There’s a belief out there that once you have a baby your body is ruined. People will even say to you: “Your body will never be the same again” while you are pregnant. That’s helpful! (Not!) Why would someone take the most joyous time in your life and drop something negative on your lap? Like you really need to worry about how your body will look after pregnancy when you are busy growing a precious life…especially when it’s supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life. Forget those negative naysayers. The truth is pregnancy doesn’t mean your body is ruined or forever changed. You can choose to rock your body after you have your baby. There are just a few things to keep in mind to make it happen!
Know your body is so awesome. If you just gave birth, you are likely pretty amazed at what your body can do. You can produce life, how awesome is that? Maybe you are breastfeeding. It’s quite amazing that your body can do that too. (Oh, and bonus, it burns up to 500 additional calories per day.) Once you experience the magical process of growing and giving birth to your baby, you realize how powerful you really are. Now you can use that new awareness as your rocket fuel to power up your body back into shape. Your body can do amazing things. What else can your body do? Use the positive momentum of having a baby to push your body in new ways. You will continue to surprise yourself.
You want to live by example. Yes, your baby is too little to know whether you skipped a workout or made an impulsive decision to swing by the bakery, but you know. And you want to be the healthiest example to your baby that you can be. Plus, you love your baby so much you want to be around as long as possible. Quality of life and longevity are powerful motivators—but being a healthy example to your children can be a daily motivator. Start early. Make decisions about exercise, food and sleep like someone is watching you—because soon someone will be. I say this from experience. My kids are now 21, 19 and 16, and they all value healthy eating and exercise. I tried to lead by example, and although the adolescent years get sticky (when they want to pretend that everything you say and do is stupid) my kids tell me they got their education and motivation for healthy living from me.
Hello vigorous workouts; I missed you. When you are pregnant, the general rule about exercise is you can continue doing what you were doing the six months before you became pregnant … with your doctor’s approval of course. You may be advised to lower your intensity or stick to low-impact workouts to be on the safe side, but once you give birth to your baby, you can dial your intensity back up gradually (Again, make sure you have approval from your doctor). Your nine-month hiatus from super sweaty, high-intensity workouts might actually make you miss them. You might miss the feeling of your strong body when you are in the height of pregnancy—complete with swollen ankles you can’t even see over your baby belly. Use the feeling of having your body back to put everything you’ve got into your workouts. Sweat. Take it up a notch. Try something new and intense. Think about how you want your body to look while you are doing it! Think about how cool it will be when people say to you: “You don’t look like you just had a baby.” Smile, you are rocking your body!
Energy anyone? When you are bargaining in the middle of the night with your spouse over who is going to get up to soothe your crying baby, you will suddenly remember how much you love your sleep. During the day, when you are understandably sleep deprived, you will still want to feel high energy because there is so much to do. You will be motivated to exercise for the boost in energy it provides, the YOU time, and the getting–your-body-back feeling it gives you. Energy is a precious gift when you are a new mom and you will want to give that gift to yourself daily.
Imagine how great you will feel six months post-baby when you are more fit than you were before your baby! Start believing your baby can motivate you to have your best, healthiest body yet, and your decisions will align with your new belief. Decide what kind of mom you want to be, because you can choose to be a fit mom. Start with a positive attitude and add a little patience as the weight comes off differently for different people. There are those women who say “See ya” to their maternity clothes and are zipping up their regular jeans two weeks later, but that is not the norm. It took me about 10 weeks to feel good about my body and about four to five months to feel like I got my body back. Try my tips, and you can double your blessings—a beautiful body and most importantly—a beautiful baby! Rock on!