After moving to Provence, I finally was healthy enough to start exercising regularly. I read that if you do not lose your baby weight before your baby is 6 months old, you are less likely to lose it later. Whether this is true or not, it gave me a goal. Unfortunately, I was sick in Normandy from the black mold in our house so I could not work out. By the time we moved to the south, Juliana was already 4 months old.
I started jogging lightly at the end of my first week. I focused on lifting up my knees, keeping good posture and holding in my belly. The point was not to go fast; it was to keep my heart rate up. I jogged 5 to 7 days a week for my first month. The length of each jog varied from 20 to 30 min, depending on how I felt that day. I never pushed myself to go further than my body wanted to go.
On the days when my husband was too busy to look after Juliana, I used a little step machine that we picked up at a yard sale for only 4 euros. I love this machine! If Juliana gets bored with her toys, she goes in the scarf or Baby Bjorn and works out with me. I have little hand weights that I occasionally use to strengthen my arms while on this machine. I have seen these machines new for about 30 euros in the store – I consider it a great buy.
Since I am breastfeeding, it is important not to workout too hard because it could release toxins into the milk. The pace should be slow enough to allow comfortably hold a conversation. If you are breathless, you are running too fast. At this pace, I did not even break a sweat. By my 3rd week, I had already lost 6 kilos (12 lbs). People were still asking me if I was pregnant, so I was motivated to keep going. In France, you are expected to lose that baby weight. You can hold onto some, but it should be gone by the time your baby reaches 9 months. People tell me here that it takes 9 months to put it on, so it takes 9 months to get it off.
At the end of every jog, I return to the house and unroll my yoga mat. While still warm from the jog, I stretch my legs and back. I have terrible flexibility and an orthopedic surgeon once told me that stretching would help decrease my knee pain. I only felt knee pain one time so far and that was when I increased my pace. I will have to wait until that knee gets stronger and my hamstring is more flexible to try that again. When I am done stretching, I exercise my abdomen, thighs and bum.
My entire workout session generally lasts an hour. I began going faster and mixing in longer running days after 4 weeks. I can now fit into two of my pre-pregnancy jeans but I still sport a pudge that hangs a little over. I need to lose 1 more kilo to be at my pre-pregnancy weight. My goal is to lose 3 kilos to be at a weight that looks best. My next mission is to lose this pudge by firming my abdomen.
My husband just bought me an early birthday gift (not until June) and I absolutely love it. To help stay motivated, I now have a high tech running watch. It connects with my computer so I can upload details about my workout. It tracks things such as my pace, heart rate, calories and distance. It even has GPS so I can see my path on a map.
What I especially love is that I can track my progress and create goals. I will finally be able to measure the distance I jog or run, as well as have a record of the time it takes for me to run each course. I will try it out today and after a week of use, I will write a little review on it in case anyone here is interested. It is a Garmin Forerunner 110w (details in French/France or English/USA).
I cook our meals from scratch every day. I love to cook and find it relaxing. I go to the market every week to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, plus buy meat at the butcher or grocery store. I do not eat processed foods at home, but will eat it when dining out. I cook our veggies mostly by steaming, and occasionally with olive oil or butter. The key is moderation. Lunch or dinner usually includes a meat and 2-3 veggies with either brown rice, pasta, wheat or potatoes. We mostly have chicken, turkey or fresh fish; but will have pork or beef every one or two weeks. I make sure that the veggies are of different colors, like green beans and carrots.
I am down to taking one sugar cube in my coffee and allow myself one teaspoon of confiture (jam) with my afternoon yogurt. Cutting sugar out completely would cause me to binge on sweets, so I allow myself these little pleasures. I would not worry if I had a bowl of ice cream today, but I definitely would not also have one tomorrow. Snacks are usually an apple, banana, yogurt or cottage cheese. I make my own cottage cheese because it is impossible to find in my area.
Even after I lose this weight, I want to continue running and working out regularly. I feel more energetic, cheerful and healthy. I wake up around 6am every day and workout at about 11am, so it is a good break in my day. It is also the only time I am usually away from Juliana, so it gives my husband time alone with her. She sits on his lap while he works and tugs on the wires to his computer, or they play together on the floor with her toys. So it works out for everyone.
Now I need to hurry and out of this stage where I am slightly big for my pre-pregnancy pants and small for my maternity pants. I am either trying to hide the pudge in my pre-pregnancy pants or constantly pulling up my maternity pants.