The Fit You

Love Your Body. Love Your Life

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Slender & Strong

I love how slender and yet strong Doutzen’s body is in the ad.  To me, this is fitness as it’s meant to be.

Active, healthy, beautiful, and very very strong.

Over the past months I’ve been doing a lot more strength training with a heavier weight than normal.  It’s a common misconception that a woman with an ectomorph body type doesn’t have problem with gaining weight or having fat.  But oh do we ever!  And personally, with my genetic tree, we look WORSE when we gain fat because it really really shows on our tiny frames.

So… what can help with not becoming what people call “Skinny Fat?”

Weight training, cardio that is more plyometric (jump roping, etc.), avoiding all the “white” foods for periods of time (sugar, dairy, breads, pastas, rice, etc.).  These are the crucibles of what produces this particular, extremely lean yet not “too thin” look.

It’s definitely my goal to attain this, and it’s FUN 😀

Enjoy!

Stephanie

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30 Minute Full Body Dumbell Workout!

Depression Darkness & Exercise

I’ve met so many women you’d never guess were actually battling depression inside because outwardly, they look normal, sometimes even have a happy countenance.  Since I started this blog from the experience of gaining weight mostly due to depression, I thought it’d be good to offer at least one person’s thoughts on the topic.

Most women, men too, even though this is a girly blog, have weight issues when depressed.  Sometimes losing weight, but more often than not, it’s gaining weight that tends to happen when you’re depressed.  I know for myself, it’s happened both ways depending on the kind of depression.

Losing-weight depression – becoming emaciated –

I don’t think this is common for most women, and I don’t know enough of the male experience to say whether or not it’s common for men, but some people do actually tend to lose weight when depressed.  The only time I’ve ever experienced this type of depression where you lose all appetite for food and get very thin was when my parents rejected me for wanting to marry my husband, kicked me out, took my car so I had no transportation, and sent me an email telling me I was officially “estranged.”  I’d never heard of the word before, and it was devastating.  Luckily, even through the depression, our love flourished as I was forced to depend completely on him for almost everything.  I had a job, but no way to get there really as our bus system is pretty bad down here.  The only things I did on my own was manage my budget with the earnings I made, buy things I needed out of that, and keep up with my college classes and coursework.  Eventually it got to the point where I couldn’t even get out of bed in the middle of the day to get to class due to losing all motivation.  I was the type who loved my classes and made mostly all A’s, so skipping class was something I didn’t do.  My sweet man pretty much forced me to go to counseling and it helped immensely to get better.  But I remember distinctly feeling as though my body was wasting away.  There was no motivation to eat and just barely enough motivation to go to counseling.  A huge part of my soul believes it was my husband’s love that got me through that trial.

Gaining-weight depression – emotional eating –

I’m not a psychologist by any means, so take all this with a huge cup of salt lol.  I’m generally an optimistic person, probably because of my faith in God, but I do believe in degrees of depression and that even sometimes, it can be a spiritual thing going on.  I know some Christians seem to think depression cannot exist or that it’s the person’s fault, but I do think it’s much more complicated than that.  Yes, of course it can be the person’s fault.  We all sin and do and say things we regret, and (pardon my horrible psycho-analysis lol) if we internalize that anger and shame, it can cause us to feel “depressed” long enough for the length of time needed to be categorized as a clinical depression.

I think gaining weight can be a different kind of emotional response than becoming emaciated, but this is all just me guessing here.  When I’ve gained weight with depression, it was I think because I was trying to repress the pain and go on living instead of really facing it head on and dealing with it (emotionally or spiritually dealing with it).  Holding on to those negative emotions, keeping them underneath the surface, stuffing them down inside, I think doing all that can cause “emotional eating.”  You eat because it temporarily feels good and alleviates those disturbing or painful feelings and strong emotions you wish weren’t there.  Eating becomes an addiction to varying degrees depending on the person, just like any other addiction that springs from self-medicating.

