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 barely recognize it anymore. You try to relax and turn on the TV to see J-Lo showing off her six-pack two weeks post-partum with twins and Beyoncé in a belly shirt talking about how she lost 60 pounds four months after having her baby.
You want to fit right back into those pre-pregnancy jeans. But how will you work out when you can’t finish laundry, cook dinner and get a 4 hour stretch of sleep? How can you eat healthy food when you can barely manage to drink a cup of coffee?
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!
- 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. Don’t compare yourself to celebrities whose JOB it is to be fit and lean. Your job is MOM. Your only competition is yourself.
- Step off the scale! Your weight is not the only measurement of wellness. Focus on other measurements such as how you feel, how your clothes are fitting and your energy level.
- Eat whole foods! Focus on eating whole, real foods. These are the foods usually found on the outside aisles of the grocery store. Limit your processed sugar and artificial ingredients.
- Exercise with your baby! Working out with your baby is the best way to fit exercise into your busy schedule as a mom.
- Go for a walk or jog with your baby. Not only will this give your baby lots of new things to experience and enjoy, but it will push you to keep going.
- Go for a bike ride with a baby seat attached, and don’t forget your helmets! The extra weight of the baby can help strengthen your leg muscles.
- Work out at home with your baby. A workout doesn’t have to mean leaving the house, you can lift milk jugs for weights, or even do lunges while holding your baby. You can also get outside and with a little help from your stroller and baby, get a great workout in. “Lean Mommy” by Lisa Druxman is a great resource for including your stroller and for using fitness as a way to bond with your baby.
- Try out Stroller Strides – a fitness program taught by certified pre and post-natal instructors who are also moms. Plus, you can do the whole program with your baby having fun in the stroller and no gym daycare required! It also gives you the chance to connect with other moms who are going through exactly what you are going through—without any negative post-baby body judgement.
- If you are able to carve out half an hour for yourself a day, try yoga. It will not only help you get fit, but can provide the much needed quiet time (no matter how short) to keep you sane, and will teach you breathing exercises that can help you stay calm when your baby is screaming and you are exhausted. If you don’t have time to get to the gym for yoga, no problem! There are a ton of great yoga DVDs out there, as well as some yoga classes you can stream on Netflix.
- Check out classes at your local YMCA. Not only do they have a variety of physical activities, but they also have child care and things your baby can do, too. Even if you aren’t a fan of the class approach, they have fitness equipment that you can use to get back in shape.
- Take advantage of the Florida summer and try a swim class. Swimming is low-impact, which means your knees won’t ache after a long swim and you can still burn calories and build muscle. Many places also offer swim classes for your baby as well. Not only can you get back in shape, but your baby can learn how to be safe in the water.
Whatever path you choose, remember that your baby is watching you. Modeling good eating and exercising is the best thing you can do for your family!
Regina Hord is a Florida native, USF grad, wife, and mother to two boys ages 4 and 18 months. She is certified in pre and post natal fitness and the co-owner with Andrea Bowe of Fit4Mom and Stroller Strides of Tampa Bay.