Loving my postpartum body does not come naturally to me. Here I share my feelings and what you can do about it to help accept your body.
There are a lot of conflicting sources of information regarding postpartum diet. What works for one person may not work for someone else. Breastfeeding adds a whole new factor into the mix. While you want to lose the baby weight, you don't want to lose your milk. There are also still some dietary restrictions for breastfeeding moms. Therefore, I thought I'd share my diet with you which has helped me lose most of the baby weight at approximately 5 months postpartum. Hopefully, this can help you as well.
On work days, breakfast is pretty simple. Since I like to workout most mornings, after I feed the baby I'll judge my energy level. If I feel I need a little something before working out, I'll have half a tablespoon of peanut butter otherwise, I hold off til breakfast. For breakfast, I generally have one of 4 combinations: Cheerios and yogurt, Cheerios and a protein shake, oatmeal with raisins and yogurt, and oatmeal with raisins and a protein shake. I like to keep it quick and easy on work days. On the weekends I may get fancy with a veggie omelette or homemade waffles. Finally, I have coffee pretty much everyday.
Lunch during the week is PB and J more than I would care to admit. I mean it's organic strawberry spread, natural peanut butter, and wheat bread, but still PB and J. With it I will often have some apple sauce, a sparkling water, and some pretzels. Other entrees include Amy's lentil soup or vegetable lentil, organic Mac and cheese, madras lentils, and maybe once a week, a chicken and vegetable wrap or panini. Other sides may include greek yogurt, organic chips, a fiber one brownie, or a vegetable squeezy. On weekends if we are out pizza or a salad might be had.
This is where it gets tricky in our house. I get out of work at 5pm and my husband usually has work at 6pm. So I get home at 5:15 and have to feed the baby, making it my husband's job to cook. My husband is no cook.... So on nights he has work it's usually turkey burger and fries, pasta and a vegetable and turkey meatballs, Mac and cheese and a vegetable and nuggets, ravioli and a vegetable, and quesadillas and a vegetable. The meatballs, nuggets, ravioli, and vegetables are generally from frozen. Take out generally happens at least once a week. When the hubs doesn't have work I try to mix it up with pork chops, or chicken stir fry, or steak with rice or mashed potatoes and a vegetable. Other times we'll do tacos or grilled chicken.
In order to get through studying after the kids go to bed, I usually require a snack. This generally consists of hot chocolate and pretzels, or skinny pop popcorn, or string cheese and crackers.
Every once in a while a cookie or dessert creeps in to my diet. I try not to have them on a regular basis so I don't feel guilty when I do indulge. I generally don't do soda or candy so keeping sugar down is easier. I take my coffee black. I keep my calories intake at about 2000 calories daily and I exercise 5-7 days a week for about 30-40 minutes. I do a mix of weights and cardio.
While there is not huge variety in my normal diet, it helps me stay consistent as far as calorie intake and calories burned. In general, my philosophy is to eat when hungry but try to make healthy choices. I also continue to take my prenatal vitamins and vitamin D. I also use the myfitnesspal app to keep track of everything. Definitely check that out in the app store. It syncs with a variety of devices including Fitbit which I also use.
I hope you find this helpful. This is the result at about 20 weeks postpartum. Cheers,
So here we are at 20 weeks postpartum. I have been unpregnant for half as long as I was pregnant. Well almost. I mean she was 6 days late. A lot has changed in the past 20 weeks. Let me update you.
So here we are at 14 weeks postpartum. If you haven't been following along, you can find my last few updates here and here and here. Since my last update, I have been consistently working out 6-7 days a week. Each workout is around 30-40 minutes and it's something that Hailey and I do together! We'll sort of.
Each morning I wake up around 5:30 when Hailey wakes up to eat. I feed her, change her, dress her, and we play a little. Then it's time to work out. I like workout DVDs with fun music. I put Hailey in her bouncy chair facing me and we dance with the workout DVD. Hailey seems to enjoy it very much and moves her arms and legs right along with me. She smiles all the time. It's actually some of my favorite times with her.
I like to mix up my workout DVDs. In general though my top 3 trainers are Jillian Michaels, Gillian and Teigh of Yoga Booty Ballet, and Kelly Coffey-Meyer. I like to switch up intensities as well as switch between cardio and weights. I am slowly building back my strength and endurance.
Every once in a while, T wakes up while I'm working out and joins us. He likes to join the cool down during the Yoga Booty Ballet DVDs. So here are our progress pics:
As for Hails, she is doing well at 14 weeks. At her check up last week her Dr said her hormone levels were perfect. She's weighing in at 10.5 lbs and is 23 inches. She's getting very high when she pushes up, and she's even rolling over. She loves to kick and smile. She is starting to reach for and grab her toys. She also holds her head up really well. She loves to babble and T tries to interpret what she is saying.
Now on to me...
And this is why people wear clothes. I am currently about 10 lbs away from my goal weight. The belly skin is still loose but other than exfoliating and moisturizing, there's not much to do there. It just takes time. I am not quite comfortable in my skin yet, but I'm getting there.
