Monday, February 8, 2016

Stuff on my Mind: Health and Fitness as a New Mom

I've been focused on eating right, maintaining a healthy weight, and being an athlete and fitness instructor for many years. But, I must say, being a new mom puts all of these things in a very different context! Here are a few thoughts.

Resting: I had never been to a hospital as a patient before (I know, lucky me!) and never had a major illness, broken bone, or anything else. So, I was actually surprised by the amount of recovery time I needed after having a baby. Not because anything out of the ordinary happened, but because I'm so used to being super active and pushing myself... ya know, when you're running a half marathon you have to push yourself beyond your comfort zone in those last few miles. It might be tough, you might have to ignore some aches and pains. But, this was different. I had to force myself to put my feet up, take it slow, let other people help. It was so hard! Not to mention, now I feel like I'm making up for lost time, which leads me to my next thought...

What are you supposed to make of things
like this? Does the world expect my
flubby belly to get flat again? How soon?

Getting back into shape: Ayiyiyi. I felt great throughout pregnancy - kept jogging for the first six months and taught Zumba up until 7 months-ish. I took group ex classes up until a week before I was due, and was walking on the treadmill the day I went into labor.

After taking 2 or 3 weeks to recover after labor, I found working out tougher than I expected! I was trying to start slow (again, not my style but the thought of injuring myself scared me straight)... but I had no choice but to start slow because everything was harder than it used to be. I began walking slowly on the treadmill. At 4 1/2 weeks post partum, I ran my first mile - it was sloooow but felt like a big milestone.

Eating/weight loss: Despite staying active and eating mostly healthy food during pregnancy, I gained a whole lotta weight. I didn't have high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, or anything else to worry about. But, now I have a real project ahead of me, as I'd like to lose most if not all of what I gained. This is another place where it's hard to know how hard to push yourself... on one hand, people say not to rush it and that nursing will melt the extra weight off. On the other hand, it feels like that could be an excuse to eat whatever you want and maintain lousy habits. And, how long do you go like that until you decide it's time to reign it in?

Making a plan: I have to do what's right for me, which at the moment is tracking what I eat while allowing myself extra calories to ensure I can continue to nurse my baby. I'm trying to exercise three days a week, and I can't believe how challenging it is to make time for just that (very jealous of people in warmer climates... taking the baby for walks isn't an option in NY in February!). I don't have any strict goals or deadlines, because I don't need that kind of pressure. And, I'm going to do all of this while enjoying my little girl and putting her first.

To those of you who've had a baby, did you have a post partum plan for getting back to yourself? How'd it go?

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