All the pregnancy advice books tell you that, after the baby is born, you can kiss goodbye a good night's sleep for the foreseeable future.
They also tell you that, after the baby is born, alone time with your husband or significant other will be scant, at best.
But what they don't prepare you for is the harsh realization that losing the baby weight may be easy as pie after your first pregnancy, but can be slow, laborious, and downright excruciating after your second.
I had gained over 70 pounds with my second pregnancy. And, frankly, after the dust had settled and the shine of bringing my newborn home from the hospital had worn off, I'm not going to lie -- I was unhappy with my body. There. I admit it. And what with all the images of celebrities who are somehow able to fit back into their size 2 skinny jeans by the time the nurse's aide wheels them to the valet drop-off, I know I'm not the only one who has felt this way.
But I had bigger fish to fry than moping about the circumference of my thighs: I had to feed, bathe, and entertain two kids under the age of three all while tending to the dirty laundry that was multiplying like wet Gremlins.
Another priority was instilling in my children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle -- especially in this day and age when tablets, computers, and iPhones are king. My husband and I both know the invaluable benefits of daily exercise -- he's a former NFL offensive lineman, and I am a former athlete myself who has since become a certified yoga instructor.
Both our son, Scotty, and daughter, Kennedy, were born in September -- and we live in Michigan -- so we were very fortunate to still have a good two months of decent weather left before the cold set in.
I made a point to take them outside for at least an hour every single day.
Which is precisely the mission of NFL Play60. Play60, which the NFL has dubbed movement for an active generation, aims to make the next generation of youth the most active and healthy. Launched in October 2007 to tackle childhood obesity, the youth health and fitness campaign focuses on increasing the wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. In addition to national outreach and online programs, NFL Play60 is implemented at the grassroots level through NFL's in-school, after-school and team-based programs. The NFL Play60 initiative is supported by many NFL players and coaches year round and to date, the NFL has dedicated over $200 million to youth health and wellness through NFL Play60. Here's one of my favorite NFL Play60 commercials featuring Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton:
Meanwhile, I was simply trying to walk a mile or two around our neighborhood while pushing the double stroller. After I got my walk in, I'd let Scotty frolic in the leaves, scavenge for rocks and acorns or kick his soccer ball around while I wore Kennedy, barely two months, in a baby carrier. And here's the best part, at least as far as the circumference of my thighs is concerned: My children are too young to play outside by themselves, so whatever Scotty did -- and wherever he went -- I was right behind him, with a 12-pound weight strapped to my chest, I might add.
I watched what I ate and made wiser choices, yes, but because I was nursing (and plan to continue until Kennedy is about 18 months), I wasn't able to skimp on calories. (If I was able to eat less, I imagine the weight would have come off even faster.) And I didn't work out in the conventional sense, either, and I had taken a hiatus from teaching yoga: After tending house, caring for two small kids, and blogging, there simply wasn't anything left in the tank at the end of the day.
Simply put, I credit my weight-loss success to playing outside with my children. It didn't happen over night, but it did happen, and by the time the spring rolled around, I was back in my regular jeans.
With Scotty and Kennedy being a tad older this summer, we were able to implement daily trips to the playground or our community's water park in addition to Scotty riding his bike down the sidewalk and Kennedy strolling up and down the driveway in her walker.
Ensuring that your child gets adequate exercise outside is easier in the summer months, sure. But there are still several weeks left to enjoy the great outdoors with them. You can use the certificate below as a way of emphasizing the importance of their commitment to get outside and stay healthy:
To access and print your own NFL Play60 certificate, click here, and to learn more about NFL Play60, click here.
Okay. Enough reading. Get outside!
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