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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

5 Tips to Lose the Baby Weight

Having a baby is a joy and a blessing that exceeds all others. Now that your bundle has arrived, and you are fully entrenched in ‘mommy mode’, you are probably now worrying about losing the 10 or 20 pounds that you packed on during your pregnancy. For most of us, taking time every day to go to the gym is just not an option – what, with taking care of a newborn, a home and a husband, who has time for the gym?
Luckily there are small things that will make a big difference in loosing your baby weight.

Let me share the 5 best with you:

1. Eat sensibly and stay active – Fad dieting just doesn’t work. You might lose a few pounds but as soon as you revert back to your old diet, the pounds will come right back. The key to success is to not skip meals to save calories, and eat a well balance diet that contains lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and protein and no fat, sugar or empty calories. Furthermore, you need to stay active to lose weight. The more you move, the better you will feel and the quicker you will drop those unwanted pounds.

2. Follow your baby’s eating habits - Your baby will eat when he is hungry and stop when he is full. This is an excellent example for mom to follow too. Not only will this help you to loose your baby weight fast, but it becomes a lifelong lesson in proper eating habits. Experts say that to recognize fullness, you should eat slowly and pause several times during a meal, to allow your body to signal to you that it is full.

3. Exercise with Baby – Forget the gym, you can exercise at home in short intervals all day long. Carrying around a 10 pound baby is hard work. Make it fun and dance with your baby, do the laundry with your baby in a baby carrier. As your baby begins to age, you can involve your little one in at-home exercises that can be as fun as dancing or as unstructured as hide and seek. If you have stairs in your home, even better! Stair climbing is a great way to increase your heart rate and burn fat.

4. Use a smaller plate – Instead of cutting out food groups and drastically reducing the amount of good foods that you eat, use a smaller plate and eat smaller portions. If you are cautious about your intake of fats and carbohydrates, you will lose weight and keep it off. Fill your plate with healthy vegetables and complex carbohydrates. As a guideline, a serving of meat or pasta should be no larger than the size of your closed fist.

5. Maintain a food journal – Writing down what you eat and when you eat it allows you to see where your trigger points are (times of day when you are more likely to binge eat or crave junk food). It also allows you to see your own successes. This is an excellent way of monitoring your goals and your habits and will further your ability to lose all your post baby weight. A recent study proves that women who kept a food journal lost 80% of their baby weight in a 6-month period, compared to only 44% of women who didn’t keep a food journal.

10 Tips to Keep Weight Gain in Check During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, especially if it is your first and you are new to the whole experience of being pregnant, once of the biggest challenges is gaining enough weight to keep your baby healthy. However, most woman gain more weight than is required, which can lead to health issues for both mother and baby, and makes it extremely hard to lose your baby weight.

Not to worry! There are some easy and sensible tips that you can follow that will help you keep your weight in check during pregnancy.

1. Eat Breakfast – Whether you feel like it or not, eat breakfast every morning. It helps to jumpstart your metabolism each day and will fend off unwanted pounds. Additionally, if you add a complex protein to your morning diet, such as peanut butter, it gives you and your baby a boost of protein to start the day.

2. Add 300-500 calories – You want to add 300-500 calories to your diet each day while you are pregnant, to ensure your child is receiving the proper nutrient levels. However, these should be good quality calories and not employ ones. Add more fruit, vegetables and protein to your diet and do away with colas, caffeine and food items high in sugar or fat.

3. Snack between Meals – Having healthy snacks throughout the day between meals makes sure that your body always feels full and satisfied and less likely to binge eat on fatty foods. Snacking also means that you will eat smaller amounts of food at each sitting and this helps to keep the unnecessary weight off.

4. Stay Active – Many women cease to exercise during pregnancy, especially during the 3rd trimester. Unfortunately, this only increases the odds that you will gain unwanted pounds during your pregnancy. If you stay active, you will actually feel better all throughout your pregnancy. Exercise can be as easy as taking a walk each night after dinner, going to the mall for a few hours where it is climate controlled, or taking yoga or aquatics class for pregnant women.

5. Choose Healthy – Many pregnant women have cravings, and although it is sometimes impossible not to indulge those urges it is best for the entire duration of the pregnancy to choose healthy foods. Leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grain breads, rice, potatoes and proteins are important to you and your growing baby.

6. Eat Fresh – One of the easiest ways to watch your weight during pregnancy is to buy fresh and eat fresh. First, this means you are eating foods that are very high in nutrients and vitamins; good for you and baby. Second, if you have to go out and do a little shopping each day to buy fresh, it means you are getting out and getting exercise. It may seem like a pain but look at it this way. Each day you can spend 10 minutes in the supermarket or once a week, you can spend an hour. Your pregnant body and your back will most often prefer the former choice.

