Getting Fit After Giving Birth – one program at a time

Archive for May, 2013

Combatting the “Mommy Tummy”

English: Abdominal muscles on a woman's belly.

English: Abdominal muscles on a woman’s belly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


If you’ve ever had a kid, you probably know what I am talking about.  If you’ve experienced multiple pregnancies, then I am sure you’ve experienced what I am talking about.  That little pooch in the front of your midsection that lingers around after you’ve had a baby.  Most of the time it dissipates largely in a few months.  However, in my situation, it never had time to dissipate at all.  I gained a whopping 60 lbs when I was pregnant with my son (Before you judge me, please know that becoming pregnant with him immediately cured me from the lingering threat of anorexia).  When he was three months old, I got pregnant with his sister (We wanted them that close together, I LOVE it).  I managed to only gain 30 lbs when I was pregnant with her (I did lose 20 lbs during the first 24 weeks because I was sick as a dog!).  When she was six months old, however, I found myself pregnant once again.  So, in the three years that I spent being pregnant (Exactly, the month of conception of my oldest, three years later, was the month of birth of my youngest).


I never had time to get rid of that pooch before I had to add on to it.  Add to that the scar tissue from one c-section, and a spiderweb of stretchmarks, I felt that my poor stomach would forever look to be 4-6 months pregnant.  Also, because of the timing of my children (don’t forget the major abdominal surgery of the c-section), I suffered from TERRIBLE diastasis recti.  That is a painless separation of your abdominal muscles.  I have spent almost 8 months now working on healing the diastasis recti, and I am actually quite proud to say that I have gone from an almost four finger-width of separation to 1/2 a finger-width of separation.  The secret to THIS is planks, and lots and lots of patience!


Working out at the YMCA this past month and working on other areas of my body as well as aerobic excersizing now means that for the first time in almost 5 years, I can accomplish a sit-up.  No more crunches for me!  I’ve still got quite a ways to go to get my stomach back in shape, but I now believe that the idea that your body wont ever be the same after having a baby is just an excuse to not even try (and an excuse to hold off on having children to begin with).  I am still nursing my baby (who will be 18 months old next month), and while I am suspecting some saggy breasts (especially after having 1-2 nursing children for 4 years straight), I know that they don’t have to be saggy forever.  And the added bonus is, by getting rid of my mommy tummy in this way, I am actually in better shape than I was before my mommy tummy even developed!  And I can be more proud of it too, because I’ve actually had to work for it!





Beauty product experimentation

Sweet, sugary Brach's lemon drops. Made with r...

Sweet, sugary Brach’s lemon drops. Made with real lemon juice! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I like to experiment with different things.  Really I wouldn’t care if it was store bought and full of chemicals, but that stuff is usually more expensive, so I mostly experiment with natural products that I would normally have around home anyways.


For example, there’s a “no poo” idea floating around the internet on the idea that store-bought shampoos are bad for your health.  So, I gave it a try.  It involved using a baking soda water mixture in lieu of shampoo, and a vinegar and water mixture in place of conditioner.  I had some interesting results.  I couldn’t much tell that it did anything special to my hair except made it smell like vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar in this instance, which might have made a difference).  Using store-bought shampoo and conditioner (the cheap suave stuff), I usually only wash my hair 3-4 times a week, so it didn’t much make a difference to me.


I’ve also tried a sugar wax on my legs.  I’ve always wanted to try waxing my legs instead of shaving.  Curiosity.  I wasn’t too impressed with it on my legs.  I am planning on going back and using it on my eyebrows though, I suspect there will be a greater success rate with a smaller area to work with.


Just recently I created my own face mask recipe.  Albeit there are TONS of recipes online, but I didn’t have the ingredients for most of them (I mean, where do you even get green clay, or those other exotic oils and stuff?), so I mixed and added my own.  My goal was to get rid of the horrible dark circles that have been lingering under my eyes since I got pregnant with my oldest 4.5 years ago.  It actually smelled pretty good (in my opinion anyways), and I think it worked wonderfully too!  My recipe was as follows


  • 1.5 teaspoon greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 capsules Vitamin B Supplement
  • 2 capsules Acetaminophen (Ibuprofen, or Tylenol works great!)
  • Contents of 1, unused, black tea bag


That was it!  I rubbed it on my face, leaving an extra thick layer right beneath my eyes (be very careful not to get it in your eyes, AT ALL…remember, there is lemon juice in there).  Then, I left it on for an entire episode of “Being Human” which was about 45 minutes, enough time for it to dry.  Then I washed it off.  The caffeine in the Tea continued to work throughout the night to tighten and tone, the lemon juice toned up all of the splotchy coloring, the acetaminophen soaked into the dark circles and almost vanished them completely, the yogurt and vitamin B tightened and drew out the yuckiness that likes to settle in your pores.  I will definitely be using this simple recipe (maybe with some tweaking) again in the future!


