Friday, May 15, 2020

Getting Back into Shape After Baby #3

 The night I went into labor

2 days postpartum 

2 weeks postpartum (I definitely sucked in to get these jeans on)

6 weeks postpartum

It's funny how each pregnancy has been exactly opposite of what I anticipated. With my first, I didn't know what to expect at all.  I was pretty sick with Scarlett.  When I got pregnant with my second, I anticipated it would be a lot like my first and it wasn't at all. I felt like superwoman after the initial first 4 months. So with my third I expected to feel crappy for 4 months and then move on to feeling great, but that wasn't the case. I was more sick with her than the first two. My point is, you cannot predict pregnancy or how you will feel. You can only do your best to eat right and workout. I admit, this last pregnancy I probably worked out the least and ate the least healthy because I felt the worst. It gave me a different perspective. I still somehow worked out through my first trimester, sick to death and exhausted as I was. Then all went to hell with other issues-anemia being one that would NOT go away. Only around month 7 did I start to feel better and get back into regular workouts. During my pregnancy I had what they call "hunger nausea". This is when the only time you don't feel nauseous is when you are eating. And it was carbs, carbs, carbs that I wanted.

My body was different after each pregnancy, too. I wore skinny jeans home from the hospital after Scarlett was born. I was amazed at how my body went back to it's norm so quickly. With Maxwell, it took a good 6 months to be back in my regular jean size which was odd since I worked out with that pregnancy the most!! It took even longer to feel like I was completely back to my normal body in so many ways. This last time around I feel that I had the easiest recovery yet! It was an all-natural labor and so I'm sure that contributed as did other things that I explain below. But I did end up with diastasis recti this time. I may have had this with my second pregnancy and not even realized it. Either way, I definitely have some ab separation now. This takes time to heal. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't workout. The best thing you can do is get back into working out as soon as you are cleared for it. Because I have noticed the ab separation this time, my workouts have to be different and I need to be careful what I do. I can't do the regular ab workouts that I used to quite yet. The most popular question that I get is about what workouts I do or what I eat, if I count carbs or macros. So I wanted to write this post and share what I have done to stay healthy and to get back into shape.

Every individual and everyone's experience is different. So I can't tell you what I did and say that it will 100% work for you. There are so many different variables. But I will share what did work for me because starting somewhere is the most important thing.   My advice after having 3 kids and different perspectives with each one....

Before you get pregnant: 
Start working out BEFORE you get pregnant. It will be so much easier to get back into shape when you are already in shape beforehand. The same goes for eating. If you think you are going to try to get pregnant, start eating healthy and taking vitamins now. Remember how I said above that I worked out the most while I was pregnant with Maxwell and the least while I was pregnant with Vera? Yet my post-pregnancy body took much longer to heal and get back to pre-baby size (and shape) with Maxwell and my post pregnancy experience after Vera was a cinch? I believe it was because when I got pregnant with Maxwell, I was NOT in the best shape nor was I eating as healthy as I should have been. Before I got pregnant with Vera, I was in the best shape of my life and eating extremely clean. That is incredibly important in my experience.

During Pregnancy:
But, if you are already pregnant and haven't been so good prior, don't panic!  It's not the end of the world. You can still start eating well and working out while you are pregnant.

I tried to eat the best I could during my pregnancies. This is often challenging during pregnancy with cravings, food aversions, nausea and morning, noon and night sickness. So do the best you can to eat healthy. And treat yourself once in awhile. Being pregnant is hard work.
If you are cleared by your doctor to workout, try some prenatal workouts. Tone It Up app was my go to this time around. Easy and I could do at home. My 2nd pregnancy I did the Tracy Anderson Method Pregnancy plan.

After I had Vera, (and all of my babies for that matter) I didn't jump right back into working out. I took 3 months with the first two and 6 weeks with Vera (because I just felt ready early on this last time)  to just enjoy my baby and get into a routine. Instead, I focused on eating well. That is key. I understand that the nursing mother is always hungry! Usually I crave carbs. So I try to keep my carbs healthy. I also incorporated a lot of foods that help promote a good milk supply. I built my meal plans around that. (I will share all of this as well) I also waited to work-out because I just wanted to indulge in every single moment with my little baby. It's very demanding to have a newborn at first, so take that time with them. Sleep! Be lazy. Get outside and get some fresh air. Snuggle. And Sleep more if you can.
Once you are ready to get back to working out and cleared to do so, DO IT. And do it consistently. Start off slow and steady. Again, Tone It Up has a 12 week post-pregnancy program that I started with and then started adding in Diastasis Recti ab routines that I put together from researching it. Then I slowly worked up to more cardio and some resistance workouts. You can actually find a lot of great workouts on Pinterest if you aren't sure what to do. Also, one word that will be your friend throughout pregnancy and after....kegels. Do them often! Again, I am going to share with you my whole week's worth of recipes and workouts so that you can see how I have scheduled things. Once the gyms are open, I plan to dive into some Anytime Fitness routines and create some of my own content that I am putting together now during my workouts. These will be demonstrated and helpful. But for now, the above mentioned ones are what I have been doing.

