The moment a new mother holds her tiny bundle of joy for the first time is when all the discomfort and stress of the nine months of pregnancy are completely worth it. But then it is time to start off on a fresh set of struggles — catering to the demands of the adorable tyrant, with sleepless nights and the daily routine of the pre-mommyhood days flying right out of the window. Along with all the various demands on a stressed new mother’s mind, there is usually also the desire to lose the pregnancy weight. Along with the aesthetics of getting back to the fab figure, it is often essential for the sake of fitness and health to get into a healthy diet and exercise schedule.
Here is what new mothers looking to getting fit can do:
Take your time to start
It is okay to take a couple of months to get used to your new role and give your body the rest it deserves after the stress of giving birth. Breastfeeding mothers need a very balanced diet with a good mix of proteins, fat, and nutritious vegetables and fruits along with plenty of fluids. So dieting during this period is certainly not advisable. Just walking around the house or stepping out for a slow stroll to shake off cabin fever is all that is required initially. Of course, overdoing it and eating too much of rich, unhealthy food is unnecessary and will lead to additional weight gain.
Take baby steps
Take a cue from your baby and start with baby steps yourself. If you were not used to rigorous exercise before pregnancy, it is not a good idea to start on a strict regimen while caring for your infant. Starting off on something less stressful and gradually increasing the intensity of the workout is the most sensible way to approach post-delivery fitness. Aravinda, a yoga instructor specialising in power yoga says, “Listen to your body. There are elderly people who cope with my classes much more easily than young people. Accept your fitness level, even if it is poor, and gradually work on improving it.”
Don’t compromise on your emotional well-being
Getting stressed or guilty and forcing oneself into something that is not enjoyable will have a contrary effect. Make sure you get quality time with the baby and work your schedule around it. As a new mom, I took my six-month-old baby and his nanny along for yoga classes, so that my son stayed in my line of vision at all times. So you might need to think out of the box and decide what works best for you and your baby.
Don’t expect a magical transformation
It will take time to get results and one needs to view fitness as a long-term plan rather than a quick fix. What will make the process enjoyable is if you are doing something you genuinely like. Some mothers find group activities like aerobics or a Zumba workout invigorating and especially enjoy the socialising aspect of meeting like-minded people. For some, a favourite sport, be it tennis or swimming, is preferred while others like the solitude of a brisk jog around the park. Sticking to the workout long-term is extremely beneficial to not just physical fitness but the psyche as well.
Ask for help
Having a support system and getting help, be it from your partner, parents, in-laws, or a friend will take the load off your shoulders and give you the time and energy to regroup and also stick to a consistent routine.
If you are a new mom, make sure you enjoy the brand new phase in your life while you follow these tips. And if you know a new mom, be sure to pass on these tips and, more importantly, lend a helping hand as she settles into her altered lifestyle.