How Do I Lose Weight Safely While Nursing?

Updated on June 02, 2016
J.S. asks from Schaumburg, IL
39 answers

Does anyone have any secrets to losing weight safely while nursing? I gained about 50lbs while I was pregnant. I lost about 30 the first few months but the last 20lbs seem to still hang on. Do you know of any good books to read, websites to look at, special recipes, fitness programs to join, etc.? Any suggestions would be a great help.

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S.X.

answers from Chicago on

AHHHHH. I gained about 50 also and the last 12 lingered.... now i'm down to the last 8. What broke that 12 lb thing for me was eating oatmeal for breakfast, salad w/chicken at lunch and whatever we had for dinner. I told myself i could eat as MUCH fruit/veggies and beans as i wanted. and a bunch of water. if i stick to that and excercise at least 3 x a week for 45 min it is crawling slowly down. I'm not a "dieter" type and never have been so i couldn't do weight watchers or whatever... but i decided every meal/snack/candy or wahtever is a choice and each of those choices matters. I find myself skipping the lemon aid and having water, and no salad dressing etc. good luck. i'm there with y ou!

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C.A.

answers from Chicago on

I wanted to with you my weightloss success. I had lost 40 lbs using weight watcher's and exercising. I feel their program allows you to incorporate healthy eating, portion control and has meetings once per week. Also You are able to bring their babies to the meetings it is a warm friendly atmosphere. C. A.

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T.C.

answers from Chicago on

Hi J.!

I used to be in Weight Watchers and I know they work with nursing Moms! The biggest difference between what you and I would do is that you would get I believe 2 or 3 more points to eat. WW is a great and SAFE way to lose weight! They also have all kinds of wonderful recipes and tips for you! The best is that they give you the added support you need when you are at that plateau!

Good luck to you losing the baby weight!
Many blessings!

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A.B.

answers from Peoria on

I second the previous post about Weight Watchers.
You can go to the meetings, or you can join online (which is what I did).

And, good old fashioned exercise is key, too.
I joined a gym that has babysitting and I think of that as "me" time to clear my mind, and also do something good for my body. If that doesn't work for you, then go for a walk/jog in the a.m. or p.m. when hubby is home.
Even 10-15 min./day to start will be good for your body. (Or take baby in a jogging stroller)
Or, babies love to lay on the floor w/ mom. Get a good yoga DVD and have fun doing it while baby watches.
Just think of creative ways to exercise throughout the day.
Run or walk up and down your stairs a few times when you have 5 minutes. Do lunges across your hallway instead of walking. Do some jumping jacks or sit ups here and there.
My point is, you can squeeze in little bits/bursts of activity throughout your day.

Just make sure, since you are nursing, that you drink a lot of water so you don't get dehydrated.

Good luck, and congrats on your baby!

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L.H.

answers from Chicago on

Weight Watchers is a very good way to lose weight. You can do this while you are nursing. I did it while I was nursing and I lost 25lbs. But, you have to stick to it. Weight Watchers simply shows people how to eat in moderation.

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M.G.

answers from Chicago on

The old fashioned way. I gained over 50 pounds with my baby, too. She is now 18 months old and I, at last, weigh LESS (and am fitter) than I was before I got pregnant. Lots of vegetables, fruit, healthy whole grains -- no sugar, no "white" foods and a good dose of feel-good endorphin-producing exercise. You can do it!! I love the book "Skinny Bitch" for a healthy jump-start if you don't mind some bad language and some tough love...

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G.E.

answers from Chicago on

All the other suggestions are great ones. I just lost 22 lbs. doing the Weight Watchers Online program. It really taught me the right things to eat and the weight just fell off. I also do some sort of exercise about 30 minutes a day. Sometimes it's just walking my son around the neighborhood in his stroller and other times it's a cardio or weight training routine. If you're committed to it, it WILL work! Good luck and congrats on your new little one!

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R.A.

answers from Chicago on

i too gained 50+ pounds with each of my daughters, lost a good amount right away, and then plateaued. have you looked at "Eat Well, Lose Weight While Breastfeeding" by Eileen Behan? this is the recommended book by LLL. i second the mom who said that it took 9 months to gain the weight and should/will take that long to lose it, as well as the woman who mentioned that it's not safe to lose weight until your supply is very steady around 6 months. also, the extra weight you've kept is for BABY if you are breastfeeding, as when baby hits a growth spurt, you lose weight! there are also moms who gain weight while breastfeeding, or who hold onto weight while breastfeeding, and attempts to lose weight end up in diminishing supply - every mom is different, just like every baby's growth is different. i try to remember that babies prefer to snuggle with teddy bears rather than barbies, instead of flipping through women's magazines.

