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Baby-Weight: Sane, Practical & Kind Advice For New Moms

November 5, 2014 in Be Better, BETTER fat loss attitude, feel BETTER, Inspired to Be BETTER, Look Better

With my recent posts on baby weight, post baby body, breastfeeding and fat loss, it was serendipity that a few of us got into a Facebook discussion earlier this week on getting in shape after baby.

The general theme of advice for a new mom was this:

Don’t make yourself nuts, be kind as you find your way with your new body, but don’t let bad habits set in only to find yourself a year later in a bad spot.

I was prompted to put some of their thoughts into a blog for you all so I emailed them requesting a quick quote….they all emailed me back paragraphs of gold! Clearly, this is something we are all really passionate about.

What was clear is that a few things ring true for all of us:

  • Some women will get into shape quicker than others, some women were more fit before getting pregnant than others making their post baby body different than another woman’s. Comparison is useless. It’s all good.
  • Those of us getting in our regular workouts are doing it with emails to answer, laundry to fold and dirty dishes in the sink. It’s about prioritizing, not perfection. Trying to be Superwoman? Read this.
  • And there’s really no room for shaming: fit, fat or otherwise. We’re all in this together mamas!

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Here’s some thoughtful perspectives on how to think about getting into shape after baby and how to actually do it:

Kristine Kvistberg Becker

“Everything changes when you become a mom. Your body is different, your brain is different, your priorities are different. Finding balance amid a sea of expectations and demands for your time and energy can be tricky, especially on the somewhat wobbly sea legs of a new momma.

We may feel hard-pressed to do it all — to get back to our pre-pregnancy fitness as fast as possible for fear of losing it forever, or feeling less than when we don’t make the aesthetic cut twelve weeks post-delivery. I’ve been there, three times. Each experience was a bit different, but looking back – I wish I’d spent more time being purposeful, instead of racing through it, hoping it would hurry up and be done so I could get back to business.

The truth is, the months post-partum really ARE serious business – they are one of the few opportunities in life where we can pause to reflect, regroup, and really, truly nurture ourselves to become stronger from the inside out. We should use them to our advantage. But be careful not to neglect yourself though letting your personal wellness take a backseat can allow unhealthy habits to take root, making them tough to shake later on.”

She also likens postpartum to the “off season” for an athlete – a time of recovery and restoration. Focus on healing, rehab and getting stronger for the next round so that when it comes time to train more intensely again you’re good to go.

Kristine Becker is an athletic trainer, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, and the mother of three highly exuberant offspring. She is currently working on launching a health and fitness blog, and can be reached at kckbecker@gmail.com.

Valerie Solomon of Busy Mom Gets Fit

Valerie’s advice was super practical – and I totally love it!.

“Look at your life and see where you can fit in 3 30-45 min workouts. You can hit all muscle groups hard in 3 sessions a week…and it’s a great doable amount if lifting for the long term. Working mom? How about Saturday, Sunday, and one other weekday? A couple days a week, get some cardio in where you can but make lifting the priority. The muscle will help with shaping your body and boosting your metabolism.

On excuses: everybody is busy. If you want change, you have to make it a priority for yourself. Commit to fitting it in. Give up TV or other time sucking activities. You will feel better after exercise. You, like most other fit moms, will likely begin to crave the exercise. Then it’s habit. It becomes part of who you are and your weekly routine.

On balance: what is balance anyway? I’m always off balance. It was the same before I made fitness a priority. I’m pretty sure all moms are trying to fit everything into 24hrs whether they exercise or not! (Right now my kids are arguing as I type and my house is a mess.) We have this vision of fit women spending 5 hours in the gym a day and they feel like that is unattainable. Give yourself an hour a couple times per week but get started.”

Busy mom of four and helping mom’s get fit through Busy Mom Gets Fit and GORGO magazine, learn more about Valerie here.

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Stephanie Brink Hoeper

“Training through pregnancy and post pregnancy is a hugely personal experience. After two miscarriages, I spent my first pregnancy doing very little. I had run on average 30 miles a week previously, more if marathon training, but nothing crazy on a regular basis.

