It’s been super interesting watching my body composition change throughout my pregnancy and postpartum recovery.
I had a Dexa scan with Metabolic Measures 7 weeks post partum. I had gained 7 kgs of fat, that was an increase in 10% body fat. I lost 4kgs of muscle mass with a 3kg difference on the scale.
Fast forward another 11 weeks and the half way results are in! Down 2.5kgs of fat, that’s nearly 4% body fat gone, I’ve gained back 3 kgs of muscle (YAAAY!!!) and down 2kgs on the scales.
So, how’d I do it? I practiced what I preach!
- Function Comes First
My #1 priority was getting my body back to a place of optimal function. Before I even stepped foot in the gym I went to see Taryn Watson at SouthCare Physio to sort out my pelvic floor. We worked together for 2 months and now I have full confidence in my body and better knowledge of how to move and take care of it.
- I Got Moving & I Lifted Heavy
When I first came back I was shocked at how hard EVERYTHING was. I needed to scale more things than when I was 37 weeks pregnant. But I didn’t let that deter me. I simply listened to my body, challenged it when safe and remained consistent. Now I’m starting to see all my skills return and my strength is back on the way up!
Most importantly, I didn’t rush it. I initially only trained 3 days per week until I felt I was recovering well and my energy levels were ready to come back to 5 days per week.
There are so many options out there for mamma's to get moving, take bub for a walk, use them for some body weight movements, youtube exercise videos, mums and bubs group classes, join a gym that has a babysitting! Come and see us at Fitness HQ, we’ve got lots of gals that love a colouring in sesh with the kids in the crèche!
- I Managed my Stress
As best as possible anyway haha! Being a new mum is certainly testing at times. And if you’re not careful, you can run yourself down very quickly, especially with the lack of sleep.
So I made sleep a priority, who needs a clean house anyway! I talked it out. I went outside and got fresh air. I sought out human connection. I accepted and asked for help. I acknowledged stress in my body and let it go. I breathed in deep through my nose. I practiced gratitude. I played, often! I scheduled in my gym time so I could have that time out for myself each day. And I welcomed and accepted the challenges rather than resisted them.
But what does this have to do with weight gain and loss? Firstly, we’ll often eat mindlessly under stress, especially when we’re getting little sleep as it will throw out the hormones that regulate our appetite and secondly, high stress chemistry can result in stored body fat and no more additional muscle mass, not great for our body composition.
- I Managed Expectations
I’ve never had a baby before now. I had no clue what my body was capable of. So I made very realistic goals for myself. I just wanted to be able to get back to the weights I was lifting previously by 6 months and if I made it back to the same body composition eventually that was a bonus.
I feel that this is where many woman set themselves up to fail. If you’re sensitive to it, there is a lot of pressure on women to get their pre baby bodies back. This mindset, creates anxiety and the need to be in control NOW. Which leads to stress- stress chemistry and rash decisions to use quick fixes like the 5 and 2 diet or shakes. None of which are sustainable long term, or healthy when you’re supporting a baby with breast feeding.
- I Believed I Could
There is a bit of a divide in internal beliefs among mums, half of them believe their body will never be the same and the other half expect their bodies to look better than ever.
The truth is, if you kept bad habits before your baby, chances are, they are going to show up again after your baby, unless you practice awareness and do a 180.
Sure, there are some things that we have to accept, wider hips, stretch marks, lack lustre bosoms but other things are well within our reach!
These mindsets either way, are sabotaging. If we truly believe we have no control over our body, then why would we even try, may as well just give up and have another wine right?! And when we have the belief that we should look better now, more than ever, when our hands are full being a mum, that’s when we fall for things like quick fixes, chronic dieting, over training and restriction.
- I ate mindfully
I listened to my appetite. I didn’t deny myself or restrict any foods from my diet. I ate balanced meals, with lots of protein, healthy fats, low GI carbs and plenty of veggies. I still enjoyed cake and coffee with mum, a fair amount of chocolate and a wine or two with the girls out at dinner.
But most importantly I was self-aware, I acknowledged my feelings before they became a driving force in my nutritional decisions.
-I Didn’t Try Everything at Once
I just kept it simple, I didn’t use any supplements, or tricks. I didn’t follow any specific program. I just ate sensibly, exercised consistently, de-stressed and got as much sleep as possible. These are all things that I personally find easy to maintain. If I went ahead and decided I was going to cut out sugar, train twice a day and take many expensive supplements... if my results were positive, I’d have no idea which of those things actually worked for me and I’d need to keep it all up and then some, if I plateaued.
But with this approach, I haven’t even begun to diet seriously, which gives me so much more room for improvement when and if I decide I need it. Which is exactly the way diets should be, for a short time only.
I hope you have found that helpful!
It has actually been fun using myself as the guinea pig to provide you all a little reassurance that we can make a positive change in our weight with a healthy approach. You really can have your cake and eat it to!
if you would like help actioning this kind of approach in your life, contact Kim now to help you find more balance and freedom in your diet.