The Fit You

Love Your Body. Love Your Life

7 Great Tips for Getting Your Body Back After Baby

This woman’s video is GREAT for some important tips to try out when losing the baby weight after pregnancy.  She goes over pretty much everything I’ve done or tried at least once and it worked for her personally (and me too), but she does mention that this may not work for everyone.  It really is true that some people respond better or not at all to some tweaks in their diet or exercise routines – basically, you have to do the research for your own body type (it’s out there! I’ll post some on things like that after the baby) and figure out what you should even be eating for your genes etc.

Ashley’s Tips:

  1. Work out – She works out everyday and started working out just a few days after having her baby.  Nothing too hard or crazy, mostly just walking and prenatal workouts which are safe even when you are pregnant.  Even with my 2 c-sections, walking as much as possible (as much as I could do without over-doing it), really helped me heal faster and lose the fluid easier.

Once she was past the healing phase, she ran and did other things that **worked for         her body.**  One of these I saw in her video is the “Barre Method,” it’s basically what         I’ve done before using Ballet Beautiful or even Tracy Anderson’s Method.  Those          workouts are extremely hard and not for the faint-hearted!  But the results are beyond fantastic, I mean, you’re doing the same workouts the Victoria’s Secret Angels do when you do the Barre Method or Tracy’s Method (which is barre, pilates, and dance for 30 minutes straight).  Many women’s bodies respond very fast to barre-type workouts as well, so it may be good to try it out.  If you’re completely new to working out though, try something less hard at first like a Jillian Michael’s 20 minute workout video – it will still be hard but it’s so short it’s over before you know it.  That’s how I lost the weight with the first baby.  It took longer with JM’s 20 minute workouts, but it was doable and didn’t kill my motivation and my husband even did it with me to encourage me!!

2 . Use a Belly Bandit after having your baby

So Ashley recommends using one of the belly bands (specifically bellybandit) to kind of squeeze everything in again.  I do think these work, although I only used it with my first baby.  With the second baby, I used compression panties (weird I know, but they had the somewhat same affect).

With our first baby, even though I gained 45 lbs compared to only 23 lbs with the second, I was still pretty active – walking all the time and for long distances on our college campus, going up tons and tons of stairs because we worked for our apartment agency we were living at during that time.  Basically, I gained quite a bit, but I was also very active which seemed to help my body be stronger.  When my doctor did my c-section, he was so surprised that my abs were that good that he took the time to sew up every layer.  Apparently that’s not normal, as even the nurse who was attending the surgery told me during recovery that she’d never seen him do that before, and that I “looked really good in there.”   :O  great, but yuck!

After I recovered for a day he came by to see me again to check in on how I was doing, and he brought me a belly wrap, telling me it would help shrink the uterus back to size and compress everything out.  It did seem to help quite a bit and I was so grateful!

This time I’m thinking of getting another band like she mentions in her video, or going full-out this time and wearing a corset like this:

41u41BAyzVL._SX342_

I figure if I’m going to do a wrap or band again, better to be serious about it – and from the reviews, this one is extremely intense – but again, it seems to really work!

3. Breastfeed if you can

I’m not so sure about this anymore – whether it helps or hinders women to lose the baby weight.  I’ve known quite a few moms that have sworn that breastfeeding caused them to keep the weight on – but some of them also admitted that they were still ravenous and ate all the time as if they were still pregnant.  For me personally, breastfeeding did seem to cause me to slim down fast – or it was the fluid.  The strange thing is that breastfeeding really does seem to make you hungrier, and I did eat more than usual even though I was burning so many calories my body still looked amazing.  So when I stopped breastfeeding, I gained a bit of weight almost immediately due to probably not altering my eating habits that had been set for a year.  I was also grieving my dad at the same time and going through depression – those also contributed to the lack of exercise and lack of eating healthy (I just didn’t care anymore).  But being so used to being able to eat anything while breastfeeding is something to be aware of – you may have to alter your food intake after you stop.

4. Get more sleep!

She mentions how she aimed for just 30 minutes extra every night and that really helped her lose the last of the weight as she was so rested.  It is so true that being stressed, sleep deprived, or anxious keeps you generally from losing any weight – it can even make you *gain* weight to not sleep enough.  Your body produces a hormone called orexin when you’re extremely tired that actually makes you hungrier, causing you to potentially eat too many calories when you don’t need them.  I know with our second baby, it was just such a peaceful transition for our family – when I was breastfeeding during the day, it literally felt like I was resting on a cloud – the hormones of breastfeeding are like a high and actually relax you!  My husband had to go back to work after only 5 days with that baby, but somehow the transition from 1 to 2 kids wasn’t that difficult.

