First, keep your weight loss in perspective. It took you nine months to gain your baby weight - you won't be able to lose it overnight. Our culture is bombarded with images of celebrities who look fit and beautiful only a month after giving birth, but these weight loss stories aren't true-to-life for most women. "Realistically, if you have ten pounds to lose... it's going to take you about ten weeks. You're looking at a pound a week," says Pachella. Remember that weight loss could take longer if you have more to lose, too.
Changing your eating habits is one step in the right direction, and eating frequently is one key to dropping those last few pounds. Pachella suggests eating every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism up. "A lot of people make the mistake... of depriving themselves and going for long periods of time without eating, which actually slows the metabolism down," says Pachella. This can decrease the speed of your weight loss and make it harder to slim down.
Exercise will also rev up your metabolism, and it burns calories, too. Pachella suggests exercising 2-5 days a week for roughly 30 to 45 minutes per workout session. "You want to mix it up. You don't want to just do cardio, you need to lift weights, you need to cross train," she adds.
Also, remember to plan your meals around protein. If you have a snack without protein, you won't feel full for very long. "It's not going to give you any sustainable energy," says Pachella. Instead of just having a piece of fruit, try adding nuts, yogurt or another form of protein as well. These simple additions will help you stay full, keeping hunger at bay.
It's okay to have your favorite foods, too, though. Just enjoy them in moderation. "Leave a little bit of room to have some fun," says Pachella. Allow 200-250 calories per day to enjoy what you like, whether it's pizza, chocolate or some ice cream. This leaves wiggle room for your favorite treats, but doesn't spoil your diet either.
Even if you're still struggling, don't give up. Support is key when it comes to a weight loss program. American Baby Magazine is offering free tips, tricks and other helpful hints about nutrition and losing baby weight online. Anyone can visit the site and post questions or problems that they're having. "Support is very helpful, and more importantly, accountability," says Pachella. To check out American Baby's weight loss page, visit www.AmericanBaby.com/babyweight by clicking here.
By Erin Petrun