More Tips for Losing Pregnancy Weight
4. Turn Off the Tube
Could the Teletubbies actually make your baby, well, tubby? Studies have found that kids who watch more TV have an elevated BMI or Body Mass Index. What does this mean for Mom? Researchers discovered that a person's metabolism while watching television is actually slower than when at rest. This means you'll burn more calories sleeping late (yet more reason to get those zzz's!) than you will watching your favorite morning show. The American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends no TV for the first two years of life. Maybe you should follow suit.
If you do turn on the tube, look to your little one for clues on how to watch -- for instance, her clapping, jumping, and dancing to The Wiggles. In other words, instead of planting yourself in front of the latest reality show, use the TV as background while you keep your body active by crunching, walking on a treadmill, lifting weights, or doing chores.
5. Drink Your Milk
Babies are never as happy as when they're guzzling down the white stuff -- whether it comes as formula, from a cow, or straight from Mommy. Moms need their daily dose of calcium as well, especially when breastfeeding. But dairy for weight loss? Yup.
Recent studies have shown that calcium-rich dairy products rev up the body's fat-burning ability and increase metabolism, while maintaining your lean muscle mass. Michael B. Zemel, PhD, a professor at the University of Tennessee, director of its Nutrition Institute, and author of The Calcium Key (John Wiley & Sons), has discovered that calcium-rich diets, when combined with some form of calorie-restriction and exercise, can actually accelerate weight loss. In one of Zemel's studies, low-fat yogurt eaters tripled fat loss in the stomach area -- the body part new moms are desperate to reclaim.
The exact reason dairy targets stomach fat is still under investigation, but Zemel believes there is a certain hormonal action that takes place within fat cells in the stomach region when dairy is introduced. "When women become worried about their diet and body image," he says, "the first thing they jettison is dairy, and essentially they're shooting themselves in the foot."
6. Put Ants in Your Pants
Short bursts of energy, which are quite common among the knee-high set, can be beneficial additions to your own weight-loss routine. Studies suggest that brief amounts of cardio exercise are just as effective as a solid hour at the gym. "You may be better off if you kick up your metabolism several times throughout the day," says Kelli Calabrese, a New Jersey-based exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). "As long as it adds up to 20 to 60 minutes in your target heart-rate zone, you can expect benefits." Plus, your body will continue to burn fat even after you've completed your workout--a fitness fact known as after burn.
Vary your routine by trying a new exercise every day, moving quickly from one station to the next at the gym, or experimenting with repetitions. "Any activity that gets you moving is better than none. And it doesn't have to be in a health club," adds Kevin J. Burns, an ACE-certified fitness instructor from Minnesota. "Take your baby and a stroller to the mall and do a few laps. When you're done at the grocery store, take an extra trip around the aisles with a full cart before you check out."
7. Make a Play Date
Playtime is much more fun when your little one has a friend to share it with. The same holds true for Mom. One of the biggest obstacles for weight loss is simply sticking to an exercise program. Including a friend in your workout routine is a great way to keep you both on track. You'll be more likely to go for that Strollercize walk if you have a pal to gossip with. Also check out Mommy and Me programs at health clubs and local community centers.
These groups not only help moms get back in shape, but they also provide a much-needed social support network to rely on during the challenging time of new motherhood.
Megan Kelley Hall is a writer in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and a mother of one.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, August 2004.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your won health or the health of others.