I spent over nine months at a time growing my babies as they made my body grow. As I watched and felt my belly, feet, and anxiety seem to take on minds of their own, I looked forward increasingly to the days of their births when I could get my body back. Clearly, my fellow mommies, we have learned that we do not reclaim our bodies that day. In fact, the struggle remains for months into the future. What our children leave us with when they make the transition from fetuses to citizens is a soft, squishy version of what we used to be.
Before children (In the era that I like to refer to as B.C.), fitness and losing weight was a different formula: Workout, burn more calories than you consume each day, and let metabolism work it’s magic. These still remain true, but what about all of the other factors that we have added to our lives that prevent the equation from being that simple? Post pregnancy is ridden with hurdles that we must jump to reach our weight loss goals, or even just to feel comfortable again in our own bodies:
There are a couple of common reasons that we eat more in “The Aftershock” (“The Aftershock”: Slang term describing an undefined period of time in a mother’s life beginning immediately after the birth of her child during which her mind and body are not her own and she must adjust every single way of life she knew previously. See also: “Zombie Mommy”, “Postpartum WTF” ):
- We got used to “eating for two” and are slow to kick the chocolate-ice-cream-before-bed habit
- We are breastfeeding and are fricking starving all of the time.
We are so tired from late nights and early mornings that even the thought of working out actually makes us simultaneously want to cry and punch a skinny person in the face.
SHIFT IN SCHEDULE
Like your body when you’re pregnant, your schedule when you’re a mom is not your own. The schedule of your time is allotted piece by piece to your duties for the family. Trying to block off an hour to simply go to the gym seems unheard of when you’re adapting to the depths of added laundry, appointments, feedings, and errands. To quote Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, “…My get up and go must have got up and went…”…. And I’m willing to bet it didn’t go to the gym.
Whether or not these reasons are strong enough excuses to keep us from exercising in the eyes of others does not change the fact that this is the way life actually happens. However, the sooner we get back on track mentally and physically, the sooner we can reclaim our bodies and get our sexy back. So, how can we and our fellow moms in The Aftershock work with what we have to start this process? I have lived through The Aftershock and come out on the other side. I could not bear the thought of stuffing my doughy body into workout clothes to be seen by the people that hadn’t taken a year off from the gym, so I started doing exercises at home using body weight and other objects within my daily routine for weight.
Baby Weights will be a periodic posting to share some of the… inventive ways I began my recovery from Aftershock. You will not have flat abs in a week. You will not lose a pant size overnight. I will never claim to an expert on fitness and/or weight loss… or anything, for that matter. I will, however, attest that I started these moves with almost no motivation and it got easier. At the very least, it helped me remember where my muscles were once located. This week, I give you the simplest move of them all:
THE CONTINUOUS BATHING SUIT
Not one of us is fooling the other- We all suck in our guts and butts when we’re walking around in bathing suits. Maybe this is the reason we are so tired after walking around at the pool all day, as opposed to prolonged exposure to the sun (as seems more scientifically likely). The muscles you suck in when you are more naked than you’d like to be are the ones that get lost in the body cluster f@%& that is pregnancy and delivery. You can strengthen those muscles all day while you are going about your crazy busy routine.
Driving your son to the doctor? Sit up straight in your seat with your shoulders back, suck in your lower belly (it is easiest to get to this muscle by squeezing the Kegel muscle, too, but just sucking in your stomach in general is perfectly fine), and pinch your butt cheeks together. Hold it for as long as you can. If you hold it for the entire ride, look forward to rewarding yourself with a drink later that night! You can keep these muscles engaged during absolutely everything you do during the day from cooking to scrubbing pee off of the floor to folding laundry. Hell, you can even suck in while you drink!
Easiest. Workout. Ever.
Stay tuned for more easy ways you can do what you’re doing anyway and make it feel like a workout! #mommylifehack