As someone who was in pretty decent shape before getting pregnant, I have been extremely impatient with myself when it comes to exercising, my weight, and most of all my shape. I mean, I popped in the P90x DVDs when my daughter was two weeks old. And then a couple weeks ago, I attempted a Sugar Detox (as you may have read.) I operate in extremes. That is why things like minimalism and Paleo appeal to me. But as a breastfeeding mama, I have to remember that--even though her 41 weeks of incubation are in the past--I still share my body with my baby. I need to keep her in mind when making changes to my diet or routine. By trial and error, here are some things I've learned so far:
- Be too hard on yourself. YOU JUST HAD A BABY! It took 9+ months to grow a human. Nobody expects you to lose all of the baby weight overnight. You shouldn't either.
- Make excuses. Although you should pace yourself, don't use your baby and lack of sleep and time to yourself as an excuse to neglect exercise or eat poorly.
- Make any extreme changes right away. You can't pretend like your pregnancy never happened. Give your body some time to adjust before jumping in. This is especially important if you are breastfeeding since any major changes in diet or activity can negatively affect your milk supply. (Kellymom.com has some great tips for lactating moms interested in dieting.) Most importantly, do not cut calories if you are breastfeeding. In fact, you should stay about 400-500 above your maintenance calorie intake. But, of course, that doesn't mean hitting up the drive thru on your way home from the post office.
- Maintain flexibility. You may not get to the gym at the same time every day. You may not get to go as often as you'd like. And if you can't go at all, there are other ways to stay active when your day doesn't go the way you planned. (I'll expand on this in my next post.)
- Drink enough (not an excess of) fluids. Water and other healthy beverages will help get rid of initial post-partum swelling as well as keep you hydrated since you will lose a lot of fluids in the first few days. This is especially important if you are breastfeeding since dehydration can decrease your supply, but a good tip for overall health nonetheless.
- Continue to eat healthy. (I will elaborate on this in my next post as well.) Don't give up on your body! You will not be soft and puffy forever, but you may have to work a little harder to get to where you want to be. Throwing on some sweats any chowing down on a half-gallon of Edy's is not the way to do it. But you're not stupid. You already knew that. ;)
- Be patient and stick with it. Even with hard work, it may still take 9-12 months to lose all of the baby weight. Not only do you deserve the happiness that comes with a healthy and active lifestyle, but now you have a child that deserve a mommy that can keep up and (most important of all) set a good example!