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New Year, New You – Exercising for the New Mom

Woman pushing her toddler while running in nature with friendsYes, it’s true that you’re not the only one who may have put on a few pounds over the holidays. And, yes, many people forego their exercise routines for winter vacations, a little extra eggnog and maybe a holiday party or two. Yet when life gets back to its normal, post-Holiday routine, you have one major obstacle facing you and your fitness goal – yes, that sweet, precious little bundle of joy who takes up all your time and energy! So, what’s a fatigued and maybe somewhat flabby new mom to do? First, don’t hit the fruit cake (it’s already in doorstop mode as it is). Secondly, don’t despair – we have some new year suggestions and goals that are reasonable and reachable! Getting to your new, post-baby body can be a process but one that is well worth the journey. After all, what better reason to get and stay healthy than for that beautiful family you’ve created? Here are our Top 5 tips to get you to a New You in the new year!

  1. Take a long drink of reality: You are a new mom. You’re barely keeping nights and days separate, so when Under Armour Annie or Lululemon Lauren tell you how they wake up at 4:30am and do an hour’s workout each morning, your eyes may very well glaze over – assuming you were actually awake during the whole conversation. Let’s get real — there are probably days you’re just going back to sleep after a 4am feeding or an early morning soothing. Rather than unrealistically setting the alarm for 4:15am, why not take a look at your life – yes, in its current state – and determine when and where you have a moment you can spare? Is it ½ of naptime on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Is it a few evenings a week when your husband is home? Is it with another mom across the street? The reality is that a full workout, 4-5 times a week might be a stretch. If so, set what you can do and get a little selfish about that time. Know that this is a basis on which you can build, so if your “you time” is rather condensed, know that life does and will open up a little further down the line. Right now, just do what you can with what you have!
  2. Find more moms: So yes — other moms can be judgmental, they can be critical, they can make tons of suggestions that you don’t need. But, they can also be your biggest cheerleader, your BFF, your confidante when you really don’t feel like you know what you’re doing. These days, there are plenty of places and parks where you can find stroller exercise classes, Baby Bootcamps, Mall-Walkers; you name it, and there are moms are out there exercising! So get involved with another mom you know whether it’s a scheduled class or a regular walk through the neighborhood. In life coaching, the term is “accountability partner,” someone else holding you to your goal – and you’re less likely to break the commitment when another person’s involved. And of course, anything is more fun – even exercise – with a friend.
  3. Go for health, not haute couture: Yes, Kim Kardashian did it. Yes, Pink did it. Jessica Alba and Nicole Richie, too. The list is long and very distinguished. Celebrity moms who had their little superstar babies, went into hiding for a few weeks and emerged more svelte than ever! hat is the Hollywood world of pop culture and the rest of us live in the real world – a place where we don’t have trainers, dieticians, aestheticians and nannies (all those wonderful nannies) to help us rediscover our pre-pregnancy body. As you start a post-partum exercise plan, you want to keep nutrition and healthiness at the forefront. Starving yourself, fad diets or only eating kale is not going to keep you, your body and your baby going strong. Eating on a regular basis is key so make sure you have easy to grab, healthy snacks around – apples, bananas, yogurt, protein bars, cheese, nuts, boiled eggs or raw veggies are always good options. Hydration is also important, especially if you’re breast-feeding. Small baby steps to get to a healthier you is what you want – after all, it took 9+ months for you to carry your baby; changing your body won’t happen in a week. And remember it’s not about reclaiming a dress size but feeling good about yourself.
  4. In or out: For some new moms, getting out to a gym is a great opportunity to leave the house and do something for yourself. For others, the stress of loading up and leaving is enough to make you want to hide under the covers. It’s all OK. If you are the type of mom who wants a gym, do you homework and find something close-by with good childcare. You want a child center staff well versed in handling babies, close to where you’ll be working out and of course, in a safe, secure setting – not just a waiting room where volunteers play “pass the baby.” Gyms can be great in that paying that monthly membership gets you out of the house – and your wallet can be a great accountability partner! A gym also gives you a set schedule based on hours of operation, childcare center and classes you may want to take. However, some of us are “innies.” That means we’d rather work out in the privacy of our own home when Baby’s asleep or our spouse is home. And that’s fine too! Look for some equipment that can easily fit in a garage, spare room or basement. Fitness doesn’t have to mean your own Peleton bike but can be something like P90X, a Wii Fit, DVDs, podcasts. Whether you buy an elliptical, make tracks around your neighborhood or jump rope in your garage, you can still set up a workout system not just close to home but in your home!
  5. Goals, goals, goals: Every self-help seminar, every coaching conference, every pep talk will say that you need to have a goal – it needs to be tangible, attainable and you need to say it out loud – even write it down. So what’s yours? To run a 5K with your spouse next year? To fit into your favorite pair of jeans? To run up the stairs without feeling like your uterus may fall out? Maybe it’s using a slimmer notch on your belt? Make sure it’s something that you can reach and when you do, celebrate it! Whatever your end goal is, be sure it ties in with you feeling good – not just looking good – as a Mom. You’ve got a lot more to live for, so you want to exercise and eat with your little one in mind.

As a girl growing up in the 80s, every mom I knew was on a diet, drank Tab and just “wanted to lose weight.” It was what you did. Today, we are much more knowledgeable about health, exercise, post-partum and thank goodness, about Tab! So as you embark on the New Year and a new exercise plan, do it smartly, with your best interest and that of your family, at heart.

Happy New Year – and to a Happy, Healthy You!