There I was, a mere shadow of myself. Sleep deprived and irritable due to the over consumption of coffee and sugar and not really caring that I was in yesterday’s baby puke stained pjs. My excess sugar consumption was leading to guilt and only contributing to the relentless tiredness I was experiencing. My baby now 10 weeks old was starting to establish a routine and not cluster feeding hours on end but yet I wanted an excuse to be pasted to the sofa.
I was …exhausted….lazy….tired….every form of lethargic
Through my social media accounts people often, I rephrase, regularly, ask me how I lost my post pregnancy weight as if I had a this magic secret I was withholding. While I looked thin this didn’t mean I felt it. My body was thin but I felt unhealthy. I didn’t gain extreme excess weight while pregnant as I was conscious of the aftermath. I tried to eat wisely and healthily without banning treats etc. Although, I would be lying if I said I didn’t sit down to a chocolate treat at least once a day. During pregnancy I did try to eat little and often and tried to ensure that all my snacks and meals were of low sugar content and fulfilling the nutritional needs of the baby and I. I didn’t use the excuse of being pregnant to gain a lot of weight because let’s face it, it is so easy to put the weight on and a lot harder to loose it. It wasn’t until my baby came along and I was a hazy aura of sugar consumed exhaustion that I fell into the sticky rut.
During my first pregnancy I was able to very slow jog up until around 28 weeks. My second pregnancy I was a lot more sick and exhausted so I walked instead. Even if it was slow, it was to still keep active. I also took my toddler swimming once a week which meant we were both active and we both got a good nights sleep afterwards.
After my first pregnancy my recovery was a lot quicker. I did have an unexpected caesarean section which in the circumstances slowed my return to exercise but I got back to it after 5 weeks. Second time around however was a lot harder to recover after another caesaeran. I was a lot weaker, tired and sore post birth and even after 6 weeks I wasn’t ready. My obstetrician did explain to me that this was most likely due to the fact that there is a lot more scar tissue second time around and especially after the first birth being an emergency operation. Also, one must remember that for your first, it’s you and baby. For your second, it is you baby and your most likely toddler. There is not even close to half the recovery time when you already have a trouble making mastermind to take care of and comfort into their new environment. With looking after your first borns needs (it is a big change for them when another little one comes along – so they will require more attention) and taking care of a newborn your time is already limited. So when my second was born I continued to eat healthily but I fell into a rut of eating a LOT of junk and sugary treats to get through the day and cope with tiredness etc. I found myself easily giving into the treat stash not long after breakfast, not long after brunch, dinner or tea. Soon, it was easier to fulfill my sugar needs rather than my nutritional needs. This created a vicious cycle and each week I started feeling worse in myself. Thankfully I didn’t gain a massive amount of weight, but with the weight I did gain, I lost energy, I was feeling horrible in myself and really needed a boost. Therefore I made changes to make me feel good and prioritise myself, my health and my energy. I do say there is a bit of a disclaimer here….You need to want it. Ask yourself, Do you want to feel tired and exhausted or are you willing to implement the changes required to rediscovering the more energetic you??!
I did find it wasn’t until I had ‘had enough’ of feeling terrible, irritable and lazy that I began to motivate myself. Yes, I was still tired and not getting near enough sleep but I needed to clean up my lifestyle to get the ball rolling.
Here are a few things I found helpful to regain a healthy lifestyle post pregnancy.
TIP 1 : Freeze healthy meals in the run up to birth
I knew how time short I would become when both of my babies came along so I got ahead of the game and froze several healthy meals. I cannot recommend doing this enough for several reasons. There will be days when a newborn is fussy/you want to spend time with other children/the day has got away and the easy thing to do is have a convenient dinner which is most likely going to be calorie ridden. Eliminate the temptation and freeze the family favourite meals so that there is no excuse and you will be so glad you did! Even at least one healthy meal a day is better than picking all day.
