By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine
These days, it seems like everywhere you look, there's a photo of a celeb strutting around Cabo in a string bikini -- just weeks after giving birth! That's some seriously fast weight loss.
But at least one actress, "The Fighter" star Amy Adams, recently said she's taking it nice and slow. Baby comes first. Body comes second.
This got us thinking ... when it comes to losing post-baby poundage, what's realistic -- and safe -- for you and your little one? Here's what the experts say:
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"New moms need to be respectful of the ordeal their body has just undergone," says Mary Jayne Johnson, Ph.D., spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise. "They need rest and healthful nutrition. This is not the time for crash diets, fad diets or weight-loss supplements."
Whether you're nursing or not, you'll likely lose 10 to 12 pounds in the first couple of weeks after delivery (because you're saying adios to the baby, placenta and amniotic fluid), according to Ari Brown, MD, and OBGYN Michele Hakakha, co-authors of Expecting 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy.
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After that, Johnson recommends following the standard weight loss guidelines: 1 to 2 pounds per week (though it may be a bit more if you're breastfeeding, which not only burns 300 to 500 additional calories a day, but also stimulates hormones to help the uterus return to its pre-preggo size).
"Start planning your postpartum weight loss before you get pregnant or as soon as you find out you are pregnant," says Johnson. "In other words, eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly and appropriately for your health status to help keep your weight gain manageable. Pregnancy is not an excuse to let it all go, in fact it is a reason to be more diligent about healthful eating and exercise." For more on pregnancy eating, check out the New Rules of Eating for Two.
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So, when is it safe to hit the gym?
"Depending on the recovery time from labor and delivery, a new mom can begin gentle exercise (including pelvic floor exercises, breath work and engaging deep abdominal muscles) within days after delivery," says Johnson.
Assuming you didn't have a C-section and your doc gives you the green light, walking for fitness can begin after a week, "but it should be several weeks before a new mom begins any high-impact activities such as running or aerobics," Johnson adds.
What's your postpartum weight-loss attitude: Lose it fast or take it slow?
More from SELF:
- Heidi Klum's Happy, Healthy Life
- 10 Ways to Lose Weight Like a Guy
- How to Destress with Yoga: How To Do A Sun Salutation
- The Workweek Diet
- Makeover your upper body now!
Photo Credit: Fairchild Archive