mearl223 On September - 30 - 2011

Lose the baby-belly-flab soon(er)

Everything from yoga to pilates to strength/cardio-training to healthy eating habits – ALL  to lose the baby-weight FAST(er)

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Post-delivery baby-belly getting you down??? Here’s your one-stop resource for everything to help you bust that belly SOON(er) – Yoga, Exercises, Diet, et al..

Let’s start by understanding the Post-baby belly flap:

What Causes It?

- The skin stretches with your expanding belly but may not shrink back to its pre-pregnancy state
- Excessive weight gain
- Twin-or-more pregnancy
- Previous pregnancies
- Sun damage
- The LARGEST factor is heredity. Some women’s genes give them better collagen and elastin formation, so the skin can shrink back to its normal shape easily & quickly.

What Doesn’t Cause It?

Cesarean sections don’t cause it & may actually help minimize your midsection if the surgeon completely stitches the abdominal muscles back together (not all do), thus tucking your abdomen in like you’re wearing a girdle

What You Can Do To Fix It?

“Women who don’t lose their baby weight after six months are more likely to be overweight a full decade later.” Having said that, let’s see our options:
1. Work your abs: Toning the abdominal muscles will help you look less “flabby.”
2. Slather it on:  Rubbing on some olive oil, cocoa butter, shea butter oil and Retin-A may help collagen formation. (Retin-A shouldn’t be used during pregnancy.)
3. Get hot: A cosmetic procedure called Thermage uses radio frequency heat to stimulate collagen production.
4. Suck it up: Laser or ultrasound-assisted liposuction removes fat and provides some skin tightening.
5. Get snipped:  It’s the most invasive & expensive, but the most effective one, if nothing else helps.

NOTE: CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE EXERCISING OR WAIT 6 WEEKS AFTER A NORMAL DELIVERY OR 8 WEEKS AFTER A C-SECTION OR UNTIL THE INCISION HAS FULLY HEALED.

CHAPTER 1 : Bond with your baby and get a workout, too!

Here are some fine ways to get a home-based workout where you can actually bond with your baby & create a foundation for lifelong healthy habits with your child.  Plus, we’ve got all the moves that are designed to help get rid of the “pooch” that pregnancy leaves behind by focusing on the deep abdominal muscles.

The Basics

* Warm up Put on your fav music, pick up your baby & dance around for 5mins. Or, warm up with a walk
* The moves You will need a large mat or blanket & a soft ball. As you workout, interact with your baby by singing/counting/playing with the ball. Repeat each move 4 times (to begin. Go up to 10 later)
* Cool down Lie on your back, hug your knees & rock from side to side as you hum or sing to the baby. Breathe deeply and pause at each side for 10 to 30 seconds. Sit up for a moment, hug your baby close & breathe slowly.

Belly Basics – Four great moves to regain your abs

1. Basic Ball Curl-Up

Sitting on an exercise ball, walk your feet in front of you, rolling the ball up your back until your torso is resting on it, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Reaching your arms toward your knees, pull your navel in toward your spine and lift your head, neck and shoulders. Inhale and extend your right arm overhead. Exhale and lift your left arm overhead as you lower your right arm to your side. Switch arms 10 times, then rest. (This is one set.) Work up to 3 sets.

2. Ball Bridge with Knee Lift

Lie face up on the floor, feet together on an exercise ball, knees bent. Contract your abs, pulling your navel toward your spine and lifting your hips until your upper body forms a straight line from shoulders to hips. Using your abs to maintain the position, draw your right knee in toward your chest. Hold for three breaths, lower and switch to your left knee. Work up to 3 times with each knee.

3. Forearm Plank

Kneel with your forearms on the floor, elbows under your shoulders, hands clasped. Position your knees hip-width apart and behind your hips. Contract your abs. If you can hold this position for one minute, progress by extending both legs behind you (one leg at a time), your body forming a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 10 seconds, working up to one minute.

