Ok first off, I know today is Monday. Sunday went by way too quick for me. However, since today is the holiday to celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and I actually did not have to go to work, I spent the extra day to meal prep. I was so glad to have a 3 day weekend. We need more of these.
Surprisingly, the first week of my nutrition challenge went well. I wasn’t starving, and I did not have tortuous sugar cravings. I only had minor cravings for cupcakes but I was able to get over it. I stuck to meal plan and actually ate the food I prepared, and I liked it. I’m not new to clean eating, so that helps. I really like just have fresh, real food available. It makes me feel so much better.
My postpartum workouts are also going pretty good. I still feel like crap, but the good kind. I am slowly working to rebuild strength and endurance, and the good part is that I actually feel coming along. I am continuing to trust the process. My big challenge will be will I actually decide to go for my first run. It will come soon, I promise.
So I am kicking off week 2 of the challenge by meal planning, and setting a goal to get to yoga at least 2 days this week. I really need to work on mobility.
The good part, my scale says I am down 4 pounds since last week, so something is working! Just keep swimming.
So what’s on deck for this week:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with half a banana, and 1 tbsp of peanut butter, egg muffins
Lunch: Spaghetti squash with veggies, chicken meatballs, tomato basil sauce or Spinach mushroom turkey burger with brown rice, and sauteed veggies
Dinner: Grilled chicken or salmon, or mahi mahi, with quinoa and sauteed veggies.
Snacks: Greek Yogurt, blueberries, rice cakes with peanut butter, turkey with avocado, or carrots and hummus
I never anticipated how much pregnancy and postpartum life would mess with me physically and mentally. The struggle toward my own postpartum body acceptance has been very real. Now add to that uncontrollable hormonal changes, and some days I have been a walking crazy person.
A few weeks after giving birth, I needed to leave the house. So I packed up baby and we went to the mall. While I the mall I walked into Victoria’s Secret, I usually love going shopping at Victoria’s Secret. As I walked in the sales guy asked if I needed help, and then said,”I see you just had a baby, the girls in dressing room can measure your bra size and help you out.” It was a harmless statement and he was just being helpful. Yet, that harmless statement brought me close to the point of a panic attack.
Of course I knew I just had a baby, but the reality hit that my body is now different. I didn’t even know my own body anymore, I was a whole new bra size. Of course my bra size was different, my boobs were now ginormous and filled with milk. I didn’t think about. Everything that I had known about my body had changed. As I walked though Victoria’s Secret I did not feel sexy.
The female body is amazing. Growing a human for nine months, and being able to supply it daily with nutrients from your own body is quite a process. My husband always reminds me of how wonderful and amazing I am. I appreciate that. However, while growing that human for nine months, and even when that human is living outside of the body, there is so many changes that women experience. Nothing really prepared me for that. In my mind I would have a baby and then go back to normal. You know the weight would drop, I would go right back into crossfit, I would run with no problem and I would be able to go full beast mode within 6 weeks. Yeah no, that did not happen. Sure my doctor cleared me to return to all my physical activity at my 6 week appointment, yet I was and still am no where near ready to go all full on beast mode. That reality was a reality that I was not ready for. I had take like 100 steps back, and retrain my body.
For me, the struggle is real when comes to accepting my postpartum self. Everything I once knew about my body is different. And it will always be different because I gave birth to a human. It was the first time my body did that, and my body will forever be changed by that experience. Different is not a bad thing, it’s a good different, but with different comes the task of redefining my body, and my own sense of sexy.
Prior to pregnancy I would workout twice a day most days, my weight and muscle mass were at a place that I really loved. I had worked hard for years to get it there. During pregnancy I gained about 46 pounds, but that was fine for me because baby and I were both healthy.
While I was pregnant, lots of moms would ask if I was planning on breast feeding. I would say yes. They would then say good that’s how you lose all the baby weight and you will “snap back”. Well as it turns out, I did not magically lose all this baby weight while breast feeding, and there is no quick “snap back”. I wish our culture would stop using the term snap back. It puts unnecessary pressure on postpartum women. Your body moved everything around and gave birth to another person, it doesn’t just snap back. Your body is not a rubber band.
