Nathalia Melo Wilson - Getting In Shape After Pregnancy
Nathalia Melo Wilson (www.nathaliamelofit.com) has a long background in the fitness industry. She is also a mother of two and works on a daily to help other new and expecting mothers to create a balance between focusing on their kids without forgetting about their own well-being. Nathalia is juggling her own career with busy days caring for her two toddlers as well as all home duties together with her husband.
We ask Nathalia some questions to get some insight to her success when it comes to living a healthy balanced life after having kids.
The Unknown Journey
Better Bodies: Being pregnant makes the body go through a lot of changes, how did you stay in shape through pregnancy? What mental challenges did you experience?
Nathalia: Especially during my first pregnancy I struggled a lot with the way my body was changing so rapidly. As a former competitor, I have always been someone who has been very body aware and I knew what had to be done to make my body look a certain way.
During pregnancy you do not have control over ANYTHING… not your body nor your emotions, and that can be scary. So, I believe the biggest challenge for me was the unknown journey you are going through while being pregnant.
Training for me kept me sane and it gave me a sense of control and normality, as exercising has always been a huge part of my life.
I Was Still ME
Better Bodies: After pregnancy, how did you get back to pre-pregnancy shape? Did you have a strategy for it?
Nathalia: To be honest, exercising (after having my doctor’s approval, of course) for me after having my kids was more about my mental health than my physical health.
Training gave a sense of self, and it reminded me that although I had a new very important role as a mom… I was still me.
It is very easy to forget who you really are when your days are consumed by changing diapers, feeding a baby, and trying to navigate this motherhood thing.
My strategy began during my pregnancy, when I decided to become more and more informed and educated on how to resume training while respecting my body and what it had given me.
Better Bodies: How did you set realistic goals for post pregnancy training and results?
Nathalia: I tried to not compare myself to anyone else. That was MY journey and my journey only.
I set small goals and celebrated every small win… and, I kept on reminding myself that the postpartum period is a very delicate and challenging one. So, I allowed myself some grace.
And, although my body is one of my ‘’tools of work’’, I was also very fortunate to work with companies (Better Bodies being one of them) that didn't put pressure on me nor set a deadline for me to look a certain way. That gave me a lot of peace of mind to take my time and respect (and trust) the process.
Make It A Priority
Better Bodies: Before having children, time was “unlimited” for training - how do you make time for training now?
Nathalia: Firstly, we found a gym with childcare which helps A LOT, but there were MANY times I had to train from home as I couldn't make it to the gym because someone wasn't feeling well. But honestly, my home sessions literally kicked my butt!
Also, My training is scheduled as if I were going to a work meeting. Everyone who knows me knows that I have my training time and there is not much negotiation there. I find that whenever you just say: ‘’I will go whenever I can’’ everything else becomes a priority and you end up not doing anything.
Lastly, my training has become a lot more intense since having the kids as I don't have as much time to just hang out in the gym. I am in and out!
Better Bodies: You had 2 pregnancies close together, did that make getting back in shape the second time more or less challenging?
Nathalia: Yup… my kids are 14 months apart, so things were VERY intense at first. I joke saying that the best diet I have ever done was to have a second child LOL.
But seriously! Somebody always needs me for something at meal times, so I hardly get to finish all my food… The kids are my portion control.
Allow Yourself Some Grace
Better Bodies: What is your best advice to women who wants to get in shape after pregnancy?
Nathalia: Start small. This recovery should be a marathon NOT a sprint. Remember that it has taken your body nearly 10 months to change and create life… so, be kind and allow yourself some grace.
Start small by going for walks when it feels comfortable, and do not rush things.
Not being diligent with the way you train after having a baby (and during pregnancy as well) might leave long term consequences like weakened pelvic floor muscles which can lead to leakages ‘’down there’’ and may affect the proper rehab of your abdominal muscles, which might cause what many know as the ‘’mommy pooch’’.
Look at resuming training after pregnancy as you would if you had a shoulder surgery. You wouldn’t try to do your heaviest shoulder press 6 weeks later, would you?