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J.W.

answers from Chicago on

I am a health and fitness professional that specializes in women's health, pre and postnatal too! Whatever program you choose, nursing mothers can keep their supply and lose up to 1 lb per week, after you have established your supply around 6m, you can increase it to 2lbs per week. Spark People, Weight Watchers are good recommendations. Self Magazine has an online nutrition and exercise tool you can use for free as well. Here are some tips:
-Drink half of your weight in ounces, so if you weigh 150lbs, then you would drink 75oz per day.
-I didn't start losing my baby weight until I was sleeping through the night...ha ha. Sleep is a huge factor in weight loss, which is often disregarded. They just published a study on this!
-Eat protein with each meal and eat it first to make you full faster, then eat your veggies, then good carbs. Also eat protein after you nurse.
-Lift weights, many women just do cardio, but when you lift weights it helps boost your metabolism longer.
-This was on msn.com http://health.msn.com/fitness/womens-fitness/articlepage....
-Protein shakes are great after nursing and postworkout, but not all are created equal. Rice and pea proteins are the easiest to digest and great for nursing moms. The Arbonne protein shakes are great, but there is an herb in there that is not safe for nursing moms.

I forgot to add that you need to eat at least 1800 cal per day to maintain supply, if you are exercising, keep it around 2100-2300 cal per day.

-Bounce Back Into Shape After Baby by Caroline Creager is a wonderful book and includes exercises you can do with your baby and a stability ball. You can buy it on amazon.

If you have any more questions, feel free to email me.

Don't worry, I gained 45lbs and still have 9lbs to lose and my daughter will be one in two weeks! I am still nursing once a day too. Nursing is great for initial weight loss, but your body will hold onto the fat to maintain supply. I feel that I have a lifetime to be my preprenancy size, the benefits of nursing outweigh this. But we all have our moments and days! Besides, most celeb moms are not b-feeding and do outrageous workouts and have proportioned meals made for them.

Good luck and congrats!!

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S.M.

answers from Chicago on

Hi J.,

What I did was hire a personal trainer. They aren't as costly as everyone thinks. I go to Bally Total Fitness on Schaumburg/Barrington Rd. I go twice a week, for the last couple of months and have already lost 12 lbs. and I feel like I have so much more energy for my daughter. Hope this helped! Good luck.

S.

K.L.

answers from Chicago on

I'm starting The Miracle Mile (you walk a mile in your living room) and Jorge Cruz's 8 Minutes in the Morning. That and upping my water intake should do it. Just don't lose TOO much at once-make it a slow thing. I've heard that burning a lot of fat also releases the toxins stored in it and this can get into your breast milk--so make sure to dring LOTS of water to flush it out!

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D.L.

answers from Chicago on

Hi J.,
Eat more fresh fruits, veggies & whole grains. Stay away from simple carbs & high fat foods. You also have to exercise. If you can afford it, join a gym & work with a personnal trainer for a month. You need to exercise a least 3 times a week. Mix up your exercise between cardio & weight training.

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T.E.

answers from Boston on

Mummy magic weight loss tea helped me a lot shedding extra pounds from my body.

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B.C.

answers from Decatur on

Weight watchers helped me also when i had my 2nd child. It basically is alot like the diabetic diet which is also an excellent diet to follow. If you have a good walking area and good walking shoes, walk at least 1 mile each time you go out and it will help speed up the process. Best wishes as you begin a new life with a child...

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A.K.

answers from Chicago on

Hi J. -

I live in Palatine and have recently joined a local program called StrollerFit. You do an instructor-led work out with your child in the stroller for the first 30 min and then the last 20 is spent doing mat work while your child lays with you on your mat or plays with the other kids (the instructors have toys they bring). A lot of the classes are outdoors this time of year. Check out the website - first class is free!
http://www.strollerfit.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=franchise...

or

http://www.strollerfit.com

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C.K.

answers from Chicago on

weight watchers nursing moms program. Its worked for every one of my friends to help with the last 20-30 lbs...Good Luck!

