So you've had your baby. You're not sleeping, you don't know when you last showered, you can't remember what you had for breakfast (or even if you HAD breakfast today) and you'd be lucky if you got to brush your teeth. On top of all of this, your body has gone through so many changes that you may not even recognize it anymore. You turn on the TV to see Jennifer Lopez showing off her six-pack two weeks post-partum with twins and Beyonce in a belly shirt talking about how she lost 60 lbs in four months after having her baby. You think about those pre-pregnancy clothes you want to fit into, but how? How will you be able to work out when you can barely finish laundry, cook dinner and get a four hour stretch of sleep?! How will you be able to eat healthy food when you can barely manage to stop for a granola bar? I've got news for you mama, YOU CAN DO IT! Here are a few realistic tips to get you on your way to getting your body back!
1. Take it slow! Remember, it took nine months to put on the weight, it will realistically take at LEAST that to take it back off. You most likely don't have a personal trainer to push you, a nutritionist to tell you what to eat or a nanny to watch your kids while you workout. Don't compare yourself to celebrities whose JOB it is to be fit and lean. Focus on you, your job as a mother and how you feel. Your only competition is yourself. Be better than you were yesterday and be a good role model for your baby.
2. Step off the scale! Your weight is only one measurement of wellness. When you begin your workout regimen, pull out a tape measure and take your measurements. Measure your thigh (at your finger tips), your chest, your waist, your hips (butt) and your upper arm. Focus on other measurements, too, such as how you feel, how your clothes are fitting and your energy level. It is likely your clothes will start fitting better before the scale tells you lost weight. Measure every few weeks to track your progress and set small, realistic, specific goals for yourself.
3. Eat whole foods! Focus on eating whole, real foods. Cut out processed sugar, artificial preservatives and flavorings, food full of preservatives and overly processed foods. One of my favorite resources for healthy eating is 100 Days of Real Food (100daysofrealfood.com), a healthy eating blog from a real-life mom, making real-life food for a real-life family. Grab a friend and signup for some of her challenges to keep you on track - it's free! Plus, she has a ton of real recipes and she explains WHY you are eating what you are eating so you can be educated on making your own healthy eating choices, even after the challenges have ended. Remember, transforming your body and dropping those inches isn't just about working out, keep in mind the 70/30 rule – it's 70 percent diet, 30 percent exercise.
4. Exercise with your baby! Working out with your baby is the best way to fit exercise into your busy schedule! I remember I used to hate 'wasting' nap time on exercise. By working out with my baby I was able to use naptime to do other things around the house, or enjoy some downtime for myself.
Depending on your baby's age, here are some things you can do to workout with your kiddo:
- Go for a walk or jog with your baby
- Go 'stroller blading' – roller blading with your stroller!
- Go for a bike ride with a baby seat attached, and don't forget your helmets!
- Work out at home with your baby by doing these exercises
- Wear your baby and try the Baby Wearing Workout
- Work out with your stroller outside with these exercises
- Try out Stroller Strides – a fitness program that you can do with your baby, now offered nationally and locally in South Tampa, Citrus Park, Lowry Park, Wesley Chapel, New Tampa, St Pete and Brandon.
- Or, if you haven't had your baby yet, try out these pre-natal exercises!
Whatever exercise regimen you choose, remember that your baby is watching you! I can't tell you how many times my kids have started doing pushups or burpees on their own because they've seen me do it and they think exercise is fun! Would you rather see your child doing jumping jacks for fun or stepping on the scale fretting over their weight?
5. Bring your family along for the ride! I have encountered many moms whose husbands don't eat healthy or moms who feed their baby healthy, organic foods, but don't eat healthy themselves. Save yourself some trouble and time by not cooking extra meals and try to get your whole family on board to live a healthier lifestyle. Don't eat foods you wouldn't feed to your baby and encourage your family to do the same. A family that gets healthy together stays together!
Regina Hord is a Florida native, USF grad, wife, and mother to two boys ages 3.5 and 7 months. She is certified in pre and post natal fitness and has been running the local Stroller Strides group for two years. She loves the fact that Stroller Strides brings new moms together to gain the support they need from each other in this crazy journey though motherhood, while working out with their babies, making new friends and spending time with their little ones. Stroller Strides has changed her life and she loves sharing the program with other new moms. She also co-owns the Tampa Kids Market, a local market for kids and families. For more information on Stroller Strides and other fitness programs for moms, please visit tampabay.fit4mom.com or email Regina at firstname.lastname@example.org.