Getting Your Shape Back
During pregnancy, we’re told to eat healthy, balanced,nutritional diets and gain 25 to 35 pounds. For some of us, limiting it to 35 pounds is hard to do, especially when our bodies are craving all kinds of odd things. A craving for chocolate milkshakes by one of our subscribers resulted in a weight gain of over 70 pounds. Her doctor finally told her “no more milkshakes, you’re gaining too much weight.” Though she planned on heeding her doctor’s advice, the decision was made much easier since her blender had given out from running so hard.
We all know how to put on weight, but how do we lose this excess weight after pregnancy? The process can be extremely difficult, even depressing at times. Our bodies may change so drastically – skin can stretch almost to the point of being transparent, and our hips can spread like we never knew they could. You have to have the initiative and willingness to exercise and change your eating habits in order to get back into shape!
It can take a long time to lose unwanted pounds. Since it took 9 months for your body to gain all that weight, give yourself at least 9 months to lose it. It will not disappear overnight, unless you’re one of the fortunate women who pops right back into their old body immediately after delivering.
The first 20 pounds usually come right off after delivery. Shedding the rest will take a commitment by you to exercise and eat a sensible diet. Many women find it difficult to exercise because they’re tired from caring for a new baby. Not liking the way you look, however, can serve as the best reminder that you’ll have to overcome the fatigue and take action.
Most doctors recommend waiting six weeks before you begin any exercising routine, especially if you had a cesarean birth, so get the OK from your doctor first. The extra weight tends to balance between your tummy and hips, therefore you may want to start with simple exercises that work these areas the most.
Aerobic exercise increases your heart rate, and will have you huffing and puffing, burning off the pounds. Jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, or a brisk walk are all great ways to shed those extra pounds. Always warm up before exercising with simple stretches. Remember to wear appropriate clothing and supportive shoes.
Shoulder Lifts – lift one shoulder up to your ear, let down, switch to the other shoulder, lift up to ear, let down. Repeat 5 times each side.
Shoulder Rolls – lift right shoulder, roll forward, move back and down, switch to other shoulder, lift, roll forward, move back and down. Repeat 5 times each side.
Neck Roll – standing straight, move right ear to right shoulder, return to center, repeat with left ear to left shoulder, return to center. Repeat 5 times.
Arm Stretch – extend right arm over head, bending at the waist, reach left, repeat with left arm, reaching over right side, bending at the waist. Repeat 5 times each side.
Hamstring Stretch – Lie on your back, knees bent. Lift one leg, bring it up towards you. Hold your calf, gently pulling closer towards your chest. Hold to the count of 10, release and switch to other leg.
Leg Stretch – sitting on floor with legs apart, reach to right foot, switch to left foot. Repeat 5 times each side.
Tummy Crunches – Lie on the floor (on your back), bend knees, and look forward. Curl shoulders and head up off the floor, pulling in abdominal muscles, blowing air out as you come up, lower back down to floor, breathing in. Repeat 5 times, increasing as you get stronger.
Tummy Crunch with twist – Lie on the floor (on your back), bend knees, blowing air out, lift head and shoulders up, stretch right hand across to left knee, switch to left side. Repeat 5 times each side, increasing as you get stronger.
Leg Lifts – Standing nice and straight with a chair in front of you, knees slightly bent, extend one leg out behind you, lift and lower keeping tummy tucked in, switch to other side. Repeat 5 times each leg.
Hips and Thighs – Lie on right your side, slightly bend leg, tuck in abdomen keeping toes facing forward. Raise left leg, then lower. Switch to other side, repeat 5 times each leg.
Follow your exercise with a cool down, like the stretching tips mentioned before. Set realistic goals for yourself and gradually increase your repetitions as you get stronger. Remember, if you’re unable to do these exercises, there are alternatives. But whatever you choose, be consistent with your exefcise and in keeping a healthy diet, and you’ll be looking and feeling like your “old self” in no time. Be patient and committed to getting yourself back into shape and it will happen.
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