Since giving birth I have lost about 20 pounds, so I still have close to 30 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-preganancy weight. I used to get frustrated with myself because my body was not “snapping back” quick enough. I breast feed, they told me if I breast feed the weight would fall right off. Yeah, that didn’t happen. But you know what, I’m fine with that. I realize my body is doing what it needs to do to keep myself and Nico happy and healthy.
My next goal for 2020 is to trust the process. That’s what all my coaches and my chiropractor say, so I guess I will listen. I will trust that I will have a healthy postpartum body. I can get back to my pre-pregnancy self again and be even stronger, faster, and leaner. But I don’t have to rush. I used to compare myself to Beyonce and Serena Williams (yeah that was dumb), who were crazy bad ass postpartum. Also, Allison Felix was breaking records 10 months after giving birth. That’s amazing. But then I read somewhere that Serena said that she would never go right to training like she did right after having a baby. I’m also not getting paid millions of dollars to get my body into a certain shape for work, so I guess I can take it easy. I can allow myself to enjoy my postpartum self and feel sexy. I will love who I am because my body did the ultimate, most amazing job of creating a human. My body is different, I am different, and I can love this version of different.
I am running my first half marathon of the year in May, I had signed up last year but deferred. I do want to be in shape to run and need to start training. My current crossfit workouts are helping me build endurance and muscle and soon I will start running. For some reason I am having anxiety about running again. I need to just do it. With the right amount of training and nutrition I can do this race with no problem.
Staying positive about myself, my body, and all of life’s changes are part of the process. I can’t rush the process, I just have to live it. One day at a time, one step at a time, and I will give myself permission to fully love me.
This was absolutely the fastest weekend ever. Sunday night always seems to come so quickly and I am no where even prepared to return to work tomorrow. It looks like it is going to be another long week.
On Sundays we meal prep so I spent the day menu planning and cooking our meals for the week. I was actually excited about it. It’s pretty fun to cook when I actually have a plan about what I am cooking.
This week I am starting a 4 week nutrition challenge with the crew at my crossfit gym. I need to start making some serious progress toward trimming this baby weight. It’s starting to annoy me. I figured a challenge with coaching, and a support team would be a great way to restart healthy eating. Since I cook the food for the hubby and I, he also gets to do the challenge by default. He swears that I am starving him, trust me, he is not starving.
I love when my nutrition is under control. I have been saying it for years, when my nutrition is on point, and I workout daily, I feel at my best. I used to suffer from chronic migraines, once I figured out the changes I needed to make in my diet by cutting down on sugars, and excess fats, in addition to a consistent sleep pattern, the migraines stopped. I know when my body feels healthy and I love that feeling. When I am able to balance out food, exercise, sleep, water intake, and decrease stress, life is great. I am on a mission to make everyday a great one. It won’t be easy but I am determined to make it happen.
So what am I doing for this nutrition challenge? Well the goal is to keep a balanced diet of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent fats, and 30 percent protein every meal, Drink tons of water, and get a good balance of sleep every night. I am tracking my meals using the My fitness pal app. I am really bad at food tracking, logging in every meal takes forever. I had started this challenge last year, then I became pregnant toward the end of the challenge. Food aversions threw everything out the widow. I am really excited to start again without being pregnant!
The key to success for me is not getting hungry. When all my food is planned out for the day I do great. I don’t crave extra food. When I am hungry…well that is when everything goes right down the drain. So my goal for the next 4 week is just not to be hungry and sleep when I can.
Postpartum weight loss is a marathon not a sprint.
The goal is to lose weight, build muscle, and rebuild endurance.
So what meals are on deck this week?
Breakfast: Oatmeal and egg muffins
Lunches: Beef fried cauliflower rice with a sweet potato side or Paleo BBQ shredded chick over brown rice with a veggie side
Dinner: Ground Turkey burger with a veggie or sweet potato side or Chicken breast and veggies.
