If you’re a new, mom-first off, CONGRATS!
Second, if your experience is anything like mine, you may be starting to feel the pressure of getting back to your ‘pre baby body’. What is that term even? I think we all know after giving birth that our body’s will NEVER be the same, because they performed a MIRACLE.
With a newborn and constantly adjusting to this new life, it feels impossible to find the time to workout, prep meals or simply just FOCUS. But seeing other moms are on Instagram are wonderful as slapping us with a pang of guilt trip if we aren’t keeping up with every single act of self care. It’s enough to make us want to give up before we even try and say “where’s the wine?!”
Stay with me though, because I want to share with you the number one tip that helped me lose 65 LBS and become a new confident mom with not just my first baby, but my 2nd too!
Girl, if you are like me after having a baby, you have researched every mommy blog on getting back to ‘yourself’ but nothing resonates or inspires you. It’s surface level and doesn’t take into account the chaos it is being a new mom.
First things first- let me share how I can relate to where you are right now! My name is Meredith Campbell, I live in Florida with my husband and two crazy boys! While I had two very healthy pregnancies, I also gained (and lost) 65 LBS on my small 5’1 frame, each time. I learned that my body can do incredible things like handle creating two humans, gain well more than the average weight, feed two babies, and function with very little sleep for months. Having kids is not for the weak, and while some women claim to thrive in this stage of motherhood, I was stressed, exhausted and hating my body. It was such a conflicting time.
In addition, I had preconceived notions of what giving birth would be like. Getting input from my doctors and fellow health & fitness professionals was setting me up for an unrealistic journey. I thought birthing would be less painful because of my profession or that it would be easy to lose baby weight quickly. Looking back, I realize how naive I was.
Reality smacked me in the face when it had been 2 months after my first baby and I was trying to decide what to wear and found myself paralyzed with fear. I hear stories of women going back to the corporate office after 8 weeks & here I was not even able to get dressed.
I was living in my nursing robe, not able to even shower or brush my teeth. I’d scroll social media and see women ‘enjoying’ their newfound motherhood and I couldn’t relate. I felt paralyzed and stuck in this unfamiliar place. I finally understood what postpartum depression could feel like.
If this is you, I want you to know: YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB! At the sound of being cliche I’m here to tell you IT GETS BETTER! Hang in there, mama.
Somewhere in between trying to figure out sleep and feed schedules, I came to realize that the question “what do I NEED right now?” hadn’t been in my vocabulary for 8 weeks. It was time to bring myself back into the self care equation.
Slowly, I became laser focused on ME. Call it selfish, but if I am feeling confident and cared for, then I can provide the same for my baby and everyone is happier. I had to become self-disciplined with my own self-care. That meant that my schedule was just as important as the baby’s schedule.
It all started with 5 minutes of what I call “bliss-ipline”. Everything I needed to get done for myself was in 5 min increments.
If I could spend 5 mins for myself, I could feel better and more confident.
If I could do this 5 days in a row, then I would feel less guilty with a few days missed.
Little did I know I was giving live to something else:
something I like to call the 5 Day Results Routine.
What is the 5-Day Results Routine?
The secret to the 5 Day Results Routine is it begins at night after your babe is down for the count. Each night I would lay my clothes out and repack the diaper bag with any supplies I needed. Next, I’d write out on a blank piece of paper what I envisioned my day to look like, including the feeding schedule and approximately how long each task would take.
5 minutes each night bled into the next day giving me some sort of intention and structure.
When you stick to the promises you made to yourself, your self-trust grows a bit more each time. More self-trust means to more confidence!
This is the joy of being disciplined. Or as a I call it “bliss-iplined.”
Most days my 5 minute goals began with washing my face, putting my contacts on, a touch of mascara and lip gloss, and getting dressed into cute athleisure so I felt confident. I’d tend to my baby and then throw in another 5 minute routine. I would prioritize drinking water and getting the baby prepped for a walk in the stroller. This way I was dressed, hydrated, AND moved my body by 9:30am. This was a major win for me AND it was easy to achieve. So, I did it again the next day, and tried to complete 5 days in a row.
12 weeks after my 1st C-Section, I was feeling stronger both mentally and physically. I was slowly merging the ‘old me’ with my new role as a mother. I began teaching my fitness classes and working with my online clients again. Tying in these tiny 5 min goals, balancing motherhood and returning to my old routines seemed more and more achievable each day. I was setting myself up for success because I wasn’t chasing perfection, but simply the BEST I could do each day.
I’ll be honest with you, while I thrive on being structured, I am not naturally a disciplined person. I am creative, go with the flow, free spirited type who loves to dance, travel, and any day on the water is a good day to me. I love to read, write, and express gratitude for each day of life. It took me a minute to recalibrate after giving birth and that is more than okay.
Implementing my newfound ‘bliss-apline’ meant staying somewhat structured and getting out of bed, even on the days it felt like a struggle. Those small choices got me a step closer to feeling like a human again.
