Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

Lose the weight before pregnancy

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Advertisements abound these days for weight loss programs and quick fix diets. Did you eat all your favorite traditional treats over the holidays and have a cup or two of cheer? I certainly did and am now feeling like it’s time to behave – time to swap the cookies for carrots, the fruitcake for fruit.

For those of you thinking about pregnancy, it’s especially important to get your weight under control before you conceive. To know if you’re overweight or obese, find out your body mass index (BMI) before you get pregnant.  BMI is a calculation based on your weight and height.

If you’re overweight, your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9 before pregnancy. Two in 3 women (66 percent) of reproductive age (15 to 44 years) in the United States is overweight.  If you’re obese, your BMI is 30.0 or higher before pregnancy. About 1 in 4 women (25 percent) is obese.

If you’re overweight or obese, you’re more likely than pregnant women at a healthy weight to have certain medical problems during pregnancy. The more overweight you are, the higher are the risks for problems. These problems include:
• Infertility (not being able to get pregnant)
• miscarriage (when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy)
• stillbirth (when a baby dies in the womb before birth but after 20 weeks of pregnancy)
• high blood pressure and preeclampsia (a form of high blood pressure that only pregnant women get). It can cause serious problems for mom and baby.
• gestational diabetes
• complications during labor and birth, including having a really big baby (called large-for-gestational-age) or needing a cesarean section (c-section).

Some of these problems, like preeclampsia, can increase your chances of preterm birth, birth before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. This is too soon and can cause serious health problems for your baby. (We’ll talk about how mom’s weight issues can affect her baby’s health in tomorrow’s post.)

For those women who are severely overweight, some are turning to surgery. New studies suggest that weight-loss surgery may help protect obese women and their babies from gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, overly large babies and cesarean delivery during pregnancy.

So think about staying healthy and shedding those unwanted pounds before you get pregnant. Talk with your health care provider, find a plan that’s good for you and stick to it. You’ll have a healthier and more comfortable pregnancy when the time comes.

Underweight and infertile

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

We as a nation seem to be getting fatter by the minute.  We’re always reading about obesity and the problems it causes, of which there are many.  But some women, whether because they pay too much attention to the fashion police or they have too much stress or other issues in their lives, are really, really thin.  Some women are just tiny, but some have an eating disorder that makes and keeps them thin.  Anorexia and bulimia are two eating disorders that wreak havoc with your body.

Anorexia nervosa is a disorder making a person incapable of maintaining a minimum body weight considered healthy for a person’s height and age.  Intense fear of gaining weight causes severe dieting and/or excessive exercising.  Bulimia is a similar disorder but often consists of binge eating and then vomiting, perhaps combined with laxative use, to prevent weight gain.  Among other health issues, both of these conditions can cause infertility.

Women need to have a certain amount of body fat in order to menstruate, conceive and carry a baby.  If a woman’s body fat reserves drop too low, her body starts to protect itself and she may stop menstruating, since this is a process that is not vital to her survival.  This can prevent her from conceiving.  (A bulimic woman may actually carry a little more weight and therefore may continue to menstruate.  But the process of binge eating and vomiting may be too harsh on her body to sustain a pregnancy if one is conceived.)

And women aren’t the only ones with eating problems that can affect pregnancy. Men who are anorexic (oh yeah, we’re not the only ones) and have a very low body fat ratio may have a significant drop in sperm production, also hampering the ability to conceive.

If you are hoping to conceive but haven’t been able to yet, consider analyzing your body weight and eating patterns.  Look at it from different perspectives.  If either you or your partner is particularly thin, consider altering your diet and gaining some weight.  Talk with your provider about how to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Why your weight matters

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

scaleIt’s important to get to a healthy weight before you become pregnant.  If a woman is overweight or obese before pregnancy, she may face special health risks when pregnant (high blood pressure, preeclampsia or eclampsia, diabetes, problems during childbirth). Babies born to overweight or obese mothers may face their own challenges, too (risk of being born prematurely, certain birth defects, needing care in a NICU, possible obesity in childhood). Ask your doc or health provider for help in losing weight and getting to a safe starting point.

If you watch our video, you’ll learn what you can do if you’re an overweight or obese mom to protect your own health and the health of your baby.  “Pregnancy: The Overweight or Obese Woman” is part of the March of Dimes Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby video series.

Breastfeeding and weight loss

Monday, January 4th, 2010

19209285_thbThere are lots of good reasons to breastfeed, but this one is my all time favorite. Breastfeeding may help you lose the weight gained in pregnancy. According to experts, women who breastfeed exclusively for more than 3 months lose more weight than those who do not. I personally benefited from nursing and was back to my pre-pregnancy weight by six months. I should also mention that after I got my doctor’s OK, I started to do a lot walking each day and continued to watch my diet. My appetite went through the roof though, so it was really difficult to eat healthy all of the time. Especially because I was craving cookies night and day. I never had such a sweet tooth in my life! The My Plate for Moms was a big help. If you’re breastfeeding check it out to help choose the right amount and type of food you should be eating.

Cutting back on added sugars

Monday, August 31st, 2009

sugarIn the last few months, I’ve been trying to be more physically active and make healthier food choices. It hasn’t been easy, especially with all the weekend barbeques and summertime desserts (ice cream… yum). My goal isn’t so much to lose weight, but to live a healthier lifestyle so I can lower my chances of developing serious health conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease later in life.

