Practical Fitness Tips for the Working Mum

Many women struggle to lose weight after having a baby. Even those that are able to lose weight initially often that they gain it all back (and more) when they return to work, or as their baby gets older and becomes less dependent on them.

I struggled to lose weight after my first baby and eventually resolved to the idea that once you have a baby you will have to “look like a mummy” as people told me (whatever that means). After my second baby was born, I got serious and took control of my health and fitness and was able to lose all the weight from both pregnancies, and then some. But then I went back to work….and even though I knew what to do, I struggled because my schedule and routine had suddenly changed and I now had less time and more temptations/constraints, so I had to come up with a plan to make sure that I would not undo all of my hard work in a short period time.

If you are a working mum or a mum who will soon be returning to work, the following tips can help you get back on track or to keep the momentum going when you return to work.

1.) Schedule in your exercise time

You’ve probably heard the saying “schedule in your big rocks” , well your exercise time is a BIG ROCK, and you need to schedule it in the same way you schedule in your meetings and appointments. This way you receive a visual reminder and no one or nothing can take that time from you. You could schedule it in before work, during your lunch break, after work or even at any time during the day if your work place is flexible.  It doesn’t need to be a large amount of time, 20 – 30 minutes is all you need. Even if you don’t have a gym nearby you can go for a power walk, a jog or take advantage of a fitness class offered nearby. The important thing is to try and find a convenient and consistent time that you can commit to and to guard that time jealously.

2.) Plan/Prepare all your meals for the week

Not only will this save you time, but it will also save you money. Failing to plan/prep/pack you meals will mean that you have to eat out often- which can get very expensive very fast.

For breakfast have simple things prepared at home that you can easily grab on your way out or that require little prep time, i.e. smoothies with some hard boiled eggs, or overnight oats.
You can also leave some stuff at work for the days that you don’t have time to prepare a meal at home. I leave a bag of oatmeal in my desk at work and some fruits and yogurt in the fridge for days like this.

Prepare and pack your lunches to work. This can be a bit awkward at first if you are a very social person or work with very social people that like to go out to eat in groups often, but there is nothing wrong with bringing you own food along on such occasions. You will be setting a good example for those around you J. Dinner is the meal that most people fall through on, so make sure to have something prepared for so that when you get home at the end of the day you do not undo all your hard work with just one meal. Dinners do not have to be complicated. You can simply grill some chicken or fish at the beginning of the week and have it with veggies or portion out your dinner the same way you do your lunches and just warm them up when you get home. To avoid getting home feeling supper famished have a small snack before you begin your commute home so that you don’t walk through the door and grab that first thing that you see.

3.) Get up and MOVE

When you are at home with a baby, even if you aren’t actively exercising, chances are you were busy attending to (or chasing after) you baby, taking care of the house, running errands, going to the mall, or having play dates with other mums/babies . But at work, most of us sit down all day which can have serious adverse effects on not just our weight but also our overall health.  You have to consciously make an effort to move around during the day. Set reminders for yourself- use your watch, an app on your phone, or even your work calendar. Take a walk around your office, go outside for some fresh air, or take a “coffee break” and skip the coffee 🙂

4.) Get a buddy at work

It’s important to have an accountability partner, especially on the days when they just don’t feel like it. Since majority of your time/day is spent at work it may help to find a colleague or a friend who works close by to be your buddy. The truth is there is likely another mother who is struggling like you are and needs accountability too, so don’t shy to talk to someone and ask them to be your buddy.

5.) Get your family involved

Let your family members keep you accountable too. You can get them involved by telling them your goals and plans and asking them to encourage you. You can get everyone’s help and input into the weekly meal planning and prepping to save yourself time and energy. You can ask your spouse to make sure that you wake early if you want to go to the gym in the morning before work. You can plan family walks or workouts for evenings and/or weekends when you are all home together – taking a walk or riding your bikes to the park is a great way to bond/exercise as a family.