Since giving birth to my first child last year life has taken on a whole new meaning. There have definitely been a lot of challenges along the way and it hasn’t been easy. Getting pregnant was difficult and I certainly didn’t have a smooth pregnancy (though I’m sure it was a walk in the park compared to what some women go through). I wouldn’t change a single thing about it though. In hindsight it seems the smallest price to pay for our son. My husband and I now have a healthy, happy baby – I’ve never felt so fulfilled in life as I do right now.
From speaking to other new moms though, there does come a time post-pregnancy when we all shift a little focus back onto ourselves. Life changes beyond recognition in the first few months, you adjust to a life where you’re no longer the priority (which I embraced like every new mom) but once the dust settles a little, you remember you’re not just a mom – you’re a woman too. I always knew my body would change, and that was something I’d accepted the day I discovered I was pregnant. I didn’t care; I was too preoccupied with the love that was growing inside me. When I look at my body now, a year down the line, I’m actually proud of my stretch marks. For me they symbolize love, strength, and motherhood. The post pregnancy weight on the other hand has been an altogether different story!
It’s so important as a woman to feel comfortable in your skin. There’s so many ideals fed to us on a daily basis from the media, be it television or magazines, that anyone can get sucked into feeling bad about the way they look. You’d think that women who have just given birth would be exempt from all of this, but in today’s world they certainly aren’t. It was only last year superwoman Beyoncé shed her baby weight in what seemed like a couple of weeks – I, like many other new moms, felt utterly defeated when it was my turn to do the same. How is that even possible? Well, I guess millions in the bank, personal trainers and your own dietician might help… Aside from Jennifer Garner, not many inspirational celebrity Mom’s have been candid about how hard it can be to shift the baby weight, or how it can effect your confidence. This leaves a lot of women feeling inadequate. Trust me ladies, no everyday woman can pop out a baby and get her ‘old’ body back in a few short weeks. Doing it sensibly takes a while. Don’t give in to unhealthy fad diets or fall for weight loss myths (check out 10 of the biggest on Licensed Prescriptions).
Although I’ve still got a few more pounds to shed, I’m getting there – with no silly diet and no grueling exercise regimes that leave me too tired to be a mom. Here’s what helped me shed almost 40 pounds.
Whilst for some women the weight melts away naturally after giving birth, for others (like me!) the weight hangs around for months afterwards like an unwanted house guest. My doctor initially recommended not dieting. In combination with the stress of being a new parent, depriving yourself of food can actually cause you to gain weight – not to mention you need to be consuming a good 1,800 calories a day anyway if you’re breastfeeding.
Naturally I didn’t want to deprive myself or my baby in anyway with a traditional diety-type diet. Instead I went for an all round healthier diet than what I had pre-pregnancy. I’d literally source out healthier options for absolutely everything – right down to the ketchup. After the first grocery shop (which consisted of me googling everything we put into the cart on my cell phone – much to my husband’s dismay!) it was easy, and has since become a way of life. If you’re breastfeeding then look to superfoods in particular.
I’ll be honest – I hate exercise. However, there’s nothing like taking your baby out in the stroller to burn calories! I aimed for two hours worth of exercise a week, some of which I incorporated in to daily errands, such as shopping, or just visiting friends – I just made the effort to walk everywhere (which is a whole lot more fun when you’ve got a little person babbling away in front of you!).
Another thing I decided to do was to take up hula hooping. I wanted something I could do at home that was simple, not too strenuous, and effective without requiring heaps of dedication. For minimum effort and maximum pay off, hula hooping has been an absolute winner. Just 10 minutes can burn 100 calories, and it certainly made a difference to how quickly I’ve lost weight. Whilst it did take its toll the first few times (I was out of shape even before my pregnancy) I soon got into the swing of things. Because I got my 10-20 minutes in the afternoons when my husband at work, my son would be with me and I’d often sit him in his chair so he could watch me. He’d laugh the whole time – if that’s not motivation, then I don’t know what is! The joke has since worn thin of course. He’s moved onto laughing at his father belch.
This is the thing we all forget. It’s a forgivable one to forget though, given all the celebrity supermoms out there that seem to be able to shift the baby weight and tone up within weeks. Losing baby weight for us mortals takes time. Many of us let it get us down before we’ve even given ourselves an adequate chance to lose it – whether we’re giving it a push in the right direction with exercise, or not. My sister-in-law said it best:
“It takes 9 months for our bodies to change when we have a baby. There’s no shame in it taking 9 months or longer for it to go back to what it was”. Amen!
Written by Lisa Cave: Guest Blogger for Mom at Last
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