A ton of people have asked me how I bounced back as fast as I did postpartum. First thing to remember before reading is to never compare yourself!
Everyone is different, especially in regard to pregnancy and postpartum. It’s also important to remember that bouncing back and dieting immediately after having a baby shouldn’t be your first priority. It took nine months to grow that tiny human, and you typically won’t get back to where you were right away. Your body needs time to heal and recover.
Despite what you may see online or in videos, my physique is not where it was before I was pregnant. I’m anywhere from 5-10 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight (I fluctuate a lot and daily), I lost a lot of muscle, I am still holding onto some of the fat I gained, and I am a lot “softer” overall. While I still have progress to make in order to be where I’d like to be in regard to my physique, I am happy with where I am at and I’m happy with my body and how it has responded after having my little babe.
The most important thing that helped me bounce back as fast as I did was the fact that I had a fit pregnancy. Meaning, I worked out until the day I went into labor and overall ate a very healthy and balanced diet. This helped me keep my weight in check and meant that I didn’t have a lot to lose after having my baby. It also helped that I was also very in shape before getting pregnant. Your fitness level pre-pregnancy will help you during and after pregnancy. I am blessed that I was able to have a fit pregnancy, as I had no complications and was not high-risk.
I know many women cannot stay active during their pregnancy, so I realize how lucky I am that I was able to! I was, however, extremely sick with all-day sickness in the first trimester. The days in which I felt ok, I made sure to get some sort of movement in. Once my sickness vanished, I was back on my typical workout schedule. I lifted weights 4-6 times per week and also incorporated cardio into my routine, just as I would if I wasn’t pregnant.
A huge misconception is that you cannot workout or lift weights when pregnant. You can typically workout how you did pre-pregnancy, with some slight modifications as long as you have no complications. It’s important to not start or try anything you’ve never done before during pregnancy. If you’re ever concerned about what is and is not safe for you personally, consult your doctor. However, generally, women can continue to work out as they did before. Exercise during pregnancy isn’t for physique goals, strength goals, or making changes to your physique, but for the health of you and your baby.
Another important factor is that I made sure to gain within the guidelines for healthy weight gain for my body type. As someone who started at a healthy weight, it was recommended for me to gain anywhere from 25-35 pounds. I ended up gaining 23 pounds total, and I do believe this helped me bounce back the most. I lost eight pounds right after giving birth and then a couple more after that. I am also exclusively breastfeeding, which helps shrink your uterus postpartum.
I did not count calorie or macros during pregnancy since I wasn’t counting before pregnancy. I’ve done this long enough that I can eat without tracking every gram and calorie. I simply listened to my body by eating when hungry and stopping when full. Majority of my diet is made up of healthy foods found in their most natural state, including a ton of fruits and vegetables. However, I also did indulge a lot and eat out quite a bit. It’s all about that balance! I do believe that pregnancy is a great time to allow yourself to indulge and give into those cravings since you will gain weight and fat no matter what. I simply balanced it all by keep my weight gain in check. I personally dealt with more food aversions than cravings during pregnancy, and sometimes my diet only consisted of things like soup, bread, crackers, cereal, and less nutritional foods. Other times, my diet consisted of huge salads, smoothies, fruits, vegetables, and other extremely nutritional foods.
Pregnancy isn’t the time to stress over your diet. Yes, it’s important to get the essential nutrients for your developing baby, but more than likely, you will! Listen to your body, eat healthy most of the time, but also indulge and allow yourself to have the foods you’re craving.
Exercising for health, eating nutritious foods, and keeping weight gain within the healthy range were the main factors that helped me bounce back postpartum. I’m still working towards where I want to be postpartum and getting my body back to where it was, but I’m so happy with where I am at just within seven weeks.
To all you future mama’s, remember to be patient and kind to yourself postpartum and not compare your journey with anyone else’s! You will get to where you want to be in time.
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