Postpartum Bellies

Postpartum Bellies

Growing a baby is tough work!

It is no secret that a woman’s body can change after giving birth. When it comes to our bellies, some women find that they end up looking way different than before. After all, a new life was grown in them.

I am here to give another reminder that we are still beautiful!

What may happen to our bellies after childbirth

Many women have changes happen to their midsection after getting pregnant and giving birth. Some women out there are lucky enough to look exactly the same afterwards, but most do not fall in this category. That is perfectly okay!

Here are the ways that childbirth can alter the appearance of a woman’s midsection:

  1. Can cause diastasis recti- This is when the large abdominal muscles separate after giving birth. There will appear to be a bulge in the middle of the belly of the person that ends up with it.
  2. Stretch marks- Getting these can be caused by genetics and/or a high amount of weight gain.
  3. Loose and/or wrinkly skin- This is caused by the stretching of the skin that occurred during the pregnancy in order to grow the baby.
  4. Discoloration- Giving birth can lead to discolored skin that can last a long time in some cases.

These changes that women can end up with, may be really upsetting. Some report feeling ugly, fat, disgusting etc. Many also worry that their partners do not find them attractive anymore.

What can be done about post-child (or children) bellies

Some women may want to change the way their postpartum bellies look. Here are some ways that this can be achieved:

  1. Stay healthy and active- This is important in general!
  2. Healthy weight loss- Do not try to lose weight too fast after giving birth. This may cause even worse loose/wrinkly skin and stretch marks.
  3. Tummy tuck/surgical repair- This may help improve the appearance of diastasis recti and loose skin. The cost range for this type of surgery is $6,000-$12,000.
  4. Laser therapy- This may improve the appearance of stretch marks. It can cost $2,000 and up.
  5. Microneedling- This may improve the appearance of stretch marks. It can cost up to $4,500.
  6. Creams- There are creams that are made for improving the appearance of stretch marks and firming up loose skin. They may contain ingredients such as CoQ10, elastin, alpha hydroxy acids, collagen, DMAE and retinol. The cost can range from $10-$140+.

My post-child belly

Me and my weird Shein pajama set.

 I gained around 25 pounds during pregnancy which is pretty average. Throughout the months, I put on Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Stretch Mark cream all over my belly in hopes that I would not be left with any stretch marks afterwards.

Unfortunately, stretch marks showed up the very last two weeks of my pregnancy. I already had some stretch marks from puberty, so it was disappointing that I was going to have more.

I was still extremely excited to meet our son though!

After giving birth, the skin on my belly turned completely black. It was shocking. I was told it was normal for brown skinned women, but it was still unwanted.

In addition to the stretch marks and hyperpigmentation, I was also left with loose and wrinkly skin. I felt really ugly. Fortunately, my husband was really nice about it and said that it would look better in time.

He was right!

After my gradual weight loss and getting back into shape, my belly started to look a lot better. The stretch marks reduced in color and the hyperpigmentation went away.

I still have a little bit of loose and wrinkly skin on the lower part of my abdomen, but I can truthfully say that I am okay with it. No plastic surgery is wanted!

Our bellies have been through a lot!

It is totally normal to have a different looking belly after having children. We are not gross because of this. It can be hard to see it that way, but it is important to try. Doing things to improve the way our bellies look is only part of the equation.

Thanks for reading!

Pictures of postpartum bellies: https://www.boredpanda.com/women-after-giving-birth-postpartum-bodies-takebackpostpartum/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

Stretch mark products: https://www.azhealthyfamilies.org/stretch-marks/creams/

Looking for Ways to Boost Your Immune System? See what I am Doing for Mine!

Looking for Ways to Boost Your Immune System? See what I am Doing for Mine!

This pandemic has left me extremely nervous and anxious due to the severity of the virus. Because of this, I want to make sure that my immune system is in tip-top shape.

If you want to boost your immune system too…read on! This post may give you some ideas.

The supplements I take daily

I have done a lot of reading on supplements and herbs that show some ability to help strengthen the immune system. This is something I started doing around the time I opened my home daycare business (kids are full of germs!).

I began taking three supplements that I thought would help me get sick less and I have recently increased that amount.

