NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Dear Soon-to-Be and New Mommies: You Can Do This!

GettyImages-1060547970Today, the realities of the human body immediately after giving birth are less mysterious than ever, a development some attribute to a changing climate around motherhood. In the past women felt like they couldn’t talk about the after-effects of having a baby, let alone caring for other children at the same time.

Everything Is Different and There Is Pressure from All Directions

People don’t talk about the messy postpartum “situations” that take place, the frustrating and sometimes painful process of figuring out breastfeeding, the wound care necessary for the area the baby came out from, oh and let’s not forget waddling around the house wearing whatever undergarments can hold everything together. And how about the best-kept secret of icepacks!

And how can we forget the added stressors of life in general. Maybe you’re hearing and feeling things like this:

  • Make sure you work out during your pregnancy.
  • Be sure to only gain 25–30 pounds throughout this whole 9 months.
  • Don’t forget to take care of the other kid/kids you have.
  • Please make sure that report is on my desk by 9am tomorrow.
  • Clean the house.
  • Work 40+ hours a week.
  • Make dinner.
  • Drive the older ones to school and sports.

And on and on and on…

DON’T PANIC! It’s natural to feel exhausted and unfamiliar in your new body and new life. From the time you become pregnant to the time that you give birth, each is a new beginning and an exciting chapter in your life.

The mental difficulties of pregnancy and the first few months after giving birth can be more challenging than the physical effects. Your body will begin to change from its previous state back to its new normal: shedding water weight, frequent trips to the bathroom (again), after-birth contractions as the uterus shrinks back down. If you are breastfeeding or not, there will be pain involved. Let’s not forget the hormonal change that will take place. All of this can lead you to having “baby blues” or feelings of postpartum depression. You are trying to adjust to a new life and a new baby, and these stressors can cause low self-esteem and doubt.

Tools for Confidence in the Postpartum Time

Do not give up! You are the same strong woman who just grew a child and gave birth, and you are who you have always been, but now you have someone else to share your strength with. The more you start to believe in yourself, the happier you will feel and be. Some stress relievers that helped me during my “baby blues” moments are the following.

Get Some Fresh Air

Getting outside for fresh air can help lift your mood. There are also many benefits of walking that include stress reducers. Take a walk by yourself, or take that precious new baby out for some fresh air.

Communicate

Having a new baby can make you feel as though you are alone. Making an effort to connect with friends, join a mommy and me group, or reach out to other moms can help you indulge in adult conversation and not feel isolated.

Take Time for Yourself

Ask for help. Making time for yourself will not only allow you a minute to breathe, it will also help you become a better mom by taking care of yourself.

Feel More Secure

Body confidence is typically the first issue that woman deal with after giving birth. Your body has spent the last 9 months stretching to make room for a growing baby. As long as that took, your body needs time to recover. Most of us do not bounce back as quickly as we would like and that’s okay. After having my first child, I felt like I bounced back better than I had anticipated, but the second one made me feel otherwise (and still does!). My body changed so much after having my second child. One of the hardest things for me was not feeling confident and realizing that this is my new body.

Love the Skin You’re In

Even if you don’t have anywhere to go, try to get up and make an effort every morning. Wear your favorite outfit, put on a little bit of makeup. Find a way to feel good about the day at the very beginning.

Make Time for Healthy Eating and Exercise

Probably the hardest of them all are these two! Without a doubt, eating healthy and exercising tend to be the last things on our minds after having given birth. The best advice I can give you is to plan ahead. During those months where nesting sets in and you have energy to get things done like the nursery and shopping, throw meal prepping in there as well so that you’ll have some healthy options ready to eat after the baby comes.

When it comes to exercising, once you are cleared after 6 weeks, start slow and build from there. Try bodyweight exercises, or walks working into a jog/run. When stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, find a friend to join you at the gym, find a class that you can ease intensity into, or join a program geared toward weight loss/strength. Find what fits you and your schedule.

The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love

Well soon-to-be, new, and veteran moms, I am here to tell you that the world is unfair, the jobs we have as mothers will continue to be the hardest jobs we’ll ever have. We will have good days, we will have bad days; we will have days that we want to run, and days when we have conquered the world. There will be days where we ask ourselves why we decided to do this, and days where we doubt every decision we made. It will be a constant cycle, of good, bad, bad, good, and so on.

