Did you ever think to yourself after passing a magazine in the supermarket, “Well of course that celebrity lost her baby weight in record time, she has a nanny, a personal trainer, and a personal chef!” All these celebrity weight loss stories being shoved in our faces, Jessica Alba, Kendra Wilkinson, Kate Hudson, they all lost the baby weight so fast, if only we had their resources! The tabloids might have a very different story to sell if these women didn’t have the resources they do, well in that case, they wouldn’t be on a magazine cover in the first place.
Getting back in shape after baby is an expectation many women have for themselves, no matter what their socio-economic status. It is harder and less convenient for some women than it is for others. Fortunately, the amount of money or extra help a woman has available to her does not have to be a factor in this matter. With a little bit of creativity, discipline and hard work, any woman can get in shape post pregnancy! Here are some tips from a mother of four who did not have much money or help with my children in the process.
Get your rest
Rest is so important, especially in those first few weeks after welcoming a baby. Your body is still recovering and it should be a time to bond with baby, adjust the family, and just recover from your birth. I had all my children vaginally, and during those first few weeks, the only exercise I did was taking short walks, and going on a few outings. If it is your first child, sleep when the baby sleeps. If you have other children, try to go to bed when your children do instead of staying up trying to clean the house. Sleep is so important! You will have plenty of time to exercise in a few weeks.
Its all in the diet
The most important thing any person can do for weight loss is adjusting their diet. I am not talking about restricting calories, or going on some crazy program, I am talking about cutting out all the junk! Eat a balanced diet of healthful nourishing food. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, eliminate refined carbohydrates and junk foods. Do not drink anything with added sugar, try to opt for water most of the time. I really love to make green smoothies, it is a easy, fast way to consume lots of healthy greens and fruit, and it tastes delicious. I like to try to eat healthy food throughout the day so I will not feel hungry and succumb to cravings. Remember it is very difficult to out exercise a bad diet. Diet has more pull than exercise when trying to lose weight.
Fit in exercise wherever you can
Diet is important, and eating better will help you lose weight, but it will not reshape your body. If you want to reshape your body, you must exercise, this includes cardio and doing weight bearing exercises. Cardio is great for burning calories, and weight bearing exercises will tone your body. Building muscle will help your body burn more calories even when you are not exercising. I am not going to give you a specific workout, but rather tell you how a busy mom can still find opportunities to work out. These ideas may not all fit your situation, but I am sharing them because they have worked for me.
1) Go for walks- This is a simple, obvious, yet very effective answer for parents who think they can not work out because they have children with them. Make it a habit to go for a walk every day. In time, make your walks longer and longer, and try to include hills for resistance. You can also stop and do stretches or other exercises along the way. You can use a stroller, or a double stroller for your small child(ren), and let older kids walk. There is such a variety of strollers available, you are sure to be able to find one that works for your children’s needs. I have 4 children, and my double stroller is my most important mommy helper! I let my two older kids walk and my younger ones go in the stroller, and we walk every day.
2) Dance at home!- This one was my favorite, I would put my baby in a bouncer, set her nearby, turn on the music and dance and do exercises in my house. I got into a daily routine of doing this every evening, and I loved it. It is also a great way to reduce stress. I would dance around and insert calisthenics and stretches into the dancing. It was great cardio and built muscle. When my daughter was very small, I would see her watching me exercising, and sometimes I would pick her up and do some light dancing with her in my arms.
3) Exercise dvds- Exercise dvds are a go to for many mothers who want to exercise at home. There is such a variety of exercise videos out there, it would definitely be easy to find something that appeals to your specific taste. You can also find a lot of exercise instruction videos on you tube, there are even videos that offer a workout in as little as 5 or ten minutes so you can squeeze them in whenever you get a chance. Every little bit adds up.
4) Join the Y.M.C.A.- If you have a Y.M.C.A. in your neighborhood, it is really an amazing value to join. There are even assistance programs for low income families to join at a reduced rate, so it really is affordable to anyone. The great thing about the Y is that they have babysitting! You can take your children into the babysitting room and go enjoy some time to focus on your health and well being. I love the Y, they are great with my kids, and I can take an hour or two to exercise and focus on me. I can even go to the sauna and take a shower, and when I come back to pick up my children, I feel recharged.
5) Little spurts between chores- As a mother, there is just so much household chores to do everyday. I have found that if I put on some music and up the intensity of my household chores, it makes them more bearable. It burns more calories and they get done faster too! Sometimes while I’m doing household chores, I like to fit in little bursts of exercise. I might do a set with my hand weights, or some jumping jacks, or running in place. It makes me feel like I am killing two birds with one stone, and I am. Every little bit counts.
These are some of the things I did to lose the baby weight with each of my four children. They are simple, easily accessible things that mostly anyone can do. For anyone who wants to lose weight post pregnancy, the most important thing is consistency.