10 tips to getting your pre-baby body back
It’s time. You can’t go around forever saying “I’m a bit overweight, but I’ve just had a baby…” You want to get back into your old jeans and there is only one way, eat less, do more. This is not a set of exercises that will make you lose weight – anyone who tells you they have the perfect exercise for losing weight off certain parts of your body is lying to you. What follows is some realistic advice from a mother of two.
- Forget it
You are never going to be exactly the same as you were before the twinkle in your partner’s eye became a bulge in your belly. We cannot go back in time 12 months (or more), you have carried an extra 10-20kgs around and you may never feel the same about skipping again. That doesn’t mean that you won’t lose the weight – you will, and some women even end up smaller, but you need to set realistic goals.
I am not a breastfeeding Nazi, (excuse the language but if you are reading this you have had a baby and you know exactly who I am talking about), but if you can breastfeed it’s great news. Some women can’t breastfeed, and everyone has their own feelings on the subject as well as advice from a myriad of sources, but from a trainer’s perspective – it burns heaps of calories – so I am all for it!
- Do your pelvic floor exercises
This has nothing to do with how many calories you are going to burn. I haven’t calculated, but pelvic floor exercises probably only burn marginally more calories than watching a movie, however a reliable pelvic floor is going to be your best training partner. A strong pelvic floor means you won’t be afraid of running to the toilet during a step aerobics class, or going for a super heavy squat.
- Give yourself a bit of time
It took nine months to put the weight on, it’s probably going to take that long to get off. I know you want to lose it all straight away and you feel flabby and that your life, as you knew it, has ended, but about 4 weeks after the birth of my first baby a wise woman (my mother) said to me ‘it will pass’… It did! Don’t wallow, get on with it, change will happen.
- Get a babysitter
There are mums and bubs classes out there and if you have to go down that road then do it, but having trained many new mums over the years I can tell you that they get far better results if they give the baby to someone else for half an hour. There’s less distraction so you can work harder and more consistently and whilst you can measure the cms you lose off your waistline, the mental benefits of a few moments to yourself are greater than you imagine.
- Weight Train
You don’t have as much time for exercise you used to and you need to get the most value from your workouts for your time spent. The increase in lean muscle mass you get from weight training not only means shapely arms and tight buttocks, but we burn more calories when we’re outside the gym. Muscles consume energy even when we are resting (not like fat which is just fat). So greater muscle mass = burning more energy and that’s what you want!
- Nourish your body
When you are sleep deprived and frazzled it’s hard to make something decent for yourself and you end up eating a lot of peanut butter toast. It fills you up, sure, but it’s not really a balanced meal…. You don’t need to be super mum and be able to make fantastic healthy meals as well as look after a baby. Get help. If you can afford it, pay someone or enlist the help of friends and family and stock your fridge with good stuff.
- Get some sleep
Ha! You’ve got a new baby how the hell is that going to happen? I’m afraid I can’t help…If I could train newborns to sleep through the night I would be a very rich lady. I can tell you that impaired glucose tolerance is a side effect of sleep deprivation. It makes you feel tired and hungry more often than you should, which makes you reach for more carbohydrate-dense, sweet foods. Sleep deprivation has also been shown to lower leptin (appetite-suppressing hormone produced in abundance at night) levels. You end up with an increased sense of hunger and, because of the increased glucose tolerance, are reaching for the wrong kind of foods. Your baby probably won’t sleep through the night for you – but try going to bed earlier and taking naps when you can.
- Don’t get pregnant again
As if you are going to get pregnant again when you feel about as sexy as a pair of flannel men’s pyjamas but, trust me, it happens! If you get pregnant again before you’ve lost the weight it will be even harder on round two so try and get back to your normal weight first.
- Don’t give up
Some days you are going to be so tired and emotional there is no way you’ll make it past the Bourke Street Bakery (insert the name of your local tempting eatery) without a chocolate croissant or a lamb and harissa sausage roll, but don’t lie down and die right there. Cross it off as a bad day and get started again the next day. People lose weight at all stages of life. It is possible. You can do it. I believe in you.
Lynsey has a 4 year old and a 6 year old and, with her partner Mac, heads up the small group training team at Hiscoes. If you are keen to get into some post-natal fitness but aren’t sure where to start, Hiscoes offers a post-natal Pilates class on Fridays at 10.30am