I’ve tried and loved The EatingWell Diet cookbook. The lasagna is one of my go-to meals when I have a little extra time on my hands for dinner, and a portobello mushroom “cheesesteak” is a lot of yumminess packed into a healthy, filling sandwich.
Those behind EatingWell know that starting a family is a new and exciting chapter in your life. Your body and your lifestyle have gone through some pretty significant changes over the past several months. And while there are some aspects of your life that may never be exactly as they were pre-bundle of joy, you can get back into a healthy routine and feel good about your post-baby body. Losing the baby weight and regaining your energy levels can be a daunting task, but here are a few tips from Beth Casey Gold, a registered dietitian at the University of Vermont’s Vtrim Online, on how you can tweak a few behaviors and feel great about your body.
Little Tweaks, Big Results
1. Crawl before you walk. Regaining the body you had before the baby won’t happen over night. Set smaller, achievable goals for yourself. Your overall goal may be to drop 30 pounds, but start with a goal of five pounds. Once those five pounds are off, you can focus on the next five!
2. Sneaky snack time. Whenever your little one is hungry, do you reach for your favorite snack, too? Think about when and how you eat and snack and keep a food journal. If you can recognize your eating cues, you can figure out how to manage your triggers to control calories. In addition to jotting down what you eat, also note your emotional state, where you are, or what just happened. Tackle the triggers!
3. Work in workouts. If you can arrange for childcare, treat your gym time as you do a doctor’s appointment. Mark it on your calendar. When you have it scheduled, you’re less likely to make excuses not to go. If it’s harder to get out of the house for workouts, think about your daily routine. If your new bundle of joy naps between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., take an hour to pop in a fitness DVD. Short on time? Three 10-minute walks are just as effective as one 30-minute walk. One study found that people who took more short exercise bouts actually lost more weight.
4. Kitchen re-do. During pregnancy, you’re more likely to give in to unhealthy cravings. Take a look at your refrigerator and pantry. Get rid of anything processed and make a few simple swaps to lighten your load: Swap corn oil for olive oil and white bread for whole-grain bread.
5. Nap time. Try to get a full eight hours of sleep. A recent study completed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center showed that short sleepers had a higher BMI than those who slept longer hours. Lack of sleep tends to impact the hormone levels that trigger hunger. Plus, it’ll be much harder to push that stroller without a good night’s sleep!
6. Get a gold star. For each mini goal you reach, reward yourself! Is there a new pair of jeans you have your eye on? Or maybe you could hire a babysitter and go for an hour massage. Treat yourself to something you want for reaching your goals. You’ve worked hard and you deserve it! Keep your eye on the prize.
For an added weight-loss bonus, we’re giving away a copy of The EatingWell Diet cookbook! The book highlights the Vtrim Online program in depth and is filled with more than 150 healthy, delicious recipes to keep you on track to losing the stubborn baby weight. To enter, leave a comment on our site with your biggest post-pregnancy weight struggle! U.S. residents only, please. Winners will be notified by email. —Erin