Pregnancy is a thing of joy. Giving birth is even greater joy. However, fabulous Mums usually struggle to remain fab after they have dropped. The baby fat hangs around everywhere: flabby fat arms; droops around the stomach; a roll of flesh around the waist.
I’m presently 9 months postpartum. Immediately I gave birth, I did not like my body. At all. My black rotund stomach still looked like I had an extra baby in it. It also had angry stretch marks all over. I did not like what I saw. I looked at a picture of my pre-pregnancy body and I knew that it was time to get my body back.
My stomach, a week after having an emergency C-Section.
So my body went from “that” to “this” after six months. Here is what I did.
Forget the Myths
Pregnancy does not make you fat. Having a baby does not make you fat. Breastfeeding does not make you fat! However, excuses make you fat! Overeating makes you fat! Eating junk makes you fat! Not working out makes you fat! The decision to live a healthy lifestyle lies in your hands! A healthy lifestyle comes from within: the decisions you make daily, the food that enters your mouth and mind. While your hormonal profile may make fat loss slow during breastfeeding, keep reminding yourself of the incredible benefits to you and baby that nursing provides. My main focus was eating a balanced diet with the Meal Plans on the Lifestyle Change With April while nurturing my baby to keep my milk supply flowing.
My health officer reminded me that if I neglected this much-needed rehab, I was going to end up injured, frustrated, and maybe even peeing in my pants during a squat. So, pelvic floor exercises were enough. Six weeks postpartum, after getting the “all-clear” from my GP, I started walking. I started small. First, 15-minute walks to the grocery store. Then, 30 to 35 minutes. I really tried to stay off my feet as much as possible! My body was still recovering.
It's about making every minute count. When my husband came back from work and I put Bryan to sleep, I went for long walks. From long walks to brisk walks, from brisk walks to...running AGAIN! I remember the fist time I ran, oh the joy! I was so thrilled; I took a million sweatfies! At 8 weeks postpartum, I was getting better, things were getting easier! Baby blues went with the wind!
Finding the Balance
There is baby to look after. Oh, the cooking to do! I cannot leave home. My breasts will be jumping. All these are excuses. We need to move beyond them. Babies have no regard for our workout schedules. While going to the gym offers you the most equipment, I’ve found getting it done at home has increased my consistency and yes, saved money! I’ve learnt to squeeze exercise between every loose minute in my daily routine. 10-20 body weight squats several times per day while waiting for tea water to boil. As baby coos at you, coo back and do 10 pushups, it will amuse them and be like hide-and-seek. Dance with your baby. Walk as much as possible with your stroller, instead of driving.
AND, skip the guilt!
People will make you feel shallow for worrying about your waistline when so many women can’t even ovulate. So many women feel wracked with guilt after pregnancy, complaining about being overweight. However, you can still feel good about your body and be insanely grateful for your baby. They aren’t mutually exclusive. Turn your gratitude into determination to make better choices—like exercising, eating better, and self-care—for yourself. Then, you will be in a better position to care for your family.
You can’t (un)do this overnight, in a few days, or weeks but you need to make up your mind. You’re not going to stay the way you are forever! I started the Lifestyle Change With April to help people like me and to be honest, this is the beginning of a journey to a healthier you that you've always dreamt of.