4. Modified Hundreds

Lie face up on the floor, knees bent, lower legs parallel to the floor. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Extend your arms, palms down, holding them about 6 inches off the floor. Pulse your arms up and down quickly as you inhale for 5 counts, then exhale for 5, pulling your navel toward your spine. Do 20 counts, working up to 100. As you progress, extend both legs to a 45-degree angle.

CHAPTER 2: Best Baby Weight Busters

1.  Move it to lose it

Think about this – Women who walked 30 minutes a day had a 34 percent lower chance of retaining a significant amount of weight (11+ lbs.) at their baby’s first birthday. Research also shows that exercise helps new moms preserve muscle mass and thus they appear more toned than moms who drop weight just by dieting.

2.  Combine nutrition with exercise

“The first six months are critical” more for a nutritious diet than aggressive exercising – your body is still healing now, but after the 6mths – the longer you wait to shed the flab, the longer it will stay on you & the harder it will get to lose it. Exercise helps to ward off type-II diabetes, stress, heart & mental problems, too!

3.  Work the weight off

Chose one of these 5 & gradually work up to all 5 OR mix ‘em up if you feel ready for a complete full-body workout:

i)    Walking: Cal/hr: 316 (or better, work the Elliptical – Upto 600 Cal/hr)

Walk with your baby in a stroller – not carrying him/her. Keep your back straight, your abs in & shoulders straight. As you walk, strike the ground with your heel 1st & then roll through your foot. After a few weeks of regular walking (and with your doctor’s approval) incorporate running into your routine. Alternate between 1 minute each of fast-paced walking and light jogging. Cool down with a slow walk for 5 minutes, then stretch your legs and lower back for 5 minutes, breathing slowly.

ii)   Yoga: Cal/hr: 243 (improve balance, relieve stress, soothe pains & aches and strengthen hips & joints)

Invest in the DVD – Element: AM & PM Yoga for Beginners. Always begin with a plank that’s – come to all fours, placing your wrists under your shoulders. Keeping your neck straight, pull your abs in and straighten your legs until your body is in a straight line from head to heels. Tuck your tailbone under, squeezing your buttocks. Hold this for 10 seconds, working up to 1 minute.

iii)  Pilates: Cal/hr: 226 (strengthen your core muscles & lessen lower back pain)

Take a pilates class to ensure you get the nuances of the moves right & when you’ve mastered the mat-based moves, you can do Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners, another great DVD. Start with this: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place your hands behind your head. Inhale, then exhale as you contract your abdominals and lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle, then extend your arms, palms down. Pump your arms rhythmically, inhaling through your nose for 5 counts, then exhaling out of your mouth for 5 counts. Work up to 100 counts, total.

iv)  Strength Training: Cal/hr: 210 (strengthen the joints, hips, arms, thighs & calves)

Grab a copy of Weight Training for Dummies – an exercise guide that includes easy-to-understand instructions and how-to photos. Start with lunges: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips and pull your abs in. Step forward with your left foot, bending your left knee to a 90-degree angle as you lower your right knee toward the floor; then, step back with your left foot. Repeat, stepping forward with your right foot. Do 5 times on each side, building up to 20 times, total.

v)   Swimming: Cal/hr: 210 (strengthen the joints, hips, arms, thighs & calves, apart from your belly)

If you don’t swim, just tread about or walk, dance or do light aerobics in the water.

CHAPTER 3: Six Ways to Shed the Baby Fat

It takes a combination of healthy eating, exercise and behavioral change to lose weight effectively. Here are six strategies to shed those extra pounds:

1. Harness Your Hunger – Nibble on small healthy meals & snacks every 3-4hrs to increase your energy & productivity w/o being too hungry for too long to make a smart food choice at the end.

2. Breastfeed – Nursing burns 600 to 800 calories a day, so feed up, as much as you can – its great for bonding too! Rem, as soon as you stop or taper off breastfeeding, your calorie needs will plummet, so cut your calorie intake or increase your activity level.

3. Eat Plenty of Veggies – Vegetables have fewer calories per serving than practically any other food. Plus, their high fiber content promotes a feeling of fullness, making it easier to eat less.

