Losing the ďBaby FatĒ

Baby has been here for some months now and is cute as a button, but you still have a little extra around your midsection, or a little something around the hips.

Isnít all the extra fat supposed to just melt away after the baby is born? All the books tell you that nursing will help you regain your figure, and once youíre running around after your active little one, you will shed those last few pounds. How can you regain your pre-pregnancy body once and for all?

Exercise and Proper Nutrition

These are key components in achieving your goal body. Dieting is a no win solution, lifestyle changes are. Take a look at your typical day. During babyís naptime, you probably feel like you need to clean up. This is valid, but this could also be your chance to burn some fat!! With one hour of nap time (ideally), you could do an exercise video, go for a jog, or if you have home equipment you could use that. The American Council of Sports Medicine (ACSM) advises a minimum 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise five days per week to obtain weight loss. During this time, you want to make sure your exercise intensity will be most advantageous for you. To find your target heart rate the ACSM advises you to take 220 - your age; multiply that number by.6 (lower range) and .9 (higher range). The beginner should stay near the bottom range while the more advanced exerciser should be closer to the middle. Take your heart rate while youíre exercising to find out if youíre working hard enough. You should also add some strength training. A well toned body will tend to burn more calories at rest and thus become a more efficient fuel burner for you. Lifting light weights will not make you bulk up or look masculine, but instead will increase your muscle tone and your metabolism. Start with low weights and high repetitions. 1-3 sets of 12 -15 repetitions is a good start for building muscular endurance. A variety of exercises for upper and lower body, beginning with larger muscle groups and working your way down to smaller muscles is the way to go. You can do this regimen 2-3 times per week and get results.

If you donít have time for both cardio and strength training, try doing just one or the other and alternate days. You can also exercise while your baby is awake, making him a part of your routine. Babies love music and movement, and they will enjoy having you lift them into the air from the floor (chest press), or hold them while doing squats, or whatever creative maneuver you can come up with. Try to do abs at the end of your routine every second day.

There are many abdominal exercises that you can do with your baby, such as: abdominal crunches holding baby up on top of your knees; plank, having baby lie on the floor directly in front or beside you as you hold your body weight up on bent elbows and toes, keeping your body long and straight like a board; standing twists holding baby are great for working the waist. Use your imagination and enjoy this workout time with your baby if thatís what it takes to fit it in.

Try getting outside with other mothers for walks. You can discuss your babies while youíre burning calories. The longer the walk, the better!

What are you eating these days? I know, things happen on the fly and itís hard to make healthy, balanced meals every day. Try to be more conscious about what youíre eating, and also when youíre consuming food. Avoid eating right before bed, as your body has no means of burning those calories. During the day, strive to eat 5-6 smaller meals to make your body metabolically more efficient.

Try putting up a sample menu of easy to prepare, healthy meals to inspire you throughout the day. Remember that the more brightly colored the fruit or vegetable, the more nutritious it is. Red, orange, and yellow are colors worth eating.

Moderation is a good theme to implement when it comes to eating for weight loss; allow yourself a treat now and then but donít go overboard.

Goals

Having a game plan is important. Sit down and think about what you really want, and write it down. What do you need to do to fit into those jeans again? Do you need to lose 1 or 2 inches around your waist? Maybe an inch around your hips? Set and try to reach definite, specific goals. Short term goals should be attainable within a few months while long term goals should be reached in about a year. Put your goals in a visible place so that you see them daily and are reminded of what youíre working for. Maybe keep the jeans out so you see them more often and want to wear them even more. Telling others about the goals youíve set will make them more concrete and make it harder for you to forget about them.

Hiring a personal trainer is always an option for some people, whether you want to spend the money for that service is up to you. If you feel that youíve tried everything and are getting nowhere on your own, maybe itís worth a try.

Whatever you decide to do, make it your own personal mission, and donít worry about what other people are doing. Every body is different and will lose inches and pounds on its own schedule. With regular cardiovascular exercise, light weight training and good eating habits, youíre sure to say goodbye to your baby fat in no time! Good luck and have fun!
Nicole Palacios, BSc Exercise Science, is an ACE and BCRPA certified personal trainer, BCRPA supervisor of fitness leader, and mother of two. She enjoys helping people reach their fitness dreams.

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