Here is what I take currently and how much:

  1. Ginger capsules (Nature’s Way brand)- Two a day for a total of 1,100 mg
  2.  Colostrum capsules (Jarrow’s brand)- Two a day for a total of 1,000 mg
  3.  Probiotics (Align brand)- One per day
  4. Vitamin C with rosehips (NOW brand)- One per day for a total of 1 gram (see my post on rosehips: Are Rosehips Beneficial For Us? Let’s See What The Studies Say!)
  5. Vitamin D3 (Smart For Life brand)- Two gummies per day for a total of 2,000 IU
  6. Oil of Oregano (Puritan’s Pride brand)- Three soft-gels per day for total of 450 mg (see my post on oil of oregano: Boosting Immunity: Oil of Oregano)
  7. Melatonin- 2 mg in the evening
  8. Turmeric powder- Four teaspoons a day ( see my post on turmeric use: I Hopped on the Turmeric Trend and Here Is Why!)
  9. Green tea- Four cups a day
  10. Cayenne pepper- Not sure the exact amount but I shake a lot on my food and tea.
  11. Broccoli (my favorite thing to eat believe it or not!)- Full of vitamin C. I have two servings or more per day.
  12. Zinc lozenges- Six per day
  13. Garlic- In powder form, on my food (lots!)

These things are not guaranteed to help but so far, they are not hurting me. I am going to keep taking them indefinitely.

The things I do daily

Peppermint infused water to breath in

Supplements and nutrition are not the only things that could potentially strengthen our immune systems.

Here is a list of things that I do each day for my health:

  1. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night
  2. If the weather is nice, I go into my backyard for one hour to soak up even more vitamin D
  3. Hot water breathing- I heat up water until it is boiling, add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to it and then breath the steam in. I do this once in the evening while listening to one of my favorite podcasts.
  4. Exercise- I exercise six times a week.

What I want to add into my day

I am really interested in the benefits that I could gain from doing meditation during the day. My thought is that some stress relieving mental exercises early in the day would be helpful for me.

Being extremely stressed, worried, anxious, depressed etc. all the time can do some damage to our immune systems. It is important to me that I reduce the negative emotions I feel on a daily basis.

I want us all to be as healthy as possible

I hate this virus! I want everyone (including me) to kick its butt if it gets near! That means being able to fight it off well enough that we do not end up with a severe form of it or to just not get it at all.

I hope that what I am doing will help me in some sort of way. If you choose to take/do anything on one of my lists, I hope it helps you too.

What are you doing right now for your immune system during this pandemic? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

#stayathome   #covid19   #immunesystem   #supplements  #health  #wegotthis

PCOS And Exercise

PCOS And Exercise

Yay for arm definition!

As stated in other posts, I enjoy exercising regularly. I love what it does for my mind and body.

I had been wondering if women with PCOS respond to exercise differently and if it helps treat our specific health problems. This led me to investigate this topic more.

In this post I will talk about what I found out!

What many women with PCOS struggle with

A PCOS diagnosis comes with health struggles. It is a chronic condition that women with it must be mindful of in order to have a good quality of life.

Weight and body fat level are two areas that a lot of us have problems with. We may have excess weight on us with a lot of fat in our upper body (mainly midsection). In most cases, it is insulin resistance that causes it.

To control our weight and fat, diet is paramount. This typically means that carbs (along with calorie counting) need to be watched to increase our sensitivity to insulin.  Some women also find that intermittent fasting and supplements help them.

Exercise is also important as it is for anyone without this condition. Although diet comes first, getting some good movement in during the week can really help with having an overall healthy life.

How exercise specifically helps those with PCOS (according to research)

There were several great research articles I found on exercise and how it effects women that have a PCOS diagnosis. They further proved the point that physical activity is a must in people’s lives due to all the benefits it provides.

Testosterone levels in women with PCOS are sometimes considered too high. In a few studies, exercise reduced the high levels. Since having too much testosterone as a woman can cause various issues, adding in exercise could help to eradicate them.

The improvements of conditions associated with metabolic syndrome was noted in each study. This was the case even in the absence of weight loss. The positive changes were as follows:

  1. Lowered fasting glucose levels
  2. Waist circumference reduction
  3. Blood pressure reduction
  4. Increased insulin sensitivity

These results were seen with just aerobic activities or a combination of aerobic and strength.

The chances of successful ovulation increased with regular exercise in a couple of the studies. This was most likely due to the other health issues that that were addressed by engaging in physical activity. For example, treating insulin resistance has been shown to help with ovulation.

In some studies, there was greater muscle strength shown in the study participants with PCOS versus the ones without it. They were able to life a great deal more than the other participants.

In regards to helping with weight loss (along with a good diet), a couple of studies showed it didn’t add any benefit for the women with PCOS. For them, it was only diet that helped.

