Body After Baby: The Plan For The Body

Posted: December 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm

The other night, when moderating the week’s Fit Blog Chat, I began thinking more about my plan for getting back in shape post-delivery. During the chat, I chose to discuss the topic of goals and whether or not tracking certain numbers motivates progress.

When working to get back in shape, I will need ways to hold myself accountable and check on my progress. However, I have done the number game before and know it inhibits me in some areas because I obsess. So, I came up with a general game plan to help me work towards that overall body-after-baby goal. This post will focus on how I plan to approach things like tracking my body’s changes. Look for a future post on how I plan to tackle food/diet/calories and workout progress after the baby.


If you have read any of my previous Body After Baby posts, you know I hope to reshape my body in the upcoming year. I want to achieve a happy, healthy place for my body where I feel strong and fit. Based on previous experience, I know very well where that feels best for me. In the past, however, I knew that place based on how I felt…but I still paid close attention to the scale. I thought that place tied to my weight more than anything else. Now…

I no longer believe in the scale. I realized that when using it to track progress, normal weight fluctuations drove me crazy and I put too much stock of my progress in what it read out to me. Sometimes it motivated me, but more often than not, that motivation would not last. Either it wouldn’t say what I hoped and I felt discouraged…or it would, and I would wonder if I could have done more. Not everyone approaches the scale that way, so it works well for some, but I know I can’t turn to it myself.

I know my body. I have spent years in a variety of places in my body. Overeating and binging. Depriving and exercising too much. Feeling content and strong. I have learned what works for me and what doesn’t. I believe that based on those things, I will manage to know whether or not I am progressing towards my goals without a number telling me so. The feeling of health drives me on more than any number ever could. That will serve as my biggest gauge on how I’m doing in my progress.

I do still plan to use other tools as well. I have already posted my plans to use progress pictures to track changes I may not see day to day in the mirror. I also have my stack of jeans that I plan to use.

I have jeans that fit many different ways and a couple different sizes (since having to gain weight to conceive). Going by the changes in the way they fit, I can determine progress. Plus, the thought of not having to go jeans shopping again and eventually end up in my tried and true favorites provides a ton of motivation. The pictures and fit of my clothes can help me determine if I’m working in the right direction, but will never surpass the focus on feeling fit or caring for myself.

Question of the Day – What ways do you motivate yourself for progress in any physical or fitness goals?

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48 Comments to “Body After Baby: The Plan For The Body”
  1. For me, signing up for races keeps me on track with fitness goals. Maintaining motivation is hard, but I really love making a training plan and crossing the runs off one by one!

  2. Angela says:

    To motivate myself, I constantly look for new things to try and new goals to reach. Not necessarily big things, but smaller targets that contribute to my larger overall goals. For example, a larger goal might be to do full-on, real chin-ups, but a shorter term goal might be to be able to do 10 reps of an easier modification in order to develop the muscles needed for the full thing. PS – great job hosting FitBlog the other night! 🙂

  3. I think it’s a great decision to ban the scale! As soon as I stopped going by the number on the scale, I became so much happier! I also go by how I feel, and how things fit, and I’m much healthier and happier now without the scale in my life! 🙂
    I motivate myself by writing down the goals I want to achieve, and then reading them over to remind myself.
    I know you’ll get your ‘content and strong’ body back post-baby, so believe in yourself! 😀

  4. Ohhhh Tina, I LOVE your ideas to track progress! I rejoined Weight Watchers, because the diet part is where I go wrong. I know what to do…I just go to the extreme, and that’s never good. Anyways, I’m hoping I can try and stay off the scale until my Monday night meetings. I love your jeans idea! That’s a fantastic way to track. I bet you’re excited to start it up! Not to mention meet Baby B! 😉

  5. Katrina says:

    Motivation comes in so many forms for me. Some days, all it takes is re-reading a favorite magazine (Oxygen) or health book, blogs, or even a cookbook recipe. Other days, I need to really focus and do a lot of self-talking to keep on track with good health decisions. It helps that I workout first thing in the morning and then run in the afternoon on the dreadmill at home. That way, I don’t have many excuses.

  6. I actually have a post half written about this exact topic: motivation. I know for me, I’m motivated most by swiftly approaching deadlines and also by guilt or fear of disappointing someone. So it helps me to set deadlines for progress and tell someone about my goals so I feel like someone is counting on me.