***

So… now that you’ve gotten my take on depression, if you’re feeling this way and wanting to lose weight, it is going to be hard 😦  It is not easy to take care of yourself when “taking care of yourself” is literally the last thing you want to do.  Whether it’s eating more than you should, or making sure you’re properly nourished, both problems will take confronting what is going on underneath the surface so that you can heal and move on with life.  There will always be times when a person feels down or has a bad day or week even.  But depression last longer (you can look up the keys here), and usually takes more action on your part to move beyond.

I’ll write more on exercising when depressed soon I hope 🙂

Stephanie

How Do You Have a “Fit” Postpartum?

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My husband took this picture without me knowing 🙂 my body is still not exactly where I want it to be (so much loss of muscle and probably still some fat to lose), but it does make me happy that my body is relatively back to normal.  I feel strong and full of energy, and am so proud of what it can do so soon after having our 3rd baby.  It’s like a celebration! ❤

Going on a beach vacation and celebrating our 10th anniversary this early postpartum was a little difficult, but thankfully the difficulty wasn’t so much because I was “out of shape,” but just due to having such a little baby.  We’re a very active, athletic family… so being out of shape really lessens the quality of my life as I’m not able to keep up or do the things I want to do.

But why is getting back in shape after having a baby important?  Obviously, it may not be important to everyone, but to the majority of women out there who eventually do want to get their bodies back, it seems like it is.

One woman in my fitness group recently admitted that if she had known how much excess skin would be hanging off her stomach postpartum, and how awful it would feel to even look at it, she would have DEFINITELY changed all her eating habits while pregnant and would have kept her weight down and been only gaining the minimum amount necessary.

I think it’s relatively normal for Western women to disregard their fitness while pregnant, not really understanding (or caring at the moment) how hard it will be to lose that weight, or to get the skin to go back in, after the baby is out.  And then once it’s a few months or a year postpartum, they start to realize how hard they made it for themselves and live with regret.

So what is the “secret” to having a fit postpartum?  What is the secret to having a pretty good body almost right after you have your baby?

The simple answer?

Having a fit pregnancy.

That’s it.  And it’s the truth. 🙂 The more “in shape” you are, the stronger you are and yes, even “thinner” you are while you’re pregnant, normal weight gain aside of course, the fitter, stronger, and even thinner you’ll be postpartum.

If you stay active and only gain what you and the baby actually need, you won’t have pounds of excess fat and weight to lose afterward.

I’m lucky to be in a fitness group right now where I’ve seen many ladies go through pregnancy and come out extremely fit and strong and capable.  They not only don’t use pregnancy as an excuse to eat anything they want, they don’t even use pregnancy as an excuse to stop lifting weights!!  Or to stop running and working out fairly hard!  It’s amazing to watch these women conquer the usual setbacks of pregnancy with hard work and discipline.  Very inspiring and motivating ❤ 🙂

Will pregnancy set you back some?  Definitely, in those first weeks, doctors don’t want you to workout again until cleared for a reason – because your body really is still healing.  But they also tell you right after you have the baby (the next day in my experiences with all our 3 kids), to start walking like you’re planning to do a walk-a-thon in a month lol!

Walking IS exercising, and they want you doing that 24 hours after having a c-section!

So yes, while you need to wait until your doctor clears you to do more strenuous things, your doctor also expects you to be walking and gently moving your body around actively on your own the day after a c-section.

Why?  Because they know for a fact that it helps you heal faster if you gently exercise those muscles and it keeps your blood flowing which also aids in a faster healing.

We were created to move, and its really no different during and after pregnancy.  Hence the more fit and strong you are during pregnancy, the better (and easier!!) it will be for you afterward.

So take care of yourself during your pregnancy!  You’ll never regret making healthy choices that make it easier for you when you have your baby 😉

It’s already hard having a newborn, but being overweight or weak and fat make it a lot harder.  Be good to yourself, and keep your body in shape.

Stephanie

“Fat Girl Fed Up” and Her Journey to Weight Loss

Article on Staying Fit Being One of the “Best Gifts” You Can Give Your Husband

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I’m pleasantly surprised how much traction this “staying fit” throughout life – even during and especially after having children – is gaining in our culture.  It’s still a somewhat taboo topic that seems to inflame many people wanting to deny that weight and healthy body size matters, but it makes me happy to see more people writing about it in a positive way.

