Amanda Fisher Coaching

I help women get crazy strong - physically AND mentally - through strength training, sustainable eating habits, and a heathy mindset.

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Should Moms Focus On Fat Loss?

Mom life is an intricate web of awesome, crazy, emotional, draining “stuff.”  There are lots of facets of mom life, and health is only one.

But, it seems, that we moms have a laser beam focus on what our bodies look like.  And what our bodies look like is in part a product of carrying our children, our workout habits and our eating habits.  What we fail to realize is what our bodies look like is also a product of stress, how well we are sleeping (or not), and where our hormonal game is at.

So, while we tend to focus on kicking our own ass with workouts and trying to meal prep the shit out of our lives, and fat loss this and that, there are way more things to consider in the overall picture.  

“If I can just fit in this 90 day workout program where I workout everyday except Sundays…..”

“If I can just spend three hours meal prepping on Sundays so I can eat pre-portioned meals every week…..”

“If I can just keep my house clean, my kids from getting into things they shouldn’t, volunteer for Gingerbread house making, AND get my kids to dance on time……:”

Yeah, there is A LOT to consider here, and whether or not moms should focus on fat loss is a tiny snippet of this gigantic ALWAYS MOVING picture.

So, I thought I would give you some things to consider from a mom and nutrition coach who IS focusing on fat loss at the moment, as well as a mom who has decidedly NOT focused on fat loss for a variety of reasons in her past.

Let’s dig in.

Can your head stay in a mentally healthy place while you begin to trim away at your food intake?  Meaning, when it’s time to sit down and eat a meal during the middle of a jacked up day where alllll the mom shit went wrong, are you prepared to not go hog wild and eat your feelings?

Fat loss is driven by the reduction of calories.  We can argue about how big that reduction should be to make it last, but ultimately, we do need the reduction.  Whether or not you COUNT those calories or use different methods to figure out your needs, we still need the reduction, or the deficit.  Figuring out how to deficit is one more thing to have in your brain WHILE you are still mom-ing.

Can your head stay in a mentally healthy place when you gauge how your fat loss progress is going?  Meaning, if you weigh yourself, measure yourself, try on your favorite jeans or what have you, can you not beat yourself up if the measurements don’t go your way sometimes?  Can you learn to separate emotions from facts?

Fat loss takes time.  So, taking the long view and approaching it with a mindset of knowing there will be up weeks and down weeks, and that the overall trend will go down if we are successful is key.  Here’s the thing, though.  Know thyself.  If you know that you are going to get wrapped up in “I’m a failure” and “That one Cheeto I ate last week is CLEARLY what made me gain a half pound in four days” and tying yourself worth to your fat loss measurements, well, I think we have some other things to think about.  If you know that you can separate fact from emotional fiction, then, we might be in the right place.

Do you have a decent handle on sleep and stress?  

Guess what?  You can do all the right things with a calorie deficit, and all the right strength training, and you might lose some fat but find yourself stuck with a layer around your midsection that absolutely kicks your ass.  For many, this is a huge sign that sleep is off and/or your body and your hormones are all out of whack from stress junk…..AKA, your body is in fight or flight mode (feels like it’s getting chased by a tiger) and not in “I’m relaxed and ok” mode.  No matter if you are getting chased by a tiger or getting chased by an over-booked schedule, not facing a stack of credit card bills, or something along those lines doesn’t matter.  Your body will do WELL in relaxed and ok mode, and fat loss will be much, much easier.

Are you nursing?  

There seem to be two types of nursing women.  The first one, we’ll call her Megan King Edmonds from the Real Housewives of Orange County…well, she basically nurses and weight falls off her without so much as an effort.  The second one, we’ll call “a large percentage of nursing mothers,” well, she’s got every craving in the book, and she’s having a hell of a time managing those cravings, AND nursing, AND all the motherhood stuff is kicking her ass, and she’s having trouble losing anything other than her marbles.  Whether or not you are like Megan King Edmonds or like the other nursing mothers doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you are nursing, and while you can definitely focus on getting plenty of whole and nutritious foods AND find a decent level of balanced eating, the fact that you are nursing might just jack up fat loss completely, making it damn hard to focus on right now.  That’s alright!  You have the rest of your life to focus on fat loss, enjoy feeding your babe right now, and fat loss can get pushed further down the road.  In the meantime, focus on eating balanced and healthy meals that support your recovery body PLUS your baby.

