…and we are not talking about those gained by the mother.
Yes, I was surprised to find that weight gain during pregnancy is not limited to the mother to be! According to surveys men gain on average 14 pounds – New York Times reasons being more frequent eating out, bigger portions and so on. I can add that from personal experience if you were not the types who would even share a dessert that you will soon be ordering at least 2 of the things EVERY SINGLE TIME. Indeed rather then eating less as your ravenous partner seems to devour unnatural quantities of food, the man decides perhaps in a game of competition to similarly increase efforts to consume . Call it ‘sympathy eating’ if you like, I prefer the more honest ‘ if she is having that i am too!’ , and chances are you will eat more then usual and you still are only eating for one.
‘The article goes on to say that only 30% of dads will join their wives in the post birth diets.
We (I) fell wholly into this trap, and also noticed my activity falling as part of providing support, preparing nursery and all the other pre-baby preparations. So, we decided to do something about it together. I was in the fortunate position of being on ‘gardening leave’, a term in the finance industry for the time spent being employed by one firm, while waiting to start at another which started 2 weeks prior to our baby arriving, so we had the luxury of time.
What we decided given lack of family in the area or any nannies, gym was tricky and so was jogging – we saw jogging strollers are not suitable for newborns. So we did the P90X. For those who don’t know this is a fairly touch home based workout requiring little equipment. Its a set routine and we set the task to do it for the 90 days. Doing it together helped a lot, and fitting it around a new born was fairly easy given their copious napping. My sports background is in the more ‘fun’ category of actives. Tennis, golf, cricket and football (soccer) – things you ‘play’, so a fitness based workout was a challenge. Doing it together was a key part of making it through. Initially i did it to be supportive and find a good way to get my wife working out again as she mentioned she was stumped on how to get to the gym etc. I was in semi-denial about my own state. After a few days I realized we BOTH needed to do this. It was a tough 90 days but we made, and had some fun on the way.
Did P90X provide a solution to keeping in shape? I can say categorically No, as its not a program I personally could do sustainable. It did however provide us the kickstart/stepping stone to get back into other more ‘fun’ activities when we had finished. After the 90 days we started going back to our old routines and set a foundation for staying active in other ways. Notably we started doing the Triathlons and ended up doing 3 each this year. Next year we have our eye on a few more and will be throwing in a marathon.
What I can say with conviction from this experience is, after the team effort in putting on the pounds, getting rid of them as a team helped – and worked for us. There is no better way to help your wife get active again then by finding something to do together so you can both push each other during an otherwise very busy time. As you go through the paradigm shift of adapting to life as parents, setting a foundation of active lifestyles is a key part in being habitually active while forming the next phase of your lives.