I’ve been promising this post for a while now and after completing my 2nd 5K in two months, I decided it was about time to document how I lost the baby weight.
After having E back mid-January, losing the weight came easy to me at first… Throughout my pregnancy, I gained 40 pounds. I lost around 20 pounds within the first week. Having been diagnosed with pre-eclampsia one day before delivering baby E, I attribute most of the quick weight loss to a loss of water weight. I lost 10 additional pounds by the time I got to my 6 week checkup and had not been exercising yet at that point (because I was still being monitored for very high blood pressure due to the pre-eclampsia side effects), but still had 10 or so pounds to go until I got down to pre-pregnancy weight… I was really surprised about how much weight I lost right off the bat, but when the weight stopped coming off, I did get frustrated. Although looking back, it is great at how quickly I lost the weight, but that 10 pounds that I still had meant that I could not yet fit into pre-pregnancy jeans I had prided myself previously on not relying the scale, but somehow I felt myself back relying on it :/ Knowing you can’t fit into regular clothes didn’t really help my outlook on losing the weight, coupled with the fact that we were still experiencing chilly temps and my outdoor / physical time was limited.
One of my good friends brought my back to reality… It took 9 months to gain the baby weight, so don’t be surprised if it takes 9 months to lose it… Once I thought about it that way, I started to relax a little bit about the weight and realized that as long as I make healthy choices and stay active, it will happen. And it did. I’m happy to say that by the middle of May, I had lost the remaining 10 pounds.
It’s no surprise that the keys to my success were planning and preparation.
My main tools were the treadmill and the stroller… Using the stroller initially was not an option because it was still winter and we were experiencing some pretty cool temps. Once the weather got nice, I took advantage of the However, I did take full advantage of utilizing the treadmill. However, the prep work actually goes back to when I was three months pregnant. At the time, I did not feel comfortable running or spinning like I had previously (I know doctors say it is ok but I was very paranoid!), so instead I just lifted free weights and walked on an incline instead. Going to the gym to do this got old real fast so I decided that it made more sense to purchase a treadmill so that I could workout at my convenience after the baby came… Let’s face it, trying to get to the gym a few times a week was going to be quite difficult with taking care of a newborn and I knew I wasn’t going to want to leave her to run to the gym… Plus knowing I was going back to work eventually, I knew that getting to the gym would be pretty impossible with trying to fit in one on one time with her and juggling a household and a job (not to mention this blog, which I have severely left on the back burner!)…
So, I transformed our rarely-used office, which coincidentally is right next to E’s bedroom, into my own workout room. We set up a tv, dvd player, and my treadmill in the part of the office that we didn’t use. I used the top shelf of our office desk to hold my workout dvd collection as well, but it typically winds up on the floor
This has been a true lifesaver and I feel even healthier and more relaxed now about working out than I ever have before. Previously, I was always rushing to the gym or back from the gym and thinking about everything that had to get done when I was done my workout. Now, I am much more relaxed about having my own gym in my own house free to use whenever I had free time. It has been awesome
My own personal benefits of having your own in-home gym:
- Built-in Entertainment ~ my own tv (at my old gym, they had preset stations on tv and you could not change them or view them from afar!
- Convenience ~ Ability to work out whenever you want and it’s always there (sometimes I run during her naps or after E goes to bed at night)
- Baby-friendly ~ I can bring E in the room with me and put her in her swing or pack n play while I run
- Multi-task ~ dinner can be cooking away in the oven, laundry can be running, E can be napping, and I can get in a nice workout
There are also some drawbacks to having an in-home gym, don’t get me wrong. I usually miss the gym after reading blogs that mention taking group fitness classes or hearing friends talk about classes they go to at my old gym, but when I think about the feasibility of actually getting there to take a class, I am glad I have my little gym
Disadvantages of an in-home gym:
- I miss spin (eventually I’d like to get a spin bike or trainer so I can do my own spinning workouts at home)
- Lack of group fitness classes
- Variety must be self-imposed ~ at the gym, variety was built-in based on a class schedule of what was offered
- Distractions – doorbell, phone, etc (I pretty much try to ignore all distractions unless it involves E)
For me, having a routine has also been important to ensuring successful workouts. To date I have tried a variety of different schedules. All have worked thus far, but there have been ups and downs trying to figure out what works best. First I worked out when I got home from picking E up from my parents’ house after work. It worked out well to the most part because she often takes a little cat nap from 5:15-5:45. However, that only allows me a small amount of time to workout, then I had to shower quickly, and get dinner going before Hubby got home. It was way too rushed and didn’t seem to be working. So then, I decided I would workout after E went to bed at 7:30pm. This worked out much better because everything was done in the house and I could relax for the rest of the night. The only problem was I was either wound up after working out and couldn’t wind down to go to sleep or I’d be exhausted and just crash early and not get to spend any time with Hubby. Last week I tried yet another schedule, which involved me getting up at 5:15 instead of 6 and getting my workout in first thing in the morning. So far, this has been the best schedule for me. Granted the only downside is less sleep, but I’ll take that considering my nights are much more relaxed and I can go to bed a little bit earlier anyway!
Variety is important, so I’ve been trying to make sure I have a pretty diverse routine each day (however, if I’m truly tired, a rest day goes in in place of one of the Cross Training days):
- Three days a week – Run (never on back to back days)
- Three days a week – Cross Training (Plan ranges from week to week but lately I’ve been trying to incorporate kickboxing dvds, abs work, weight lifting, walks with Emily in her stroller, deep stretching, etc.)
- One day a week ~ rest day or light yoga
And here are a few simple ways I’ve found to get/stay motivated:
- Register for a few 5Ks – knowing you have a commitment to run in a race always motivates me to stick to my workout plan (I have a personal goal to run 6 5Ks in 6 months (May thru October and have registered for the August thru October races already)
Knowing you’ll be in great shape to lug that baby carrier around with ease!
- Long-term health & greater overall energy – don’t think I have to stress the importance of this to anyone – kids or not
- Think about exercising as your “me” time!
- Schedule workouts around favorite tv shows or motivating music – sometimes when I have no motivation, I choose to go for a run around the time that a favorite tv show is on – this never fails.
- Invest in new equipment to keep your interest up – investment can be inexpensive by purchasing a used workout dvd or a new piece of equipment. Next on my list is to purchase a Bell Motivator or a spinning bike so I can get back on the bike – one thing I deeply miss about not going to the gym!
Thru the pregnancy and post-partum experience, I have learned to truly appreciate my body for all of the wonderful things that it can do (giving birth, running, exceeding goals, and just existing!). I have felt less focused on the scale and more focused on my overall well-being and how I feel inside or outside. Now my main motivation for staying active is knowing that I’ll hopefully be able to keep up with baby E as she learns to crawl and walk and run and play! I truly hope that sharing my tips and experiences has helped you if you are or will be going thru a similar experience!