Let’s be honest. The LAST thing you want to do after giving birth is worry about your health and getting back to your “old” body. But that’s the thing – You will never have your “old” body back and you should be proud of that.
My pregnancy was filled with mountains of dessert and a huge lack of self-confidence. Right at the beginning of my pregnancy I had told Jay that I wanted to workout throughout pregnancy and eat as healthy as possible. Here’s the issue – I hadn’t set up good habits for myself before becoming pregnant so suddenly starting to workout while also growing a baby was never going to be successful.
Fast forward to delivering Austin, I knew I wanted to make a change.
I should start by saying that every woman’s postpartum (or regular) health journey is different and every body is beautiful. We should be proud of who we are – stretch marks, cellulite, and all. There is no “quick fix” to a healthier lifestyle or weight loss – and if someone is telling you there is, it might be dangerous for your body.
My journey is just that – a journey. It wasn’t a quick fix, wasn’t a fast track to losing weight, and definitely wasn’t a quick change in mindset. It was and is a process to become the best version of myself.
Ways to Become a Healthier You
- Figure out your “why”. You can never achieve your goals if you don’t start with why you want to change. For me, I was uncomfortable in my skin and knew I wanted to feel healthy and fit. Also with a new son, there will be a day when I have to start chasing him around. What if I can’t keep up or I’m straight winded trying to catch him?
- Set a goal. My original goal was to lose my baby weight, which I’m proud to say I did in about 10 weeks postpartum. But even once I met that goal – I didn’t feel satisfied. I still felt uncomfortable with how I looked. I thought losing my baby weight would mean I would feel skinny and have a flat belly. Spoiler alert: I’ve lost more weight since then and my belly still isn’t flat. I think my problem here is that I set a goal that wasn’t what I truly wanted, or wasn’t necessarily achievable in the way I wanted. Now I have a new goal – to focus on non-scale fitness victories: hold my plank for longer each time, don’t give up during 45 seconds of mountain climbers, increase my weights every 2 weeks, etc. For me, these feel achievable and push me to be the strongest version of myself. Everyone is different and will have different goals, so be sure to pick something you can be devoted to.
- Change your mindset. As women, we need to stop worrying about what other people think of us. You are beautiful. Everything about you makes you you and that is worth celebrating. Right after giving birth I was SO worried about what other people would think about me and my body. Truth is – I bet everyone was too busy worrying the same thing about themselves. I am proud of my stretch marks, mommy pouch, cellulite, belly rolls, you name it, because I know it is evidence of a handsome little boy that I brought into this world. Whatever “flaw” you may see on your body – God put it there for a reason. We are made in His image and need to learn that hating ourselves is simply a waste of time. If you do have something you want to change – do it!! I never knew how strong I was until I tried.
- Start healthy eating habits. For me, this was the hardest part. I LOVE dessert and mashed potatoes. In an earlier post, 5 Steps To A More Joyful Maternity Leave, I talked a lot about different programs that helped me learn to make smart eating choices. This time around I chose to use Weight Watchers (now WW) for the first 3 months postpartum. This was huge in helping me learn how to make smart eating choices. You’d be amazed at how good you feel when you give your body the nutrients it needs and keep the unhealthy stuff to a minimum. You can find some of my favorite healthy recipes on my Pinterest. Tread lightly: You will also see lots of yummy, unhealthy dessert recipes for when you really want to indulge.
- Find a fitness program that works for you. Working out has improved both my physical and mental health, something that is so important for all women. I started the first 6 weeks postpartum with daily walks. This was a simple thing to do that got me and baby out of the house and my heart rate up. It made me feel a little normal and helped with the healing process as well. After I was cleared for normal activities from my doctor I was ready to try something a little more intense that would help me shed a few more pounds and combat some recurring anxiety. After a little searching and talking to some new moms on Instagram, I finally found a program perfect for me. It’s only 4 days a week, 40 minutes a day, and a mix of weight lifting and cardio. Y’all I have never felt more strong! There’s something so empowering about weight lifting and it is so fun to challenge myself each workout. Whatever your niche is – straight cardio, barre, HIIT, etc. – do it with a purpose. Your body will thank you and you will start to see changes if you stick to it. If you want to know more about the fitness program, you can go to my blog’s Instagram, here.
- Find an accountability partner. You will be so much more successful if you have people in your corner cheering you on. Jay and I do all of our workouts together. It makes working out so much more enjoyable to have him there each time. Whether it be your roommate, spouse, friend, or family member, have someone there with you each step of the way. If they can’t workout with you, make healthy meals together! You deserve to have a cheerleader every step of the way.
- Celebrate your successes! You are so strong, so beautiful, and so determined. Celebrate any success you have – avoiding sweets for a whole week, pushing yourself through that 3 minute cardio HIIT, fitting into some old clothes. Whatever your success may be, you should shout to the moon about it.