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?
When I found out I was pregnant for my 3rd son, I weighed 390 lbs. Through a strict diet because of gestational diabetes plus walking every day, after my c-section, I had lost 50 pounds! He’s two now, and I have gained all the weight back. But I’m determined to be a healthy mom for my sons. Thanks for the inspiration!
You can do it, Vanessa! Set small goals, make them part of your lifestyle, and show them by example of what it means to become healthy so you can enjoy their life.
I am a mother of two children! One being 9 and I lost all my baby weight and even more than I was before being pregnant and I have a 2 year old son and I am having such a hard time losing weight. I’ll start exercising and eating healthy and give up and start again and give up. It’s hard to stay motivated being so busy and never seeing the results I want to see. I wish my second pregnancy weight loss was as good as the first!
I believe you can prioritize your health goals and be a terrific mother at the same time. Motivation is lost when we lose sight of just how great and capable we are, in spite of not seeing immediate results. I hope you see working out after having kids as a way to simply put your health first, YOU matter! <3
I think you look amazing. You are such an inspiration!
I have five kids and its hard! Every time I have lost weight, I seem to have another kid! I agree 100% percent, that you have to set a healthy example for your kids. You can’t expect them to have morals, want to stay healthy, or even take school seriously if you don’t do it yourself. I get a one hour lunch break at work, and that’s when I get my exercise in. I walk, run, lift weights, anything I can do at our local YMCA. Before #4 and #5 were born, my husband and I would take turns going for runs in the morning on the weekends. He also gets up early and goes to the YMCA before he has to go to work. For our older kids, we also incorporate them into walking. A few years ago, we all “ran” a Color Vibe 5K. The kids loved it and have asked several times when we can do it again. My oldest son also watched my husband and I do a mud run a few years ago and then asked when if he could do it when he was old enough. Even 30 minutes a day for 5 days helps. Every little bit helps and you have to find what works for you. Much like the picky eater series, there isn’t one set rule or scenario that is going to work for everyone. I have to compensate for not having a thyroid and kick up my workouts and lift weights before I see a difference. Try a few things and see what works. Doing something is better than nothing!
Heather, I’m SO inspired by you! I totally understand that by the time the weight came off, you got pregnant with another one! That was me with my first two. And you are so right about setting an example for the kids. Clearly ,both your husband and yourself do it. I love that you took the kids on a 5K! Goals to set for me right there. I love that you try things until you find what works for you! Great job!!
Thank you so much for sharing your story! I just started getting up early and working out to videos. It’s not much, but I’m trying to learn to take care of myself. It’s not easy, but I know I’ll be a happier, healthier mom. Thank you!
good for you! I am still trying to teach my body how to get up early. I can’t do 4:35am wakeup call every day but 3x a week is good enough. You’ve got this! PS: I started with workout videos from home too.
Thanks for sharing you’re story with us. I have found that there is always a bit of stubborn weight that just doesn’t want to fall off. So maybe I. need to up my exercise as well. What type of exercise do you do at the gym? Thank you once again.
I have “stubborn” jiggle around my waist still and I think it’s mostly genetics for me! I like to mix cardio exercise (spinning) with some type of resistance training (weights/squats/etc) 1-2x week. Overall, I work out 3-4 times per week (except when I travel). It really depends if you like to work out alone or as a group. I found that group exercise classes were the best for me since it helps me stay motivated.
You have to make what makes you feel better about yourself a priority. You will be a better mom for your family. I have had 9 children and always exercised intensely in between pregnancies. I walk/bike as long as I can during. I always feel better when I am consistent. Good for you who make an effort!
9! You are my hero. Definitely great advice and I think the key words are making ourselves a priority. Something we so often forget as moms! kudos to you.
I too have had 3 babies in 6 yrs. all 3 c-sections and the last one 18 months ago I almost died and was in the surgical icu. I have a fluffy stretched out stomach and bat wing arms. I go non stop, cooking, cleaning,and taking care of all the house/kid logistics. I have never had a flat stomach and only gained about 20 lbs with each pregnancy. I do yoga, Pilates, beachbody on demand and gym. I used the 21 day fix program and lost 8 lbs but still not in shape and still flabby. I exercise either at nap time at home or take my son to the gym which can be exhausting and a workout in itself. Us mom’s keep going and carry on.
What I love most about your comment Diedre is that you still make a commitment to yourself. I’ve never had a flat stomach -I don’t even think it’s genetically possible since I’ve never seen anyone in my family tree with one. What working out after having 3 kids has helped me the most with is learning to appreciate my body and what it does for me. I’ve slowly learned to love myself more and take care of myself (not something I used to do with the first two and now I know it’s more important than ever. Here is to our hard work Diedre!
I never realized that I didn’t put myself first. Isn’t that selfish thing to do when you have a family?
Putting yourself first when you have a family that relies on you is the least selfish thing you can do. Who is going to take care of them if you are not feeling well? What happens when you are too sick or unhappy, to enjoy life with them? For me, putting myself first means that I value myself enough to take care of my body, my mind, and my needs so that I can do all things and more with my family.
You are so inspiring!! I have one kid and have not been able to get the last 20 out of the 60 (YES! 60!!) lbs I gained off, so kudos to you!
You can do it Andrea! What has helped me the most is to create a plan where exercise is scheduled and sticking to it.