  7. My motivation starts first thing in the morning. I have a plan 5 days a week to get up before everyone else and get moving. That way, I can’t talk myself out of it and it is done for the day. Ironically, even though sometimes it is hard to get up, working out first thing in the morning feels better than the days I lay in bed later. Weird how that happens. I don’t rely on a scale, but I do check it from time to time. Not for weight loss or gain, but for maintaining, if that makes sense. I know how my clothes fit and I know how my body feels when I am fit, so I strive to keep it there. I know you will have no problems with that.

  8. Mellissa says:

    I use how I am feeling for motivation, if I am feeling good about myself I know it is working!

  9. My blog has helped my motivate so much already, especially in the fun and healthy eating department! As far as moves, I am a huge fan of accidental exercise when I don’t have time to work out, so I am motivated to find new ways to incorporate that!

  10. smart lady – and so true – jeans don’t lie! (Unless you lie to yourself and say they MUST have shrunk but we never do that… hehe) I think these are great tips and plan to share your thoughts and ideas with my pregnant sis (with her first baby) – I know she’s already getting a little nervous about getting in shape post-baby!

  11. Caitlin says:

    I love the idea of not using the scale to track your progress. I think if you know how you felt at your “happy” weight, you’ll know it when you get there. It is such a great way to be in tune with your body!

  12. I read an awesome Mario Battali quote last night- weight, while not an indicator of overall health, is excellent at telling you when you’re eating too much. And I think it’s just that- it’s not a be all, end all, just a way to keep track. But, like you pointed out, there are many other ways of keeping track of that- clothes being the easiest!! For my motivation, I always remind myself how good it will feel when I’m DONE a workout. Always gets me going!!

  13. Going by the way your clothes fit instead of a number on the scale is SO smart. Love that!

  14. I always monitor my weight by how the jeans fit! It is so much more accurate than the scale. 🙂

  15. Sounds like a great plan! I have been trying (in the last few weeks) to just incorporate as many fruits and veggies as I can, make sure I’m getting enough protein and exercise on daily basis (when I’m able and not sick!) But I’m trying not to obsess over it. So far so good, I’ve lost a few pounds, but mostly, I feel better about me!

  16. Rachel says:

    Right now its an impending wedding! But overall health is important to me. I grew up with a family that smoked, was overweight, never exercised and ate terribly and I don’t want the same for me or my family. It ended up with them feeling sick and miserable for a lot of time.

  17. Astrid says:

    My motivator is always how amazing I feel when I can keep up with lots of walking, hill climbing, and activity on a vacation. I always want to be fit enough to be able to explore a whole city or do whatever I want.
    One thing that I measure progress by is my flexibility and whether or not I can do push ups, head stands, etc.
    I don’t believe in the scale, either. Weight fluctuates so much. The body knows what it is doing. All you need to do is trust it and give it what it needs.

  18. I received 2 pairs of {nice, expensive} jeans last Christmas that were just a wee bit too small, but I kept them for when I lost weight to get into them. A year later and I’m way beyond fitting into them (in a bad way). They are going to be my motivators to lose the weight!

  19. That’s why I like races- they motivate me to push towards something. Because I like proving to myself that I actually CAN run an entire half marathon when I want to. 🙂

  20. Dorry says:

    I’m with you on the scale and I gave away all of my clothes from when I was underweight. Now, my motivation seems like second-nature. Working out, running, stretching, etc are just part of my day like eating, showering and grocery shopping. It’s become my lifestyle, rather than a specific goal.

    • Tina says:

      I’m excited when the physical changes aren’t a goal I will be working towards. I guess its part of having a baby though. Won’t change the fact that I plan to live a healthy lifestyle and not work to get to a certain place and then forget about health. I don’t get when people have that approach.

      • Dorry says:

        Coming from a disordered eating past, I’m thankful that I’ve had a couple of years to figure out a healthy lifestyle at a healthy weight without major body goals in mind. But, I know when I get pregnant and go through drastic changes in my body, I’ll have goals, too to get back to where I feel healthy, strong and fit. I love what you are doing with body after baby on your blog and I know so many readers, me included, are excited to follow along and watch your progress! You are going to be a great resource and inspiration for the healthy way to change a female body – rather than surgery, over exercising or crash diets.

  21. I do use the scale to keep track of my progress, but I probably allow it to affect my mood way to much! I try and focus on how I feel, and set fitness specific goals for myself. For example, achieving a PR in a race or doing a pull up all by myself.

  22. i get motivated when i have events coming up.. like for the christmas party i went to and for the holidays. i use to do short term very restrictive plans that worked, but was not healthy and good for long term. so im planning to be in great shape for the spring and summer, being consistent and healthy!

