As you know, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and raising small children can wear out both your body and mind. However, just because you’re a mom, doesn’t mean you can’t look and feel great about yourself. You are not being vain or selfish by taking a little time to yourself—and don’t let anyone tell you differently! Here are a couple tricks for getting your body back and giving your confidence a boost.
Use a Planner
First look at your family’s schedules for the week. Write everything out and include as much detail as possible—bedtimes, practices, school, work, naps, errands, meals, playdates, birthday parties—you name it. Organization can help you feel less overwhelmed with all the things you need to do during the week. Using a planner or calendar will also help you squeeze in a little time for exercise. I find that when I don’t plan my workouts into my schedule, I tend to skip them.
Meal prepping during the week will not only save you time but can also save you money. You will have your dinners ready to pop in the microwave or oven for reheating, so there will be no excuse to waste money eating out. On top of that, meal prepping generally means healthier food and proper portion sizes. Being in a rush or on-the-go are usually the times when people slip up and opt for mac and cheese or frozen pizza.
Ask for Help!
Being a mom is far from easy. Do not be too prideful to ask for help. Ask your significant other, family members, or close friends to watch the kids every once in awhile so you can get in a good workout, a night out on the town, or a long nap.
The last thing you should be doing is a fad diet or restricting your calories. You need nutritious food to help give you energy to tackle the day. Breastfeeding moms need those calories even more. Go for lean meats, whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Try to stay away from processed food and anything that has ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Drink lots of water throughout the day to speed up your metabolism and keep your belly full to prevent unnecessary snacking. A good rule is to always keep a reusable water bottle with you at all times. If water is close by, you’ll probably drink it without even thinking.
A short nap of around 30 minutes has been shown to improve alertness, productivity, memory, and learning capacity. As any mom of a newborn knows, running on 2 hours of sleep and a large coffee is not a sustainable way to live. A short nap during the day can give you the energy you need to power through your day while your sleep schedule is out of whack.
Talk to Your Local Plastic Surgeon
Pregnancy often causes a condition called diastasis recti—separated abdominal muscles. And after breastfeeding, many women develop sagging or deflated breasts. Unfortunately, this type of loose skin and sagging breasts cannot be fixed with diet and exercise alone. If you are unhappy with the way your body looks after pregnancy, consider a mommy makeover procedure. According to female plastic surgeon Dr. Sugene Kim, who specializes in restorative procedures for moms, a Mommy Makeover can tighten your separated muscles, remove excess skin, get rid of unwanted fat pockets, and restore a youthful breast contour—all in one procedure.
Try At-home Workout Apps
Getting yourself to the gym can be difficult when you have small children, so it’s not always the most practical plan to get a gym membership. Instead, download a fitness app on your phone that gives you step-by-step workouts. Many of these apps have H.I.I.T. routines that only last about 30 minutes, so you can do them while your baby takes a nap or you kids watch TV. Most of these workouts require no equipment, so you can even do them in the comfort of your living room.
Take a Moment to Destress
Not only is stress bad for your mental health, but it can also cause weight gain. When the stress hormone called cortisol rises, your insulin levels will also rise, and your blood sugar will drop. This leads to those sugary, junk food cravings, and long-term stress often leads to weight gain. Try meditating, yoga, or breathing exercises. Even just a few minutes of these activities can help get rid of your stress.
Try not to get down on yourself if you aren’t seeing the results you want—good things take time. Stay as motivated as you can because a positive outlook will make the process a whole lot easier. Don’t fixate too much on the numbers on the scale. Try to focus more on how you feel.
Remember, you deserve to feel confident. Use what little free time you have to better yourself. A happy, stress-free, and self-assured mom will make for a happy household!