Saturday Buzz — Postpartum Fitness
You’d think your new go-go-go lifestyle would be enough exercise to lose the baby weight. If it isn’t, here’s some extra pound-shedding help from the pros and the mamas who’ve been there.
Mood Foods for Postpartum Blues
Take a breather for some “you time.” New moms struggling to stay sane after their world has been turned upside-down love this advice. If putting aside the baby/husband/housework/cooking/job were an option, they would’ve done it long ago. So how can you de-stress when a midday snooze or bubble bath isn’t an option? Try including some good mood foods in your meals.
For a little serenity, hike your serotonin levels with complex carbs: pasta, couscous, brown rice and potatoes. Nutritionist Jane Harrison, R.D. says the postpartum diet should also include plenty of healthy fats like nuts and olive oil. Sounds like the Mediterranean Diet could be a great place to start.
Another key to the post-baby diet is antioxidants, Harrison says. Not only will they lift your spirits and help you think better, they’ll help burn fat, too. But since she advises against alcohol and caffeine, skip the green tea and wine and get your antioxidants from fruits, veggies, supplements and other sources.
How to Start Exercising Again (Even If You Feel Like a Beached Whale)
It’s not easy to get moving again after childbirth. Even the most solid fitness regimen can be thwarted by a hiatus, and when your body has taken abeating during that hiatus — even harder. Many new moms feel like they’re starting from scratch even if they were active through pregnancy.
If it’s OK with your doctor or midwife, start with the basics and take it slow (see How to Restart Your Fitness Regimen After a Break). Even walking is good stress- and endorphin-releasing exercise, so taking baby out in the stroller is a great start.
Too Soon for a Core Workout?
According to BabyCenter says it takes 4-8 weeks after childbirth for the gap that forms in your abdominal muscles (to accommodate baby) to fully close. Working that region too soon can cause injury. If you’re wondering whether the abdominal muscle gap has closed, here’s a test.
If you are ready to strengthen and tone your midsection, your best bet is with exercises that work the whole core region — abs, obliques, lower back, glutes and hip flexors.
Back Away from the Fridge Slowly
If you’re stuck in a raid-the-fridge-at-1-a.m. habit, back out of it slowly or you’re likely to rebound (see The Truth About Cravings). Better to cut back a few items at a time and give yourself a weekly cheat day.
Get your cravings in check by making yourself working for treats: keep healthy foods and water handy and junk food out of reach. One of my favorite food rules is to only eat French fries, cookies, pizza, etc. if you make it yourself. It works because you’ll only make ‘em if you really want ‘em — and it’ll be the healthier version, too.
More Fat Burn, Less Gym Time
Also, think twice before reading a book while on the stationary bike: multitasking could have you pedaling backward. Read these instructions for bringing focus to your workout.
Finally, add some high-intensity interval cardio to the mix. Metabolic training (Heidi Klum’s post-baby M.O.) will keep you burning energy long after you’ve left the gym.
Got some baby weight to lose? What’s working and what isn’t?