Amanda Fisher, Tough Muddette

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Fourth Trimester: Month Two

I think I’m 10 weeks postpartum. I’m pretty sure anyways, but I’m not going back to the calendar to do the math, so we will just say I’m 10 weeks, lol.

Month two of the fourth trimester.  And….I can’t remember JACK.  My memory is gone.  So is my ability to think and form normal sentences.  Yikes!  I can remember what size free weights my clients use in the gym….but I can’t remember if I ate lunch yesterday.  HA!

So, last month, I had all allllll the post birth cravings.  OMG.  Every single one.  I was hungry ALL.THE.TIME.  I think it’s to be expected….recovery from birth plus my body trying to feed another human.  I dunno, I can rationalize being that hungry anyways, because it makes sense.  I can tell you this month, cravings are not like that anymore, and my hunger has slowed way down.  I feel like I’m evening out just a bit on hunger.  Which rocks.  Our grocery bill will likely go down, lol.  Our beer bill won’t though.  Oh WAIT!  There IS something weird going on.  Beer is still good…buuuttttt, my new drink of choice lately is Roscato (red Moscato).  On ice of course, lol.

Emotionally, I would say I have all the crazy pregnancy hormones exiting the building so I’m pretty good for the most part, but have the odd crazy freak out (just ask Todd), and….while I did good with dropping off both kids at daycare for the first time, I pretty much ball when I’m feeding Maren and see her perfect little toes and her crazy antics.  Or, when I dropped off Emma at vacation bible school, and realized she didn’t need me anymore to get her name tag, and find her way to the gym with the other kids.  THAT shiz, makes me BALL like a baby.  And I would say Mama Bear comes out when we are out in public with lots of people/strangers around.  I get like nutso protective over my kids, lol.

Physically!  Here’s the Cliff’s notes from last time.  Last post, I thought I was dealing with a mild bladder prolapse.  NO!  I am NOT.  Seriously, I am thanking God on this one.  I was really freaking out about that one.  However, I am dealing with really weak pelvic floor muscles, because they are trying to be strong all the time.  I’m learning that my pelvic floor is hypertonic, which basically means the muscles are contracting ALL the time and have a hard time relaxing….I’m the walking definition of a tight ass.  Think about flexing your gunz in the mirror, and never being able to UNflex them.  That’s what’s going on here.  So, I’m working on contracting pelvic floor when necessary, but also working on relaxing it as well.  A strong muscle is only a muscle that can contract AND relax.  A constantly flexed muscle isn’t all that strong because it can’t function.  So, when I have prolapse symptoms, it’s actually because my PF needs a break and NOT because my bladder is ACTUALLY falling out.  And, apparently this shit is very common, SO, if you’ve been pregnant/birthed a baby (C-section or vaginally), I stand by my recommendation…and get yo ass to the pelvic floor PT, plz!  And STAT.

And…..it’s interesting what are major causes of prolapse or weak PF.  Straining on the toilet (not my issue, lol).  Excessive coughing….I did that for about 2 months when pregnant with Maren with a nasty cold.  I also puked and/or dry heaved for about 30 weeks of my pregnancy most days, so you can imagine the force that produces on one’s PF.  Here’s where it gets REALLY interesting…..forceps or vacuum delivery.  Welp, Emma was born with vacuum assistance.  And to be honest, now that I know what some of this stuff feels like that I’m working through….this has been slowly building since Emma was born.  So I’m taking this whole recovery and physical therapy thing seriously, because I want to making sure my body is REALLY recovered this time.

