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Winning at Post-Partum Weight Loss: Six Simple Strategies for New Moms - Part 2
A healthy pregnancy almost always involves weight gain. But now that baby's here, you're probably wishing those extra pounds would hurry up and disappear! While it won't happen overnight, these six simple tips can help you lose that extra weight in a healthy way. (If you've missed part 1 of this article, or want to read part 3, you can find them both at http://www.mambomoms.com/articles.html)
3) Drink plenty of water. You will probably be very thirsty if you are nursing your baby and you should drink as much as your thirst dictates. But even if you're not breastfeeding, lots of pure water is important in your quest to shed those pregnancy pounds.
First of all, water has no calories, so when compared to other beverages, it's hands down the best bet in terms of weight loss. Diet soft drinks and other low calorie beverages may have only a couple of calories, but your body craves pure water in order to be able to function properly. Besides, many people are concerned about the artificial sweeteners used in these products, and caffeinated diet drinks may increase fussiness in your baby if you're nursing. Go ahead and indulge if this is something you just can't live without, but make sure you're not doing it at the expense of your water needs.
Secondly, water is helpful in the process of burning stored body fat. Studies have shown that not drinking enough water can hinder your weight loss efforts because the liver has to work harder to metabolize waste when your body is not properly hydrated.
And finally, drinking enough water will help you feel full so you eat less. This is especially true if you're eating lots of high fiber foods such as whole grain breads and cereals. The fiber in whole grains will absorb water, making you feel full longer.
Other liquids are fine too, such as juice, milk (dairy or substitutes), and herbal teas. But do try to stay away from those empty calorie soft drinks and anything that's labeled "beverage," "punch" or "drink" instead of "juice." And even though they may be considered healthful, watch your intake of pure fruit juices. Juices contain nutrients that your body needs, but they are a very concentrated source of sugar as well. Whenever possible you are better off to eat a piece of fresh fruit and drink water for thirst.
You should also try to limit your intake of coffee and caffeinated tea. Doing so may help both you and your baby regulate your sleep habits. Some babies get very fussy and hard to settle when mom is breastfeeding and drinks caffeinated beverages.
Drinking lots of water is one of those things that seems easy in theory, but in practice it can be difficult to accomplish. One effective strategy to help make sure you get enough is to place water bottles strategically around the house. You can buy small plastic bottles of water by the case at the grocery store or you can buy the refillable type of bottle that you might take to the gym or on your bike.
Put a bottle anywhere you spend time during the day: near your favourite nursing chair (put several here-you'll probably use them all!), near baby's change table, on the bathroom counter, on top of the washing machine, on the kitchen counter, on your desk, on a shelf near the front door, beside your bed, on the kitchen table, etc. Each morning, spend 3 or 4 minutes making the rounds collecting yesterday's empty bottles and replacing them with fresh ones. This way, you'll be more likely to drink lots of water because there will always be some close at hand.
4) Breastfeed your baby if at all possible. Depending on the age and weight of your baby, you can use around 800 calories a day producing milk for her. Besides the host of other benefits that breastfeeding affords both you and your baby, quicker postnatal weight loss is one advantage that all new moms welcome. Even if you are returning to work or can't breastfeed full time for any reason, any amount of breast milk is good for your baby, and as a perk, will help you use up additional calories for as long as you are able to continue.
In addition, breastfeeding releases natural hormones that help you relax. Since the hormones released when you are stressed can contribute to weight gain, it only makes sense to counter this with activities that help you relax. Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to do this, and you and your baby will also benefit in so many other ways. If you need more information or support with breastfeeding, visit La Leche League International on the web at http://www.LaLecheLeague.org
In part three of this article you'll learn ways to burn extra calories easily and enjoyably without sweating it out at the gym. You'll also learn the secret that savvy new moms use to effortlessly burn up to an extra 200 calories a day -that's 2 pounds a month with no extra effort!
Susan Peach is a retired La Leche League Leader, a dance and fitness instructor, and mother to two teenage boys. She is also the creator of Mambo Moms, a fun and gentle Latin dance based fitness program that helps new moms get back in shape while spending quality play time with their babies. Find out more at http://www.mambomoms.com
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