Have you ever experimented with making your own beauty products with natural home ingredients?  I’d love to hear what you tried and how it worked for you!



4th week of YMCA excersize class in review

Collage of varius Gray's muscle pictures by Mi...

Collage of varius Gray’s muscle pictures by Mikael Häggström (User:Mikael Häggström) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I’ve made it through three weeks of this crazy new work-out routine, and overall, I really look forward to it. I can’t really say that I enjoy doing it, but I am loving these results. My muscles don’t get super sore anymore…at least not on the daily basis that it was before. They are still sore, but not cripplingly so. So, I guess that means that my muscles are learning how to process that lactic acid more (and I suppose my lungs and my heart becoming more efficient in their jobs).


Monday’s Hiit just isn’t too challenging. I enjoy it, I get my heart rate up, break a slight sweat, feel a bit of burning in the muscles, but afterwards it’s just over. I re-catch my breath and that’s is. I think that perhaps my heart and lungs are becoming better conditioned to handle this kind of work out at this particular level.


Tuesday was step. I was up half of the night Monday with a stomach ailment (I blame bad salad), but sucked it up and went to the aerobics class anyways. About half way through I had to make a bee-line to the bathroom to vomit. It wasn’t pleasurable that’s for sure. I blame the vomiting on the empty stomach and the way that I tend to gulp liquids even while exercising. Thankfully, I was vomiting just water and not any gross bile or food particles. The work-out itself was a bit more challenging than it has been in the past, but I am trying to keep in mind that I wasn’t at the top of my game.


Really tried to push myself on Wednesday’s weight lifting, and man can I definitely feel it! I cranked it up 2, and sometimes even 4 pounds heavier then I wanted to say was the heaviest I could do. So, that was 12, 15, and even 20 pounds depending on what we were doing with them. My biceps and triceps continue to scream at me, but I know it was good!


Singer sewing machine - 31K32 (detail 1)

Singer sewing machine – 31K32 (detail 1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Slept in on Thursday which meant missing kick boxing 😛


Friday‘s hiit focused a LOT on the saddlebag area of the legs and buttocks. I tried to push myself and managed to keep up to pace with the instructor, so that’s some pretty significant progress.  I think we ended up doing at least three sets of curtsy lunges…whew!


Another good week down!  My clothing is starting to fit a little bit better.  Some of my clothing is actually getting too big 😦  Guess it will soon be time for some low-cost wardrobe updates, I’m thinking perhaps a trip to Goodwill and some good use of my sewing machine will be in order!




If my 2 yr old can do it why not me?

English: A man lifts his shirt up to expose hi...

English: A man lifts his shirt up to expose his well-developed abdominal muscles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I noticed something on my 2 yr old girl the other day that just blew my mind…She has a six pack! Now, I know that she’s not had the three pregnancies or the chance that I’ve had to gain any weight (I mean, I’ve got 20 something years on her). But she has a six pack!!! How does that even happen? I know that she’s a super active girl.  She loves to run, and she does run…EVERYWHERE!  She climbs, she jumps, she throws, she is a champion fit pitcher, she is very busy.  I’m not saying that she’s busy because all toddlers are busy…she’s exceptionally busy (I’ve had two other toddlers, and other people who work closely with her age range all comment on how busy she is…yeah, she’s really active).  My point is, if my 2 year old can have a six pack, then by all means, so can I!!!!!  Granted I’ve got a lot more working against me: Laziness, three previous pregnancies, 20 something years.  But I’ve also got a lot more working for me: The desire to become fit, an interest in healthier foods, working for that specific goal.  So, my statement for today is, if my 2 yr old can have a six pack, then why can’t I?



Establishing a new routine

English: YMCA logo (international and USA)

English: YMCA logo (international and USA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


When you decide to do something new on a regular basis it can be an adjustment.  I certainly think about when school starts back in the fall, or even when school lets out for the summer…it takes a few days, or even a few weeks to adjust to the new schedule and to establish new routines to get you going.  While this takes time for adults and older children, it may take longer for smaller children.


I didn’t even think about these ideas when we first joined the YMCA with the plan of going every weekday morning to work-out.  I knew it was going to be an adjustment for my body as far as the exercise was concerned, but I didn’t think about the adjustment on my routines, schedules, or even on how my children would handle it.


Before we started doing this, my husband and I would stay up late at night, 1 or 2 in the morning.  The children would wake up before us (having gone to bed at 7:30pm), and play around, often making a mess or getting into some big trouble, before him and I would finally get up at 9:00am.  As a side note, my husband has the blessing of being able to set his own working hours, so it was plausible for him to be able to leave the house late, but that also means that he gets home a bit later.  It isn’t like our morning routine was working for us in the first place, but it was one that our bodies had naturally set in order.


