I developed habits to stay fit throughout my pregnancy, something I took pride in. Having slacked off on working out pre-pregnancy, I could not run marathons or anything, but I maintained a reasonably healthy lifestyle. The hardcore workouts could come later. My immediate goals included controlled weight gain, a healthy fetus, and a safe, natural delivery.
To achieve my goals, I enrolled in a yoga class, which turned out to be one of the best things I did for myself. I looked forward to my Saturday morning class and our teacher’s positive motivation. Being able to stretch, move, and hold poses even as my belly grew and my capabilities shifted gave me confidence and just felt so good. I wish I could have gone more than once a week.
I also tried my best to make smart eating choices – most of the time. I kept a food log and occasionally checked in with my sister, whose training in the medical field enabled her to give guidance on nutritional choices. Granted, I indulged cravings. I had dessert a lot. I ate pizza for lunch and dinner one whole week when that was all I could stomach. However, I added extra veggies and whole foods to balance out the sugar and fast food.
And then I had a baby. That’s when the excuses started piling up in all their glory:
1. I just can’t work out yet. Really, this is the only legitimate excuse. I had major surgery. I had to wait for clearance from the doctor because I didn’t want to do damage to my abdominal muscles.
2. I can’t work out because my body still doesn’t feel like my own. Even when I received clearance to work out again, just getting through the day challenged me enough. The few days I overdid it, I went to bed feeling like I had been hit by a dump truck. I did NOT want to add to that feeling by throwing a workout routine into the mix.
3. I don’t know where to start. I had just experienced 9 months where my weight, shape, and center of gravity constantly shifted. Through prenatal yoga, I trusted my workout plan to someone who had studied the best possible routines for me. I could just show up and follow directions (and listen to my body) and know that it would be ok. Unfortunately, I gave up my yoga subscription when Little Dude was born. I just could not get the scheduling down to make it to class. Without class, I lacked the guidance I needed to dive back in to the exercise regimen.
4. I don’t have the time. With a newborn who eats, sleeps, and poops around the clock, plus a routine that included pumping 5-6 times (or more) per day, the thought of adding an exercise routine to the mix brought on full-fledged panic. I just wanted to sleep somewhere in there!
5. I don’t have the energy. Even when the routine got a little more normal, the fatigue lingered. The knowledge that a quick workout could combat some of the fatigue just did not get me off the couch.
I could go on…
6. I have too many chores to do.
7. I have to meal prep.
8. I’m not feeling well.
9. I have too many errands to run.
10. I’m just going to be fat forever.
Right about the time I saw my 9-months-pregnant friend doing a yoga pose on a rocky ridge in the middle of a hike (She does fitness for a living; I wouldn’t try that without training), I took stock of my stale excuses. If she could find the time to do something – anything – to keep moving and find the healthy in each day, and if I could embrace my health when I was 9 months pregnant, then what the heck was I doing now? The excuses needed to go, and I needed to find ways to get moving again. I needed to shed the baby weight and get back into a body I felt comfortable with.
So here’s the plan (Note: I am not a dietician or trainer. This is my plan based on research and guidance. Make sure you consult with a professional before making any changes to your own lifestyle):
1. Meal log. Writing down what I ate kept me accountable before; I can do that again. I will keep a running log in my bullet journal of what I eat and how it makes me feel. I will also keep track of glasses of water and movement breaks each day. I will enter information into a fitness tracker and/or text it to my accountability buddies. The goal is not to diet, but to make healthier choices.
2. Set actionable fitness goals. I want to run, and I want to do yoga. So, I researched a 5K training routine, and sprinkled in yoga on the “off” days. I found an app that will randomize a yoga routine for me at home (It won’t take the place of a live class, but at least it will be convenient for now). Once I complete my 5K goal, I will either increase speed or distance. When I complete the training, I will find a 5K to run in, preferably with friends.
3. Celebrate healthy lifestyle choices. I am excited about this part of the plan. I intend to focus on the positive steps I am taking to get healthy again, rather than what I am denying myself. Therefore, any time throughout the day when I make the healthier of two (or more) choices, I will record it in a running list in my bullet journal. I can feel motivated to keep doing the good things as my list grows.
For now, that’s it. I hope my plans inspire you to start that long-overdue step toward some positive change in your life as well.
Did I forget anything I should add to my plan? Let me know in the comments below, or reach out on social media.
And if you’re looking for a bullet journal so you can start goal setting, I highly recommend this one! (Note: If you select this affiliate link to purchase your bullet journal, I may receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.)