While I was on my feet a fair amount as a teacher and coach, I did very little in the form of regular intense exercise. I packed on 50 pounds and dropped 20 pounds (mostly water) like nothing the first couple months. I eventually whittled most of the 50 off within a year.

Then I decided to have number 2. With a similar weight gain, I got back to training just 2 weeks post partum with light weights, spin, yoga and running and had a similar weight loss experience. And just when my body felt like my own again in a little over a year, number 3 took up residence. And after delivering baby #3, my pelvic floor needed a little longer to pick itself back so it took about 6 weeks to get active again.

So what did I take away from this? It’s all relative and unique to each woman – and each pregnancy.”

Stephanie makes the great point that as moms we are so judged on every decision – and we want so badly to know the path we’re on is the right one so it’s easy to fall into criticizing other moms. While it was right for her to get back to serious training asap, she acknowledges that for some moms they may have to wait due to physical limitations or they may wait just because they are soaking up every second of newborn bliss.

There’s no wrong answer, but us judging other moms for their mistakes in exercise or lack there of,  doesn’t help any of us be better.

She wraps up her advice with,

“I think we should all just take one giant deep breath and do whatever we need to for a healthy body, mind and soul…and dammit, let your fellow moms do the same with a pat on the back, not a kick in the shins!”

Amen, to that! Stephanie is a mom of 3 and certified first instructor including level II Strongfirst Certification (SFG II). Learn more at www.catalyststrengthstudio.com.

And finally,

Christa Doran

Mama of 3 and Head Tuff Girl at Tuff Girl Fitness

“Let’s not forget your body just went through the most life changing event ever! Give yourself a break, remind yourself how amazing your body is (it just grew and birthed a human!) Now strap down your massive breasts, put your sneakers on, walk out the door and don’t look back.”

She goes on to say, “Returning to strength training postpartum allows you the opportunity to get a piece of “you” back while you are rebuilding your strength and stamina. But you have to make yourself a priority, and set a training schedule for yourself. You are important you deserve an hour to make yourself better. Training can trump housework and emails, it makes you a better mom to care for yourself. But also, know when to call it in. If you are running on three hours of sleep for the third night in a row, get your rest, the weights will be there tomorrow.”

And I loved this tidbit from Christa (I type as I stare down my jeans on the hanger….) “I know how tempting it is to try on your favorite jeans after your six week checkup. Don’t. It took your body nine months to grow your baby. A lot of stretching, shifting and adapting took place. Give yourself nine months to get back your strength and stamina.”

She suggests to put the jeans away for a bit and  instead  advises the route I’m taking this time, which is to focus on strength and stamina over weight loss.

We are inclined to think, “I will lose the baby weight… I will get back in my jeans… or I will lose 30 pounds…”  She says, instead think, “I will do one unassisted pull-up” or “I will squat over 100 pounds”  or “I will do 10 pushups on my toes.” Christa set a few amazing goals for herself if you ask me: strong enough to do a Spartan Beast race 7 months post partum and take the Strongfirst Kettlebell certification within the year.

This approach got her back in her jeans quicker than with her first two as she just kept chipping away at her goal day in and day out.

*** It seems clear that moms who are successful at regaining strength and their physique after baby are doing a couple things right:

Prioritizing training

Get it done, even if it’s not perfect, even if it’s not an hour, even if it’s a makeshift workout at home. Get it done. Dirty dishes can wait, your wellbeing can’t. Acknowledge that you just had a baby and use that to guide your workouts (i.e. don’t be doing things you aren’t ready for), but skip using “I just had a baby” as an excuse.

Acknowledgement vs. excuse is an art

You will mess this one up from time to time. It’s OK, just keep reframing and keep being kind to yourself.

Keep showing up.

You show up for your baby, you show up for your family, be sure you keep showing up for yourself too.

Whew! Thank you so much Kristine, Valerie, Stephanie and Christa for your time and input here. I know you all were busy yesterday chasing kiddos and lifting heavy things, I really appreciate you all sharing your perspective and experience to help all us new mamas be BETTER. Alright ladies, let’s get some exercise today!

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If you’ve ever felt like a Hangry B*tch and are ready to balance your hormones and restore your joy in just 5 simple steps then Hangry is for you!

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