While I'm not buying myself a new wardrobe I have found a few nursing shirts that I love. They are comfortable, provide access, cover the belly and are actually cute. These are shirts that I would wear even if I weren't breastfeeding. I will be talking about those next week!
As far as eating, I try to make healthy choices. Sometimes sleep deprivation gets in the way of that and I crave sugar to keep me up, but for the most part I'm doing well. When I do crave sweets I try to satisfy it with fruits instead of cakes/cookies/candy. It doesn't always work, but I try.
In the next 4-6 weeks I'm looking to get down a few more lbs. November is my sister in law's wedding and December will be Hailey's baptism, so I want to try to be as close to my goal weight as possible.
Tune in for the next update at 20 weeks postpartum. In the mean time, have a great weekend and I'll see you Tuesday!!
So here we are are at 2.5 weeks post partum. While sleep is still less than abundant, everyone is adapting to the new schedule. Hailey is growing, and T is learning how to be a big brother. Some days are too exhausting to think about exercising and others I just want to jump back in the saddle and get me pre-pregnancy body back.
There are two important things to remember as you start to get back into your fitness regimen. The first is to start back slowly. Even on the days where you feel relatively more energized, it's important to remember that your body performed a momentous feet and it needs to recover. It's important to gradually increase your exercise regimen. You can plan it out. Start with walking, then maybe light yoga and then light weights. You can gradually increase intensity until you are back where you were pre-pregnancy and then beyond.
This is a time when you really need to listen to your body. You may feel fine and then end up pushing yourself too far. This can do more harm than good. Take things day by day. Remember you are running on reduced and oft interrupted sleep. The best thing is to eat well, get as much sleep as possible and slowly increase activity.
The second thing you must consider is your abs. This is probably the area you want to concentrate your efforts, but there is a lot to consider. First off, it takes a while for your uterus to shrink back to its normal weight. By four to six weeks, it should be close to its pre-pregnancy weight of about 2.5 ounces. This process is called involution of the uterus. So some of the excess bloat may be your uterus still not back in your pelvis.
Even after your uterus shrinks back into your pelvis, you may continue to look somewhat pregnant for several weeks or longer. That's because your abdominal muscles get stretched out during pregnancy, and it will take time – and regular exercise – to get your belly back in shape.
However, before you start packing in the crunches, there is another issue to consider. Diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is commonly defined as a gap of roughly 2.7 cm or greater between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle. This is common following pregnancy. Doing the wrong kind of ab exercises can increase the gap. In fact, crunches are one of the exercises you should not do if you have this problem. To check if you have diastasis recti, lie on the floor as if you were going to perform a crunch with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Lift your head off the floor and place your fingertips on the center of your abs to check for a gap. This is also something that can be check by your doctor.
The following are exercises that can help strengthen your ab muscles and reduce diastasis. Note that these exercises involve the pulling together of your ab muscles as opposed to crunches which push them out.
- Core contraction - In a seated position, place both hands on abdominal muscles. Take small controlled breaths. Slowly contract the abdominal muscles, pulling them straight back towards the spine. Hold the contraction for 30 seconds, while maintaining the controlled breathing. Complete 10 repetitions.
- Seated squeeze - Again in a seated position, place one hand above the belly button, and the other below the belly button. With controlled breaths, with a mid-way starting point, pull the abdominals back toward the spine, hold for 2 seconds and return to the mid-way point. Complete 100 repetitions.
- Head lift - In a lying down position, knees bent at 90° angle, feet flat, slowly lift the head, chin toward your chest, (concentrate on isolation of the abdominals to prevent hip-flexors from being engaged), slowly contract abdominals toward floor, hold for two seconds, lower head to starting position for 2 seconds. Complete 10 repetitions.
- Upright push-up - A standup pushup against the wall, with feet together arms-length away from wall, place hands flat against the wall, contract abdominal muscles toward spine, lean body towards wall, with elbows bent downward close to body, pull abdominal muscles in further, with controlled breathing. Release muscles as you push back to starting position. Complete 20 repetitions.
- Squat against the wall - Also known as a seated squat, stand with back against the wall, feet out in front of body, slowly lower body to a seated position so knees are bent at a 90° angle, contracting abs toward spine as you raise body back to standing position. Optionally, this exercise can also be done using an exercise ball placed against the wall and your lower back. Complete 20 Repetitions.
- Squat with squeeze - A variation to the "Squat against the wall" is to place a small resistance ball between the knees, and squeeze the ball as you lower your body to the seated position. Complete 20 repetitions.
As for myself, I have started walking regularly and doing squats and non weighted arm exercises. I do kegels a few times a day and am starting to incorporate some of the above abdominal exercises. Below are a few pictures of my belly progress.
Here's a reminder of last time.
This is definitely a case of slow and steady wins the race.
The next update will probably be in a few weeks. A) so there is more progress and B) so we can get back to more time management organization type posts.
See you on Friday!