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C.C.

answers from Chicago on

Congratulations on being a MOM!
Having exercise and being aware of what you are eating are important elements while making sure that you take in enough to support nursing your baby.
I gained weight with the arrival of each child and it was not until I started having a regular exercise program that I was able to lose the extra pounds. After first child's arrival, I enjoyed local park district step aerobics class delivered at one of my local elementary schools in the evening. Also used my local YMCA. My family physician suggested purchasing a piece of exercise equipment for home but it was my observation that these turn out to be towel racks in the house. I finally began doing yoga and have become prenatal/post partum yoga teacher.
I expect you will also see a posting about the stroller Mom's group that meets at Fox Valley Mall.
I did lose 40 pounds.
C. L
Mom of 3, yoga teacher

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A.S.

answers from Chicago on

I followed this book:
http://www.amazon.com/New-Breastfeeding-Diet-Plan/dp/0071...

It has a lot of what previous posters talked about re: fiber, vegetables and exercise, but also talks about detoxing safely as well so that it doesn't all come through your breast milk.

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L.G.

answers from Chicago on

I am partnered with a Wellness Company and they also have a weight loss program and a site called vitality for life.....www.vitalityforlife.com ......you can safely lose weight with this program, but you need to sign up with someone already with the company.

Check out vitality for life..........and also give me a call or email me.....I have used the program and I find it a good one.

L. Guinnee
[email protected]____.com

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M.R.

answers from Chicago on

Don't forget that it took 9 months to gain the 50 pounds, so it will (and should) take time for it to safely come off. Also, all that nonsense we hear about celebrities losing all their baby weight in 2 months is, for the most part, unsafe and impractical for the average woman. If you were unbelievably wealthy and could hire a full-time baby nurse so you could get plenty of uninterrupted sleep and also go work out with a personal trainer for 2+ hours daily, have a personal chef making you healthy meals, have a household staff to keep your home clean, and a personal assistant who tended to your every need, then of course you'd bounce right back from the baby weight!

www.sparkpeople.com is a good website for two main reasons. First, it is chock-full of great articles related to nutrition, exercise, and stress management. Second, it allows you to track your nutrition (so you can see how many calories you've consumed plus determine whether you are getting enough vitamins/minerals) and your fitness. You may also wish to go to a Weight Watchers meeting. I've never done this, but I know about it and the program is all about modifying nutrition habits to create a lifestyle change (you don't want to do some wacky diet, lose the 20 pounds, quit the diet, then have the weight and more pile back on). Weight Watchers is also considerate of BF-ing mothers.

You may want to eat 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day that include lots of fruits and veggies. Avoid processed foods (basically anything that comes in a 'box' and is found in the aisles of the grocery store) and refined sugars. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Have cut up fruit and veggies, and bagged snacks ready to go if you're out and about so you don't hit the drive through. If you're not already walking, start. Put the baby in the stroller and begin with a 30 minute jaunt around the neighborhood. Too hot? Go to the air conditioned mall. If you don't have a gym membership, don't fret. www.sparkpeople.com has strength building exercises/programs you can do at home without machines.

Good look and remember to be patient! Your body will thank you and respond better if you take it slowly.

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P.H.

answers from Chicago on

Hi J.,
I am a Perfect Body Shape Coach. Work with over a hundred men, women and children. I teach safe weight loss, glycemic indexing, metabolic profiling etc. How long are you going to breast feed? go to www.pamelah.perfectbodyshape.com/welcome do your BMI and email me back if you are interested. You can lose a dress size in 90 days. In health, P. H RN

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N.N.

answers from Chicago on

WeightWatchers is the only "diet" I've tried while nursing and between children. It works as long as you stick to it AND go to meetings. I don't know anyone who has successfully lost and kept weight off using just the online service. I know that when I stopped going to meetings and keeping track of my food, I started gaining weight back...slowly, but surely.

I, too, gained about 50 pounds with each of my babies and had trouble with the last 15 or so. I waited until my children were eating mostly solids and went to a WeightWatchers meeting. I had some trouble figuring out my points because I don't breastfeed as much now that my son is more than a year old. It took some trial and error to figure out how many points I needed to eat each day to feel okay AND lose weight: too few and I was cranky and hungry; too many and I didn't lose weight.

I will admit, I'm still carrying about 5-7 more pounds that I had on me when I got pregnant, but I've come to accept that this is my mom-body for now. I don't want to feel crummy just to look good, you know?