Guess what?  Fat loss itself is very simple in nature.  Find a caloric deficit.  Probably strength train a little.  Move a LOT in a non-exercise fashion.  Sleep.  Don’t get chased by the bear.

But simple doesn’t mean easy.  In practice, fat loss can FEEL ridiculous.

So, as a mom, can you focus on fat loss?  Absolutely you can.  Should you?  Well, if you’ve gone through anything that I’ve written above, you probably have a good idea of whether or not fat loss makes sense for you right now.

Here’s the thing….there isn’t a right or wrong answer, the right answer is YOUR answer.  That matches YOUR life.

And know this.  Even if right now isn’t the time for fat loss, there are TONS of cool things to focus on instead!  Like……

  • Eating balanced and healthy meals while learning how to moderate treats into your life
  • Lifting weights
  • Embracing fitness if ways OTHER than lifting weights if that’s your thing
  • Learning how to incorporate “me time” into your life in a way that makes sense
  • Learning a new skill
  • Catching up with girlfriends you haven’t connected with in way too long
  • Adopting other healthy habits that have nothing to do with fitness or food
  • Finding a way to connect back with your husband and talk about things that you used to talk about BEFORE your kids came along

There is way more to mom-ing than what your body looks like.  Hell, there’s way more to life than what your body looks like.  But each of us has our own needs, and those are important too, right?  So focus on fat loss if it makes sense for YOU or don’t, and focus on something else if THAT makes more sense for you.

Three Things To Do When You Feel Paralyzed By Mom Guilt

Mom guilt is a little dirty secret that no one tells you about when you are pregnant with your first (or second, or fifth) baby.

Mom guilt makes you want to skip doing your life, and skip doing ANYTHING, for fear that you might miss something in your kids’ lives.  Or worse, that the kiddos might not really want you to go, even though you need to go for a bit, and then there may be some kid guilt laid on you.

Mom guilt is hard as hell to navigate.  Should you stay, even though you know you need to go and get away, even if just for a bit?  Should you go, and do it anyway?  How the hell do you even know?  Such a mind game!

Let’s be clear.  I think once you have kids, their needs are right up at the top of your list, and while they can be….um, needy…..kids are cool.  And there is absolutely nothing else like raising kids.  It’s the most challenging, scary, awesome thing ever, lol.  I mean, you literally don’t know if you’ve “done it right” until they have left the nest for college….so, HA, the margin for error feels incredibly high!

But while kids and their needs are important, so are OUR needs, mamas.  And it’s okay to actually admit that.  And feel that.  And do things that meet our needs.

And I’m like any mom, I struggle with mom guilt the same as everyone else, yo!  It’s can paralyze you.  It can be easy to just skip doing things because you don’t want to face it and put a higher priority on yourself for a hot minute.

So, here are three things I try to think about when I feel that paralyzing feeling of mom guilt creeps in…….(and let’s remember, I ride the struggle bus here too, so I’d love the things YOU think about when the mom guilt creeps in)

  1. First off, what’s your family schedule been looking like lately?  When our family schedule is crazy, and there is literally somewhere to go every single day of the week, I tend to favor backing off and not adding more chaos to that, whether that’s right or wrong.  I loathe “going somewhere” every day, and I’m learning that our oldest kid needs plenty of downtime at home, even though she likes to do things.  So, I tend to feel plenty of stress PLUS mom guilt when I add more of my own solo commitments on top of a busy weekly schedule.  So for me personally, during crazy times in our house, I actually feel better prioritizing being home more, and NOT doing things.  That’s just me, and of course, some things still need to get done, so lots to consider here.  I love saying yes to things that we can go to as a family, and am more stingy saying yes to things when we have an already crazy schedule, and involves organization of a babysitter during a crazy week.
  2. Secondly, how can you make it “fit better” somewhere in your schedule?  One thing that feels like a luxury lately is solo workout times that aren’t sandwiched between classes and clients in the gym.  So, I can fit in a date with my best fitness friend PLUS get my workout in, if I do it crazy early in the morning.  Sometimes this is absolutely worth it, because I just NEED that time.  Other times, dude, no….I need sleep, lol.  So, where can you fit your stuff that maybe works a little better?  Get creative.  I’m finding that I can wind down a little after kids have gone to bed and before I need to.  There’s been a lot of epsom salt baths lately when kids are in bed.
  3. Third, um….sometimes you just need to go anyway, no matter the guilty feeling that trips you up.  Sometimes, I just do.  Sometimes, I bet, YOU just do, too.  There are just those times, and that’s ok (even though your brain will tell you otherwise for a minute while you are getting ready to leave).

