Women's Diet and Fitness

GET STARTED

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NUTRITION

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EXERCISE

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PREGNANCY AND FITNESS

FREE EXERCISES

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FITNESS CHAT

 Ready to change that post-baby body?

Women who get and stay fit before and during pregnancy often experience less back and labor pain than women who are unfit. Fit mothers-to-be usually avoid becoming overweight and regain their shape quickly after giving birth.

You've been through a long nine months of your body changing, often in ways that you may not like. Now your baby is here and you are finding there are some things you are just not happy with about your body. A mushy tummy, a few extra pounds and new stretch marks. You may be wondering, "Will my pre-pregnancy body ever come back?"

The first thing you should think of is your overall sense of well-being, which is making sure you are not fatigued, you get some sleep, and you're eating well.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE EXERCISE

For some people who still have to deal with families, jobs or the responsibilities of being a stay at home mom and new children, postpartum weight loss may not be so easy. If you were able to maintain your activity levels during pregnancy, you will find it far easier to return to normal levels of exercise compared to women who for whatever reason had to reduce or stop exercising altogether.

If you were fit during your pregnancy, you should start to see results sooner with your post-baby exercises. However, getting your body back to "normal" can take anywhere from about 4-9 months. If you are breastfeeding, it may be a bit more difficult to lose weight simply because you have to consume more calories to make sure your milk is full of healthy nutrients for your baby.

Most health care professionals err on the side of caution and suggest no heavy physical activity (beyond general baby care, light housework, or walking) until your bleeding has stopped and you are no longer in pain, which for a woman who had an episiotomy, difficult delivery, or C-section can take up to six weeks. However, if you had a fairly routine delivery and relatively easy pregnancy, most experts would agree you do not have to wait until your six-week checkup to resume an exercise program.

Remember that the faster you can return to normal exercise, the better you will feel and the more quickly you will shed those pregnancy pounds. Be extra patient with yourself, however, if you had a complicated delivery or C-section and as you learn to handle the stresses of caring for your newborn without much sleep. Listen closely to your body, and when in doubt, consult with your health care provider for the most accurate information for you.

 

 

pregnant belly

baby hands

STICK TO A ROUTINE

To make the most of your post-baby fitness, try to set up a routine that you can stick to. Establishing a schedule will help maintain regular workouts that fit into your everyday life. Also, try to workout at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes each time. If you are determined to lose your weight quickly, then exercise more often. However, never exercise to the point of exhaustion. If your body is telling you it's tired, stop exercising immediately.

POST-BABY EXERCISES

Fit Yummy Mummy

Check out my interview with CPT, Holly Rigsby

And learn how to GET YOUR BODY BACK!

Some new mothers may have a hard time taking time away from the baby to do thier workouts, so why not workout WITH the baby. Below are some exercises you can do with you baby:

1. WALKING-- It is important to get a cardiovascular workout since this will help you burn off the baby fat.  Walking is a great way to get some fresh air, tone your legs and improve your over-all health. Get yourself a stroller or a Baby Carrier. That way you can exercise while still spending time with your baby. A friend of mine even wore her baby carrier on the treadmill when she worked out, just so she could be close to her baby. What a GREAT idea!

2. CORE WORKOUT-- Whether feeding or just playing, you can use the Swiss Ball to help strengthen your core muscles as you hold your baby. Just sitting on the ball requires you to keep your balance by engaging the core muscles, and in doing so, extra blood flow goes to the back which nourishes this area with oxygen and nutrients and helps alleviate lower back aches and pains (perfect after 9 months of carrying baby, in which your back has been a trooper.)

Just as in your pregnancy, post-baby fitness can help ease a host of discomforts simply by increasing your circulation. Exercise can also help with any postpartum depression you might be experiencing. Plus, if you maintain your exercise, you will be providing your children with an excellent example of how to stay healthy. If you feel comfortable about spending time away from your newborn to do some exercising, here are some suggestions for you:

3. STOMACH EXERCISES--Your tummy is probably the area of your body that you are most worried about getting back to its pre-pregnancy shape. Crunches, plank and side plank are great exercises for your abdominals to get them into shape quickly. At the early stage of getting back into fitness, I would suggest doing crunches on the swiss ball to help support your back.  

  • Upper abdominals--Lie on your back on a swiss ball, with your legs supporting you on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Slowly, inhale and lift your head and shoulders up, off the ball while you contract your abdominal muscles. Lift until you feel your muscles working; you don't need to go all the way up to a sitting position. Then slowly lower your upper body back down while you exhale.
  • Plank and Side Plank-These are both great ab exercises! For both tummy exercises, you should try to do two to three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

4. CARDIO--If you are several weeks post-baby, being outdoors is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Getting some fresh air and sunshine can lift your spirits. Go for a job or take the baby for a walk in the stroller. Baby Joggers are a great way for both you AND your baby to get some fresh air! Swimming is also an excellent form of cardio exercise. If you are feeling strong enough, you could even try the a stationary bike or go for a bike ride outside!

   1. Dance and sing with your baby.
   2. Load your baby into a Baby Bjorn or sling and go for a walk around the neighborhood.
  3. Have your husband or partner take over one feeding each day (once breastfeeding is well established and you’re able to express enough for a bottle) so that you can do an exercise video.
   4. Break up your workout into small 10-15 minute chunks throughout the day as you can squeeze in time between diaper changes, naps, and feedings.

NUTRITION

Don't start dieting right away-- Your body needs time to recover from labor and delivery. Give yourself until your six-week postpartum checkup before you start watching your calorie intake and actively try to slim down. And if you're breastfeeding, wait about two months.

Starting a diet too soon after giving birth can affect your milk supply and make you feel more tired; and you need all the energy you can muster to adjust to life with your newborn. If you're patient and give your body a chance to do its work, you may be surprised at how much weight you lose naturally, especially if you're breastfeeding.

Don't be too strict-- Once you're ready to begin losing weight, start by eating a little less and being more active. Try to keep your calories between 1500-2000 calories per day and maybe a even a little more. Going to low is not healthy and cuts into your engergy level. To lose a pound a week, cut out about 500 calories a day. You can do this either by decreasing your food intake or increasing your activity level.

Start by choosing low-fat, high-fiber foods such as fruit (like apples, oranges, and berries) and raw vegetables (like carrots, jicama, and red pepper strips) for healthy snacks. Other ways to squeeze in more fruits and veggies: Use fruit or vegetable salsas or vegetable reduction sauces over fish or chicken, add shredded carrots to your sandwich, try grilled vegetables, and eat pureed vegetable soups.

Research shows that drinking milk, choosing whole-grain products like wheat bread and multigrain cereal, and eating breakfast can also help you lose weight. Slow your meals down, too, if possible. When you take your time eating, you'll notice that it's easier to tell when you feel full — and you won't overeat.

Finally, although you should be drinking about 8 or 9 cups of fluids each day, watch what you drink — a surprising number of calories can be hidden in juice, soda, and coffee drinks. Dilute juice with water, or stick with plain or bubbly water.

Please make sure to contact your doctor before performing any of the above mentioned exercises. The post-baby fitness tips listed above are for very new mothers. If you feel you have moved beyond the stages of these tips, check out our Get Started page for more in depth weight loss and exercise tips! If your looking for an online personal trainer for motivation and support, check out Better Bodies By Carmel or Building A Better U.

 

 

 

pregnant woman on ball


Carmel Wieland ~ ISSA

Certified Personal Trainer

BetterBodiesByCarmel.com

Angie Schumacher~NFPT

Certified Personal Trainer

  Copyright 2007-2008  - Women's Diet and Fitness.com -Angie Schumacher-  All rights reserved