Because of his police schedule and the danger of his job, I felt it critically important that I be the only one waking up with the baby all night, allowing him to get his much needed sleep and rest.  He’d get a full night’s sleep and then let me sleep in for 2-4 hours in morning when he’d watch our kids for me since he went in later.  This was only possible because of his weird schedule, but wow did it feel so different from our first when both of us were trying to share baby responsibilities, and he had to be up in the morning as well.  This time he’s taking off for a whole month ❤ ❤ ❤ but I’m still planning to exclusively breastfeed during that time, so I’m going to keep the baby all night and he’ll watch her in the morning so I can rest up again.  It felt so incredible to both of us last time to handle it this way – why mess with something that’s working?!

5. Drink more water

Definitely!  But everyone probably knows this….  If you feel like you’re retaining fluid, drinking more water helps to generally flush it out.  I snack on ice and crave it like it’s candy, even when I’m not pregnant.  So drinking a few liters of water (has to be iced) a day is normal for me.

6.  Try a vegan diet

LOL!!!!!  As if!!!!  Just kidding 😀 – she is right on one thing, eating more fruits and veggies and less dairy and meats does help most women’s bodies lose weight.  She mentions that her body fat pre-vegan was at 23%, versus getting to 15-16% body fat with her vegan diet.  I have to say, that’s impressive, but I’ve also seen women get those results from maintaining a mostly keto diet style (opposite vegans for the most part), or even just tracking their macros and carb-cycling (what I’ve done).  Macro tracking is just keeping track of the proteins, carbs, and fats you eat every day or even weekly.  It’s a little annoying, and shouldn’t be obsessed over, but it does work and the benefit is that you can still eat things that aren’t on a specific diet like “vegan” only foods or “keto” only foods.  You have more freedom when you’re tracking the proteins/carbs/fats, and I always do at least one cheat day so that I can eat things I normally wouldn’t eat throughout the week.  It really is just whatever works for you.

Hidden Tip!!!  Dry Brushing!

She adds in a random tip not numbered that doesn’t go with being vegan that I know of LOL….  She “skin brushes,” otherwise known as “dry brushing.”  This really does work for many women, I’ve seen results from women in my fitness group that are mind-blowing how well just simply dry brushing can tighten and firm loose skin (really loose skin!).  It is very strange that simply dry brushing your loose skin areas can have that great of an affect.

Another thing that is very much like dry brushing only more intense, is “needling,” or using something called the “derma-roller.”  It works by using needles that you literally roll over your loose skin areas creating tiny injuries that cause your body to produce more elastin & collagen in those areas.  I remember when they first came out for this type of device for the face (using tinier needles), my husband and I laughed about it because it sounded like a torture device.  But you know what??  It actually works!  Both for your face and for apparently your tummy! Click here to read just one woman’s response with it.  I’ve seen the same results more than a few times with the women in my fitness group.  It’s legit.

7. Give it time!

Very true, I thought I’d never lose the weight with the first baby, it was just dragging on and on and on.  We were in the gym several days a week at first and then switched to home workouts, and yet it still took a whole year.  Just be committed and willing to try new things.  And just don’t give up!  I’ve often seen it take women a couple of years if not 3 years to get to the place where they want to be with their bodies and there’s no shame in that at all!

Everyone’s body and genetics are different and respond to different things.  It is crucial to find out what your particular body and genetic makeup responds to best, but it may take a year or two to even figure that out unfortunately, especially if you weren’t at all athletic to begin with.  Starting from scratch like that is hard and you HAVE to give yourself time to try all kinds of things to see what works and what doesn’t.  It’s more than worth it though.  Every woman I’ve talked to that lost significant amounts of weight even when it took years has said it was the most important decision of her life to keep with it.  Being overweight affects everything about you and your life, so it’s no wonder there are so many women who feel as though it completely changed everything for them when they get the results they want.

Stephanie

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Pregnancy & Postpartum Comparisons

We finally got some good belly/body shots fairly recently, and I cannot wait to not be pregnant anymore – we are SO CLOSE!  Everything is easier almost immediately for me once the baby comes out.  I don’t tend to gain very much weight (the first was a little too much at 45 lbs, second only 23 lbs (perfect as it was able to be completely lost within 2 weeks time), and this time about 25 lbs.  I gain a lot of fluid with pregnancy it seems, with even the first pregnancy I lost about 22 lbs in the first 2 weeks, yet still had 23 more to go.  It seems I regularly have gained about 20-25 lbs of baby, fluid, placenta, extra blood volume, etc with all 3 pregnancies so at least it makes sense with consistency.

First picture has been up before, it was literally the DAY before our 2nd came out.  Second picture is only 9 DAYS later.  I don’t think it’s possible to lose fat that quickly, hence my theory that it’s mostly fluid + baby+ placenta + blood volume, etc.

I wish I could find the pictures of our first baby (the pre-and postpardum transformations), you would really be able to tell the difference of what it looks like when you still have 23 pounds of fat to lose.  It took me almost a year to lose that measly 23 lbs as well, since my body clings to fat like we’re in an ever-present famine (from my mom’s Polish genes that are more prone to diabetes and being overweight very easily).  Like I’ve said candidly before at this blog, it is hard for our family to not gain weight.

