The result of pregnancy is priceless: a little bundle of joy. But what about the post-pregnancy pounds that are all too familiar to new mothers? Abide by these suggestions to jump start your weight loss program just in time for the start of spring.

Consistency and hard work are important factors when looking for results. Stick with your routine and follow these pointers to ensure success in your weight loss journey.

  • Get your heart rate up. For those looking to lose the leftover baby weight, start at 60-85 percent of your maximum heart rate. To determine, use this simple equation: 220 – age = maximum heart rate. In fact, studies show that people who exercise at too high of an intensity, or above 85 percent, in the initial stages of a workout program, drop out sooner, have more injuries and tend to develop a negative impression toward exercise. Aim for 20-60 minutes of continuous exercise incorporating intervals in your target zone each session. If you are unable to exercise for 20 minutes initially, slow down and gradually build up to it.
  • Invest in a heart rate monitor. Keeping track of your heart rate is key to exercising at the right level, or target heart rate zone, to meet your fitness goals. Use the aforementioned equation to determine your maximum heart rate or purchase a monitor, such as The Garmin. The device tracks calories burned and determines if the user is in the fat burning zone or glycogen burning zone. It also boasts a GPS feature for those who love to workout outdoors.
  • Stay hydrated. If your aim is to burn fat, be sure to consume at least 64 ounces of water per day, plus an additional 16 ounces for every hour of moderate activity. Fat is excreted primarily through urine, sweat and carbon dioxide when released in the air from your lungs. If dehydrated, the body isn’t efficient at expelling fat.
  • Get plenty of protein. Foods rich in protein are crucial to your health and maintenance of muscle, which is metabolically active tissue. Eating sufficient protein helps protect lean tissue mass while promoting fat loss. When you replace some carbohydrates with protein in your diet, you experience fewer fluctuations in blood sugar. Plus, you burn more calories when digesting protein than when digesting fat or carbohydrates, giving protein an advantage. Diets high in protein have been linked to prevention of obesity and muscle loss. Eat at least one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight when trying to lose body fat. This ensures you maintain your muscle mass, which keeps your metabolism burning more calories, helping to rid the extra post-natal pounds at a more rapid rate.
  • Eat breakfast every day. Morning meals actually kick your metabolism into gear. People who eat breakfast consume fewer total calories during the day than those who don’t. When you skip it, you’re actually fasting for 15 to 20 hours. Therefore, you’re not producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat to lose weight. Studies show that breakfast eaters usually lose weight faster in conjunction with exercise. Another study conducted reflected that regular breakfast eaters were more likely to exercise. Try to start the day with a small bowl of protein-fortified cereal.
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