Here is an article with a title I couldn’t have picked better myself (so elated!!):

“STAYING FIT FOR YOUR HUSBAND IS ONE OF THE BEST GIFTS YOU CAN GIVE HIM”

This is undeniably true, and yet, sadly, we just are not “allowed” to talk about this – or write about this – without people being offended at the simple truth.  Men are visual and love to see their wives looking sexy and thin.  Being fit and in shape makes them less likely to feel tempted all the time by other women, or to look at porn even, according to my husband!

Give the article a click, it’s a good, balanced read.

It reminds me of after my husband and I had our first baby, my husband, in a moment of brutal honesty, actually thanked me for not letting myself go.  He really appreciated it. ❤

 

So yes, I agree, staying fit for your husband truly IS one of the “best gifts” you can give him. 😉

Sweet Potato Mash

This is one of the healthiest sides that is also conveniently easy to make and delicious enough your kids will eat it!

We try to do sweet potato fries also, which taste incredible!  But the mash is a good side dish for normal meals of chicken and vegetables, etc.

Here is the recipe I made tonight:

Tracy Anderson’s Post Pregnancy Workout Review

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I wanted to talk some more about the official postpartum workout I chose to do this time.  I really didn’t do any kind of specific immediate postpartum workout with our first baby 7 years ago, or with our second just 2 1/2 years ago.  I did “workout,”my husband even trained me at the gym and did workouts with me at home, but nothing this well-structured for helping your body to go back to normal after being pregnant for 9 months.  Tracy has moves especially designed to get your muscles to come back to skin and to get that flap of skin (where the belly left) to disappear.  They are remarkable and get results fast.

Our bodies really take a beating during pregnancy, everything seems to move around – your hips, your pelvic muscles, your abs, and even your spine apparently along with sometimes your ribs.  It is just insane!  Tracy mentions these things in the video and gives actual specific workout moves/techniques that are supposed to make everything go back to normal.  It really works according to women who have done it and stuck with it.  And I’m amazed how incredible it feels – it’s hard but in a good way, I can actually feel my abs waking up and responding better each time.

Tracy Anderson’s Post Pregnancy DVD (link to buy)

Since I’m still kind of in a fog of sleep deprivation and it’s hard to write thoughts out well, here are some easy-to-read bullet points about the workout dvd you need to know:

  • It’s 49 minutes, which honestly… it’s a little too long for my “ideal” workout, but it’s so worth your time.  There are workouts out there that are 20 or 30 minutes and then you’re done for the day – I did that for our first baby, but it took a YEAR to lose the excess weight.  And my body was still better served by this woman’s “Metamorphosis” workouts I did **after** that… everything got tinier and I developed leaner dancer-type muscles with Tracy’s workout moves than with anyone else’s.
  • It’s HARD. I mean really pretty hard, especially that first time you try it after having a baby.  Even if you were active, it’s just a very strange feeling to experience how stretched out your muscles got during those 9 months.
  • It gets miraculously easier each time you do it!  I was amazed there were 2 positions/moves my muscles just would not respond to that first time, and then miraculously they did a tiny bit the next, and then MUCH better the next, and so on.  It’s like your muscles’ take time to establish those electric connections that make them move again… so weird, but Tracy mentions that as well when you’re doing it with her.
  • It’s totally safe to do this even if you had a c-section.  Just wait until your doctor clears you for exercise because this definitely counts as exercise.
  • She does all the moves with you.  I really respect a trainer who does Each. Repetition. With. You.  Most don’t… Jillian Michael’s will do a couple of examples and then stop and coach you through.  Tracy does every single move that she’s asking you to do – which for me is extremely motivating and makes me take her more seriously.
  • Speaking of repetitions… each move or exercise she has you do, has like 1,000 repetitions each.  I’m only slightly exaggerating here.  It’s what makes it so hard, your main muscles go into exhaustion phase, and you’re forced to use the lesser used, smaller/supporting muscles you never knew you had. Scientifically this works to make everything pulled in tighter and smaller – literally giving you that dancer’s body most women covet.  I’ve experienced this effect with her before after my first baby – after trying Jillian Michael’s and losing the weight, but still not being able to fit into my old clothes.  Her workouts were why I didn’t have to buy a new wardrobe.
  • You really need to buy this thing.  It’s so cheap, and again, it’s gone out of print ( is that the word you use for dvds?) before.  It’s so valuable, and yet I got mine I think for $8.00 online.
  • I should have said who this woman is 😀  She is a celebrity trainer that has worked with Hollywood clients for over a decade.  She’s a little strange (like you’d expect anyone from Hollyweird to be), and wears really skimpy outfits, kind of an exhibitionist really, but her workouts work.  It is a crime that you can get her teaching and training right now on dvd for so cheap.  Access to her personal training or special gyms in New York is a fortune!  And yet regular moms have access to her dvd for almost free (seriously)?!  Again, wise women will take advantage of this.
  • It’s only for women who really want to work hard.  Or find the time.  It’s not for women who make excuses and remain overweight.  You can make ALLLL the excuses you want, but in the end, it’s only you, your attitude about life, and your will or desire to make the changes you want.  No one’s going to force you to take your health seriously, it’s a choice you and only you can make.  Or you can continue to make those excuses.
  • She tells you to start it RIGHT AFTER you’re cleared for exercise.  Most American women just don’t workout right after they’re cleared, and then complain about how unsexy or fat they feel.  So the women who use this are the ones who really deserve the body it gives, because it is hard work but feels so good.  Be different.  Be a woman who chooses NOT to gain too much weight during pregnancy, and then be a woman who chooses to make her body strong again after she’s had her baby.
  • It’s actually relaxing if you do it at night.  I can’t believe how good and relaxing it feels – I mean it’s a workout and it’s painful, but somehow it feels so slow and nice that I’m ready for a hot bath or shower after, some chocolates and then to sleep.

And the best thing of all???  The endorphins and sense of feeling so accomplished and happy after you’ve completed another workout.  It’s simply taking care of yourself.  Like brushing your teeth, except the work and difficulty gives you a sense of healthy pride for persevering through the pain or desire to give up.  And spiritually it makes me more thankful to God for my health and strength He’s given me.  It makes me feel like I’m being a better steward of this body He’s given me instead of neglecting it.

Get it and enjoy it!

Stephanie

4 Weeks Postpartum Fitness

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This past month has flown by for us with a busy schedule for just having a newborn.  I’m so excited to be getting back to normal – both physically and energy-wise – pregnancy is just extremely unpleasant for me.  I’ve said before, I LOVE feeling the baby move, playing music for them inside the womb, and of course, when they finally come out… but I really hate being pregnant, and I love that feeling right after the baby comes out (either that night or the next morning) where there’s like this heavy weight literally lifted off of you.  I felt that again this time, and it was so welcome!!!

As far as stats go, my “theory” about my body basically losing 20-25 lbs in those first two weeks was upheld for the 3rd time!  I’m not sure the exact number because of how much the weight fluctuates a little at the very end of pregnancy due to fluid, but I know for sure it was somewhere between 20-25 pounds that melted off in those first two weeks again.

Postpartum Swelling & Diuretics

BUT this pregnancy postpartum had a strange hiccup – while I was still in the hospital, my foot, then leg, then both legs started swelling up immensely.  It was actually a little scary.  I called my doctor right away and she thought it was possibly the anesthesia used.  Once I got home, the swelling didn’t go away and even traveled to my lower abdomen and stomach – making me look about 6 months pregnant again.  Just so strange and I’d never had that happen before with the other two.  If you google “postpartum swelling,” it appears to be something that happens sometimes – not uncommon even – and doctors just typically tell you to drink lots of water and go for walks.  From what I read from other women’s experience with it, it can go on for months!  I was already walking and drinking tons of fluid – I was moving around so much while still at the hospital that multiple people, including my own doctor, were shocked and thought I *wasn’t* the patient they were supposed to look at 😛  But the swelling just got worse.  My milk supply had already came in full throttle (lol) and she was drinking so much I had an over-abundance, so I decided it was worth the risk to take a very very small dose of a diuretic (OTC).  It was getting so bad that my maternity clothes (especially the shorts) were not even fitting anymore.

