The Post-Baby Journey Begins: My "Before" Picture

Baby steps. Just 10 days after giving birth, that's my mantra. My baby girl Drew is a dream, and her brothers Harry, 6, and Reese, 4, have been on their best behavior. But I'm exhausted. And since I won't be enjoying eight consecutive hours of sleep anytime soon, I need to embrace my limits--but not accept defeat.

With my last two pregnancies, I made the mistake of trying to "bounce back" overnight, but this time, I'm going slow and steady. I dropped my boys at school today and saw all the hot mamas in their yoga gear, buzzing off to SoulCycle, Barry's Bootcamp, or another one of the latest high-intensity fitness classes. My Lululemon pants matched theirs, except my waistband was embarrassingly tight, my aching back didn't showcase my smart hoodie, and the probability that I could perch myself on a stationary bike for an hour is close to zero.

At another time in my life, I would have overdone it and followed the mom mafia straight into an intense exercise class, bought a 30-session pack, and then hobbled home, never to return again. Not this time! Similar to my pregnancy plan, I'm going to be realistic and take my post-pregnancy workout slow--one baby step at a time.

I spent the morning with my good friend and fitness guru Jay Cardiello. We didn't run six miles or share a kale smoothie, but instead we just talked. When a super goal-oriented person like me falls short of success, it's a horrible and stressful feeling--a feeling that often leads me to bad food choices. I may not have the time, energy, or inclination to make fitness my number-one priority, but I can focus on my wellbeing. We all can, and we can do it from home.

Starting today, I'm setting "Ruhle's Rules" and making choices from my core, not my adrenaline. Step one: Monday morning dance party. To help me and my boys get our groove on this rainy Monday morning, we cranked up iTunes for 10 minutes and danced like no one was watching! It may have been a rhythmless Harlem Shake, Gangnam Style, electronic dance music (EDM) mashup, but it was also 10 minutes of some serious cardio!

Next, we brushed our teeth while standing on one foot, and then gargled mouthwash on the other. How's that for a little core work?

Finally, we wrapped it all up by skipping the elevator in favor of the stairs (sadly the subsequent huffing and puffing would qualify this as endurance training!).

While this morning's routine won't prepare me for an Ironman, I'm moving in the right direction, taking small steps to feel and look good. As a result, my stress levels were  down, my energy was up, and best of all my kids were happy!

Since this marks day one of my "New Baby, New Body" journey, here's a quick summary of where I'm starting: After gaining 30 pounds during pregnancy, I weighed in at 148 pounds when this photo was taken (one day before giving birth). Although my daughter weighed just under 8 pounds, I left the hospital heavier than when I checked in! Luckily I've lost about 8 pounds since then, but I have a long way to go. And that's okay, because it's important to me to lose the weight the right way while adopting a healthier long-term lifestyle.

 

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