January 27, 2021

Getting In Shape After Pregnancy C-Section Edition

I have to start this blog post off the bat with it’s going to be long. This is NOT a ‘lose weight quick’ plan and it goes a lot deeper than just what I did postpartum. It’s also some things I’ll be doing differently if/when I get pregnant again in the future. But most importantly, it’s a new way of understanding health and fitness for me. I want to cover getting in shape after pregnancy C-Section edition by how I started a weight training routine, learning how to eat balanced, my experience with reverse dieting, and most importantly… learning to heal the emotional trauma that always sets me back and how I’m continuing this lifestyle longterm.

Getting In Shape After Pregnancy C-Section Edition

To give you a background of where I stand right now, my C section recovery was NOT normal.

After laboring for nearly three days, I ASKED for my C section. I was exhausted and starving and weak and my baby was sunny-side up and wedged so low in my pelvis – not budging.

From being in the hospital almost a week, I was one of the lucky ones to get a staph infection in my C section incision that required daily packing every single day for 12 weeks. It was horrible.

After that, I was struggling with breastfeeding and maintaining a supply, so my focus wasn’t on getting in shape – it was solely on my baby.

So, for me, my ‘fitness’ journey didn’t really start until I was closer to six months postpartum.

Here are my before and afters so far… I’m still a work in progress and would like to lean up a little further.

The difference is almost 15″ lost, almost 12 lbs. down, and 3.5% body fat reduced. Although, if you ask me, I think it looks significantly more. For reference, I’m 5’3″. I don’t like to share exact weight because everyone carries weight differently and for me, it wasn’t about weight as much as how I looked/felt. I am wearing two sizes smaller in most of my clothes, and that is worth more to me than what the scale says.

Muscle weighs more than fat, so my goal was to get leaner and reduce body fat more than anything.

strength training before after front strength training before after side strength training before after back

Additionally, I do have thyroid autoimmune diseases. I flip flop between Hashimoto’s and Grave’s Disease (hyper active and hypo active thyroid function). This makes weight management a bit tricky, so if you do NOT have thyroid issues, your results may be different than mine.

Right off the bat, I did hire a coach. After months of trying things like OrangeTheory, Pilates, six-day-a-week Peloton cycling classes, eating 1200 calories, eating low carb (15g snacks/30g meals)… it just was NOT working.

I chose to work with the HOTMOMZ Program by Casey Shipp. They were referred to me from an old work colleague and friend as a coaching system that knows how to manage not just the nutrition and fitness, but also works with women like me who struggle with autoimmune issues/hormone imbalances.

HOTMOMZ also does a LOT (A LOT) of work on trauma and mindset. Casey is always talking about healing the REASONS you aren’t hitting your fitness goals – why you fall off the wagon, why you choose foods that don’t make you feel your best, etc. It’s really a unique program and I’m so grateful to my friend Amanda for recommending them to me.



things I did during pregnancy I wouldn’t do again

To start, there’s some things me as a new mom did that I won’t do again:

  1. Stop eating gluten free. When I first found out I was pregnant, I had been on a gluten free diet for several years because of my autoimmune issues and to help reduce inflammation in my body to help with my IVF journey. My thyroid doctor (back then – I have since changed), told me that my gluten sensitivity may be gone and I should resume eating gluten if I can because there’s a lot of fortified carbs I was ‘missing out on.’ FALSE. I think this reintroduction of gluten very quickly caused inflammation in my body at a subtle level, because each OBGYN appointment I went to, my doctor’s were not thrilled with my weight gain for my size (I’m not a big person… 5’3″). Going forward, I will CONTINUE to eat gluten free. It just makes me feel better.
  2. Go all out with the refined carbs. Honestly, trimester one is so hard. All I could eat was bagels and cream cheese. Clearly, I went hard on the gluten LOL! I never went “crazy” during pregnancy with my portions, but I just wasn’t eating as balanced as I could – going heavy on the carbs never keeps blood sugar (or hormones) balanced. Next time, I’ll be better about maybe just having a piece of toast with everything bagel seasoning with some protein and fruit instead of a full bagel 😉
  3. Post birth, because of my hard time breastfeeding, I ate WAY TOO MANY lactation cookies and things to support milk production (AKA… allll the fats). I ended up GAINING weight from the breastfeeding/pumping situation. Next time, I will try for a month to get the breastfeeding thing to work with the help of a lactation consultant I now know personally… if it doesn’t come naturally, I’ll move on and take better care of myself instead of sabotaging my health.

mindset:  limiting beliefs I had about my body

There were some things people in my life well-meaningly told me.