4. Take Naps – Research shows sleep loss negatively impacts the hormones that regulate how hungry you feel and how efficiently you burn calories. Nap when the baby does and you’ll be able to grab a few extra hours of rest.

5. Use Smaller Plates – Eating on smaller plates is a simple tool for controlling how much you put in your mouth.

6. Exercise with a Friend – Make a fitness appointment with a pal and you’re a lot less likely to make excuses.

7. My fav – Put up a full-size mirror in your room, (or the common room where you hang out a lot) – The more you observe yourself through the day, the more you will notice problem areas (more than the tummy – the thighs, arms, etc) & be motivated to ‘move ‘n melt’!

CHAPTER 4: Pilates Play-time

Do all 6 moves in the order shown (one leads naturally to the next) every other day. Start by doing each exercise 3–4 times and build up to 10 times, resting as needed. If you had a C-section, follow the special instructions in each caption until your incision has healed. Have blankets and pillows handy for any modifications, as well as to prop up your baby for comfort. Stop, rest and nurse, or just hold your baby whenever necessary.

1.  HUNDREDS Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat, and your baby cradled securely on your thighs, maintaining eye contact. Inhale, then exhale as you draw your navel toward your spine and lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Raise your hands and let them hover 5–6 inches off the floor, palms down, shoulders back and down (shown). Pump your arms rhythmically, inhaling for 5 counts and exhaling for 5 counts (1 rep). Repeat up to 10 times. C-section option: Don’t raise your head. Strengthens abs and prepares you for the workout.

2. SINGLE-LEG STRETCHES While lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Place your baby securely on your belly. Inhale, then exhale as you lift your head and shoulders and gently press your spine into the floor. Inhale and bring your left knee toward your chest as you straighten your right leg, bringing it to a 45°angle (shown). Exhale as you bend your right knee into chest and straighten left leg in front of you. Repeat up to 10 times, alternating legs. C-section option: Keep your head on the floor. Place a folded blanket under your back and extend your legs at a higher angle so that you don’t arch your back. Strengthens abs.

3. SINGLE-LEG KICKS Lie facedown with your baby in front of you, forearms on the floor, elbows under shoulders, and press forearms and hands down. Draw shoulders back and down and lengthen your neck. Squeeze your buttocks and legs, drawing your abdomen away from the floor. Bending at the knee, kick your right heel in toward your buttocks twice (shown). Switch legs and repeat. Repeat up to 10 times, alternating legs. C-section option: Place a folded blanket under your hips. Strengthens abs, hamstrings, chest, arms and shoulders.

4. SIDE KICKS Lie on your left side and place your baby near you. Straighten your legs and bring them in front of your hips at a slight angle, feet together. Prop your head on a pillow or on your left arm, keeping neck straight. Inhale, then exhale as you swing right leg forward for 2 counts, then inhale as you swing your leg back for 1 count, keeping hips and shoulders still (shown). Repeat up to 10 times. Switch sides and repeat. C-section option: Don’t do backward kicks. Strengthens abs, upper hips, buttocks and legs.

5. LEG PULLDOWNS Kneel on all fours and place your baby faceup on a pillow just below your chest. Place hands directly under your shoulders, abs drawn in. Lift your knees and straighten legs to form a straight line from head to ankles, coming into plank position. Inhale as you lift your right leg off the floor (shown), then exhale as you lower it. Hold your body in plank position and repeat lifts up to 10 times with each leg.
C-section option: Keep your knees on the floor and don’t go into plank position. Strengthens abs, arms, shoulders, chest, buttocks, back and legs.

6. STANDING PLIÉS Stand tall with feet farther apart than hip width and turned out comfortably, cradling your baby close to your chest. Draw abs in, keeping shoulders back and down. Bend your legs and lower hips without changing pelvis position (shown). (Keep your heels on the floor and don’t let your knees extend past your toes.) Straighten legs and squeeze buttocks. Repeat up to 10 times. C-section option: Do this exercise holding onto something for balance or with your back against a wall, feet a few inches away from it. Strengthens legs, buttocks, upper hips and arms.

