|As wonderful as pregnancy is... how do I reverse the damage?!|
After the initial joy/shock of finding we were pregnant with Dexter, all those first-time-mom fears began to creep in. Will my boobs totally sag? Will I get cankles? Will I ever get my abs back? (Least you think I'm entirely vain, yes I was also anxious about being a good parent, etc. but for the purposes of this story, hang in there with me. ^_~) The worries in my mind must have eventually overflowed because I found myself confessing some of these thoughts to my boss in the hotel room we shared during a business trip. She proceeded to comfort me by lifting up her shirt and show me these huge, 1-cm wide stretch marks from giving birth to her 10 lb. son. Yeah, great way to calm a 8-week pregnant woman. O_O
|It's got fruit in it so it's gotta be healthy, right?|
Scared stiff by visions of my torso looking like crinkled foil, I was careful not to go overboard with the ice cream and I diligently practiced squats, pelvis tilts, and transverse ab vacuum exercises while brushing my teeth. By the end of the pregnancy, I had gained a respectable 30 lbs. and promptly dropped 20 lbs. within 1 month just from giving birth (obviously) and breastfeeding (big calorie burn).
About 3 months after Dexter's birth, I lost 5 more lbs. from simple portion control, and therefore was within +5 lbs. of my original pre-pregnancy weight. I started adding light exercise by going on 15-30 minute walks about 2x a week around the neighborhood with baby and dog, even in the snowy winter, and got down to my pre-pregnancy weight by the time Dexter was 6 months old. (Man, those last few pounds are always the hardest to shed.)
|I think my makeshift baby ski mask makes him look like a ninja...|
However, even though I was at my goal weight, I felt like my abs and arms were still completely flabby and un-toned. (You would think all that baby lifting would count for something.) I could never get the motivation or time to workout at home, much less at a gym. Evenings after work and the kids are asleep are for cuddling up with your significant other on the couch, amirite? :P Then I saw an article on Pinterest called Sexy Toned Arms in 6 Weeks, and I thought to myself, "I can do these 4 simple exercises for only 6 weeks." But when to fit it in... how about when K makes me watch Deep Space 9? :) So yeah, for 1.5 months, I would watch Jadzia Dax and Commander Worf get it on (eww!) while working out my guns. And so that I wouldn't tire out my arms, I also added a basic ab workout to alternate every other day.
In summary, the keys to getting my pre-pregnancy weight back were:
- Eat a normal amount; no need to gorge yourself during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- Don't starve yourself either; eat if you're hungry. Keep fruit and other healthy foods around the house so that you can grab something quick if you need a snack to last till the next meal. Don't buy candy, chips, etc. because if it's not around the house, you can't eat it.
- Don't feel like you have to do a ton of exercises each time you workout. According to recent studies, exercising even 10-15 minutes every day is better than one 2-hour workout once a week. (I tend to work out right before I shower so it gives me a "deadline" to complete it each day.)
- Write down what you did on a wall calendar, so you have the satisfaction of visually tracking how far you've come (or how many days you've missed).
- To save time, I try to use the heaviest weights I can per exercise. Do each set of exercises 2 times, with about 8-20 reps per set. If you can do 15-20 reps for a set, it's probably time to increase the weight amount.
- Don't just do cardio or weight training; you need a healthy mix of both to shed fat and tone muscle.
|When I see women who run like this, I want to check to see if they're wearing magical shoes with wings. (source: Women's Health)|
How do you keep in shape? I feel like I have no time in the day and consider exercise to be waaay boring. :P