Various snacks for the week: Greek yogurt with blueberries, cinnamon, and a touch of honey, almond and cashew nuts, turkey and avocado slices, carrots, apple and peanut butter
Let’s get started with week 1! Cheers to positive lifestyle changes.
According to Postpartum Support International about “6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety.” However, I think those numbers are substantially under reported.
During and after pregnancy people would frequently talk about Postpartum Depression (PPD). I also read up on it just so I would be aware of what to look out for in myself. My doctor and the nurses at the hospital all gave me t pamphlets on PPD so I would know what to look out for and who to call. After I gave birth people called to check in on me to make sure I was doing okay. I appreciate all of that. I didn’t have postpartum depression. With the help of my hubby and other family members, I was doing pretty good.
However I did have anxiety. A lot of anxiety. Since sometimes I like to go into my self diagnosis mode, I would diagnose myself with postpartum anxiety, mild, without panic attacks. Wait, that’s not even a thing. The DSM-5, the handbook of psychiatric disorders that is used by Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Counselors, in the United States, does not recognize Postpartum anxiety as mental health diagnosis. Why is that?
Postpartum depression is recognized widely by the mental health world, and has a diagnosis code. There are even special treatment groups that focus solely on PPD. Yet, postpartum anxiety falls under the umbrella of just another anxiety disorder, it just gets thrown in the with likes of Adjustment disorder with anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or Obessive Compulsive Disorder. However, according to the published article Postpartum anxiety: More common than you think, by Dr’s Jordan and Minikel (2019), research studies suggest that perinatal anxiety is more prevalent than depression. Also, studies have suggested that more women experience symptoms and have significant levels of anxiety during the post natal period, however they do not fully meet the criteria to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Therefore, the true numbers of anxiety in women during the postnatal period go under reported. Even though more women may experience postpartum anxiety, these women are not necessarily getting any type of treatment.
After giving birth to Nico, I experienced many symptoms related to anxiety. Typically, my amount of worry increased. I know had a little human to take care of, a human that was in no way able to take care of himself. I still worry. SIDS is a real fear. I find myself waking up at night to check on him, to make sure he is still breathing. I remember one night he actually slept for a few hours at a time, more than his regular 2 or 3 hours, I of course woke up to check on him. Yup, he was sound asleep.
I worry when he gets sick. I worry when he goes to day care if he will be okay. I worry if he is eating enough. And since I am a therapist, I worry if he is adjusting well so he doesn’t have a childhood anxiety disorder. I guess I have regular mommy worries. Everyone asked me if I was okay on his first day of day care, I had some worry, but I actually felt fine overall. I kinda just knew he would be fine. That was me managing my anxiety. I am able to put my irrational thinking patterns into focused rational thoughts.
I used to stay up all night because I knew he would wake up to eat. I already had trouble sleeping way before the thought of baby. Now I was being woken up from my sleep every 2-3 hours, it made it so much harder to sleep. So I did’t sleep. One night I think I stayed up until 6 am, and then I was finally able to go to sleep. The anxiety is real. If I was ever going to sleep again, I had to learn to be fine with baby sleeping in peace. I had to stop fearing those middle of the night wake ups and allow myself to just breathe and relax in the moment.
The symptoms of my anxiety would never be enough for a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, I know that. My anxiety was triggered by being a new mom, and the constant worry of having to take care of another human when I was previously only taking care of myself. Being a mom comes with more responsibility. That responsibility causes me to have a running list of tasks in my brain that cause anxiety. The anxiety is real, but lucky for me it is also manageable.
I know I am not the only mom who has experienced symptoms of postpartum anxiety. So if you are a new mom, or a seasoned mom, and just can’t shake those anxious thoughts, take a step back and just breathe, stop and think about the rational thoughts. Close the door for irrational thinking patterns, think about realistic scenarios, and always remember to take time for self care. As a mom you are the world to your child, take care of yourself and remember that self care is not selfish.