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iVillage: Ready to Lose the Baby Weight? Here's How to Get Started

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Bounce Back After Baby: Easy Ways to Lose the Weight (and Keep Your Sanity!)

Staring at the scale in shock? Knock it off! You just gave birth, and despite what the glossy tabloid mags would have you believe, getting back in shape takes more than a few weeks -- even for celebs! (See which star mamas have a healthy attitude about losing the baby weight here.) If you're ready to start your slim-down, here's what you need to know to get back into shape without going insane.

How Do I Lose the Baby Weight?
Although the standard weight loss advice is "eat less, exercise more," as a new mama you'll need to be careful about cutting calories, since you're still healing from giving birth -- and you need your energy to take care of baby. Non-breastfeeding moms need a minimum of 1500 to 1800 calories a day. Breastfeeding? Add around 200 to 500 calories per day more, which equates to about two extra snacks. The key, especially in the early post-partum days, is to "listen to your body and feed yourself," says Jennifer Wilder, MD, author of "The New Mom’s Survival Guide: How to Reclaim Your Body, Your Health, Your Sanity and Your Sex Life After Having a Baby." Eat when you're hungry and don't even think about starving yourself. Make smart choices, such as snacking on fruit and veggies, instead.

Gradually amp up your exercise, as well. Start easy (think walking, not wind-sprints) but add activity as you feel able. Be sure to include some strength training. Pregnant moms tend to lose mass, and muscle burns calories, so strength training can actually increase your metabolism. Score!

(CREDIT: Alexandra Grablewski/The Image Bank/Getty Images)
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