Three months postpartum, I was still holding on to about 40lbs. Let’s normalize not feeling good about your body right after giving birth, mmmk??! However, it doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it!
Fact: it takes around 9 months or 40 weeks to grow a baby inside of you. Give yourself the same amount of time to heal, IF NOT MORE! Get comfortable with small 5-minute routines CONSISTENTLY to get you started.
I do want to touch on nutrition in the midst of all of this!
I was blessed to be surrounded by good ol’ southern cooking neighbors who brought casseroles for us in those early newborn days. Thank goodness because while my husband is great at so many things, cooking is not one of them, and I barely had time to think about food. We lived off casseroles and take out for the first few weeks. While I did naturally lose weight from breastfeeding and my uterus contracting back to its regular size, eventually my nutrition was a factor into feeling and looking more like myself again.
Eating is necessary when you are nursing and burning around 500 calories per day making breastmilk and feeding the baby. When it comes to nutrition and eating, I always teach and practice that while the calories are somewhat important to know, what is more important focus on nourishment and nutrients.
Marketing in the food industry has gotten completely out of control, making foods that are packaged portrayed as healthy, but really it’s full of unnecessary ingredients such as hydrogenated oil and high fructose corn syrup….. basically, harmful fat and sugar to preserve the food to have a longer shelf life. That same ‘food’ will be marked with buzz words such as “Keto” or “low fat” or “heart healthy” which tricks you into false hope that it’s healthy when really, it’s doing more harm than good. I understand how frustrating it can be to figure out exactly what is optimal to eat!
Going with my magic number “5”, I began creating a 5-day eating plan with easy “throw and go” meals. I focused mainly on prepping an abundance of veggies, protein and nutritious carb options and threw them on a plate every few hours in between diaper changes and naps.I would follow & eat my prepped food for about 5 days at a time. Each week I developed more self-confidence, control and felt I was moving in the right direction.
Need a schedule to try?
My pediatrician suggested this schedule for the first 6-9 months for my baby.
7am Wake up. Chug water & 5 min makeup
9am First Nap. This was my walk in the stroller, and possibly answering a few work messages.
11am Baby wakes up…. My first Son never napped that long unless he was in a growth spurt, so we did all the baby things, such as tummy time, playing, feeding, and learning how to eat and pick things up. I also ate during this time.
1pm: Afternoon nap. This is where I napped too, if it was a long night. Or I could get some work done, stretch, and maybe fit in a 30 min workout.
3pm: Get up and feed baby. My first son never slept this long, however, my 2nd son was a sleeper and I was forever grateful for that.
4:00-4:45. BONUS NAP: Some babies might take a cat nap. This is where I could go for a walk in the stroller, again.
5:00 pm Dinner/feeding and the bedtime routine begins.
7:00pm BABY BED TIME.
Yes, they will wake up throughout the night for feedings but eventually they will sleep the whole night. Humans thrive on schedules, and my husband thought I was crazy having dinner at 5:30 at night and putting the baby to bed, but it was worth having a schedule that I could stick to for my own mental sanity. Get your partner in on your schedule!
Here is an example of my 5 Day Results Eating Schedule:
7 am: wake up, drink water while feeding baby. Then coffee, get dressed & quick breakfast. This is a perfect time for a superfood smoothie or protein such as eggs with fruit. Keep it simple but eat in the AM!
9 am: Get some movement especially outside, if possible. If not I do a 10 minute post partum at home workout.
11:30 am: For lunch I try to have at least 2 servings veggies, a protein, and fruit. Throw it in a wrap or salad. The easiest was a “throw and go” bowl. An example is roasted broccoli, lettuce, avocado, chicken and dressing!
1-4 pm: Snack Time! I tried my best to stick to fruits and veggies, and healthy fiber filled carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes. I know it sounds blah, but trust me…..your body needs these types of foods for ENERGY. Try some hummus and carrots or cucumbers to keep the energy high until bedtime
5:30-6pm: Dinner time is light and simple. I usually just do a protein such as fish or chicken with a veggie side.
Be realistic on the weekends and that things can get off schedule! I would have a glass of wine or a beer, and enjoy Sunday brunch with friends. However when Monday came, I was back to my regular schedule.
Having disciplined weekdays and more freedom on the weekends I found the balance of Bliss-ipline! I was able to lose 65lbs not once, but TWICE with my children.
If you want more energy, confidence and like YOURSELF postpartum, then commit to TINY changes over time. As your baby grows and changes, so do you! In this stage of motherhood I wake up before everyone else gets up to complete my workout. My self care routines are much longer than 5 minutes because my schedule allows it now and it’s a time I CHERISH to myself.
I read a quote that went something like this:
“I know a lot of people would DIE for their children, but would you LIVE for them? You only DIE once, but you can live everyday.”
Let that sink in. Be an example of what living life to the fullest looks like to your kids. They are going to care about your pant size or how you look in a bikini. Instead they’ll remember your energy, happiness and sparkle for LIFE!
You got this, mama.
To get a more detailed example of my 5 Day Results method, check out my e-book here!