Avoid the after-pregnancy blues and get back in shape

Published 6:12 am Friday, May 30, 2003

By Staff
In previous articles we have looked at working out during pregnancy and working out after pregnancy.
Now let's look at the majority of women who fall into those after-pregnancy blues where they just cannot seem to get their bodies back into shape. What is the problem and how can they help avoid it?
Too Many Calories:
When women are pregnant it is suggested that they eat about 300 extra calories a day. After pregnancy one problem is that women keep eating those extra 300 calories (if a woman is breastfeeding that is a different story because they still need extra caloric intake). Most women do not know exactly how much 300 calories are. They may eat something thinking it is only 300 calories when really it may end up being 500 extra calories. After pregnancy and breastfeeding women need to cut back on their calories and keep eating healthy.
Eating Your Children's Leftovers:
Do not pick from your children's plates. Your children are eating macaroni and cheese for lunch but they can't finish it all. So instead of throwing those last couple of bites away you eat it for them. Considering you have already ate lunch those extra couple bites of macaroni and cheese could add up to a couple hundred unwanted calories. When it is their snack time unless you're hungry do not have a snack just because your children are having one. Try to make snack time a healthy one. This way if you do find yourself picking at their food at least it is healthier than cookies and chips.
You Do Not Exercise:
Whether you are not exercising because you do not have enough time, you are too tired, or you feel guilty taking that time from your baby you have to make it work. Exercise is such an important part of a healthy life and getting back into shape. James Rippe, M.D., states, "If you burn off 100 fewer calories a day than you did before having kids - which doesn't seem like much - you'll gain 10 pounds a year." Add that up over three years and that is 30 extra pounds you now have to contend with. Make exercise work into your schedule. It could be using exercise as your alone time and having your spouse, friend or family member watch the baby, taking the baby to your gym's daycare room while you work out, or if you absolutely do not want to part with your child then put them in the stroller or a carrier and go for a walk or jog. There are always ways to make it work - you may have to be creative.
You Do Not Have Time To Make Healthy Meals:
You already had a busy enough life and now with a little one it is even more chaotic. You used to be able to squeeze in those healthy dinners but now it is always rush, rush, rush, and a lot of eating out and grabbing the fastest thing to fill up your stomach (which usually is not healthy). Look for already-made frozen low-fat dinners you can pop in the oven, which can help with prep time. On the weekend make big meals, cut up vegetables, divide it out for a week's worth of meals, freeze them and each day pull out what you want to eat. When you get home it will be ready to just stick in the oven. Learn how to use a crock-pot. Throw your meal in the crock-pot in the morning and when you get home it is ready to eat. When you do eat out watch what you are ordering. By choosing the right foods you can still eat healthy.
Hopefully these tips will help women not fall into those after-pregnancy blues. If you really want to get back into shape and be healthy you can make it work. It is up to you to do it - it may not be easy but it will be worth it.
Reference: Parenting
Thought of the week: The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. - Henry Ward Beecher
Amy McKean is the adult programs director at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA. She can be reached at Amckean23@wmconnect.com