Hate is a strong word and I really try to avoid it, but I’m going to be honest here: I HATE EXERCISING. I really, really don’t like it at all. My husband asked me the other day as I was whining about a workout: “…but don’t you feel all refreshed and energized after?” My reply? Nope. I don’t. After I exercise I feel exhausted, sweaty, icky and sore. Ironically, today I’m going to share with you my postpartum fitness tips for mamas like me who aren’t fitness buffs. Before you laugh and run away, please stay with me!
I’m the kind of girl that would much rather curl up with my tablet and read a good book than run through a field. I’m a computer geek, sit-on-my-bum crafter to the core. Maybe one day I’ll catch the fitness bug like I’ve seen happen to some acquaintances – you never know – but maybe I won’t and I’ll always be the way I am now. Here’s the thing, though: I completely realize the importance of striving for good health. I see the advantages of being fit and strong, and I want to BE that and I want to SHOW that to my daughters.
I have hypothryroidism, and that affects my metabolism among other things. I’ve also had kidney stones, back and leg pain and just generally poor health in during my three pregnancies. I’ve woken up several nights postpartum in extreme pain from stones, or weird digestive issues thinking that I was dying or at least had some sort of serious disease.
When I started focusing on healthy eating this past Fall (I cut out most white sugars and white flours) and regular exercise this January, I have seen DRAMATIC improvements to my health. I don’t have any more abdominal pain or back pain, and I feel stronger.
There’s no magic pill or secret trick that I’m using, it’s just plain ol’ healthy eating and exercise.
The switch that has flipped in my brain this year, however, is that switch that says “don’t give up”. I’m a perfectionist and an all-or-nothing type of person, so my natural tendency is to set my goals lofty and high. When I failed (which I always do when it comes to fitness), I would give up. This year, I’m not trying to exercise an hour a day 6 days a week first thing in the morning. Instead, I’m exercising 15 minutes a day (hard!) whenever I can fit it in. That’s something I can fit into my schedule and something that works with my personality. Instead of saying that I’ll never touch a cinnamon bun again in my life (yeah right – these are my favourite ones ever), I’m telling myself to avoid sugars & processed foods 80% of the time and indulge once or twice weekly.
Getting fit is 100% a mental battle for me. The biggest lie I told myself before was that if I couldn’t work out an hour a day or eat healthy 24/7, it wasn’t even worth trying. WRONG! 15 minutes of excercise a day is better than none. Nixing sugar and white flour 80% of my meals is better than trying for 100% and failing.
These are the habits that I can completely picture myself sustaining for my life time. If I can do better later on in life when I don’t have three kids aged 6 and under, then great! I hope I can. Right now, though, this is what works and I can see the results. I can feel the results.
So without further ado, here are my postpartum fitness tips from a girl who hates exercise. I hope you find them helpful!
- Set attainable goals. What can you sustain as a lifestyle with your diet and exercise? Right now, what is achievable for me is 15 minutes a day of hard exercise and cutting out sugars and white flour 80% of my week. Something is better than nothing. Don’t give up and don’t make it too hard!
- Keep Track. Whether it’s through MyFitnessPal or a chart on the fridge (I’m LOVING this one by Amazon Ashley – it’s so simple and great!), keep track of your workouts and eating habits. It really helps keep me in check to physically write/type things.
- Exercise fast and hard. I love the Bikini Body Mommy workouts. They are 15(ish) minutes long and REALLY get your heart rate up! I love that I can do them from my tablet as my girls are playing and all I need is my yoga mat and my hand weights.
- Find support and be support. I loved having the support of a Beach Body coach last year along with her Facebook groups. This year, I’m in another Facebook group with friends doing the Bikini Body Mommy workouts. It’s SO imperative to find friends to cheer you on and that you can help motivate too!
- Involve your family. Healthy eating is a lifestyle, and I’m loving testing out new meals and snacks for my family. My girls watch me exercise and even try it with me sometimes – it’s so cute! My hubby has been very encouraging, and I’m enjoying explaining the benefits of healthy food and exercise to my daughters when they have questions.
- Take photos. It’s hard to see the changes in your body when you stare at yourself in the mirror every day. The scale often won’t tell you what’s really happening either. Take a photo at the beginning of your fitness journey, and then take one every 3 months or so. You don’t have to show them to anyone if you don’t want to, but boy can they be motivating! I didn’t really think my body was changing on the outside until I saw how it looked last year versus this year:
I think it’s important to give ourselves some grace too. Seriously – birthing children is a BIG JOB, and our bodies need to rest. Don’t forget that fact after you’ve just had your sweet baby and you feel bloated and sore and exhausted. Give yourself time to heal, and appreciate what your body has been through. I was just as happy in the photo above on the left as I was on the right, but now I am feeling strong and healthier and my body is working so much better. This has taken me a year, but I’m the kind of girl who likes to take it slow and steady and I’m not going to stop.
I hope this encourages at least one other mama out there. I’m still a work in progress as we all are, and if you have a postpartum fitness story to share I’d love for you to comment below.
Thanks for sticking with me and hearing a bit of my personal story today! If you want, you can follow me on Instagram for more personal bits from my life.