There’s a comparison out there that going through the pregnancy is not unlike running a 9-month marathon. They are both long, challenging processes that demand of you to constantly push through, with only the goal in mind. The difference is – you haven’t been running every day for nine months, you’ve been growing an actual human inside your own body and then going through grueling, long delivery at the end of it all. It’s an amazing but difficult process, and it cannot go by without consequences, as you go through major physical and emotional changes. If you’re a mom looking to get her pre-baby body back, we’re here to break down some myths, offer advice, and help you get started with pregnancy workout plan.
Breastfeeding and Nutrition
One thing that disappoints most women is the myth about breastfeeding – you know, it burns a lot of calories so if you breastfeed you will lose weight in no time. Don’t get yourself down when you don’t see that happening because it’s not a correct assumption. What usually happens is that breastfeeding women lose a certain amount of weight without much effort in the beginning, but after that, they reach a point where they get stuck and no more weight comes off. This is natural, and in other situations, when a person is stuck somewhere in the weight loss process, the next step is cutting down calories – but you cannot do that because it would sacrifice your milk supply. So, don’t worry about it, as it is completely normal. Wait this period out, and once your baby moves on to other food, you will be able to control your calorie intake more.
But what you can do for your body in the meantime is exercise and also not eat empty calories (no matter your cravings), but rather healthy snacks, such as: fresh veggies with low-fat ranch dressing, Greek yogurt with fruit, whole grain bread with egg or chicken salad, hard-boiled eggs, apples with cinnamon and almond butter, and the favourite – milkshakes and fruit smoothies. With your doctor’s approval, you can supplement your smoothies and shakes with ingredients such as True Protein, in order to ensure that you are incorporating enough protein into your diet, which is very important. Protein enriched smoothies especially come in handy once you start exercising, because the protein helps tone the body, build muscle mass, and speed recovery, yet they are very light pre-workout meals, so you don’t feel heavy when it’s time to get moving.
Finding Time to Exercise
Postpartum exercising is highly recommended by experts – it will help you lose weight, tone your body, energize you mentally and physically, and, most importantly, even reduce the risks of postpartum depression. But, how do you find time to exercise, with a newborn to take care of and barely any sleep? Most women struggle with this, and the way to solve it is simply to prioritize fitness – if you are ready and you want to start exercising, you will find time during the day, especially considering that you can incorporate short exercise spurts into your daily routine. Just 10 minutes at a time is enough, while your baby is napping or in front of the TV.
What to Do
While exercising is necessary, it is important to be careful and the first check with your doctor to see how ready you are and which types of things to avoid. For example, experts caution against all physical activity in the first 6 to 8 weeks that puts a lot of stress on the joints (such as jogging and jumping), because your joints are still loose and prone to injury during this time, thanks to a hormone called relaxin, which is produced during pregnancy. Most women don’t start exercising during this period anyway because they have not yet settled into the new routine, and the postpartum body is really tired out. Wait for the green light from your doctor and also listen to your body.
A good place to start is with brisk walking. If you have exercised during pregnancy, add on to the walking the exercises you did in the third trimester and work your way backward. Once you’re ready for a workout that resembles the pre-pregnancy ones, here are some things you could do:
Make sure to warm up every time before a workout to prevent injury. Jog in place for 1 minute, do jumping jacks for 2 minutes, and do some leg kicks.
Targeting your hips and legs, sidekicks consequently help firm up and prevent cellulite.
- Inverted rows, in order to strengthen your back muscles and improve posture
- Reverse lunges with kicks, to burn fat around the midsection and thighs
- Chest press, and you can do it on a mat as well
- Triceps dips, to tone the back of your arms
- Deadlift, the ultimate exercise to tighten your glutes and hamstrings
- Hamstring curls, which is another great exercise for your backside, and you can use just a chair as a prop
- Core exercises – these are the most important and necessary, as losing core strength is inevitable during pregnancy. Try some postpartum pilates exercises.
Remember, working out is here to help you and make you feel better, so whatever program you end up choosing, it’s key to be able to keep up with it and stay consistent. If it’s too strenuous for you, do take it down a notch. Also, don’t look at the celebrity moms and their record-time weight loss, as that is very unrealistic and doesn’t match other people’s lifestyle. Be patient, and change will come, it’s important that you got moving!