Once you experience the magical process of growing and giving birth to your baby, you realize how powerful you really are. You can produce life, how awesome is that? Now you can use that new awareness as your rocket fuel to power up your body back into shape.
Unfortunately, sometimes people use this joyous time of your life to tell you that your body will never be the same again after pregnancy. That's not a particularly helpful insight, is it? It's also not true.
If you just gave birth, you're likely pretty amazed at what your body can do. You can use the positive momentum of having a baby to push your body in new ways that amaze you. Your pregnancy should be a joyous experience, so don't let your worries (or negative Nellies) interfere with this magical time.
Just have faith that you can get your body back and have a beautiful baby in your arms! Here's your 3-step game plan.
1. Make decisions that make you feel good about you.
Yes, your baby is too little to know whether you skipped a workout or made an impulsive decision to swing by the bakery, but you know. And you want to be the healthiest example to your baby that you can be. Plus, you love your baby so much you want to be around as long as possible. Quality of life and longevity are powerful motivators—but being a healthy example to your children can be a daily motivator. Start early.
Make decisions about exercise, food and sleep like someone is watching you—because soon someone will be. I say this from experience. My kids are now 21, 19 and 16, and they all value healthy eating and exercise. I tried to lead by example, and although the adolescent years get sticky (when they want to pretend that everything you say and do is stupid), my kids tell me they got their education and motivation for healthy living from me.
2. Sweat again.
When you're pregnant, the general rule about exercise is you can continue doing what you were doing the six months before you became pregnant ... with your doctor’s approval, of course. You may be advised to lower your intensity or stick to low-impact workouts to be on the safe side, but once you give birth to your baby, you can dial your intensity back up gradually. (Again: make sure you have approval from your doctor.)
Your nine-month hiatus from super sweaty, high-intensity workouts might actually make you miss them. You might miss the feeling of your strong body when you are in the height of pregnancy—complete with swollen ankles you can’t even see over your baby belly.
Use the feeling of having your body back to put everything you’ve got into your workouts. Sweat. Take it up a notch. Try something new and intense. Think about how you want your body to look while you are doing it! Smile, you are rocking your body!
3. Boost your energy level.
When you're bargaining in the middle of the night with your spouse over who is going to get up to soothe your crying baby, you'll suddenly remember how much you love your sleep. (Hopefully you will have the opportunity to sleep when your baby sleeps.) When you are understandably sleep-deprived, you will be motivated to exercise for the boost in energy it provides, the YOU time, and the getting–your-body-back feeling it gives you.
After nine months of experiencing the changes in your body, you'll love feeling super-charged once again. Energy is a precious gift when you're a new mom and you'll want to give that gift to yourself daily—no matter how challenging it can be to get it on your schedule!
Start believing your baby can motivate you to have your best, healthiest body yet, and your decisions will align with your new belief.
And remember: Be patient. It took me about 10 weeks to feel good about my body and about four to five months to feel like I got my body back. Try my tips, and you can double your blessings—a beautiful body and most importantly—a beautiful baby!