Getting Back in Shape After Having a Baby!
My baby Timothy Grayson is now almost 7 weeks old! I can’t believe how fast he’s growing and how quickly the time flies. Some days can be challenging; but as my mom says, “the days may be long but the years are so short”. I’ve started to amp up my yoga practice a bit more; and I’ve found working with therabands are a great way to tone up after giving birth.
Here are some more ways to get in shape after having a baby:
Go for walks—Walks are so easy, because babies love to be in their stroller’s and outside. Every day you can go for an hour long walk and get some fresh air and great exercise. You will also tone your arms by pushing the stroller. You can concentrate on keeping your abdominals engaged (imagine pulling your belly button to your spine) as you walk and push the stroller. Try and increase your pace every day or find hills to walk up and down to engage your buttocks and use more energy.
*Tone with Therabands—Therabands are very effective for new moms, because they are low impact and are easy to use. You can fit in a quick arm toning routine while the baby naps. Some of my favorite moves are seated low rows and high rows to combat rounded shoulders from breast (and bottle) feeding and carrying the baby. Therabands are great stretching tools as well.
Seated Rows—sit tall legs straight out in front of you, wrap the band around your feet. Hold the band in both hands palms facing each other and pull your elbows straight back to your sides. Imagine squeezing a grapefruit between your shoulder blades. Repeat 15-20 reps.
*Do a Downward Dog—Yoga is such a wonderful way to reconnect to your body after giving birth. Downward dog is a simple pose that hits every muscle and stretches the entire body. You can do one any time—after playing with your little one down on the floor, right out of bed, right before bed, while your husband holds your baby, when you need a quick flow of blood to the brain. You can even put your little one underneath you and do some mommy and me yoga!
*Breast-Feed—Breast-feeding burns approximately 500 calories a day. I feel like the pounds pretty much came off in the first couple of weeks from breast-feeding alone. Breast-feeding also helps the uterus contract. Some new mother’s find it challenging to breast-feed; and I completely understand not everyone can. For women who can’t breast feed, I recommend reducing their caloric intake by about 300-500 calories a day to safely lose 1-2 lbs. a week. Drink plenty of fluids and replace sugary drinks with water or unsweetened tea.
*Eat Small Nutrient Dense Meals Often—For women who are breast-feeding, it’s important not to cut calories. Nursing mother’s need to eat enough to keep their milk supply going and nourish themselves and their babies. Healthy moms create healthy children so it’s important to eat nutritious, high quality proteins (organic chicken, grass fed beef, fish, legumes, tofu), dairy (milk, cheese, greek yogurts), high fiber carbohydrates (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pastas and breads), and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
To keep your metabolism revved and your blood sugar steady (if you are breast-feeding or not), I recommend eating 5 to 6 small well-rounded meals a day—organic peanut butter on toast with a banana and a glass of milk (almond and soy work for women who don’t eat dairy products), or greek yogurt with walnuts, high fiber cereal and blueberries for breakfast. Lunch can be a turkey sandwich on whole wheat or a pita with hummus and veggies with an apple, or a big salad with protein and a whole grain roll or cup of soup on the side. Dinners should include plenty of vegetables, a lean protein and complex carbohydrate. Have 2 to 3 snacks one in between breakfast and lunch and one between lunch and dinner and one in the evening. For nursing moms each meal can be around 400-500 calories for those who are cutting calories, each meal should be roughly 300-400.
*Meditate—Meditation is wonderful for new moms since sleep is such a problem. Lack of sleep can often make us hungrier and crankier. Meditation is like taking a deep nap; but you don’t wake up groggy. Everyone has told me to sleep when the baby sleeps; but for me personally it’s not very doable. I would prefer to get things done when he’s asleep. I find if I sit for 10-15 minutes of meditation first, I have more concentration and energy and my body and mind are refreshed. Find a comfortable seat and watch your breath, it’s as easy as that!
Remember to listen to your body and take it easy. You’ve been through quite a lot; and you should always cherish yourself and congratulate your body for everything it’s done. Getting back in to shape is about being able to have energy and stamina to be the best mom you can be for your newborn. Don’t beat yourself up about getting back in to your skinny jeans, instead focus on being healthy and happy.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!