By Charlene O'Hanlon
It's a universal lament of every new mother: "I need to get back to
pre-pregnancy weight!" For some, that means watching their diet, and for
others, that means hitting the gym as soon as the doctor gives the
Both are noble endeavors. And both are highly recommended. After all,
a healthy diet and regular exercise is good for the mind as well as the
body. But when you're averaging five hours of interrupted sleep a
night, sometimes the last thing you want to do is tie on your running
shoes and instead want to curl up on the couch and snack on a pint of
rocky road ice cream while your baby naps.
I know. I've been there.
I exercised regularly throughout my first pregnancy, but I didn't
really watch my diet. In fact, I craved comfort foods such as grilled
cheese sandwiches and, yes, rocky road ice cream. Consequently, I gained
40 pounds that took me about a year to lose through regular, intensive
exercise and by watching my diet like a hawk. I also joined a weight
loss support group, which helped my husband lose his "pregnancy weight"
but didn't do much for me.
With my second baby, I didn't exercise as much, but made an effort to
get out and walk every day. I also was very selective in what I ate and
how I rewarded myself for getting through another day of being pregnant
- rather than have a cannoli, I indulged in guilty pleasures such as
chick flicks, prenatal massages and long naps (when I could fit them
in). As a result, I gained only 25 pounds, which I was able to lose in
two short months.
I credit the relatively rapid weight loss to the daily walks my
husband and I took with the baby, starting the day I got home from the
hospital. Obviously, it was too soon for me to start exercising right
away, but for me, the daily walks were enough to keep me feeling healthy
and help me clear my head I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by
Above all, I didn't stress over the extra weight, which I firmly
believe hinders many a weight loss regimen. In fact, I approached my
extra rolls with a "love my curves" attitude. My body had done something
amazing, and I had the stretch marks to prove it. Of course, knowing
how important exercise and a healthy diet is to both my physical and
mental health, I did what I could to eat right and some days I forced
myself to take the walks. But they did the trick. And when my doctor
gave me the thumbs up six weeks later to hit the gym, I went because I
wanted to, not because I felt as though I had to lose the weight. And
that turned out to be the best weight loss plan ever.