Friday, October 17, 2014

Getting it back after baby #2

Getting it back without starving… you mean it can be done??

“You looked great after your first pregnancy, but you’re not going to lose your weight as quickly after your second.”

“You never get your pre-baby body back , not really.”

“So your body just sling-shot back into its original shape??”

These are just a few of the comments made to me before, between, and after having my two little ones. After my first pregnancy (a c-section), I lost all of my weight by 3 months post-partum without any special diet. At 6 months post partum, I decided to do a bodybuilding competition in the bikini division, which I did at 8 months postpartum. I went from 125 lbs down to 114 lbs with very restrictive dieting and a load of slow-steady cardio and heavy lifting. Everyone told me the baby weight after the first kid is always easy, and then the weight after the second slowly, if ever, comes off.

I had a vbac, so I figured being up and about would make the weight come off more easily than after my c-section. It did come off easily at first, but slowed down, and finally came off faster than with my first. However, I had a much more active pregnancy where I crossfitted 3 times per week until I was 41 weeks plus a day along. I also did cardio on top of crossfit and was always out and about with my oldest.  I will agree that this time around, my body did change. My measurements are the same as before, for the most part, however all the squatting during pregnancy seriously did a number on my glutes, and my abs are more defined at this weight. I am at my pre-pregnancy weight, but am lower in body fat. I can’t for the life of me squeeze my butt into my old jeans, and I’m actually okay with that. I can lift heavier than I did pre-pregnancy since I didn’t back off much throughout. Wait, you mean you can have gains during pregnancy? And you can have gains with crossfit??? Why yes, yes you definitely can. And thank goodness for that, because I hated my serious case of mom butt aka pancake butt after my first pregnancy.

And diet? You really are what you eat (and more importantly, your breastfed baby is what you eat). The only reason people do fad/crash diets that severely restrict what you eat or the amount of calories is to lose it in a certain time-table or for a competition of sorts. There is no other reason I can think of to do one of those diets. If you eat whole, unrefined, healthy foods that nourish your body, you will mirror that on the outside. There is no way one can eat at least 80% nourishing foods along with maintaining an active lifestyle and be obese and unhealthy. I have Celiac Disease and breastfeed, so I didn’t restrict my calories at all, and I didn’t do any serious meal planning because I wanted to eat whenever I was hungry since increased hunger might mean my baby is going through a growth spurt and needs some extra calories. I eat a good bit of steel cut oats, fruit, vegetables, green juice blends (blended, not juiced to maintain fiber), non-denatured whey protein shakes, meat, and lots of healthy fats such as coconut oil, organic butter and avocados… and lots of coffee. If you haven’t tried your coffee with coconut cream and maple syrup, do it. You can thank me later. When I want a plate of nachos or chocolate, my two favorite unhealthy foods, I have it, but I certainly don’t indulge more than once in a blue moon. You have to decide what kind of person you are. Do you have to have all junk foods outside of the house so that you don’t eat it? Or are you like me and if you didn’t have anything to treat yourself with inside the house you’ll go out and eat something way worse? I prefer to eat a chunk of dark chocolate a few times per week instead of going to Coldstone and getting a “gotta have it” sized tub once per week.

And no, my body didn’t just sling-shot back into its original form. I started doing bodyweight exercises just a couple days after birth, focusing on strengthening my core to prepare me to get back into the heavy lifting. I started back to crossfit at 2 weeks postpartum, and running at 4 weeks. By 6 weeks, I was doing everything RX at crossfit, maxing out my weights, and training for road races. I eat healthy at least 80% of the time, because I like to feel good, and eating well makes me feel well. So my healthy body is a result of the great effort I put into it.

And because I know this needs to be addressed, I do not by any means think bouncing back immediately after birth is something to strive for. Women lose weight in different timeframes. Some don’t lose it at all, and if that’s okay with them, that should be okay for everyone else. I simply don’t think that women should use their children as excuses, or tell other women they can’t lose their weight after x amount of children, or that real women have stretch marks and baby weight. I don’t have stretch marks, or extra skin, or baby weight, but I birthed two children, and most importantly I have the chromosomes that make me a woman. No scale or measurement will make me otherwise. It is incredibly hard to make time for efficient exercise when you have kids, especially more than one, and when you’re up several times a night nursing. I don’t blame anyone for waiting until they get more sleep to go all out in the gym. 

I write this not as a bragging piece, but to show the people who told me what can't be done that they were wrong. I write this because I've gotten so many comments from people about how I'm the kind of person women hate.... simply because I lost my baby weight. By the way, I have seen women who look MUCH better right after their baby, and I don't dislike them at all. I write this because every time a woman asks me if how old my baby is and why I look the way I do, I feel like telling them I am a personal trainer makes them more forgiving of me. I don't need to apologize for anything. I don't judge anyone for the way they look, and I shouldn't be judged either. But really, I am a personal trainer and am working on my M.S. in Holistic Nutrition..... would anyone really want to hire a fat personal trainer or nutritionist? 

Anything can be done. Do what you like, like what you do. Do what makes you feel good! Babies make me feel good, that's why I have two! :)

6 weeks postpartum

3 months postpartum

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Perfect Pumpkin (Zucchini) Chocolate Chip Bread

My mother-in-law has the most amazing pumpkin chocolate chip bread recipe. It's so great that my mouth waters every time I think about it. I have been wondering how to make it healthier, as it is totally filled with a load of butter and sugar. I even enlisted the help of my friend Caroline over at Chocolate and Carrots who had some great ideas to healthify the recipe. I scoured the internet for recipes that sounded like they would work, as I don't really have the time to do complete recipe overhauls. I was surprised to find a version of this recipe over at Love.Health.Fitness and it was absolutely perfect! My mother-in-law's recipe also had a chocolate glaze on it, but after tasting this version, it actually doesn't need it at all. So delicious, and so healthy!

1.5 cups flour (I used Pamela's brand GF baking mix)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
big pinches of nutmeg, clove, and ginger
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup shredded zucchini (squeeze dried)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 T coconut oil
1 egg
1/2 cup milk (I used flax milk)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix the dry ingredients together, then toss in the zucchini and make sure it is coated evenly. Then mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes at 350 degrees.