Amanda Fisher, Tough Muddette

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Fourth Trimester: Month One

So, I’m a whole month postpartum!  Ring the bell, yo!  I’ll be documenting all about postpartum here, through the fourth trimester, possibly the fifth, sixth, and seventh lol….if it’s still interesting 🙂

First things first, because I like to talk about food….because I love eating…..

Did any of you get postpartum cravings?  Like OMG.  I suspect it’s because eating during pregnancy isn’t fun for me since nothing tastes amazing.  So maybe food just tastes extra amazing after pregnancy because I’ve missed it for so long.  Or, maybe because pushing out a human is hard effing work.  Who knows!

But. I. Love. Food. And. Everything. Tastes. SOOOOOO. Good.

I am OBSESSED with fruit right now.  And salads (which were pretty gross during pregnancy).  And, the oddest thing of all….grape nuts cereal.  I seriously don’t know where that came from, because I don’t eat that normally EVER.  But now?  OBSESSED.  With fresh cut strawberries and bananas sliced over the top, in milk.  So freaking weird.  OH, and Qdoba burrito bowls.  And oatmeal!  And MEALS!  Omg, I just freaking love eating right now, lol.  I freaking love carbs right now, and they love me back, so I am rolling with it!

Sleep, to be honest (and I’m knocking on wood)…..hasn’t been horrendous.  Or maybe I’m just jazzed to drink real coffee again instead of decaf, so I can’t even tell.  But somehow throughout most nights, we are ending up with a decent amount of sleep, although of course it’s broken up with feedings.  SO…..I cannot complain there.  And I know I just jinxed myself saying that and it will all change here shortly, lol.

Physical health, has been…..different.  Interesting.

Perhaps it is second pregnancy related, or the fact that I’m four years older than I was with our first birth, but I can TELL.  I would say after weeks 30 and beyond in pregnancy, my body was TIRED.  My core was tired, and my pelvic floor.  When everyone tells you that second pregnancies feel way different than the first….well, in my case, they weren’t lying.

Weeks 1 and 2 postpartum, I would say I was sore, and my body was tired, but that was to be expected.  Week 3 was a little of the same.  Week 4 I felt GOOD, and pushed the envelope with activity – not exercise….more like, venturing out of the house more with both kids, that sort of thing.   The only exercise I’ve attempted was a walk around our block at 3 weeks postpartum and that was a bit much.

Also in week 4, I had my first pelvic floor physical therapy visit.  SUPER INTERESTING stuff.  Probably the least sexy topic of all time, but one that is VERY IMPORTANT, so I’m going to write alllll the stuff about it.  Since I hadn’t had my last postpartum exam with the birth center yet, this first PT appointment was focused on EXTERNAL pelvic floor health and biofeedback.  Basically, the therapist attached some electrode type things to my hip, my knee, and…..drumroll please….jjjuuusssstttt outside my rectum.  The point here was to have me engage my pelvic floor, and core, and the electrodes sent back feedback to tell us some things.  Well, I had a LOT of trouble not letting my pelvic floor contract ALL.THE.TIME.  And I could not engage my TA (transverse abdominals) for the life of me.  My pelvic floor wanted to contract and do allll the work that the rest of my core wasn’t really doing.  Literally, I’m the walking definition of a “tight ass”, lol!  I could literally “grab the bean”….I just had some trouble either trying not to murder the bean OR trying to set that little bean back down.  HA!  Seriously, tight ass!  My therapist gave me a friendly reminder that I’m very early postpartum yet, and to take it easy, sit a LOT to take pressure of pelvic floor and just to let my body rest, and sent me home with two exercises to do – one working on pelvic floor engagement at a MODERATE level and not murdering it, and then a core activation exercise.  Oh, and she got me super familiar with how to sit on the toilet (hint…place your feet on a stool, so your knees are higher than your hips, and lean forward so forearms rest on thighs….helps relax your pelvic floor and not put so damn much pressure on it)…..

……….and all of this was very timely.

Because not long after that appointment, I had my very first symptoms of prolapse.  Seriously, you guys, I’m writing this out for public consumption because this stuff is NOT TALKED ABOUT, but it’s actually pretty damn common.  Prolapse, if you aren’t aware of it, is basically the dropping down of internal organs – maybe bladder, maybe uterus, maybe rectum….because pelvic floor is weak and maybe not quite doing it’s job….OR a host of other reasons.  Welp, I had/have bladder prolapse symptoms.  It’s not necessarily confirmed as prolapse yet, only symptoms.  BUT, enough for me to have a mental freak out about standing up and having something fall out from down there, and never being able to lift weights again, OR coach strength training, OR live without feeling like something was going to fall out.  Kinda major anxiety stuff.