“You’re a mom now, it’s normal to carry weight differently!”

“You look great! You had a baby!”

“Latina women just hold weight in the hips and thighs… it’s just the way we are…”

“Deal with the weight gain once you know you’re done having babies. Just enjoy this time.”

“You had a C section, you’ll never have your abs back.”

“We’re not 21 anymore.”

***

In my mental work during my fitness journey with Casey, I learned these are thoughts I was adopting in my brain as truths.

When in reality, they’re just limiting beliefs holding me back from what I wanted.

Instead, I now think and say to myself:

“I am strong, lean and make healthy choices.”

This really helps me think about what I’m eating every day, and even helps me see my body in a different way during my workouts. I challenge myself more and I choose foods that support my goals.

There is also some childhood trauma I have (don’t we all?) that causes me to settle in lots of areas in my life.

So, for example, maybe you set a goal to lose 15 lbs… but then you get to 10 lbs and you just think, “Ok this is good enough.”

For me, that happens in a lot of areas in my life.

This is limiting my potential… so working with HOTMOMZ, I’m learning to identify why that is happening and how to work around it to achieve more of my fullest potential. That means a lot of self help books, coaching calls, and SELF CARE.

food sensitivity testing

Part of the health/fitness aspect of working with HOTMOMZ is getting a food sensitivity test done right away.

This is NOT a food “ALLERGY” test… it’s simply a test that lets you know what your body has a harder time processing/digesting.

Therefore, it may be causing inflammation in your body that is preventing you from becoming your leanest. Or making you feel more tired. Or making you look puffy.

Casey recommends a food sensitivity test she trusts to her clients, and when you begin working with HOTMOMZ, you get that test going right away.

For me, my test identified that I was SERIOUSLY sensitive to dairy – even MORE than gluten! Which is really ironic. Once you know what your body has a hard time digesting, you really work on heavily avoiding or eliminating those foods… at least for 3-6 months, to see how you feel.

Even as an infant, I couldn’t tolerate milk based formula, and never liked cheese or any dairy as a young child. So looking back now, it was probably my body just saying, “This stuff doesn’t make us feel good. Stop eating it.”

The test also identifies any vitamins or minerals your body may be a bit deficient in… including gut flora/bacteria.

This helps you identify the right probiotic for you – not all probiotics are the same. By knowing what gut bacteria you’re deficient in, you can be using one that truly helps you feel your best.

Same goes for the vitamins and minerals…

supplements

Let’s roll into supplements! Now, let me be explicitly clear…

I am not a healthcare provider or a doctor. I am simply sharing what I do which is based on my own body and my own tests, and also, bloodwork orders done by my doctors.

I highly encourage you to get full bloodwork done from a general practitioner, or you can order lab work and pay out of pocket online from companies like Persona Labs.

Because of my autoimmune thyroid disease, I was advised to start taking an adaptogenic blend to help support my adrenal function. I have now tried a couple different versions, but I tend to prefer these two from Organic Olivia:

Based on my thyroid labs, I take 2-3 of these per day.

My workouts are majority strength based/weight training… very little to no cardio. Because of this, among other reasons, a fish oil supplement is helpful for muscle recovery and to support immune function. I have used Nordic Naturals for fish oil/omegas since before I was pregnant. I currently take three of these a day.

A fish oil/omega supplement is highly encouraged for all women involved with HOTMOMZ training.

Lastly, these are ALL based on my unique labs…

Breakfast Waffle with coffee and vitamins at desk with computer | Getting In Shape After C Section

Supplements are not overnight cures. They’re NOT like taking Tylenol for a headache.

They’re unique solutions for our bodies unique weaknesses. They are there to help you make up for what your body cannot.

Do not think supplements are the reason you can or cannot lose weight or get in shape.

They simply enhance your results and hopefully, your response/energy levels.

macros and what I typically eat

One of the most annoying things I hear from friends and family when they’re trying to ‘lose weight’ is that they’re eating 1200 calories.