Another option if you don't feel you are as dedicated or just need more of a push, is to do some one-on-one training with a personal trainer. This can seem intimidating but now as a gym owner, and learning more about personal training, I've learned this is really quite a welcoming and supportive option. Not as scary as one might think. So look into that option if you need some support.

The reason I am such an advocate for working out and eating well is that it helps to boost all those feel good endorphins and regulate your body. After all, it's a whirlwind of a time during pregnancy with so many hormones going up and down. With each of my kids I got postpartum anxiety. Which, by the way, is more common that PPD. I had it REALLY bad after my first daughter. I just kind of lived  er, suffered through it. Doctors wanted to prescribe meds and I wasn't super keen on this as I had been down that road as a teen with zero success in medicine. (This is not to say that you shouldn't seek help or medicine if you need it nor that it doesn't work. This is just my story)  After Maxwell, the same thing started to creep up after about 4 or so months. That was when I had sort of a revelation and decided to look into eating better. I did LOTS of reading and I did LOTS of researching. I started ditching the carbs and sugar. I started looking for clean food options. Less processed foods. I slowly started to buy more organic and non-GMO. I started some supplements. This combined with working out,  I improved how I felt in less than 2 months. After seeing the power of food and exercise for myself,  I was sold!! And there is where my passion for it began. It has to be a lifestyle change. We now eat 98% organic food and as clean as possible. We do not eat white bread or an abundance of carbs. Sugar for the most part has been ditched besides natural sugars or treats here and there. Weekends are usually the time when we allow ourselves to indulge a little more. I started to save recipes and cook better. It is true that good food takes longer to prepare and sometimes costs more, but can you really put a price on your health? I felt so much better in SO many ways! Whether you are looking to look better or if you are looking to feel better (the two come hand in hand), the first step is to eat clean and organic. That in itself will do miracles!!

So after Vera, I got right back into eating well and working out because IT WORKS GUYS!!! And I was confident of this. I can't stress that enough. Our bodies crave good, clean fuel. When we consume that, we naturally start to gravitate to the weight that we should be at and we feel better. I don't count carbs or macros. I just eat real food and workout consistently. Now that I have a newborn, 2 other kids, mixed with a new business, I have a lot less time. So sometimes it's only a 15 min workout. Trust me, consistency is key. And 15 min is better than nothing. You don't have to take an hour each day when starting out. This also falls suit with eating. You can't eat clean for 2 days and then eat crap for 2 and expect to see a difference. You have to be consistent. But don't deprive yourself. You will be surprised by how much you can eat if you just eat real food. I eat 6 small meals a day. Also if you are breastfeeding you do need some extra calories. Make them healthy ones. I have a lot of lactation recipes that I will share. Often just one or 2 extra healthy snacks or mini meals are enough.  I cannot say this enough. Ditch the soda!! Or juice or anything sugary! Sugar is not your friend and soda is well, I don't think I even need to explain how bad it is for you. Drink lots of water. Find ways to spice up your water if you don't like it. Lemon water is my go to.
And I still live by this rule because it's true.... 80% what you eat and 20% working out is the key to being in great shape and feeling your best!

Last, I want to say that being pregnant, having a newborn, breastfeeding, raising kids... That is all hard work!! That in itself can be so overwhelming to figure out and sometimes the last thing on your mind is how to eat healthy or workout. I get it. Be gracious to yourself. Have patience with your body. It's been through a lot. Don't compare yourself to others. We all have different genetics and bodies. What happens for one is not the case for another. Take time with your baby, take time to heal and soak up all the good stuff. Don't feel rushed into getting back to your pre-baby size. It will come if you make the effort. But there will be time for that. There's no rush.  The most important thing is to be present in the moments with your new baby because it goes by SO fast! Once you feel you need to get back to it and you are ready, then go for it and be consistent. You can do it!!

I have had an urge to share more in hopes that it helps someone. I have decided to launch a new series on my blog and on Instagram called, My Post-Pregnancy Journey. This will be where I share with you all of my meals, workouts and healthy tips each day for the week. The first one will start this Monday!! So come back each day for the next 5 days to see how I am eating, working out, getting back into shape after baby and also how I'm adding in some self care as well. 
9 weeks postpartum 

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