Bounce back’ at your own pace
So you’ve had your baby. Now what?
While I’m not a mom yet, I do get asked for advice about post-partum weight loss and have clients fresh from the delivery room (after doctor sign-off).
So what is the real deal? Can you snap back into your skinny jeans two months after delivery? Will you be able to lose the pooch? Will your body ever be the same? To answer that last question — no, it will not.
For nine months your body went through hormonal and physical changes. To expect it to look exactly the same post-pregnancy is quite unfair and unrealistic. You should give it at least nine months to “bounce back”. When I say bounce back, I’m not necessarily talking about weight loss; I am keen on strength.
Start off slow and be patient
The doctor has given you the all-clear to begin exercise. Understand that you’ve undergone many physical changes. Your routine is now different. Your sleep pattern has changed. Start off with a simple walk (fitted between diaper changes and naps).
Understand that your body is different and may be incapable of performing the same exercises right out of delivery room. As with your journey before pregnancy, it took time for you to reach your goals. There is no reason to be hard on yourself after pregnancy because of the time it’s taking — you did just grow a baby after all!
You may need help
You are tired, exhausted, sleep deprived and maybe even less motivated to train, because of your new life as a mom. Accept that you may need further accountability and assistance to reach your goal. Grab a friend and ask them to help you stay motivated, accountable and honest with your efforts. Before pregnancy you might have been fine keeping fit on your own; life changes. Hire a fitness professional and/or a dietitian to help you. As stated before, you just grew a baby so your body has changed immensely.
There is no loss in pride in seeking professional help. Besides, you will find that they have the knowledge with what exercises are fit for you and your new body (C-section, diastasis recti, weak joints etc), so why not get the help needed?
Your body has changed
Please, please, please recognise that your body has changed! Refrain from beating yourself up for “not recognising the woman in the mirror”. Whilst it is common among women to be upset and possibly not love the body they see, I encourage you to still appreciate, accept and respect what it has been through.
You have a new norm
Your schedule has changed, sleep pattern is altered and your food intake is all over the place. Fitting in an hour gym session, five times a week can be a huge challenge now. Accept that fact and don’t get frustrated. Perhaps you need to do home workouts, 20 minutes a piece. That is far better than the stress of missing a session. Accept that things have changed and you have a new norm.
With this new norm I can assume it is far easier to avoid junk food than it is to get in that hour workout. There you have it then. Be more mindful of what you’re consuming — not restricting your calories but choosing wholesome foods instead of the bag of chips. What you consume is at least 80 per cent of your weight loss. Sure you feel better knowing that you did work out, but be easy on yourself by watching what you eat as well!
Don’t compare your post-partum journey to anyone else’s
Comparing bodies and journeys will surely lead to failure, depression and the like. Everyone is unique. Mom A only took two months to “bounce back”. OK, so what? Did you know that she also was a size two before pregnancy, is a runway model and bounced back the unhealthy way? OK, maybe she didn’t do it the unhealthy way by restricting her calories, however it is best to simply understand that everyone is different. Your priority should be in eating enough to supply milk for your newborn. Not breastfeeding? OK. Fine. Again, just understand that everyone is different. Be kind to your body! Some women can bounce back into intense lifting whilst others cannot. Your joint recovery may take longer than mom A’s. At the end of the day, be patient and kind to your body. Enjoy being a mom and set realistic goals as a mom with a new schedule.
As stated earlier, I am not a mom as yet. I do, however, catch myself (being the perfectionist that I am) thinking about how pregnancy might “ruin” my body. Just recently, I’ve changed that thinking. Through a new consistency, we can regain our strength and confidence after giving birth. So, be kind to your body. Be patient and be honest, but most of all be true to yourself and enjoy the journey!
Dre is a retired track and field athlete who is now a personal trainer, aerobic and yoga instructor and fitness “addict” with more than 20 years’ experience. She specialises in nutrition, weight and sprint training, operating out of HindsSight Fitness and Wellness at the Berkeley Cultural Centre. Contact her on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 599-0412. Find her on both Facebook and Instagram under @Absbydre.
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