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mommy pooch… BE GONE!

helloooo october!

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currently 3 months postpartum and training for…. life.  i decided not to compete in another bodybuilding competition until i’m done having kiddos.  i believe this is the first time i’ve ever typed it out so that kinda makes it official!  i’ve said and thought it bazillions of times recently.  going from one extreme to the other with my body is not something i’d like to do in between kiddos again so i’m content with waiting.  i have menstrual issues as it is and a super low body fat percentage will only complicate the preggo process. so, no thank you!  ‘yall want more kiddos?!’ heck YES, Sonny and i would love more, God willing.

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about 24 hrs after giving birth, i snapped these pics in my postpartum hospital bathroom.  those postpartum pads are gigantic, right!?  holy #thighgap LOL.  i was left with a loose pooch/pouch– whatever you wanna call it- of a tummy cause, well, my skin had been stretched out over the last 10 months of course!  take note; most of the mommy pooch pics you see around the net all lack one thing- muscle tone.

but what else contributes to mommy pooch?

  • diastasis recti – {which obvi deserves and will get a blog post of its own}
  • stress
  • inconsistent sleep
  • inconsistent exercise
  • bloat from specific foods

the first tip that is not even included in my list below is patience.  if you’re looking for fitfoodiele’s secret potion/formula/pill/cream it’s on sale and you can purchase it here.  oh dang, the link is broken cause it does not exist!!!! #whoops #bubblebursted.  ok, for real tho,  here is the actual link: www.6packusa.com. you can’t undo this overnight, in a few days, or even a handful of weeks. but you can get a head start. more on that later.  pregnancy and EVERYTHING that comes with it is a blessing. you must love and honor your body throughout this temporary stage though. never forget that. let me say it again. TEMPORARY. cause if it’s up to you (and it is) you’re not gonna stay the way you are! besides,

your pre-preggo weight and your pre-preggo body are two different things.

am i right?? i know i am!

 you can drop weight in a matter of days  by either burning yourself OUT on cardio or starving yourself, neither of which are healthy and…. who wants to live like that?  the way my body looks and the way my clothes fit are most important.  and it simply takes time to shape and mold your body.

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this is my time-table so far!  fitness is my life. it’s no secret i love to workout. i desire to move every single day. i need it!!! BUT…. i do not have the desire to eat clean 100% of the time 24/7 and neither do you. that said, your nutrition really does play a gigantic role in the PP recovery process since working out takes a backseat for a moment. people tell me all the time how they wish they had my discipline regarding healthy eating and uuuuh, my response is always ‘YOU CAN DO IT TOO’.  i have the same temptations and same food devils in my ears day in and day out. i hear them the loudest at the grocery store. specifically in the bulk aisle where all the chocolate covered EVERYTHING is!!!  it’s all about preparation for me and keeping things i don’t want to go overboard with out of my house.  i know ME and you must know YOU.  if i don’t prepare (meal prep, gym schedule, exact workouts) i end up winging it and failing more often than not.  you can take the reins on your body again and start your PP process from the inside out with what you put into your body.  which bring us tooooooo my first tip!

1.EATING COLLAGEN BOOSTING FOODS –  collagen is the cement that holds us together.  it helps to keep our skin tight and firm (which is why those adorable young kids and yummy babies have such smooth skin and shiny hair), so eating a plethora of collagen boosting foods only makes sense, right? right.  processed foods work against you when it comes to your tummy.  the fresher and more whole your food, the better. again, work this thing from the inside out and eat a well balanced diet of the following collagen boosting foods:

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  •  omega fatty acids  – salmon, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, brazil nuts, avocado, tuna, flaxseed
  • vitamin A, sulfur – olives, fresh cucumbers, fresh celery, carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes
  • vitamin C, luetin – dark green vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens,  asparagus, cabbage
  • carnosine – turkey
  • lycopenes (red fruits/veggies) –  tomatoes, tangerines,  red bell peppers, beets
  • antioxidents (dark berries) – prunes, blueberries, blackberries

for more examples and recipe inspiration, look at through my IG feed and the Fit Recipes section of my blog.

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 so…… avoiding high sodium, high sugar, and fried foods will do your body GOOD.  it is what it is.  keepin’ it real.  reduce your sugar cravings by drinking plenty of water (with fresh lemon juice squeezed in), keep up with consistent, regular exercise, chew gum to satisfy that sweet craving, use stevia or any other zero calorie, all natural sweetener, and reach for fresh fruit first. do you have to cut those indulgent foods out completely? of course not. that’s no fun and no way to live long-term. but if you have a particular goal to meet at a particular time, well then you will have to sacrifice and limit/moderate those treats.  also, be aware of your trigger foods!  mine are dairy, broccoli, and Kashi as i’ve mentioned before, so i know my results aren’t exactly accurate after eating those foods as they bloat me like nobody’s business 😦

***

2. BREASTFEEDING.  i know. it’s tough, especially those first few days when your nipples are just like, #ican’t.  ‘GO ON WITHOUT ME.’ but i promise you the benefits for both parties are well worth that temporary pain. there’s that word again!  and if the pain persists, you could very well be doing it wrong! i was. check this out or ask your OB or lactation consultant for tips. i’m on team #savethenipples all day.  while at the hospital i began to breastfeed immediately as instructed and i literally felt my uterus shrinking/contracting as my OB said it would.  when nursing, your body releases certain hormones that shrink your uterus back down to its pre-preggo size.  i take advantage of and appreciate ‘cry rooms’ and public breastfeeding areas so much more as they are still pretty rare.

