I was recently talking to a girlfriend of mine about working out and how she needs to lose her baby “fat”. She had her daughter four months ago and isn’t where she wants to be. Her situation is different than mine though; on top of having a new baby, she also has a three year old daughter who’s very active and a five year old son with Down Syndrome. She inspired me to write this article that I hope you find motivating.
Being a new Mom isn’t all that bad, I don’t care what anyone has to say. I think it’s about having the right attitude going into motherhood and asking for help when you need it. I expected long before our son arrived that my needs would be put last. I also expected things around the house to get neglected from time to time, while I attended to changing diapers, feeding every three hours, sweeping the floors and cleaning bottles. I was right with both. And we all know we can’t forget our Husband’s either.
For me, it’s not so much about being too tired to workout and take care of my priorities, it’s more about “making” the time for it. I wake up with the energy and motivation I need to workout and walk for 30 minutes on our treadmill most mornings. I try to get up early enough to do this, but it doesn’t always happen this way. Some days my little one just needs some more attention than usual, and I’m okay with that. As long as I remain positive and get right back to whatever it was I was in the middle of, then it’s game on.
Something I ask myself every morning when I wake up is “what’s most important to ME today?”, “what can wait until later?”, “what’s my first priority?”. Most days it looks like this… treadmill, breakfast, then house chores (unless it’s an absolute mess). But majority of the days it ends up like this… feeding at 7am, make a quick breakfast at 8:30am as babies crying, hold baby, eat cold breakfast at 9am (which you’ll get used to), prop baby up on boppy, start picking up around the house longer than intended, baby cries again, change diaper, feed baby, hold baby, finish cleaning what I started earlier, eat lunch at 3pm with my Husband who just got home from work, spend quality time with him and baby, now I’m too lazy to even think about walking, nap time at 5pm, dinner at 9pm, then finally bed at midnight. I hope you find humor in this. I’m not going to lie though, it’s not as frustrating and hectic as it may sound. My Husband’s very supportive and gives me a break after he gets home from a long day at work, so I can walk for 40 minutes on our treadmill and zone out when I really need it.
Here are a few things that helped me bounce back fairly quick after my pregnancy, hopefully you can make time to FIT them in too.
After 6 weeks, once you get the cleared from your Doctor and a routine down at home…
*Get out and go for a walk. ~The earlier or later in the day the better, so it’s not so hot. I’d recommend earlier so you don’t run out of steam as your day goes on. Also, some gyms offer childcare, so look into making time for yourself three to four times a week to get some endorphines flowing from cardio and weight training to help tone up those muscles.
*Do not eat as though you’re still pregnant. ~We all pick up bad habits along the way when we’re pregnant. Consciously making good decisions day in and day out really helps get you back into those favorite pair of jeans in no time.
*Keep a diet and exercise journal to hold yourself accountable. ~Experts say you should wait until your baby is at least two months before you really start dieting, especially when breastfeeding. 1,800 is the bare minimum amount of calories woman should be consuming when nursing (most need 2,000-2,700) to ensure that you and your baby are properly nourished. Keeping our calories high helps keep our energy up and prevents mood swings.
*Eat “super foods” daily. ~Salmon is one of, if not the best super food you can eat whether pregnant or not. Fish is packed with DHA, which we should all know by now is essential for babies healthy brain development. A few others you should incorporate into your diet include: dark berries like blueberries and blackberries, oats, seeds and nuts like walnuts and almonds (also packed with Omega-3), yogurt and low fat dairy, black and green tea, dark green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and brussels sprouts, beans and lentils, and the Allium family ( garlic, onion, leeks, scallions and chives).
* Make water your number one choice. ~Water keeps you hydrated through the day and also fights off fatigue. It keeps our bodies running at its best, it’s great for our skin, and keeps your appetite in check by fighting off dehydration, which can be confused for hunger. Green tea is my favorite choice, next to water.
*Eat sweets and simple carbs sparingly. ~This includes baked items like cakes, pies and cookies, white pasta and white rice, white bread, white potatoes, and chips.
*Eat every 3-4 hours. ~It might actually be easier fitting in a bunch of small meals throughout the day, then trying to eat a few big meals anyways, right?. By eating more frequently you do a couple beneficial things; you keep your metabolism running full speed, your blood sugar as normal as it can be and you also reduce the chances of getting mood swings and fatigue. Try keeping handy snacks around like almonds, Kashi bars, yogurt, fresh fruit and deli meats.