We hear a lot of talk in our culture about getting back into shape after baby. As a mother of two, I laugh ruefully at such talk, mumbling things like “Round and kinda bumpy is a shape.”
But it has recently come to my attention that my baby is, well, 2. As in years old. And that I haven’t taken an exercise class since the super gentle You-Just-Had-A-Baby-A-Second-Ago mom-baby yoga class so many years ago.
I remember chatting with a friend about a month before I was due with my son about my postpartum exercise routine. At that time, I was an avid morning gym goer — 6:30 am spin classes — things one can do before baby! I was under the great delusion that I would miss a couple of weeks and then be right back into my fitness regimen.
It takes time to get back into your bikini-body shape after having a little one, but the key to settling into a happy weight may be more about making time for pleasure than going on a deprivation diet. “If you aren’t living a joyful life—despite getting enough rest, watching what you eat, and exercising regularly—you won’t be able to reach or sustain your happy weight,” says Erin Cox, author of the new book, One Hot Mama, who struggled with her weight after having three kids.
When I was expecting, I didn’t think too much about my weight. In the first trimester, I was so nauseous that I lost weight from not eating enough on most days. When I started feeling better, I was thrilled to be gaining weight—to me it was a sign that my baby and I were healthy, so I never paid too much attention to the number on the scale at the doctor’s office. If my OB-GYN said my weight gain was fine, I took her word for it.
After being completely focused on your pregnancy for nine months, it can be sort of shocking to see just yourself when you look in the mirror after your baby is born. As you heal and get into the swing of new motherhood, you might start eyeing your postpartum body with suspicion and wonder if you’ll ever fit into your prepregnancy jeans again.
My babysitter, Sonya, loves junk food just as much as I do. Which is why I was surprised to see her walk in my door this afternoon clutching a tub of fruit salad for her lunch. I was busy making myself a plate of cheese-laden nachos, and as I assessed her much-healthier dietary choice, I have to admit, I felt a little betrayed. My jaw must have dropped, because she started making excuses immediately.
"I'm trying to lose my belly," she explained. "LL Cool J says you should shop on the edges of the grocery store, because all the processed junk is in the middle."
Looking for a fun, easy way to get the exercise you need? Try hiking—not only does it help build strength, but it also allows you to be with your baby and other new parents as well. You can carry your baby in a front carrier or an all-terrain stroller on tougher trails, and she can enjoy the spring breezes, movement and changes in light that come with being outdoors.
When Marietta Gilman’s daughter, now 6, was an infant, Gilman, a former backpacking and
Ask new moms which body part they’re most worried about getting back into shape after pregnancy and the answer is always the same: abs! We’re here to help. These exercises will work to strengthen and recondition your abdominals.
They’ve been adapted from Strollercize, a postnatal exercise program developed by Fit Pregnancy contributing editor Elizabeth Trindade, a personal trainer and mother of three.
At 10 A.M. sharp, the troops fall into formation: a dozen or so women with their little soldiers in strollers. The battalion marches through downtown Andover, Mass.
Blood starts pumping as the women attack “Heartbreak Hill.” Then they seize Main Street, where the barber greets the group with a wave. A police officer stops traffic to let them through to their final conquest: Central Park, where a regimen of stretching and weight-resistance training follows.