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Losing Weight Before Trying to Conceive

Dianna Graveman |19, May 2012


There are a lot of good reasons to be a healthy weight for your height and body size before becoming pregnant. And unless your health care provider instructs you differently, you already know you should not try to lose weight after you become pregnant. So is it okay to try to lose weight immediately before trying to conceive?

If you are overweight, the answer is yes. First of all, you are more likely to be able to conceive a baby quickly if you are not significantly overweight. Obese women tend to have a higher incidence of irregular menstrual periods, which can lead to decreased fertility.

But stay away from fad diets and plans that promise quick weight loss. You may end up sacrificing important nutrients and vitamins you need now to build a strong body in preparation for pregnancy. Also, you will not be able to continue the diet after you are pregnant, because it would not be healthy for you and your baby. So chances are you will simply gain the weight right back if you choose to follow a lose-weight-quick plan instead of adopting a sensible diet and healthier lifestyle.

Concentrate on what nutritionists call "good" carbohydrates like brown rice and whole grain pastas and breads. Eat lean chicken, fish, and meat. If you are a vegetarian, choose high-protein foods like legumes, beans, and nuts. Of course you want to include plenty of fruits and vegetables. If you eat or drink dairy products, make them low-fat. And don't forget to drink lots and lots of water. If you find you have a difficult time drinking a lot of plain, unflavored water, try a squirt of lemon or lime juice. True LemonĀ® is a great crystalized lemon powder that is made from all natural ingredients and has zero calories. The product comes in various types of packaging, including small one-serving packets you can carry with you and add to your water bottle wherever you happen to be for a more flavorful drink. The company also makes the product in orange and lime flavors.

Of course, to really get fit you need to also adopt a regular exercise routine. Try to fit in about an hour of exercise each day--whether that is walking, biking, swimming, dancing, or some other moderately taxing type of activity. If your schedule doesn't allow for an uninterrupted hour of exercise time each day, it's okay to split it up into two sessions or more. After you become pregnant, it is important to keep exercising, but you will probably need to modify your routine. Consult your health care professional about an appropriate exercise plan that is right for you and your baby.

A good goal is to try to lose about one or two pounds each week. If you lose more quickly, you may be burning muscle and shedding extra fluid instead of simply burning fat.

What about counting calories? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you are in caloric balance if you are eating the same amount of calories each day you are taking in. You will not gain weight if you are in balance, but you will not lose weight, either.

In order to lose weight and burn fat, you must have a caloric deficit. That means you must take in about 3,500 less calories than you burn in order to lose one pound of fat. So in order to lose one to two pounds in a week, you must reduce the amount of calories you ingest each day by about five hundred to a thousand, depending on how much you exercise.

Getting in shape before pregnancy may seem daunting, when you know you will begin gaining weight again as soon as your new baby starts growing. Just remember that starting the pregnancy at a healthy weight with a nutritionally-sound eating plan in place will give both you and your baby a fresh new start.

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