It has been 7 weeks since I have given birth and I am starting to get back into my normal routine (well my new normal routine). The first couple weeks really were a blur when it comes to the baby. She was waking up every two hours, sometimes every hour and then staying awake. Between the lack of sleep and the recovery from the C-section the first few weeks consisted of a lot of crying, exhaustion, but also lots of and laughs from having a new baby and experiencing all the firsts with my husband.
The baby is only waking up once in the middle of the night now and breast feeding is still going amazingly well! I have been cleared to start working out again and at the moment I am 5 pounds away from my pre pregnancy weight and have been that way since about week 4.5. I am not too focused on the scale though, I just want to lose this little gut I have and go off of how my clothes are fitting, not the number on scale. The only reason I started weighing myself the weeks after giving birth was because I was interested in seeing how much you can drop from not having the baby in you anymore along with the placenta and all the fluid. In the first couple weeks I dropped around 24 pounds.
The scale can be deceiving because it does not take into account everything. For example, my fitness routine mainly consists of weight lifting and the more muscle I put on the more fat I lose but the scale may not necessarily move because the fat may just be getting swapped with the muscle. Therefore I am focusing on how my clothes fit and I have started measuring my waistline to see if that is changing instead of focusing on the scale.
Weight training is very important, especially in women. Not only does having more muscle on your body help you burn more calories even while resting, it makes you stronger, boosts your confidence and also helps combat osteoporosis as you age by strengthening your bones. I suggest that if you are obsessive about the scale like I use to be then get rid of it or at least put it in a place that is inconvenient to get to everyday. Instead, measure your weight loss off of how you feel and/or start measuring your body or taking progress photos every few weeks. This is also a great way to see your body change.
The day I got my clearance from the doctor I immediately went home and put together a workout to do that day. The workout began with abdominal exercises because first of all I can tell my core is super weak because of pregnancy and second of all I found out I have a 2 finger width diastasis recti, which is abdominal separation. Everyone has abdominal separation during pregnancy due to making room for the baby to grow, but after pregnancy some women’s abdominal muscle do not come back together and this is how you get diastasis recti. I actually think a lot of women have this and don’t know it and doing certain abdominal exercises like crunches can aggravate the separation.
Your core is extremely important when it comes to the rest of your body and how it moves or doesn’t move. If you have a weak or messed up core this can cause lower back pain and other issues with alignment in your body, especially when you are trying to work out. To avoid injuring my lower back I started doing exercises to help close this separation and strengthen my core. This first video below not only shows you exercises to help with diastasis recti, but also shows you how to test for it. Check out these three videos out to learn more:
Check for Diastasis Recti: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzIrt82maws
After working on my core I began a light weight lifting session. Even though I wanted to jump back into my heavy squatting and dead lifting I am working back up to that through lightweights so I don’t injure myself. Below is my home workout that I did with dumbbells.
I went through this workout 4 times and did 12-15 reps for each exercise:
Lunge to squat
Straight Leg Deadlift
Bent over rear delt fly
Banded side-to-side steps
The next day I did not have any lower back pain so I have continued to increase my weight and have started making it back to the weight room at the gym so I can use more equipment. I have been very aware of how my abdominal muscles have been feeling while exercising because the muscles around my C-section incision are extremely sensitive when it comes to certain things I am lifting. Even just lifting the car seat too much a week ago would make these muscles sore. Now doing some of the abdominal exercises in the video as well as trying to do lunges, stretches these muscles making them hurt so I have been avoiding these exercises and will continue them after these muscles have seemed to heal more.
Working out postpartum is very similar to working out while pregnant; it’s all about not over doing it and just listening to your body. Just like with any weight loss, diet is extremely important when you want to see a change in your body. You can work out all day long, but if your diet is a mess you will not see the progress you are hoping for. Does this mean being extremely strict with yourself and going on a extremely low carb or low fat diet? NO! You need to have balance in your diet; your body needs fat, carbs and protein.
Instead of limiting carbs just eat the right ones full of fiber to keep your digestive tract happy and to keep you fuller longer. Instead of limiting your fat just eat the right fats that are healthy for your heart and brain. I eat plenty of healthy carbs and fats everyday and make an effort to eat vegetables at every meal; I could eat fruit all day long so I have to make an extra effort when it comes to the veggies. Above are some of the meals I have been enjoying. I am not restricting any kinds of foods or doing extreme cardio to lose weight because I want my weight loss to be sustainable, and starving myself or going to the extreme when it comes to exercise is not sustainable.
Find what works for you. If you enjoy eating more carbohydrate rich foods then do it or if you enjoy foods with a higher fat content then do it, just choose the right ones and balance it out with other foods like lean proteins and fruits and vegetables. This is the same mindset for exercise, choose a kind of exercise you enjoy so you stick with it and do the best you can. I can’t work out as often as I use to because now I have a baby and I can’t just take her to the gym with me. So the days my husband isn’t home early or my mom is busy and can’t watch her I will go on a long walk and use my dumbbells at home to get in a quick workout. You don’t have to have a gym membership to stay fit.
Above are my 7-week postpartum body pictures and I will continue to take pictures and measure myself to track my progress. I know there is a good chance my body will not go back to the way it was and that is fine, I now have a different body that I will love even more because all it did for me through pregnancy, labor and recovery. I have mentioned this before, but I will never take my body for granted again no matter what state it is in. My body has done miraculous things for me over the past year and I will always be thankful for it. Try making this your goal too whether you have been pregnant or not. Our bodies are amazing and even if we never get that “perfect” body we think we want we should always be grateful of what our bodies do for us. We need to make more of an effort to treat our body with the respect it deserves through what we put in it and how we use it.