So… I cannot wait to get our little girl out so that I can get back to feeling healthy and active and of course cuddle her and kiss her sweet face!  At this point, even trying to sit in the right way is so uncomfortable and hilarious.

This is 37 weeks:

pregnant with sophie 37 weeks

So ready to workout again and lose the weight!  It’s amazing how only a little extra weight makes every day life so much harder.

Until the baby girl arrives….

Stephanie

To Be the Best Mom I Can Be

joselyn

 

This is a message of inspiration from another awesome woman in my fitness group.  Love her words of encouragement for us!!!!

 

“I’m a Mommy to 3 boys (ages 7, 4 and 1). For a long time I thought if I could achieve my pre baby body that I’d hit some special mom goal. But the older I get the more I realize that I don’t want that body. Yes, muscles are there like before…however, in the last 7 years I’ve had hip surgery, heart surgery, shattered my shin bone, developed a herniated disc, had prolapse,a hernia, diastasis recti, and of course can’t forget the 5 times of dealing with mastitis from nursing my boys. Sounds icky but I’m here!

I’ve coped and managed and realized my body is strong and has housed 3 humans and that as a result some things shift.

I’ve also learned living at the gym or working out every minute doesn’t make me a no excuse mom. I’m a no excuse mom because I‘ve learned to listen to my body so I can be the best mom I can be. That sometimes means getting a run in to cope with Mommy duties but it also means taking a day off so my body can rest and recover.

I turn 35 tomorrow, and as I enter this year, I cannot help but thank God for this body. I will try to do my best with it physically, nutritionally, emotionally and most importantly spiritually. To many more great years! 🤗”

So wonderful to see moms take care of themselves and have that balance between working out and resting enough or taking care of normal “mom duties.”

Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not doable, but also don’t think it’s for the faint of heart or somehow easy.  Getting past surgeries or injuries and set backs – making the time to even pay attention to our bodies needing rest – all these things are difficult and take motivation.

Hope this motivates you as it’s motivated me!

Stephanie

Last Trimester – It’s Almost Over!!!

bikini 2015 a

I’m not naturally a thin or “fit” woman.  That may come as a shock when seeing how I am in *this* particular picture, but pretty much all my life I’ve struggled with being able to gain weight extremely easily.  The benefit of that has been finding multiple ways to make it easier to maintain a good shape and keep healthy though!  According to my sweet 1/2 Polish, 1/2 Irish grandmother, for the women in our family, it was normal to gain weight with pregnancy, and then just never manage to get control over it after that.  Being very overweight after having kids was just accepted for them… but not really.  It wasn’t accepted emotionally… and definitely not with any kind of happiness.  In a major way, it’s like living defeated.

bikini 2015

My mom was so good about letting me know how hard it was to live with excess fat on your body weighing you down… literally.  The way she explained it when I was a little girl, was that it felt like carrying around sacks of potatoes and trying to actually do life that way.  Recently, when my oldest (6) son and I were out buying some supplies for his new little kitten, I had the chance to really demonstrate this lesson to him about weight gain and how awful it is.

We needed to get kitty litter, and so went to the aisle where it was stored and I let him look around at the different kinds and showed him the prices and weights to find the best deal.  When we settled on a 25 lb box, I picked it up and placed in on the floor and asked him if he’d like to see how heavy 25 pounds is by trying to carefully lift it off the ground.

He was excited and was amazed how heavy it was to lift!  It was easy to explain to him after that how being overweight by even just 25 pounds is literally carrying that amount strapped to your body all over, making your life that much more unpleasant and difficult.

This is a major part of why I don’t like pregnancy – and especially the last trimester of it when you start truly gaining and growing bigger!  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE having babies, and I love feeling the baby kick and roll over inside me, but dealing with the weight gain and nausea and feeling like a bowling ball is trapped inside your gut throwing you off balance… yea, it’s just not something fun or easy to go through LOL.  Thank goodness it’s only for about these last 3 months when it’s really that hard.

I’m at 30 weeks now, only about 7-8 more to go!!

Looking forward to giving birth and getting active again immediately!  With both of our prior babies I healed insanely fast from the c-sections, and was able to walk (which helps you heal faster actually) only a few hours after the surgeries, and feel almost normal 2 weeks afterward.  Being strong and fit throughout your pregnancy is so necessary for things like this!  And if you’re having a c-section, make sure you get up and walk and be a little active as soon as they allow you to.  

38 weeks pregnant

Yea… I don’t know about you, but to me, this just LOOKS painful to be protruding that hugely, LOL!!!  This picture above was me at 38 weeks pregnant with baby #2, just a few days before he came out.  I look almost just as big right now, maybe a tiny bit smaller.

This next picture is right at 6 months after baby #2… I was basically eating very “clean,” almost a keto type of diet concerning the actual food choices (but not actually following keto), and working out 3-4 days a week to the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis DVD set which focuses on dance workouts and intense pilates mat workouts to tone and define muscles.

