Your pregnancy weight may have taken nine months to put on,
but it seems to be taking much longer than that to take off. While other new
moms seem to snap right back to the pre-pregnancy form, you can't seem to lose
much weight. Along with the complete exhaustion of taking care of a baby, your
poor body image is not helping your mental and emotional state. To make matters
worse, you may have been side-tracked by your realistic weight loss plan by the
lure of a fad diet that guaranteed quick results. Whether you have ten or
twenty pounds or more to lose, the good news is that you can lose that
extra unwanted weight. While it may seem like your motivation and willpower are
zapped, you do have what it takes to lose weight. After all, if you can
get through the grueling pain of labor and childbirth, you can certainly get
your body back in shape!
Get Real! Think back to when you were pregnant and were noticing the different shapes of all the pregnant bellies. Some moms seemed to carry a bowling ball under their shirts while others plumped out nicely in all the right spots. Still others got bigger everywhere. The truth of the matter is that no two bodies are alike. So while you may envy those very few number of moms who can squeeze into their tight jeans a few weeks after childbirth, check your envy at the door. You are not that woman. In fact, most women are not that woman. The vast majority of women have to work very hard at getting their weight back to being even within eye-shot of their pre-pregnancy weight.
And once you lose your baby weight, your body still may not look the same. The fact of the matter is that you may never fit into those old tight-fitting jeans again, even when you reach that magic number on the scale. So set your expectations accordingly and avoid the disappointment that is bound to ensue. Your body has gone through a tremendous adjustment in order to bring your little miracle into the world, so be content with your baby and the “new” you.
Finding The “New” You. Just because you have come to accept that your body will not look the same as it did pre-baby does not mean you have carte blanc to let yourself go. It's OK to let some things slide when you have a new baby to care for, such as not vacuuming quite as often or letting the dishes pile up a little more than before. But there are other things that you need to definitely improve on. Healthy eating and exercise habits are developed very early in a child's life. Children whose parents have poor eating habits and lead a sedentary lifestyle inevitably follow in the parents' footsteps. You certainly want more for your little bundle of joy than that. As your child walks through the various stages of growth and development, he will mimic your behaviors, echo your words, and learn his eating and exercise habits from you. So if you weren't the healthiest person before your child was born, you now have a living, breathing reason why you absolutely need to make a change for the better. If you had good dietary and exercise habits before the baby, take a good, hard look at additional areas you can improve upon.
Think It Over. Too often, women grab the first thing they see to munch on. And this is even more true with new moms who are exhausted. Before you continue on with this mindless eating cycle, take a moment to think through the pros and cons of eating that one item. Ask yourself if there is a better choice you could be making. You can avoid tempting your sweet tooth or enjoying other mindless snacking by making smart choices at the grocery store. When you avoid purchasing the junk foods in the first place, you will have a hard time finding bad foods to munch on throughout the week.
Make Small Changes First. Too often fad diets don't work because they are too drastic. It's very hard to make lasting changes to your lifestyle if the changes are too far outside of your normal lifestyle. So start with small changes first. If you drink sugar-laden soda like it's going out of style, make a switch to diet soda. If you enjoy splurging on fast food, switch to a stop at a deli shop. Or better yet, pack a healthier meal to take with you. Exchange that bowl of fat and sugar-heavy ice cream for non-fat frozen yogurt. Take a good hard look at the foods you normally eat, and then consider what small changes you can make that will reduce the fat and sugar content. When these small changes are continued over time, you will notice your weight and body fat slowly starting to decrease. What's more, you have made changes to your diet that you can live with on a long-term basis so those pounds won't return!
Walk It Out. If you haven't been hitting the gym lately, nobody blames you. After all, caring for your baby is your number one priority. Just the same, nobody is looking out for you but yourself, so be sure to take care of yourself with some daily exercise. You don't need to hit the streets and run ten miles. Simply strolling through the park pushing your baby in a stroller will do wonders for you. When you walk 20 to 30 minutes per day, along with your healthier diet, the pounds will drop more quickly. Your baby will probably love getting some fresh air outdoors. And while you may feel completely exhausted now, daily exercise can actually make you feel more energized.
When You're Ready. Once you start seeing the pounds come off through small changes to your exercise and eating habits, you will find the internal motivation to continue on and make increasing changes to improve your health. Perhaps you want to try jogging a little, or you want to look at getting a gym membership to try yoga, swimming, cycling, or other activities. Or you may just want to get some dumbbells and do some toning exercises in your living room. Perhaps you want to switch to leaner ground beef, or make a larger change to lean ground turkey. You may be ready to give up white, enriched pastas and breads for the whole grain variety. Make an effort to make a small but lasting change periodically to continuously improve your eating and exercise habits.
With each and every change you make to your regular eating and exercise habits, you will notice additional results in your body. The key is to make changes you can live with on a long term basis. Soon enough, you will be feeling great about the way you look!