Tip 2: Think of yourself and not visitors
Is it an Irish thing that when someone comes to visit that we gorge on tea with sugar and fat laden goodies? And after you have a baby there are a lot more visitors than usual…I don’t know about you but my gorging doesn’t finish after the visitors go. With an open box of biscuits and a tired Mammy how do you even expect to stop at two delectable delights?? Exactly, you won’t! Sugar is a highly addictive substance that most mortals cannot deny once it touches the lips we want more and well its pretty much goodbye to bikini season from there on in!! Eradicate the temptation and just don’t buy goodies for the visitors (if they are friends, they will understand and they will have come for the chat and not the goodies). When someone says they are coming to visit explain to them you don’t want goodies in the house and that you are trying to be healthy. Explain your cause and if you really feel like you need to present something to nibble on, look into healthy bar recipes that you can possibly freeze and have there in anticipation for callers. I like this RECIPE I came across by Cliona at LEANMEANMOMMA . They totally satisfy my sweet tooth without leaving the constant yearning for refined sugar and give you real energy without the crash that the monster refined sugar subjects you to. I will be ruthless and suggest getting all of the sugar out of the house. It is the bad boy!!! If it’s there it will seductively get your attention from the cupboards, get you hooked and leave you feeling miserable. Be the winner and get it out. You will thank yourself in your tired moments that it is not there. Do you really want the guilt anyway?
TIP 3: ENROLL ON AN ONLINE HEALTHY WEIGHTLOSS PLAN
This is something I attribute to how good I feel in myself today – 12 months after doing it.
A few months in after I had my second child Harper I was pretty much miserable with how I felt, I began my first online course with FIT WITH BRID. I had came across Brid’s courses through Instagram and loved the concept of them. The course is 6 weeks long and all the hard tedious work is done for you. Within the course you have a daily meal plan done out for you with delicious meals to suit all of the family and suit busy lifestyles. Most of the meals are also suitable to freeze therefore you can create in bulk to save time. All you need to do is the prep and planning and the course will even provide you with a weekly shopping list and workout videos. Like anything, you need the commitment to do the workout’s which is mind over matter. Yes they are tough but you are not going to tone up whining about a flabby bum on the sofa. The course as previously stated is designed for busy women and mothers and was the ideal choice for me. I will admit there were days I would have preferred to whine on the sofa then workout but when I worked out I felt so good and so a healthy lifestyle was regained. As the course is online you can do it at a time that suits you whether it be when your partner gets home from work or your baby is sleeping. It really does leave you with no excuses!!
Here is a photo of me showing the before (left) and after (right) completing the first 6 weeks. As previously stated I didn’t have a dramatic amount of weight to loose I gained by toning up and becoming healthy again. Doing this alone gave me back my body confidence which I can see from my stance alone. I even bothered to start applying tan and wearing my good clothes on average days again!
TIP 4: Get out
So whether I liked to or not I knew it was time to get out and about. Normally one to enjoy the great outdoors I did find wrapping up two little ones in winter to get out out for what seemed like so little time wasn’t worth it. But it was! The days I would make the extra effort to get us all out for a short walk into the cold air was so worth it. I structured this to aim for a time when both girls were napped and we were coming to a slump time of the day. I always found giving into slump o’clock left us all more lethargic and exhausted and I was more inclined to not do a proper workout that evening. The fresh air would give me the boost and awakening to get through the day, and Holly my toddler needed to get out to burn up excess energy and she always slept better that night. Toddlers also need fresh air and the great outdoors to explore and see. Harper would also sleep better at night the days we had gone out as who doesn’t benefit. Anyway, staying inside in the house creates more mess trying to occupy smallies, so by getting out of the house you are saving yourself work tidying up!
TIP 5: Listen to your body
One thing I definitely learned was not to over push myself into intense workouts if my body was too tired. I learned to listen to my body. If on days where I had little to no sleep and my body wasn’t up to it I gave myself a break. Over exertion is not worth it, you need to enjoy it. If you are too tired and exhausted you are not going to enjoy, instead you may increase your exhasution levels. Listen to your body, it will tell you what it is able for. If you miss a workout you can make up for it on a day you are feeling up to it.
My ‘baby’ is now 16 months old and I am feeling great. Yes there are days I have my cake and eat it all! I know though that an overall healthy lifestyle is what makes my days more productive and creates a more happy and wholesome me. Also I love demonstrating healthy habits to my girls. Both of my girls have good appetites (my toddler got over a fussy stage) and I like to thing it is my eating habits they are learning to enjoy healthy food from..and yes, they do too love chocolate…everything in moderation!!
Have you any healthy tips you learned as a new mother?
I would love to hear yours!
Until next time,