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the contracting was extremely uncomfortable (after giving birth a few hours prior they were a breeze tho lol) but again this helped my uterus do its thing at a faster rate, thus helping to eliminate the pooch faster as well.  now that Dego is 3 months old, he nurses anywhere from 5-6 times in a 24 hr period.  we’ve all heard the ‘bfeeding burns 500 cals a day’ thing but i like ‘our bodies burn almost 20 calories to make just an ounce of breast milk’ better.  that way, i can do the math myself to get a more accurate number and so can you!  i add that number in with estimated # of cals i burn on a particular day (if i don’t have my HR monitor then i just use MyFitnessPal) and adjust my macros accordingly.  that is a whole nother post in itself that is coming by request. so anyway, while you enjoy your newbie and wait those few weeks for your workout clearance, you can still burn calories by picking up your baby, not a dumbbell!  i understand not every mom is a workout junkie, so this is a free, convenient benefit you should take advantage of if you’re able to do so.

more benefits you should know:

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one more thing about breastfeeding. after reading this the other day from Shape’s online mag:

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i was like ‘hey!!!! that totally happens to me!! that really is a ‘thing’!’  however… it comes in the form of uncontrollable laughter. is that weird or what? i asked another mommy friend if she ever felt the urge to literally laugh out loud when her milk lets down and well, i was on my own on that one.  it only lasts for a couple of seconds and i pretty much suppress it in public, but it is the craziest thing ever.  oxytocin.. it’s like breastfeeding endorphins!!!

#OkMovingOn #Awkward

3. DOING POSTPARTUM BELLY FLATTENING EXERCISES only with your doctors approval first and foremost should you proceed with these exercises. a relapse could prolong your recovery time so it’s not worth the risk. there are a billion-katrillion exercises you can do and they are all over YouTube!  again, these are the top 5 i use, but i posted a few more below you should definitely try.

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don’t just go through the motions with these moves.  focus every fiber of your being on your core and keep a mental picture of your goal tummy as you do them.  if you’re gonna do them, do them right! you get out what you put in.

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a. tummy vacuum (see pic below). i love this one cause you can do it anytime, anywhere, sitting, standing, laying down flat on your back or even on a yoga ball (which is my fave cause i can stretch out my back simultaneously).

to do:  imagine pulling your belly button into your spine super-duper tight and holding it there, even after you exhale.  hold everything in, contracting your core, for as long as possible then release. you can start with holding for 3 seconds, then increase it to 5, 10, etc, etc. repeat, repeat, repeat.

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press play below!

*in order played*

b. can be used as a stretch or an exercise. on your back, arms out to the side, palms down, knees at 90 degrees.  the slower the better.  with your tummy sucked in tight, take knees from side to side, all the way down to the floor. this works your entire core, obliques included.

c.  can be used as a stretch or an exercise. optional advanced move of b. legs straight out, feet together. take your time on this one.

d. start with this exercise if you’re a beginner.  inhale and draw your core in tight. keep a 90 degree angle in your legs (i could have done a little bit better job) as you tap your toes to the floor and back to the start position. try your best not to arch your back; you want your core to do all the work so the slower the better. to advance the move, alternate your legs in a controlled motion and keep that tummy sucked in.

e. opposite arm/leg crunches on all fours. inhale and draw your core into your spine and hold it there as you execute the move.

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here are a few more moves from Shape mag that focus on the LOWER ABS, where we need to concentrate the most.

4. TAKING CARE OF MY SKIN  i believe that what we put into our bodies produces the most dramatic results.  however,  sprucing up the surface can make a difference too.

a. body scrubs and moisturizer. they help tighten skin because of the increased blood flow that produces healthy, elastic, skin.  use it all over your body but pay special attention to your trouble areas each time you shower.  hello, i just posted 3 different super simple homemade body scrub recipes for you here.  after a shower, i’ll apply cocoa butter to help tone the uneven parts on my belly as they were discolored from the stretching. and that’s it. i keep it very simple.

