Advice From a Yoga Instructor On What It Means to Stay Fit As a New Mom

AUTHOR: AMY BUNTON

“Spend at least ten minutes of everyday showering yourself with self-love (because all peace starts with you).”

 I think every parent struggles with self-care and taking time for ourselves because our lives are so focused on providing for the little ones in our lives. Providing for our children is certainly a huge part of becoming a parent, but we have to stop and take some time for ourselves too or we begin to lose ourselves.

Maintaining balance is hard when you become a parent and it takes real, disciplined effort. Those who have balance in their lives make it look easy, but it is far from easy. Take the time to feel the sun’s warmth and glow on your face. Allow yourself some “me” time, whatever that means to you, whether it’s a meditation, a workout, reading a book, or doing a hobby you enjoy. Don’t get so caught up in the daily grind that you forget about the little things. We only live once.

“Allow yourself some ‘me’ time, whatever that means to you. Don’t get so caught up in the daily grind that you forget about the little things. We only live once.

For me, my “me” time is teaching yoga and practicing when I can. A lot of people think that if you’re a yoga teacher, you do yoga all the time. But I am here to tell you that teaching a yoga class and taking a yoga class are two completely different experiences. When you teach yoga, sometimes you get so busy providing space for other people in your life that you forget your own practice. When I first went back to work after my son was born, I completely lost my own practice because I was so busy teaching and adjusting to life as a new mom. My mind was in a state of chaos and in turn, my body felt terrible and my mood spiraled down to a dark abyss. I wasn’t eating right and I wasn’t giving my soul what I needed to flourish. And I wasn’t being the parent I wanted to be.

It wasn’t until I was entered in a postpartum depression program that I started to realize how important self-care is not only in everyone’s lives, but especially when you become a new parent. One of the biggest topics addressed in the program is how to squeeze in some time for self-care. And I’m not talking about anything extravagant like a spa day or anything (although if you have childcare and can afford such a thing, I’d say go for it! :P). Self-care is carving out just TEN MINUTES for yourself everyday. Yes, I said EVERYDAY. Ten minutes to read a book, take a hot shower, sit down and enjoy a meal, meditate, go for walk, stretch, journal, color (it’s not just for kids!), listen to music, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea (or glass of wine or a beer), call a friend . . . the list goes on.

Actually, here’s a great photo on 50 ways to take a break. ;-)

 “Self-care is carving out just TEN MINUTES for yourself everyday. Yes, I said EVERYDAY.”

 I recently posted a video of me in a sports bra and yoga pants on social media (https://instagram.com/p/BUhmuWED18BQbPn-J9jiPnWJnv6ShoLbHPOJyw0/). It took a lot of courage to post that video because I don't look at toned as I would like to be or as toned as I even used to be. But here's the thing: pregnancy is a wonderful experience, yet both that and childbirth changes a woman's body forever. There is so much pressure surrounding women and their need to be fit and skinny as it is, and then there is even more pressure put on moms to lose the baby weight and get back to their pre-pregnancy weight, shape and size. This is a total load of foul crap. Yes, it is healthy for us to lose the baby weight, but that does not mean we have to return to our pre-pregnancy size.

My body is not what it used to be, but I am also not who I used to be. I've become a mother and my body needs to be able to meet the physical and mental demands of parenting. That means strengthening my body even if it means that the scale may never reflect the the pounds that I used to see before I was pregnant. It also means carving out ten minutes a day for myself. And you know what? That's all OK! I have found peace of mind and I am mentally tough now. My body feels physically stronger now that it ever has before. I may not been as toned as I used to be, have the 6-pack that I used to have, or even be at 12.5% body fat like I once was (when I used to consider myself "fit" or in my "best shape"), but I am HEALTHY. I am STRONG. I am FIT.

“I am HEALTHY. I am STRONG. I am FIT.”

If you're a mom struggling to achieve that pre-pregnancy body, please stop obsessing over the number you see when you step on the scale. Ditch the scale. The number means nothing. In fact, the scale is a complete liar. It is not a true reflection of your health. Work to strengthen your body and the rest will fall in line. Eat to nourish your body, take some “me” time everyday and you will feel better both mentally and physically. Have confidence in yourself and your new mom bod (after all, we did carry a child INSIDE of us for nine months). We are all a work in progress, yet at the same time we are also perfectly imperfect. Love yourself, love your body just as you are.

“Ditch the scale. The number means nothing. —

We are all a work in progress, yet at the same time we are also perfectly imperfect. Love yourself, love your body just as you are.”

How do you define “healthy”, “strong” and “fit”? The definition of those words are different for every person. For me, the definition of healthy is feeling my best and I achieve healthy by eating right (I follow the 80/20 rule allowing me to indulge a bit into my cravings because no one is perfect!) and exercising regularly. Strong is defined by my ability to take care of my child. Allowing myself to become physically strong enough to keep up with him and lift and hold him is a huge aspect of defining what strong means to me. Fit is a vastly different definition than what it used to be for me. Fit is combination of the definitions of healthy and strong. Fit is feeling energized and capable of taking care of my child. Fit is being able to maintain the demands of parenting everyday. Fit is taking care of me, both mentally and physically. And fit is taking “me” time, because yes, I am a parent, but that is not all that I am. I am still me but I still need to do things that nourish my soul along with being a mom. So now that you’ve read my definitions, I’ll ask again, how do you define “healthy”, “strong” and “fit”? What do those words mean to you now?

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