6 Tips to Trim the Fat

The latest weight-loss advice will have you back in pre-pregnancy shape in no time.

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Weight Loss Tips for New Moms

Exercise alone won't help you lose the baby weight. In fact, exercise could, in a strange way, be making your eating habits more reckless. One theory suggests that people often end up consuming more calories than they need after a tough workout because they feel they've "earned" the right to overindulge. Don't let that be you. With your doctor's OK, here are six ways to cut calories with minimal effort—and without feeling hungry or depriving your baby.

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Breastfeed

Even though research is surfacing that indicates breastfeeding doesn't torch quite as many calories as previously thought, don't let that dissuade you from focusing on your weight-loss goals. Nursing still helps many women shed the baby weight after giving birth.

The important operating thing to remember is this: that fact that you are breastfeeding is NOT carte blanche to eat whatever you like. You should only need about an additional 300 calories a day while breastfeeding. (But of course, check with your doctor. If you're feeding a particularly big eater, your body might require more food.)

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Reconsider the five-to-six small-meals advice

We know you've been hearing for years to eat more frequently, with smaller portions, in order to lose weight. But experts are starting to question this notion because many people who follow the "many small meals" directive simply wind up eating too many calories. According to a recent article published in the Journal of Nutrition, what matters most is your total daily food intake. So pay attention to hunger cues rather than forcing yourself to eat more often than necessary.

Note: some women may require more frequent meals--for instance, for breastfeeding, or if they are diabetic. Ask your doctor how many times a day you should eat.

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Try taking a probiotic

Finnish researchers found that probiotics, or "good" gut bacteria that aid digestion, might help women control belly fat after pregnancy.

Women who received dietary counseling and took a probiotic supplement had lower body fat percentages than women who received only diet counseling and subjects who received neither, according to their study.

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See Red

A European study released in 2012 found that people who were served snacks on red plates ate less than when the snacks were presented on a blue or white plate. Researchers theorize that the color red functions as a subconscious stop sign that keeps us from overeating.

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Carry a big fork

People who eat using smaller forks tend to eat more than people who use bigger ones, according to a paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research. The University of Utah researchers suspect that study subjects who were given the smaller forks felt they weren't satisfying their hunger quickly enough so they shoveled in more mouthfuls of food than those who were using the larger cutlery.

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Get your z's

New moms who slept fewer than five hours a day when their babies reached 6 months old were three times as likely to have retained their baby weight than mothers who slept seven hours per night, researchers concluded in a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. They also found that sleep-deprived moms whose babies were 1 year old were twice as likely to have retained their postpartum weight.

To help you get the sleep you need, don't be shy about asking your partner, family, and friends for help with household chores or baby care. Also, some experts advise that you strive to nap whenever your baby does.

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