**If this swelling thing is happening to you, make sure you know the risks in taking a diuretic – it can either diminish your milk supply, making you dry up completely, or even pass to the baby and make them dehydrated if you make a mistake.

I’ve studied these things in depth and knew to only take a very small dose – about 1/4 of what was recommended on the instructions, so I felt pretty confident in what I was doing.  Doctors won’t prescribe you a diuretic for months sometimes and will just keep telling you the swelling will go away on it’s own.  For me, it worked well to make the swelling completely go away within just a couple of days… it didn’t affect my milk supply at all – but again, I knew to wait until it was really established and flowing well.

Cleared for exercise

My doctor, who is truly a conservative doctor when it comes to these things, surprised me and actually cleared me for exercise at my 4 weeks appointment.  I was so excited, we were already going for walks and even low intensity hikes within that second week postpartum, but right after I was cleared I started up my postpartum workout program.

This is what I’m doing 4 times a week right now, it is incredible and I can already feel it doing wonders for my body:

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Tracy Anderson’s Post Pregnancy DVD – you can find it for super cheap online!  And it is a gold mine of perfect workouts to get your body back.  I seriously cannot admonish you enough to get this dvd if you are wanting a better postpartum body.  Or even if you’re a man with a daughter who may have babies someday… this dvd has been unavailable before, so since it’s so cheap right now, I suggest you get it and save it for her.

Tracy suggests doing this dvd RIGHT AFTER you’re cleared for exercise, and to do it 4-6 times a week.  It is HARD and she talks you through it all, educating you on what your muscles are going through after pregnancy and why sometimes it takes longer for them to work after you’ve had the baby.

There are some exercises you may not be able to do during the first few times you try it, I couldn’t believe how my body literally wouldn’t respond at all to a couple of the workout exercises on that first day, then miraculously during the second day, it was a little better, and then by the third and fourth time, I was able to do them much better.

Nothing this woman creates is easy, and this dvd is no exception!  But I love how much **slower** the exercises go, it very relaxing to do them after the kids are asleep and have the lights low.  She suggests doing it with your baby in front of you, and I did that a couple of times and it was great.

You have to find time to workout even when you have kids, and there’s no better time to figure out a good routine of what works for your household (in supporting mommy working out) than when your baby is still little.  Our older boys are already used to my husband and I working out, they even join in sometimes.  Make it a priority if it’s important to you, but don’t let it stress you out if you have to stop and try again at another time – like when your two year old is NOT tantruming.

I’ve found throughout the years of working out with my kids either awake or sleeping, is that if you show them it’s fun and important to you, and tell them you’re taking care of yourself so you can have more fun with them and be a stronger mom, they’ll appreciate it.  Even my two-year old is usually *not* tantruming, he usually plays around me and I can tease him with tickles or kisses as I’m doing the mat workout.

Just don’t expect perfection… be flexible and ready to give up if it’s clear your kids aren’t having it at that time.  I’ve found working out after they’re asleep is more relaxing and I’m able to focus better anyway 🙂

Stephanie

Fantastic Workout Moves for Diastasis Recti

I don’t believe I’ve had diastasis recti, but I’ve known a couple of friends who have that were plagued by it for months.  It is not fun to have delivered your baby 6 months ago, and yet have a bulge as though you’re still 6 months pregnant!

But you don’t have to live like that, there is real help out there and exercise techniques that will pull your stomach in and even close the gap between your ab muscles.

This woman’s workout video is perfect, and I’m amazed she still has a 2-finger gap even though she looks incredible.  It just goes to show how hard it is to get back to normal sometimes.

It’s not easy.  It’s not for the faint-hearted.

If you want a good body after it growing huge with pregnancy, it’s something you really have to work for.

Just like anything good in life.

Stephanie