7. Avoid Junk Food – Instead of chocolate ice cream, try frozen yogurt. Instead of potato chips, try cheese and crackers. Adjusting your mind to eat healthier, without compromising taste is the key to avoiding junk food during pregnancy. Your mind may be telling you it needs a chocolate bar, but neither your baby nor your hips need it.

8. Look Pretty – When you look good, you feel good. Depression about appearance and weight gain during pregnancy is common. However, if you make an effort to get dressed everyday, do your hair and put on a little lip gloss, you will instantly feel better about your state. This will help you avoid binge eating during low times.

9. Get Out of the House – Staying inside makes you depressed, and becoming depressed leads to overeating. If you can get out of the house at least once every day, you will be more active, less isolated and much happier.

10. Drink Lots – Throughout the day, drink plenty of juice and water. This provides your body with the fluid intake it needs, keeps your skin fresh and radiant and also keeps you filling full. If you feel satisfied, you are less likely to eat all the time.

A sensible dietary plan, one that is rich in nutrients and vitamins is essential for a growing baby. Striking a healthy balance is the ticket to delivering a healthy baby without gaining too much weight that you will struggle to loose months and sometimes years after your child is born.

10 Tips to Fit into Those Pre-Pregnancy Favorite Jeans

One of the most comforting things, after 9 months of a massive belly, water retention and an aching back is to get back into that favorite pair of worn-in blue jeans. The truth is, however, that most of take months to get back into our pre-pregnancy clothing. It just doesn’t have to be that way…

During Pregnancy

1. Healthy Weight Gain – One of the easiest ways to get back into your normal clothing is to be conscious of your weight during pregnancy. The average woman should gain between 25-30 pounds during a full term pregnancy and this weight gain is important for baby development. However, most women gain in the 40-50 pound range and this is not necessary. It just makes it that harder to loose after the baby arrives.

2. Stay Active – Just because you are pregnant, does not mean that you have to give up being active. There are many ways to exercise aside from going to the gym and taking part in rigorous aerobic classes. You can stroll around your neighborhood every day, do yoga and stretching exercises, walk the dog, and many other simple forms of staying active.

Post Pregnancy

3. Breastfeed Your Baby – Some women swear that breastfeeding is the magic formula for loosing weight. It works for some women and not for others. However, because you are extra careful what you put into your body while you are nursing your time, you naturally eat better and this helps the weight to come off.

4. Choose a Sensible Dietary Plan – Eat a daily diet that is high in protein, vitamins and nutrients each day. Lots of leafy green vegetables, fruit, meat and egg proteins as well as milk are all essentials to loosing weight after pregnancy.

5. Walk it Off – Walk anywhere and everywhere you can. Instead of driving, walk to the corner store, to the post office and to the mailbox. Take the baby out for a walk at least twice a day, either in the stroller or in a baby carrier. Whether you are in the house or out at an appointment, take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can. All of these are easy to do, and take no time at all.

6. Exercise Every Day – If you are able to get out to the gym, do it! It gives you a break from the new baby, gives your husband a chance to bond with baby and allows you to mingle with other adults for an hour or so each day. Taking aerobic or aquatic classes is a fast way to get back into those beloved blue jeans, especially if you can maintain an elevated heart rate for at least 30 minutes each day.

7. Drink Lots of Water – Your body loves water! Make sure to drink at least 32 ounces of water each day. It keeps your body hydrated, it is good for your baby if you are breastfeeding, and it keeps your body feeling full and satisfied.

8. Stay Away from Sugar – Sugar and junk food are deadly when it comes to loosing post-pregnancy weight. Also, they are not good for your baby if you are breastfeeding. The act of simply cutting sugars and junk food out of your diet will result in a loss of 5-10 pounds in a few months without even thinking about it.

9. Abstain from Alcohol – Although alcohol will not contribute to weight gain, certain ingredients will impede your ability to loose weight quickly.

10. Eat Often – Eating 5 or 6 small meals every single day is better than 3 large meals. Eating often keeps your metabolism high so your body burns fat longer and continuously. It also keeps you feeling full so you are less likely to binge eat throughout the day.

Healthy Weight Gain during Pregnancy

The first thing that should be said: it is critical to gain weight during pregnancy. The weight that you gain while pregnant is essential to your unborn child’s health and well being. However, it is important that you understand the boundaries of healthy weight gain during pregnancy, as too much weight gain is not healthy either.

While you are pregnant, you are the only source of nutrition for that baby growing in your belly. It is also very important if you are planning on breastfeeding as your extra weight is stored and used for breastfeeding after the baby is born.

