Posts Tagged ‘Post baby belly’

Last time round I lost a LOAD of baby weight and did a bit of running but that was about the extent of my ‘fitness’. This time round I’m losing the weight more slowly and attempting to get to a state I don’t think I’ve ever been close to…I’d like to be strong. Not Arnie strong, not bodybuilding and protein powders and steroids, or even anything that requires going to the gym to be honest, but strong in my core, strong enough to baby wear when my littlest is a toddler if he still wants to, strong enough to go for a run and not wee myself a little bit (oh yes…), strong enough to haul my pre-schooler around without giving myself a bad back…strong enough to get through daily life without hurting, basically.

A friend recommended MuTu to me and I had a look on the website and initially thought it looked bloody expensive. Then I realised it’s the same price as about 3 months of WeightWatchers and it gives unlimited access to the program, the forum and, amazingly, the personal trainer who designed the system. She’s called Wendy Powell and is a bit brilliant. I’m not sure I love her as much Jillian, but I do love her nonetheless. You start with Core Phase 1, which is all about learning to align your body properly, breathe through exercises correctly and begin to close your diastasis recti if you’re one of the unfortunates (that’s most post-natal women then) to have the dreaded gap. You have to stay in Core Phase 1 for either two weeks or until your gap has closed enough for you to do more intensive exercise, so it’s very personal. I’m lucky in that my gap is under 2 fingers wide, so in a few days I’ll move to Phase 2. It’s loosely designed as a 12 week program, but in reality that’s the fastest you could complete it as you’re supposed to stick to the week you’re in until you’re ready to move on, so different people will take different approaches.

It only takes 20 minutes a day of actual exercises but that’s in addition to following food advice (basically: eat whole foods), going for a walk every day and remembering to think about and adjust your alignment accordingly as much as possible throughout the day. I’m one of those people who will find almost any excuse not to exercise and even I can fit this in and not find it too much of a faff. You don’t need special equipment, or a gym, or even trainers! (Wendy’s a bit of a barefoot fan.)

What I particularly like about MuTu is that it’s designed for post-natal women – ALL post-natal women. That means it doesn’t matter whether you had your baby 3 weeks ago, 3 years ago or even 30 years ago. All women who have been pregnant at any point in their lives can benefit from developing their core strength and improving their alignment. There are women on the forum who have had 10, 11, 12 babies, and are posting weekly update photos where you can visibly see their waists reappearing over the course of a few months! It’s really incredible. I’m in week 2 and I already feel better for doing this tiny bit of exercise a day. If I’m brave I’ll post before and after pictures at the end of 12 weeks. Check it out (and disclaimer, if you like what you see and buy the program through this link, Wendy will pay for me to have plastic surgery to look like a supermodel. OK, no she won’t. But she will give me a teeny reward! Also, I am not paid for my opinion at all.):

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There is one thing about having a baby that noone prepares you for, probably because if they tried you might be put off having children for life. Well, if you were really vain. Which I am.

At a hen weekend just recently I saw the stomach of a friend who had a baby a few months before I did and was gobsmacked. It was totally flat, smooth and beautiful, and didn’t look like it had ever been stretched beyond a light lunch. This is also what people like Miranda Kerr look like weeks after giving birth. I am trying to be kind but you can imagine the stream of expletives running through my head when I consider supermodels being on catwalks three minutes after popping out twins. Gah. Anyway, the thing to realise is that people like my friend with the flat stomach are not, by any means, the norm. She has always worked bloody hard at keeping in great shape, harder than I would probably ever be prepared to do. So I can’t begrudge her her beautiful stomach because she totally deserves it and was sensibly healthy before she ever got pregnant, waited till she was recovered and then got straight back to the gym. Her stomach barely stretched.

I, on the other hand, may now be a normal weight and passably attractive in clothes, but my God my body looks like a war zone when I get naked. I have tried explaining this to people who haven’t had children and they are sympathetic but honestly, until you’ve seen it for yourself, you’ve no idea. I wouldn’t quite go so far as to say I wouldn’t have had DD if I’d known what would happen to my body, but I’d definitely have lost the weight before getting pregnant instead of afterwards. I’m convinced that the better shape you’re in pre-pregnancy, the better your body will fare. And I was not in good shape. So although I’ve lost a shed load of weight, I’ve discovered that the downside of doing that is being left with stretched skin that used to have the job of holding in your innards, which when combined with the stretching it did to accommodate 8lbs of baby and a whole load of liquid can only leave it with nowhere to go. It has nothing to do with its days except, well, hang there. Limply. Looking a bit sad really. My tummy button is in there somewhere but God knows where; I think it’s hiding under folds of skin. The ‘pooch’ the lovely Jillian talks about splits into two not-so-delicate halves that are each making a bid for freedom, gravity helping out as only it can do. And finally, to add insult to literal injury, my skin is also covered in stretch marks, which are a side effect of pregnancy the lucky ones get (and remember that I didn’t actually gain that much weight in pregnancy!), overall giving my stomach the impression of a very old, wrinkly, saggy balloon that noone loves anymore and there’s no point in popping due to most of the air having seeped out.

Over the past month or so I’ve come to realise that, while for the first time in my adult life I have a reasonably flat stomach, it’s way too late for me to enjoy it in a bikini.

As I said, I’ve tried explaining this to friends but noone really gets it unless they’ve seen it. So, as this is fairly anonymous, and my friends who read it will be too kind to comment on it to my face, here it is in all its glory. Take heed good people: ‘GET HEALTHY BEFORE YOU HAVE A BABY.’

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