much easier said than done. Yes, women do housework while baby is sleeping, but they also get “me” time – something they desperately crave. Naps typically aren’t on the list.
I see the point, though. Getting sleep helps with weight loss because it fights the urge to binge on bad food and keeps metabolism steady.
But would this really be on a “tips” list if women were already napping? And wouldn’t women be napping if it was a feasible option?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
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