Whatever situation you are in currently, I can say with confidence that YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS and YOU CAN DO THIS! There is no greater creation than that of a woman. LOVE YOURSELF! TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! and ASK FOR HELP!

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This blog was written by Ashley Duncan, Weight Loss Coordinator. To Learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: depression stress walking anxiety bodyweight pregnancy self-care self-esteem postpartum self-confidence

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable: Powerful Ways to Reach Your Goals

I have recently been given the opportunity to participate in some very cool opportunities professionally and personally. And although these two opportunities are things that I have had goals of achieving for quite some time, it did not take away from me being pretty terrified to take them on. I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable—and fast!

Two Great Opportunities—And Some Doubts

The first opportunity was to speak with some of the nation’s greatest minds in health and fitness at the Indy Women Fitness 2015 event held here at NIFS this past month. Being on the same program as Mike Robertson, Molly Galbraith, and Bill Hartman was a dream come true, but it came with the following questions to myself:

  • “Am I good enough to be next to these guys?”
  • “How will the attendees respond to my content and approach?”
  • “Am I in over my head?”
The next chance to fulfill a goal of mine will be coming up in the near future, where I will train our city’s heroes when the Indianapolis Fire Department’s new recruit class will be using our facility to train to be the best firefighters in the country. I was asked to oversee their programming and training, an offer I could not pass up! Having two brothers that serve their communities as firefighters, I have been around this group of professionals for quite some time and carry an extra sense of pride and responsibility when asked to elevate their fitness and job capabilities. But soon after accepting this role, here came those same questions:
  • “Am I good enough to be next to these guys?”
  • “How will the attendees respond to my content and approach?”
  • “Am I in over my head?”
First of all, these questions and feelings are completely normal, but failing to overcome doubt and anxiety is a recipe for not stepping up to new opportunities or quitting before you achieve that BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal—more on these in a later post). I have adopted some very powerful ways to get comfortable being uncomfortable from individuals I consider mentors such as Martin Rooney and Todd Durkin, and from reading as much as I can from authors such as Dan and Chip Heath, Zig Ziglar, and Ken Blanchard. 

How to Succeed in Anything

I would like to share some of the best ways I have learned to succeed in anything you want to achieve.

  • Think BIG and tackle the BIG things first. When it comes to goals, if it doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough. Set the bar high and do what it takes to reach it. Try to tackle the big things of your day first, and don’t multitask; focus all of your energy on one thing at a time. Set time limits if you have to, but do only one thing at a time.
  • Practice, practice, practice. I don’t think it comes as any surprise that more practice on anything will make you better at that thing. But just as important is what practice can do to your anxiety level. Practice goes up, and anxiety will go down; and practice can include learning more, rehearsing, or simply visualizing your performance. I think it’s a good thing to be a bit anxious before a major event, but practicing will keep that anxiety from becoming paralyzing.
  • Act awesome, be awesome. Martin Rooney told me once that it is okay to be tired, but it is not okay to act tired. It seems crass, but he makes a great point. If you act tired or anxious, you are more likely to succumb to the symptoms of being tired or anxious. But if you act confident and full of energy, you will eventually be that way, not tired or anxious. 
  • Talk with successful people. One of the best ways to be great at something is to learn from someone who is great at that thing. Obviously they have done something right to be considered a “go-to” in the subject; they have been there, done that, and continue to do it because it breeds success. Find those people and learn as much as you can from them. Get a mentor, and learn everything you can.
  • Do the right thing, at the right time, all the time, no matter what. For example, let’s say you are faced with the internal question of “should I go to the gym today?” Your immediate response may be, “hell yeah,” or it may be, “hell no.” No matter the response, go to the gym because it is the right thing to do. You will find that once you get started on the “right thing,” it gets easier and easier to complete. You know what the right thing is; be like NIKE and just do it, no matter what, all the time!

I still get anxious when new opportunities come knocking at the doors that are sure to take me out of my comfort zone, and I should. But utilizing the preceding strategies has made me more comfortable being uncomfortable!

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This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM, Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

Topics: attitude challenge goals anxiety