I remember when my third child was born. I was so tired that it was a chore to function each day. I worked from home and was back working 3 days after I gave birth. There was no “napping when the baby napped” for me. I had a 5-year-old and a 22-month-old and a newborn and let’s just say that the exhaustion was real.
The idea of getting up and exercising or focusing on healthy meal planning was near impossible during this season. The stress of this season lasted a long time and in retrospect, I believe I was dealing with some post-partum depression and anxiety. I didn’t know what it was at the time.
I read so many things geared toward moms and chastising them to “take care of yourself” or “do self-care” or even “why aren’t you exercising?” All I had energy for each day was taking care of my babies and working. Nothing else was a priority in that season. I tell my husband that I can focus well on two things at a time. All other things besides those two will not get done with excellence. Only those two will. So I choose the two that matter the most.
Here I am four years later. My youngest just turned four, and thanks to a year of added stress due to shutdowns, my body is even further from the goal. So where does health fit into my life now?
Give Yourself Permission to Simplify
If you’ve had a baby recently or you had babies back to back, it takes a toll on your body and your emotions. If you can’t muster up the energy to get back to a fitness routine, maybe just a brisk walk with your babies each day is enough.
While you may not have the energy to plan and prepare elaborate meals, perhaps you can choose some simple options. I discovered that roasted frozen vegetables and roasted meat became an easy, but healthy option without much thought or prep time. Add in some rice or potatoes and voila!
Look at Your Health as an Investment
I’ve discovered that health is an investment. It’s something you need to consciously work toward if you want to reap the reward. Not only is it a time investment, it’s also a financial investment. Set aside a little time and a little money to help you pursue your health goals. It’s not just about weight loss. It’s about energy levels and how you feel each day. Lack of sleep does a number on your hormones and your stress response. I spend a little extra on a a few supplement that help me rest better at night and have more energy during the day. One of them even has adaptogens in it to help my overall mood and gives me a natural boost without caffeine.
Change Things Up
Somewhere along the line, you may also need to do something different to get the results you desire. The old ways may not work anymore with your changing body and changing hormones. I’ve been trying out a new plan and for the first time in a long time I’ve gotten success and help reaching my goals. It’s okay to do something different. It’s okay to recognize your body is in a new season and needs a new strategy.
Don’t Strive For Perfection
Let’s be real, once you have a baby your body is NEVER the same again. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you can’t be healthy, fit and energetic again. It means you need to change your expectation of what this new body and new you can do. You aren’t aiming for perfection with your health. You are working toward your goals one day at a time.
Some days you’ll binge on pizza and soda and others you’ll eat salad and grilled chicken. You’ll celebrate with cake on birthdays and the next day you’ll do a cleanse. The goal isn’t to be perfect at all times. The goal is to make choices that benefit your health. Not mine or someone else’s, but yours.
I know so many mamas with autoimmune diseases and who are struggling with real health issues. The last thing they need to hear is that they aren’t doing enough. The last thing they need to hear when they are in so much pain they cannot get out of bed is to do “self-care”. They need to function.
Become a Researcher
Don’t rely on your health professionals to do all the work for you. You might see them once a month for 10 minutes or so. What are you doing the rest of the time to find solutions to benefit your health? If you have the energy to be on your phone scrolling Instagram, you have the energy to find solutions that can help your health.
You can choose the foods, supplements, and drinks you put in your mouth, or that you avoid. Find the best ones for your health needs. You don’t need to wait to discover what foods might be contributing to your health struggles.
When I was struggling with my weight and sheer exhaustion after having my first child I stumbled on a book called “Wheat Belly”. When I read all the things wheat can do to some people’s health it was like they knew me and exactly what I was experiencing. And I quit eating wheat for a month “just to see” and it helped me tremendously. I lost 15 pounds, had more energy than I had experienced in years, less joint pain, and my migraines disappeared. I discovered it through asking questions and learning more and more.
Invite God Into Your Situation
Ask the Lord for healing. Ask the Lord for wisdom and solutions. Ask Him if there is something you are doing that is contributing to your health. He’ll give you more wisdom and knowledge than you could imagine if you simply ask. He says that we have not because we ask not or we ask and ask amiss.
Mamas, our health matters. Don’t put it on the back burner for tomorrow. Take a step, any step, and do something to make your health a priority today. Whether it’s taking your vitamins or drinking more water. If it’s eating an extra vegetable or going for a 5 minute walk. Your health matters to God. He loves you. I pray that you always know that.