The Fit You

Love Your Body. Love Your Life

Tag: joy

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

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:

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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

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