How to Lose Weight & Get Toned After Pregnancy

Be patient, as losing weight after pregnancy takes time.

Be patient, as losing weight after pregnancy takes time.

After pregnancy, you might feel a desire to return to your previous weight, or to implement a new, healthier lifestyle that allows you to reach your ideal weight. Losing weight and getting toned after pregnancy requires patience -- as a new mother, you have many responsibilities to balance. Allow six months to return to your pre-pregnancy weight, or longer to achieve more dramatic goals. For best results, stay positive, be gentle with yourself and enjoy making the changes that will allow you to become a fit, toned, active mom.

Identify your fitness goals. Include areas you want to tone, such as your upper arms, as well as the amount of weight you want to lose.

Design a healthy diet that you can live with. Use the U.S. Department of Agriculture My Plate system as a guide. Include vegetables and fruits to comprise at least half of every meal. Choose whole grains, such as quinoa, and low-fat dairy and proteins, such as Greek yogurt and black beans. Minimize sugar, saturated fats, alcohol and processed foods. Cook at home instead of eating out to exert more control over your nutritional intake. Do not snack on your children's leftovers; instead, plan meals for yourself that contain the nutrients you need.

Choose cardiovascular exercises for weight loss and to increase metabolism. Take a brisk 30- to 60-minute walk each day to burn calories and increase your energy. Add high-intensity activities you enjoy at least three days per week for faster results. Try swimming, jumping rope, dancing, ice skating, team sports or horseback riding to burn more calories and increase overall muscle tone.

Start a resistance-training program to tone specific targeted areas. Do pilates and crunches to tone abdominal muscles. Pushups, yoga and weight-training tone arms. Choose a combination of stretching and exercise ball repetitions to strengthen a taxed lower back. Vary your resistance-training routine to suit your individual goals. Do resistance training every other day, or three days per week, for best results.

Tip

Breastfeeding burns calories, but it requires plenty of nourishment, so don't cut calories while you're breastfeeding. Instead, eat plenty of nutritious foods that benefit both you and your newborn.

Warning

Avoid crash diets following pregnancy. Such diets are not successful in the long term. They also compromise your health and ability to access the energy you need as a new parent.

Tip

  • Breastfeeding burns calories, but it requires plenty of nourishment, so don't cut calories while you're breastfeeding. Instead, eat plenty of nutritious foods that benefit both you and your newborn.

Warning

  • Avoid crash diets following pregnancy. Such diets are not successful in the long term. They also compromise your health and ability to access the energy you need as a new parent.

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