6 mos after nathan

So… all this to say… just because you have bad genetics and every woman in your family struggled and could never lose the baby weight after getting pregnant, it just doesn’t have to be your story too!

We have so much more information now that they sadly didn’t have 😦 , like how much you really should gain for pregnancy… what kinds of foods to eat that alter your pH balance or that could cause you to flair up with inflammation, how to recognize and diagnose allergy sensitivities, and on and on and on.

You can do it!  You can get the body you’ve always wanted!  All it takes is the desire and knowledge of how to get there.

Stephanie

 

 

40 Years Old & 4 Children – What Your Body Could Look Like

Wendy

This is an awesome woman in my fitness group that allowed me to share her picture along with her encouragement to us.  She is 40, and yet looks better than probably most women in their 20’s!

I always hear the excuse that it has to be your genes or that you’re rich to be able to afford to get the body and fitness level you want, but in almost every case I’ve seen – the people succeeding in their goals are the people who admit they want change, and then actually DO it.

Here was her encouragement to us that I love having the privilege of sharing here:

No excuses:

When you wanna reach your goals as much as you wanna breathe! Early morning workouts are a good foundation for the day…especially when the payoff is lean muscle, mental clarity, stress reliever, feeling confident in your own skin, seeing 💪🏼‘s and just makes ya feel good! 😎

STOP MAKING EXCUSES!

STOP DOUBTING YOURSELF!!

Get up, move your body and make it happen! It doesn’t have to be weights…it could be 30 minutes of stretching, HIIT, body weight exercises, yoga, but do something each morning for 21 days (takes 21 days of consistently doing something to make it a lifestyle).

💡Keep a journal where you log your workouts and how you felt doing them! You’ll also find putting in early morning work will make you think twice 🤔before grabbing life taking foods!! 🌭🍕🍟🍰🍫🍩🍪

Side note: I’m a 40 year old mother of 4…it can be done!!! We got this ladies!!!

I don’t know about you, but this woman was incredibly motivating to me being pregnant with our third baby (and hoping to have at least one more)!

Don’t make excuses, go after what you want wholeheartedly and passionately.  And take care of your body, it’s the only one God’s given to you!

 

Stephanie

Confronting the Insanity of Our Culture Head-On

insane fitness model

Something that I’ve never seen before is starting to come to light in the internet world of blogs and articles and talking head figures.  Apparently, it’s not enough to claim over and over again, that “any size,” woman can be healthy, that curves make a woman more realistic or relatable to people… I’ve come across a fitness model who has decided that she feels extremely guilty over using her fit body to sell women things for the fitness industry.

But she doesn’t just feel bad about selling “bad” things that don’t give real results (false advertising – something people SHOULD feel guilty for), this poor woman actually feels bad about her **success** in her fitness goals.  She feels guilty that her body looks so great that other women (she thinks) sees it and feel bad about themselves.  She takes their issues with their own self-esteem and their own responsibility to take care of their bodies and be responsible for their own fitness levels, and places all that responsibility onto herself and then feels guilty for it.

Her blog post is here.

I do feel sorry for this woman…  and I get it that she doesn’t want to “hurt” people, the problem is though, that the people who she’s talking about are actually hurting themselves.  Her fitness has little to nothing to do with their decisions to be happy or sad. Reading her post comes across as a form of projection of all her shame for being a cover model onto women who (in her own mind) see her, and are “miserable,” because of her existence.  There’s something very off mentally with that kind of shame.  First off, it is not someone else’s responsibility for another woman’s decisions in her life to get fit or stay overweight and unhappy.

Blaming fitness models for remaining overweight or unhappy (and this goes for any life situation) is bad overall for one’s mental health because it completely takes away that person’s individual control over their own life decisions.

Not to mention it’s just pure insanity on her part. 😦

Imagine if Olympic Athletes were apologetic in their athleticism.  If after winning medals, they went on “Apology Tours,” to apologize to children everywhere (or people in general), who they deemed would never be great enough to achieve their level of sport success?  What if they apologized that only the best athletes were able to go to the Olympics, and told the kids who were average or not athletic at all that they felt so ashamed of their successes because of how it must *negatively* affect all those kids?   First off, it’s incredibly insulting to tell all these random people (or children) that they’re just never going to be as good as you are.  It may be true, but making it a point to tell them is neither graceful or nice and kind.  Olympic athletes should rightfully feel no shame about their success, even if most of the world’s population will never go on to achieve their medals and fame and glory.  It would be entirely inappropriate for them to talk to children in that way – apologizing that they may never be good enough or achieve their level of athleticism.  They are an inspiration to children and people everywhere for a reason – because it is such a magnificent thing to behold when watching them compete or perform…  and if everyone was able to be an Olympic Athlete, it would no longer be the Olympics.

