Like any first time mom, when I was pregnant with my first baby, I asked every question in the book regarding fitness, health, and nutrition. I played for my high school soccer team and ran track in college so you can say I was pretty uneasy when it came to my body changing throughout my pregnancy. Hitting the gym every single day was more than a routine to me, it was a sacred ritual.
So yes, I was terrified of my body changing.
When I had finally given birth to my baby girl, I was dead set on restarting my workout regimes and heading back to the gym ASAP.
Boy, did I speak too soon?
Reality hit me like a bucket of ice-cold water. It wasn’t the fact that I had lost all muscle definition in my body that had me feeling at an all-time low. It was the aching muscles, the lack of energy, and of course sleep deprivation.
So there I was at 2 AM, breastfeeding, and eyeing my husband and his useless nipples when I realized something that helped me “awaken” and set me back on the path of body appreciation:
My body went through nine months of stretching, nurturing, and creating a human being.
A human being. I did that.
Once I got that through my thick skull, it finally dawned on me.
This was going to take some time.
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy
After you have convinced yourself you are a superhuman; it’s time to get that “OK” from your doctor. While it is recommended a full six weeks before any physical activity, some women start earlier, and some might even require more than that. Now, when I say take it easy, I do mean: take your time.
Do not attempt strenuous workouts (I did a HIIT workout after five weeks that set me back a whole month). Your body has never been like this, so you need to learn how it works again from the very beginning. By taking a brisk walk around your block, you’ll have an idea of where you are in regards to fitness. Don’t be afraid to take your newborn out and show them the outside world, too! This is a great way to bond with your newborn and get fit at the same time. Spend the first few weeks simply walking and figuring out your new body. Nonetheless, take it easy.
Win or lose, listen to your body cues
You know that quote, “no pain, no gain”? I can’t stand that quote because it’s literally implying that to gain something; you have to suffer through it? Does that even make sense?
After a woman gives birth, she goes through a bunch of hormonal crap I can’t explain. Now usually, things get better at six weeks, but every woman’s body is different, remember that. Give yourself the time you need and be kind to your body. I get you’re superhuman, but even superheroes need a break sometimes.
Skip the gym, go for a swim
Even if swimming isn’t your thing, it is an incredible way to ease into exercise as it is easy on the joints, a fun way to lose weight helps restore muscle tone, and is excellent at helping you regain energy (and God knows you need that). Just don’t go all Michael Phelps on me here and make sure to start slow and moderate. Never hesitate to ask your doctor if you’re uncertain about anything.
At any rate, always hydrate
Once you get a sweat going, you need to remember to stay hydrated. Water is incredibly vital for new moms, especially breastfeeding ones. If you have a difficult time drinking water, you can always add fruits or herbs to give it a slight flavor. If that doesn’t help, you can download an app that reminds you now and then to drink up! Staying hydrated helps in preventing you from feeling fatigued all day. Also, every organ in your body needs water to function properly and is essential for lubricating your joints.
Feels like you’re sinking? It’s the over thinking
Ok, mom, I know you’re desperate to lose that weight and get back to your pre-baby body, but do not make that your priority. Your health is your priority. You want to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, you’re following a nutritious diet, you’re staying positive, and most importantly, remaining patient. Attempting to work out while you’re exhausted will not do you any good because you will be energy deprived. When you’re well rested and mentally relaxed, you’ll find that you’ll get more out of your workout.