I'm willing to bet that there are thousands of women who look up post-pregnancy work outs or weight loss every day. This is most women's fear, right? To never get back to their pre-pregnancy body. I know it was mine.
I had taken up running in the last couple of years before I had E. When I discussed my plans for running after giving birth, I felt like most mothers had the attitude of “pshh, good luck with that.” I understand that motherhood is hard and that you have this whole other being that you need to put first most of the time, but maybe I'm selfish to think I need to put my health first a lot of the time too. I think our goal as parents is to not only be a good parent, but a great role model. I want my daughter to grow up riding her bike while I run or going hiking as a family. I want her to grow up helping me in a garden or walking around a farmer's market. I want her to spend more time outside than watching tv or playing video games. In order for me to ensure that she has this childhood that I'm dreaming for her, I have to evaluate how I spend my time.
I knew that if I didn't have a fitness goal for after pregnancy, it was very possible that I would fall into the trap of not losing the baby weight and turning to high calorie, low nutrition foods for energy. It turns into a vicious cycle and eventually ends with someone down the road wondering where things went wrong. I'm a huge fan of “The Biggest Loser” and most of the women that are not in their twenties on the show talk about how they always put everyone else first and it usually started with when they had kids. However, there are ways to stop this cycle.
It's always been said that a woman has to wait 6 weeks after giving birth to start any kind of exercising, possibly more if there was a c-section. Good news!!! That is old news. Read below what the Mayo Clinic says:
“In the past, health care providers often instructed women to wait at least six weeks after giving birth to begin exercising. The waiting game may be over, however. If you exercised during pregnancy and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, it's generally safe to begin exercising within days of delivery — or as soon as you feel ready. If you had a C-section, extensive vaginal repair or a complicated birth, talk to your health care provider about when to start an exercise program.” (Mayo Clinic website)
I had a c-section, but because of quick recovery time due to exercising during pregnancy, I was walking for exercise the same day of the birth. Now this wasn't fast paced walking and it was uncomfortable but not painful. I immediately started walking everyday for as long as I had time for or could tolerate. Within three weeks, I was able to jog for short amounts of time. Within three and a half months, I crossed the finish line of the Missoula Half Marathon with a new personal record, faster than I had run my previous half marathons. Did I mention that I was below my pre-pregnancy weight by 8 weeks PP? I definitely don't say this to brag. I say it so that people know that it is possible. I had a few friends tell me that every woman would hate me because of how fast my body rebounded. I think that this is ridiculous because it didn't happen naturally. I literally worked my butt off. I have a very well worn jogging stroller. I joined a running club. When I wanted to go to Target to shop, I walked the three miles with my baby girl to get there. I did home work out videos. I made up my own work outs. When E was sleeping, I was sweating. That's how I made it happen and that's how anyone can make it happen.
I'm fortunate enough that I can be a stay at home mom. I understand that a majority of women are not able to do this. You have a harder road than I do. You have to constantly fight with this thing called “time.” As with everything else in life, you have to make the time for things that are important to you. Go for a walk on your lunch break or do some squats or push ups when you have a few extra minutes. Ask for extra help from your honey around the house or with the baby. Don't be afraid to ask for help from people, especially for your health. Some research even shows that exercising and the feel-good hormones it produces can actually help fight again postpartum depression. Who doesn't want that?
Below are some links to some different post-natal workouts. To get to where I am now, I walked/ran (trained for a half marathon), lifted weights, and discovered bodyrock.tv. Consistency is key to achieving your desired fitness goals.
One last thing...Nutrition is so important!!! I could lift weights and run all day and not get the results I want in my body if I'm eating junk. I try to do an eating clean approach 80% of the time. It is not realistic to turn down ever going to a restaurant with friends or getting a sweet tooth fix, so this is the other 20% of the time. If you only have friends that eat out all the time, time to find some new friends who like to do more active things. :)