Before & After Post-Parturm Body TransformationBy Ejiro Ogenyi
Published: February 23, 2016
Health + Wellness
It’s been a while since I shared with you how practice was making my fit lifestyle postpartum easier than I had expected. As I read that article today, I smile because I can’t believe how much things have changed since then. At the time, Riley wasn’t standing yet and my mom was still with us to help us with the baby. At the time, my workouts were still “me time,” and it was easy to write while Riley relaxed docilely on my chest — ha!
It turns out, as a new mom, you get thrown for a loop just when you feel like things have settled down. Thanks to throwing out my unrealistic food plan early on , I didn’t struggle as much with eating healthy. I did have issues with cravings and plateaus , but for the most part having a structured eating pattern made all the difference. But today I want to share my struggles with exercise and my final 9-month checkup.
My Workouts Became More About Keeping Riley Entertained
Babies grow, right? And at some point they start trying to get into everything, everywhere. At first as Riley grew, I could still fit in my 30-minute workouts five times a week, but at some point it got hard. I landed a new job, my husband started travelling for work, I started traveling for work, and life happened!
All the things I used to think would never become “excuses” for me became my reality. Saturday and Sunday makeup workouts were no longer an option because after a week at my full-time job, Saturday was time to catch up on business, while Sunday was laundry day and time to prep food for the week. Oh, and I still had to hang out with my boys and squeeze in marriage time.
And then my little man started staying up during mommy’s workout time. It got to the point where I spent half my workout trying to keep him from tripping over my weights or from picking up the wrong thing off the floor and putting it in his mouth. Oy!
At first I found a way to keep working out five times a week by exercising at work during my lunch break. This meant that I could spend mornings less frazzled and play with Riley like he wanted. But that also meant that I was never getting a break, which is just as important to good health, right?
The Fix: Making It Mommy and Me Time
After a period of struggling like this and feeling exhausted all the time, I decided to make a change — to actually look at my life and my goals and decide what was important: putting my family first; keeping my word to myself and those who mattered; and treating everyone, including myself, with fairness. I wasn’t doing any of that, and the fact that I wasn’t living in line with my values was draining me just as much as the physical exhaustion.
So I decided to make changes to help me live more in line with my values. I began treating myself like I would any client: I gave myself the minimum effective dose of exercise — 30 minutes, three times a week — and I asked myself to pick the days that I would do it. Monday, Wednesday and Friday were the best days for my husband’s schedule and my own, so I picked those days.
Then I turned my workout area into the family’s workout area. I set up one of Riley’s play gyms right there so that he could “work out” right along with me or Sunday, my husband. And finally I ditched the weights because they slowed my reaction time to Riley’s shenanigans.
But ditching the weights also meant that I had to change my workouts to keep them intense. Thankfully, most of my client workout videos were designed to accommodate no weights, so I just started using the same workout videos that I gave to my clients.
The Upsides: More Me Time and More Family Time
It turns out Riley loves watching mommy jump. He just sits there and cracks up when I do my squat jumps or jump lunges, and he thinks it’s hilarious when I jump around him to keep going without stepping on him. The benefit of this is that jumping around make my workouts more intense!
I also do my workouts first thing in the morning like I used to before Riley, and now I have my lunch break to do what I need to do to recover. Sometimes I write, and other times I just read or do nothing. It’s absolute bliss, and my day job now feels like Mommy’s little retreat.
But I feel that what made all the difference with handling my workout struggles was being willing to experiment to find what worked for me. What you are reading about now is the early struggle and the final solution, but there were also many failed experiments in between.
My 9-Month Check Up
Now that you’ve patiently read through my struggle, it’s time to share the results.
At 9 months postpartum, I’m only 2 lbs. (1 kg) from my pre-pregnancy weight. But I feel like I’ve arrived at my destination, and I’ve already shifted into weight-maintenance mode.
I’m not obsessing about the last few pounds because I feel comfortable with where my body is today, and I’ve decided to embrace the beautiful and strong body that I have now. This shift has helped me appreciate several things:
- I don’t have as much time to dedicate to fitness as I used to. It took a lot of time for me to accept that three workouts a week were just as good as five, but I felt so much more relaxed once I did.
- I’m physically stronger now than I ever was before having Riley. He’s over 20 lbs. now and loves to be carried around, so that’s a workout in itself.
- Even though I’m stronger, my back feels tender from time to time in the place where the epidural needle went in. Because of this, I have to be more mindful of my core when I work out, and I need to train more intelligently.
- My stomach is going to fold and look like I had a baby when I sit down, and I’ve accepted that it’s a fact of life. It’s how our bodies work.
- My body, my mind, and my body image are all much better for having a child.
I feel that what helped me to be successful in the end was focusing on eating healthy early on and knowing what to eat to support my breastfeeding relationship with my son and my weight loss. If you’re struggling with what to eat to lose weight and how to build a consistent exercise habit, I’ve created a little quick guide to help you start losing weight today by tackling one of those struggles.
My quick guide is aptly called Start Losing Weight Today, and it contains two simple action steps that will help you build some structure around your eating to help you lose weight. In it you’ll learn the following:
- The 4 types of foods to eat to help you lose weight without dieting
- How to incorporate these food types into an American, Nigerian or Ghanaian diet
- How to enjoy the foods you love and still lose the weight
It’s a short guide, but it’s enough to get you started on these three things. And it’s a free gift from me to you, so click here to sign up for my newsletter and check it out.
That’s the end of my series. Thank you so much for being part of a safe space where I felt comfortable sharing my pregnancy story. As a Nigerian woman, I know this is something we don’t talk about for fear that we’ll jinx our good luck. But like Radiant Health, I believe that telling our stories is an amazing way for women to support each other and to help each other lead our lives in good health.
So I’ll close this series by saying thank you for holding space for me to feel safe talking about an intimate part of my family life. And if there’s anything I can ever do for you, you know where to find me.
This is EJ’s chronicle of her first year of motherhood. You may also be interested in her pregnancy journey series. Find out what you’ve missed and catch up on the series here — Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9,Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14.
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- 3 Tips To Avoid Post Wedding Weight Gain - September 17, 2014
- Are Your Vigorous Workouts Stalling Your Progress? - April 26, 2016
- Before & After Post-Parturm Body Transformation - February 23, 2016
- Why Your Workout Is Not Working And What You Can Do About It - August 20, 2014
- 3 Ways Yoga Can Change Your Life - May 6, 2014