Best Baby Weight Busters
Try these four proven activities plus simple weight-loss tips to get your body back.
Get Started: Stretch and tone while your baby naps by following Element: AM & PM Yoga for Beginners, a DVD featuring yoga master Elena Brower, who has led Gwyneth Paltrow through countless poses.
How-to: To do a Plank (shown), come to all fours, placing your wrists under your shoulders. Keeping your neck straight, pull your abs in and straighten your legs until your body is in a straight line from head to heels. Tuck your tailbone under, squeezing your buttocks. Hold this for 10 seconds, working up to 1 minute.
Get Started: Take a pilates class to ensure you get the nuances of the moves right. Go to pmapilatescertified.com to find well-trained teachers in your area. Once you master the mat-based moves, you can do Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners, a DVD led by Brooke Siler, who has trained Madonna.
How-to: To do Hundreds (shown), lie on your back with your knees bent. Place your hands behind your head. Inhale, then exhale as you contract your abdominals and lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle, then extend your arms, palms down. Pump your arms rhythmically, inhaling through your nose for 5 counts, then exhaling out of your mouth for 5 counts. Work up to 100 counts, total.
Get Started: Grab a copy of Weight Training for Dummies. Written by new moms Suzanne Schlosberg and Liz Neporent, the exercise guide includes easy-to-understand instructions and how-to photos.
How-to: To do a lunge (shown), stand with feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips and pull your abs in. Step forward with your left foot, bending your left knee to a 90-degree angle as you lower your right knee toward the floor; then, step back with your left foot. Repeat, stepping forward with your right foot. Do 5 times on each side, building up to 20 times, total.
Six Ways to Shed the Baby Fat
It takes a combination of healthy eating, exercise and behavioral change to lose weight effectively. Here are six strategies to shed those extra pounds:
1. Harness Your Hunger
Healthy meals and snacks contribute to productivity and energy. Plan to nibble on something every three to four hours, or you’ll become way too hungry to make smart food decisions.
Nursing burns 600 to 800 calories a day, so even if all you do is sit comfortably and feed your baby, you could still be losing weight. But be aware that as soon as you stop or taper off breastfeeding, your calorie needs will plummet, so cut your calorie intake or increase your activity level.
3. Eat Plenty of Veggies
Vegetables have fewer calories per serving than practically any other food. Plus, their high fiber content promotes a feeling of fullness, making it easier to eat less.
4. Take Naps
Research shows sleep loss negatively impacts the hormones that regulate how hungry you feel and how efficiently you burn calories. Nap when the baby does and you’ll be able to grab a few extra hours of rest.
5. Use Smaller Plates
A 2006 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people serve themselves more food when using larger spoons and plates, while downsizing the dish size had the opposite effect. Eating on smaller plates is a simple tool for controlling how much you put in your mouth.
6. Exercise with a Friend
Make a fitness appointment with a pal and you’re a lot less likely to make excuses. Together you can stroll your babies or hike at a local park.