I’m not a big person (5’3″) and even I can’t lose weight sustainably or effectively at 1200 calories. I’m always starving, tired and the weight gain happens just as fast as the weight loss. STOP EATING 1200 CALORIES!

The other thing is ‘Oh I can’t count calories/macros/etc.” Listen. I get it. It can be very triggering for some people and it is also a little bit time consuming. But if you don’t get triggered and you have goals, it’s almost like saying, “Oh, I am not going to count what’s in my bank account for that trip I want to go on. I’ll just “intuitively save money.”” No. You have to know what’s going in to your bank account just like your body. Think about that.

Anyway… in working with HOTMOMZ and my weight training workouts, one of the things we are slowly doing is something called “Reverse Dieting.”

Reverse dieting is a method that involves slowly and strategically increasing daily food intake, all in an effort to raise your metabolism.

And while reverse dieting might seem like a one-way street toward weight regain, the technique actually offers a lot of promise—when done right.

Many people gain muscle and lose fat, all while eating more food than they were before.

The lowest calories I ever have eaten working with HOTMOMZ is around 1450 calories.

I am slowly working my way to around 1800. I’m about half way right now.

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, I do count macros. I don’t worry so much about the calories because 1800 calories with mostly carbs will leave me SO HUNGRY… and not enough fats will send my thyroid spiraling… so it’s all very precise and what works for me, may not work for you.

Find someone who can help you build a plan that makes you feel satiated yet, ESPECIALLY AS A WOMAN, hormonally balanced.

I do encourage using a food scale to measure macros for at least six months. It takes at least three months to learn what you’re doing and another three months to make it a lifestyle.

HOTMOMZ also has a proprietary macro tracker which is WAY more accurate and specific than MyFitnessPal. BUT MFP is better than nothing if you’re just getting started. Just be super specific about what you’re tracking and the portion/measurement. Lots of incorrect data there.

Here’s an idea of some of my favorite meals I’ve eaten:

BREAKFASTS

LUNCHES

DINNERS

SNACKS

meal prepping

I can’t say I’m a big meal prepper. I don’t have the time or energy.

But what makes this a lot easier is always having protein precooked/ready to go.

For me, that’s usually making sure I have lots of yummy marinated chicken breast cooked (I always eat it cold once cooked… chicken never tastes great reheated, amirite?!), homemade turkey or beef patties pre-measured (I tend to make 3oz servings), turkey or beef meatloaf, or turkey/beef/chicken meatballs in 1oz serving sizes.

It’s also really smart to have lots of frozen veggies you like on hand. I’m a fan of green beans and broccoli. Easy to microwave!

Green Giant frozen riced cauliflower is also helpful to blend with regular rice to minimize the calorie load while getting more veggies in.

Have lots of fruit for fiber on hand! Grapes, clementines, or precut pineapple and mango are my favorites. I also love a good Honeycrisp apple. Fruit is GOOD FOR YOU.

my workouts

I’ll keep this super brief – I’m strength training about 3-4 days a week. 30-40 minutes. That’s it.

I work out at home and I do not have a big home gym. I did my first six months with the following equipment only:

I’m six months in now, and just added a barbell and a workout bench.

I don’t do much cardio… I say much because sometime I’ll take a walk outside OR use my Peloton bike for 15-30 minutes of LISS cardio (on days it’s too cold or rainy to walk outside). I can probably count on my hands how many cardio workouts I’ve done in six months.

Yes, if I could go to an actual gym, my results would have been much quicker and more significant… but this is what I had to work with and HOTMOMZ/Casey/my coaches have more than made it work for me.

Each week, my coach preloads workouts into the system/app with demo videos for each move and how many reps/sets. I typically send full check ins with photos every 2-3 weeks and we make tweaks from there.

***

Overall, this has been much more than a weight loss journey. It’s a lifestyle and program to help me personally feel my best – inside and out.

Feeling better physically is just the cherry on top. 🙂

If you have any specific questions for me, let me know. I tried to keep this as simple and short as possible but I know it’s a long post and a lengthy topic.

Need more details or more clarification on a certain topic? Let me know so I can maybe do a YouTube video or a follow up blog post. Hope that helps!

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-Steffanie

Getting In Shape After Pregnancy C-Section Edition | Losing Weight After Baby | How To Lose Weight With Hashimotos | Hypothyroid Weight Loss

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