Since I first started writing the posts “The Body I Have This Summer (Parts 1 and 2)” I have already lost 2 pounds, bought a new two piece-bikini and retired my pre-pregnancy swimming suits and maternity ones too. Making peace with the body I have now and sharing it out loud that I want to reach my pre-pregnancy weight (155 pounds) has been working as a “miracle” formula for me. This and, most importantly, taking action and going back to exercising 3 times a week, between teaching Zumba, taking Zumba classes and walking/running outdoors. I am also eating more salads and veggies and less meat and bread, which I have done before but haven’t been consistent. This time it will be different because we are all holding each other accountable, right? Operation “Hot Mom’s Body Back” is in full force!
I invite you to declare that your retired two-piece bikini will fit you again in no time and that you too will give a chance to one of the multiple ways to lose weight after pregnancy. I feel lucky to present to you in this post four inspiring stories of mothers who found their way to lose the baby weight and to stay physically active after having children. I hope that at least one of them will inspire you to do the same. Or maybe you will be the one inspiring all of us very soon?
Lauren Hill is a former NFL cheerleader for the NY Jets and now a full time mom of three children under 5. When her first-born was 4 months-old she joined Stroller Strides, a fun morning group fitness class taking place either inside or outside of the mall designed for mothers that want to work out accompanied by their children in their strollers.“I didn’t want to leave my girl at a gym nursery or find someone to watch her while I worked out” remembers Lauren about what made Stroller Strides the right decision for her. Being able to stay close to her daughter during the workout was just one of the benefits of Stroller Strides. She has lost weight but she also gained friendships and a supporting community of mothers just like her.
Four years later, and 2 more children later, Lauren Hill still keeps herself in good shape by attending Stroller Strides twice per week. Even though she has never been back to her pre-pregnancy weight (98 pounds) she looks very confident and healthy with her 110 pound body. “My life is very different now with three children and I don’t have the need to be a size 0 like in my cheerleading times.”
There is no doubt that life changes with children and that we start a new relationship with managing our time and our bodies transformed by pregnancy. Juliana Costa, a full time mom of a 22 month boy, is a good example of that. Before getting pregnant, she used to lift weights, teach private tennis lessons, participate in tennis competitions, and if that is not enough, she also danced Salsa twice a week. As baby grew in her belly, the working out started to shrink. She ended up gaining a total of 23 pounds during her pregnancy.
It was not until her son turned 10 months old that she finally found a workout to stick to and gradually lose the baby weight. “At first I tried working out at the gym but my son would cry at the nursery and I got very discouraged” she remembers. With support from her husband and mother-in-law to watch her baby, she started attending a high-intensity interval training class at Orange Theory Fitness, twice a week. “I like the classes there because they combine cardio and resistance exercises, so I was able to lose weight and tone my muscles at the same time”.
Even though she has continued this exercise format for about one year now and is back to her pre-pregnancy weight, she shares that her belly has never been the same. That is because pregnancy stretch marks showed up uninvited and she also had an abdominal separation. Now she prefers to rock a one-piece bikini at the beach, which is trendy anyways. She also keeps dancing Salsa once a week, now with her husband and her baby boy along.
If for Lauren and Juliana leaving their children at the gym nursery was never an option, to Lorena Rabago, former broadcast journalist, part-time realtor and full-time mom of two, childcare was a deciding factor when joining the YMCA Bob Sierra. “Knowing that my kids are happy and safe at the Kids Zone gives me peace of mind to have an enjoyable and productive workout.”
Lorena goes to the gym four times a week. She attends a variety of group fitness classes from Zumba to Yoga, and she also creates her own routines of interval training exercise using a treadmill and strength training with weights and bands. Even thought she hasn’t gone back to her weight prior to pregnancy, she feels healthy and in a great shape (most days). More than that, she shares how she feels more emotionally balanced when she exercises. “Exercising is a great antidote to grumpiness, low energy, and of course weight gain. But it’s not only about the weight. For me, it helps me stay sane and to keep up with my kids.”
I am sure that just like Lorena, Rafaella Grady has discovered the benefits of exercising for motherhood. Even though she has a full-time job and two daughters ages one and four, she has been attending the Burn Boot Camp program five days a week at 5:30 a.m. for 10 months now. Not surprisingly, she is back to her first pre-pregnancy weight. “The first month it was tough. I was still breastfeeding my baby girl multiple times in the middle of the night and all I could think in the morning was of how much I wanted to stay in bed and sleep in.” Despite being tired sometimes, Rafaella chose to wake up early to exercise and she has lost 20 pounds since she first started the boot camp. As if she hasn’t inspired us enough, on Saturdays she has been running in the morning. And when her husband is traveling for work, she still wakes up at 4:50 a.m. and exercises on her own, at home, before the kids are up.
As we can see, after having children, the workouts (and everything else?) seen to be done around the kids. There are many exercising options and all we have to do is to find the right one for us and them. The answer might be working out in your home while they are still sleeping, or choosing a gym that has a reliable childcare, or maybe you can choose an exercise that they can join you. The most important for me though, is to detach from the weight we once had or the one we want in the future, accept ourselves in the present and take the first step to reach our fitness goals and the body you want. Cheers to the body we have this Summer, the one we can transform one day at the time.