Tips For a Healthier Mindset With Your Postpartum Body
The pressure to get back in shape after baby is a real struggle for new moms. It was for me, and to be totally transparent, I thought it would be easier for me than it has been. I got stuck in the “should” mindset. Anyone else been there? This “should” be easier, my baby “should” be sleeping through the night, I “should” …, you fill in the blank. I am a health and fitness coach and love working out, so I thought everything would just bounce back quickly. If I’ve learned anything about being a mom, it’s that there are no “shoulds”, everyone’s situation is completely different. I even found myself re-writing this article over and over, not wanting to admit that I have struggled with this (perfectionism rearing its ugly head). But something my sweet baby is teaching me is to be courageous and let go of perfectionism.
Lookup any online mommy group and you will find countless pleas from moms for help to “get their body back”. Let’s really look at that saying. How can we get our body back, if we never lost it? It’s simply different postpartum. In fact, what we gained is a beautiful new human life that we are nurturing every single day. We grew our babies from a small little fertilized egg into a precious new soul, and being a mom changes you in every way. I had to ask myself, “Do I even want my old body back?” This new body gave me this beautiful baby, so why would I shame that!
Of course, wanting to be your healthiest self for the right motives is very admirable. The physical challenges from raising an ever-growing baby are more difficult than any workout class I’ve ever taken – can I get an Amen! There are so many puzzle pieces to gather on this new journey towards being a healthy mom.
Considers these areas when struggling with body image postpartum:
- Sleep: Is baby still waking up multiple times at night (which is normal by the way)? This can throw off your metabolism.
- Stress: Cortisol, the stress hormone, can be super greedy and keep those extra pounds to itself.
- Breastfeeding or pumping: While this is, in fact, an awesome way to burn calories (about 300 on average), many moms also share that they didn’t lose those last few pounds until they were done breastfeeding. I like to think that is nature’s way of saying “You are right where you are supposed to be, Mama. Embrace it!”
- Movement: Focus on the other positives of exercise, like increased endorphins, better sleep, more energy, time to release stress or worry, and having fun with friends. This is a season. There will be a day when the time and energy present itself to have a more intense workout; but just for today, perhaps shorter, more gentle workouts is all that is sustainable.
- Letting go of the scale: Have you ever had a week where you felt like a wellness rockstar, only to step on the scale and see a HIGHER number? Talk about discouraging. Perhaps try putting the scale out of sight for a month and see how it goes.
- Closet makeover: Go through your closet and find the clothes that make you feel like the beauty you are. Put those clothes in the front.
- Talk it out: Choose a few friends with whom you can be completely vulnerable and be courageous in sharing your fears and struggles. Be aware of getting sucked in by the “shoulds” that may pop in your mind from too many mommy groups and online sites.
- Health from the inside out: Focus on emotional, spiritual, and mental health for more acceptance around physical health. Acceptance prompts serenity and can help us see our true worth.
Postpartum Mindset Reset:
Remember, everyone’s experience and circumstances are different. You do YOU! Here is a mommy mantra to practice:
I am strong. I am beautiful. I change the world one day at a time by being a mom. I am enough. I honor and accept my body exactly as it is today. Today I will nourish my body with nutrition, nourish my mind through positive self-talk, and nourish my soul by finding the message in the “mess”. I will not fall into the “getting my body back” trap. My body never left. It’s different and I’m different, and it’s ok. I don’t want to be who I was before I had kids, because they have made me a stronger version of myself inside and out.
Here is my favorite guilt-free snack!
Chocolate Avocado Pudding
1 large avocado, peeled and sliced
1 ripe banana
1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch cinnamon
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 serving chocolate plant-based protein powder (optional). Juice Plus+ is my go-to brand.
¼ cup coconut milk (the full-fat kind in a can)
Enjoy Life chocolate chips (to taste)
Erin Sears Basile