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b. water. water, water, water = fresh, hydrated, supple skin. s/n: you can tell a lot about your health just from the way you use the restroom.  if your urine is pale and almost clear, that’s a great indicator that you’re getting enough fluids.  if it’s a darker, rusty yellow, you prolly need more fluids. my hands become wickedly dry when i’m not getting enough water, so that’s another telltale sign for me.  we also need plenty of water for breastfeeding, ladies, so drink up!  i drink a 16.9 oz bottle with every meal, so at least 6 of them per day.

6 Pack USA Logo By Josephy Doty

5. IMPLEMENTING 6 Pack USA (Postpartum).  so about that head start! weight training and cardio. you need both.  i did both before pregnancy, during, and after. a transformation is a present activity, not a future event! if you wait until you deliver your baby to start working out and eating right, the road ahead will be long. extra long. start practicing healthier habits NOW.  not only will your pregnancy be easier in general, but baby will benefit and it’ll take less work to get back to your pre-preggo body after you deliver.  toned, lean muscle under your skin will help it look tighter.  not just your tummy, but all over!  slow and steady wins the race when it comes to weight loss and getting/keeping your skin tight.  crash diets and quick fixes do NOT help the skin tightening process…no, no, no.  it must be done the healthy way as in a steady loss of 1-4 lbs of body fat per week. extreme dieting will force your skin to stretch and sag more quickly, so give it time and build healthier lifestyle habits while you’re at it. we live by and promote this successful program and it has been my no-fail plan before, during, and after my 2nd pregnancy.   it has blessed the lives of so many other around the country, including this mother of FIVE, April!

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as i struggle to get my life together daily with my two rug rats, i watch this girl in awe as she juggles her photography career, 5 kiddos, each with their own busy agendas, a hubby, and still manages to make time to take care of herself!  WHAT a transformation!  that’s what dedication and consistency can do for you.

i was unaware of my daily micronutrients limit for my first pregnancy, but the second time around i had it DOWN.  knowing what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat it made all the difference.  the picture below says it all! on the left i was 4 months pp with Chiso (prolly my highest un-preggo weight ever), and on the right i was 2 months pp with Dego.  knowledge really IS power!

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if you are interested in joining team 6 Pack USA (only after you have been cleared to workout by your doctor) then click here to sign up for our current 2 phase special. questions? shoot me an email! leah.egwuatu@6packusa.com. you do not need to be local to Houston; we have team 6 Pack USA clients making progress all over the world.

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what i’m not sold on: 

firming creams.

skin firming and tightening skin-care products don’t work as well as their over-exaggerated claims. ever. and the price to quantity ratio is waaaaay off lol!  because collagen is found in the second layer of our skin (the dermis layer), those creams are just sitting on the surface of your skin and not really doing anything but hydrating it. (they work just as well as those lotions that claim to prevent stretch marks. nope, not gonna happen.)  you reeeeally gotta watch those key words when reading the product descriptions like: ‘..improve the appearance of your skin…’ and  ‘..provides visibly firmer looking skin…’ .  most of these creams require daily use but as soon as you stop applying, the product stops working. and that’s if it even works for you! the product reviews for these types of creams are all over the place.  i’ve also noticed that some of the commenters claiming the product works mention that they are using it IN ADDITION TO exercise!!  purchase at your own risk (i’d rather go buy groceries with that money) and definitely read those reviews first.

belly bands, waist trainers, cinchers, etc.

i’m not completely sold on belly bands. i say completely because i feel they are only great for providing back and core support (especially if you had an epidural or c-section), and making your waist/mid-section nice and smooth under your clothing immediately after birth when the pooch is most prominent.  i get it. however, they have nothing to do with getting your abdominals and core back into shape. at all.  once you take it off, everything settles (or drops) back to where it was!  don’t be fooled. long term results come from physical activity and proper nutrition. belly bands are definitely a short-term solution.. a band-aid, if you will.

wraps.

there is a reason it takes time to lose fat.  the progress you see from using wraps is usually water weight and not actual fat. which means the fat is still present and can only be burned off.

Q: ok weigh in, mamas! what has helped YOU bounce back after pregnancy? what didn’t??  share and help another mama or mama-to-be out.

le

13 replies »

  1. Wow Leah, I thought you looked great after Chiso but you are SLAMMING after Dego. Thanks for sharing with us. I don’t always comment but I do retain very useful information from you.

    Like

  2. This was very informative. I have two boys myself. With the first I worked out all the time and my postpartum body bounced back quickly. With my second, i was sick all the time and was unable to workout and getting back in shape was much harder. Now, I am looking forward to when you write about diastasis recti because I had a very big experience with this one and I will not go into detail about it, but I think people really need any knowledge they can get about it…

    Like

  3. Thanks so much for this post, I’m excited and ready to focus even more with getting my body back. My baby will be two weeks old tomorrow and I’m ready to hit the gym again but I will take it slow and steady and focus more on my nutrition in conjunction with light cardio. You ROCK

    Like

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