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s brand new Moms, we KNOW that we’re not going to have a baby and leave the hospital at our pre-baby size and shape, but the stark reality of post-par- tum body challenges are still shocking to many Moms. Not only are our bodies still retaining fluid and fat from pregnancy, but we’re exhausted and have little time or en- ergy to dedicate to meal preparation, plan- ning and exercise. So how is a New Mom to do it? What can we do to get our bodies back?

A 1. It starts during pregnancy. Women

who gain the recommended amount of weight for their bodies during pregnancy are much more likely to return to their pre-baby size and shape quicker than those who gain an excessive amount of weight. Addition- ally, women who continue to stay active during pregnancy can return to pre-pregnan- cy exercise routines sooner and with less struggle.

2. Sleep. Sleep is often a luxury that many new moms do not have. Unfortunately, without adequate sleep, accomplishing body change can be very difficult. Sleep when you can. Sleep when your baby sleeps. Use your husband to take some of the night feedings. Taking care of a newborn is a team effort and it should be treated that way.

3. Prioritize Nutrition. Most experts believe that nutrition ac- counts for 70 to 80% of fat-loss, while exercise contributes the other 20 to 30%. Your body may not be ready to jump right back into exercise, but optimizing nutrition can definitely get you on the right track. Concentrate on protein, green veggies, healthy fats like nuts and avocado, and appropriate amounts of clean starches like sweet potatoes and brown rice. Not only will you help your body to begin losing fat, but you will also have more energy and stamina for caring for yourself and your baby.

4. Don’t Count Calories. Low calorie diets are effective for pro- ducing weight loss, but are not necessarily “healthy” and cer- tainly are not ideal for breast-feeding and/or sleep-deprived Moms. Rather than counting calories, focus on food quality.

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Fat Burning for New Moms

Choose instead to INCREASE veggies and proteins and DECREASE or eliminate pro- cessed foods like breads, cookies, crackers and chips.

5. Keep Snacks on Hand. Keeping snacks on hand makes it much easier to choose high- quality foods over junk foods. If you have healthy options available you are less likely to reach for granola bars, chips and cookies. Here are some of my favorite snack options: an apple with un-sweetened almond butter, cut-up veggies, plant-based protein bars or protein shakes (milk products can be aller- genic for newborns).

6. Freeze Meals in Advance. Use your crock- pot to make stews, soups and one-pot meals BEFORE baby arrives for quick thawing to limit fast-food take out and pizza delivery.

7. Exercise Efficiently: Fortunately the gym isn’t necessary for a good workout. You can even do fat-loss focused workouts in the comfort of your living room during nap time. Short duration, high intensity, weights based workouts elicit the hormonal response needed to burn fat the rest of the day. Discuss with your doctor if your body is ready for exercise, but this is a great, quick workout that can be done anytime, anywhere:

Set a Timer for 15 Minutes and Complete the following ex-

ercises as many times as possible while holding a set of dumb- bells.

1. 10 Squat Overhead Presses 2. 10 Push-ups 3. 10 Lunge Rows 4. 10 Bicycle Crunches 5. 10 Plie Squat Upright Rows Trust me you will feel this the next day

6. Walk. Leisure walking is great for the mind and the body. Most newborns love the security of the stroller and the fresh air and exercise is great for reducing stress hormones. Stress has a HUGE impact on our body’s ability to burn fat and walk- ing is very effective for reducing stress- ESPECIALLY for new moms who often feel confined to the house.

By focusing on nutrition, exercise, stress, and sleep you will

begin to see your body change. While this can be difficult, it will make a difference in how you look, feel, and think. Remember, it starts during pregnancy and slow steady baby steps add up to real progress over time.

Emily Saunders is a Metabolic Effect Certified Fat-Loss Coach specializing in Moms. She hosts a Fit Mama Bootcamp for New Moms who are ready to get back into shape after baby. Find out more at http://www.meetup/Winston-Salem-Area-Fit-Mamas/. Follow Emily and her partners at ity which focuses on helping Moms find balance through moth-

erhood, faith, fitness and nutrition.

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