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A Mother's (Self) Love

The why and how of positive postpartum body image

Conceive the baby. Grow the baby. Birth the baby. Make the milk. Care for the baby. And… look the same as you did before you were pregnant? (We didn't buy that last one, either.)

We sat down with Jenny Schatzle, creator of The Jenny Schatzle Program, a fitness and nutrition program aimed at improving how you live, not just how you look, to re-examine the postpartum body conversation. Jenny recently gave birth to twins, and imparted some wisdom on postpartum health, the myth of the bounce back, and some oh-so-realistic tips on ways every mom can incorporate body positivity into her daily routine.

What does the term “healthy” mean to you? Has it changed since having your twins?

Healthy is a mindset. It’s about accepting yourself where you are at this moment. I am the healthiest I have ever been because I have changed the conversation I have with myself. Every morning, I do these 3 things:

  1. I look in the mirror and say one thing I like about my body.
  2. I write down three positive I AM statements (Example: I AM strong. I AM Healthy. I AM enough.)
  3. I write down three things I am grateful for.

I challenge you to do this for the next 7 days. Ultimately, we are who we say we are and how we talk about ourselves is the message we pass onto our children and our families. The energy that we create in ourselves is the energy we give out to the world.

We often hear the term “bouncing back” after a baby.  What are your thoughts on the concept, especially after giving birth to twins? 

Bounce back to what? It’s impossible to bounce back to your life or body because your life has now forever changed.

Take a deep breath, cut yourself a break, stop comparing yourself to others. Raise your self talk, your self compassion, and stop with the expectations of where you “should” be. The only place you are is here right now and don’t let that pass you by because you are so focused on who you used to be or who you should be that you are missing out on your life at this very moment.

What advice would you give on starting realistic fitness and health goals post-baby? 

  1. Make yourself a priority. Self care is all care. You can’t give to your family what you don’t have.
  2. Take it one day at a time.
  3. Listen to your body.
  4. Any movement is good movement.
  5. You will not move like you used to and that is okay.
  6. 10 minutes is better than no minutes.
  7. Think of working out as therapy, something that changes your energy, your mood, your day. Instead of something you have to do to lose weight.
  8. Every Monday set a REALISTIC goal. For example: MOVE two times this week for 30 min.
  9. Stick to your goal.
  10. Don’t compare your workout now to how you use to workout. I use to run a 7:30 minute mile I now run a 13 minute mile and I am okay with that.

Are certain types of exercise ideal for postpartum recovery? Any to avoid? 

Walking, low impact movements. In the beginning, avoid working out every day, and ease back into it. Sleep when you can.

Here’s a couple of my at home workouts: (I post these workouts on my Instagram.)

Lower Body: 10 hip lifts // 10 straight leg kick backs // 10 inner thigh squats. Do 3 rounds.

Upper Body (Can use 3-5lbs weights or cans from your cupboard): 10 bicep curls // 10 shoulder press // 10 tricep kickbacks. Do 3 rounds.

What are your thoughts on nutrition? 

Listen to your body.  When you are mindful, your body will tell you what it wants. Always have easy to grab and eat foods on hand. I know my babies have needed fat lately because I have been craving avocados and peanut butter. I also want bananas, blueberries, oatmeal, yogurt, salmon and granola. Ironically, all of these foods are good for milk production. Oh and chips! I’ve been craving chips but not sure that’s on the list for milk production!!

Here is a typical day for me:

Morning: Oatmeal with 1 spoonful peanut butter, cinnamon, handful of nuts, almond milk and blueberries.

Snack: 1 piece toast with peanut butter & blueberries on top.

Lunch: Sandwich. Turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mustard and avocado (and chips).

Snack: Apple or cliff bar and more chips

Dinner: Honestly, it’s whatever anyone has made for me or just whatever I can put together.

Dessert: Yes please.

Amen to that. Thanks, Jenny!