Also, I started workouts at about 7.5 weeks PP.  I would definitely say they feel “easy” compared to my normal, but I’d also say I’m damn proud of myself for doing what is needed right now, and dropping my ego to ease back in.  I can tell you for sure, I feel like I have NO core connection.  I can tell my core is starting to act like a core, but I literally feel like a big empty space from my sternum to my quads.  Like NOTHING is there and I have to work damn hard to make my mind connect to my core to workI do a lot of glute bridges with bands, and in a variety of positions.  I’m doing lots of upper body pulls and band pull-aparts.  Unweighted squats.  Floor presses.  And band presses.  I’m not doing any planks or push-ups because I’m respecting my core and the fact that there was a lot of outward pressure on it for some time, and I’m not going to add to that pressure in those positions.  I’m also not doing much for exercises that put downward force on my PF – no weighted squats or lunges, no deads, no swings, no overhead pressing, nada.  So, my workouts take like 20 minutes, but I can tell they are helping.  I also spend a fair amount of time each day deep breathing, and giving my PF a break, and doing some resets like rocking, rolling, and crawling.  When I sit, I make sure my posture is spot on, because that is HUGE for PF health.  I’m also trying to sit in a variety of positions – on the floor, on my knees, with legs extended, etc.  All good things for PF health.  I feel like all I talk about is pelvic floor stuff right now, buuuutttt I’m living and breathing it so it’s what is on my mind.  OH, and I walk for 20 minutes at a time, 2-3 times per day.  Walking is GREAT for PF health, but also the force on PF is a factor here, so shorter more frequents bouts are best right now.  And I still sit tons.  Because recovery, yo.

My workout buddy and I during my first week of workouts!

Also, all the cool postpartum pregnancy stuff is happening.  My beautiful pregnancy hair is GONE and now I have greasy hair that is falling out in clumps.  I had really nice skin during pregnancy and welp…..here we go with zits again.  And, I have way less muscle than I used to and way more body fat than I used to, which is a little bit of a mindgame, but to be honest, it is what it is right now.  I’m not one of those ladies that breastfeeds and has weight just fall off.  The whole weight thing is interesting to me.  It was a mindgame for a bit, especially during pregnancy, but it is what it is.  Through about weeks 20 or so, I lost about 15 pounds.  Which feels like a crime because you’re trying to build a human when you are pregnant.  BUT, I also spent a lot of time either feeling nauseous from food OR throwing it up.  So I’m not surprised that I lost weight of course.  Then, I put that back on, plus 8 pounds by the time Maren showed her face.  Then dropped like a rock by about 20 pounds in four days post birth after Maren was here plus extra blood and fluid.  And then I put about six pounds back on til this point.  The weight itself isn’t a factor for me…it’s just the mind game you go through like….is my baby growing….when I was losing weight.  Then, OMG, I feel SO FULL all the time, when I got that weight back plus 8 pounds.  Then, OMG I literally don’t give a shit about weight post birth as you are going through alllll the new feelings and getting used to a new baby in your family.  And then, one day you wake up and your boobs are huge (for you), you are leaking fluid from literally everywhere in your body, you literally feel a little like yourself, but not REALLY like yourself just yet, and your body doesn’t appear all that different from the outside, but it’s hugely changed on the inside.  It’s all just a big mind game is what I’m trying to say.

I went back to work last week, and I’m not gonna lie, I LOVED it.  Spending time in the gym with people I enjoy being around, ADULTS with ADULT conversations, and just feeling like I’m getting back to my purpose outside of raising humans has been AMAZING.  It hasn’t even sucked getting up at 4:15 a few times a week, because to be honest, I’m getting up at 3:30 to nurse a baby anyway, lol.  I love time at home of course, and I still get a ton of time with my littles, but being outside the house and back to work ROCKS.

And one final thing – I can honestly say that the balance between two kids has gotten WAY better.  Emma loves her sister so much, and a little one on one time from mom and day with just Emma goes a LONG way.  I still go back and forth between feeling like super mom for Maren, being a crappy mom for Emma, thinking OMG I can’t spend enough time with my littles, then OMG is it a daycare day yet, and alllll the stuff in between.  But it’s pretty awesome.  And I would also say that I don’t remember being pregnant anymore, even though I loathe it (I know that’s not nice to say, but it’s also the truth).  And 40 weeks and 5 days is really a drop in the bucket of time for the little human being that shows up (eventually) at the end.

But don’t you dare ask if we are having more kids anytime soon, because almost having a baby on the side of the road is still fresh in my mind.

