Nine Months In & Nine Months Out!
I do have to say that even though I loved being pregnant, these past nine months have been more enjoyable than the previous nine months while he was still inside :)
I can't imagine how life was before his sweet little face came along and brightened our lives with his pure love and joy for life.
In my last blog post I talked about infant nutrition, and in this one I'm gonna focus more on the nutrition/health/fitness journey of pregnancy and postpartum for myself in the past nine months.
Just like with anything, you build you need to have a foundation that you're starting from. It's the same concept with your body, and your health. It's especially important when you're growing a new little human. It's obviously never too late to start anything, but the more you already have stocked up in your health bank account, and fitness bank account the easier it will be when you are recovering from pregnancy and birth.
When I got pregnant with William I had been weightlifting for years, I had lost over 30 pounds and started to focus on fueling my body with high quality supplements, especially in the last 3-5 months before I got pregnant. This was a pretty solid foundation to start pregnancy on. I continued to work out the whole time I was pregnant while fueling my body with nutritious foods.
I was blessed with an amazing pregnancy, no complications, zero morning sickness, and I had plenty of energy to keep working in the gym and work the job I had at the time.
And then the birth was everything I had hoped it would be!! If you didn't catch William's birth story and would like to read it, click here.
So now on to talking about postpartum.
I want to stress the importance in taking the time to let yourself heal. Don't rush the process and even when you start to feel like your old self again, give it just a little more time.
The first week just rest and cuddle with your baby, and sleep as much as you can because that's when the body can heal itself most efficiently.
After 4-6 weeks I honestly felt super great and like I could go back to all the things, however what I couldn't see so clearly was all the work the inside of my body had just gone through and so I feel like I pushed myself back several times because I started doing too much too soon.
During pregnancy and birth your core and pelvic floor really go through a lot and it's very important to protect your core during this time. I started learning about and practicing proper core control and pelvic floor balance years before I got pregnant, and that hands down was one of the most beneficial things to help me have an easier recovery. If that's something that you would be interested in learning more about I can lead you to the resource that I have learned everything from.
In the first few weeks and months I focused on fueling my body with plenty of food and vitamins, and strengthening my core which you can literally start doing the day you have your baby.
Here are some good nutritious and healing food ideas:
- Bone broth based soups
- Smoothies with collagen
- Healthy fats like avocados, ghee, olive oil
- Nut butters
- Berries and greek yogurt
- Ginger (for gut health)
Sometimes in the first month my body just craved high calorie food and so for the first time in my life I fell in love with pb&j's and a glass of milk, and let me tell you I ate them like it was going out of style! Sometimes you just need comfort food or a calorie bomb, and it's important to listen to your body if it's telling you to eat more food instead of stressing about losing the baby weight, that time will come.
I had always looked forward to the postpartum journey and so I was chomping at the bit to start working out and getting back in shape. I started doing body weight and resistance band workouts around 5 weeks postpartum.
We were living in a hotel at the time out of town for work and to keep from going crazy in those four walls I'd crank up a podcast and just do whatever workout I could do. I remember I couldn't even do a 1/2 of a girl pushup the first time I tried, and a few body weight squats got me winded. But I just kept beating my last best and each time I felt myself getting stronger and stronger!! Honestly the only thing standing between you and the body you want is if you are or are not willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone to get the results you wish to have.
Fast forward to 5 months PP and I had lost a good amount of weight but was also hovering on a plateau so I decided to do a challenge for myself of 21 days with no sugar, dairy, or coffee. I had a goal to get to my pre pregnancy weight and fit into some old jeans. By the end of the 21 days I had reached that goal and was actually under my pre pregnancy weight. I felt so much healthier after giving my system a little break from all the food. Because I'll be honest after I had William while I did eat healthy, I also wasn't strict with what I ate and things felt like they were starting to bog my system down.
After William was born we were on the road traveling for work for nine months. I wasn't able to go to a gym and so that meant using the resources I had available to get my exercise in.
I went for walks pretty much everyday during that time, and I did body weight exercises while holding William who was quite the cute little dumbbell that increased in weight as I got stronger ;)
Walking is one of the best ways with a new baby to get your body moving and burn some calories. I got stronger, built stamina, and lost all my weight simply by walking.
Once winter came and we were gonna be home for several months I was finally able to start going back to the gym for the first time in over 9 months. Let me just say it felt so good to be pumping iron again!!
Now that I'm back in the gym my goal is to continue to lean out a little and retain my muscle. I do still have to modify some workouts because my hips aren't quite as stable yet, and that is due to the hormones in my body from nursing, and that is totally normal.
I was afraid I had lost a lot of hard earned muscle during my pregnancy, but I'm very pleased at how quickly I've been bouncing back to the strength I once had in the gym. And that ties back to what I said earlier about the foundation you start with. Once you build up to a certain point (whatever place that is for you) for me it was my muscle gains, then it's so much easier for your body to bounce back to that spot and start building from there.
While I would consider my PP journey to have been very good, I had my moments. Moments of feeling weak and like my body would never be the same. Frustration because I just wanted to be wearing my favorite clothes already, and I didn't want to feel like I took a few steps backwards every time if I picked up something heavy and forgot to properly engage and brace my core.
But I just kept pushing through and reminded myself that I had all the time in the world to get strong and back to my normal self, but my baby wouldn't be this tiny forever.
Whoever may read this, I hope you feel inspired and your takeaway is that you don't have to bust your butt in the gym to "get your body back". While I absolutely love working out in the gym, what matters more is that you move your body somehow and get your heart pumping.
That might be going for walks, or it might be doing body weight squats with your baby before bed to get them to giggle.
And don't underestimate all the little things you do and steps you take to get there, because that is what adds up and returns you with results that you should be proud of!!
But most of all remember that the gym will always be there, the walks can be taken anytime, but those tiny baby snuggles don't keep.