Today I am happy to have Natalie from Team D! guest posting for me. Natalie is a beautiful, fit momma of 2 who has offered to share some of her tips on getting your body back after baby (ies) and of course I jumped at the offer! She is an RN with a bachelors in nursing and a minor in nutrition. If you are pregnant, just had a baby, or have ever had kids, you know how much it affects your body and Natalie has some great tips that anyone can implement to help make yourself healthier, happier, and loving yourself. Heck, these aren't a bad idea for ANYONE wanting to build a healthy lifestyle (minus the breastfeeding, duh) I know I'll be coming back to this after my little one arrives this summer. I already know I need to work on #4! I sure do have a problem getting dressed some days...
5 tips for getting back in shape after pregnancy
This isn't the post where the mom who gave birth to her 10th child a week ago is standing, perfectly well rested and toned, in a bikini holding a sign saying, "What's your excuse?", and this also isn't the post where we post pictures of our flabby, stretched-marked tummies, bespeaking the beauties of change because our bodies made precious human being souls (it's so true...it is magical!). This is hopefully just a gentle in-between, for normal moms like me who are swept off their feet by the magic of baby-making, but who are still reading fitness and health blogs, because, you know, they're into that kind of thing. It's a post for moms like me who have had a few pregnancies (3 to be exact, one was an 11 week miscarriage), a lot of weight gained (60 pounds to be exact, with my first pregnancy...less with the others), a couple babies (G is almost 3, L is 8 months), and not a lot of time to be at the gym, or money to hire a personal trainer or nutritionist. But it's for moms like me who also like to be fit, healthy, and, I'll say it...hot? Not in the crazy, Hollywood, culture-driven sense of the word, but in the "I function better when I feel better" sense of the word.
We all come from various backgrounds, circumstances, genetics, life-long habits and issues, and varying metabolism, so everyone's journey and struggle with this is going to be different...some harder, some easier...but here are some hopefully helpful and down-to-earth tips that I have learned and implemented as I worked to get back in shape after each pregnancy, and worked to maintain a healthy (but not overboard or obsessive) lifestyle while managing and prioritizing all that goes into the crazy and exhausting (yet joyful!) life with little ones.
1. Work out consistently, for 20-30 minutes a day, for 5 days a week, at home. For a former athlete like me, this means that my view of a "good workout" had to change. No longer could my definition be always a 5 mile run, an hour long spin class at the gym, or 2 hours of high school soccer as a center mid, playing the entire game. If that was my view, I quickly learned that workouts would never happen. Instead, I have learned that quality is better than quantity. I try to stay consistent in doing at least 20 minutes of something 5-6 days a week. For me, especially in the Winter when the days are short and it's tough to get outside (who really wants to run in Colorado in January with two little ones? Not me, sorry), my two go-tos are our basement elliptical (best purchase ever! Plus, I can actually sometimes slip in a show or magazine that I have been wanting to catch up on and it doubles as "me time") and 20 minute workout DVD's. Shape magazine has a few great ones. My other favorite is to google "Pop Sugar fitness 10 minute workouts you tube" and find loads of ten minute workouts (of all kinds) by celeb trainers. They are always changing so I don't get bored, and if I do two, I can call it a pretty quick and effective workout.
2. Incorporate activity into your every day. Meet friends for walks instead of coffee. Meet up with your cousin and try out a new Zumba class before dinner if you have a free girls night. Go on family bike rides. Have post-dinner family walks and dance parties. Go to a shopping center and put the kids in the stroller and walk between stores instead of drive...it's really easier than buckling and unbuckling them out of their car seats anyways. Slip in a few sit ups or push ups while your kid is going down the slide at the park (a little dorky, but I've done it!). Slipping in little ways to stay active really does make a difference.
3. Always have healthy food on hand. For you and the kids! I don't know about you, but if we are out a little later than we meant to be and are tired and hungry and maybe a wee bit cranky, a swing through Taco Bell for a 5-layer burrito is honestly my go-to if I have no other easy options. That is why I learned early on to always have healthy snacks with me...always. Nuts, craisins, protein bars, apples, and string cheese are a few of our favorites. And a water bottle, too, of course. Also, I always make sure our house is stocked with healthy food so we have good choices during the day- cut up veggies in the fridge, and simple, healthy things for lunches. I also meal plan for dinners each week to avoid last minute pizza orderings after busy days...crockpot meals, especially, are my go-to for getting healthy, home-cooked meals on the table for my family each evening.
4. Get yourself ready...and not just in sweats...every day. ...well, at least most days. I am by no means the stereotypical Texas type and have definitely been seen gallivanting in town in sweats more times than I would like to admit, but I have really seen a correlation with my health habits based on how I am feeling. Sometimes the simple act of getting up, getting a workout in first thing before other things can cramp it out, getting showered, and getting dressed in something beyond sweats always seems to set a good tone for the day.
5. Breastfeed. Beyond the obvious benefits for your baby and your wallet, a great benefit is the amount of calories burned. Our bodies burn almost 20 calories to make just an ounce of breast milk. If your baby eats 19-30 ounces a day, that's anywhere between 380-600 calories burned. Not to mention it can help eliminate the post-pregnancy pooch, since hormones released during breastfeeding help shrink your uterus back to pre-pregnancy size. Plus, for a girl like me who likes to eat, those extra required 500 calories a day (while still losing weight!) are a pretty nice perk!
Thanks again Natalie! Your photos are beautiful and tips are so helpful!
what about you?
How do you incorporate physical activity into your every day?
What is the best post-baby body advice you've ever heard?
It's great to see you! I'm Alyssa and I blog about all the things I've found "essential" in my life as a fit mama and football coach's wife. You'll find all kinds of fun stuff here like workouts, oily info, football stories and more!
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I am not a licensed medical professional. All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program.
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