I have carried and given birth to three beautiful babies. The first time around I was completely unprepared for the way my body would change. I expected to ride home from the hospital in my pre-pregancy jeans without a stretch mark or bit of loose skin. The first time I saw myself in that hospital bathroom my body felt and looked so foreign to me. I was swept up in that newborn smell and the magic of it all but I wanted so badly to feel like me again. I hadn’t taken very good care of myself throughout my pregnancy and had gain +45 lbs. On my small 5’3 frame that’s quite a bit of weight. I came straight home from my six-week postpartum appointment and rushed out the door to run the stairs at the university. This left me feeling more defeated than ever. I had been very active throughout my life and now my body didn’t want to move with ease the way it had before. Day after day and month after month I got myself moving. It started as gentle walks around the neighborhood and as my body grew stronger I pushed harder. I’m currently in the middle of this same journey for the third time and this is what I’ve learned:
#1 BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Being a woman ain’t easy. Whether we’ve carried a child or a load of stress our body’s will change. Weight comes so much easier than it goes but it will go if you stay consistent. Be consistent in diet, exercise, and most importantly being kind and positive towards yourself. Watch the language in your head, a healthy body transformation begins on the inside. I love using affirmations like, “I love my beautiful body” and “My body is growing stronger and healthier each day.”
#2 GET MOVING
It doesn’t take intense working out to begin losing weight. With each of my postpartum weight loss journey’s the first 40lbs came off from gentle movement. I was walking and biking around the neighborhood or hiking with my kids 3-4 times a week. The important thing is to get moving and get your heart rate up. This can take so many different forms. A beginner yoga class or walking your dog – do what feels best for you. As your body becomes stronger you can move that intensity level up gradually.
#3 EAT MORE
Eat more of the foods that will fuel your body in a healthy way. Focus on adding in vegetables or fruits to every meal or snack. Filling your tummy with nutrient dense foods FIRST will make less room for the junk food. There’s no need to take on an extreme diet. Simply make a conscious effort to add in more whole foods, creating healthy eating habits. This mentality can be applied to all aspects of your life. More time reading, more time with family, more self-care, etc. I find this positive change so much easier to implement into my life than the negativity of all the things I “can’t” or “shouldn’t” eat/do.
#4 DRINK UP
Drinking more water is the secret to health, weight loss, and beautiful skin. Such a simple thing to do to kick all aspects of your health into high gear. Water allows your body to function greater, bloat less and lose weight faster. Aim for half your body weight in ounces of water each day. (Example: if you weigh 140 lbs you’ll drink 70 oz of water daily.)
#5 DON’T COMPARE
This goes along with #1. Your body is different from anyone else’s.. even your sister’s! Because it’s different, weight loss will happen differently for you. It may be fast or slow. You may shed weight from your tummy first while someone else loses in the booty first. I lose my weight slow and steady. It takes me at least a year to lose the baby weight. This is a consistent and healthy loss of around 1-2 lbs pound a week. You may lose ten pounds in the first month then taper off and need to work harder over the following months. The point is: YOUR BODY IS UNIQUE SO YOUR WEIGHT LOSS WILL BE TOO!
Healthy habits are the path to a healthy life. It’s easy to get tunnel vision and focus in only on the number on the scale or a pant size. Keeping a longterm perspective will allow for a lifestyle shift that will stick. You’re in this for the long haul. Caring for yourself is the best decision you will ever make!