Your Baby Today


Getting Back to Your Pre-Pregnancy Weight

Getting Back to Your Pre-Pregnancy Weight

Now that baby's arrived, you're probably anxious to get back to your "old self" and regain your pre-pregnancy figure. The easiest way to do that is to control what you eat as well as exercise and tone your body. If you're overwhelmed by the thought of maintaining a special diet or following a strict exercise program, don't despair. Keeping things simple is one of the best ways to lose those pregnancy pounds and to incorporate fitness into your busy lifestyle as a new mom.

Try these simple suggestions to help make healthful eating and exercise a part of your everyday life.

Simple solutions
A more healthful diet doesn't have to mean learning to cook all over again. Just try these easy modifications that will make your meals better for you:

  1. Clean out the kitchen. Rid your cupboards and refrigerator of high-fat foods to eliminate temptation. Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, lower fat dairy products, and snacks that are low in fat and calories.

  2. Step up to carbs (complex carbohydrates, that is). When planning meals, focus on whole grains, breads, pasta, vegetables, and dried beans, peas, or legumes.

  3. Do a high five. Eat 5 fruit or vegetable servings every day. Low in calories, but high in vitamins and minerals, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables fill you without fattening you.
Here are easy ways to get 5 fruit or vegetable servings each day:

    • Top your cereal with fresh fruit, berries, or raisins.

    • Start breakfast with a glass of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, a grapefruit half, or a melon wedge.

    • Layer tomato slices, torn spinach, cucumbers, sweet peppers, or finely shredded cabbage in your sandwiches.

    • Add zucchini, carrot, or celery sticks to a sack lunch.

    • Grill vegetables alongside meats for easy barbecue serve-alongs.

    • Serve bigger portions of vegetable dishes without heavy sauces.

    • Add chopped green bell pepper, carrot, and celery to soups, casseroles, and other dishes.

    • Serve fruit for dessert. It can be fresh, poached, or baked. Top the fruit with sherbet or a dollop of low-fat yogurt.

    • Every week buy and serve one fruit or vegetable that you've never tried before.

    • When baking, choose recipes that call for bananas, carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, apples, or other produce. Or, add dried fruits to muffin and bread batters.

  1. Eat breakfast (and other meals for that matter). By skipping meals, you'll only be extra hungry at the next meal and more likely to overeat. Besides, research shows that a person who eats breakfast burns more calories at that time and during the day.

  2. Minimize the fat in the foods you eat with these simple tips:
    • Remove the visible fat from meat before cooking.

    • Opt for ground beef that is 90 to 95 percent lean.

    • Choose white meat rather than dark when serving poultry, and remove the skin whenever possible.

    • Broil foods rather than deep-fat or pan frying them.

    • "Saute" foods in a bit of broth instead of butter or oil.

    • Use nonstick cooking spray rather than oil for stir-frying.

    • Steam, don't fry, vegetables.

    • Poach fish or chicken in water, broth, or tomato juice.

    • Roast meat and poultry on a rack so fat drips away.

    • Cook soups and stews ahead, then chill. After the fat hardens on top during chilling, remove it. You get another bonus. Making the dishes ahead improves the favor as well.

  3. Add flavor without fat to foods by seasoning with herbs, spices, flavored vinegars, a few drops of soy sauce, or a pinch of bouillon granules.

  4. Substitute for big calorie and fat savings. These simple food switches can put you on the road to a more healthful diet:
    • Top off salads with fat-free yogurt, cottage cheese, or low-fat dressings rather than traditional high-fat dressings. For a fat-free dressing mix rice vinegar or citrus juices with a little seasoning.

    • Switch to evaporated fat-free milk to cut calories from homemade cream soups and sauces. It's also good in quiches, casseroles, and custards.

    • Use reduced-fat or fat-free dairy products in place of the regular products. For example, drink reduced-fat or fat-free milk rather than whole milk, serve fat-free ice cream or lower fat frozen yogurt in place of premium ice cream, or substitute reduced-fat cream cheese, sour cream, or yogurt for their regular counterparts in cheesecakes, puddings, parfaits, and dessert toppings.

    • Choose a lower-fat fish, such as orange roughy, rather than a high-fat one, like salmon.

    • For sandwiches, use 1 tablespoon of mustard (15 calories) rather than 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise (100 calories).

    • Slather your toast or a bagel with 2 teaspoons of fat-free cream cheese (25 calories) or all-fruit jam (35 calories) in place of butter (72 calories).

    • For a salty snack, opt for unbuttered popcorn (80 calories per ounce) rather than potato chips (140 calories per ounce).

    • Use fresh fruits for a sweet snack rather than a candy bar or granola bar.

    • Make omelets with refrigerated egg substitute rather than eggs.

    • Choose a vegetable-topped pizza rather than a pepperoni- or sausage-topped one.

Exercising made simple
The best diet in the world can't make up for a lack of physical fitness. Exercise can help you meet and enjoy the challenges of motherhood. Before you embark on any type of exercising, though, be sure to check with your doctor to see when it is safe for you to begin. While there are many formal activities, such as swimming, a regular routine on a treadmill, or attending aerobic dance classes, that will help you increase fitness and lose extra pounds, there also are some informal ways of getting exercise and toning up that you can try:

  • Take the stairs rather than an elevator or walk instead of drive whenever possible.

  • Get aerobic exercise by briskly walking with your baby in a stroller. Try to choose a route that includes a hill or two.

  • Start a mothers' exercise group. You can walk together with strollers, plan bike rides, or work-out together at the gym. A group can provide much needed support and encouragement.

  • Tone your muscles with Kegel exercises and tummy tighteners (pull your tummy in and hold for 5 seconds) when you're brushing your teeth, showering, or driving your car.

  • Perform wall push-ups when you have a minute or two by placing your hands at chest level with your feet several inches behind your body. Lean forward toward the wall, then slowly push back.

  • Tone your legs and bottom with leg lifts when you're on the phone or any time you're standing for a few moments. In a standing position, lift one leg with knee bent up toward your body, and return your foot to the floor. To tone hip and thigh, raise your leg from your side up 12 to 14 inches, and return to the starting position. To tone the buttocks, lift one leg toward your back with the knee slightly bent, and slowly return your foot to the floor.

  • Stretch your entire back and shoulders by standing with your back against a wall, hands at your sides and heels, hips, and shoulders pressed against the wall. Slowly raise your arms over your head, keeping your hands and elbows touching the wall.


About The Author

Julianne Deveraux travels frequently between Atlanta and Boston as a freelance writer and Your Baby Today contributor.

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.

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