Body after Baby: Beth

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Have you been reading the Body after Baby guest posts? You can read posts and product reviews HERE.

GUEST WRITER BIO: Beth O’Donnell is a military wife and stay at home mom. She is a prior service member who only stayed in shape because she had to. Now she actually enjoys it and no longer says hateful things while she runs. She now lives a lifestyle of clean eating and regular exercise and plans to keep it that way. Since she has gotten a taste of the fitness Koolaid, she has decided to go back to school to become a personal trainer to help women become their very best. She also vows to quit using Dr. Google.

Diastasis Recti: the ugly words that no woman post pregnancy wants to hear, especially those who are anxious to begin getting back in shape. Diastasis Recti is the separation of your abdominal muscles which untreated, can lead to hernias. (More info HERE.)

After I had my son in 2011, my doctor indicated to me that I had diastasis recti, but I blew it off. I was in the military and had no choice but to hurry back into shape. Shortly after receiving the go ahead from my doctor (who, looking back, really should not have given it to me), I quickly got back into running, pushups, and situps/crunches (huge no-no!). I noticed that I had a ridiculous amount of lower back pain and a funky belly bulge but chalked it up to post pregnancy body changes. I figured it would just work itself out. Then I got pregnant again just before my son’s first birthday.

Diastasis recti/ Body after Baby- Read the series on My Life: A Work in Progress
Courtesy Photo

At one of my first doctor appointments, the doctor made a remark on how bad my diastasis recti was and that it was only going to get worse (total fail on my part!). After I had my daughter, I was extremely worried, and in denial, about having it. I did not ask my doctor how bad it was, because I did not want to know. So right before my six week checkup, I started working out on my own. I was doing crunches, sit-ups, twists, you name it! After about a week or so, I was hurting. It was not the “good” pain you feel when you are working out, it was the “I seriously just busted something up” hurt. Although it killed me to stop working out so hard, I knew I had to take diastasis recti seriously.

So, I Dr. Googled it. I found a youtube video which thoroughly explained how to test yourself for it (Please do not follow my footsteps, ask your doctor first!). I also found out that the exercises I was doing were absolutely terrible for the condition and was only worsening it! The good news is, there are exercises that can be done to help heal your abdominals! So, I googled those too. As much as it pained me, I took it easy and did these exercises every day religiously.

At 12 weeks postpartum, I checked myself and to my surprise, my abs were back to a two finger gap! I have been working out pretty hardcore the last few weeks (thanks to Anna Reed!) and as I wrote this, I checked again and I am down to a one finger gap above, at, and below my belly button.

Diastasis recti/ Body after Baby- Read the series on My Life: A Work in Progress
Courtesy Photo- Beth checking for Diastasis recti.
Do you or have you ever had Diastasis Recti? What are some ways you strengthened your stomach muscles as a result?

Disclaimer: All information presented during this event is purely personal opinion and shared for educational purposes only. The information contained herein is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise, weight-loss, or nutrition program. Please note, My Life: A Work in Progress does not necessarily endorse any opinions presented by guest writers during this event. Not all exercise or nutrition programs are suitable for everyone.

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Body after Baby: Gabriela

Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this post!

Have you been reading the Body after Baby guest posts? You can read posts, product reviews, and even enter the fitness giveaway HERE.

Today’s guest writer is Gabriela. I met this mama several years ago, along with Lindsay, when we deployed to Afghanistan. Afterwards, Gabriela went on to become an Army drill sergeant! -Elisebet

Hello, young and strong women and mothers. I would like to share my so-called “wisdom” and experiences for the “body after baby.” Thank you, Elisebet, for the opportunity to share my perspective, and I hope that it can help someone out there.

The Top 5 things that helped me along the way…

  1. Manage your expectations.
  2. Accept yourself.
  3. Learn to get help and allow others to help, because no one can do it on their own (and be happy).
  4. Work with what you have and accept the results because of what you have.
  5. THERE IS NO BIG SECRET TO LOSING WEIGHT AND LOOKING LIKE A VICTORIA’S SECRET MODEL (Besides most of us aren’t models; we’re mothers… embrace it happily).

