When it comes to diet and fitness, I’m a firm believer in lifestyle changes. I want to make lasting improvements in my health. I don’t count calories, nor do I track steps. Instead, I maintain a general awareness of what goes into my body and make sure to balance that out with exercise. My approach to losing the baby weight was much the same, however I did develop a few “rules” that made a big difference.
Today, marks part two in my discussion of “body after baby” issues. If you missed the first post, you can find it here. Now, let’s dive into a bit more detail about my post-baby routine and how it might help you too!
As a former collegiate cheerleader and competitive gymnast, I have developed a pretty solid understanding of what exercises work for my body type and what I need to do to improve my fitness quickly.
More importantly, I’ve learned to streamline those workouts into something simple I will actually stick with—no gym required. As with any new mom, time is a precious resource I don’t want to waste!
Regular physical activity (nearly every day) is important to me, but what that physical activity looks like will change day to day. Before Hudson, I was a daily runner. Now, I fit in my workouts wherever and whenever I can. Sometimes—on a good day—it’s a run outside. Usually, it’s a half hour of jumping jacks/running in place/crazy dancing in front of the TV. I probably look like an idiot to our neighbors, but consistency is key. An at-home plan allows me to workout while Hudson is sleeping. Although it is tempting to collapse on the couch at the end of a long day, I push myself to get this done before relaxing for the night.
We also do long stroller walks as a family. Usually, we aim for at least an hour of walking—if not more—and we try to incorporate challenging terrain. The more hills the better!
Hikes with Hudson in a baby carrier are another workout staple. We had a BabyBjorn, but recently starting using this one instead because it has great pockets for hiking essentials (like your cell phone, wallet and extra diapers) and our little guy is now too heavy for the Bjorn! This new carrier works for kiddos up to 40 lbs.
When I know I will be at home or running errands most of the day, you can usually find me in active wear or fitness fashion. I’ve found if I’m already dressed for a workout, it’s easier to seize those small windows of exercise opportunity and harder to find an excuse not to get moving. Here are a few of my go-to pieces, including my all-time favorite running shoes.
To avoid couch-potato behavior, I use TV-time for fitness. As mentioned above, I run in place, do squats, sit-ups, push-ups or other exercises while watching my favorite shows. I keep a set of light weights under the couch in the living room, so they are convenient to grab when I have the opportunity. This “rule” makes working out more fun, as I can look forward to a great show. It’s also double-tasking, something new parents need!
My TV workouts usually happen after Hudson goes to bed or during an afternoon map. However, if I can sneak in a workout earlier, while he is playing in his playpen, I am one happy mama! I get more time for lounging and HGTV.
The reps seem small, right? They are, but when done very slowly—with focus and good form—they get the job done. If I have time, I will do more, but this is my minimum for maintenance.
For the V-ups, I will do one set of 10, then hold my body in the hollow position for 10-20 seconds. Before coming out of the hollow position, I will resume my V-ups and do the second set of 10. This is a great exercise for core strength and control. We used to do this for conditioning in gymnastics and cheerleading.
In general, I eat a rather healthy diet. I honestly don’t like fried or greasy foods and I enjoy vegetables. My vice comes in the form of carbs. Bread, rice and pasta are not exactly diet foods, but I can’t live without them! In college, I tried to limit my intake, but felt deprived and craved carbs even more. Now, I enjoy them, but only in whole grain form. When I want some crusty bread or pasta, I’ll have it, but with the added nutritional value.
Our family eats a lot of plant-based meals. Instead of meat, we use a lot of chickpeas, other beans and quinoa , while incorporating as many vegetables as possible. We experiment with Mediterranean and Asian influences when cooking to keep things interesting. I’m lucky to have a husband who enjoys cooking! He is much more talented in the kitchen then I am.
Did you know eating the same thing most days can help you lose weight without realizing it? Yes, scientists have found evidence those who consume a relatively monotonous diet have an easier time staying slim. I’m not saying eat the same thing all the time, but having a pattern helps you keep better tabs on what you are actually consuming. Consequently, it’s easier to stay consistent with your weight management goals.
I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch nearly every day. Dinner is where I mix it up. Breakfast is typically low-fat cottage cheese or Greek yogurt with old fashioned oats mixed in and a bit of honey drizzled on top for sweetness. (Some people think this sounds disgusting, but try it! I’ve converted many non-believers!) Lunch is a salad of some sort.
Do you have any fitness or diet “rules” in your life?
I call the points above rules, but in reality, they are pretty general. That’s by design! Over the years, I have found that being too rigid in your approach to health can backfire and cause frustration. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below. I’m happy to help!