10 Places to Look/Ask for Support
Last Updated: Oct 18, 2013
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You have a new baby and there are plenty of things to do: caring for the baby, caring for yourself, trying to get back in shape. The trick is not going it alone. Many new moms are so overwhelmed with balancing the baby’s routine and family life that exercise and time to make healthy meals seems to fall to the bottom of the to-do list. It is possible to move post-baby body workouts and healthy meals to your can-do list with the right support. Check out these 10 suggestions from moms, fitness experts and nutritionists to get you back in those skinny jeans. Have a suggestion for post-baby bod support? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Many new moms are in the same boat as you. They feel physically and emotionally drained and find it difficult to muster the motivation to work out and cook healthy meals. Join forces and work together to slim your waistlines. “Walking with another friend who has just had a baby cannot only be supportive but a great way to get exercise,” says Elizabeth Farrell, New Mexico-based yoga instructor and practice manager for Unity Medicine. “Scheduled weekly, this can be a way to get out of the house as well as lose weight.” Designate a few time slots each week to walk together (with or without strollers) or sign up for an exercise class at a local gym that provides day care while you tone and stretch.
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To care for yourself and whip your post-baby bod in shape, it’s important to communicate your feelings and ask your spouse for support. Do you need help with dinner so you can jog around the neighborhood? Do you need him to take care of the baby so you can go to the gym? Communicate with your husband about how you are feeling and what you need from him, suggests Elizabeth Farrell, New Mexico-based yoga instructor and practice manager for Unity Medicine. “It’s important to continue talking and share what you each are going through as new parents,” she says.
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The support you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle while juggling new-baby duties may be at your fingertips. Many online communities, blogs and chat boards offer support for new moms. Whether you choose to join a site dedicated to getting your pre-baby body back or a nutrition site that will help you track calories and offer nutritious recipes, forming friendships and bonds with new moms who understand what you are going through can be the motivation you need, says Mary Hartley, New-York based resident dietitian for DietsinReview.com.
Just because you are the primary caregiver, it doesn’t mean your family and older children shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon. Make your older children part of your self- and baby-care routine, suggests Catherine Basu, certified fitness professional and owner of Fit Armadillo in Houston. “While you’re doing some strength training, have your toddler lift paper towel or toilet paper role ‘weights’ with you,” she suggests. “When you’re looking for healthy food options, involve the rest of the family and have them pick the fruit and vegetables to try.” Your children can offer support and encouragement, especially if they are on board with your post-baby workouts.
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Weight and body image can be a deeply complicated issue for many women, says Dr. Fran Walfish, California-based psychotherapist and author of “The Self-Aware Parent.” Your self image could take a hit while coping with the changes within your body and new motherhood. “This lonely feeling can work against good self-care,” says Walfish. Enlist the help of a family therapist or counselor to help you work through negative messages that can sabotage your efforts. Talking to a professional about your concerns can help you work through any emotional challenges you are facing during this time of change.
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Tap into your inner strength by enlisting the help of spiritual friends or members of your church community for emotional support. Many times, new mothers working to shape up their post-baby bods are faced with negative self-messages such as “I’m not good enough” or “I’m not pretty,” says psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish. A dose of inspiration may be just what you need to put your mind at ease, accept your inner and outer beauty and rely on others with similar beliefs during this time of transition.
Seeking out recipes for home-cooked meals that offer healthy and tasty results can sometimes be an impossible task with a new-baby routine. Instead of scheduling time to research friendly foods, enroll in a cooking class or meet with a nutritionist to plan healthy meals that will simplify your diet and daily routine. Many nutritionists and dietitians can offer healthy choices that are simple to prepare and appealing to the entire family. If you tend to nibble while cooking, plan a day to cook and freeze meals for the week. Don’t forget to ask friends and family members to help keep an eye on the kids while you and your spouse plan and prepare those scrumptious, healthy meals.
Pick up any celebrity gossip magazine and you’re likely to see a few celebrities who amazingly got their post-baby bodies back. One reason for their success is that they have a team of people on hand to make their lives easier, says Catherine Basu, certified fitness professional and owner of Fit Armadillo in Houston. “Take a page from their book by making your own team,” she suggests. Fitness centers offer personal trainers and gym buddies to help motivate you and develop your workout routine. Ask for the support you need by seeking out the resources within your local community and fitness centers.
Once you make your plans public to regain your figure, it’s likely you will find the support you need through social media. Post a status update about your plans to exercise and eat healthy and encourage moms to join you in your efforts. A social media group can help you set goals, plan meals and offer tips for time management. “Social media has been a great resource for a lot of busy, new moms to support each other, whether they have met before or not,” says Keri Lynn Ford, certified fitness trainer and founder of IgniteGirls.com, an online fitness community. “Reach out to women you met in your prenatal classes, too,” suggests Ford. “More than likely, they will be looking for a new mom friend to share their journey on baby and fitness.”
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FRIENDS AND FAMILY
If you are able to get workouts scheduled into your daily routine but still struggle with running errands, cooking and taking care of your little one, enlist friends and family to help with the kids while you’re able to take care of items on your to-do list, suggests Catherine Basu, certified fitness professional and owner of Fit Armadillo in Houston. Call on other moms or relatives who have offered to help watch your baby or organize a group of moms and rotate who watches the kids, so each mom can catch up with family, work and household responsibilities.
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Find the support you need by seeking out healthy advice from people who are immersed in the nutrition industry. Local health stores offer seminars, workshops and products to boost your energy, get you motivated to work out and supply your body with much-needed vitamins and minerals. Stop in a health food or vitamin store for easy, healthy cookbooks, suggests Tiffany Brown, owner of Fit 4 Life in Charlotte, North Carolina. Many health food stores offer one-stop grocery shopping to help you choose organic and nutritious food for the entire family, not to mention the time you will save without running to several stores throughout the week.
MOM AND ME CLASSES
If you’re struggling to find a sitter so you can exercise, bring the baby along. Many gyms, fitness centers and community centers offer mom and me classes that encourage bonding with your child while strengthening your body and your mind. Jen Fink Oppenheimer, senior teacher for moms and babies at Karma Kids Yoga in New York, suggests seeking postnatal body classes that are beneficial for moms and babies alike. “These classes provide great support for new moms,” she says. “Typically, each class begins with introductions where moms can share anything going on developmentally with their babies and also anything going on with their own bodies.” When exercise instructors are in tune with what mom and baby need, they can tailor the class to meet these needs.
How did you find the support you needed to lose the baby weight? Any more suggestions to add? Leave a comment below and let us know. Share how you got your post-baby bod back.
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