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8 Tips for Losing Weight After Pregnancy

Load Up on 'Super Foods', Find Time to Exercise, Consider Breastfeeding to Help Shed Excess Pounds

Get some sleep.

It may seem impossible to get a full eight hours of sleep when you have a baby summoning you like clockwork throughout the night, but being sleep deprived could make it harder for you to shed the baby weight. In one study, new moms who slept five hours or less a night were more likely to hold onto their extra pregnancy weight than women who slept seven hours. When you're tired, your body releases cortisol and other stress hormones that can promote weight gain. "Also when you're exhausted, you don't feel like taking good care of yourself," Johnson says. "You're less likely to choose healthy food. You're more likely to grab something through a drive-through. You're also less likely to get physical activity."

Your friends or family members may have told you to "sleep when your baby sleeps," and that's good advice. Catch as many naps as you can during the day and go to bed early -- at least until your baby starts sleeping through the night.

Ask for help.

If you're struggling to lose the weight, enlist the help of your doctor and a dietitian. The dietitian can help you design an eating plan that will let you lose weight safely and effectively, while the doctor can guide you on how much weight you need to lose and when you can start exercising.

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Reviewed on November 21, 2008

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