Meet Laura: A Real Mom’s Experience with Exercise & New Motherhood
Fit for Expecting is launching a new blog series of real moms sharing their experiences and challenges with exercise and motherhood. At the end of each post, our experts weigh in with their tips and recommendations to help them reach their goals and overcome the challenges they’re facing.
Hi everyone! My name is Laura. I live in Raleigh, North Carolina with my husband, our dog, and 7-month-old little girl. I Commute 45-50 minutes twice a day to Durham, North Carolina where I work at an affiliate of Duke Medical Center.
As a recovering overweight teenager, I turn to food in times of happiness, sadness, tiredness, or any excuse to eat. I have learned better things to eat, but sometimes fail in making good choices.
While in college, I made the decision one day that I was going to take charge of my health and change my outlook on food and exercise. I lost 40 pounds over one summer and a semester.
In the years leading up to my first pregnancy, I had lost and gained weight, wavered between running 45 miles a week to zero miles a week and everything in between. I’ve run a handful of 5Ks and 8Ks before I got out of “running shape.” Immediately before I was pregnant, I began a serious weight-loss program, lost 25 pounds and was attending intense spinning classes 3 times a week. I was in the best health of my life and felt great. This was the best time to get pregnant because my body was in peak health to carry and grow my baby.
When I last checked, I was about 10-15 pounds from my ideal pre-pregnancy weight and, like many other new moms, everything is still very “squishy” and out of its original place. I have made strides to bring workouts into the home with yoga DVDs, the corresponding yoga mat, walks an the occasional 3 mile run, where is it blatantly obvious that I am very out of shape.
I make excuses for not working out everyday, or even the measly 3 days a week that I would like. My biggest excuse is that I drive at least 1.5 hours everyday and am able to spend 3 hours with my daughter on a good day. These 3 hours are the most meaningful and important times for me, which is why I have made it a priority over going to the spin classes that I loved and craved. I enjoy having an early dinner, so after nursing my daughter and putting her to bed for her 7:15 PM bedtime I don’t feel the urge to workout, I would rather spend time with my husband and relax from the long day.
I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences as a working, commuting, nursing mommy. I hope it will encourage me to get back on to the proverbial exercise horse, and lay the groundwork to show my daughter how important and fun exercise is to our health and happiness.
Lots of moms out there can identify with the struggles that come with being a mother and having a full-time career outside of the home. I applaud you for your commitment to finding ways to exercise while balancing a demanding work and home life.
You might want to try out splitting up your daily exercise into two short workouts. For example, do a quick 10 minute circuit in the morning before leaving for work and then a workout where you use your daughter as the weight when you get home. Click here for an example of a baby weight workout.
One way to measure your progress without stepping on the scale is to do regular fitness tests, such as the plank test. Hold a plank for as long as you can and record your time. Repeat the test once a week and then after a month, look at your times to see if you’ve been able to gradually increase the amount of time that you can hold the plank.
Exercise is only one piece of the puzzle. I’d also recommend keeping a food journal. It’s a great way to keep yourself on track, especially since you have a history of food issues. At the end of the week, take a look at the journal and identify potential issues and opportunities to improve the following week. Often times you can identify areas that need improvement on your own, but if you feel like you need professional help or want a detailed analysis done on your eating, visit a registered dietitian in your area. Click here to find a registered dietitian near you.