Now imagine if great musicians (past and present) felt ashamed of how great they were (either naturally or through hard work of perseverance) just because they may have made “normal” people feel bad about themselves when they take up piano lessons?  Imagine if they wrote lengthy, self-absorbed posts about how bad they feel for being so good, about how sorry they are to all those children who will never be quite as good as they are?  Again, just entirely inappropriate and insane for someone to behave that way.

Just as insane as a fitness model apologizing extensively for being her best and using her talent in fitness to inspire other women out there or to make money.  There’s nothing kind about telling people you’re sorry that they’ll never be as “great” at something as you are.  It comes across as fake and lacking genuine compassion or understanding.

***

It’s things like this that I want my children being exposed to, so that they can see through the lies and quickly get to the truth of what is going on.  Especially our coming daughter – I want her to have compassion for people who may feel bad when they see a fit model or are failing in that area of their life as far as being fit and healthy; but I never want her to feel ashamed of her personal achievements and success in her life.  Obviously I don’t want her to look down on others, but I don’t want her to devalue or cast shadow over her own shining light just because other people may have a bad attitude about her success.  I want her to set a good example, to be that shining light that motivates others.  Haters or miserable people will always exist… the only way to avoid them in life, is to do nothing and become miserable yourself.

We should never feel ashamed about succeeding in an area in life like being proud of our children, proud of handling our finances well, proud of taking care of our appearance, proud of doing well at work, proud of having a great marriage and being happy, or proud of using our talents (especially for God!), and yes, it’s even ok to be proud of achieving our highest level of personal fitness and feel great about (proud of) our bodies.

When someone who is successful in any of these areas feels a great deal of guilt and shame, psychologists would say there is a problem their in their mind that’s not healthy or good.  It’s certainly not godly to have false guilt or false shame about your achievements or being able to enjoy your life inspiring others.

So let’s be women who are proud of our achievements, even if they are “great,” and rare talents.  Let’s not be ashamed over gifts God’s given to us to use for His glory, and let’s not hide of our lights under a basket so that we never offend anyone or make them feel bad about their own life choices.

Every person has control over their own decisions, and you can only help the women who actually want to have that control – not the ones who may look at your success and use it as an excuse to remain unhappy in their own life.

Stephanie

Being Overweight is Normal, But this Isn’t Good for Women (or Kids!)

Keeping along the same lines of the last post, when undertaking mentally what is the “fit you,” we need to acknowledge that our society has a problem with even ADMITTING there could be a “fit you.”

Simply put: if you don’t accept your post baby body… if you have any desire to be better, to be fit, or to **gasp** to be thin, you’re shallow, and must be insecure for not wanting to accept your post baby fat and sagging skin.

And… if you DO achieve your fitness goals – well then… you’re just not “relate-able” or a “real w” anymore.

The criticism when you take your health seriously and lose the weight can get pretty nasty.  Women should be supporting each other in losing weight and becoming fit after pregnancy, not shaming women for wanting to do something ANY doctor would advise them is the RIGHT thing to do.

maria-kang

Since when did our culture get so used to overweight women being the “standard-sized” woman, that even seeing a fit mom who looks great in a bikini become something that is “body shaming” to the women who are overweight – to the point where they say she is “bullying” them by looking that good?

Remember when Maria Kang (above) posted her photo on facebook back in 2013 with her three children all 3 and under around her, and she asked “What’s Your Excuse?” as a way to show that if she could do it having 3 babies that closely together, anyone could do it?  Her motivation was coming from her line of work as a fitness instructor and personal trainer, and yet thousands of women were “triggered” by her photo, even calling it “hate speech.”

She got banned from facebook for posting that photo and explanations of her goals of helping women being fit.

I remember that incident well, our oldest was 3 and I had regained my pre-pregnancy body and looked incredible (finally, it took awhile because I gained a lot with our oldest!), and was so proud of my accomplishments regarding fitness!

As a result, I saw nothing wrong with Maria’s photo, it gave me even more encouragement that I’d be able to keep my body how I wanted it, even when I had more children.

She was an inspiration to me, and it was shocking to see other women respond so negatively to her picture.

Sure she is a fitness instructor and personal trainer, but I knew I had none of those degrees and no access to a gym or personal trainer, yet I’d been able to accomplish what she had through lots of faithful exercise and eating healthy.  I knew for a FACT that it was hard, but it wasn’t something impossible for most women to accomplish.

And when I saw “faithful exercise, I’m being serious.  If you want to lose weight, if you’re unhappy with your body, you NEED to be taking it seriously and working out at least 5 times a week for 30 minutes each time.  Otherwise, you need to accept that you will more than likely NOT lose the weight and accomplish your goals.  Because you aren’t serious about it.

It takes extreme determination and will power and discipline even when you only have a bit to lose.  It’s not for the faint-hearted.  It’s not going to happen for you if you just take 3 walks a week and have no intense fat-burning cardio that you’re doing at least 5 times a week on top of those walks and changing your eating habits.

