Local physical therapist and TV personality offers seven tips to help new moms create a healthier lifestyle for the whole family.
Welcome to the most impactful, exhausting, overwhelming, all-encompassing, full-time job you will ever have — motherhood! As a new mom, finding the balance between your needs and those of your new child can be challenging, and that bounce-back, post-baby body is never quite as easy as the celebs make it seem.
The truth is there is no magic solution to getting you back to your pre-baby bod, nor should you put that additional pressure on yourself during a time when your world has undoubtedly been turned upside down. Instead, I challenge you to shift your focus from the outward appearance of your physique to what matters most — the state of health for both you and your baby. Because guess what? You are now an influencer!
You are officially the top influencer for the one human that matters the most: your child. Your actions are no longer personal, as you now have a tiny human who relies solely upon you for every aspect of their being. We often talk about how observant young kids are as we watch them soak up all of their surroundings. They mimic the way we move, the things we say, the foods we eat, and more. We know that for a child, a healthy lifestyle begins at home. So if taking care of you doesn’t get you motivated to make healthier decisions, maybe your little one will.
- Keep the Family Healthy, Fit and Safe During the Holiday Rush
- Try A Resolution Vision Board This New Year’s
- 5 Exercises to Help Your Kids Develop a Mindful Brain
Here are a few quick tips to help you get going:
1. Stick to the outermost aisles of the grocery store.
The grocery store is set up so that fresh fruits, veggies and even the freshest meat options are in the outermost aisles, while the middle aisle tends to be stocked with packaged and processed foods. So one simple tip is to avoid the middle aisles, as even those 100-calorie packs are highly processed and not as healthy as they seem.
2. Explore new ways to work out.
YouTube offers every workout class you could possibly want, and oftentimes those instructors are some of the best in the world in Pilates, yoga, barre, kickboxing, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) classes, and more. You can even find some great mom and baby workouts.
3. Stay hydrated
Oftentimes when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty — and it’s estimated that 75 percent of Americans are dehydrated. Not only is drinking water great for helping you feel fuller longer, but it is also a great aid to milk production if you’re still nursing your baby.
4. Get stronger.
So often I see new moms focus solely on cardio to combat post-baby weight gain. However, adding strength training to your workout routine may just transform your weight loss. Strength training helps you build more muscle and lean muscles burn more fat than any other tissue in the body. Therefore adding more muscle to your frame will increase your metabolic rate, increasing the number of calories your body burns, even at rest.
5. Reward yourself, appropriately.
When losing weight safely, progress can be slow. We’re talking 1 pound or less per week, slow. So, along this journey, it’s far more important to celebrate consistency over the number on the scale. If there’s a week where you’ve made good food choices consistently or have been active every day of the week, that deserves to be recognized. But instead of reaching for a dessert or cocktail to celebrate that win, find other ways to reward yourself — maybe with a manicure, a massage or even alone time with a movie or book. Your hard work deserves to be recognized, but be careful not to use it as an excuse to sabotage your hard work.
6. Find an exercise you enjoy doing.
No matter how much your neighbor is raving about how much they love their workout class, exercise is not a one-size-fits-all solution. And while the idea of doing only high-intensity workouts may seem like the better use of your time in the short term, the reality is that the best exercise for you is simply the one that you will continue to do, every day, across your lifespan. Consistency is key.
7. Get an accountability buddy.
If you get up and go walking every morning, encourage a neighbor to join you. If you’re headed to the gym, drag a friend along. Or even if you go alone, find an accountability partner. I have a friend who lives hundreds of miles away, but each morning we text one another to ensure we are up and headed to the gym. I don’t always feel like going, but having a partner in crime (and another person to celebrate my successes) makes all the difference.
As a mother, friend, sister, wife, co-worker, neighbor, etc., you should not underestimate the influence you have within each of your roles. Your lifestyle, in some way, affects your family. Your actions affect your home. Habits, albeit good or bad, are contagious, and a person is often the product of his or her surroundings. And for your growing family, the change starts with you.
So I challenge you to start 2023 strong, using your growing family as your motivation to get active, eat well and model the behavior you hope to impress upon your family.
Desiree Williams, PT, DPT, is a TV host and personality, actress and author with a doctorate degree in physical therapy and a past life as a college professor. She stunned viewers as a castaway on Season 35 of “Survivor” so much so that CBS had her back for the first season of the newest reality competition show, “The Challenge: USA.”