So the first thing is managing expectations; I think we get easily and quickly discouraged, because we are looking for overnight or weekly results. After a baby nothing is easy and everything is upside down, backwards, and just plain a mess. We’re a mess, our homes are a mess, our lives are a mess…I was ok with that. I accepted it, because I was happy. Some of us don’t think about the bundle of joys we were given after they’ve reached two years old, and they’re throwing tantrums. I know. That was me sometimes. I was more concerned with the house chores and food than I was enjoying my babies. I have what they call “Irish Twins,” which means they’re less than a year apart. For two weeks my kids are the same age. It was hard in the beginning. But I got smart as they kept growing. What I did was accept imperfect solutions. And in turn it did two things for me; well, it helped with my sanity for one, and it made my children more responsible and independent.  For example, I made games out of clean up. And I didn’t go back after them, if they didn’t do it “my way.” I accepted the solution the way they did it. Of course, if there was jelly all over the carpet or something crazy like that, than yes I would clean it up. But for the most part I accepted it. And I didn’t feel the need to clean up better, they were just gonna make another mess later anyway. So, if you have so many things to do in one day or week or month, than you’re going to have to manage expectations. Same thing with my husband (even to this day:/); when he cleans, I am just happy that he did it. The results of how he cleaned aren’t what I expect. I should be able to expect a grown man to clean the house the way I do, especially since we’ve been married for 10 years. But it’s not, and that’s ok now. Accept different results, by managing your expectations.

Right after my second kid

What do I mean by accepting yourself? Well most of us are easily and quickly discouraged because we, once again, are expecting overnight (or a week’s worth of working out) results. Our bodies went through 10 months of drastic change. Try giving back the same work and energy back to your body for a solid 9 months, then you can complain if the results aren’t the same. But for the most of us, we don’t do that. I know I didn’t. It wasn’t until both my kids went to school that I started to care about my body again. For me, that was ok. I wasn’t interested in being a VS model. I was happy being a mom. I generally ate healthy and did enough around the house to maintain a decent size and shape. I walked the dog; I played with the kids, go on walks, went to the pool (cause we were in FL). But I accepted myself because I knew that I wasn’t making my body a priority. I made my kids and family a priority. Could I have done both? Easily. So the only question you have to ask yourself is, which is a priority? And I’m not saying that you can’t do both, but at some point or another one will conflict with the other. And the result will be that one of those priorities gets bumped, so accept the result after one of them gets bumped. Accept yourself and the results that come with your priorities.

Assuming you have so many priorities, like I did. Work, school, kids and their school, the house, dinner, cleaning, doctor’s appointments, play dates, family events, birthday parties, extracurricular activities, etc. (You get it. It’s SUPER busy, and I am sure I am not the only one) Because life throws us so many curve balls we sometimes need to sit one out. We can’t always hit home runs. Certainly not all by yourself and not all the time. So how do you get help or accept help. Well, the funny thing about help, is that it comes in different forms, amounts, and from people you probably you didn’t expect or from someone you don’t really want it from. But you have to learn to accept help.

The main thing about giving helpful ideas and sharing experience is simply that you can take what you want and leave what you don’t want. But this by far is not a super secret to being successful or fit. It is simply my take away on the things that I struggled with and experiences I went through. So what’s the “big secret”? The big secret is that there is no big secret. The biggest things that have helped me are acceptance, moderation, commitment, patience and hard work. Although I “pig out” on the weekends I am committed (mentally) to know that I am going to the gym during the week and eating healthier during the week in order to enjoy the weekend. But on the weekend we still do activities that help sustain a healthier lifestyle like biking, hiking and swimming or simply playing sports that my kids are in like doing soccer drills that help my daughter’s skills and we are staying active in the process. You just have to figure out a way to make it fun, and possibly pick up someone interested in helping you, because although you can do it alone, it’s easier with a partner.

