kidspot - mum shares very real advice about our desperation to lose baby weight
Post originally featured on KIDSPOT
Fitness blogger and former professional netballer, Kimmy Smith, has some pretty cool advice for new mums who hope their body will just “bounce back” after bub.
As a new mum, we can never be prepared for the changes that are about to happen to our bodies. Not just the physical changes, but the emotional changes too.
It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I am now. I have been a professional netball player for the NSW Swifts, a corporate lawyer, and have run a successful group fitness business. Building my life around helping others to become healthy and strong, I had all the tools for weight loss. So when I fell pregnant with my first born, I was certain that I was going to pop out the baby and just ‘bounce back’.
My body used to be fit and strong, and I continued to train throughout my whole pregnancy. I was certain that the weight would just vanish. Except it didn’t. This is a sentiment that so many other mums feel when we look at our new postpartum bodies in the mirror. We are desperate for a quick fix, to ‘bounce back’ and be in control of our bodies once again.
In the four months after I gave birth, I ignored every bit of advice I had ever been given while searching for the quick fix. Of course, nothing worked because I'd just had a baby and I didn’t have the motivation to stick to anything.
My own post-natal journey allowed me to realise that there had to be a more positive approach to weight loss. An approach that celebrates everything the body has done for us and focuses on embracing our postpartum bodies rather than trying to bounce back or look for a quick fix.
A more positive approach to post-natal weight loss
Step 1: Give your body the chance to recover
The more you can allow your body to rest and recover in those early post-natal weeks, the easier you will find it to return to a healthy weight. No matter how fit you were before you gave birth, your body needs time to heal. You will be in a much better position to build your strength and fitness quickly if you allow your body a chance to fully recover.
My tip is to create a timeline that sets out your return to post-natal fitness. Ideally you will give yourself at least six weeks to really focus on allowing your body time to recover. During this time you can take all the pressure off yourself to return to fitness, nourish your body and enjoy being in that baby bubble. Your timeline can be fluid, so really tune into your body and continue to give it what it needs to really thrive.
Step 2: Find a great post-natal exercise
A good post-natal program like the Fit Mummy Project will help to guide you back to exercise in a safe and positive way. It will show you exercises that are designed for your postpartum body and will help you to feel confident and empowered.
Fitness programs that have been created for new mums should incorporate short workouts that you can do with your baby. This means that you can make exercise an easy part of your day. It will establish good habits that will help you to not only feel strong and healthy, but will also be great for your emotional wellbeing.
Some of the best short workouts I found included a ‘Mum and Baby Workout’ as well as a ‘Pram Workout’
Step 3: Eat mindfully
Don’t worry about diets or trying to restrict yourself. The best advice I can give to new mums is to eat in a more mindful way. Punishing your body through deprivation or diets never lasts, and it almost always leads to binging. I promise that if you are holding extra weight, trying these three simple steps will make a huge difference.
- When you eat, don't do anything else – concentrate on digesting the food
- Eat slowly
- Stop eating when you are full
Step 4: Quit the negative self-talk cycle
Stop talking about your appearance to others. You are in control of how much your appearance dominates your thoughts. It takes practice to get out of the negative self-talk cycle. Each time you catch a negative thought, replace it with a more positive one. It doesn’t have to be extreme or over the top. You don't have to scream: "I love my body!" Start with something that feels true to you.
These are my top three affirmations for increasing your level of self-appreciation:
- I am proud of my body and the life I am creating
- I am happy with how I am right now
- I am enough just as I am
Try this for a day or two and notice how the negative thoughts start to fall away.
Step 5: Wardrobe revamp!
We all have our ‘comfy clothes’, whether they are the pants that need a belt or a floaty top. At three months post-natal my ‘loose’ clothes still didn’t fit. They were too tight around my hips, they stretched across my giant boobs and they clung to my belly. It made me feel like crap.
Caring about what you look like doesn’t make you vain or selfish. I am the first to admit that I still wanted to look good after I gave birth. Squeezing into clothes that didn’t fit me did not make me feel better.
Invest in a few wardrobe staples that make you feel and look good. My post-natal style is sporty-chic, including staples such as a good pair of black tights, Nike shoes and a denim shirt that I can wrap around my waist or wear to cover up any milk stains on my tops. I love wearing Hello Monday’s Essential Tights - the high waistband is awesome for supporting your belly and also helps to provide extra coverage when you are feeding.