Dara Bergeron says getting fit after pregnancy begins with introducing bite-size habits into your daily schedule. A mom to three, the health and fitness expert who created the Belly Bootcamp and Mama Reset programs specifically for post-partum moms, says be patient, listen to your body and work towards reasonable goals instead of re-hauling your routine. “I ask moms to look for those few minutes a day instead of stressing about committing to a one-hour workout,” says Dara. “For example, when you have a new baby, it’s about finding time to move in your daily life like pushing them in a swing at the park; it’s not about the stress of meeting metrics like taking 10000 steps.” In fact, her 28-day Reboot, which consists of a daily workout that only requires 10 minutes, is her most popular online program.
According to researchers, these small habits make a difference. Studies show that moderate exercise, such as 30-minute walk with your babe, can increase your energy and stamina. (Remember to always consult your doctor before beginning any active fitness program). Postpartum exercise has also been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety and depression. In terms of diet, research also indicates simple improvements like switching processed carbohydrates for whole grains will help you maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle in the long run.
Reaching Small Milestones With Big Impact
A big supporter of fueling your mom life with realistic changes to help you get fit after pregnancy, here’s Dara’s take-home advice:
Walk, everywhere. And it doesn’t matter if it’s at the pace of your toddler while getting them to daycare. If you are pushing the needle towards feeling healthy, mobile and confident, especially in the post-partum stage when you’re zonked and sleep-deprived, you’re doing great.
Fit in an extra daily chore. Whether you’re cleaning the car, doing yard work or finishing a load of laundry, these movements count as exercise while helping you stay on top of your to-do list and building the necessary strength to carry your baby or lift your stroller.
Roll it out. Instead of Netflix and chill, stream and stretch. Keep a foam roller handy and iron out the kinks in the neck, shoulders and back from feeding and holding your wee one all day.
Make it a #foodie weekend. Take Friday night to plan your meals, go shopping over the weekend and prep on Sunday. Whip up a big batch of grains and protein like salmon or chicken that you can mix together with dressing to eat at home or bring to the office during the week. It’s about meal-planning for your sanity and health, not about restricting certain foods or dieting.
Shop smarter. Eating can be closely tied to emotions, especially when you’re tired and sleep-deprived. With this in mind, keep your trigger foods out of the house and feed your cravings with healthier options. For example, switch potato chips with salted nuts which also provide an extra hit of body-fueling protein and energy.
Enjoy your breakfast. When you crush back a smoothie in a rush, you’ll be tempted to have another snack by 9am. Have a coffee, juice or fruit when you wake-up, finish the morning rush and then eat and appreciate your food without feeling hurried. Try a smoothie, nut butter sandwich or a breakfast burrito.
Drink water in more than one go. The mistake a lot of moms make is forgetting to drink water and then chugging a litre or more once. Get in the habit of having water when you wake-up and frequently throughout the day, especially while breastfeeding, because dehydration zaps you of the energy you need to care for your babe.
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