CHAPTER 5: Bounce Back Fast with this perfect quick strength-n-cardio workout.

This is an at-home strength-training program that will recondition and strengthen your entire body without taking up too much of your valuable baby-bonding time. These moves work multiple muscles simultaneously and target every major muscle group, including legs, buttocks, back, abs and arms. It also speeds metabolism and burns more calories. Begin by doing this workout 1–2 days per week, gradually increasing the number of days as you get stronger (just be sure to take a day off in between). You can do cardio exercise on the same or alternate days. Do 1 set of 10–15 repetitions for each exercise in the given order, resting 30 seconds between moves. Begin by doing these moves without weights, then try using 3- to 5-pound dumbbells or Spri Mini Contour-Weights. When you feel strong enough, add the Bonus Move to each rep to increase intensity.

WARM-UP with a 10- to 15-minute walk (with your baby in a stroller or front carrier) to warm up your muscles, or dance with your baby to get your heart rate up a bit.  Then roll your shoulders forward and back, and do wrist and ankle rolls clockwise, then counterclockwise, 5 times each way.

1. Plies and Presses Stand with feet wider than hips, toes and knees turned out. Raise arms over head and bend elbows to bring weights behind your head. Squeeze buttocks and draw in abs and pelvic-floor muscles. Bend knees, lowering hips without rocking them forward or back and straighten your arms. Return to starting position by straightening legs and bending elbows. Do 10–15 reps. Bonus move: Lift your heels as you bend your legs and straighten your arms.

2. Walking Lunges With Curls  Stand with your arms at your sides, holding dumbbells, palms facing in, feet hip-width apart. Keeping shoulders relaxed and abs drawn in, take a big step forward with your right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees. Keep right knee over right ankle, left knee approaching the floor, but not touching. Bend elbows, curling the weights toward shoulders (shown). Straighten arms, then push off your back foot to the starting position. Do 10–15 reps, alternating legs (1 rep equals 1 lunge on each side). Bonus move: Do a knee lift before you step forward with each leg.

3. Side Lunges With Rows Holding 2 dumbbells in your right hand, stand with feet hip-width apart, abs and pelvic-floor muscles drawn in. Take a big step to the left, bending the knee, left hand on thigh for support, right arm hanging straight down. Keep your right leg straight and your foot flat. Bend your right elbow, bringing the weight to your upper ribs. Lower the weight and push off on your left foot to starting position. Complete reps then switch sides. Bonus move: Bend your knee deeper and touch your front ankle at the bottom of the lunge.

4. Bridges and Presses Lie on your back, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your knees and rest your feet flat on the floor, keeping your abs and pelvic-floor muscles drawn in. Bend your elbows and place your upper arms on the floor, your forearms vertical and parallel to each other. Straighten your arms, pressing the weights up in front of your chest. Bend your elbows and lower the weights, then, with your knees bent, lift your hips, pressing your heels into the floor until your body forms one straight line from your head to your hips. Lower your hips and complete reps. Bonus move: Hold your hips up in this “bridge” while you do the press.

5. Leg Lifts  With Knee Pulls Kneel on all fours with a weight in each hand, hands wider than your shoulders, your knees under your hips and your abs and pelvic-floor muscles drawn in. Keeping your abs drawn in and your neck long, lift your right leg out behind you at hip height, squeezing your buttocks. Pull your right knee in toward your chest and draw in your abs. Lift your leg back to hip height and complete reps. Switch legs and repeat. Bonus move: As you lift your leg to hip height, bend your elbows, bringing your chest toward the floor and do a push-up.

COOL-DOWN by stretching your legs, hips, back, chest and arms, holding each stretch for 30 seconds without bouncing. Be sure to breathe deeply; in through your nose and out of your mouth, drawing your belly in.

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  1. Benedict says:

    First off I want to say great blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in
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    in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually lost simply just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any suggestions or hints? Appreciate it!

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