Start a Fitness Plan to Lose Baby Weight

Filed under: Diet & Fitness

lose baby weight

Trying to lose the baby weight? Push it! Credit: Getty Images

We know, we know: It took nine months to put on all that weight, it takes time to take it off, as well. But it isn't always easy.

New moms are often overtired and opt for poor food choices that make it difficult to lose weight after giving birth, says Helene Byrne, founder of befitmom.com.

When trying to get fit after pregnancy, pay attention to what you're eating and what you're doing, and consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. Most doctors recommend waiting six weeks after giving birth before exercising.

Byrne recommends moms follow three "80 percent" rules:
  1. When dishing out portions of food, eat 80 percent of your usual serving. It's a small step that can make a difference, she tells ParentDish.
  2. Stop eating when you're 80 percent full. This helps you avoid overeating.
  3. Make sure 80 percent of the foods you eat are really nutritious. This helps you manage your intake of less healthy foods.
Byrne, a personal trainer, also recommends moms take brisk stroller walks for 40 minutes a day. It's important to go 40 minutes because the body will begin to burn fat after 20 minutes, she says.

Walking is a great starting point for getting fit, agrees Nancy Karabaic, owner of High Energy Fitness in Silver Spring, Md. But as your baby ages and you find yourself becoming stronger, it's OK to start a more physical program, says the personal trainer who teaches classes to new moms.

"Exercise should not be strenuous in the first six weeks," she warns.

She usually suggests cardiovascular work and strength training. It's possible to do these types of exercises at home with minimal equipment, Karabaic says.

Combine walking on a treadmill or pushing a stroller with sit-ups, bench presses, seated bent rows, bicep curls, tricep presses or extensions, up rows or shrugs, alternate shoulder raises, squats, lunges or leg extensions and leg curls with ankle weights.

Do one set of 10 repetitions each. If you're not horribly sore within the next two days, you can increase to 12 repetitions. If that doesn't cause excessive soreness, try 15 repetitions the next time. If you're unsure how to perform the exercises, visit acefitness.org.

When choosing a weight, pick one that lets you feel like you could do one or two more after completing 10 repetitions -- but you're glad you don't have to.

Group your exercises so you're working your upper body one day and your lower body the next. Do not exercise the same muscle groups every day. As you get more proficient, increase the difficulty of your workout by adding more weight or more repetitions.

Karabaic also suggests doing abdominal work. Start with five regular crunches and five side-to-side crunches, adding one each day until you're up to 20 of each type. Remember to stretch after exercising, she says.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.