You know those chats with your girlfriends about the best ways to get back in shape after having your baby. Like the minute you give birth you feel worried about the extra weight you're still carrying. Even after the baby is born. How confusing is it that you still feel and look pregnant even after giving birth? Above all, we live in a culture where getting back in shape after having a baby is the norm rather than an exception. It's not only expected from celebrities anymore. Therefore, this my friend, puts a lot of pressure. I mean a lot of pressure to us newborn moms. I mean, round is still a shape, right?
However, I also came to the realization after pregnancy number one that I wasn't too happy with being round. Or living in my yoga pants all day every day. I didn't do much exercise and was just jumping from one diet to another to shed the baby weight without any lasting result. Frankly, I couldn't completely get rid of the baby weight to reach my pre-pregnancy weight.
First-Time Moms Syndrome
It's true, first-time moms are often impatient to lose the baby weight. We set unrealistic goals to get back in shape during our maternity leave so we can shine and kick-ass back at work while pumping breastmilk while having a conference call. (guilty!)
Meanwhile, you must have heard about the concept 9 months up and 9 months down? I know you don't want to hear that it takes 9 months to get back in your pre-baby body and most importantly, it may never go back to what it was before. Shocking? I know all about it, I cried several times during my pregnancy. First time when I had the pregnancy test result in my hand. The second time (a long period of time!) was when I was hugging the toilet in the first 16 weeks of the pregnancy. The third time was when I saw my first stretch marks showing on my belly, the fourth when I hold Rocco for the first time, and the last time, but not the least, when I didn't fit my favorite pair of jeans after giving birth. That's 5 times feeling deeply overwhelmed paired with tears.
5 Ways To Get Back In Shape After Baby
But, let's take some time now to list down the 5 ways to get back in shape even after having a baby! If you can relate to my story, I'm right here for you. Yes, sometimes it's 9 months up and 9, 12, 18, 24 months down? In short, wherever you are in your journey to becoming healthier, motherhood ain't easy. Shall we start to become a little kinder and nicer to ourselves? Setting realistic goals and being honest about our motivation to lose the baby weight. You are more than your body, you also want to become the best version you can ever be and set an example for your child. Therefore, let's do this the right way, shall we?
Find below 5 ways you can get back into shape after having a baby.
People who live beyond 100 years old, also called centenarians, didn't work out rigorously or joined boot camps or body pump classes to stay in shape. On the contrary, they didn't even have a membership at the gym! So what's their secret? They integrate natural movement in their daily lives and activities. For instance, gardening, farming animals, taking long walks, and chopping their own wood for a campfire. Take that into account for your next barbecue!
There are plenty of ways we can implement natural movements in our lives. Certainly when you have a small toddler running around the house. Stay active, run, climb, swing, and slide, it keeps you young and fit after all. In fact, gentle exercises such as Pilates, Yoga, pelvic tilts, and swimming, will make you feel good too, moving your body is proven to help with postnatal depression.
Create A Positive Body Image
Especially having a child, you'll want to create a positive body image not only for yourself but more importantly for your child nowadays. You don't want her to hear your complaints about your wobbling tummy, sagging boobs or sticky inner thighs don't you? You would want her to know that your beautiful strong body carried her for 9 months, that your soft arms are here to comfort her and that your squishy soft tummy can be used as a cushion during movie nights :) If you need more help in this area, go ahead and read my blog post sharing tips to create a positive body image here.
Besides all the health and emotional benefits for mother and child. Breastfeeding is a fast way to shrink the uterus back and, it burns up to 600 calories a day! But let's not use breastfeeding only as a goal to get back into shape. The catch is that you'll feel hungry all the time while breastfeeding! Your appetite is bigger, you crave certain foods more, breastfeeding indeed is an art on its own. So stay mindful with your nutrition and caloric intake too when nursing your precious.
One of the benefits of exercising and moving your body around is that it improves your sleep too. I can't stress this enough, but you got to prioritize your sleep mama! The best way to do this is to take a nap yourself when the little one is sleeping too. Sleep becomes an overrated act, but you need to boost your energy levels to help you get through the broken nights of nursing and keeping your milk supply flowing. Lack of sleep means, foggy brain, not feeling focused, cortisol levels (stress) going up and eventually your body can even hold on to your fat, which in turn makes you gain weight. It sounds like a nightmare, so make sure you doze off to dreamland multiple times a day.
You want to feel great and have enough energy to keep up with your child’s 3am wakeup calls, so eating nutrient-dense and nourishing meals are a must. Fill up your plate with 1/4 of complex carbohydrates, whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes. Another 1/4 of the plate with a lean animal protein when not eating plant-based or choose a plant protein. For example tofu, tempe, beans, or lentils. The other half would be all the vegetables and greens you can possibly fill up your plate with!
Eat plenty of fruits, creamy bananas, avocados, and coconut milk to make your milk supply nice and creamy too. Or delicious smoothie bowls for breakfast and green smoothies during snack time. Your body and child will thank you for doing so. Try to avoid processed foods, refined sugars, and saturated fats to keep the calories proportional. Most importantly, listen to your body. It's always there to communicate with you. Take this season of your life, while living the slow lane, to connect to your mind, body, and soul again. I promise you'll not regret this decision. But if you want to learn more about improving your health? Read the 12 Easy Steps To Better Your Health blog post here.
In conclusion, even though you might not go back to work or to the conference call in the office anytime soon, I hope these 5 ways are enough for you to bounce back at your own pace. And remember, you might not look exactly the way you did pre-baby and that's okay. There's no shame in wearing Spanx or waist trainers if that's your jam. Above all, let's enjoy and cherish this new season of your life and make smart decisions to improve your health and happiness in the long run.
And don't forget to take the stairs when going back to the office :)
About The Writer
Melissa Senduk is a mother of 2, a holistic health coach and a former obsessive dieter who changed the course of her life. Passionate about smoothie bowls, personal growth and helping working mothers find back their mojo. She's been keeping it real since 1984. Wanna know more? You can visit melissasenduk.com.