Back when I only had 1 child and more time, I did the "Couch-to-5K" program, which was easy, even for a completely nonathletic person like me. In eight weeks, you walk/jog less less than a half hour every other day and eventually work up to jogging about 3 miles. I found the information online by googling the name of the program. All you need is a stop watch and a good pair of shoes. My thighs and butt jiggled a lot at first, so I felt embarrassed and only did it very early in the morning when no one was out in our neighborhood. By the last few weeks, I was much firmer and actually felt good jogging!

I hope this helps!

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L.P.

answers from Chicago on

I keep a blog with some friends and we're covering the topic of losing baby weight this week. You can check it out at www.prayerofhannah.blogspot.com.

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C.A.

answers from Chicago on

Weight Watchers is a great program, which most doctors recommend. Something you might now know about Weight Watchers is that they have special guidelines for nursing mothers.

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A.M.

answers from Chicago on

In general it is a question of calories in versus calories used. There really isn't anything magic. So more exercise, less high calorie food = weight loss. That being said, some aspects of eating lead us to eat some more eg. high glycemic foods. You also have to be careful about losing weight while nursing. If you make sure you eat really healthy, lots of fruit and veggies, complex carbs and then get some exercise and drink lots of water

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L.T.

answers from Chicago on

I was a size 12,now I am a size 6. I avoid thinks with a high amount of carbs'(over 20), incorporate more fish and less red meat, include lots of veggies and fruits. If you get a craving for mickey d's teat yourself on the weekend. I heart healthy all week and have my treats on the weekends. Franly, I need to excercise:)

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D.Y.

answers from Chicago on

I nursed my son until he was over 2. I found the Sonoma Diet through a friend of mine and I was told was safe during nursing because it doesn't cut out anything. It's about healthy foods and portion control. The recipes are fabulous with lots of flavor and spices. The diet itself is kind of intensive on cooking but I make a couple of meals on the weekend and then just heat them up during the week. I bought the book and the supplemental cookbook off e-bay for the price of just the book. I'm doing it again to lose a little more and it's great. Easy to stay on long term.

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C.C.

answers from Chicago on

Weight Watchers has a good, healthy, safe plan for losing weight while nursing. It worked very well for me.

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T.S.

answers from Chicago on

I'm an Exercise Physiologist specializing in prenatal and postpartum fitness. While you're nursing, make sure to get enough calories or you will actually slow down your metabolism. You need to have at least 1700 calories to sustain your needs (1200) and the babies (500) while still allowing you to lose weight. Keep in mind that your body will naturally hold on to about 5-10 pounds as a starvation mechanism while you are nursing. YOU NEED THIS, so don't get discouraged. As long as you modify your caloric intake after you stop nursing and exercise before and after, those last ten pounds will be easy to lose.

I always start my participants/clients out with keeping track of their water intake and fruit & vegetable intake. Try getting at least 64 oz of water per day (more if you're exercising) and 5-9 servings of fruits & vegetables. Then we make sure to have a protein serving with each meal (mostly lower fat versions, i.e. fish, chicken, turkey) and keep white (sugar & flour) carbohydrates to a minimum (i.e. bread, rolls, muffins, cake, cookies, candy). I love the Ziploc Steam Bags for quick, lowfat meals. Last night I threw a salmon filet, some veggies, and some seasonings into the microwave in the bag and six minutes later had a very tasty and healthy meal.

I own Big Belly Fitness and On A Roll Stroller Fitness. We offer many different programs for moms and moms-to-be. Depending on where in Schaumburg you are located, our Carol Stream stroller fitness location may work for you. We meet Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 9-10am at the park located at Gary Ave. and Lies Rd. When the weather doesn't cooperate and Oct 1st-Apr 30th we meet at Stratford Square Mall. If you're on the opposite side of Schaumburg, the StrollerFit program previously mentioned is probably closer.

We also offer a discount to Mamasource members...check out the member perks section. You can also check out www.bigbellyfitness.net.

Good luck!

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E.D.

answers from Chicago on

I joined a web site called BUDDYSLIM.COM. It's a community of people who are trying to get fit.I know it's hard when your nursing because you can't diet. So the best thing to help you drop the weight is to get moving and to eat balanced meals. I've lost 18 lbs in the past four months by doing something to make me sweat every day. House cleaning, danceing, walking, working out at the park ( my favorite), etc., and drink lots of water.

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B.C.

answers from Chicago on

weight watcher! You can go to meetings or follow their program on-line. You get extra points if you're nursing. The weight just poured off when i joined (after i had my 2nd child and was bfing).

