[00:00:00] You’re listening to Parenting in the First Three Years, the place where we explore the strategies and soul of parenting from pregnancy through the first three years of life. I’m your host, Anne McKittrick. Thank you so much for joining me.

Hello and welcome to Parenting in the First Three Years. I am so excited to introduce my guest today, Maria Dior. Maria and I have been, I feel like she’s one of my dearest friends, but I’ve never met her face to face. She lives in Denmark. I live in Texas and we are very far apart, but I sure do love you, Maria.

And thank you so much for being in this show. I’m so excited to be here and I see you as a dear friend too. So that’s exciting. Yeah. So, why don’t you tell people what you do and the exciting news about your podcast. Yeah. So I’m a mom of three, but I’m also a health [00:01:00] professional within both fitness and nutrition and taking care of mom’s body recovering from pregnancy and birth, both on a mental and physical level.

I’ve been working as a personal trainer, entrepreneur and nutritional specialist for about eight years at this time. I also have a podcast called Morsomhed, a Danish word for mom’s space, and I just reached a million downloads. So that’s really exciting. And I love doing podcasts.

That’s where I’ve been in my life and where I am now. I’m really passionate about health in general. How old are your kids now? Nine, seven, and five. Ah, they’re getting bigger. Yes. What we’re talking about today are simple and realistic ways for moms who [00:02:00] are pregnant, just had a baby,  and are in these first few years of being a parent can stay healthy. What are some ways that moms can do this? How can they do this?

Yeah, so I think health is a lot of things and I think it’s important to also be clear to yourself what health is for you because I don’t think there’s one way or another to be healthy. For me, it’s all about the feeling of being healthy, and that is really different. So I think it’s important to just, as a baseline, tell people that there’s no recipe for what’s healthy and not healthy. It’s really about a feeling in the body and a feeling in our mindset of doing something that benefits how you show up as a mom. And how you show up as yourself and at your best self. A way for me to do that is to set aside time every day to move my body, [00:03:00]to prioritize how I eat, and how I sleep, and actually also to prioritize what pressure I put on myself in terms of trying not to overwhelm myself.

I try not to pressure myself into expecting that I could do 10, 20, or 30 things a day that might not be realistic. Some things that I tell my clients is that when you’re gonna start prioritizing yourself again, either during pregnancy or after birth, when you had like this huge life happening to you, when everything changes, and everything gets set in a different setting, I think it’s important just to tell yourself that this is a period in my life where I’ve spent a lot of time prioritizing other needs before my own.

But it’s also important that you’re able to [00:04:00] prioritize other people’s needs, especially your kids and your children’s needs, before yourself. And a way to do that is to take care of yourself. And so what I see is that a lot of moms think about help as something that they can prioritize when they have the time for it, whereas I like to tell people that you need to take the time to prioritize it and you need to do things for yourself that will help you be able to be there.

As the mom you want to show up every single day and some concrete ways to do that is to do small actions that don’t require a lot of time and effort because you might not have the time or the effort or the energy to put the pressure on yourself to say, I need to run three times a week, or I need to stop snacking in between meals, or I need to cut down on sugar because that’s healthy steps towards the direction where you’re actually fueling your body with more energy and more nutritionist food that will help yourselves.[00:05:00]

Develop and do what they need to do, but it also can be unhealthy to put that stress on yourself if you’re not ready or unable to set aside that much time or effort. So small steps in a direction where you can say, I’m going to choose to eat a healthy breakfast. I’m going to do a smoothie, or I’m going to do a healthy muffin breakfast muffin with vegetables in it or something.

Or I’m going to start the day by putting out at least your outfit or my fitness clothing so that I can be able to move in the morning if I feel like I have the time, or maybe I can go to the store rather than to drive if you have that possibility so that you’re setting yourself up to be able to take that action.

If you feel like you have the energy, but also just to start the morning with the intention of, let’s start out [00:06:00] healthy, maybe during the day, I’ll get tired, or things will happen, but I will start my day prioritizing my health. I think that is the best way to do it and just take small steps. It could be just doing five squats because, in your mindset, you’ve actually done something good for yourself.