This is the stuff that you DON’T learn in 9th grade health class when you talk about having sex and what can happen with a pregnancy (or after)….but probably NEEDS to be talked about with 9th graders, and, well, EVERYONE.

I took my PT’s advice and basically sat a TON for five days straight.  And didn’t lift anything aside from baby.  And really just took it easy.  Which drove me even more insane because all my brain could think about was my stupid bladder falling out.  I will be following up with an OB in the next few days, AND I’ve since followed back up with my PT.  To be honest, after days of taking it easy, my symptoms are SO MUCH LESS.  I’m not terrified my insides are going to fall out.  I can also tell when I have been standing up or doing stuff for too long, and it’s time to sit down again.  I’ve got a new set of exercises to work on, and I’m not going to lie, pelvic floor exercises, when you have a weak pelvic floor….are harder than effing burpees in my opinion.  It’s INSANE.  It’s so MENTAL.  I can’t believe I have to concentrate SO MUCH on doing the exercises correctly.  It is truly mind/muscle connection.  Plus, did you know your pelvic floor has fast and slow twitch muscle fibers?  So freaking weird!  But interesting, not gonna lie!  My PT basically isn’t concerned with a prolapse issue….I’m so new postpartum, PLUS I’m nursing so I have Relaxin like WOAH running through my body….that time, taking my exercises seriously, and REALLY listening to my body….I might be surprised at how differently I feel at weekly intervals.

In my Month Two post, I’ll update again on all this, and my visit with the OB.  I’m establishing care with a new OB after my final visit at the birth center.  The birth center does pregnancy care, and doesn’t take patients after that postpartum period is over.  So off I go to find a good fit with a new doc 🙂

My mental game is actually alright.  I feel like I *should be doing more* and all that shit, but to be honest, that prolapse scare cleared that up in a damn hurry.  Do less NOW to do more LATER is A-OK with me.  So I do feel like I’m in prison a bit, sitting a TON, but….that’s ok.  I’m just going to get creative with WHERE I’m sitting I think.  I can literally sit my ass off in the gym.  I can sit my ass off outside while Emma plays.  I’ll figure this out, and this too shall pass.  The major mental roadblock was the anxiety about prolapse, but after learning a ton more about it, I’m actually not freaking so much anymore.

I probably have all the same feelings many postpartum mama’s have.  I’m loving my baby, struggling with how to “do it all” with a new human, so I’m like “eff doing it all” and let’s chill for a bit.  For a few fleeting seconds I had the *I should be this size* and *I should be doing this workout*….and….those were fleeting.  They are gone now, and they should be.  I’m like five weeks postpartum, I have LOADS of time between now and when I’m 100 years old to get back to my gym self 🙂  I would also saying feeling like a stellar mom with the baby and a crappy mom with Emma is the real deal.  I’m sure figuring out balance between two kids will happen but for now….oof, this is also a mind game!

Thanks for listening!  I do intend to post the good, bad, and ugly about all this stuff, and I hope the prolapse symptoms are as ugly as it gets, lol.  I know it’s WAY TMI, but to be honest, this stuff is not talked about, and is fairly common I guess, soooooo…..I’m talking about it.  I’ve heard from loads of you anyway about some of this stuff, so why not write my experiences publicly on my blog?

Alright, peace out, I’ll be back for my Fourth Trimester – Month Two…down the road 🙂

And PS – I cannot recommend being proactive and visiting with a pelvic floor PT enough.  Seriously.  If you are postpartum 4 weeks or 44 years, STILL not a bad idea.  And if you are pregnant, not a bad idea either.  FOR SURE if you have any of the typical symptoms – bladder leakage, workout pees (or coughing/sneezing pees), weird pain down there, feeling like something is falling out or a “full” feeling, weird back pain, etc.  Yes, it might cost you a little $, especially if you don’t have a referral….buuutttt…..an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, in my opinion 🙂 And by the way, pelvic floor dysfunction isn’t just for ladies….dudes can have it too!

And PPS – Please sit a lot postpartum!

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Four Questions To Ask Yourself As You Navigate “Moderation”

I toss around the phrase “eat in moderation” a TON.

Like, for real.  I just went back through a bunch of emails and blog posts that I’ve written and I’m like…..wow, have I ever expanded on that moderation concept?  Ha!

So, I thought it might be time to expand on what I mean by “moderation” today, cool?

Moderation, in my book, means that no food is a “bad” or “good” food.  It also means that I enoy plenty of foods with a high level of nutrients – plenty of proteins, veggies, fruits, complex carbs, healthy fats.  It also means that I sometimes enjoy peanut butter eggs, or dark beer, or whatever.  What I call “moderation” is also what I would nickname “eating lots of whole foods plus a few treats.”

Moderation is NOT stuffing myself to the gills, or being hungry all the time.  It’s also not going off the rails on Cheetos because I’ve deprived myself of them for weeks.

