Yesterday, I put a call out on Facebook asking my friends and family to offer suggestions or requests on things they would like me to blog about – and the first response I got was from my dear friend “M”. “M” is a new Mama to a beautiful baby girl who is turning 1 in February. “M” wants to get back into a fitness routine, but like so many Mama’s she is finding it hard to balance fitness and family. As a Mama myself, I relate quite a bit to “M”’s situation, and thought I would share what worked for me.
1. Set realistic goals – The covers of magazines are plastered with photos of celebs who seemingly lost all of their baby weight in um…3.2 seconds. And while that might work for them, for the other 99.99% of the population, that is just not realistic. Before you begin ANY type of fitness plan, set a few goals. Three years ago, when I gave birth to Joycie, I started with the goal of just being able to walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes. Then I slowly increased my walking time by a few minutes over the course of a month. At my 6 weeks, postpartum visit, I was given the clear to resume running, and I eased into it – setting a goal of 1 run per week, and building up over the next few months. I honestly did not factor a weight goal into the equation until 6 months after birth – just because I was too busy trying to juggle work, a new baby, and life to worry about the number on a scale. But if you do want to set a weight loss goal, aim for 1 to 2 pounds per month.
2. Develop a plan – Now, that you have your goals in mind, sit down and write out a plan to achieve those goals. Dig out your calendar, your planner, or your phone – figure out what time of the day you could squeeze in a workout, then WRITE IT DOWN. Treat your workouts like you would a meeting for work or your child’s doctor’s appointment. You wouldn’t flake out on those, so don’t flake out on yourself.
3. Include your baby in your workouts – When Joycie was an infant, I was blessed with a mother, a mother-in-law, and a hubby who were all willing to watch her for an hour in the afternoons, but that might not be an option for you. So look for ways to include your child in your workouts – invest in a jogging stroller and use it to take the baby on walks or runs around the neighborhood, dance with your toddler in the living room, jump on the trampoline or play chase with your older children. There are also Mommy and Me workout DVD’s available which helps to instill a love of physical activity into baby at a young age.
4. Break it up – Moms are busy folks – and sometimes no matter how much we plan, we can’t find a solid 30 minute time slot in our day for exercise. But I bet you could find 3 10-min blocks of time. There are a plethora of workout DVD’s on the market that have quick 10 minute workouts. On extremely busy days, I will pop one of these in while before taking my morning shower, while I am waiting on dinner to cook, or right before bed.
5. Sneak in exercise – Living a fit and healthy lifestyle goes behind just working out at the gym. You should look for ways to incorporate more MOVEMENT into all aspects of your day. For example, on the next grocery store trip, park as far away from the entrance as possible. Those extra steps add up over time.
6. Enlist a friend for support – Do you have a fellow mom who trying to develop her own healthy lifestyle? Perhaps you could plan workouts together (I run with a group 3 times a week and it is wonderful) or you could swap out childcare, so that you can get in your own workout. At the very least, the friend will be there to encourage you along the way.
So M, if you are reading – I hope this list helps. And any of you others feel free to offer your own suggestions in the comments!