Nearly 10 years later… patience and acceptance

The biggest excuse I hear is “I don’t have time.” Time is a luxury; if you waste it or abuse it, it will never work in your favor. So be selfish with your time, because in the long run it will help you and your family out more. And I don’t know about you, but I would rather be fit than look like a VS model, being fit serves a purpose. But being fit doesn’t mean having the body of a supermodel. So, what I’m about to tell you might be regarded as harsh or blunt, but that’s kind of the point. My best advice is this, truly embrace the fact that your body might not ever go back to what it used to be. I really mean for you to sit there and accept that you may never be the same weight or shape. I’m not saying this is true for all women. I’m just saying it’s a lucky break if your body does go back to what it was after kids. For some of us, it gets better, it did for me (at least in my husband’s eyes, which was an important factor). But for others it’s a struggle, a challenge, and a battle (which it was also for me).  A battle we give up on so quickly. And we give up because we don’t see the results we want when we want them. So the sooner you can embrace your new body the better. But don’t think of it as something bad. Think of it as your result from bringing the miracle into this world, because no battle is pretty and now you have the scars or weight or shape to prove it. Be proud of yourself, be content, and be grateful that your child is here in this world because you did what you were supposed to like a mother should. BUT now it’s game time. Do you want your body back? (or as close to it as possible) You will have to be a little selfish with time, with house work, with all the things (excuses) that you use that stop you from getting a new body. Most of us carry the burden of “I have to do the cooking, the cleaning, the doctor’s appointments, the soccer mom duties, the play dates, the grocery shopping, etc.” But you aren’t as adamant about your personal time for something that will make you feel better and actually results in a better lifestyle that aids the overall outcome of your family’s well-being.

Disclaimer: All information presented during this event is purely personal opinion and shared for educational purposes only. The information contained herein is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise, weight-loss, or nutrition program. Please note, My Life: A Work in Progress does not necessarily endorse any opinions presented by guest writers during this event. Not all exercise or nutrition programs are suitable for everyone.

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Review: Road ID wrist identification band (Body after Baby)

When preparing for the Body after Baby fitness event, I reached out to to see if I could feature their products in a review. I was thrilled when they said, Yes. They sent me an e-coupon to redeem on their website, and I eventually settled on the Wrist ID Elite.

Road ID- the Wrist ID Elite. Find the review on My Life: A Work in Progress
Yes, I marked out some of my personal info…Hubby would not like any prank calls to his cell!
About and My Experiences:

Road ID was founded by a father and son team for cyclists, runners, and really for anyone who wants to get out and be active. The identification products Road ID sells include wrist IDs, shoe ID, shoe pouch ID, ankle ID, and more. The ID plates on all of these are customizable to contain information you’d want EMS to know in an emergency.

Although I often run with a jogging stroller and my son in it, sometimes it’s just me. Last week while visiting relatives, I ran alone on a path I’d never been on before. I prefer to not carry anything while running, and I don’t have a special running belt/pack. Even if you do, in an emergency, you could easily be separated from your wallet if it’s in a bag or jacket.

My ID plate has the following information: First and last name, year of birth, nationality, blood type, health insurance provider, three emergency contact phone numbers, and a motivational phrase. Knowing this information was literally attached to my wrist really reassured me while I was running alone.

I’d originally thought about getting the Wrist ID Slim. Like the name says, it’s one of Road ID’s slimmer designs. I thought I’d find it more comfortable than the Wrist ID Elite, but Hubby really encouraged me to get the Elite, because he liked the concept of a watch-style buckle, so that’s what I chose. I paid a little extra to have an “Army” badge added to my Wrist ID (in case you didn’t know, I’m an Army reservist).

The Wrist ID Elite is a little bulky, but to be honest hasn’t bothered me at all. I started wearing it immediately after receiving it, because I figured I’d get used to it then before running. And I did! I actually don’t notice it now and have even been wearing it while sleeping. If you like the concept of a Wrist ID, but aren’t sure about the bulkiness (I’m not exactly a petite woman), then I’d recommend checking out the Wrist ID Slim.

Road ID has products appropriate for men, women, and even kids and dogs! I’ve been reading through the testimonials on their website, and have been really impressed with how these IDs have helped people in emergency situations. One couple had Road IDs on both their children, and it came in handy when their youngest child disappeared from their sight at a busy zoo. An employee called the number on their child’s Road ID, and the relieved parents were reunited with their child just a few minutes later. Having emergency information attached to your person just makes sense to me!

If you’d like to know more about how they got started as well as the different products they sell (it’s not just IDs!), click HERE to reach their website.

Want to win one? You can win a $35 e-coupon to during the Body after Baby Fitness Event Giveaway. The giveaway starts at 5pm EST today, so make sure to return and enter!

What ways do you think you could incorporate a RoadID product into your life?

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