The Exhausted New Mom’s Workout
From dawn to dusk, how to sneak fitness and healthy eating into your life
12:15 p.m. Do lunch! Try to have lunch before you're actually starving -- you'll be less likely to overeat and more willing to make a healthy meal. Smart choices include vegetables and lean protein, such as a salad with turkey or chicken (to quicken prep time, buy pre-washed greens, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes) topped with low-fat cheese. Or a chicken or turkey sandwich with greens and mustard on whole-grain bread. Even canned veggie-and-chicken soup with whole-wheat crackers fits the bill. Try to drink water or skim milk with your meal; a 12-ounce can of soda contains 140 calories, all from sugar, the same amount as 3 ounces of lean beef, says Kimball. If you have to have soda, make it diet. 1:05 p.m. Fuss busters If calming the crankies means rocking your baby, then do it while marching with your knees high to tone legs and glutes. Stick it out for 15 minutes and you'll burn 96 calories. If your nerves are frayed by the time your baby goes down for a nap, grab a magazine and let yourself relax, even if it's only for five minutes -- you'll be less likely to head to the kitchen for comfort. "Many women say that comfort eating has to do with not having enough time for themselves," says Sass. "Budgeting in small amounts of 'me-time,' even if it's only to take a longer shower or read five pages of a novel, can make it easier to resist the cookies -- the treat no longer feels like the only reward you've had for days." But that doesn't mean you can never splurge. "I'm a big fan of occasional treats," says Kimball. "It helps people feel like they're not depriving themselves." She recommends small indulgences (portion size is key) like one fun-size M&M's or a small handful of Hershey's kisses. 1:40 p.m. Clean up It's fine to let the house slide once the baby arrives. But if the mess starts to challenge your sanity, get motivated by the calorie-burning benefits of 30 minutes of cleaning -- vacuuming, mopping, and bathroom scrubbing burn about 100 calories each. A word to the wise, limit cleanings to two days a week -- you need to rest, too. 2:15 p.m. Get moving! It's easy to feel like you need to entertain your baby, but she'll be amused just by watching you do something that you like. So pop in a yoga or Pilates video while your baby watches or relaxes in her play gym. If you want to get outside, bundle your baby up for a walk (see "Walk This Way," sidebar) or just pad around in the snow together. You can also invite other moms along to make your walking workout a moving playdate. Choosing different locations -- a zoo, mall, or art museum -- can add to the fun. (On days that you don't take a walk, repeat the ten-minute morning workout.) 3:10 p.m. Snack secrets As older babies start eating snacks like animal crackers or vanilla wafers, moms will grab handfuls for themselves, too. "Try buying snacks for the kids that you don't like, so you don't eat them," Kimball says. Healthier mom snacks include cut-up veggies with hummus or low-fat ranch dressing, peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers, or a low-fat yogurt.