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Q&A: How can I lose weight after giving birth without over doing it?

by Lisa Stone, ACE Certified Fitness Specialist |
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Q How can I lose weight after giving birth without over doing it?

A In order to lose your pregnancy weight, you need to combine healthy eating with physical activity. In terms of eating, try to fill up on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy products, and lean meat or white meat chicken. Cut back on your portion sizes but make sure you eat and drink enough to maintain your milk supply if you're breastfeeding. You'll probably want to continue taking your prenatal vitamin while breastfeeding, too - ask your caregiver about that.

You'll also need to be physically active through regular exercise. If you're new to exercise, start slowly, perhaps taking a moderately-paced 20 minute walk 3 times a week. You can add intensity to your walks as you become stronger by speeding up and walking for longer distances as well as adding hilly terrain. Also, try holding your baby in a sling or other front carrier to add resistance and to increase the number of calories you burn.

In addition to the aerobic exercise (walking, bike-riding, swimming, aerobics classes, etc.), you'll need to do some strengthening exercises for your major muscle groups in order to increase your metabolism (the rate at which your body burns calories). Start with very light weights (1-2 pounds) and increase the amount of weight you use as you become stronger. Your baby will make a great "weight" as you feel stronger! You should do exercises for your upper body, lower body, abdominals, and pelvic floor. Work up to doing the strength training exercises for 30 minutes each session twice a week. You might want to subscribe to a magazine such as "Fitness" to get exercise how-to's.

The last component of your exercise program should be flexibility training or stretching. You should stretch after each workout. Take each stretch to the point of feeling it, then hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds. Make sure you continue breathing throughout each stretch.

By following these suggestions, you should notice visible changes in your body within 8-10 weeks.

Best of luck!
Lisa :)

Click here to Ask Lisa your pregnancy questions

Lisa Stone, ACE - "I am a certified fitness instructor through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) with a specialty certification in pre- and post-natal fitness. I founded Fit For 2, Inc. in 1993 after moving to Atlanta from Los Angeles. We started out with one client and have now grown to over 600 clients.

I started Fit For 2 because there was no high-energy workout program in the Atlanta area for pregnant women and new moms. I had been teaching pre- and post-natal fitness classes in Los Angeles and was ready to go into business for myself. I believe our success is due to the personal attention we give each and every woman that comes through our doors - their satisfaction makes them want to tell others about Fit For 2.

I produced the Fit For 2 Step Aerobic Workout For Pregnancy video in 1994, just after the latest ACOG guidelines for exercise in pregnancy were released. Like our classes, the video is a high-energy workout that is safe to do throughout pregnancy. That's me on the cover, one week before my third child was born! Our video has sold in almost every state in the US and in twenty countries around the world. It is now available on Amazon.com and is selling like hotcakes!

I look forward to hearing from you and helping you stay fit during this most-important time. Congratulations on your journey into motherhood!" - Lisa Stone, ACE


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