Within moments of giving birth stars such as Katie Holmes, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson reappeared on the red carpet looking better than most women ever will pre or post-pregnancy. Their baby weight had mysteriously evaporated, making them the envy of nearly every other new mother on the planet. Their secrets? No one knows for sure, but I’m certain that millions of dollars and access to the best personal trainers, nutritionists and nannies didn’t hurt. Unfortunately, you don’t have those luxuries. You have a baby upstairs, limited time and a cloud of drowsiness weighing you down. How are you expected to drop the pregnancy pounds?
Sleep. As implausible as it may sound, regularly getting a good night’s sleep can help you shed the weight. A study of 940 women found that those who continued to get less than five hours a day when their baby was six months old were three times more likely to have an extra 11 pounds at their child’s first birthday. Those who got seven or more had considerably slimmer waists.
Now, I know that an infant’s sleep schedule can be far from regular, rendering seven solid hours nothing more than a dream, so if you can’t crawl into bed just yet, here are a few suggestions to help you safely lose the pounds your bouncing baby boy put on you:
* Wait – don’t jog out of the hospital and right into an exercise regime. You just pushed a human being out of your body; you need time to recuperate. Let your flab idle about for six weeks or so.4 When your body is ready, start thinking about workouts.
* Don’t push it – it took you nine months to gain the weight; give yourself the same time to lose it, if not more.
* Choose appropriate exercises – not to be redundant but, you just pushed a human being out of your body; you do not want to take up a routine that is going to torture your already taxed system. Try a post-natal DVD or walking (the latter can be done with baby in tow!)
* Balance your diet – without a bun in the oven, you can no longer justify the midnight Snickers. Your diet is sadly without the pregnancy cravings. However, it should not be without all of the nutrients, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Maintain a balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
* Make time for you – if you’re constantly on the run, focusing solely on the baby, you aren’t going to be taking care of yourself. Your health will be less than stellar and that includes your weight. It took two people to make the baby; it should take two people to care for him, too.
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