Tipsheet: Fitness Strategies For New Moms

During Pregnancy, the average weight gain for women is 25 to 35 pounds. You'll lose about 12.5 to 14 pounds during birth, which leaves 12 to 21 pounds to go. By following a few tips, you can get back into those Seven jeans.

>> Give Yourself Time. The weight won't drop immediately, but it also won't take, like the old saying goes, another nine months to come off. "Do not crash-diet," says dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot: You'll need energy for late-night feedings and diaper changes. "Post-pregnancy is not the time to try a liquid diet," because experimenting will leave you with a sinking energy level. Zuckerbrot also advises new moms who are breaast-feeding to eat when hungry, and even consume extra calories to allow for adequate milk production.

>> Drop White Bread. "Cut out carbs entirely and you're setting yourself up for a quick crash-and-burn," Zuckerbrot advises. So just cut simple carbs, like white-bread products (in case you didn't know by now, that means cake, cookies, chips, rolls, bagels, etc.). "These foods are often filled with empty calories and don't provide you with enough long-term energy." she says. Keep eating complex carbs like fruits, vegetables, brown rice, whole-wheat breads and beans, though.

>> Add Fiber And Protein. "The dirty little secret to losing weight and keeping it off is fiber," Zuckerbrot says. "Fiber is indigestible: therefore, it contains zero calories. You'll lose weight without being hungry." Some fiber-rich foods include garbanzo beans, blueberries, and broccoli. You'll also want to add lean protein to your diet. "Protein helps keep you feeling full longer than meals of just simple carbs," Zuckerbrot says.

>> Don't Skip! Time is precious for new moms, but you need to make sure you're as conscientious about your feeding times as you are of your baby's. "Eat beakfast, lunch, a snack, and dinner every day," instructs Zuckerbrot.


From the Fall 2004 edition of the New York Family Guide