*This is a guest post
So you just had a baby and you’re hoping that now that the baby is here, the weight will just magically all go away and you can have your body back. Reality sinks in when you look down and still look 6 months pregnant. You are sleep deprived and an emotional wreck. You have forgotten what day it is, the last time you showered, ate, or even drank water.
Fast forward 6 months, maybe a year…or two years postpartum (or more)— things have now mellowed out, you finally found your footing and have gotten into a good groove as a mum— but you still find yourself unhappy with the way you look and feel. You still have that extra “baby weight” and can’t seem to get rid of it. You are not alone.
Finding time to fit in a workout and eat healthy is no easy task as a busy mum. Whether you are a full-time working mum, a stay at home mum or a part-time working mum— managing time to fit in everything that needs to be done is difficult. Therefore, we tend to put our own needs on the back burner and forget to take care of ourselves.
I am here to share with you eight tips to help you make yourself a priority, lose the baby weight, and get healthy while still maintaining that busy schedule
Set S.M.A.R.T goals
What are S.M.A.R.T goals you ask? They are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. How many times have you said you want to “get healthy” and “lose weight”? Although these are good goals, they aren’t “SMART”. A better goal would be “I will walk 5 days every week for 30 minutes each. “I will drink water instead of soda every day this week.” “I will bring my lunch to work instead of eating out 4 days this week.” “I will lose 10 lbs by Christmas”.
Knowing that you have a deadline motivates you to get started and having specific details on how you’ll do it makes it seem less intimidating. Write down 5 S.M.A.R.T goals now and be sure to write it down and have it somewhere where you can see it everyday.
Schedule in workouts
We schedule in Dr. appointments, meetings and playdates into our calendars so we remember to show up—so why don’t we schedule in times for our workouts? Exactly, this is a must! If you have time carved out in your busy schedule specifically for working out, you will be sure to make it happen. It is only 30- an hour of your day, you can and you will…I Promise you will feel better. Mentally and physically. You can check out my website sweatyasamother.com for some workout ideas!
Healthy snacks and hydration
Research has proven that people who have healthy snacks readily available are healthier and are more successful in their weight loss goals. In our house, we always have cut up veggies in the fridge with hummus, apples, bananas, oranges on the counter and Rx or Lara bars in the pantry. If healthy options are easily accessible, those are the things you will gravitate towards. Get rid of the unhealthy snack options. Out of sight, out of mind.
Turn daily tasks into workouts
This is one of my favourite because I use it as a challenge to turn everyday tasks into extra steps. Here are a few ideas—try and take the stairs whenever possible, park as far as you can when going to the store or at work—the extra walking will add up. If you take public transportation, try getting off before your stop and walk. When cleaning around the house, do 10 squats for every 10 steps you take and 5 push-ups when you switch tasks (for example if you switch from sweeping to dishes or laundry to trash). Get creative!
Involve the kiddos
On a good day, I can get my toddler to participate with me for part of the workout and then the other part she will stay busy doing a puzzle, reading a book or climbing on something. Since she was born, I have always included her in my workouts —This is a great habit to build because your kids will understand “mummy time” and then after your workout, it is their time. If you have a little one who just wants to be held, wear them in the baby carrier.
Yes, you won’t have the best workouts but you can do things like squats, lunges, and rows. Another way you can involve your kids is to make a game out of your workout to keep them occupied —can be as simple as counting your reps with you or the naming the colours of your workout bands. If you have older kiddos, you can kick around the soccer ball, play tag or even have a dance party! Even 10 minute increments make a difference over time.
This is one of those “easier said than done” types of advice, I know—but it is essential to reaching your goals. Stress can wreck havoc on your body— it messes with our hormones, causes cravings, binge eating, blood sugar level issues and excessive fat storage. Yes, motherhood is stressful, life is stressful but with some practice, you can learn how to “manage” your stress more effectively.
I have found that when I wake up, I take the kids on a walk and think about what we are grateful for and set an intention for the day— this has really helped with setting a more positive tone for the day. When you feel yourself start to tense up, take a deep breath and count to 10 before you react
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Sleep is just as important to your health as minimising your stress levels. Sleep gives your body time to rest and your mind time to relax. If you’re up too late, you are losing out on that time your body needs —you’re messing with your hormones, which can also contribute to blood sugar and cortisol imbalances— just like stress.
I am guilty of staying up mindlessly scrolling on social media or watching one too many episodes of my favourite show on Netflix. This week, try getting to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal and try and keep adding 30 minutes, until you can get a full 6-8 hours of sleep.
Love yourself because this journey is your own. You have the power within you to change because lets be honest — Mums are the toughest breed. Start by writing five positive words of affirmation and read them to yourself when you start to have any doubt that you can’t do it!
You owe it to yourself and your family to stay as healthy as you can. There is no better time than now to lose that baby weight and get healthy —so grab a pen and paper and start by writing down those S.M.A.R.T goals!
Taylor Merritt, CPT, CHES