Moderation is that unsexy middle ground where I’m eating just enough, but not too much, and getting plenty of nutrients and also some treat type things.

Moderation isn’t something I “stop” at some point.  It really just goes on forever.  And it’s also important to note, that unsexy middle ground?  It isn’t a straight line.  It’s a line that hovers around the middle on the daily – sometimes higher than the middle line, and sometimes lower.  It moves.  And shifts.  And that’s ok.

I thought it would be helpful to share the four questions I answer when I’m checking in with myself on my moderation status.  Perhaps they will be helpful for YOU!

Am I eating balanced meals most of the time?  Meaning, am I getting plenty of protein, produce, complex carbs, and healthy fats on the regular?  Like….for most meals?  If not, what steps can I take to eat more balanced meals on the regular?

Am I enjoying eating my balanced meals most of the time?  Meaning, am I liking those balanced meals?  If I don’t like them, how will I continue to eat them, right?  And if I don’t like them….how can I choose foods for those meals that I DO like?

Am I experiencing crazy cravings for foods frequently?  Meaning, are there tons of cravings happening in my body on the regular?  If so, why?  Is it because I’m not eating enough quality meals, or is it because I’m depriving myself of a treat here and there, making me want to go hog wild on bags of Cheetos this weekend?

Am I able to enjoy balance the “most of the time” foods with the “some of the time” foods?  Meaning, do my nutritious food and treat food choices make up a healthy ratio that supports my goals?

When I used to hear people say “everything in moderation”….I NEVER knew what the heck that meant.  And, to be honest, it’s taken me some time to get to a point where I feel like I have a good handle on it.

What DID help over these past years is getting friggin’ consistent with a few key food habits.  Not a hundred food habits, maybe 3-4 food habits, and just getting so comfortable with them that I don’t think much about them anymore.  Building healthy food habits has been instrumental in me getting CONSISTENT with my eating, getting CONFIDENT navigating food choices (even in a buffet setting!!), and ditching food anxiety at home AND in social settings.  Of course, putting myself in “food school” with a variety of certifications didn’t hurt me any, either….because it helped me get to the point of what was TRUE about food, and what was a trend, or a buzzword, or just plain false.

So, I put together Confidently Consistent Nutrition, a FREE 18-day e-course.  I’m super friggin’ excited about it!  This course is designed to get you working on three key nutrition habits that cover MOST of what needs attention when eating for most individuals.  The course begins next week, and I’d LOVE to have you participate, and “try on” these habits for size, and learn how to navigate the unsexy, moderate, middle ground!

In the meantime, after you register for Confidently Consistent Nutrition….take some time and work your way through my four questions and “check in” with yourself on your eating habits.  Self reflection is a HUGE helper for many!  Plus, how do you know if you need to change anything if you don’t know where you are starting from, right?

How I Sanely Navigate How Much Food To Eat

Do you know how many meals per day you should be eating?  Or…rather, how MUCH food over the course of the day you should be eating?

This feels almost IMPOSSIBLE to be able to “know,” doesn’t it?  I mean, it has to be no more than 1200 calories.  Maybe 1500 is if you are “active,” right?  For sure no more than 2000! (I hope you can sense my sarcasm).

Or maybe it’s as much food as you want, so long as it’s from the “approved” foods list.

Perhaps it’s fine to eat as much as you want, so long as your choices are protein, veggies, and fat.

Or…..as long as it doesn’t go over your daily calorie or points target, you are safe, right?

Yeah, it’s a bit more thoughtful than all of those examples.

You guys, knowing EXACTLY how much food we need to eat each day is like telling all the women in the world they are to wear a size 6.  I mean, for some women, that size works.  For others, it’s too big.  And others yet, it’s too small.  Literally, one size DOES NOT fit all.  With clothes AND with food.

So, I’m going to share how I SANELY navigate food stuff in hopes that you can take away something from what I share.  But I want you to remember something.  What I’m sharing is based on my activity, my body composition, and….my personal preference.  So, while I’m going to share how I navigate this stuff, I also want you to have creative authority to navigate your own choices as you need to, based on your activity level, body comp, personal preference, etc, COOL?

Also, I’d be lying if I told you this wasn’t SUPER TIMELY for me.  My needs have changed.  In the past four weeks, I birthed a baby, and am now trying to successfully feed that baby via nursing.  SO, I need my nutrition because baby needs nutrition.  The other piece of this is….I get HUNGRY while breastfeeding.  Like, HUNGRY.  And for the past few weeks I’ve been winging it and this is the week I’m sick of winging it so time to get back with my habits as I know them, and begin working on tweaking them for my “new normal” right now.