I’m guessing some of this mom guilt stuff feels worse when there are little kids around.  However, I can only imagine that always feeling paralyzed by mom guilt builds a pattern, and soon, when kids are doing things themselves and no longer actually WANT to spend time with you (lol)….that getting out of that pattern of always saying no to yourself will be a hard habit to break then.

So, it’s kind of random to write a blog post when I’m navigating this territory again and not always sure of myself, and giving three pieces of advice, lol.  But at the same time, I know that I’m not the only one who deals with mom guilt, and it’s very present in my life again with a 6 month old plus a 4 year old.  And I’m learning how to find my footing again.  Which is fine.  But dang, it’s always a process!

So, if you feel ANY of this stuff, please add to the discussion!  Let’s work on this, and crack the mom guilt code once and for all (ha!).  Drop me your two cents on mom guilt via comment on my Facebook page, and let’s get this ball rolling.

What Does Your Six Week Postpartum Check-Up Really Mean For Your Fitness?

You birthed a baby!  Congratulations!  You’ve made it to six weeks postpartum, and you realize that newborns are wonderful and amazing, and you’ve never loved anything more in your entire life.  And you’ve also realized that you can probably survive ANYTHING if you can survive six weeks with a newborn, lol.  You may be sleeping regularly, and you may be wishing you were sleeping regularly and wondering if that adorable new little human in your life is EVER gonna stay asleep when you need them to.  Either way, you are up to your eyeballs in hormones, dirty diapers, and the fear of getting pregnant again right now, along with love, snuggles, and new smiles, and someone calls you Mom.

And it’s time to go back to your doc to get that magical six week check-up.

At this point, you may feel normal again “down there” or you may feel differently.

At this point, you might be considering taking on some workouts, or you may just be trying to keep your head above water with a brand new baby.  You may feel ready to rip a barbell off the floor right after you check out of the doctor’s office after getting clearance to “ease back in.”

So what does getting clearance from your doc at six weeks postpartum REALLY mean for your fitness?

There’s a lot to discuss here.  So, let’s get to it.

As a post natal fitness specialist, and personal trainer, I have LOTS to say on this topic.  Also, having lived through this twice as a mother who has birthed beautiful humans, I have personal experience as well.

Hopefully your doctor has assessed you for a diastasis, or the separation of the abdominals while growing your babe.  This separation is completely normal, but….you need to know about it, and how to rehab yourself and your core to protect your abdominals from separating further with not-so-awesome exercise choices postpartum, and also from herniating your intestines through that abdominal wall (so sexy, isn’t it).  Your doctor likely will have you lie on your back and and raise your head and feel with his/her fingers for gaps in your abdominal wall from your sternum down towards your pubic bone, and tell you something like “you have a three finger gap at this location” or give you a measurement in centimeters.  Guess what?  Whether or not you birthed vaginally or via C-section, all this stuff matters for you.

What your doctor may not tell you about a diastasis:  Your doctor may not advise you how to begin healing your diastasis OR your doctor may not give you proper exercises to begin healing your diastasis.  Your doctor may not tell you that it’s important to check your diastasis regularly and assess whether or not you feel tension in your abdominals even if you have a diastasis that seems to be improving.  Your doctor may not tell you that it’s important to avoid exercises or activities that put additional pressure or force on your diastasis to aggravate it (planks and push-ups come to mind).

