I’m often getting the question as to how I got back in shape after having a baby. First, let me tell you…my body is not fully back, and I’m not sure it ever will be in some ways. I’m still trying to work on things that certainly changed after Griffin was born. For instance, my butt? NON-EXISTENT. Like, where in the heck did it go? Oh wait, I know…I didn’t use it for 9 months!
Second, me saying that ^ has taken a long time to get used to. I was so hard on myself post-baby. After 1 week postpartum, I was taking 2-3 mile walks 1-2x a day…simply because I couldn’t stand to be cooped up in the house. I probably went a little too hard too fast, but like everyone, we all have our insecurities, and I was ready to attack them. The fact of the matter is though, you need to understand what you have done here. You’ve created a life for months, and then went through extreme trauma to get he/she out. That’s a BIG deal! Round of applause to YOU, my friend. You are stronger then you think, simply because you are a mommy 🙂
My pre-baby life was very structured in terms of my workouts, and eating habits. I strayed, of course, but was always able to jump back on board the next day. When Griffin entered our lives, I simply forgot to eat, and if I did, I was eating small bites, like a protein bar, a yogurt or a banana. This was definitely not enough, especially because I was exclusively breastfeeding. That in itself was burning 300-500 calories daily. I needed a plan, and something to stick to. Read on for a few key options that helped me along in my weightloss journey.
I for one am a creature of habit. I tend to stick to a handful of things to eat during my day. It’s easy, and I don’t have to reinvent the wheel each week. Below are my favorite go-to snacks, and tips to eating better (especially with that new mommy stress).
Nuts: I love having a homemade mix in the cupboard, always. It’s easy to grab a handful on-the-go. But hold up! By handful I mean 1/4 cup. BEWARE, nuts are packed with protein, but also high in fat, so make sure you aren’t eating the entire bowl in one sitting. It’s tempting, I know! I often stick with raw nuts with zero salt, or something that is low in sodium. This typically includes cashews, raisins, almonds, walnuts, pistachios and peanuts. Every once in a while, I treat myself by adding in a little chocolate…it gives me just the little fix I need 😉
RX Bars: These are my JAM! With only 4 ingredients, these are the best protein bar on the market. Don’t be fooled by other bars that have loads of sugar. Rest assured, RX Bar has no dairy, no soy, no gluten, no added sugar… NO B.S! Oh, and they taste awesome! My favorite is Chocolate Chip.
AND, they just started making RX Bars Kids. They are a mini version of the original, and come in 3 yummy flavors that will have your kiddos drooling. Even as early as 1! Griffin consumes these probably 1-2x or more a week. He’s a BIG fan!!
Below is a photo of what my refrigerator looks like inside most weeks. That is, when I get to the grocery store. No, I am not a complete health freak, I have my vices! Umm, AND a husband. First things first, you want him on board, but he may not be willing to go just as far as you, so if you don’t want a divorce, just give in and buy some things for him too.
Just don’t do this: Once Garin asked me to pick up French Onion Dip for him as I was making my way out to the store. When I got home, he asked where it was. I said “I looked, and they were all out!” (with a sly grin on my face) Haha, no, they were not out…I just didn’t think he should be eating that. And, well, if we had it in the house I’d have no control either. So there’s that. He never knew the truth…until now-oops!
Back to what’s in that fridge. Lots of salad, veggies, protein, (ground turkey and chicken is where it’s at) greek yogurt, fresh fruit, LA CROIX (I am addicted), eggs, etc. And yep, that Coors Light up there on the right-that’s mine. 🙂 I typically don’t buy foods that I will be tempted by.
Other tips/tricks: Changing things up here and there truly make a world of difference, without much of a taste diversion. For instance, when making brownies, simply switch out the oil with unsweetened applesauce, avocado or black beans. I know it sounds crazy, but they still have that same gooey gooey taste with less the fat. Or trade out that sour cream on your tacos for 0% greek yogurt. And as always…the Skinnytaste Cookbook is my ultimate meal planner.
See how I didn’t call it “working out?” I want you to get away from that word for a while. It’s a word that causes hate, anger, love and a million other mixed emotions all at the same time. And it’s the last thing on a new mom’s mind. So for now, we’re going to call it “staying active.” If joining a gym isn’t something you’re able to do, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself moving throughout the day-even with a baby!
Buy or borrow a fitness tracker: For starters, this was a good way of telling me how much I was moving in a day. I have the Fitbit Flex, but I hear the Fitbit Charge, Jawbone or the Apple Watch (if you wanna spend some cash) are also great options. My goal was, and still is 10K steps a day. I didn’t always make it, but those walks helped, and it just made me more conscious-which is always good!
At home moves: Throw on that baby carrier and get to work! Using baby as weight will get your heart rate going, and actually sometimes puts them to sleep-win, win! Start with just 10-20 of these movements (each side if noted) and move up as necessary.
• Wall Sits – this will get those quads burning! Start high, and see if you can get into a 90 degree angle against the wall…both with your hips, and your knees. It’s ok if you can’t at first…work your way up to it! Make sure your low back is touching the wall, and your legs are hip-width apart. Now see how long you can hang out there. Make it a challenge you work up to every day! Having baby to play with also helps to keep your mind off of what you’re doing.
• Lunges – this one is key for me! It helped to strengthen those butt muscles! Start by stepping forward with one leg to create a 90 degree angle with your knee…pause, then push off the leg back to starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg. Try not to use your arms to get you out of the lunge, but if you need to modify until you’re able…go for it! Remember, there was never enough modifications to make an exercise not work. As long as you’re working, you are GAINING!!!!! You can do these from one starting position, or a walking version down the hall.
• Standing Kick Backs – another butt sculptor! With legs together, back straight, shoulders back…start by pointing your toe and kicking your leg back. Squeeze your butt and hold for a second or two, and bring it back into a crunch towards your chest. Then do it again on the other side. Make sure you are not arching your back to get that leg up, but truly lifting with your flute muscles.
• Sit Ups – we all know what these bad boys are for. Start by laying on the ground and pulling your legs up and in to create a 90 degree angle for baby to lay on. Then, crunch up and down while holding onto their hands. Griffin loves this one!
At the park: It’s the perfect place to have some parallel play with your child! These internal training exercises are something you can do for years to come. Plus, it’s always nice to change up your routine with a different change of scenery! Don’t get the bystanders scare you. Haters gonna hate!
• Bench – “Dip it low, pick it up slow!” – ha! Who can name that song, circa 2004? Sit on the edge of the bench with hands by hips, palms and fingers curled over the rim. Walk your feet forward and scoot your butt off the seat. Bend elbows at a 90 degree angle (we like that number!) directly behind you to dip, then press up slowly. If you aren’t able to go as low the first time, work up to it. You’ll definitely feel those triceps the next day! Also, you can use the bench as a step-up. Drive your knee up to your chest and down again. Quick movements like these keep you breathing hard, and burning calories!
• Bleachers – jog up and down them for some good cardio!
• Monkey Bars – get ready to work your arms and core! Grasp a single bar (or something similar below) with both hands in an overhand grip, and hang with arms extended. Bring your feet off the ground and curl bent knees to chest. Hold for one count, then lower knees back down, keeping your feet off the ground.
• Swing – this is perfect for split squats. Stand with your back to the swing, about 1-2 ft away, and place your foot on top of the seat. Bend your right knee 90 degrees (make sure your knee doesn’t go over your ankle) and lower into a lunge. Stand up and switch legs.
*Please note, I am not a dietician or health professional. These are just tips and tricks that worked for me. Always advise your doctor first before starting anything new.
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