You either go big, or go home and remain unhappy with your body and your weight.  Or try to accept it… along with all the health problems, less energy and overall happiness that comes with accepting defeat and letting fat beat you as a person.

***

Our American society has a major problem with accepting reality and being honest about things that are painful to acknowledge about ourselves.  And we really need to come to a place where we can acknowledge these painful truths in our own lives, in order to live better, more fulfilled lives we deliberately choose.

While it may be painful to see a woman who’s had three kids and still looks like a fitness model in a bikini, we need to be able to look deep inside and see what is CAUSING that painful reaction.

Is it because we are really unhappy with our own bodies and wish we could look like that; that she’s a painful reminder that we don’t yet?

Is it because seeing her makes us feel less confident in our own made-up mental “body acceptance,” and brings out our very real insecurity stemming from the fact that NO, we’re not really happy with the excess weight we’ve gained?

Or does it make us angry because we feel like we’ve tried to lose weight and still can’t – it’s not fair that she is able to and we can’t?

These reactions are normal, but they need to be dealt with psychologically in the correct manner.  It’s not enough to just say that her picture makes you feel uncomfortable or sad.

You need to search out the “why,” and then formulate a plan to do something about it!

Stephanie

 

From Maria Kang on having her picture censored for making women too emotional and angry:

Fit Pride Isn’t ‘Hate Speech’

Being a Wife, Having Babies, & Looking Amazing

Doutzen Kroes Shows Off Her Bikini Body In Spain

This post is equally part frivolous and serious… take it as you may 😉

In our Americanized, fast-food and photo-shopped culture, we have two opposing extremes that seem to affect us women… especially women who are having or have had children.

doutzen-kroes-trains-withballet-teacher__opt

I’ve read countless testimonies of women who felt “pressured” to look a certain way due to photo-shopping in magazines, ads, etc.  They always claim the same thing – that even the models don’t look like that in their ads, which is probably true.  Photoshopping really is awful and ridiculous, and it probably does cause eating disorders and problems for young girls, etc.  This post isn’t defending photoshopping by any means, it’s humoroursly congratulating inspiring women who are wives, have lots of babies, and still look amazing.

So it’s true, the models don’t look like their photoshopped selves.  But the problem is… it is EQUALLY true that those same models still look pretty damn good in a bikini when snapped in photos by paparozzi (see above images).

You could even say, these models, especially the often criticized Victoria Secret models,

look better than 95-98% of the female population.

The problem is that, even in real life or on television (which typically adds weight), these women still maintain a figure that most of the female population would seriously desire for themselves, but have no clue (or sometimes discipline) to work to make it happen. Over and over again women like this model, and many women not in the public light, maintain their figures and muscle tone even after having several children.  Why?  Because it feels amazing – both physically and mentally/psychologically to be that fit.

The fact remains… even though a lot of women wouldn’t openly admit it for fear of being shamed for having such “superficial” goals, almost every overweight woman has a deep longing to be thin and look good – at the very least, to FEEL good about herself, which unfortunately (but naturally) a lot of those feelings come from our appearance.  It IS good for women to accept themselves and know for sure that they are LOVED by God no matter WHAT their weight is.  But it still doesn’t negate the fact that our natural design (and desires) are to be what Eve represented to her husband and the world – God’s “masterpiece,” of creation.

When God designed Eve, who was naked and unashamed in the Garden of Eden due to sin not being introduced yet, her glorious form was probably as beautiful as the female body could get!  In my opinion, women have a deep longing to be beautiful, even to be thin since fat detracts in varying degrees from beauty, because it was how God designed us to be in the first place.  Wanting to still be beautiful and at a normal weight – especially in the eyes of your husband when you’re married – is a GOOD thing, a wonderful thing, especially when it increases his sexual attraction to you!

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And if there was a switch to give an overweight woman a super fit and bikini-ready body, almost every single overweight woman would flip that switch and think it was the best decision of her life.  Of course, nothing like that exists 😉 and it would probably *not* be the “best decision of her life,” but the fact that an overweight woman would hands down choose to be thin if such switch existed, proves something that diet fads and the fasion industry have used against women time and time again.  That desire to look beautiful and feel awesome and proud of your body – a body that other people would admire (since beauty is often *not* just in the eye of the beholder, but an actual statistically measured response), is totally normal and even maybe God-intended.

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From knowing many women who have had weight struggles, including my own mom who I’m so thankful was open and honest about what fat really does to women (and how they get treated or feel etc.), I’ve always known that being fit and thin and strong – throughout life – was not a “superficial” goal for me.  I’m sure some women can place too much emphasis on fitness making it a kind of idol or measurement of success or happiness.  But for me it’s simply that it adds to my overall energy and mental health – literally making me feel amazing from the inside (my body working correctly etc.) and extending to the outside (looking great and being happier as well due to everything else)!

It’s simply a matter of being an adult and taking care of yourself responsibily.