Hopefully your doctor has assessed your vaginal health and healing (especially if you had any tearing during labor).  This may be a quick exam, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for the health of your pelvic organs and their position here as well.  Be detailed with your doctor, and ask him/her to check for any pelvic organ prolapse concerns as well.  Let them know if you are struggling to go #1 and/or #2 at this point.  Also, be sure to see how you are healing if you experienced tearing or anything of that nature.

What your doctor may not tell you about pelvic health:   If you experienced any tearing other than surface tears on the skin, it’s pretty important that you see a professional who specializes in pelvic floor health, because your pelvic floor has trauma and injury and likely needs help returning to top notch functioning to prevent future pelvic floor issues down the road.  There is likely tearing or injury to your perineum, rectum, and other “down there” geography, and those areas need time and attention to begin healing properly.  Your doctor may also not tell you or even check about the status of your pelvic organs and their health/positioning.  It’s important to ask about this yourself, and ask to be checked.  In the event this area is a concern, it’s important to visit a professional who specializes in pelvic floor health to begin healing and/or improving the conditions for pelvic organ prolapse as well.

Your doctor may ask about your mental health.  Be detailed with your doctor about your mental health.  Um, you just went through A LOT, and the health of your baby is top priority on your brain right now.  Guess what?  That’s AWESOME.  Here’s the thing, YOU, YOUR body, and YOUR HORMONES are going through the ringer right now, and YOUR mental health is important too.

What your doctor may not tell you about postpartum mental health:  Build yourself a team of support.  This team will likely be comprised of other moms that are friends and that you can talk candidly with, even if it’s just to drop a few lines via text of “I’m hanging in there, but shit this day is kicking my ass.”  This team will likely include your partner, but guess what?  They go back to work at some point, and then you are flying solo with baby and your emotional rollercoaster.  Also, they sometimes have difficulty understanding the physical and emotional rollercoaster stuff, so while I believe your partner should be on your team, I also feel strongly about having an arsenal of other people in your corner as well.  Breastfeeding?  Get some moms who have breastfed successfully in your corner and who aren’t gonna BS you about how easy it is.  Getting your postpartum tribe together is HUGE for your mental health.  But also recognize that if you need more help than what your tribe can give you, it’s awesome to speak with your doctor about that too!

Your doctor may give you the “all clear” to begin easing back into fitness.  Be detailed with your doctor about what you did before pregnancy and what you did during pregnancy, and what you are hoping to get back to postpartum.  Make sure you doctor KNOWS what you mean when you say “deadlifts” and “barbell squats” and things like that.  When your doctor gives you the “all clear” it absolutely does not mean “do your normal stuff.”  It truthfully means “begin exploring structured movement again at an appropriate pace for YOU.”

What your doctor may not tell you about easing back into fitness:  Returning to fitness as you knew it pre-pregnancy isn’t a smart idea.  To come back safely, we need to consider how your body and moved, changed shape, and gained or lost function in some areas.  This is true for vaginal birth AND C-section birth.  During this period, it’s smart to work with someone who specializes in postnatal fitness for a variety of reasons.  This professional will help you design a workout program that prioritizes your core and pelvic floor health of your postpartum body along with treating YOU as a whole person.  Guess what?  Hormones, lack of sleep, breastfeeding, and getting the hang of life with a newborn are HUGE things, and they ALL impact your fitness (whether or not you want them to).  This professional needs to be knowledgeable in exercise selection and how they impact core and pelvic floor health, and how they help make YOU better for motherhood and for life.  This professional also will refer you to someone who specializes in pelvic health if the need arises.

Here’s the thing.  Your doctor helped YOU during pregnancy and helped you deliver that beautiful new baby.  Your doctor had the overall health of YOU and your babe to care for.  Your doctor can’t be your personal trainer, your pelvic floor professional, AND your support team at home.  We have to advocate for ourselves, here, mamas.  We have to be diligent, ask questions, talk about concerns, so we know WE are getting the care WE need right along with our new babies.

Dear Mama, I know you.  I KNOW how you want to just jump right back in where you left off.  But Mama, I got you, I AM YOU.  It’s time to let your body rehab and heal, and come at it with your WHOLE self in mind.  Remember, just because we are strong enough to do something, doesn’t mean we SHOULD do that something.   Postpartum lasts the rest of your life, and it’s time we give it the attention it deserves.

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