Photo credit: HappyBabyWorkout.com
Regardless of how quickly you initially bounce back after having a baby (thanks, in part, to breastfeeding and other post-delivery hormonal shifts that boost metabolism), there’s usually an inevitable plateau of ‘won’t-budge’ pounds with which you’ll have to contend.
But let’s get one thing straight: We’re promoting being healthy, feeling good about yourself and instilling good habits, rather than perpetuating some unattainable, unrealistic standard here.
I recently provided a few tips on the topic, but as many moms know, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to reclaiming your pre-baby body. So why not ask the experts themselves?
Here are a few strategies for success that helped these fit-minded moms get back in the saddle.
Lindsey, mother of two, in Oregon:
First, I ate a balanced breakfast to ward off the temptation to mindlessly graze on my children’s goldfish. Second, just get moving! I did Stroller Strides, and the incorporation of intervals, cardio and resistance training all while sweating it out with other moms was awesome. Finally, don’t feel guilty for cutting a chunk out of your busy and hectic day to focus on your own health and happiness.
Aleksandra, mother of one, in Michigan:
Initially after I had my son, I allowed myself the time to adjust to a new role and didn’t worry about my body or weight. Once I had a good handle on my new life, I began meal planning to take the stress out of what to eat. It keeps me eating well even when I can’t squeeze a workout in, and it got me back to my pre-pregnancy weight fast. Our bodies can do amazing things with the right fuel!
Katie, mother of two, in Oregon:
I have two tips for getting your pre-baby body back: First, eat well and exercise (if possible) during your pregnancy. Swimming is a great cardiovascular work-out for later stages of pregnancy because it’s low-impact. Second, nursing has many health benefits for mom and baby, AND it burns a ton of calories!
Danielle, mother of two, in Hong Kong:
Having No. 2 and keeping up with both of them cuts down on your meals and keeps you on the run!
Crystal, mother of two, in Oregon:
With my first, I went on walk/jogs just about every day; the key is to have a good stroller. The second time around, we joined a gym, and I do barre and swim. In all honesty, though, the weight came off because my boys loved to nurse. Sucked it right out of me!
Claire, mother of three, in North Carolina:
Find something you love and make time to do it! Yoga is such an integral part of my life, and it’s providing so much benefit, I always make the time to practice. I can honestly say that beyond the way it’s transformed my body, yoga has helped me to become a better parent, spouse and friend. Whether an early morning class or late evening, I make it fit with my crazy family and work schedule. Hey, who couldn’t benefit from a little ‘namaste’ in their lives?!
Hilary, mother of one, in California:
If you’re a mom who exercises intensely and is used to mega-calorie-burning workouts, breastfeeding doesn’t compare. It does burn calories, so it’s a nice little addition, especially when you’re slowly getting back into shape. But, exercise and diet should still be considered important and necessary if a mother wants her “pre-baby” body to return.
Megan, mother of three, in Oregon:
I have two things that keep me on track: One, I always eat a protein-packed breakfast. I try to fuel myself before the kids get up or else I’m rushed and frazzled and don’t take the time to be intentional about food. And two, I play with the kids! We have dance parties, run around outside playing games, take tons of power walks and are just a really active family.
Cara, mother of one, in California:
The hardest thing about squeezing in exercise time post-baby is…the baby! You can’t just throw on your shoes and head out for a run on a whim anymore. I find it helpful to plan ahead and commit to specific fitness activities, whether it’s a stroller power walk with other moms or a mommy & baby yoga class. Having other new moms to do activities with is also great because you motivate each other to follow through with fitness dates, you can bond over your new life, and no one judges when your baby has a meltdown! Another tip is to look for classes that you can bring the baby to, such as yoga, pilates and Stroller Strides. It’s fun bonding time with your little one, and there’s no childcare excuse!
Hilary, mother of one, in Massachusetts:
I started Pure Barre around six months because I couldn’t do anything high impact while nursing. I joined a Baby Boot Camp class, too. My husband actually gave me the sessions as a Mother’s Day gift, and it was GREAT!
Melissa, mother of two, in Oregon:
Find a girlfriend and work out together. It keeps me accountable, and you get your girl time in, too. There is no way that I would wake up at 5:30 to go for a run if I didn’t have a girlfriend waiting to meet me!
Kelly, mother of three, in Michigan:
First and foremost, be patient. I use the same rule-of-thumb as I do for breakups: Getting over it can (and should) take at least 1.5 times the amount of time it took to get into it. Everyone’s different, and it takes time, so eat clean and keep working on it little by little, and you’ll get to where you want to be. I do think it’s important to note that even if you’re dedicated to your body, mental health and happiness are much more important than looking like you didn’t have a baby – especially when you’ve just brought a person into the world, and double especially when you are on your third or fourth month of not sleeping through a single night!
Liza, mother of three, in Oregon:
I take it slow and start out with some hilly walks around the area, and gradually work back into some runs. I love the workouts on TV On Demand, too! It’s easy because it’s in your house, and you can pause it if you need to change a dirty diaper 🙂
Thanks to all the lovely moms who contributed their two cents!