If you’ve had a baby, you know the physical (and let’s be honest, mental!) toll it takes on your body.
You don’t fit into any of your old clothes.
Your hormones are raging.
You’d cut your right arm off just to sleep for two more hours!
Trust me—I’ve been there. I had four babies (four C-sections) within six years.
After my fourth baby, I was 50 pounds overweight. I know, first hand, the struggles that new moms face. I was uncomfortable, sleep deprived, and depressed.
But how was I supposed to make time for health and fitness when I couldn’t find the time to take a SHOWER?
HERE’S HOW TO GET FIT AFTER HAVING KIDS
1. Cut yourself a break.
I start with mindset because it’s the most important. We’re so, darn, hard on ourselves after having a baby. We compare ourselves to celebrities who fit into their size 4 jeans while walking out of the hospital.
Guess what? Celebrities have nannies, chefs, personal trainers, housekeepers—you name it. They’re not up at night (all night!) for feedings every two hours. They can afford to hire a babysitter and personal trainer to come into their home, so they can workout for two hours a day.
It took nine months to gain the baby weight. Give yourself at least nine months to take it off.
Savor this time with your precious newborn, because within the blink of an eye—they’re BIG!
2. Schedule your workout into your day.
I mean it—get out a calendar and schedule it in!
When you have kids, the day gets aways from you no matter what. You can’t wake up in the morning and think you’re going to get your workout in “somewhere” because it won’t happen. Life takes over.
an unexpected trip to the doctor for one of the kids
an extra long phone conversation with your mom
a 2 hour search for your dog who got out of the fence
Plan your workout during the day when you won’t have interruptions.
For me (and for most people) that’s first thing in the morning (before the kids get up.) Morning workouts seem daunting to most people, but don’t worry, you get used to them after two weeks—I promise!
If you have a newborn, I recommend scheduling a time to workout where your spouse/partner can watch the baby. Let him know that working out is important to you, because it’s a stress reliever. (This also gives him precious one on one time with newbie.)
3. Designate one day per week for food prep
Every Sunday I go grocery shopping. Then I cut up raw vegetables, make vegetable soup or chili, prepare a low-fat chickpea or sweet potato hummus, and throw together two salad dressings to use throughout the week.
This way you always have healthy food on hand to snack on or heat up in a pinch. (Say goodbye to hasty fast-food runs!)
4. Simplify your meals
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Simplify your meals on weekdays when you’re running to and from your childrens’ activities.
For example—sauté some mushrooms and onions and add it to quinoa (which only takes 20 minutes) cooked in vegetable broth. Throw some raw broccoli on the side and serve with the hummus you made on Sunday and—DONE. This takes the same amount of time as throwing in a couple of frozen pizzas.
Save the gourmet meals for the weekends when you have more time.
5. Exercise outside one day per week.
This one may seem strange to you, but it’s so important.
As moms, we get caught up in “house arrest.” There’s always laundry to be done—dishes to be washed—furniture to be dusted…that sometimes we don’t STOP what we’re doing and get outside.
Soaking up the sun and getting fresh air, increases mood and decreases stress.
Since exercise is a natural de-stressor, I encourage all of my clients to take their fitness routine outside one day per week.
You can even incorporate your kids (in fact, I encourage it!) It’s important for them to see you working out and living a healthy lifestyle. Be that healthy role model for them— plus, THEY get to burn off some energy too!
For example—every Saturday I take my four girls (ages 7 and under) to the high school track. There we do a circuit of sprints, high-knee jogging, walking lunges, burpees and pushups. Then we run up and down the bleacher steps 2 times and repeat the circuit until we’ve been exercising for 30-45 minutes. (Bonus: I use my 1 ½ year old as a weight!)
As you can see, it’s a win/win for everybody. YOU get your workout done (while getting some fresh air too), you’re a healthy role model for your kids, THEY get some much needed fitness in, and you’re calm and happy when done. See? WIN-WIN!
Do you have any healthy-living strategies with kids? I’d love to hear about them. Let me know in the comments below.
Mariah Dolan is a physical therapist specializing in sports medicine and rehab, a certified personal trainer, a group fitness instructor, and a female fat-loss expert. She’s also the author of the book the Busy Mom’s Guide to Lasting Health & Weight Loss: A Step-by-Step Guide to Losing Weight While Feeding Your Family Whole Foods They’ll Actually Eat.
Her own struggles with an eating disorder, weight loss, and motherhood sparked her life’s purpose: to help busy moms incorporate healthy habits into their everyday lifestyle. Mariah has been training clients for the past 14 years and is dedicated to helping women everywhere see how radiant and energetic their lives can be. She believes in taking small actionable steps towards healthy goals in order to create lasting results. For more information, please visit mariahdolan.com.