In terms of intensity and duration, don't expect to pick up where you left off with your exercise. Start with activity such as walking or gentle yoga, which will start to reinvigorate your body and start plugging you back into your energy source.
When you feel ready, begin increasing your active time keeping in mind that not all days will feel the same. Listen to your body. A nap may be the better choice if you've been up the night before.
Add intensity easily with a stroller -- just add baby! They are the perfect way back into strength training because they are natural progressive weights. As they grow, your challenge will grow. A 30-minute walk can burn about 150 calories.
Add cardio with a jogging stroller, which is a great way to exercise with your little one and burns even more calories.
Exercising at the right time and at the right pace will oftentimes prevent postpartum blues -- those feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression that can occur after delivery.
Finally, and with your doctor's approval, remember that sex is great exercise and can definitely be an enjoyable way to rehab your abs.
The fastest way to shed baby weight is to fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods.
Eliminate empty calories; they will leave you empty with no energy. Say no to sodas (this means any sugary beverages including juices) and chips.
Eat lean protein for your muscles and to feel full, whole grains and plenty of fresh vegetables. Low-fat dairy is also beneficial.
Great snacks include high-fiber and low-fat dairy items such as apples, pears, grapes, berries, bananas, carrots, tomatoes, yogurt, string cheese, avocado, almonds and almond butter.
When thinking about weight loss, focus on health rather than dieting. Eat mini meals (five to six a day) to keep energy up and feelings of starvation down.
Remind yourself that your body took a little time off to become the perfect incubator creating and nourishing that new person in your life. Giving it a little time and embracing a healthy lifestyle will soon have you feeling great about your body and your new family.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified instructor/trainer since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to her at YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or email cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World," at www.cindysays.com, or contact the YMCA at 304-340-3527.