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Experts Corner

Fitness

Postpartum Frustrations ~ Getting back into shape
By Lisa Stone, ACE

Q. I'm 5 weeks post partum and getting frustrated that a majority of my pants/shorts no longer fit around my waist. I'm 3 lbs from being at my pre-pregnancy weight, but haven't had the time to get back into my fitness routine since delivery. Although my stomach looks like it's back to it's normal size, I have a lot of excess skin. Is there something exercise wise that I can do to help "alleviate" this? Is it a matter of losing those last 3 lbs.? Being a new mom has it's own stresses, not being able to find anything comfortable to wear certainly isn't helping matters.

A. Give yourself a break! You're only 5 weeks postpartum! It will take several weeks or possibly even months to regain your pre-pregnancy body, even if you lose all the pregnancy weight quickly. Your skin, especially that on your abdomen and breasts, was stretched incredibly during the past 9 months. Depending on how elastic your skin is, it could take quite a while to "shrink" back to its normal size.

In the meantime, exercise and healthy nutrition will help. Try to squeeze in 20-30 minutes at least 3 times a week of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise. Plus, do muscle strengthening exercises for 20-30 minutes at least twice a week. You can do abdominal exercises daily for 5-10 minutes to re-strengthen those muscles. Be sure to gently stretch after each workout session.

Hang in there! You'll have that body back before you know it! In the meantime, fasten your waistbands with a rubber band - a great trick I learned during my pregnancies.

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