Calling all Mamas

Since my doctor told me today my baby could come anytime (of course without trying to get my hopes up), I started thinking about what life with the new baby…past pregnancy would bring.  The least favorite part for me is the saggy belly and all the energy it’s going to require to get back to normal.  I wondered what tips all you experienced moms have…what works best for you??  Please comment below because I am sure I am not the only one who could benefit from a little extra wisdom.

Also, do any of you have good tips for getting those stomach muscles back together??  Mine never did go back together after Barett, which led to me being quite injury prone while I was stupidly trying to work out like normal.  Did you use a belly band?  Certain exercises?  How long did it take you to heal?

When I was searching online I found this interesting article on Shape.com with some simple, albeit random tips on getting back into shape post-partum.  Thought I would share his ideas as a jumping off point.

1. Kegel, Kegel, Kegel: Pelvic muscles may have weakened during childbirth so it is imperative that we start in this area. Begin by either sitting or lying down and contract (squeeze) the muscles that you would generally use if you were attempting to stop urinating. I recommend performing 15 to 20 sets of contractions. Hold each contraction between three to five seconds resting three to five seconds between sets.

2. The easiest workout: Standing on one leg while brushing your teeth works deep core muscles. It’s a perfect short workout, creating a degree of instability that engages the smaller muscles essential for core strength.

3. Eat with your non-dominant hand: You may feel awkward at first but you will eat about 30 percent less and actually pay more attention to your food instead of other things.  Go ahead. Give it a try at your next meal. Since the hormones that signal to the brain that you are full are at the end of your digestive tract, it takes a while for the food to get there. It takes nearly 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you’ve had enough to eat. Switching to your non-dominate hand will have you eating at a slower pace, which in turn will have you ingesting fewer calories.

4. Confuse your stomach and watch it shrink: Recently, my wife switched from adult sized plates with a 12-inch diameter to saucer-sized plates, which are about 6 inches in across. The Reason: it might feel like your sitting at the kids’ table but studies show people who eat food off of saucers believe they are eating an average of 18 percentmore calories than they really are. At home, we also purchased blue flatware because the color blue is a natural appetite suppressant and I can personally notice that the switch has helped.

5. Easiest way to start flattening your belly…work your invisible abdominal muscles: Your transversus abdominis lies beneath your rectus abdominis, the 6-pack muscle, and flattens your waistline when you suck in your gut. Work it with the vacuum. Pull your belly button toward your spine and hold for 10 seconds while breathing normally. Repeat five times.
Coaches tip: Test out this simple exercise the next time you’re standing in line at the grocery counter.

6. Dip your fork first: Next time you order salad keep the dressing on the side and dip your fork in it before spearing a piece of lettuce rather than dousing your greens. The average salad dressing has over 300 calories. This way, you’ll add taste without the extra calories.

7. Me and you time: Having a newborn can sometimes create anxiety between a couple, and distance. To help avoid this, my wife and I have set aside a few nights a week where we take our child Max (that’s him in the picture!) on a couple’s walk. Walking not only strengthens, tones, and redevelops muscles that may have been lost during pregnancy but, starting a walking or exercise regimen with your spouse or partner actually increases your chance of sticking to the program by up to 90 percent.

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