One of the hardest things about being a new mom is that fact that I’m a little curvier than I want to be. My last trimester I think I gained maybe 20 pounds and weighed in at a whopping (and alarming) 207lbs the day I gave birth. Normally a size 8-10 athletic build, I am struggling with being a 12-14 right now. Its extremely disheartening. Everyone said nursing helps the weight come off but I felt like I gained weight while breastfeeding. So what’s an exhausted mom to do?
Of course the first step to getting on track is to focus on a healthy diet. I eat a lot of whole grains, fruits, veggies, drink a lot of water with lemon and sometimes cayenne. I even drink Apple Cider Vinegar- sometimes straight, sometimes mixed with lemon, cayenne and soda water. But I also suffer from a caffeine addiction as well as a sweet tooth. Cutting back on sugar has been so hard. I tried to limit my sugar intake to lactation cookies but trying to bake with a 5 month old is challenging. Finally, most nutritionists recommend that you don’t eat past 8pm. That’s challenging because I may not get a free moment to myself until then. The other challenge is staying on track- sometimes I just am so exhausted I don’t want to cook. This leads to bad decisions and then guilt. I’m sure I am not the only one who experiences this.
A friend introduced me to Blue Apron. Its a weekly mail order cooking company that sends you fresh and healthy ingredients for three meals- specifically portioned out for 2 people or a family. Some of the ingredients are unique- which makes them hard to find if you want to recreate the meals again. But the cooking instructions are clear and straightforward- accompanied by photos so that visual learners like me can see what things are supposed to look like at every step. For two people it usually costs $59.95 and you receive your deliveries on Thursday or Friday. The accompanying recipe cards have the calorie count and each recipe is usually below 1000 calories. Fantastic for those looking to stay below a 2000 calorie intake.
Next, I started to work out again. There are lots of women who go back to working out when they are 6 weeks postpartum but I was still in some pain in my lady parts and the thought of going running or doing crunches was just inconceivable. I met my husband playing soccer and was still running but ended up tearing my ACL and meniscus in a soccer game 6 months before our wedding. Rough. It took some serious rehab to get back on my feet in time to walk down the aisle. Fast forward a month and a half and I was pregnant. It was a full year before I could really start working out again.
When my son was 3 months I started playing soccer again and promptly sprained both knees (who knew that was a thing) but stuck with it until the knees got stronger and I had joined two more teams. Now I am playing three nights a week- sometimes two games in one day. Soccer is a great interval workout. Arena soccer is faster than full field outdoor, and playing co ed is a little riskier for injuries. You really sweat and you do a lot of running. I still feel like I want to add another couple days of workouts. So I’m starting slow. Three sets of 15 leg lifts and three sets of squats, using my 17lb son as a free weight. There’s a row of beach stairs in Cardiff by the Sea, each staircase is about 90-100 stairs and it’s on the beach. I would like to start adding that to my non-soccer workouts.
I don’t weigh myself because I’m less interested in a number and more interested in my clothes fitting me again. I won’t really feel like I am getting results until that happens. Unfortunately it takes time and until that time comes, I need to invest in some new wardrobe pieces. Sigh.
The next step in getting my groove back is usually a hair cut and new color. There’s a rule about not cutting your hair after a major life event (usually a breakup, lost job, etc) but a birth can apply here. There’s a lot of wisdom in that rule. It’s also one I break too often. I had just gotten my hair past my shoulders and my son was getting a little hair grabby so I decided to chop it. I almost always regret it. I have two different hair people. One to cut and one to color. I always love my color- I only dye it myself when going red. I’m a bit of a hair chameleon in that I’m always changing my color. And its not my stylist’s fault if I regret my hair cut. I just really wish I could grow my hair out past my shoulder blades. And then I get impatient and do something drastic.
Getting your groove back takes work. And it takes patience. Patience is hard when I’m looking in the mirror and seeing a tired, super curvy, frizzy haired reflection staring back at me. I just keep reminding myself it took 9 months to get myself here, it’ll take at least that long to get my body back. The trick is to stay positive, eat healthy, exercise whenever and however I can. Focus on the things I can do now like put on a little makeup, get my hair done, or at least get a shower in. What things worked for you?