Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Losing that baby weight

The following scenario has happened to many a formerly pregnant woman:

It's been two months or so since you've given birth and you're feeling great. Sure, the weight has been slow to come off, but you're nursing-- so you need extra calories-- and besides, it's only been two months! You're feeling better than you've felt in a long time, you're finally starting to get your energy back and you think you look pretty good to boot. So imagine your horror when you're out for a quick errand sans baby and you run into an acquaintance who blurts out, "So when are you going to have that baby?" And that's all it takes for your self esteem to plummet, causing you to head right for the nearest bag of Oreos.

Losing the pregnancy weight after you have a baby is easier for some than others. It first depends how much weight you gained during the pregnancy. Next, take into consideration the type of delivery you had--if you had a cesarean section, it may be a little harder to lose the weight because your recovery period will be longer. Rumor has it that nursing helps to speed up your metabolism, thus causing faster weight loss, but that has never been my experience. And it's also often true that it gets harder to lose the weight with each successive pregnancy, so if you're first was a breeze that doesn't necessarily mean that after your fifth the weight will come off quite so easily.

So what can you do to speed up the baby-weight-losing process?

Exercise-- even a little. It's hard to find time for yourself when there's a new baby in the house, but this is a must. It's important for you baby that you stay healthy and in good shape, so find at least 30 minutes a day to devote to yourself. Try getting up a half hour before your baby does and go for a walk or hit the treadmill. If baby's sleep schedule is unpredictable and getting up early is out of the question, put Daddy on duty for 30 minutes or ask a friend. Exercise every day and soon it will be a habit and not just a chore.

Skip the processed junk and snacks. It's easier to eat on the run when you have a baby in your arms, but Ding Dongs and potato chips for breakfast isn't a smart dietary move. Of course feeding your baby is your number one priority, but find time to cook for yourself too. You-- remember you? Don't neglect your body by eating fast food junk-- instead stock up on fruits, vegetables, lean meat and poultry and whole grains. And don't forget to drink some milk.

Don't live in maternity clothes. Your maternity clothes are so stretchy and comfortable, but they can also be a detriment if you get too comfy in them. It's easy to forget how overweight you are when you're hiding behind huge maternity clothes. Force yourself to get your regular clothes out when the time is right. Of course, the first few weeks after you give birth you will probably want to wear maternity clothes for comfort. But if your baby is pushing the one year mark, your excuses are over.

Don't be so hard on yourself. Give yourself an appropriate amount of time to lose the weight. Just because your best friend lost her baby weight in a week doesn't mean you will. If you pressure yourself, you'll just become overwhelmed and it will sabotage your weight loss efforts-- so give yourself a break. I mean, come on, you just had a baby for goodness sakes!

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