I get asked this question sooo much! Usually, it goes a little something like this….
New Mum arrives at MumFit Class….”I went out for a run the other day…I was so pleased with myself for getting out running again!”
Me (diplomatic face)…”I probably wouldn’t recommend that you start running quite yet. It is early days and you can damage your core and pelvic floor.”
New Mum…”Oh. But if I can’t run, how am I going to lose this baby weight?”
Firstly, I would like to say that I always feel really bad when I tell a Mum that they really shouldn’t be running. However, I don’t do it to be a killjoy and to stop them in their weight loss tracks. I do it because I honestly believe that running in those first few months after pregnancy can be risky.
There is the risk of damaging your already delicate pelvic floor and tummy (whatever kind of birth you’ve had) and an increased risk of injury, knee pain and back pain. Even if you feel absolutely fine, your insides haven’t quite caught up with you yet. And particularly if you are breastfeeding (and for several weeks after you finish breastfeeding) your usual support systems are still less supportive than they normally would be.
So what does this mean for new mums who want to start losing the baby weight? First of all, there are loads of other exercises for getting toned, fit and strong again – things like squats, lunges, high press ups (on the wall rather than the floor) and using resistance bands. Just ask the mums who come to my MumFit Classes – pretty much everyone comes on the second week and tells me about how much they could feel the work after their first session back.
Secondly, the weight loss bit can be addressed in large part through nutrition. Make sure you’re getting enough protein (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, seeds), good fats (avocado, coconut oil, eggs) and slow release carbs (oats, brown rice, quinoa, wholegrain) as well as loads of veg, while reducing sugar (as much as is reasonable when sleep deprived), caffeine and refined carbs (white pasta, bread, biscuits, cakes). Whatever you do don’t cut calories too far. You’ll end up low on energy and your body will heal more slowly, and that’s not doing anyone any favours at this point!
Finally, be kind to yourself. Getting fit after pregnancy is important – it’s important for mind, body and soul – but it’s also not a race. There’s no prize for how quickly you can lose your baby weight. Focus on wellbeing and on looking after yourself, move as much as you can, nourish your body, and the weight loss will come.
If you want to find out lots more, get yourself signed up to my newsletter and look out for lots more to come over the next few weeks on postnatal recovery, fitness and weight loss, including some mini workout videos. It will also mean that you’re first to hear when I launch my online programme designed especially for new mums who want to get fit, lose weight and be full of energy.
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