Ten years ago, about three months after having my first child, I looked at myself in the mirror and said: “Nope, I’m not one of those lucky ones who loses all the weight nursing.” And sadly, it took a lot more than nursing and hiding out for three months to get back to a place where I was happy with my post-baby body.
Now, a decade and three kids later, I’ve finally found my groove when it comes to making exercise part of my lifestyle and because this website is my place for sharing all things living healthy and fresh, I’ll be sharing some of the things that I’ve found that work for me when it comes to staying in shape after kids.
Having babies does funny things to a woman’s body, and every pregnancy is different. During my first pregnancy, I ate pretty healthily although I often indulged, telling myself that “one is meant to gain baby weight regardless.” With my first pregnancy, I gained 40 pounds.
During my second pregnancy, I watched what I ate, didn’t have much time to rest since I was running behind a sixteen-month-old, and gained just about the same weight as my first pregnancy, 38 pounds to be exact.
My third pregnancy was a blur with the launch of my business, and my oldest two in school, life was busy. During the third pregnancy, I was more aware of keeping weight gain as little as possible as ordered by my physician because of my back. I watched what I ate and still gained 38 pounds.
And then, after the babies were born, exercise was the last thing on my mind. For starters, things are soft and squishy, lack of sleep does bad things to a woman’s emotions, and recovering from c-sections each time was not easy.
When my mom-friends tell me that they are too busy to exercise, I totally get it. I too have trouble finding time to get moving in the midst of juggling my family and kid activities, working full-time, and traveling. Seriously, how is one supposed to find the time to go to the gym or work out from home when we’re pulled in so many directions? It’s HARD.
The thing is that physical fitness is good for us parents and sadly we don’t prioritize it enough. As parents, we always put our kid’s needs first, and somehow ours are pushed to the side. And when we do have some free time, we just want to put our feet up, relax, and read a book for example.
One of my biggest motivators to get moving after having my first child was the realization that I needed to exercise to stay healthy, happy, and active, now that I was responsible for another human being. I’ve also learned that if I don’t show my kids, that exercise is a priority for me, how can I ask them to be active as well? I have to be a good role model for them in this area of our lives too.
After my first child, I remember wanting to regain some control over my body and my life. Parts of my body did not fall in the same places they used to before kids, and the pounds I gained were not “all baby and water weight.”
Ten years ago, most of the advice I received included walking, playing with my kids, and other low-impact (read low-sweat) things that I could do while the baby napped or with the baby. That’s how I started out, walking around the neighborhood 2-3 times per day pushing my girl in the stroller. And then after my second child, with two kids under three, I began pushing a double stroller and logging 3 miles per day around the neighborhood. But the pregnancy weight refused to go anywhere.
Why didn’t the things I read about work for me? How as I supposed to get back to my pre-baby body while being home with two little humans that required all my attention? I realized that the type of workouts that shed pounds needed mom to put herself first for 30 minutes to one hour 3-5 times per week so she could get her sweat on.
So, I joined a local gym that included 2 hours of childcare with my membership and made myself go in the mornings when my kids needed the playtime and socialization with other kids, and I had the energy I needed to focus on myself first.
Exercise became an outlet from the new pressures of life and parenthood. And in return, I lost the baby weight (three times), improved my health and moods, learned how to prioritize my time and put myself first, and find happiness from within.
Have you struggled to exercise after having kids? How do you do it?