More from Fitbie: 5 Pregnancy Tips for Expecting Mommas
So how did Washington lose the baby weight? The notoriously private Scandal star has yet to let the world in on her secrets, but Karen Ansel, MS, RDN, and co-author of The Baby & Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start says the most improtant thing for postpartum women is finding the time to focus on themselves despite the craziness of having a newborn.
"Many new moms are laser focused on their nutrition during pregnancy. But once baby comes along the demands of caring for a newborn 24/7 take over and eating right doesn't seem nearly as important," explains Ansel. "But after 9 months of pregnancy a new mother's nutritional stores may be depleted, so eating right is critical."
Beth Warren, MS, RD, CDN, likes to tell her patients that when it comes to losing weight after giving birth, slow and steady wins the race.
"After you have the baby, your metabolism is so slow," explains Warren. "You have to eat every two or three hours throughout the day because that will start boosting your metabolism."
Looking to slim down after baby? We're here to help. Check out these expert tips for what to eat and what to avoid after giving birth:
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What to Include
• Vegetables: According to Ansel, new moms should be eating lots of fresh vegetables. Plus, vegetables are low in calories so you can eat as much as you want without worrying about what they'll do to your waistline.
• Dairy: Ansel advises new mothers to focus on whole foods, especially low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, or cheese. These calcium-rich foods supply your body with minerals that pregnancy and breastfeeding may steal from you.
• Iron: So much of this valuable mineral is lost during pregnancy, so new moms need to focus on eating iron-rich foods. Without enough, Ansel explains that new mothers may suffer from low energy. One easy way to load your body with iron is to eat fortified bran cereal for breakfast.
• Water: According again to Ansel, extra fluids are important not only for nursing, but also to help with constipation and weight loss. Don't mistake hunger for thirst! Stay well hydrated and it will help you avoid eating too much.
What to Avoid
• Starchy and sweet foods: Warren explains that, while pregnant, women often crave starchy and sweet foods. After giving birth, however, these cravings don't necessarily go away so it's important to make sure your plate is not being overpowered by these foods.
• Fad diets: New moms should resist the urge to jump on the fad diet band wagon because, according again to Warren, if you go on any of these diets too quickly, you will not be eating enough food so your metabolism will not speed up. In the long run, fad diets do not help new mothers loose weight.
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