  23. Knowing the happiness that comes from the end results is a huge motivator for me!

  24. chelsey says:

    I’m definitely a NO SCALE person! I just broke free from it about a month or two ago – it was liberating to say the least. Now, I go on how I feel in my jeans. If my jeans are getting too tight, then it’s time to tone it up. If they’re getting too loose, eat a little more!

  25. Melissa says:

    Love this post Tina!

    I too think the scale is not a good judge of progress! I think using your jeans is a great one! I have some “goal” jeans too and they are a great reminder when I see them in the drawer.

    I am going to be tackeling some fitness goals this year too so reading your posts will definitely keep me motivated:)

  26. Courtney F says:

    Getting back into my jeans and clothes pre-baby was a huge motivation for me. I guess that’s how I was motivated to get my body back in 4 months!
    I think you have great goals Tina. You will get your bod back and better than ever.

  27. I think it’s great that you aren’t going to let the scale dictate what is progress. I used to be a SLAVE to the scale, but now I just dictate progress by how I feel!

  28. I think I’ve run the gamut with measuring progress. I used to be such a numbers, numbers, numbers gal. Progress was never measured by how I felt or what I saw…it was always based on an expectation I had put on myself.

    These days…progress is about how I am feeling from the INSIDE out. Do I feel healthy, rested, balanced, energized, excited, motivated. Do I feel the way I WANT to feel? That is how I measure progress. Do I notice if my jeans are getting snug or loose? Of course, let’s be honest. But my jeans don’t dictate my choices, they only suggest to me that I am not paying attention to how I feel. Because when I feel fulfilled, healthy and nourished…my jeans fit me exactly how they should!

  29. Honestly, I am not that great at motivating myself to do things I don’t want to do in the long run. The measure of a successful goal for me is that it’s one I enjoy the process of working toward enough that I look forward to it and don’t have to really make an extra effort to motivate myself to do it. Otherwise, I enjoy doing things with friends, so turning something into a social thing really helps (it’s the only way I ran a 10-K).

  30. Katie says:

    Could you tell us more about having to gain weight to conceive if you are comfortable sharing…like why and if it was hard for you?

    • Tina says:

      Sure. I will try to do that sometime next week at the latest. I guess I haven’t fully shared about that in one post yet. I’ve had brief mentions of it and talked about it a good bit at the start of my blog, before pregnancy, but there’s lots of new faces since then.

  31. Karen says:

    I definitely use my clothes as my motivation. I have some really cute things that I wish would fit/look better. I use my summer tank tops as motivation to strength train my arms and shoulders. I use my summer dresses as motivation to strength train my legs.

  32. Sana says:

    I totally use my pants to judge my wieight! I am happy as long as I can button something up!

  33. Peggy says:

    I think for me, just getting back into the gym routine was motivation enough. I love the extra energy I feel after going and I love how my body feels too!

  34. Kristi says:

    I think it’s great if you can go without using a scale. I on the other hand have to get on that thing every morning. It is hard though because the weight flunctuations can really bring me down. Hopefully I can fine a way that works for me and that keeps me motivated.

    • Tina says:

      When I did use the scale, I always tried to weigh at the same time of day (first thing in the morning) and ONLY once per week – pick a day that you usually are in routine so fluctuations aren’t as high. I think that helps with more consistent readings. And no matter what, if you felt good before getting on the scale – don’t let it tell you otherwise. 😉

  35. Jenn (GH) says:

    It’s so wonderful you know your body so well!

    Although I’m dorky and like numbers I have to say a big HUGE AMEN to this: “The feeling of health drives me on more than any number ever could.” YES!

  36. Michelle says:

    Clothing totally motivates me, probably more then anything else! I like to look good 🙂

  37. the past 3-4 months my weight has been judged by jeans fit and how i FEEL…i don’t want to kill myself to be a certain size or weight, but rather want to find a place that makes me happy and where i feel healthy!

  38. You’re a brave woman. I am unwittingly controlled somewhat by my scale. It’s not that I am intent on one weight, I know when I’m feeling good. But I have weight goals for sure. I love your idea of using clothing. I have saved several pieces of clothing for this purpose and I’m working towards them fitting.

  39. Progress pics are the BEST idea!!! 🙂
    I love looking back at the progress!

  40. I admire you for getting rid of the scale. I get rid of the scale and feel GREAT, when I bring it back I find it rules my mood! I recently threw out my scale as part of a new year’s resolution and I was so proud that I did!! I feel SO much better about myself without a stupid number!

  41. […] share my REAL journey back to fitness! Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginWhen I posted my Body After Baby post on how I plan to track progress, Katie from Peace Be Me commented with a request for me to share a […]

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