Sometimes losing weight can be impossibly hard when a woman’s hormones are off or their diet is not “correct” for their body type, and the result is always them being incredibly unhappy with their body.  The overweight woman in the above photos has said before that she has an insulin problem that makes it extremely hard to lose weight.  Her weight gain wasn’t due to having babies, and she isn’t married (she’s been engaged to a man who assaulted her, but no marriage as of yet).  Even with her medical condition though, she was able to lose about 42 pounds of fat in one month when she really tried.  The difference was hard to see for some, but it was a significant difference that dropped her from a size 22 to size 16-18.  At the time of the bikini photos via papparozzi, she tried to be confident and happy with her size (she was a plus size model afterall), but admitted that her weight did bother her and that she desired to lose some of it.

Again… think of that imaginary switch.  If there was such a switch, I have no doubt that this woman would have flipped it.  Being overweight is not fun, and it doesn’t feel good physicaly, emotionally, or even spiritually (you deal with internal shame).

Since this issue is just so personal, many women don’t feel free to really confide in their friends and family.  Most try to act like it doesn’t affect them as much as it actually does emotionally.  You hear their admissions more when they’re in fitness groups or confessing to a trainer, or complaining to their husband about the weight issues they experience psychologically.  This unhappiness though, I don’t believe is healthy, as it literally affects everything in that woman’s life!

That being said, I also don’t think it’s healthy to seek out perfection in one’s appearance, to be too hard on oneself and critical to the point of mental illness as seen in cases of obsessive plastic surgery or anorexia.  Again, photoshopping probably does NOT help with those issues, but that doesn’t explain away the crazy notion that the models themselves look like “normal” women in any way imaginable.  Especially American women 😦 but even Australians and women in the UK are seeing an uptick in weight problems, especially after they have children.  Maybe some plus size models do look like the “normal” woman, but the mainstream ones that work out 6 days a week and watch what they eat carefully are not “fake” women, nor are they considered representative of “normal” women.

They are very real though, and attaining that kind of success for your body is not out of reach for most women if they understood how to achieve it.  It may take years to lose enough weight if the woman is seriously overweight (over 200 lbs is seriously overweight), but baring medical or hormonal disorders, I’ve seen it happen many times from the private fitness groups I’ve been in.

So… having the simple goal of looking your personal best, being strong and confident in a swim suit even after having multiple children, is just not as evil as some people make it out to be.  I think it’s normal and shows a woman’s strength and health.

 

Notes:  The woman, Doutzen Kroes, in the first photos has had TWO children.  The woman, Gemma Collins, in the later photos hasn’t had any.  And at that weight, she may have induced PCOS and is infertile 😦 .  So don’t let having babies be a mental block keeping you from losing the weight and enjoying being truly fit.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2545388/TOWIEs-Gemma-Collins-displays-curvaceous-bikini-body-Dubai.html

Why “The Fit You” Matters in 2017

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So many women live their daily lives walking around feeling sad and depressed about the bodies they’re living in.  Let that statement sink for a little while.  Horrible isn’t it?

Whether they’re carrying around too much weight for whatever reason or feeling awkwardly thin, it breaks my heart that so many women seriously hate their own bodies.

I don’t think the solution is to just erase normal beauty standards and tell everyone they look incredible and think that’s going to solve the problem.  First off, there are usually deeper psychological issues as to why we gain weight (or become too thin) that need to be addressed, and encouraging someone toward denial is not being compassionate.  It’s actually prolonging their recovery into a healthy mentality about themselves and their bodies.

I named this blog “The Fit You,” because that’s exactly what I want women to think about.  I’m not necessarily talking about being “thin,” or even being at a certain “target weight,” for yourself, but rather the concept of being “fit.”

Imagine if you were able to get rid of the excess fat on your body that made you hate how you look in your own clothing?  Imagine how you’d feel so differently if you were physically stronger, had more muscle tone showing in your pictures on facebook, had more energy throughout the day, and were surprised how much better your face looked in pictures without the excess weight or water retention distorting your natural God-given looks?  Whether we want to admit it or not, these little things bother us more than we even know on a psychological level, which eventually… contributes to our overall happiness with our lives.

I’m speaking from my own experience here.  I’ve been very fit for probably 95% of my life, however, when I get off that track and have some significant pounds to lose, I become very aware when I don’t have the strength in my arms that I usually had.  Or the energy I had when I was regularly exercising.

I went back through our family pictures for the last year and a half, trying to mentally grasp how my body has really changed by adding 30 pounds and I was floored!  I realize some of you might think 3o pounds is nothing – but my body doesn’t hide fat well, and being overweight at all is not the norm for me.  I may be tall (which is an advantage when it comes to weight proportion, sorry short women! 😦 ), but my bones and frame are super tiny… this makes virtually any excess weight 10 lbs+ show up very quick, especially in photos.

My face changes so much when I’m overweight, and even if all these changes didn’t bother me much, the fact that none of my normal clothes fit psychologically affects me negatively.