Now the kids go to bed a bit later (around 8:30, sometimes 9:00), my husband and I are in bed much sooner, 10:30, 11:00 at the latest.  The alarm goes off at 6:45am, but my body is usually starting it’s wake-up process at 6:30am, and I get after the first ringing of the alarm.  If one of our children has joined us in bed during the night, he or she will wake up with me, and get breakfast ready for everyone else.  It has taken us two weeks to figure out the right pace to move at, and how to get everyone fed, dressed, pottyed, and out the door before 8:00am.  There were some mornings when we moved too slowly at first and then had to kick it in high gear the last ten minutes.  Which resulted in cranky children and stressed parents.  It has also taken about 2 weeks for my children to get used to the idea of going to the child care facilities at the YMCA.  There are still some rough days thrown in there, but now I’ve learned that it takes about 2 weeks for me and my family to adjust to a new routine and schedule.




3rd week of YMCA excersize class in review

Greek commemorative coin featuring modern and ...

Greek commemorative coin featuring modern and ancient weightlifting (latter picture taken from Grecian vase). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I’ve made it through three weeks of this crazy new work-out routine, and overall, I really look forward to it.  I can’t really say that I enjoy doing it, but I am loving these results.  My muscles don’t get super sore anymore…at least not on the daily basis that it was before.  They are still sore, but not cripplingly so.  So, I guess that means that my muscles are learning how to process that lactic acid more (and I suppose my lungs and my heart becoming more efficient in their jobs).


Monday’s Hiit wasn’t really all that difficult at all.  Yeah I got my heart rate up, and I tried to challenge myself, but it didn’t really kill me like it had in the past.  I was getting pretty excited with the idea that maybe I was really seeing results.


Tuesday’s step made me sweat and really challenged me in the anerobic respiration, but didn’t really challenge my muscles a whole lot.  Which is exactly what I want.  I want to be healthy and that starts with my lungs and my heart.  Although gaining more muscle, losing fat, and getting more toned, is definitely a plus.  I know it’s still happening even if I don’t feel it to the extent that I was originally feeling it.


Wednesday was weight lifting.  Again, I’m not use to the high weight low repetition idea, but I am definitely seeing some results from this!  I am forming muscles and loosing inches in places that I didn’t expect to, and I can tell.  On a more exciting note, my husband can tell!!!


Thursday’s kick boxing totally kicked my butt!  I haven’t decided yet if I enjoy using the punching bags or not.  It encourages me to reach a little higher with my kicks, and throw my punches a little stronger, but without gloves I am also left with bruises.  Plus the higher and stronger is a lot more challenging.  The challenge is good, I know, but it’s definitely harder to keep on pace and keep proper form.


Friday‘s hiit was cut short by an interruption from my 17 month old daughter.  She’s had a really hard time adjusting to this new schedule, and with her horrible teething experience…well…she cried all of the 60 minutes that she was in there.  I had to leave my class 10 minutes early to get her and my other two children.  The workout was definitely difficult.  I found myself gasping for breath on several occasions and felt that familiar muscle burn form a repeated action.


All-in-all I’d say that it was a good week, productive, and I am forming the habit of sweating every morning.




Week 2 in Review

English: Drops of sweat

English: Drops of sweat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I am starting off this week a bit sore already. Friday‘s Hiit was a killer, and I still haven’t fully recovered from that. Onward I trudge though, trying to keep in mind that this is good for me! I especially love the hour and a half or so that I get without children…After 3.5 years of being around these children 24/7 it is an interesting break and leave me ready to conquer the rest of the crazy day with them!


Monday Hiit wasn’t too difficult. It worked out most of the tightness that had built up in my muscles over the weekend but didn’t kill me.


Step-2-it on Tuesday left me sweating through my clothes which is a really big deal for me because it takes a lot to make me sweat! Wasn’t a lot of work on my muscles or really my lungs. Just kept me moving which is a plus.


I had my first experience with weight lifting on Wednesday. I used some pretty heavy weights (8-10 lbs depending in which muscle group we were working), and low number of reps which I am definitely not used to. Some of the moves were really hard to do, but there wasn’t the familiar burning sensation. I enjoyed the experience and definitely felt it the next day!


We slept in on Thursday and I was sad to miss kick boxing.


Fridays hiit was sort of low key. Not sure if that means I’m getting used to it, or maybe the instructor kept it simpler.


The perpetual soreness that has been lingering since I started is lessening a little more each day. I don’t think that my flexibility is increasing any but I’m definitely getting stronger!


Starting weight 158 (I ate a lot of heavy carbs over the weekend)


Starting measurement around waist 36


Ending weight 155


Ending measurement around waist 36




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