Lesli Fox used to run up to four miles a day. But when she got pregnant, complications forced her to stop. She says, "It was very hard, plus seeing yourself gain weight, seeing cellulite form in different areas that you weren't used to."
Fox gained 38 pounds. In three and a half months she's lost most of the weight but not all of it. Nurse practitioner Jane Harrison-Hohner, from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, studies pregnancy and weight gain. "The biggest predictor in how women are going to lose their weight postpartum is the amount of weight they gain when they are pregnant," Harrison-Hohner tells Ivanhoe.
Women who are overweight to begin with should gain only 15 to 25 pounds. Normal-weight women should put on between 25 and 35, and those who are underweight should gain between 28 and 40 pounds. And Harrison-Hohner says, "The rate of weight gain should be much less during the first half of pregnancy than during the second half."
If you gain too much weight, you'll have to work harder to lose it. First, limit yourself to about 1,800 calories a day if you're nursing. If not, make it 1,500. Next, get more calcium. The mineral has been linked to weight loss. "A woman should have between 1,100 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day for pregnancy and during lactation," Harrison-Hohner says.
And as soon as your doctor gives you the go-ahead, start an aerobic exercise program. Six more pounds and Fox will be back to her pre-pregnancy weight.
If you're nursing, you may have a tougher time losing weight. The body hangs on to fat stores, and you produce a hormone that stimulates appetite.
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