Hey ladies! It's Kylie here this week! A lot of you may know this already, but I gave birth to my first baby, Charlie, on June 28, 2018. He is 8 months old now and it has been quite an adjustment to the mom life. However, I am starting to finally feel like I've got a hold of this whole momming thing, even though it took me 8 months haha!
The biggest adjustment for me is the lack of freedom that I used to have. I can’t just go workout when I want to anymore. Now, my workouts are based around when the baby takes naps or goes down for bed at night. I’ve lost a lot of muscle tone and gained some extra weight in places that I’ve never had before. Let’s just say things don’t quite sit like they used to anymore.
I have had a lot of guilt about the way my pregnancy and postpartum health journey have gone. For example, I had planned to continue eating super healthy and workout every day throughout my pregnancy and once I was cleared by my doctor postpartum, but honestly those things didn’t happen.
I struggled with working out during my first trimester because I was so exhausted and felt nauseated all day long (not fun!). I tried to maintain working out as much as I could throughout my pregnancy, but eventually I had to stop due to having too much discomfort in my stomach, hips, and lower back. I also didn’t eat as healthy as I wanted to. I had a weird aversion to vegetables during most of my pregnancy, but I sure did love me some sweets!
So, as a result I’m going through something I’ve never really had to go through. It’s a journey to get back into shape again. You see I’ve always been an athlete and was always active throughout my childhood so I’ve never really had to struggle much with my weight. Now, here I am at 27 years old, married and with a baby and things are little more hectic and busy. So, it’s hard to make time to workout. Not to mention, some days I just don’t feel like it because I’m exhausted from being up at night with my son, Charlie. Yet, it is all worth it even though it has been quite the adjustment! It's been a slow process to get back on track, but I've found what seems to work for me and I want to share it with you all. So, without further ado, here are my 5 tips for taking control of your health again!
1. Getting sleep is ESSENTIAL
This is definitely my number one priority when it comes to taking care of myself. Me without sleep, is not a good thing AT ALL. If I don’t get 7-9 hours of sleep, I’m crabby, constantly hungry all day (which makes me eat more food than I actually need), and I have no energy or motivation. Let’s just say I’m not fun to be around. Some people can handle getting less sleep, but not me! So, if you’re like me and you absolutely can’t handle not getting 7-9 hours of sleep, then this is probably the first health goal you’ll want to focus on. I’ve learned that I need to go to bed by 9 or at the latest 10, in order to get the sleep I need. So, make it a goal to start going to bed early! If you had a rough night with the baby, you need to take a nap during the day, and you have the capability to do so, then do it! Being a mom is HARD WORK, so don’t feel guilty about that pile of dirty dishes left in the sink or the giant pile of laundry that has yet to be folded. Now, this is not to say that you should completely ignore your daily chores/duties, but some days it’s just necessary for your health to just let some of that stuff go. Sometimes, you just need to sleep!
2. Eat to nourish your body
After I gave birth, it was a struggle for me to get back into making healthier food choices again. I had a lot of guilt about the things I was eating. However, once I shifted my focus to eating foods that would nourish me at every meal again rather than trying to restrict myself of things, it has helped me significantly! I aim to eat some form of protein at each meal and then pair it with a variety of other healthier food options such as veggies, fruits, whole grains, avocado, peanut butter, etc. I must say that eating the healthier food choices has definitely helped me feel better and have more energy throughout the day. I still do sneak in those “less healthy” food choices though, but it is just in moderation now. I mean this girl has got to have some pizza and chocolate every once in a while!
3. Listen to your body
Whether it’s in 10 minute increments throughout the day, 30 minutes once a day, or even an hour, you really should try to get some form of exercise in once you’ve been cleared by your doctor to be active again. However, you really need to make sure you listen to your body when you’re getting back into working out again. Being a former college athlete, I am used to pushing myself through the pain and discomfort. However, in this situation, it has further delayed my journey of getting back into the shape I want to be in again. I’ve battled with pelvis, hip and lower back pain, and have recently had to take two weeks off of working out because of knee issues. Uggh! I feel so lame having to slow down with my workouts, but I know that it is what I need to do in order to reap the most benefits in the long run. I have to just keep telling myself that I’m not going to get that muscle back in one workout and if I just keep working towards it every day, I will slowly gain back my strength.
4. Take time to de-stress
Being healthy isn’t just about exercising or the foods you eat. It’s also important that you find time to practice some form of healthy stress relief every day. Don’t be afraid to ask family or friends to even babysit for you for a little bit if needed. Stress relievers may be different for everyone, but for me, working out while listening to some of my favorite music is one of my main stress relievers. I also enjoy getting outside and doing something active or even taking some time to stretch my body. Find a healthy outlet of stress relief for yourself and try to implement that into your life every day. Trust me, your mind and your body will thank you for it!
5. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
I know that when Charlie was born, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I doubted my ability to be a good mom. I constantly worried whether I was doing things the right way and worried what other moms thought of my mommy skills or lack there of for that matter. Listen, all of us moms just want what is best for our children and every mom will do things in her own little way. It doesn’t matter that you do things differently than your friend, Susan. WHO CARES! As long as your baby is healthy and thriving that is all that matters. Now, there is nothing wrong with learning from other moms around you and discussing different techniques of doing things, BUT you shouldn’t feel guilty for not doing something the same way as them. Don’t worry, you’ll find your own routine and way of doing things and your baby will be just fine!
So, there you have it. These are my top five tips for taking back your health after your first baby comes into the world. Listen momma, don’t be afraid to be a little selfish and take some YOU time.
YOU NEED IT! You have to take the time to fill your cup up. When your cup is full and overflowing, it will flow over to your loved ones and will make for a much happier, healthier family life.
Health and happiness,
Kylie Glastetter BA, MS, EP-C, CHC
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