Body After Baby

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When it comes to shedding weight after having a baby, slow and steady wins the race.

Getting back to your pre-baby body won’t happen overnight, but it is an attainable goal. Follow these stay-on-track tips.

Be realistic. You didn’t gain your pregnancy weight in a day, and it won’t come off that fast either. Losing weight too soon after giving birth can increase your recovery time, so wait until your six-week checkup to get started. The National Institutes of Health suggests women take six months to one year to reach their pre-baby weight. That window may be longer depending on how much you have to lose.

Set goals. Choose a master goal and then set up mini, short-term goals to help you recognize your accomplishments along the way. Every pound counts, so be proud of your accomplishments.

Stick with breastfeeding. Not only is breastfeeding good for you and your baby, but it can also burn about 300 to 500 extra calories per day, which may make it easier to drop those excess pounds and get your pre-pregnancy body back.

Put active time on the calendar. Your calendar may be filling up with pediatrician trips and visits from the grandparents, but be sure to set aside some time for exercise, too. Think of it as “me time.” Working out is a personal responsibility. Make it a priority and try not to skip sessions.

Eat for one. On average, a pregnant woman needs about 300 more calories each day than a non-pregnant woman. Try not to slip back in to your pregnancy eating habits. Cutting 500 calories a day from your current diet can result in weight loss of about one pound per week.

Enlist the help of friends. Working out with friends is more fun and a great way to stay motivated. It’s also a fun way to fit in social time when your family responsibilities increase. Schedule wisely to do double duty and catch up with friends while you slim down.

Make changes slowly. It isn’t easy to completely re-work your diet and exercise plans on the fly. Instead, try making one new kind of healthy choice each week. Maybe that means going meatless on Monday, or signing up for a new class at the gym. Over time, those little changes will add up to big results.

Keep your kitchen junk-free. If you have processed snack foods, candy or other unhealthy foods in your cabinets, odds are, you’re going to indulge. Keep temptations far away and out of your house. It will make sticking to a healthful diet easier.

Fad diets and skipping meals may be tempting, but these approaches won’t help with long-term weight-loss goals. Carve some time out of your busy schedule to care for your health and watch those extra pounds melt away.

Schedule doctor visits for your child online at! Day or night, schedule appointments for next day and beyond with pediatricians Alan Brown, M.D., or Bird Gilmartin, M.D., here.

Drs. Brown and Gilmartin are members of the medical staff at Evanston Regional Hospital.