No matter how or why you’ve gained weight, know that it takes as long – if not longer – to lose that weight again. Pregnancy is a special time and new mothers need to concentrate on their baby but you may need to reprioritize if you are still blaming a spare-tire on baby weight, three years later!
Dads-to-be often gain baby weight too – if someone around you is eating more then the temptation to join in is hard to refuse. This week, I’m going to share five tips that will help you regain the figure you want. I’m focusing on how to reclaim your pre-pregnancy body because it’s a message I relate to strongly.
During my last pregnancy I was carrying triplets and, with four months to go, I was put on bed-rest which meant my activity levels plummeted. Over forty weeks I gained 70lbs and I was nearly as wide as I am tall!
Finally welcoming my new babies to the world and introducing them to their big brother and the rest of the family was magical. I think the sole focus for new parents should be enjoying every second with their new little human because they change so quickly.
Since it takes forty weeks to gain baby weight then you should give yourself at least forty weeks to lose the weight too. When we see airbrushed photos of celebrities who have six-packs within weeks of giving birth, we shouldn’t try and compare ourselves. A sensible approach – giving yourself plenty of time to be with your baby and learning to balance the diaper changes, feedings, and lack of sleep is much better than looking at yourself in contrast to a pampered celebrity.
As soon as I received the all clear to start exercising again, I tried to jump straight into exercising intensely and it was too hard. I learned that I need to be kind to myself and be patient. Rather than make my mistake of rushing in too quickly – try these weight-loss, figure-regaining tips.
Stay safe. New mothers need to be careful when they first begin exercising. Check with your doctor about when to recommit to exercise: without exception your joints may be weak and your body may be sore.
Post pregnancy tip 1: make time
Trust me, I know that as a new parent you don’t have time but you have to grab a moment when you can. Try to find some time every day – aiming for 10 minutes is a good start. Ask a family member or your partner to make a commitment to give you a break or put it in your schedule during baby naptime. If you’re already back at work, then try to fit in a walk around the block at lunchtime. It’s hard but exercising will ultimately give you more energy.
Post-pregnancy tip 2: no more excuses
Try to at least walk, stretch or do something that involves moving every day. Exercise naturally boosts your energy levels so don’t hide behind excuses. Knowing you are doing something positive for yourself, when you’re also realizing that your life is no longer all about you, may help you get motivated and better adapt to the new person in your world.
Post-pregnancy tip 3: be creative
I’ve said it before: any time exercising is better than no time. You need to be resourceful, so try jumping rope, adding in squats while washing baby bottles, and doing crunches in bed. This might all sound crazy but it’s a workable way to fit in activity. It worked for me: my 10 minute routine in my bedroom each morning and evening was enough to start pushing me back to fitness.
Post-pregnancy tip 4: focus on your core
Work on your posture all day because pregnancy alone can mess with your posture and balance. Lifting a growing baby, bending over a crib, pushing heavy strollers and more … means that your postural muscles may need stretching throughout the day. Holding in and contracting your abdominal muscles will help strengthen them, so pull in your tummy a few times a day – whenever you remember – and each time you’ll be developing your muscles. Go ahead; pull in your tummy right now!
Post-pregnancy tip 5: eat well
Aim for quality nutrition every day. I saved the most important tip for last because immediately post pregnancy is not a time for fad diets that deprive your body of essential nutrients. Starving your body is never a good solution for weight loss. A smart calorie-controlled diet that provides your body with essential carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins and minerals is a much better choice because it is sustainable long term.
Learning how to balance your caloric intake and caloric expenditure will help you to lose weight at sustainable rate. If you are nursing, however, you must check with a health professional to ensure you consume enough calories to produce nutrient-rich milk.
That’s it – I hope that when you read my tips they seem manageable. I am so passionate about helping people to reclaim their body after a baby because I’ve dealt with the insecurity that come with body changes. I’ve admitted before that I cried, I turned to comfort foods to make me feel better, and I did all the wrong things before I decided to get smart and practice what I preach. I spent a good four years getting my fitness levels back up and at times it was hard but I believe it was worth the effort.
Now I love my post-pregnancy body, it’s stronger than ever and I use it to run around the soccer field with my kids, hug them when they (or I) need comfort and I love to jump and dance to make sure all of us stay smiling. Being fit has helped me keep my energy levels up and that’s important if you have four rambunctious children running around and demanding attention. Losing the weight was part of my goal but fully committing to taking part in my life was the best outcome!
Start your journey today with commitment and a smart approach because you may just surprise yourself.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.
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