December 17, 2009

Recovering from Pregnancy Weight Gain

Filed under: By Tamra Rosenfeld — Administrator @ 11:24 pm

Tamra Rosenfeld Tamra Rosenfeld

Having struggled with weight in the past I was very concerned about pregnancy weight gain and the ability to lose weight post partum. Being through 2 pregnancies and my knowledge as a registered dietitian I would like to share some professional and personal advice to help others in the same situation.

With a healthy weight prior to pregnancy, a pregnancy weight gain of 25-35 pounds is recommended. This only allows 300-500 extra calories a day which equates to about 1-2 oz of protein food, a glass of low-fat milk, and a fruit. Even with the best knowledge and intentions sometimes cravings can take hold and that 800 calorie weekly sundae quickly adds a few more pounds to overall weight gain. So now the pregnancy is over – how do you lose that excess weight? You’re not sleeping, you have no energy or time to cook what do you do?

If you have decided to nurse it can help with weight loss (nursing burns extra calories) but it can make you feel very hungry. Depriving yourself of too much food can also diminish your milk supply. For the first 6 weeks post partum you should not try to lose weight. After the first 6 weeks a 1-2 pound weekly weight loss is recommended. This can be frustrating but weight loss is easier in the long term.

Depending on how much weight was gained during pregnancy it can take a year or even more to lose that weight. And chances are you will not be able to fit into the same size you were before pregnancy – unless you are one of those lucky few. Don’t be too hard on yourself, your shape changes to help with childbirth.

Here are some tips to help get the pregnancy weight off more quickly:

* Start good habits early. You may be telling yourself that you will start good habits when your baby starts sleeping through the night. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months. Years later your 3 year old is up all night long and your weight is the same. Telling yourself, “I just had a baby” only lasts for so long.
* Start exercise as early as possible. Even if it is just walking a bit, building that routine is really important. Try pacing with the baby (instead of sitting on the couch), cleaning bottles, or doing laundry. Sleepless nights make it a little hard but the sooner you start the better you will feel. If you start lounging it will be much harder to start.
* Try to resist night time eating. This is really difficult when you are awake with the baby at 1, 3, and 5 AM. Once you start the night time eating habit you will want to continue doing it. Try brushing your teeth right after dinner and make a commitment to yourself to not eat until breakfast time. Not only will you not lose weight if you eat all night long, you are likely to gain more weight!
* Try to have quick, easy food readily available. Even with the best intentions you are most likely not going to whip up gourmet meals when you are exhausted. Keep carrot sticks, low fat cheese, and fruit easily accessible. Have frozen vegetables, soups, minute rice, and canned beans in your home for easy meals. Buy vegetables and fruit that is already washed and cut. Although it costs more money it will be cheaper than ordering out.
* Keep the stuff that you really like (cookies, chips) out of your home because you will most likely eat it. When you are sleep deprived you tend to crave high carbohydrate, sugary foods. If it is not there you will not be going to the store to get it.
* Plan to lose weight gradually. If you lose weight too quickly it will be harder to keep off, plus you may be losing some muscle mass.
* Do not skip meals! Even if you don’t think you have time to eat try small, quick snacks. If you skip meals at your next opportunity to eat you will most likely overeat.
* Try keeping meal and snack times as consistent as possible. This will help train your body to feel hungry at certain times. If you “graze” all day long you probably won’t be aware of what, or how much you are eating.
* Slow down – the baby may be crying but stuffing food into your mouth is not good for you. The baby will not go anywhere if you put him/her down for a few minutes (this is a very hard thing to do with the first child but by the second one you realize it is something that needs to be done).
* Buy a slow cooker. You can put a few ingredients in the morning and your dinner will simmer all day long. By the evening you can have a nice meal with protein food, vegetables, and starch with only 1 pot to clean.

Keep in mind that your children will learn from your example. If you don’t eat vegetables they won’t either. If you stand up while you eat and eat food quickly your children will try to do the same. If you start being healthy today it will help your whole family in the long term.

December 7, 2009

Feeling Fab

Filed under: By Ellen Bittner — Administrator @ 1:53 pm

By Ellen Bittner
Chapter 3: Going Public

As I wrote in Chapter 3 (Using Weights, Losing Weight) in my blog From Flab to Fab, physical activity had never been part of my lifestyle when I was growing up. The Phys Ed classes that I had in high school focused on individual calisthenics that were done in an assigned “spot” and usually consisted of jumping jacks, leg lifts (aka “the hydrant”), and doing sit-ups while a partner held your feet down.

Now, imagine an uncoordinated and overweight teenager trying to do these exercises in a one-piece school-issued gym suit (short sleeves and baggy shorts that ended somewhere mid-thigh). Self-conscious, uncomfortable, & awkward are a few words that describe how I felt about myself during those Phys Ed classes.

The same feelings of discomfort returned years later when I tried to keep up during the large group aerobics and step classes at a “women’s fitness center”. I began to realize that the best way for me to exercise would be to do it in a private setting; so, I decided to look for a personal trainer who would tailor an exercise program to fit my abilities & needs. That’s when I found Vadim Vilensky.

Working one-to-one with Vadim in the privacy of his Fitness Studio, I was able to focus on form and technique without feeling the pressure of keeping up with others. If I had difficulty with balance, resistance, or weight only Vadim and I knew.

After working with Vadim for a few years my strength, stamina, and balance improved and I began to feel more confident in my physical abilities. So, when Vadim offered a small group “boot camp” I decided to give it a try.

Even though I felt stronger and more fit; since I had been working out in isolation, I had no idea what my fitness level was. Vadim explained that the “boot camp” circuits were timed and I could complete each exercise at my own pace. However, I still wondered if I would be able to keep up with my fellow “soldiers”. So, the first time I walked into “boot camp” I was very nervous.

There were four of us, and six different exercises in a circuit. The gauntlet of exercises required strength, stamina, and balance. Vadim paired us off so that we would go through each of the exercises in the circuit in teams of two. As Vadim promised, I was able to work at my own pace and use weights that were appropriate for me. I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only was I able to keep up; but while there were exercises that were more challenging for me, there were those that I was able to do with relative ease.

I found that I was enjoying the friendly camaraderie of my fellow “soldiers” in the “boot camp” so much that when another group class was started (a mixed martial arts self-defense class) I became one of its charter members.

Vadim continues to train me in an individualized fitness program; but now I also enjoy the challenge and friendship of exercising “in public” in several different group settings.

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