Let Go & Lose Weight

A few weeks ago, I saw a client (let’s call her “J”) who has just had her second son.  She’s just 6 weeks postpartum but very serious about getting back into fighting shape and losing the baby weight.  Before her second son she weighed about 140 pounds.  I was quizzing her about her pregnancy weight gain and her current versus ideal weight. “So, how much did you gain with this pregnancy?” J’s eyes roll upward and you can practically SEE mommy brain setting in… “57 pounds.” My eyes bulge out of my head.  Not because it’s so much weight.  It is a lot of weight to gain in pregnancy but not more than I’ve heard before.  I can’t help my reaction because J doesn’t look to me like she’s got more than 10-15 pounds to lose, max.  Where did all that weight go in 6 weeks?  I envision horrible crash dieting.  “So, at your heaviest you were?…” I wait for J to fill in the blank. “177 pounds,” J says, a little embarrassed. A bit of quick math: “So you gained 37 pounds!  Not 57 pounds.” J is astonished but relieved.  All this time she thought she had gone completely overboard and gained 57 pounds in this pregnancy.   Mommy brain is a powerful thing; J works in business and deals with numbers all the time.  Not even a PhD in Quantum Physics can protect you from mommy brain (okay, okay, J doesn’t have actually have a degree in quantum physics, but you catch my drift…).  A few weeks of sleeplessness and you’re lucky if you can remember your own name. But now J realizes if she only gained 37 pounds, maybe it hasn’t quite been melting off her as quickly as she thought.  About 20 are gone and the other 15-20 are clinging, as they always do, to her tummy and especially to her hips and thighs. J and I worked on a number of things that day, especially how to work with her son in his carrier or in her arms through her workout, something we deal with during our Belly Bootcamp classes.  There were also intermittent breaks for nursing, cuddling, jiggles, bounces and burps.  Sound frustrating?  It can be.  But what’s more frustrating is not making the time at all.  Sure, an uninterrupted workout would be wonderful!  Blissful, even!  (If a workout can be blissful.)  But an interrupted workout is better than no workout at all. Let go of your idea of a “workout.”  I guarantee you will actually get more exercise if you do.

  • Think you can’t stop moving the entire time? Not true.  Break your cardio into 5- or 10-minute chunks with nursing, cuddling and chatting breaks as needed.  Do half your cardio in the morning and half in the afternoon.  Do what you can!  The heart has no stopwatch.
  • Think there’s no point in exercising if you can’t do cardio? Not so.  Strength training burns lots of calories and revs your metabolism for up to 72 hours after, working for you long after you stop exercising.  Strength training can be done at home with very little or no equipment.
  • Think you can’t get in a good workout without your equipment, gym, trainer or class? Doing the same workout over and over can cause you to stop getting results; when you can’t do your usual thing, take advantage of the opportunity to shock your body by doing something new. 
  • Think you won’t get any results if you don’t do a whole 30 (or 40, or 60) minutes? Study after study have shown that even 10-minute workouts produce results – plus, if you are exercising for just 10-20 minutes you can probably exercise every day without having to schedule rest days as you would with longer workouts (not to mention you don’t have to schedule childcare or naps around a 10-minute workout; even the fussiest baby will lay happily for 10 minutes and watch you do jumping jacks and squats).
let go

stress less to lose more

Stop thinking of exercise as a black-and-white part of your life. Not every workout has to be long, organized or planned.  Turn your walk into a workout. Pop in a DVD you haven’t tried in a while and exercise your heart out until the baby (or kids) start fussing.  Plop baby in his carrier or corral the kids into doing squats and lunges with you.  Invite a friend to try a new class. Or just run up and down your stairs for a few minutes, a few times a day.  No exercise is wasted. Each little bit adds up. And did I mention it helps clear up mommy brain?

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