Well it's true... your body definitely doesn't look the same once you've had a baby! And I've come to realise that's ok. I actually feel stronger (mostly mentally) since having Miss M, and like I can do anything now.
I was quite sick during early pregnancy, and the last thing I felt like was exercise. I lost 5kgs in the first couple of weeks, and didn't put on much weight until the middle of my 2nd trimester. I ended up putting on about 27kgs! I ate way too much of the wrong foods, and once I stopped being sick, I was too exhausted to even go for a walk. Plus, I had pretty horrific back pain, and when I did venture out for a walk, my joints ached. Needless to say, there are definitely things I would do differently next time!
Once Miss M was 3 weeks old, I began walking with her in the pram. I loved getting out in the fresh air, and could easily walk for an hour and a half 4+ times per week. It was like I had all this energy all of a sudden! I felt like eating healthier too, and quickly lost about 22kgs (breastfeeding helped too of course!) With my new found energy (I was very blessed early on that Miss M was a good sleeper - I can't say that now though!) I wanted to be active all the time!
[This is 3-week old Miss M fast asleep in the pram after our very first walk]
Other things that have been fantastic in my weight loss and tone up mission have been playing social netball on a Wednesday night, Kangatraining where you take your bub along, and wear them in a carrier while you do aerobic style moves to music, joining the gym again and doing classes (I have just recently swapped to a 'ladies only' section in my gym where you can choose between cardio, core and resistance programs that are made for you) and using hand weights to do simple toning exercises at home.
The internet is a wealth of information, and misinformation, and after having a baby it is important to seek medical advice before you begin any type of exercise program. My labour and recovery were fairly normal, and I took it easy when I began to walk when Miss M was only 3 weeks old. In my experience it has been fine, but everyone's situation is different.
As far as eating goes, I haven't been too strict this time, just eating everything in moderation. I used to be super-strict a few years ago, and wouldn't even touch a square of chocolate in my quest for weight-loss. My approach is much healthier now, and I feel a lot better for it.
I always have a healthy breakfast (weet-bix or toast with peanut butter or porridge or yoghurt), sometimes I have a cup of tea and some nuts or a yoghurt for morning tea (sometimes I'm too busy, or am still full from breakfast), and lunch is usually leftovers from dinner. I am a snacker, and have to limit myself in the afternoon, but like to have a range of healthy snacks such as fruit, vita weat crackers, rice cakes etc. so that I don't go looking for unhealthy foods. After a healthy dinner (with lots of veggies and lean meat), I feel like I need something sweet, so I will often have a biscuit with my cup of tea. This is purely out of habit, but I love it. Everything in moderation right?
The thing to remember in getting back into shape after having a bub is to do what works for you and your baby and not stress about it! Go for a family walk of an evening, or organise the grandparents to do some babysitting while you head to the gym. You will not only feel better physically, but mentally and emotionally as well!