The Journey Back: 4 Things My Postpartum Weight Loss Showed Me
If you’re familiar with Cherokee Barbell Strength & Nutrition, or you know me personally, you know that I am a nutrition coach with many years of experience helping people achieve their goals. With all of my education and experience helping others, you would think that my postpartum journey would have been easy and fast. If you pay attention to everything you see from fitness influencers on social media, I should have been back down to my leanest weight in just a few weeks, right?
Wrong. In reality, I have just recently reached my first major fat loss goals – and my son just turned two years old. You read that right. It took me two years, and my journey isn’t over yet! Real change happens over months and years of steady work. There is no magic pill, but there are things you can do to achieve your goals. Let’s talk about a few of the most important lessons that my postpartum weight loss journey has shown me.
- Mindset is everything for weight loss
I’ve known this for a long time, and I’ve coached many athletes and nutrition clients through it. If you don’t have the right mindset, you’re going to struggle to lose weight and/or achieve the fitness goals you’ve set for yourself. When I started my journey back to fitness, I had a newborn son, a new business, and multiple personal challenges. My body was fatigued, and I was constantly stressed.
With everything going on in my life, and no consistency (we’ll get to that later on), I couldn’t make any progress. I was desperate to see my old body again, to feel strong and fit, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I felt so discouraged, and I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around doing the things I knew I needed to do to start making the progress that I wanted so badly.
When this happens, it’s tempting to beat yourself up about it. It’s easy to feel ashamed and guilty for what we see as major failures. But shame and guilt are actually terrible motivators, and they end up standing in our way. When you feel ashamed of yourself, you might go run on the treadmill as long as you can, but once you’ve finished punishing yourself, you’re not likely to make a habit of daily treadmill runs. If you feel guilty for eating too much, you might cut your calories down to nearly nothing the next day, but you’re not likely to turn that restriction into healthy eating habits over the long term.
Shame may feel like the kick-start you need to get going, but it won’t keep you moving in the right direction. You are much more likely to succeed if you approach your journey with acceptance and gratitude. It’s not an easy thing to do, but a few things that helped me include:
⚫Starting a daily journaling habit
⚫Committing to meditating for just five minutes every day
⚫Making just one healthy choice at mealtimes (and then another)
⚫Setting daily intentions and reminding yourself of them when you start to feel negative thoughts creeping in
A good friend of mine (who is a USAW national coach) told me, “To get anywhere, you have to be tired of your own bulls&t.” Part of that bulls&t is the mindset that you have to punish yourself for the choices that got you where you are today. Changing your mindset is the first step to changing your body and your health.
- Consistency is king for effective weight loss
You’ve heard this before, but that’s just because it’s so true. Let’s say that, 90 out of 100 days, you eat appropriate portions of healthy foods. The other 10 days, you have a little extra on your plate, a glass of wine or two, and/or a rich dessert. Do you think those 10 days will ruin your journey, especially if they’re spread throughout 100 days of overall healthy eating? Of course not! Likewise, if you skip a day at the gym here and there, you aren’t going to lose all of your progress – unless you give in and stop going completely.
Over the last two years, I struggled with consistency. I tried a lot of tricks and strategies that have worked for others. I signed up for a triathlon with the idea that a new goal would motivate me and get me training. I tried changing my workout routines. I consulted other experts. None of it worked – and, strangely, all of it worked.
Every time I stepped into the gym, went for a run, or even walked my dog with my kids, I was doing something good for myself. I was moving closer to building those habits and getting back to the lifestyle I wanted. And it happened one day at a time. Did I do the triathlon? No. Did I start going back to training one day a week, then two, and then three?
Yes. It took some time, and I had some setbacks. And, yes, life absolutely got in the way many times. I had to cut workouts short for sick kids, emergencies with my employees, and so much more. But, I stuck to my intention to create the habits I needed to consistently train my body. And, as I got back into those habits, I found it easier to incorporate other habits too – like fueling my body with the right balance of carbs, proteins, and fats to support my strength while losing fat.
Here are a few things that helped me create that consistency:
⚫Setting aside time in my calendar to train
⚫Preparing meals ahead of time for busy days
⚫Making it fun by training with friends
- Accountability is crucial to achieving your goals
When it comes to fitness and achieving our goals, it takes a village. Yes, it’s possible to do it all on your own, but if you don’t have a support system with some form of accountability, it’s easy to make excuses and give up on yourself. Accountability can take on several forms. For some of my athletes, it’s as simple as checking off the movements in their training programs and logging their foods for our weekly or monthly check-ins. For others, it’s seeing friends at the gym. Others ask an accountability buddy to check in with them on a daily or weekly basis.
For me, accountability came with my community and my gym. My athletes and my fellow coaches would ask me things like, “Are you training today?” or, “How is training going?” Or they would offer to meet me and train together. This kind of support is easy to find when you have a community like our team at Cherokee Barbell, and I’m so grateful for the people in my life who helped me stay accountable for my workouts and my nutrition on the way back.
- Success creates motivation
You won’t always feel motivated, and many people will tell you that this is where discipline comes in. If you don’t feel motivated to train hard at the gym, have the discipline to go for a walk or at least drive to the gym and warm up. These are valid statements, and they do help people get through those days when they don’t feel like doing anything. But you don’t have to rely on iron willpower and self-discipline every day if you remember this: Success creates motivation.
If you do something active three days in one week, I can almost guarantee that you will feel better than you did the week before. Your sleep will improve, and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. If you add some healthy nutrition habits to that activity, you’ll start seeing other changes – like a lower number on the scale and your clothes fitting better. Seeing those changes will motivate you to do even more to improve your health and fitness.
This positive cycle continues as you see more success. And you can keep it going by changing the way you reward yourself. Your old mindset might have been, “I’ve been so good this week. I deserve a huge meal and three beers!” Let’s change that up a bit by substituting a healthier reward. This might be something like treating yourself to some stylish new gym clothes or scheduling a weekend trip to the beach or mountains. Think of the things you love to do that align with your goals and the life you want to live. Start making a list of those aligned treats to reward yourself for your success! When you choose rewards from that list, you’ll continue to feel successful and build more motivation. And, with that feeling, you’ll have fewer days when you have to rely on your discipline.
Get started today with us!
Are you ready to start your journey? Need some motivation, consistency, and accountability? Join us at Cherokee Barbell Strength & Nutrition for our Six-Week Wellness Program. We’ll help you:
⚫Learn how to fuel your body
⚫Stay consistent with manageable, healthy choices
⚫Get motivated with small (and large) successes
⚫Stay accountable with help from a strong community
Sign up Now!