Your body needs nutrients to give you the energy you need throughout the day. Most of these nutrients and calories come from the healthy foods you eat. Out of your daily calorie allowance, you also have a certain amount of “discretionary calories” or extra calories that you can use any way you want – maybe an afternoon snack or a small dessert after dinner (Learn more about discretionary calories). However, it turns out that many of us eat too many discretionary calories, and most of these come from drinks with added sugars (colas and other soft drink beverages).

The American Heart Association (AHA) made a new recommendation about the amount of added sugars we eat during the day. The organization recommends that most women have no more than 100 calories per day of added sugar. To give you a better idea, one can of regular cola has about 130 calories of added sugar, which is 30 calories more than recommended.

Instead of cola, why not try some sparkling water with a slice of lemon? That way, you can use your discretionary calories on something yummy.

34 dieting products and other supplements recalled

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Over 30 dietary supplements aimed at helping people lose weight have recently been recalled, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The products were found to contain Sibutramine, which can reduce appetite. Sibutramine can increase blood pressure and pulse rate. It may pose a major risk for patients who have certain heart conditions.

For a complete list of the recalled products, click here.

This recall is yet another reminder that dietary supplements can sometimes be unsafe.

The March of Dimes believes women who can become pregnant, pregnant women, and children should not use dietary supplements , without approval by a health care provider. While some supplements and herbal ingredients have undergone extensive testing, the safety and effectiveness of many have not been demonstrated.

One more thing: Women should never try to lose weight while pregnant unless their health care provider recommends it.

Can’t fit back into those pre-pregnancy jeans yet?

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

pre-preg-jeansPregnancy changes your body.  With a little effort, most women will eventually lose the weight, but the body has shifted and those jeans just might not fit the same any more.  (BTW, my jeans never fit like these, except in my dreams!)

My youngest sister is always moaning over the fact that she can’t fit into her old jeans.  She really can’t.  But she didn’t deliver last month – her child is in kindergarten.  I happened to be at their house for dinner not long ago and I think I got a glimpse at her particular problem.  Her daughter is a very picky eater and leaves half of her food on her plate – always.  That night, my sister, following the “waste not, want not” adage that our parents drummed into us, absent mindedly scarffed up what was left on Julie’s plate before she put it in the dishwasher.  Ah Ha!  She has inadvertently been eating about a meal and a half at each sitting.  Well, that’ll keep those tiny jeans at bay.

Having been guilty of this same technique, I tried to be as tactful as possible when I broached the subject. She not-so-calmly replied, “What? Shut up! I did not!  Did I really?  You’re kidding, right?”  She had been oblivious to this.  Now she gives Julie slightly smaller portions (she can always ask for more) or takes what is left on the plate, sticks it in a container and offers it for lunch the next day.  She’s looking forward to a thinner summer.

FDA warns consumers about more than 25 weight loss pills

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

On December 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised consumers not to buy or use more than 25 types of weight loss pills. These pills may seriously harm your health.

Some of the pills contain sibutramine, a controlled substance. Others contain rimonabant, a drug not approved for marketing in the U.S.; it can cause depression and suicidal thoughts. In some of the pills, the FDA found phenolphthalein, a suspected cancer-causing agent. Some ingredients in the pills far exceeded levels recommended by the FDA.

Some of the pills are marketed as dietary supplements and are promoted as being “natural” or “herbal.” In fact, the pills contain ingredients that can be harmful.

Women who can become pregnant, pregnant women and children should not use herbal or dietary supplements without first getting approval from a health care provider. Some supplements and herbal ingredients have undergone extensive testing, but many have not been shown to be safe or effective.

If you are pregnant, do not try to lose weight during pregnancy; this can harm both you and your baby.

Celeb mommies bringing you down?

Monday, August 18th, 2008

There must be something in the water in Hollywood.  It seems that everybody who is anybody is having a baby.  Not only that, but these celebrity mommies are coming back to their pre-baby shape in record time.

Seeing pictures of Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba and Nicole Kidman looking better than ever after giving birth can leave the average new mom feeling upset.  Some moms may ask themselves, “if these celeb mommies can shed 40 lbs. in 4 weeks, then what am I doing wrong?” Unfortunately, this new wave of celebrity post-baby fitness is setting unrealistic expectations for many women and their partners.

The weight you gained during pregnancy was a good thing.  It helped give your beautiful new baby the nutrients he needed to grow.  Now that he is born, it’s perfectly fine to try and get back into shape.  With your health provider’s OK, you can start light exercises as soon as you feel ready.  Just be sure to take things slowly.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests starting your way back into fitness with a walk.  Take a brisk walk whenever you can, everyday if possible.  When you feel up to it, you can move on to more intensive exercises.  Swimming is another great workout.  Some local fitness or community health centers offer classes that specialize in workouts for new moms.  Not only will you begin to see healthy results, you’ll also experience extra energy, which you’ll need to keep up with caring for a newborn.

The most important thing is that you go at your own pace and choose a workout that’s right for you.  Remember – it’s not a race to the skinny jeans.  Focus on eating well-balanced meals and living a healthy lifestyle.  You’ll be much happier and healthier in the long run.