Trying to get your body back after having a baby can sometimes seem more difficult than labor and delivery! As a mom and a fitness instructor I can tell you I have struggled with this first hand. With my first child I gained almost 90 pounds. Yes! 90 pounds! I am only 5’2 so I looked like a tomato with legs. I honestly thought I was eating for two, sometimes three. Let me tell you I was shocked that I did not give birth to a 75 pound baby and I was left with all of this weight to lose on my own. Now, I was no longer cute and pregnant, I was just fat.
I never knew what it meant to ” try” to lose weight. I am a former dancer and like I said, I am a fitness instructor so I was always moving and always exercising. So, there I was, a brand new mommy overjoyed with my newborn son, and so depressed that I was still wearing maternity clothes. I remember thinking, “how is this supposed to work?” I hadn’t showered, I fell asleep while going to the bathroom, I was still figuring out how to use a breast pump and a bouncy seat, and I couldn’t figure out how to get out of my house in under 30 minutes and without a 20 pound diaper bag. How on earth was I supposed to try to exercise? Let alone find time to exercise?
Well, lucky for you I figured it out! And you can too, I promise. I also promise that making yourself a priority during any stage of motherhood will have huge rewards. You will feel and look better, obviously. You will also boost your immune system, increase your energy level and ward off depression. All of these reasons help you be a healthier mommy. That is a great gift to give your family. I am listing my best tips and advice to help you figure out how to make exercise a part of your daily routine.
1. Put yourself first! And do NOT feel guilty!- You can not possibly take care of someone else if you do not take care of yourself. Bottom line, your baby needs the mommy you can be and that means YOU are at the top of the list!
2. Don’t think you have to go to a gym- this can be a lot of work and can be overwhelming. If you enjoy the gym, go for it! Otherwise, stay away! Exercise does not need to happen all at once, 2 hours a day, sweat till you drop kind of sessions. Too much too fast is a recipe for disaster. Baby steps.
3. Get creative! Baby weighs about 5-10 pounds as a newborn and more as they grow. Who needs weights when you have this cutie pie to workout with?! Baby lifts while you are on your back work triceps,shoulders and biceps. Stand with feet apart and squat while lifting baby out and back to you. Working almost your whole body! Exercising with your baby is great bonding and you are already starting baby off with some healthy habits!
4. Think outside the box- while running errands, park your car in a far away parking spot and get in some extra walking in and out of stores you have to go to anyway. Also, doing your housework with baby in a front carrier will burn double the calories!
5. Enlist your spouse or significant other- take turns supporting each other as healthy new parents. Maybe he makes dinner and puts baby to bed while you go to a zumba class, then you do the same another night while he goes for a run or plays basketball with friends. Find a balance that works so you feel supported and not guilty. Plus….exercise boosts libido!!
6. Get a pedometer- I was shocked that I didn’t hit the recommended 10,000 steps a day. Make it a game. Stick one on your pants and forget about it until the end of the day. Figure out ways to beat each days steps.
7. Go easy on yourself- you are a new mommy. Your body has been through a lot. If you are currently exercising 0 minutes a day don’t expect to win a marathon. Start with just 5 minutes. I promise, a consistent 5 minutes will lead to a consistent 20 minutes, then 60 minutes and so on. Don’t overdo it!
8. If you don’t like it, you probably won’t do it- I hate running. Unless I am being
chased. I have tried to be a runner and I quit every time, because I hate it. However, I love to dance! I have taken several adult dance classes but my favorite is zumba. I love to shake it so this is the workout for me. If you love the water, then find a swimming class. Maybe you were an athlete or love to roller-skate? You can combine both loves with a little roller derby! Or work your abs with a hula hoop and your favorite songs. My kiddies loved when I would workout with a hula hoop. I had a smile from ear to ear. Plus it is an awesome workout. Now they do it themselves!
9. Kill that postpartum depression!- I am in no way, shape or form a doctor so I can not make any claims but, exercise can beat the depression just as good if not better than any drugs. I have suffered through post pardon depression and I deal with a little regular depression as well. I think many of us do and it is tough. I use exercise as my drug of choice and I can tell you that it works! It works with your endorphins, balances out hormones and let’s you blow off some steam! And everything counts! Just a 5 minute walk can cure a sour mood. 5 minutes is better than no minutes!!
10. Make it a necessity – This is so important. We spend so much time with all of our other necessities…food, clothes, shelter…..a.k.a cooking, laundry and cleaning! But none of this can be done well if we as moms are not taking care of ourselves. Make a promise to give yourself some time each day or even each week to take care of your body. It is a necessity!!
A Mother’s work is never done. We all do so much and the payoff is usually a big one since nothing makes us happier than seeing our families happy. I know many of us have our plates full…or overflowing….but please keep in mind that taking time for yourself is more important than getting all the laundry done. The laundry is never really ALL done anyway;)!
My name is Caitlin Ennis. I am a certified fitness instructor, a hairstylist, a wife,and a mother of 2 children 11 year old boy and 8 year old girl. I work full time outside the home and super full time at home! I love music,dancing,and vampire movies. I dislike cleaning, making school lunches, the post office and the gas station.