I don't believe in stressing out about weight gain during pregnancy. Or anywhere soon after delivering a baby for that matter. I eat well, exercise regularly, and keep hydrated but I don't feel guilty about having a big ole' bowl of ice cream sitting on top of my growing belly. It is a time to nurture your body, to retreat into yourself and enjoy the moment for what it is: growth. And after the baby is born, it is more of the same: taking care of your body so that you can take care of your new little one, getting in the right amount of calories so that your body can produce enough milk. I've always tried to keep a healthy outlook on the weight gain, the decreased endurance, the slowness that takes over my usual active self. I am growing a family and these physical changes really are worth it.
But then the times comes to start moving again. I can feel it from the top of my head to the tips of my toes: my body starts aching to become strong again. I have more energy thanks to the baby developing better sleep habits, I am able to leave him for short periods of time thanks to his feedings spacing out more and more. My soul is awakened as the post partum phase melts away: he is not an infant anymore and it is time to move into the next chapter. I have rested and nourished my healing body and now it is time to build it back up again.
My plan: good old fashioned clean eating and exercise. There's no cheat sheet for losing weight in my personal experience, only hard work and dedication. I am listening to my body and it is speaking loud and clear: MOVE!! Get up and go and do it often. Here's how I'm getting it done:
1. Fitbit: This handy little activity monitor keeps me motivated and accountable. It counts my steps each day and then, thanks to its wireless capability, uploads my daily activities to my computer where I am able to track everything. My online profile, which I'm also able to access on my iPhone, allows me to keep a daily food and exercise log. Keeping a food journal is key for me. It really keeps my eyes open to what I am really eating versus this ideal picture I have in my head of what I'm eating. The Fitbit has been a great source of motivation for me.
2. Run Liv Run: I'm running again. I'm embarrassed to even document how long it's been so I've ran but, trust me, it's been a while. I'm easing back into it with the use of the Couch to 5K app and keeping my runs to only 3 times a week. I'm cross training in the gym 1-2 times a week to encourage muscle strength and endurance.
3. Yoga: I'm still doing yoga 3-4 times per week but I have taken my practice up a notch, focusing more on strength and core muscle building. I am using Yogaglo.com and I can not rave about this website enough. There are so many different options for classes to take, intensity levels, class duration, etc. Shawn and I are even using this site for guided meditations after we put the kids to bed at night. My current season of life just does not permit me to go to class outside of the home but this website literally brings a multitude of classes to me.
4. Cleaning up: Though we eat very well in this house, we could always be eating better. Last month, we went through our kitchen and let go of some things that just weren't good for us, bringing in the healthier alternatives instead. I do not believe in deprivation, only moderation. By making slow and steady changes, we are setting ourselves up for long term success. We follow a couple of rules in our kitchen and they really work for us: eat seasonal, shop local, stick to the outside perimeter of the grocery store, prep the fruits and veggies for the week for quick access, plan ahead to avoid temptations, and treat yourself at least once a week. The cleaner I eat, the less my body craves high calorie/high fat foods. Hydration is key and I try to drink at least 80 oz of water per day. I don't believe in diets or quick fixes, only nutrient dense foods that will keep my body strong and healthy.
I am a work in progress, a beautiful mess of a woman who has grown and given birth and nourished three babies. I do not want to be skinny or perfect or any version of my old self, I simply want to be the best version of my current self. I want to be strong and flexible, I want to be able to run a 9 minute mile. I want to be able to do a hand stand away from the wall. I want to feel good in my clothes and comfortable in my own skin. I want to be able to look in the mirror and feel proud of myself, to know that I am doing good things for my body and therefore doing good things for my family. When I show myself love, when I take care of myself and focus on the positive, I am showing love to everyone around me. This journey is a beautiful one, no matter how hard or discouraging it sometimes feels, and I am humbled each and every day as I witness my body changing and accomplishing small goals. Cheers to good health, self love, and a stronger version of me!