During your pregnancy, everything seems to be an unknown. You don’t know if you will be able to keep your lunch down, get out of bed tomorrow or stand the smell of your husband’s aftershave when he gets out of the shower. You’re not sure if you will be a good mother, if you know how to take care of a small, crying baby or (of course!) if you will ever fit into your favourite pair of skinny jeans again. The unknowns are endless and the questions are largely pointless, because most of the answers you get are so vague.
THE BODY CHANGING ROLLER-COASTER
You cannot predict what you will look like by the end of your pregnancy. The roller-coaster ride your body goes through is incredibly interesting. In fact, it can be mind-blowing. Some women start gaining weight the morning after they find out they are pregnant, while others don’t show any signs of pregnancy until they are 24 weeks in.
THERE ARE A FEW STAGES THAT YOU GO THROUGH DURING PREGNANCY
- There is nothing to show. But you know you are pregnant and you dutifully tell everyone.
- Your pants just stop fitting, for no apparent reason at all. It’s as if one night while you were sleeping, they called a meeting and resolved to shrink. You have no baby bump to show, just clothes that make you feel fat.
- You start looking chubby. This is an awful time because it usually coincides with the point at which you feel you’re back to your “normal” eating habits. As soon you start to think you’re making good choices, your mirror starts telling a different story.
- The small bump starts growing. This seems to take forever and at the same, it time happens so quickly. The expensive maternity pants you bought last week (the ones you thought would never be tight) cling to you like a new born monkey.
- You are now pregnant. Your toes become long lost friends you never see and putting your shoes on gets so difficult, you avoid taking them off just so you don’t have to face the ordeal again.
- You become used to your belly. This is a lovely place to be. You look in the mirror and your belly is so big, it makes everything else look small. You even think your buttocks are cute and tight again. Usually this is not really the case, but the ratio of belly to bum has changed so much and you feel good.
- You lose what you’ve become used to. Just as you start getting used to your cute bum, your lovely, round belly, the glow in your cheeks and even the heartburn, your little bundle of joy arrives and it all changes again. Her new life brings with it a whole new world of unknowns, surprises and expectations.
THE GOLDEN RULE
Your life will never be the same again but your body can be. However, getting your “old” body back has nothing to do with your baby. It is an adventure you embark on, on your own.
GET UP AND GET OUT! Every morning, you need to make the decision to do this. Women are strange creatures and we need motivation to look good. It has to be for something or someone (even if that’s the lady ringing up your groceries!). If you know you’re going to be home alone all day, you don’t usually bother with make-up. You revert to messy hair and yoga pants and as the day goes by, you start to feel ugly, fat, lonely and depressed.
WHERE TO START
Start by setting one non-baby related task a day. Losing weight and getting into shape is about more than just salads and gym and you need to get your mind into shape first. Taking care of a baby is no easy task. It’s hard to imagine that you can do this and accomplish another one of life’s biggest challenges – losing weight – at the same time. A lot of women “fail” at this point and they end up giving up on getting back into shape. They might feel they’ve already achieved enough by bringing a new life into this world.
If you think about it, tight abs and slim legs never made anyone a good mother. But a happy, truly content woman is a good mom. If your body plays a role in your happiness and the joy you reflect onto your kids, then you you need to get up, get out and work as hard as you can on it.
MOTIVATION IS KEY
What motivates you to get back into shape? You know yourself better than anyone else does and being a woman, chances are you know what works for you in terms of weight-loss. Healthy eating and physical activity is always a great place to start. You will definitely see results after being inactive for so long during your pregnancy, so you can use this as motivation. If you need to follow a diet to the letter to see results, do it. If you need to run for an hour a day, do it. If you need to frame your favourite pair of skinny jeans as a constant reminder of where you are going, do it!
Never give up! Do not under any circumstances give up on your goal. Even if it takes you more than a year of hard work, do not compromise on where you want to be. Do not convince yourself that being a “flabby mommy” is okay. It will only get harder to lose the weight as you get older.
IN THE END, THERE ARE TWO OPTIONS AND YOU NEED TO CHOOSE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
- Work as hard as you can for as long as it takes to lose ALL the baby weight. IT IS POSSIBLE. It is going to take time and perseverance, but the results will be more than satisfying.
- Get back to a healthy weight and be happy with the person you see in the mirror – even if you don’t have perfect abs.
Your physical appearance does not define you as a mother, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of yourself. Never neglect your health. Find a balance, eat right and make an effort to exercise when you can.