Losing Weight After Childbirth

The Early Show: Chris DePaz
CBS/The Early Show
On her new diet, Chris DePaz said goodbye to cookies, brownies and chocolate and hello to protein-charged foods. A member of the The Early Show's Weight Off series, she is using the Dr. Atkins diet and is starting to exercise.

Growing up, she says, she had her thin and chubby stages, typical of most children, but overall weight wasn't a problem. Weight became an issue after pregnancy.

"I gained 60 pounds with my first son. And I didn't lose that after he was born. With my second son, learning from the first, I gained 25 pounds, and when I had him, I lost 28," she says.

After finally after having children in her mid-30s, the teacher's assistant was surprised to watch her body change as she approached 40.

"The most frustrating thing would be, I think, just fitting into your clothes and every day, you know, saying, 'What am I going to wear today?' Or 'How am I going to disguise it today?'" she says laughing.

Her husband, Enrique, notes her sweet tooth: "Christine likes to eat a lot of carbs, particularly rice, and sweets like ice cream, pies, cakes and dark chocolate."

She has lost and regained weight over the years, but stopped exercising after being diagnosed with adult-onset asthma.

"I never got an attack, but I was afraid of it," DePaz says. "But afterward, it kind of is like it's an excuse, definite excuse."

With the excuses behind her, DePaz has given up many of her favorite carbohydrates on her latest diet, the Dr. Atkins diet, and is now working overtime to lose the extra pounds.

"If I got to lose 30 pounds and kept 30 pounds off, I'd be a happy woman," she says.

So far, she says, it has been difficult for her to resist the urge to eat sweets. "I don't normally turn to Swiss cheese and ham, as a snack food. So that's been hard. But you learn."

To help her out, Dr. Louis Aronne, the director of New York Hospital's comprehensive Weight Control Center, recommends cutting out sugar and starches especially in the morning, because it will cut down on her appetite.

The Atkins diet, he says, is not a no-carbohydrate program, but "slowly absorbed carbohydrates like vegetables and less carbohydrates," he says.

Since DePaz gained the most weight after childbirth, Dr. Aronne says 20 to 30 pounds gain is the amount of weight the average person gains.

"In general, you want to follow your doctor's directions, but we see that women who are heavier should probably gain a little bit less weight than women who are thin to begin with. It's possible to gain 40, 50, 60 pounds. That's much, much too much," he says.

After nursing, Dr. Aronne says, is a good time to lose the weight. Before that, it should only be done "under the supervision of a dietitian or someone who knows what they're doing."

Today, DePaz has lost 11 3/4 lbs., and remains hopeful to reach her goal of 30. "I think I will because I'm sticking with it, whereas with other diets you get kind of discouraged. And I'm a little discouraged now because I stayed the same this week. But it will happen," she says.