If I were to be completely honest with you, I would fill you in on a little secret. Pregnancy and me are NOT best friends.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve never been faced with nine months of morning sickness, puking, hemorrhoids or bed rest. No, I’d actually say I am a pretty healthy mama to be, all things considering. I just don’t really enjoy it. There’s the unexplainable exhaustion, all day long. The weird cravings that strike at random times during the day, the swollen ankles, constant peeing and back pain to name just a few of the lovely side effects. I could write a whole blog on my complaint department but that’s not really why I’m here.
What I am learning to appreciate with each new pregnancy is the humility it teaches me as a fitness instructor. Yes, I said it. Truly understanding what it feels like to start from scratch and begin from ground zero. I have been teaching fitness for almost 15 years now and while I can modify most everything for everyone, I tend to forget how intimidating and hard exercise can be, if you are completely new. And so I start all over again, after baby #3.
It’s kind of like riding a bike. The first few weeks are painful, mentally exhausting and to be honest, intentionally challenging to stick with as a caregiver. You definitely need to have some WHY-power fueling your motivation day after day! And the other driving factor for anyone post baby is to start figuring out when all this weight is going to come off, right? Things have shifted, things don’t work the same and you just don’t feel comfortable in your skin anymore. Here are a few lessons I am learning this month that I thought I might share with you…new mom or new to getting healthy:
- Be patient. It took nine PLUS months to put the weight on, so allow yourself some grace. You just created a human and it takes time to rebuild habits, routines and old muscles back into shape. Instead of focusing on the scale, focus on daily habits. Create a 30-day calendar and mark off all the days that you can stick with your water intake, a plank (or two), a 10-minute walk outdoors or eating a salad. These simple but powerful habits will build your confidence for the long haul! Once you hit that 30-day goal, celebrate your progress! (I might suggest doing something out of the house like a pedicure or massage, but online shopping works too!)
- Build your core from the inside out! I’m not talking crunches here but simply holding an isometric contraction in your gut, as if someone is going to punch you. Try this throughout the day….take a nice deep breath in and then as you exhale, try to pull your belly button towards your spine and “hollow” out your belly. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then release. Do this for 5 minutes in the morning and at night. Better yet, as you hold the contraction, practice your kegels at the same time (as if you have to go to the bathroom really bad and need to hold it in!) These pelvic floor muscles are critical to helping you get back in shape sooner than later! In fact, after six weeks of recovery, I would highly recommend trying out a Pilates class with us at Allegro Coaching, either in studio or in one of our online programs!
- Sneak in some meal prep during nap time. I always try to make it a game and see if I can prep at least one meal in 20 minutes or less. (That usually gives me another 20 minutes left to still shower or enjoy a cup of coffee!) Recently, I hosted a FREE 7-day clean eating week with other busy moms and shared my healthiest recipes that are vegetarian, easy and tasty! Not only will it help you feel accomplished, great nutrition is so important for more energy during the day, for you AND baby! Below is one of our staple meals during the week….Curried Cauliflower Heaven! Heck, even my older kids will eat this one so you know it’s a hit! (If you want to jump into my next 7-day clean eating week program, message me here and I’ll be sure you get ALL my favorite meal ideas!