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Three Tools I Use To Tame Medusa (The Cravings Beast)

I’m jumping right in today.  Because I’ve been getting the cravings question a lot – how should I handle them, how can I stop them, how can I manage them….etc.

I want to share three tools I use to tackle my own nutrition, and…..how I have sort of diminished cravings for the most part, and help my clients.  I’m also rolling out these tips with my gym crew AND Confidently Consistent crew.

And when I say diminished cravings myself, I want to call attention to that.  MOST cravings.  I am going to talk about one thing that jacks up my cravings big time below.

You are busy, so am I.  Let’s get right to it.  Here we goooooo……..

Keep a food journal sometimes.  Yup, I do keep a written food journal sometimes.  Like, a super fancy pen and paper (right, it’s usually the back of an envelope and whatever pen my kid hasn’t stolen) with my meal times, and a brief account of what was included at meal times.  I probably food journal a few times per year, for a week or so at a time.

My mindset around the food journaling is the big huge tool though.  Not actually accounting everything stupid calorie or macro or nutrient that goes in.  The mindset is the win during food journaling.  Here’s why…..writing down what I eat creates this big awareness umbrella.  It makes me REALLY aware everything that I write down.  It also makes me REALLY aware of what my eating habits actually are versus what I think they are.

How does this relate to managing cravings, you ask? I can scan very quickly through my food journal and look for clues.  Are my meals complete meals, or are they half hearted things tossed together?  Am I eating enough at each meal, or too much?  Much of my craving stuff stems from those two things.  That’s for me personally, and it could be different for anyone.  Balanced meals and eating enough but not too much, but not too little, well….those are two big ticket items for me.  Missing nutrients from veggies and fruit also cause the cravings monster to show up.  So knowing what I’ve been taking in on the regular for a week or two gives me INFORMATION to make changes.  I can boost the quality of my meals with bumping the protein or produce.  I can boost the quantity of items in meals if I need to.  Also important for me personally….am I SATISFIED from my meals?  Technically, a calorie counter could tell me I should feel satisfied eating chicken breast, and broccoli, and maybe rice with no butter on it.  BUT, is AMANDA satisfied from eating that?  I can tell you without a doubt that I won’t feel satisfied from that bland meal.  Now, I COULD eat that meal with some minor tweaks and feel satisfied….but, figuring out the satisfaction factor for ME personally helps me greatly diminish cravings.

Also – this one is kind of in my control but not really right now.  SLEEP.  Low sleep (right now from a slightly unpredictable baby sleeping schedule) means the cravings monster WILL rear her ugly head when I am least prepared.  Low sleep, and lots of days in a row of low sleep will have me craving quick instant stuff A LOT.  Mostly sugar.  Or sugar and fat.  Like, donuts.  Or gummy worms.  Or things like that.  Knowing that makes handling cravings easier than just walking around life wondering why I feel so powerless around food.  Recognizing that I’m low on sleep helps me manage those cravings better simply by being AWARE that the lack of sleep is driving the craving.

Think critically, not dramatically.  Anyone else go up in arms when Medusa (the cravings beast) hits and makes them overthink and get more dramatic than a four year old not getting her way?  Yeah, drama can really amp up cravings, and if it doesn’t amp THEM up, it can amp ME up.  Getting all emotional about what I am eating or telling myself I have no control over eating is NOT helpful.

Instead, what about taking a step back and thinking critically.  For much of this, I can even revert back to my food journal…..sorta what I was talking about above.  Is my sleep driving the cravings?  Is the fact that I’ve eaten like a bird for three meals a day for the last three days driving the cravings?  What about when I had the day from hell where nothing went right and all I wanted to do was eat ice cream after everyone went to bed at night, and not just ice cream but ALL the ice cream…..in the country.  That sort of thing.  Taking a step back and thinking about what CAUSED the cravings is way healthier (in my opinion) than getting all panicky and dramatic about “not being able to control them” and “I can never get my act together nutritionally……I suck.”  Right?

