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Back to shape, baby!

walking with stroller“When are you due?” This is the last question you want to hear two months after giving birth. Losing weight is hard enough, much less having to do it while taking care of a newborn.

Women usually gain about 30 pounds during their pregnancy. While some go back to their old shape almost immediately, many are stuck with a few extra pounds that can be bad for their health—and their frame of mind.

If you’re about to give birth, you’ll be happy to hear that the first 10 pounds will come off before you even leave the hospital. Within the next six weeks, expect to lose another 10 pounds as your body returns to its nonpregnant state. The last 10 pounds can be stubborn, but with a little work you can lose them for good.

A healthy diet
Eating right will help keep your energy levels up and frustration levels low—a big payoff when you’ve got an infant to take care of.
Make it easy on yourself by buying precut or frozen vegetables and quick-cooking grains, like couscous. When you do have time to cook, make more than you need and freeze leftovers; pop them in the microwave for a quick meal. Ask family members to pick up some groceries for you when they come over to visit. An active lifestyle
With a new baby in your life, changing diapers may seem like the only physical activity you can fit into your schedule. But as long as your obstetrician says it’s okay, taking even two 10-minute breaks a day to go for a walk or to do some stretching will do wonders for your sanity—and your waistline. Invest in a stroller designed especially for active parents, and you’ll be able to share this time with your baby.

When baby naps, take the opportunity to do some leg lifts and abdominal crunches (do not do full sit-ups, double leg lifts or knee-to-chest exercises during the six-week postpartum period). Consider enrolling in a postpartum exercise class, where you will also meet other new moms.

Peace of mind
Don’t feel guilty about taking time out of mothering to take care of yourself. Your well-being and self-image affect your kids. If they are raised in an environment that makes healthy living a priority, they will be more likely to adopt a similar lifestyle.