Can women really learn to try to love the bodies they’re in right now?  I’m sure they can, but I think it’s more from them trying so long and failing so often at losing the weight, that they eventually give up hope of ever achieving their best fitness level and learn to accept defeat.  Then they go around angry at anyone who represents the fitness industry, accusing them of “fat shaming” simply by existing as a thin woman.  That’s not a good way to live your life.  We are all responsible for our choices, and it’s usually a choice to become fit or just accept yourself the way you are.  There are some women who insist they’re fit even though they have 100+ pounds of excess fat.

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Where do we draw the line for defining fitness?  When can we be honest and admit when we’ve lost sight of what we really were designed to look like?  And more importantly, why on earth do we feel like we need to lie to people when we know lying to them will never help them solve their problems?

I think all of us to some degree, have to combat the tendency to lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that it’s not that bad.  But when we finally see that Christmas photo a relative took of us when we were caught off guard, sometimes the truth hits us like a ton of bricks!  And we’re faced with the awful reality that bursts our bubble of denial that we thought we really didn’t look that bad.

But why do I want you to think about the fit you?  Because it’s great motivation and is almost always achievable baring medical conditions preventing you from losing weight or exercising.  Professional and Olympic atheletes often imagine them achieving their success many times before they even get to their event.  This imaginging themselves succeeding is actually benefical even for their muscles!  It’s not that different when imagining yourself achieving different kinds of successes or events that take physical and mental focus and training.  When you imagine yourself as being fit, exercising, or even building muscle, you’re actually preparing your brain and muscles in your body for achieving that success.

And your happiness level will go up!  The “fit you,” is proud of herself and what she looks like.  She can go out in a bathing suit and feel proud of her body, is stronger than you are now, has more energy with her kids and husband, and feels good naked in the light!

Simply put, the “fit you,” is more free.

Remembering my fit self gives me incredible motivation because I remember how good it felt – how wonderful it was to feel so much more energetic and not have to worry about which clothing minimized my “problem areas.”  You really are so much more free – free to have fun, free from worrying over how you may look, and free from feeling confined in a body you’re ashamed of at some level mentally.

Don’t you want that for yourself?  Aren’t you tired of feeling like you hate the body you’re in right now?  Are you tired of feeling like you looked better 5 or 10 years ago?  You don’t have to accept defeat or to learn to love your body if it’s truly at an unhealthy state.

You can make some changes!  We can do it!  And I’m doing it alongside you.

❤ ❤ ❤

Stephanie

 

Fit & Pregnant Mommy

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I have a confession to make… I really dislike being pregnant.  I LOVE feeling the baby move, knowing we’re adding to our family, and having the wonderful, brand-new baby at the end… but the middle part of being pregnant for 9 months… not so much!

For those of you who are new to my writing, welcome to this blog!  This is a totally brand new blog that is dedicated to fitness and how loving the body you’re in changes your whole life.  I’ve been blogging for around 3 years at girlwithadragonflytattoo.com, so readers coming from over there, thanks for stopping by.  This blog will be wholly dedicated to all things fitness related though, so if you’re not interested, or don’t like seeing weight loss transformations of before and after photos in bikinis, this blog isn’t for you.

If you want to know why I really created this fitness blog, you can read all about it here where I talk about growing up in ballet and dance.  Always being trained by my parents to live a healthy and fit (thin) life, running track and cross-country in high school.  But… this past year some negative things happened and I ended up gaining around 30 pounds (of fat… sadly not muscle or anything good).  I had just created this blog and started to really get back to fitness when we found out we were pregnant (we were trying!), and so I’ve waited till now to really get it going with any content.

So for a few months, this blog will probably be focused around all things pertaining to pregnancy fitness and postpartum fitness.  Anything I find helpful or interesting will hopefully be posted here.  This is my 3rd pregnancy and so you’d think I’d have this thing down by now….   But I’m always learning for one thing, and everything got thrown off due to gaining those 30 pounds this past year… I’m at the same weight I was when I was 9 months pregnant with our first two children!  So my goals with this pregnancy is to keep trying to eat right, exercise well, and hopefully stay around the same weight (maybe gain a little) while gaining baby and losing fat.  We’ll see 😉

It’s been working so far, I’m at 14 weeks and about the same weight but showing already.  So apparently I’m losing fat at about the same rate as gaining baby (+ amniotic fluid, + placenta, + blood volume, etc.).  Overall it doesn’t really matter too much, the main thing is keeping the baby healthy and focusing on losing the weight post partum.  But due to having 2 prior pregnancies, I understand intimately how hard it can be if you gain too much weight – it only makes it take that much longer to get rid of postpartum!

So if you’re interested, keep coming back for videos, my recommended exercise trainers, and facts about gaining muscle and losing fat.

Thanks for reading ❤

Stephanie

Image: Mary Helen Bowers, creator of Ballet Beautiful, trainer of Victoria Secret models for years, & one of my favorite people to train with via DVD