Are you ready to regain control of your health and start a fitness journey after having kids? Here’s how to start your journey on the right track.
When I was getting ready to have my first child almost 5 years ago, I was big into, “the research.”
You know, doing the whole first-time-mom thing. The thing where we read every book, blog, and forum about childbirth, recovery, and what else to expect.
Ya know, the stuff that sets us up to feel like failures!
Jk. Sort of.
The point is that I read a lot about what to expect as a mom. I was especially concerned about, “getting my body back,” which I now know is ridiculous.
When I was doing my research, I found some scary statistic that said that a HUGE chunk of women never lose all of the baby weight. In fact, a lot of women end up just sitting at a much higher weight after having babies.
Reading that was a little bit discouraging, but I was determined not to be one of those women who never lost the weight.
I was going to start a fitness journey to, “get my body back,” as soon I was cleared by the doctor.
If everything went as planned, I’d lose all of the baby weight by about one year postpartum.
Did it happen?
I lost all of the baby weight that I’d gained within six months.
But…then some stuff happened.
Long story short, I’m two babies in, and I’m still struggling to lose the 30 pounds that will get me back to, “pre-baby weight.”
Did I lose all of the weight I’d gained during my pregnancies, both times? YES!
Did the weight creep back up as life went on? YES.
The point is that you don’t just start a fitness journey and then it ends.
You have to start a fitness journey, and then stay on it forever.
I learned that the hard way. There is no end date on your health. You can’t just put your health first for a year or two and then expect it to stay the same. It has to be a top priority forever.
But staying healthy after having kids is hard! It’s definitely harder than when you had time, money, and the bathroom to yourself!
But how do you effectively start a fitness journey after having kids?
What things need to change? Are priorities different? What expectations are you setting too high? What’s realistic?
No worries, I gotchu covered.
As someone who has struggled with my personal fitness journey from day one, and later decided to become a personal trainer, I have a few tips.
I will be the first to say that it’s not going to be easy – but it will make a world of difference!
Okay, so about the execution of starting a fitness journey after having kids. There are a few things that you need to consider in order to be effective. You may need to change your perspective a little bit, but I think that comes with time. You’ve got this, mom!
How To Start A Fitness Journey After Having Kids
1. Know Your New Self
You have added to your identity now. Whether you have one kid or five, you’re evolving. Things will not be the same. Be self-aware about what matters to you and adjust. Here are some important questions to ask:
- What kinds of exercise are most effective for your body & soul?
- Do you want to work out with your kids around, or do you need to go to the gym?
- Are your reasons for wanting to start a fitness journey about looks or overall health?
I advocate being self-aware when it comes to fitness and weight loss because it’s what makes things STICK. You’ve got to know yourself to break old habits and make new ones last.
For example, I always thought that I could work out at home. So I quit going to the gym. But pretty soon my workouts became lazy, and farther and farther apart.
Over time I learned that not only do I hate being interrupted by my kids when exercising, but I need the mental break of the gym. So I found a gym that has childcare. Now I get out of the house, get a break from my kids, and get a better workout. I’m also more consistent.
So be truthful with yourself and figure out what truly works for you. Don’t let anything be a punishment.
2. Allow Your Mindset To Change
Moms have a tendency to feel guilty when they “indulge” in self-care. This is especially true for first-time moms. It is easy to put your kids first, then forget to take care of yourself. It all stems from “mom guilt,” and it’s important to stop that train as soon as you see it playing out in your life.
When I became a mom, I put myself last – always. I stopped doing anything that I considered vain or selfish. I stopped buying myself makeup, new clothes, etc. My self-care routine (even personal hygiene) went to a bare minimum. I thought that those things were taking time away from my children.
But then one day I woke up, looked in the mirror, and hated myself. I felt like I’d truly let myself go.
And I struggled to do anything but feel sorry for myself. The result was much worse than what could have been if I’d just put on some mascara, taken myself shopping, and gone to the gym.
I spent the next few years fighting postpartum depression.
My kids, husband, and I all suffered.
The point is that if you take care of yourself as a mom, you’ll also take better care of your family. Your family should see you happy and feeling good. They should also see you making healthy choices.
If you don’t allow the mindset of “mom guilt” to change, you’re not going to start a fitness journey off on the right foot.
3. Focus On Health More Than Looks
This is hard, especially if you’re a new, young mom. I know it was for me.
This is also another one of those things that comes with time.
The more kids you have, the less you’ll care about perky boobs and perfectly toned legs, trust me!
The thing is that you’ll hopefully wake up one day wishing for energy and overall health, rather than a nice body. The two can go hand-in-hand, but if you want to start a fitness journey that’s healthy, you want to focus on just that – health.
Don’t forget that a successful fitness journey will make you feel good inside, too! So focus on non-scale victories and feeling healthier mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Another important thing to remember is that now you have kids watching you. Scrutinize every body part, and so will they. Looking for somewhere to start? Check out these postpartum-safe core exercises from a physical therapist or my intro to yoga for stay at home moms.
4. Find Support From Other Moms
This isn’t always easy, especially if you’ve become a bit of a hermit after having a baby. (I did, and it backfired.)
But as I’ve said before, just talking to other moms makes me feel a little bit better mentally. And when I’m sound mentally, I make better decisions for my health.
You don’t have to go out and make “mom friends” and build some sort of tribe that hangs out strictly every Wednesday at 9AM, but do something.
In truth, all I do is hit up the gym and chat with some of the other moms that have kids in childcare there. We chat about anything and everything – it doesn’t really matter. I am just encouraged by the other women who are also bringing their kids to the gym, setting a good example, and putting their health first!
So try a baby & me yoga class, or smile at some lady in Zumba. Just do it!
5. Make A Realistic Plan
So many of us set unrealistic goals when we start a fitness journey after having kids. It’s normal, I think. But nothing is more discouraging than not reaching a goal, right? It ultimately backfires for many of us, since we feel disappointed in ourselves.
So the key is to set realistic fitness goals after having a baby. Your timeline should be at least one year!
If you need help setting realistic, attainable goals, no worries. I have dedicated an entire post to setting realistic weight loss goals after having kids.
Do you have any other tips to add for new moms? Or are you getting ready to start a fitness journey after having kids? Tell me below!