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M.C.

answers from Chicago on

I had my baby about 7 months ago and I only gained 20 pounds with the pregnancy but only lost 10 of it. I'm kind of a big girl to start with so I was desperate to lose weight. I've tried low carb, low fat diets and nothing seemed to work until now. I just had to learn to count my calories. There is a great web site that helps you do this. As long as you are honest about EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth, it's a great way to lose weight safely. It's called myfitnesspal.com. I lost 22 pounds in 2 months!! I hope it works for you too!
I also attended a class for healthy living and we were told to eat about 300 calories for breakfast and lunch, about 400 for dinner and 3, 100 calorie snacks in between each meal. The web site will personalize an amount of calories for you depending on how much you want to lose so these amounts are just approximate. The key is to keep the calories balanced. It's a free web site too! I feel that I learned a lot so if there's anything else I can help you with, let me know!

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M.A.

answers from Chicago on

My midwife recommended Weight Watchers as safe while nursing. They actually have a program for nursing mothers (same program with 10 extra points of food) I did it on line, although you could go to meetings, I suppose. It's safe, easy, and cheap. I lost weight slowly (about a pound or so a week)and my milk wasn't affected at all. It works, though I get tired of counting points, and was sometimes frustrated by the speed.

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K.B.

answers from Chicago on

I returned to Weight Watchers while nursing, and it worked great. I was allowed more points than when I went the first time. I had about 10 pounds to lose, and it came off in a few months. I've never done it online, but I do know going in person is a big motivator for me--if I know I have to get on a scale in front of somebody, I'm less likely to go off of the program that week!

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K.S.

answers from Boston on

Take mummy magic tea...

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L.

answers from Chicago on

Remember how long it took to gain that weight takes just as long to lose. Nursing will help immensely and when you are running around after a toddler helps also. Just eat healthy, lots of fruit and vegetables. I tried to take my daughter for a long walk in the stroller daily when she rode in a stroller. It helps the weight come off too. That last 20 will come off as well. Good luck!

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B.A.

answers from Chicago on

Weight watchers is great. I didn't use it myself when nursing, but when I was a member, I heard from a few different leaders that there were resources for other women (some that recently found out that they were pregnant). Also, there are many websites out there, the one I'm most familiar with is Sparkpeople.com. Again, didn't use it when I was nursing, but there are teams on the website, and I'm sure you'd find a team that is for nursing moms. They post many very helpful articles as well.

Best wishes to you, and you didn't mention how old your baby is, but congratulations!!!!

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H.S.

answers from Chicago on

You can't do a low carb diet while breastfeeding...that's just unhealthy for your baby. You didn't say how long it's been since you had your baby. I lost 30 lbs in the first 2 weeks (only gained 16) but then I only lost 5 more lbs in the next 3-4 months. It was around 6 months pp that my body started dropping the weight again. 16 mths after my dd was born, I had lost 65 lbs. I didn't do any special diet. I worked out on and off (my weight actually started plateuing when I worked out). I ate what I wanted and stopped when I was full. I've always eaten healthy, I just couldn't lose weight before. I'm still bfing and still losing inches. Part of my weigh issues was probably a hormonal imbalance that I learned of with my pregnancy and was able to address. I am skinnier now than I have been in over 5 years! You can do it. Just get moving and don't stress about it. Once your LO gets walking, you won't be able to stop! :)

H.

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J.T.

answers from Chicago on

Shaklee has a wonderful healthy weight loss program called Cinch. A nursing mom could do the meal replacement shakes, meal replacement bars and snack bars. Shaklee's Vita Lea could be substituted for the 3-in-1 Boost Vitamin which is part of the program. You can get more information at www.cinchplan.com or www.cinchclub.com. You can find some great recipes for sensible meaals on cinchclub.com. I would also be able to provide more information. Many new moms have found it to be just what they needed to take off the weight. The shakes and bars taste good and keep you from grabbing junk food. Cinch was designed to "keep the muscle and lose the fat". The program was introduced 2 years ago, and there are lots of success stories. I love the program.

I would also recommend adding more fruits and veggies to your daily routine, cutting down or eliminating sugar, white flour products, processed foods, and artificial sweeteners. Make sure you are drinking lots of water, and get in a walk or some type of exercise every day if possible.

I know your search will find a program that's just right for you. Best of luck!

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