I recently shared a post encouraging new moms to step away from the scale.
Our bodies will be different after growing humans inside them and the number on the scale is largely an irrelevant measure of our postpartum recovery. Moreover, hopping on the scale every few days with fingers crossed can actually work against us in ultimately making peace with our bodies.
But I absolutely get it. When you’re not focusing on weight loss, a natural question is, “What should I do instead?”
My answer is focus on YOU, mama! Ask yourself these questions daily and remember that you deserve to take care of yourself in each of these ways:
Are you eating regularly throughout the day? This is hugely important for new moms! Either we don’t eat because we’re focused only on the baby, because there’s nothing to eat in the house, and/or because we’re hoping that skipping food will lead to weight loss. Not cool!
Your food doesn’t have to be anything fancy – cereal and milk, a simple PB or deli meat sandwich, hummus and crackers or veggies. Having them stocked in the house is step #1! And if someone asks “What can I do?” you know the answer… “Bring food!”
I recently committed fixing myself (not just my kids!) a real breakfast every day. Follow along on Instagram with #realmomsrealbreakfast and share your own breakfast if you are inspired!
Are you hydrated? This has a major impact on how we feel, but it’s so easy to forget! And lukewarm coffee doesn’t count! (Well, it sort of counts but all coffee and nothing else doesn’t count). Some strategies to try out:
» Purchase and carry a dedicated water bottle (and make it off-limits to your toddler if you have one!)
» Try a new favorite herbal tea or batch of fruit infused water and keep an iced pitcher of it in the refrigerator.
» Stock up on flavored seltzer. This one’s my fav. It really helps me to be able to grab one from the fridge whenever I’m feeling low!
» Keep a water bottle wherever you often nurse or pump and remember to “restock” while you’re nursing/pumping.
Can you do your activities of daily living? I’m not talking about whatever hardcore workout you did pre-baby. I mean, “Can you lift the carseat?” and “Can you dash upstairs?” And if the answer is no, or if it’s yes but these activities are very straining for you, what baby steps can you take to start restoring your strength?
Remember that exercise is most sustainable when we enjoy the activity! So think about what will work for you and your lifestyle. Home strength training, yoga, daily stroller walks? For me, walking and the home strength training program Mutu System fit the bill.
Does what you see in the mirror bring a smile to your face? Sure, this one’s about how you look but the smile part is about how you feel. There is a very, very good chance that your pre-baby clothes won’t work for you and trying to make them work will be frustrating and depressing. A few new comfortable pieces that make you feel great can make a world of difference. But I get that this is way easier said than done! A few strategies that have worked for me:
» If your new bub is content in a stroller, or another caregiver can take over for a few hours, make the time to hit your favorite stores for a dedicated mama-only (read: no baby clothes!) shopping session.
» Shop online and fully intend to return half (or more!) of what you buy. I often use the secondhand site ThredUp, which has an excellent return policy, and the new Amazon Prime Wardrobe (select seven items, try them on at home and only pay for what you keep) looks very promising for this.
When I really think about it, the number on the scale isn’t about us and how we feel. If it were, we would be confident and accepted no matter what that number showed. But the above four habits are about us (yes, even the clothing one because we deserve it) and we need and deserve to make time for them even when we’re caring for our babies.
What habit has helped you the most in your postpartum recovery? What do you still need to work on?