Last week I was talking with some other young mothers about body image and how it changes after you have children. It is so hard to feel positive about all the new stuff: squishy belly, saggy little breasts, saddlebags, stretch marks, etc. Yes, mothers are so grateful for their children and we don’t want to erase the effect it has had on our bodies. Yet, it can be struggle to accept your new shell. I firmly believe that every woman should not agonize over the look of the body and instead on how they feel in their body. Do you have energy to get through your day? Do you feel healthy? Are you happy in the rest of your life? Those are the important things! All that being said, if you find some determination to get some more exercise while corralling your kids all day, here are a few suggestions.
Firstly: pick something you actually like to do. Back in college I occasionally went to the gym with my roommates, but it never stuck. Using the elliptical machines and treadmills was boring and I never got into it. In between baby #2 and baby #3, I found a Pilates routine that I loved from www.fitnessblender.com. I did it almost every day for like 3 months and I fit back into a bunch of old clothes! It was great because I just got a yoga mat out and did the routine in the living room with the kids playing. Right now I am into kickboxing and Pilates (also from fitnessblender.com.) I love the kickboxing! It is a great core workout and calorie burner. It is tricky because I really can only do it when the baby is napping, but I fit it in whenever I can because it makes me feel confident!
Once you find something YOU like, figure out how to work it into your day. Some parents do early morning running or trips to the gym. Some are night owls and go late at night. Taking walks with the kids is good exercise, though not quite as calorie burning if that is what you are looking for. We are mourning the loss of the evening walk as it gets darker earlier every night! Personally, I do kickboxing when the baby takes his morning nap. I seriously shove toys out of the way in the living room, bring up YouTube on the TV and turn on the workout I want to do with the volume on low. Sometimes the boys try to do the moves with me and it’s hilarious. Other days they won’t leave me alone and I end up yelling at them to “go to the other side of the room to play! You have plenty of space over there!” Still other days the baby wakes up halfway through, so I quit the kickboxing and do Pilates instead and everyone crawls all over me. Basically it is a zoo, but it’s my zoo and I love it! Sometimes I also do yoga with the kids. Seriously, search YouTube for Cosmic Kids Yoga: it’s adorable and my kids love it. They even have Star Wars and Frozen routines!
Finally, staying motivated is the hardest mountain to climb. I think if you can commit yourself to at least two weeks of exercising as many days as you can, it helps you create enough of a habit that you can stick with it better. Then, getting in a workout three times a week doesn’t seem so difficult! Having a buddy is a wonderful way to stay motivated. My two friends and I worked out together this summer. We had so much fun and we still send the occasional sweaty selfie to help each other keep it up! Hey, I will be your buddy if you need one! Having attainable goals and holding yourself accountable is helpful also. I also think that eating better helps, because you have more energy for the workout and you’ll have better results. Results always help me stay motivated!
Good luck staying active!