Have you ever wondered where the extra weight is distributed during pregnancy? Let’s take a closer look:

 The average baby weighs 7 to 8 pounds
 Placenta weighs 1 to 2 pounds
 Uterus gains 2 pounds
 Amniotic fluid weighs 2 pounds
 Maternal breast tissue weighs 2 pounds
 Maternal blood weighs 4 pounds
 Fluids in the maternal tissue weighs 4 pounds
 Maternal fat and nutrient stores weigh 7 pounds

So what your body NEEDS in weight gain comes to an approximate 29 to 31 pounds. Taking that into consideration, let’s now look at how much you should gain during a healthy pregnancy:

 If you were healthy before pregnancy and within a normal weight range for your height and body type, you should typically gain 25 to 35 pounds
 If you were underweight for your height and body type before pregnancy, you need to gain 28 to 40 pounds.
 If you were overweight for your height and body type before pregnancy, you should gain 15 to 25 pounds.

Of course, these factors are different for every pregnant woman but are general guidelines of what average women, with varying body types and levels of pre-pregnancy health should gain. Of course, if you are having a larger baby, or multiple births, your circumstances would be different.

Part of healthy weight gain during pregnancy also involves putting the weight on at a healthy rate, in each trimester of pregnancy. Ideally, you want to strive for the following goals:

 3 to 5 pounds in the 1st trimester
 1 to 2 pounds each week in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters
 1 to 2 pounds each week in the 3rd trimester

 5 to 6 pounds (or more in some cases) in the 1st trimester
 1 to 2 pounds each week, during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters

 1 to 2 pounds in the 1st trimester
 1 pound per week in the 2nd and 3rd trimester

It should also be noted that some women experience difficulty gaining weight in the first trimester, primarily due to morning sickness and related issues. Luckily, this is the time when your baby needs fewer calories and nutrients so don’t let it worry you overly. Just be certain that even during these times, you are providing your body, and your growing baby, with the essential nutrients and vitamins.

Healthy weight gain during pregnancy should be done at a slow and steady pace, over the entire 9 months of the pregnancy. In most cases, healthy pregnancy is simply a matter of eating properly, staying active and keeping a positive frame of mind about the weight gain. Know that your body needs all that you can give it, from a healthy perspective, to nourish your baby and assist in proper prenatal growth and development.

Unhealthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Although it is critical that you gain weight during pregnancy to ensure your baby grows and develops properly, pregnancy is not ‘carte blanche’ to gain all the weight you want, and yet it is also critical to not be underweight during pregnancy. There is such a thing as unhealthy weight gain during pregnancy and you should be aware of the risks.

Healthy weight gain varies depending on several factors including your pre-pregnancy weight (based on your height and body type). If you were healthy before pregnancy and within a normal weight range for your height and body type, you should typically gain 25 to 35 pounds. If you were underweight for your height and body type before pregnancy, you need to gain 28 to 40 pounds. If you were overweight for your height and body type before pregnancy, you should gain 15 to 25 pounds. Basically, the average woman gains 29 to 31 pounds during a full term pregnancy.

Too Much Weight Gain during Pregnancy
Perhaps you have a friend that gained 50 or 60 pounds during pregnancy – this is very unhealthy and twice the recommended average for a healthy woman. Gaining too much weight has many risks and side effects. As the mom-to-be, rapid weight gain in excess of recommended averages poses many health risks including the sudden onset of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and an elevated risk of cesarean delivery.

From a purely physical perspective, excessive and rapid weight gain during pregnancy will contribute to a long and uncomfortable pregnancy; riddled with chronic fatigue, backaches, ongoing leg pains, varicose veins and the dreaded stretch marks.

Gaining weight at a steady rate within recommended boundaries can also lower your chance of having hemorrhoids, varicose veins, stretch marks, backache, fatigue, indigestion, and shortness of breath during pregnancy.

Too Little Weight Gain During Pregnancy

At the opposite extreme, there are equally as many risks if you do not gain enough weight during pregnancy. It is essential to gain weight at a steady pace throughout the 9 months of pregnancy. Your unborn child needs the nutrients and vitamins that you provide via your eating habits.

Complications to the child include low birth weight infants and premature delivery. When mothers gain less than 20 pounds during pregnancy, the baby is considered small for gestational age (SGA) and is considered malnourished.

Striking a Healthy Balance
The goal is to keep weight gain as steady as possible because your baby requires a daily supply of nutrients throughout your pregnancy that comes from what you eat. It is perfectly fine if your weight fluctuates from one week to the next, this is actually normal. In the first trimester you might not gain as much weight as you should due to morning sickness, but this will pass. If you suddenly gain or lose a lot of weight in your 3rd trimester, you should speak with your doctor as this may be a sign of preeclampsia.

The best advice is to eat properly, using the National Food Guide if you are unsure of how much intake you need from each of the important food groups. Stay active to reduce aches and pains and to keep the weight from piling on unnecessarily. Stay clear of binge foods that contain empty calories, and have no nutritional value to the child or to you. Eating sensibly during pregnancy also makes it that much easier to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight after your baby is born.