You may not have weighed yourself during pregnancy, but you know where you’ve landed now. Here’s how to get back in shape (mentally and physically) safely postpartum. This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Famous Footwear. All opinions are 100% mine.
We are going to look at a shocking photo that will make us all insane. I will become the most insane of all because this is a photo of me. 4 babies ago, 4 months postpartum. Without exercise or dieting or anything but nursing and exhaustion from having moved overseas with a baby.
I remember taking that picture. I remember thinking that my stomach was flabby and saggy and weird and that my love handles were very soft.
I DO NOT KNOW WHO I WAS BACK THEN.
Needless to say, 4 babies later… this is not what I look like. No, no it is not. I don’t know how many more pounds I weigh than this because I haven’t weighed myself in over five years. I have had 5 babies in 5 years and my body has stood by me the whole time. (If you’re wondering… having babies close together isn’t as hard as you think.)
That said, after my last pregnancy I was having pains. Aches, pains, clicks, and soreness. I didn’t know what to push through or not and was fairly sure I had fractured my pelvis.
The sacrifices of motherhood.
This is why, upon finding out I was pregnant this last time, I cried for days. I cried because I assumed I’d end up on bed rest since I already had troubles. Thankfully I did not end up on bed rest, but I did commit to strengthening myself postpartum. To not wait until the weight just “fell off” (something that might magically happen after your 1st but not after your 5th).
I’ve decided this fall will be a time to begin a new season. Not only new temperatures and a new baby, but new habits and practices as well. And something altogether new… exercising knowing I’ll never birth another baby. I’ll be back momentarily… off to sob.
How to Exercise When You’re Exhausted
The truth is that the postpartum period is exhausting in every way. You’re physically exhausted from night wakings and your body is tired out from its hard work during pregnancy and delivery. You’re mentally exhausted, whether you’re adjusting to motherhood or trying to juggle another baby into your routine. It’s overwhelming to say the least… not to mention the hormones.
Find an appropriate workout regimen
Obviously your muscles are weak, your tendons and ligaments are still loose due to hormonal changes during birth and nursing, and you just aren’t in the shape you’re used to. It’s important to choose a workout program (or type of exercise) that will strengthen your core muscles first so you are recovering from the inside out.
Also, do you have diastasis recti? Did you have a cesarean? Are you still recovering down below? These are important questions that must be answered. Still, whatever situation you’re in, an appropriate level of exercise will only help, not hurt you.
Get the right gear
Let’s just say it was difficult to move freely in my pre-pregnancy workout gear. I’ll leave it at that. Once I decided I was going to work out this fall, just for me, I knew I needed a few outfits that could take the journey with me and not remind me how much extra I was carrying each time I put them on. I got a few new outfits to wear each morning, and these awesome Nike kicks from Famous Footwear.
Don’t let ill-fitting (or non-fitting) clothes and shoes stop you from building back up your strength. Set aside a bit of money and shop sales, discounts, and enable the Honey discount finder so you can get the best deals.
Take it one day at a time and rest well
Instead of focusing on how much weight you’re carrying or how you body is just different now, take it one day at a time. I try to make good choices each day regarding food and rest, then I remind myself tomorrow is another day. Another chance to work another muscle and lose another pound.
I prioritize sleep. I kid you not, I’m in bed and usually asleep by 9:30 p.m. I feel like an old fuddy duddy. Then I want to feel bad being an old fuddy duddy, but really I feel good being an old fuddy duddy because I’m going to bed at 9:30 pm!!! This allows me to have the energy to wake up in the morning, exercise, read my Bible, other books, and even work a bit if the mood strikes.
Do it for you
I love working out, even when it hurts, because I’m doing it for me. It gives me energy to be present with the kids. I want to be able to fit well into my clothes and look good for me. Not because it’s bad if I’m carrying a few extra pounds or because of some Should, but because I like the way it feels when I’m regularly exercising. I love putting on my clothes and cute shoes and making time to do something that will benefit me. Then my kids by extension.
Find a Space and Time that works
We live in the sticks. We have to “go to town” to get groceries or gas. We also have a barn. A barn my grandfather built. It is big and has room and inspiration struck when someone brought a flat screen TV to sell at our yard sale so now I’ve created a workout space in the barn. This is great for the mind because when I walk from the house to the barn I feel like I’m going to the gym.
Because I workout in the barn, I can’t have our 1 year old with us when I work out because he runs away and tries to get in the pond. This means 85% of the time I work out before they wake up. This has a few benefits:
- The workout gets checked off the to do list first thing which makes me feel accomplished.
- I don’t have time to talk myself out of it.
- “Life” doesn’t have time to get in the way.
- Instead of telling myself, “I need to do X to lose baby weight” I tell myself, “I’m already doing what it takes to lose baby weight.”
Morning, afternoon, evening, doesn’t matter. Find what works for you.
Give yourself grace
If you are unable to workout as you’d like because of aches, pains, and doctor’s orders… give yourself grace. If you hate your “new body” and are tempted to drown your sorrows in Reese’s and Cheez-Its to make yourself feel better temporarily, give yourself grace. Step by step, day by day, you can make little choices for yourself that turn into big results later.
At church a few weeks ago I sat by a beautiful lady with 3 kids. Three kids that are all 5 years old and older. Her arms were beautifully sculpted and she looked fabulous. I told her I envied her arms and that I was working hard. She replied with a sentence I’ve been telling myself ever since.
“You’ll get there. And you look amazing right now too!”
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