Welcoming a new addition to the family is one of life's greatest moments for many women. Seeing their child for the first time seems to make everything worth it: the long pregnancy, the uncomfortable nights, the stretch marks, and yes, even the baby fat. But even though most moms would do it all over again, they still dream of having their pre-baby body back.
Here are five small ways to burn baby weight with even the busiest schedule:
1. Follow the 15-minute rule
As horrible as it sounds, losing weight means you have to watch what you eat. But you can easily beat cravings with a 15-minute rule. When you're craving something unhealthy, check the clock, distract yourself and wait 15 minutes.
Fitness expert Jennifer Cohen suggests taking a short walk to get your mind off the craving. If your post-baby body isn't ready to move, pick up a book, ask your husband about his day or hold your sweet baby. If you've already forgotten about the snack after 15 minutes, you've successfully beaten your craving.
2. Squeeze in an afternoon nap
Don't sacrifice sleep for exercise during those first few weeks, experts suggest. Newborns throw off your normal sleep schedule, and nutrition expert Sheah Rarback says this can slow down your metabolism. So ditch the housework and workout routine while you get some much-needed rest.
3. Take the stairs
Most women's bodies aren't ready for exercise until six weeks after giving birth (and even longer if they've had a Cesarean section), says postpartum-fitness expert Renee Jeffreys. She suggests taking a brief walk around the block or spending 15 minutes walking up and down steps. Even a short workout like that burns 150 calories.
After your six-week checkup, she says you can start doing 20 to 30-minute workouts a few times a week. Talk to your doctor about a healthy exercise pace for your body.
4. Drink plenty of water
Drink at least one to two liters of water a day to help you stay hydrated and lose baby weight, suggests nutrition expert Elise Mandl. It's especially important for women who are breastfeeding to stay hydrated to replace the fluids lost during feeding times. Water not only keeps you healthy, but also fills your appetite, making you less likely to reach for a midday snack.
A big part of losing weight is dieting. Sugary snacks include tons of empty calories and don't even fill you up, only to leave you reaching for another snack a few hours later. But just because sugar is on the label doesn't mean you have to avoid it. In fact, apples contain 19 grams of sugar.
Good news: You don't have to give up your beloved snack time! Swap out high sugary snacks for healthier alternatives. Satisfy your cravings with some fresh fruit or a bowl of yogurt.
Remember that losing baby weight will take time. One study by the World Health Organization found that women lost an average of 10.4 pounds between two weeks and two years after giving birth. Don't feel bad if you aren't shedding pounds immediately. Go at your own pace. And ultimately, remember that your sweet baby is worth every bit of it.