The first thing in the morning. And that is, yeah, a great, a great way to transition into having the rest of the day be healthy. Yeah, you know, those are things I even do now. If I know that I’ll have a workout class later on today, and I don’t have to go anywhere else, I will dress like that. So in the afternoon slump when I say I don’t really feel like going, I’m too tired, all that stuff. I’m already dressed and ready,  that’s half the battle. But I can remember as a mom of three kids who are less than two years apart and, just those years of really heavy parenting, I would [00:07:00] sometimes at the end of the day, find myself sitting down on the couch and thinking, this is the first time I’ve sat down all day long. You know, there’s just no time to exercise.

So, how can people do this? Like, I mean, you said do some squats. What are some other really simple ways to just get a little movement in the midst of it? Yeah, so I do personally enjoy walks because it’s the easiest way for me to actually move without feeling the struggle of not being able to breathe or pushing myself too hard where I know that the feeling of discomfort will come in really fast.

What people in general, not only moms, try to avoid is the feeling of discomfort, and to be honest, being healthy doesn’t feel comfortable when you’re doing it, it doesn’t feel comfortable eating green salads, rather [00:08:00] than having a donut, because that’s, you know, it just gives you something else, it gives you the sugar, it makes your brain happy, you want to be happy, everyone has one desire in life is to be happy and to enjoy life, and so a lot of the healthy stuff is not enjoyable.

So your brain will automatically go to a place where you just want to do it because you know that it’s going to hurt. It’s going to be painful. You’re going to sweat. You need to take a shower. There’s just too much effort going into that. And so for me, when I had a baby, the way that I started my health journey was to actually just start walking either with my baby in the stroller, going for a walk for like 10 minutes by myself, just to get some fresh air to just reset my day not to be yelled mom at all the time. It really also helped me get some mind space into my day.

But In general, what I like to say to moms, especially moms who have a small baby, is that you could actually [00:09:00] get down on the floor with your baby and follow their own movement process because when you’re going to recover from your birth. The way you want to do it is to start doing exercises where you lay flat on your back because that alleviates the least strain on your body. It doesn’t require your body to perform traumatizing movements in terms of the weight, effort, and pullback that your body will experience.

And so when I train moms to get back into shape, what I tell them is to start exercising, laying flat on your back. Doing pelvic tilts, tugging in your stomach, making sure you have that core stabilization. And that’s the way the baby’s does too. Cause the baby cannot do anything else than lay flat on their back when they get to this world. And then all of a sudden, they can roll over and stay up their stomach. And then you can do the same. You roll over, you train, you know, raise yourself up, train your back, do movements [00:10:00] where you’re stretching your arms out, see if you can have the balance there. Then, all of a sudden, your baby can go up on all fours, and then you can start going up on fours and doing exercising on all fours.

And at the same time, you can actually spend quality time with your baby. Mm-hmm. . And so what I used to say to moms and usually say to moms is that actually just when you have your baby and, and your baby is all fresh and newborn, they can lay on their backs and, and go down on the floor and, and lay there with them and do some pelvic tilts.

Mm-hmm. and, and just some small movements. And then follow your baby’s development. And then that way you can actually get some movement throughout the day where you don’t feel like you need to get a sweat on, it doesn’t need to get uncomfortable, but you’re still exploring just simple moments with your baby and it’s also a great way to spend some time with them.

Yeah. I love that because. You’re actually giving your body the time to recover. You know, if you wait until they’re rolling before you start rolling over and getting on your belly and doing [00:11:00] those supermans and all those things, then you have waited probably the appropriate amount of time to do that kind of exercise.

That’s, that’s a really. Really great way to look at it. And I love the fact that you’re right there with your baby, too. That’s exactly what both of you need. Yeah, exactly. And you’re helping your baby see what movement can be as well. So you’re mirroring the movements that they need to learn. So it’s really a great way to both.

