Body goals after having a baby
At some point after a new mum settles into her new role and routine with the baby, it’s common to put some of the focus back onto her own body, energy and fitness. Here are some recommendations if you’re thinking of working towards some body goals.
When most women have their baby, their priorities change, they lose interest in the things they used to do before – and suddenly, their whole lives take on a powerful new meaning – all focused on being a mother. Although it’s tiring, it is also a blissful and magical time getting to know your new baby. As a mother, you’ll never feel like your old self again – in a good way! However, there comes a time for many women when they want to work towards regaining their own body shape.
If you are planning to work towards body goals after becoming a mother, there are some golden rules to keep in mind: ✔ Do not put too much pressure on yourself to lose weight – it takes time ✔ Do not embark on any fad or restrictive diets that cut out any of the food groups ✔ Eat clean
Here are our tips to help you work towards your pre-pregnancy body … or even better!
LET YOUR BODY RECOVER FROM BIRTH
After giving birth, your body is in an adjustment stage, so it is very important to let this ‘repair’ mode happen and not hurry into a diet and fitness regime. Give your body enough time to recuperate and restore its normal processes. Understand that getting your body back into shape will take time, so as your body heals, remember that patience, good health habits and loving yourself will go a long way.
MOVEMENT IS IMPORTANT
New mothers will find that their body will not be ready for its pre-pregnancy levels of exercise for at least 6 weeks after giving birth (and even longer if they had a Cesarean birth). Once your doctor tells you that your body is ready to start gently exercising, start by taking short walks. Gradually work your way up to 20-30 minutes of walking, between 4-6 times a week. After your 6-week check-up, talk to your doctor about increasing the intensity.
The body is one of the most sophisticated examples of natural engineering in the world! Case in point, mothers who breastfeed burn approximately 800 extra calories a day, making it a natural way to lose the extra weight she puts on during pregnancy. At the same time, as a breastfeeding mother, your body needs around 500 extra calories every day. In order to pass on the best nutrients to your baby, your calories should come from a variety of nutritious meals.
To help both your baby’s healthy development and your own body goals, avoid foods that just provide calories without any nourishing benefits, such as fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, chips, sweets, etc. After you’ve stopped or reduced your breastfeeding, your body’s need for the extra calories will also tail off. This is a good time to adjust how you plan your meals and make sure you have a regular exercise routine to avoid gaining unwanted weight.
GET PLENTY OF REST
Lack of sleep can feel torturous for new mothers. Not only will it sap your energy and increase cravings, but it will upset your metabolism and make it very difficult to lose that extra pregnancy weight. Don’t feel guilty about trying to sneak in a nap when your baby is sleeping. And in those early weeks do not sacrifice sleep in order to fit in a workout … your body needs the recovery more than a workout at that point.
SET SOME EATING RULES FOR YOURSELF
When you were pregnant you may have felt like you could eat anything and get away with it. Unfortunately, this way of thinking won’t cut it once the baby is born. It’s time to establish some rules when it comes to your nutritional needs to help improve your metabolism and do away with the cravings.
✔ Focus on smaller, balanced meals spread out throughout the day ✔ Breakfast is your most important meal ✔ Be sure to incorporate good sources of protein to keep your hunger at bay ✔ Do include plenty of protein and fibre in your diet to help keep you full ✔ Include healthy fats such as salmon, nuts and avocados ✔ Keep plenty of chopped fresh fruit and vegetables handy as snacks
GET BACK TO A REGULAR EXERCISE ROUTINE
If you were exercising during your pregnancy, it will make getting back into a routine easier. If not, it doesn’t matter, as you can start a regular routine by simply putting one foot in front of the other and starting a walking habit! Getting back to exercise is a gradual process, but there are a few things that you can focus on after your doctor tells you you are ready.
✔ Bridge and plank exercise will help strengthen the abdominal and core areas ✔ Yoga or pilates will help your strength and flexibility ✔ Activities like swimming, cycling, and treadmill workouts will do a good job of getting your heart rate up ✔ Cardio and weights exercises should gradually be added to your routine later
New mums feel good when they have energy and strength, so be sure to incorporate strength training exercises that target your entire body. And keep in mind that strength training will go a long way in making your metabolism more efficient and helping you lose unwanted body fat.
Remember to be patient and embrace the challenge of getting your body back. It will take time to lose any weight you have gained, but resolve to stick to the guidelines above and you will succeed in your goals!