BYE-BYE BABY FAT
Story by Randi Jo Gause
You can’t put a price on the meaning and joy that accompanies having a baby. But for most of us, our little bundle of joy comes with a little extra baggage around our waistlines.
And unlike the celebrities we see shed mass amounts of post-baby weight apparently overnight, women in the “real world” don’t have the luxury of treating weight loss like a full-time job. But don’t fret – with our local expert advice, you’ll get back into shape and whittle away those extra pounds – all while balancing family time, work time and “me” time. As the saying goes, “It’s only baby fat!”
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Take a cue from the tortoise and approach your weight loss goals with patience. While some women seem to slip into their old jeans in a matter of days, others may take weeks or months to regain their former size. Your individual body type, metabolism rate and other elements all factor in to how much weight you’ll lose initially after giving birth, and how quickly you’ll drop the extra pounds that remain.
“I’d say the most common obstacle for not losing baby weight would be that new moms worry about everything,” explains Bonnie Murphy, owner of bfit & well. “Worry causes stress and stress can keep weight on.”
To avoid this vicious cycle, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist, and set steady weightloss goals for yourself. And while sleep may be a rare commodity with a little one around, try to catch as many ZZZs as possible.
“Fatigue from lack of sleep can slow the metabolism and affect mental acuity,” says Ed Brandt, a personal trainer at the Alaska Club. “Both parents of a newborn may find it harder to motivate themselves when they’re exhausted, and if they are not careful, they might see some weight gain sneaking up on them.”
With all of your new mommy duties piling up, it’s natural to diverge from a normal eating schedule, and to opt for quicker (and less healthy) options.
“Getting on a ‘clean eating’ regimen and finding the time to eat is very important,” explains Amy Hills, from Body Renew. “A small snack every couple of hours will help keep the metabolism up and help fight the urges and cravings.”
New moms can also benefit greatly from the advice of a qualified nutritionist who specializes in post-partum nutrition.
Once you feel ready to do so, begin exercising for small amounts each day, building up to a healthy daily routine. This can be as simple as taking a stroll daily, doing river walking or water aerobics classes at your local pool or simply following along with a workout DVD at home. Many gyms now offer childcare services while you work out, which lets you squeeze in some exercise time and let your mind relax during the break.
If you can’t make it to a gym, don’t underestimate what small intervals of exercise can add up to. Lifting weights builds muscle, which boosts your metabolism. You don’t have to leave home or have a fancy gym – even lifting cans of food or bottles of water in your kitchen can tone your biceps. And just 10 minutes of cardio three times a day can amount to the recommended daily 30 minutes.
“I like to stress that new mothers shouldn’t expect to be able to do cardio with the same intensity they did before their pregnancy. Remember that walking is a great exercise, and a great way to ease back into a routine,” explains Brandt.
There are numerous opportunities available for new moms to shed those extra pounds while bonding with your baby.
Local community groups such as Stroller Strides offer walking groups that incorporate power-walking with toning stations, abdominal work and stretching, Not only does the activity burn calories and promote spending quality time with your little one, but you’ll have the opportunity to meet with other new moms and fellow exercise buddies that will motivate you to stay on track.
Yoga studios such as Laughing Lotus hold “Mommy and Me” classes for babies under one year old, in which you can spend quality time stretching, massaging and meditating together. The class stretches mom first, then baby and then combines the two for a unique bonding experience that de-stresses the mind while toning the body.
“There are also plenty of great exercises you can do using the baby, like going up and down stairs holding baby, have baby in your lap and bounce on a big workout ball, laying on your back and press baby up and down or you can put baby in a front pack and speed walk on the treadmill,” adds Jan Morrison, a personal trainer at Body Renew.
Essentially, the successful route to weight loss goes back to the basics, as Hills explains. “Be consistent and find a time and schedule that works for everyone. And don’t make excuses: Everyone has one and it won’t help you get to your goal.” Instead, set an example for your child by modeling what can be achieved with determination and hard work.