Every new mom will agree – getting back into shape after giving birth is hard work. Your body just spent the better part of the year supporting two people, and especially if this was your first child – you might still be feeling and seeing the effects.
Of course, it is easier said than done; new mothers are often sleep-deprived, exhausted, and overwhelmed. Keep in mind, there’s no need to get too ambitious especially as your body is recuperating from the pregnancy. For the first month or two – choose low-effort but consistent workouts such as walking; eventually getting to about half an hour of cardio a day. If you’re worried about leaving the baby, consider investing in a treadmill, or simply walking up and down the stairs. Include your baby in your walks. Put them in a stroller and enjoy some fresh air outdoors – a chance for some peaceful bonding.
Why not also lift some weights? Again, these don’t have to be the same weight you were lifting before you got pregnant – do some bicep curls fifteen minutes a day to maintain your muscle as your body heals. Furthermore, take 15-20 minute naps – this will curb some of those cravings and help you to feel rejuvenated. You will also feel less compelled to consume snacks or drinks that are high in sugar or caffeine to sustain your energy.
When it comes to diet, be careful of your portions – you’re no longer eating for two. Drink more water to help you stay full and cut back in small ways. For example, take the sliced cheese out of your sandwiches, and replace the junk food in your cupboards with something healthier like nuts, dried fruit, pretzels and seeds. Furthermore, high fiber snacks like vegetables will help with digestion.
Finally, make a point to practise fitness with others – it can be particularly empowering to do so with other moms who have just given birth too. Together you can set goals while slowly introducing more demanding workouts into your routine. Swimming for example is great for cardio and for your back, however many women who are still carrying their baby weight feel self conscious in a swimsuit. Just because your body has changed doesn’t mean you should be deprived of exercising how you like. There are many online retailers such as swimsuitsforall.com designing active wear for women sizes 8 and above; allowing new mothers of all sizes to feel good doing their laps. Plus, when your baby is old enough, you can bring them along to a mom and tot class with you!
While you might not get your pre-baby body back exactly, sticking to a healthy diet and regular work out will have you shedding those pounds and gaining back confidence in your strong and womanly figure in no time.
Your body just brought an incredible being into the world! Now is the time to celebrate it, not hide it or feel ashamed. Take a moment to be thankful, to assess what your body needs most, and create a plan that helps you to find balance, while keeping you mindful and instilling healthy habits.