Strategically plan some treats.  I don’t call this cheating.  I don’t like the thought behind cheat meals.  I decide what I eat, and I also decide that no food is bad or ever off limits (unless I’m allergic, and I’m not allergic, lol).  BUT, actually planning some treats into my week is SUPER helpful for managing cravings.  If I know that it’s Monday, and on Wednesday I’m going out to eat with friends and probably going to have a beer or something, well….I’m maybe more inclined to look forward to that beer (or two), and not have beer tonight.  Or, maybe I’m excited about whatever we are having for dinner in the evening, and it would go REALLY well with a glass of roscato (kinda digging this lately)…..well then, I probably don’t need to have a peanut butter egg at 10AM.  That sort of thing.  Looking forward to something to enjoy, and maybe making a trade off (and sometimes maybe not) somewhere else, or planning to NOT stick a treat somewhere.  It’s more the concept – do I need to indulge three times a day or three times per week.  And, week by week…it depends on a whole bunch of things.

These are three tools that I use in the cravings department that are fairly simple, but get me lots of mileage.  They aren’t super high tech, I don’t need them to be.  They aren’t super complicated, and I don’t need them to be.  They are just little things I use in my tool box that I pull out when the time is right.

OK, I showed you mine, now you show me yours (ha!!!).  What tools do you use to handle cravings?

PS – not one of these tools was “chew gum” was it?  But if chewing gum helps YOU, then by all means…chew the gum!

PPS – I have a super effing awesome Confidently Consistent Nutrition course beginning MONDAY.  All about four core nutrition habits to help you friggin’ rock your food choices this summer and navigate alllll.the.parties.  You can find out the deets here ==>  http://toughmuddette.com/confidently-consistent-nutrition-summer-2017-e-course/

Four Books I’m Obsessing Over Right This Second

Do you guys read like I do?  Like……have several books going at one time, reading a few pages from each frequently, depending on your mood?

HA!  Maybe I’m the only one!

Anyways, thought I’d share what I have going on my nightstand at the moment.  Maybe you’re interested, maybe not.

Cliff’s Notes…..not one smutty book here right now, lol.  I’m kind of into a movement, personal development, habit phase again with my reading, lol.

Your Body Is Your Barbell is an AWESOME book I’m reading right now by BJ Gaddour.  I’m a big time follower of BJ Gaddour, he makes interesting points with exercise, blasts straight through to the truth and cuts the BS, but also is awesome at giving amazing ways of approaching things to have a long and healthy life in your body with your strength training.  I am currently using this book right now with my return to strength training after having Maren.  I’m using mostly bodyweight exercises for my first few weeks back into strength training to gauge how my body is feeling, and this book is awesome at giving variations and ideas for designing your workouts based on the biggie movement patterns.  I’d recommend this for anyone wanting to get way more familiar with bodyweight training AND wanting some structure to how they approach workouts with safety and sustainability in mind.

Habitual Strength by Tim Anderson is all about resets (which I love) and creating movement HABITS into your life.  Um, you guys know I love the word habit and how to insert healthy habits into your life, sooooo, it’s probably not a surprise I’m reading this one, right?  Anyways, this book is easy to ready and gives some thought into getting movement habits incorporated into your life.

Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman is like blowing my freaking mind right now.  Basically, it’s about restoring your body via natural movement for a long and healthy (and disease free/prevented) life.  And, it’s like not the standard “move more” approach.  It’s basically a way of making you think WAY differently about what kinds of movement our bodies NEED, and identifying what might be missing from your “movement diet.”  Love this one.

The Power Of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr has got me thinking about how I structure my work weeks, and how we structure our family time.  Basically, it’s all about needing to prioritize ALL the things we need to stay engaged, stay fresh, stay rested, stay healthy.  And, it’s more like….work hard, but rest and restore hard, and personal develop hard too so you can come back jacked to work again, and be super freaking engaged.  It’s crazy sorts of interesting.

Not sure if any of these are “your thing”….but I think they are interesting.  I read a few pages from each book when I get the urge, usually maybe 10 pages a day from whatever one seems the most interesting that day.  Keeps me thinking for sure!  And I’m digging books like these right now, so if you have any more for me, pass them my way!

 

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