This daunting question haunts many a new mom I have chatted to. Pregnancy with all it’s stretching, pulling and sagging leaves your body in a very different state to what it looked like 9 months prior. And then just as you think it may now be time to get your body back in shape, you’re handed a newborn that wants nothing more than to be held, fed and loved by YOU. ALL DAY. By YOU! And so the reality, let alone the idea, of ever getting back in shape quickly becomes a past thought, something for another day.
I have been no different. My body too, has stretched, changed and scarred. But fortunately I’ve been left with only an extra 4 kg’s of baby weight and I will, likely, look back to normal if I could loose only a kg or 2. The truth is though, that I have done LITTLE to nothing in working on getting back in shape post baby, it was all pre-baby that got me here. A few friends have recently asked how I got so lucky, and I thought here would be the ideal space to share 3 of my realizations around this and how maybe you too, could be ‘lucky’ post baby.
3 body truths to getting your post-baby body back in shape:
Conditioning one’s body before falling pregnant is key to looking good post baby.
Conditioning for me, is simply sticking to a fitness/health routine for a number of months/years, until such point as your body finds comfort there. For me, my health routine has looked very similar over the past 6 or so years – I ran at least 3 times I week, gymed twice (toning exercises), always ate breakfast and stuck to a healthy but not overly strict eating routine of snacks of provitas, fruit, yoghurt and the odd biscuit & lunch and dinner including a carb, protein and veg. My body found comfort in this routine and settled at a weight that rarely fluctuated over the years. My muscle tone remained even when I was injured or had a festive eating weekend.
Our bodies (or more so, brains) LOVE to form habits. Do something repetitively and your brain will remember it. Conditioning is no different. Your muscles & size of your tummy remember their tone when you repeat healthy behaviour for long enough.
- I stayed fit during pregnancy
While conditioning is definitely one of the main reasons as to how my body has naturally gotten back in shape, staying fit during pregnancy played a HUGE role here too. Being pregnant is beautiful but hard too. You’re bloated, heavy, water-retained and then there are all these crazy emotions to face too. In saying that, it is definitely easier to avoid exercise and to lie on the couch instead. I made a conscious decision to stay fit during pregnancy and it made all the difference. You can read all about what I did to stay fit per trimester here.
I’m still convinced that swimming a kilometer the day before I had Sarah brought her along too 🙂
- I chose not to eat for two
In line with the above, emotions make most us women, eat. LOTS. While I definitely ate more carbs while pregnant, I was very intentional with not eating for two. Being pregnant, many find it tempting to indulge in calorie-rich foods as weight gain is expected and thus less daunting to face. This is a very real reality you face but choosing to stick to healthy food choices will not only nourish your beautiful growing babe, but also ensure that you have WAY less baby-weight to lose post partum.
I wish I could say do these 3 things and you’ll look a million dollars post baby, but it’s obviously not true. I am so lucky to have lost most of my baby weight but with breastfeeding I am unable to do much, if any, exercise now without my milk drying up, so I’m not in amazing shape yet either. One thing I have realised though is that your priorities do change post baby and your focus is far more on their contentment than on your body shape 🙂
If you’re post-baby now and looking for ideas to lose weight or learn to love your body then come over my Digesting Love page and consider working with me in creating & embracing a body you love!!
Hi special lady…
You are, as always, an inspiration! You have a wisdom beyond your years, your ability to express that wisdom is phenomenal (& you know I’m not just talking here about this particular journey ) & one of the kindest hearts I know. Keep being you & thank you for sharing so much of your journey with us…
Much love x
Thank you Linda. SO appreciate your kind words! LOVED working with you and sending lots of love & strength to you now xx
Another perspective, do you need to get your body back? is it wise of a life coach to even post such an article with photos? As woman we are constantly body shaming each other, especially after giving birth. You are not the same person you were before your baby, so why should your body be the same. Embrace the change, I’m not saying be lazy and get fat, but chill out! Woman are beating themselves up trying to schedule in all their gyming, but battle to find time for their kids! Enjoy the time with your baby, as time really does fly.
Definitely another take and I completely agree – being a mom absolutely comes first & I often chat to my husband about no longer having a teen body but instead looking the part of being a mom. The main reason behind my post was that so many women had asked how I got back in shape and I felt priviliged to share my story. Thanks for your comment though 🙂