Challenge your baby’s motor skills, but also challenge your own motor skills because it needs to recover from a birth. It’s a traumatization for the body to experience a pregnancy and a birth. You want to give it time, but you also want to get back to it as soon as possible, especially with the Kegel exercises, the pelvic tilts and the restoration of your abdomen muscles.

And the best way to start without putting too much strain on your body is actually to be flat on your back. Yeah, that’s great. And then as they get up and upright and start walking, and then by the time they start running, maybe your body is ready to move a little [00:12:00] faster when you go for that walk. Yeah.

That’s neat. So when you were a new mom, and it hasn’t been very long ago, how did you notice, and what do you notice with your clients in their moods and in their mental health, when they begin to implement some of these things? Well, I think everyone knows the feeling after a great workout, the mood really shifts because you feel like you can conquer the world.

You have used a lot of energy, but you also get twice as much back because, you know, you get your endorphins pumping, you get yourself renewed and, and the body just starts working, restoring the body and the muscles and the tissue that you’ve broken down throughout the movement. And so I think. In terms of general health, when you also implement nutritionist choices that are maybe healthier than the fast choices that you pull off because you’re too tired to do otherwise, I think the sense of feeling [00:13:00] the self-care and self-love in and of itself gives you a sense of energy because you knew, you know, that you’re able to take care of yourself whilst also taking care of someone else.

And just the fact that when you move around, endorphins are floating in the body, and that brings happiness, and it brings motivation, and it brings a sense of, you know, whatever, like I can, it doesn’t matter. And when you’re in that struggle state, which I think every mom has been in once in a while, where you know, you have a baby that’s crying or the breastfeeding isn’t working or something’s wrong and you’re, you’re just sleep deprived and tired and overwhelmed. I think what’s really great is to be able to utilize the fact that if you just spend 10 minutes. Moving your body and getting some fresh air and even just talking to yourself in a sense of, you [00:14:00] know what?

I’ve got this. This is okay. It’s okay to be tired. I’m going to do this anyway. It’s okay that I feel overwhelmed. The best for me right now is to go for a walk and clear my mind. I think that really shifts how you view parenthood and parenting and being a mom. Into I’m also being me, the title Mom is not everything to me. I’m also Maria or or whoever you are. And I see a shift in the ability to take on struggles. In crisis, when you have taken the time to prioritize yourself, even if it’s only two minutes, it plays a huge role, in your mood and the way you show up actually. It really is a time-consuming thing to figure out that balance.

Because you are so utterly consumed with your child and being a parent and that [00:15:00] becomes your full identity, you know, and you’re, you’re just making this big, gigantic shift, but at the same time, you’re still yourself, and you’re still 100% Maria, and you cannot forget about Maria. You have to take care of Maria.

That is, I think, such an important thing for all of us to remember. I’m actually, I’ve got some group coaching going on and this is the whole point of it. You know, you are 100 percent mother and you are 100 percent woman. Let’s look at both of these people and figure out how to find peace in both roles, you know, and growth and, and contentment and all that stuff.

That is really great. So you suggest. Going for walks, which is something you can start probably in the first month or so after having a baby and Kind of synchronizing your movements and growing your movements as your baby develops and grows bigger That’s another really great piece of advice one more piece [00:16:00] of advice or encouragement that you could leave with those who are listening well, I think Starting out simple is the key because what we want to do is that we want to start out, but we also want to continue.

And so I think a lot of moms fall into that all or nothing thinking, like either or, uh, either I’m going to be healthier or I’m not going to be, or either I’m going to run or I’m not going to run, or either I’m going to go out and do a crossfit workout or I’m not going to do it. And so I think. The essence of all of it is to find a balance and to find something that makes you feel good, because for me, right now, I’m long gone for the postpartum recovery part, so I can go out in my CrossFit gym, and I can push my limits.

And I feel great when I’ve done that. But I also have a time consuming job. And I also have three grown kids, almost that I need to, you know, take to the soccer games and school meetings and PTA meetings and you know, [00:17:00] whatever. And so If I was to say I haven’t worked out properly, if I didn’t spend an hour at the gym, I would probably not work out at all because that’s not the case all the time.

