This is a topic that I googled endlessly during my pregnancy and then postpartum. It seems that every woman’s journey is so different, and I love that no matter what yours happens to be, there’s at least one person out there in the great big internet world that can empathize with you. I love reading different bits of advice and tips for every stage of motherhood, from pregnancy to delivery to newborn to infant (currently), and beyond.
Regardless of whether we like to admit it or not, I think every girl wants to know what to expect when it comes to your body after baby. How long will it take to feel normal again? What does it look like to take health and exercise seriously, but also give yourself grace and patience? Is it okay to live off of just coffee? (Unrelated –> I’m finding there’s a direct correlation between number of hours of sleep I get and how much cream goes into my coffee. Anyone else?)
I have a tendency to make everything way harder than it needs to be and try to control everything (I tell Trevor its one of my many adorable quirks), so I’m still asking myself these questions. What if I gave myself time and space to recover, instead of trying to rush the whole health process postpartum? I remember at one of my first follow-up appointments with my midwife, she noticed that I was putting too much pressure on myself concerning how I felt hormonally, my weight, energy, etc. She said, “You need to give yourself at least six months to even begin to feel normal again.”
At the time, that seemed incomprehensible. Looking back, she was completely right. To me, six months is modest.
Regardless, there did come a point where I felt energized enough to begin exercising with a healthy and balanced mindset. Working out really helped with some PPD that I was experiencing. It gave me a clearer head and helped to move the clouds and brain-fog. Even at 7 months postpartum, PPD can still rear its head, and exercise really does make a huge difference. Also, Jonathan is crazy active now and having a bit of extra energy doesn’t hurt!
I wanted to share a couple of the workouts that are constants for me because I love reading about things that have worked for other new moms. I think that your body-type probably has a lot to do with what workout-combo works for you, and I’ve found that a combination of circuit training and ballet/pilates works best for me. I’m devoted to Ballet Beautiful by Mary Helen Bowers because her workouts are set to classical music and are so calming, but the routine itself is incredibly difficult. She makes it seem effortless somehow, but you can hardly walk the next day. She has a classic total body workout that lasts about an hour, which is great, but her Body Blast workouts are pretty awesome because there’s four 15-minute sessions that are all really difficult. I love these because I can choose the focus for the day. Sometimes, two of the leg workouts is enough for me. Other times, I’ll just do the arms and then some other kind of workout as well. The exercises really lengthen and tone your muscles without making them bulky. They’re pretty fantastic!
The other workout that I’m addicted to is Jillian Michael’s Banish Fat Boost Metabolism. It’s almost an hour long, and it is insane. It’s a series of seven circuits, repeated twice. There are about five exercises in each circuit, so you’re doing about 70 exercises (math skills for days over here). I’m not sure how many reps in each individual exercise, but regardless, it’s an intense workout. There are no weights involved, so it just uses your body weight for resistance. It includes kickboxing, plyometrics, calisthenics, core work, and other cardio/resistance work. I normally wear my Polar watch while exercising, and with this workout, I burn about 450 calories, and then a couple hours later, it’s jumped to over 1,200 calories. This gives me room to eat more dessert…and also I just love it because my energy skyrockets afterwards. It covers so many different types of exercises in just one session.
I know that it is so different for each woman in terms of how your body responds postpartum, but for me, this workout combo along with eating healthy and staying hydrated has helped me lose about 45 pounds since having Jonathan. I don’t workout everyday…still just a few times a week currently. I typically do it after Jonathan goes to bed because during the day, he’s bound to wake up from a nap right in the middle of a circuit. 🙂
Actually, in the spirit of full disclosure, I haven’t worked out in over a week due to coming down with a cold and Jonathan getting sick, as well. Baby gets sick, mama gets sick! Never underestimate the power of an infant who avoids sleep like the plague, both day and night. I’m talking standing in the crib defiantly screaming/crying (I know it’s fake because I can see in the baby monitor every time he takes a break and casually looks around) with legs locked until he physically has to lay down…and then he falls asleep immediately. This whole process normally lasts less than 15 minutes. He’s discovered the monitor and watches it move around, so I think he’s getting the hint that someone is watching his crib-show. He’s just so darn cute though!
Here he is practicing standing:
Anyways, I’ve been a little bit tired lately. Any downtime I’ve had has been spent on the couch blowing my nose and wallowing in my own tiredness. Therefore, over the weekend, long walks will be my exercise, and I’ll focus more on my sustenance not coming from solely chocolate and coffee. (Sidenote – If you’re looking for incredible coffee, we buy Cafe Britt Costa Rican Dark Roast. It is so good. Also, it’s my name which makes me feel special because I’m 5.)
Speaking of nutrition, here’s what has worked pretty well for me other than eating chocolate. My diet is pretty much the same most days, with little variances here and there. Typically, breakfast is a big protein smoothie made with berries, almond milk, banana, peanut butter, oats, and whey . It’s calorie-laden enough to give me energy for hours. It satisfies my sweet tooth (for a short time) just from the fruit sugar. Most lunches consist of some kind of veggie/egg/rice scramble or leftovers like chicken and potato. I’m trying to bring more variety to dinner while cutting out most red meat, so we’ve been having a lot of peanut chicken over brown rice, fish with roasted veggies, and different types of filling soup. I still have white wine fairly often and indulge in random chocolate cravings because moderation is key, and I need chocolate. As long as I stick to drinking a lot of water, getting some workouts in, and eating mostly healthy, everything is good.
Seriously though, who wants to live without wine and chocolate?
Anyways, If you have any tips or stories about your postpartum journey, I would LOVE to hear!
Attached below, for anyone who is interested, is the YouTube video of the Jillian Michael’s workout. Also included below is the link for the protein powder that I absolutely love, and even got my hubby hooked on. 🙂
Hope this post is helpful for some new momma’s!