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Experts Corner

Fitness

Breastfeeding and Weight Loss
By Lisa Stone, ACE

Q. Is there any medical reason why I, as a breastfeeding mom, would NOT lose weight or get into shape if I were to stick to a routine committedly?

A. Many women find that they lose more weight initially while breastfeeding but that they plateau after a few months once the baby starts nursing less often. At that point, I usually recommend that women kick up their exercise program so that they burn more calories, and that they really watch their food intake to make sure they're eating a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat proteins, and low-fat dairy products.

I think some women tend to hold onto to extra fat while breastfeeding - maybe that's the body's way of protecting the baby to make sure mom can produce enough milk? Personally, I held onto about 5-7 pounds while breastfeeding, which came off very easily after weaning. That's not an argument to wean early, though! By eating well and exercising for 30-60 minutes at least 3 times a week, you should see great results. If you do reach a plateau, try adding a new activity to your exercise program - I find that strength training really makes a difference in how my body looks and feels.

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