What I do first is structure my meal FREQUENCY.  Or, said in plain language…..how many times I will eat during a given day.  This varies on the day, but most days I eat four meals per day.  7-8AM, then again around 11AM, then 3ish PM, then dinner, whenever that happens, usually between 6-8PM depending on kids, the gym, and all that jazz.  These aren’t small, peckish meals that would feed a bird.  These are nicely rounded meals – about 30 grams (or a bit more) of protein, something produce (many times veggies, but sometimes fruit), and a carb – I’d love to tell you this is always a complex carb, but sometimes it’s a simple carb, and sometimes it’s a complex AND a simple carb right now.

Here’s how I know my meal FREQUENCY is working for me.  There might be some gems here for YOU, so pay attention :).  First, eating four meals a day means my meals are a bit more substantial than if I was eating 6 mini meals per day.  This does something huge for me……it allows me to rely on habit more than willpower.  I only have to choose what I’m eating 4 times per day…and really, if I’m honest, I eat the same breakfast and 3pm meal most days, so I really only have to exercise willpower TWO meals every day.  You know what?  For someone who doesn’t have energy to fight willpower right now, this WORKS FOR ME.  I also know this frequency works because I don’t crave a whole bunch right now.  AND, my hunger is managed.  I’m hungry about a half hour to an hour before my next meal.  If I was feeling STUFFED all the time, I’d know I was eating too much.  If I felt hungry an hour after eating, I’d know I wasn’t eating enough.  So….this is sorta making sense for me.

For the record, there is nothing wrong with 6 mini meals each day….but I know from personal experience that it doesn’t work for ME.  I can remember following that mini meal template, and never feeling really satisfied, and always looking towards the next meal.  I also remember carrying Tupperware with me almost everywhere I went and having to wash all that Tupperware is a full time job. AND I remember trying to choke down two ounces of dry chicken breast at one point, and gagging, and then saying goodbye to chicken for a good long while again before I broke up with that sort of craziness.  So, there’s that.  You could call this part personal preference :).

Second, what I do is figure out what I have for my two meals that aren’t my defaults that I always eat.  Often times lunch is leftover from dinner the night before, OR….super sexy I know, but it’s canned tuna over salad with pepperoni, a little cheese, and a few sunflower seeds.  A piece of fruit on the side with a slice of toast WITH butter.  Dinner, is…..sometimes pre-planned and awesome, and sometimes the same as lunch right now!  Or, I feel like we have been living off this recipe in our house lately.  Eating the same things, or sometimes boring things, works in our life right now.  With a new baby, we are happy to eat food in general, and if it’s quick and easy, PERFECT.

Third, I plan my “fun stuff.”  It’s easy if we have meals out during the week, because then we know where the “fun stuff” can easily take place.  Or, I’ll have an idea of where to have a beer a few nights during the week, or…..where to sprinkle in my Reese’s peanut butter eggs.  OR, a donut.  Putting these things into my week makes my week, AND my food choices enjoyable.  I look forward to those things.  I don’t feel deprived.  And, to be honest…..I would call this “the art of moderation”….it keeps me leaner than if I don’t add the fun stuff into my weeks, eat “on plan” all week, only to get to the weekend and throw it all away because I felt deprived during the week so I go on a binge.

So, there are three pieces here – figuring out meal frequency, figure out the meals I need to worry about, and then plan the fun stuff.

Here are some takeaways for YOU:

  • What matters is that YOU enjoy how you are eating.  If eating two big ass meals a day works, then it works.  If six mini meals works, it works.  If three or four works better, then by all means, they work too.
  • If your hunger is not an issue, then you are winning.  If cravings are not an issue, then you are winning.  If either of these are an issue, it’s time to do some investigating and potentially change WHAT you are eating, or HOW MUCH you are eating.
  • If your body composition is doing what you want it to do, then what you are doing is working.  If it isn’t, it’s time to do some investigating and figure out WHY.

For me, right now, I would like to maintain my weight.  For the next few weeks, I’m not worried about adding in extra activity.  After that, I’ll begin to add in some strength workouts and some leisure walking.  That will probably require a slight adjustment in HOW MUCH I’m eating, and possibly make me take a peek at my protein intake.  Six months from now, after I’m used to being a mom of two, and looking to bump up the intensity of my strength training and possibly focus on fat loss if it feels good at the time, I’ll have to re-evaluate all this again.  Same thing will happen when I quit nursing….that will likely mean eating less than I am right now.

So, perhaps you can see, there are themes here.  Things will stay the same for a bit for most people, and then….there might be changes that mean food needs change, and that’s NORMAL.  Food intake doesn’t happen in a vacuum where it’s not affected by anything else.  Other big theme is paying attention to hunger and cravings, because it seems when those things are in line, things are often where they need to be.

Alright, what questions do you have?  Drop ‘em on me on my Facebook page!  And, please, share this with a friend who needs to go about this stuff the SANE way.

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