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Losing the Baby Weight: 7 Mistakes to Avoid

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As a new mom, getting back in shape takes time. Most women need about 6 weeks to lose half of their baby weight and several months to shed the rest.

When you're ready to get started, eat at least 1,800 calories daily. If you’re nursing, add 500 more calories to that. With exercise, you may lose up to 1 pound a week.

You can also help yourself by avoiding these common pitfalls that make it harder to lose that pregnancy weight.

1. Being Too Eager

Wanting to lose the weight fast sets you up to make decisions that favor quick results over lasting results.

For instance, you may be tempted by a fad, like eating nothing but grapefruit. You'll lose weight, but drastic diets backfire. You're likely to gain it all back when you start eating normally again.

The fix: Insist on a plan that will deliver lasting results, even if it takes longer than you'd like. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can help you pick a weight loss plan that will be worth the time it takes.

2. Comparing Yourself to Celebrity Moms

Ignore celebrity moms who seem to lose their baby weight overnight. They often hire trainers and chefs to help them along. Also, there's a good chance that some of their weight loss efforts weren't healthy.

The fix: Focus only on your own body. Don't put pressure on yourself to look like someone else. It's about health and what's right for you, not keeping pace with a starlet whose life is very different than yours.

3. Not Getting Enough ZZZs

Getting some shut-eye is tough when your little one relies on you day and night. Sleep and weight are linked, though.

Among new moms studied, those who slept 5 hours a night or less were more likely to have at least 11 more pounds to lose by the time their babies were a year old than moms who slept 7 hours a night.

The fix: Take every opportunity to sleep. You'll feel better, and it helps you lose weight. Ask your pediatrician or a sleep coach for advice.

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