I don’t wake up every day and happen to find an extra hour. I need to take that time. And if I have this goal in my head that it’s going to be one hour, Or if it isn’t, it’s not going to count because, you know, I’ve had those, those thoughts as well. Uh, if I don’t run 5k, it’s not count as running, which is just a shift, right?

It’s just what I want to emphasize is that the balance is really the key here. So it doesn’t matter if it’s running, if it’s doing strength exercises, if it’s biking on the Peloton or whatever. The important part is that you find something that you’ve actually enjoyed and you might not enjoy it to begin with, but when you come home or when you stop that workout or stop that exercise, you [00:18:00] feel good.

And that’s the feeling you want to continue feeling when you’re done, because that will motivate you to get started the day after and then the day after and making small goals. It’s going to build on that feeling of satisfaction. So if your goal is to today, I’m just going to put up my, my fitness clothing.

That’s a great goal because that is probably better than what you’re already doing, and then the next day you can say, I’m going to put that clothes on and then I’m going to walk for two minutes. Cause when you can check that box off, then you feel good cause you, you were able to keep to your own promises.

You were able to, to do what you said you wanted to do. And then you train that thought and you train that habit. And all of a sudden it doesn’t require you to, to, you know, win over your own excuses. You don’t need to get into an argument with yourself on whether or not you’re going to actually get it done.

Or if you’re going to. [00:19:00] You know, let the couch win. And so I think it doesn’t really matter what activities you’re going to do. It’s obviously important that you follow some guidelines and instructions in terms of the recovery process of the postpartum body, but when you feel like you have your pelvic floor contained and you, you are doing some deep core exercises to regain that control of your stability, then it’s really up to you on what you feel is.

Beneficial for your body and your mood and your health and then be flexible about the way that you get there, but be really consistent on getting there. So keep the consistency as of I have this goal and I’m going to reach it, but the ways to reach it be flexible because. You are a mom and sometimes you’re going to have a bad day and your baby is going to have a bad day and everything will fall into like a mud and [00:20:00] you’re just going to want to lay down and cry, but you know, if you just say, well, this today, it wasn’t the long run.

It’s just a short one. It won’t always be this way. Yeah, exactly. And if the goal was to run, then you did run, even if it wasn’t the 5k you had planned on, maybe it was just 500 meters. That’s better than nothing. So I think that is actually, it’s not a concrete thing to do, but it’s really important to have that mindset because you want to be your best.

And you want to, you know, you want to pick yourself up and you want to support yourself and be flexible about how you’re going to do it. Just make sure that you set aside time to actually be able to do something. Right. Yeah. And I’ll add that, you know, that over the years in my journey as a woman, you know, when my kids were babies and toddlers and growing up through the years.

I’ve had ebbs and flows of health really, but it seems as if like with every life stage, there are [00:21:00] opportunities to, to do things a little different and the desire to do things different and, and just to, you know, really follow what, what you said, follow your heart, do what’s fun, do what you’ll want to do, you know, whether that’s yoga by Adrian on YouTube or going for a walk or, you know.

Doing something bigger, you know, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s really important just, just to move. And, um, I will say that as an advocate for everybody listening, just keep moving, because when you get to be my age, it really does matter that you have moved all these years. So well, thank you so much. That is really, really, uh, insightful and helpful and a sweet word of encouragement just to do what’s right for you.

Thank you so much, Maria. Thank you too. It was great, Sharon. Okay. I’m gonna put all the links for Maria’s website and the work that she’s done and all of her social places where you can go and see. She’s got absolutely beautiful things for you to learn and, [00:22:00] uh, see online. So thank you, Maria. Thank you too.

If you loved today’s episode, take a minute and subscribe to our podcast. And one last thing, I’d love to pray for you and your baby if you’d like for me to. You can email me at ask at nurturednoggins. com. Your request can be as simple as just one word, or it can include an explanation. Either way, you can trust that I will pray for you.

It’s a quiet, simple way that I can connect with you and your family and support you in your parenting journey.