Cut Yourself Some Slack
It took nine months to make that precious bundle of joy, and your body has undergone some intense changes. It was a measured growth period, as your baby developed and your body did what it needed to do in order to nourish and facilitate that growth. Now, your baby isn't even two months old and you're bothered because you can't get into your skinny jeans yet! Whoa - let's back up a minute and talk about this.
True, some women have their babies and walk out of the hospital in their before-pregnancy clothing. But, let's be really honest. There aren't very many women who are able to do that. Most of us have our babies and we're just happy to be able to wear our baggy jeans and an oversized shirt. It takes time to regain your body, and it takes a lot of work, too. Unless you have a very fast metabolism, you'll be working at this for a while. But, don't despair. You have been a partner in the most creative thing in the world - the life of another human being. That is a massive accomplishment and you are to be congratulated.
It Starts In Your Head
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of losing post-baby weight and getting back into shape is not so much the exercise, or even what you eat - it's what is going on between your ears. The grey matter in your head can either help you or hinder you, and the best way to get your brain onside is to be able to accept yourself right where you are today and go forward from that point. Being critical of your body and weight after having given birth can often lead to feeling depressed and discouraged, fearing that you'll never get back to your pre-pregnancy weight or body. It becomes a vicious cycle when the self-defeating mindset causes you to undermine your own efforts.
We'll go back to our first comment that it took nine months to make your baby - give yourself at least that long to get back to your former weight. If you ate with wild abandon for your entire pregnancy, you're probably carrying a lot of excess weight that is going to take more time to get rid of - it's part of the price we pay for indulging our cravings and eating without restraint. So, you'll have to rein in the wild eating now without forfeiting your health or your baby's if you are breastfeeding.
The Added Benefits of Breastfeeding
Actually, breastfeeding is one of the top ways to get your body shape back quickly because nursing causes the uterus to contract and shrink back to its normal size. You'll see the results externally as your tummy goes down. Sure, you'll probably still have a loose belly, but that will tighten up again over the coming weeks and months. Proper diet and appropriate exercise will get you there. If you need some help figuring out what is best for you in terms of diet and exercise, we have some great suggestions on this site. You can also check in with the community services in your area to connect with other moms with new babies who are experiencing exactly what you are experiencing. There's nothing like knowing others share your experience to encourage you (and them) to attain your goals.
Get Out, Walk and Meet New Friends
It's good to get out, so put baby in the sling or snuggly or stroller and go for a walk. The movement and fresh air is good for both of you. Find a walking partner and make it a regular thing. Accountability is amazing. The same goes for getting any excess weight off - having a person to share the journey will help you stay on track. By losing a little at a time, you'll be sure to keep it off. Weight loss diets are a lot of work and you'll need your energy to keep up with the tasks of breastfeeding and maintaining your day-to-day life. Don't cheat yourself by cutting too many calories in a bid to drop weight fast. It will come off if you're diligent with eating well and staying active. Be as gracious with yourself as you would be with a good friend who just had a baby. And, when you look into the mirror and self-criticism creeps in, pick up your baby and gaze at the two of you together. That's a pretty major feat, Mom. You're amazing.
Getting back into shape after having a baby is doable. The best way to get there is in small, steady steps with large doses of self-love, acceptance and a grateful heart.