Anecdotal reports

Every woman with PCOS has a different experience with the diagnosis. It is interesting to look around forums and blogs to read about them. Exercise is one of the topics that is talked about a lot on these sites.

These days more women are doing weightlifting because of the benefits that come with it. Some women with PCOS feel as though they will get bulky if they lift weights regularly. The reason they think this is because of the excess androgen levels a lot of us have.

The whole “getting bulky” thing is not true though. Being as though exercise helps treat insulin resistance (which can cause elevated testosterone levels), there is a good chance that women can lose some fat with weightlifting multiple times a week. This will make them look lean.

There have also been some women with PCOS saying that they seem to get stronger quicker than women without it. They said that they were able to progress with the amount of weight lifted at a faster pace than others even though they started their strength routines at the same time.

When it comes to me, I can get fast results (muscle definition, lean appearance) from exercising regularly. This is true even with not watching my calorie and carb intake very much.  This has just been my experience though and I am not trying to brag at all.

Exercise is an important part of life

To have a good quality of life, exercise should be part of it in addition to a healthy diet. There are great benefits to be had for everyone.

It is safe to say that women with PCOS might see a reduction in their symptoms when combining regular physical activity with the appropriate daily food choices. The evidence (scientific and anecdotal), clearly shows the healthy, PCOS-specific effects that we get from it.

Do you have PCOS? If so, how has exercise helped your symptoms?

Thanks for reading!

Sources-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26587847

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29927897

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25430509

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3289164/

http://www.sjosm.org/article.asp?issn=1319-6308;year=2017;volume=17;issue=3;spage=123;epage=128;aulast=Shetty

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3115385/

#health #fitness #weightloss #weightlifting #diet #pcosawareness #pcos #womenshealth

15 Ways To Get Through Intense Workouts

15 Ways To Get Through Intense Workouts

Looking into upping the ante on your workouts?Awesome! Doing more intense workouts than you are used to can be really uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are things you can do that will help you to successfully complete your sweat sessions. This post will give you some ideas.

The 15 ways

1. Mentally prepare yourself beforehand- Psych yourself up! Think about how good you will feel afterwards.

2. Make sure to put rest days in your routine- Recovering from your new, higher intensity workouts will make it easier for you to keep doing them in the long run. Our bodies need rest once in a while!

3. Let injuries heal- If you get injured, you need to make sure it heals before trying to get through your intense workouts. You definitely don’t want to make things worse because overtime it will be hard to do the type of workouts you really want to do.

4. Listen to your body while doing the workout- Don’t push yourself so far beyond what you can do at the time because you may be at risk for injuries.

5. Make it worth your while- It is easier to keep going through the workout if you know it will lead to you reaching a goal you have for yourself.

6. Correct form- Keep your form right so you can actually get through the workouts without injuries.

7. Wear something comfortable but not too loose- If you are feeling stuffed in your outfit or it is too baggy causing you to trip/ get caught under things, it will be hard to have an intense workout.

8. Turn a fan on if you can- This will help because you are bound to start getting really hot during an intense workout.

9. Take water breaks- Hydrating throughout the workout will help keep you going. It is hard to keep up the intensity with a really dry mouth. I have found that taking sips of water instead of gulping a lot down is better.

10. Eat two to three hours beforehand- This will help so that your belly isn’t full while you workout. You might puke if you workout intensely shortly after you eat.

11. Put on some good workout music- If playing music is your thing while you workout, pick songs that will rev you up so that you can keep going.

12. Remember that It won’t last forever- Keep reminding yourself throughout the workout that it is almost over.

13. Put on an entertaining show/movie- This might help if music playing during your workout isn’t your thing.

14. Keep track of your workouts (see this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1712307479)- This can be helpful to look at before you start working out. Seeing how far you have come might help motivate you to get an intense session in.

15. Consider a pre-workout supplement- These can help you get energy and power that will help with getting through an intense workout. You must be aware of the risks and side effects though. Remember that I am not a medical professional so I am not telling you what to do or not to do. Just an idea!

This is all I can think of right now. If you have more ideas, please feel free to comment. Thanks for reading!

#workout #exercise #pcos #health

Caffeine: Coffee VS. Pills

Caffeine: Coffee VS. Pills

I, like many people in this world, have a daily intake of caffeine. It is wonderful in my opinion! I have taken it in various forms-pills, patches, teas, coffee and energy drinks.

My favorite ways to get in caffeine is by either having coffee or pills. Both of these ways of taking caffeine yields different effects for me. In this post, I wanted to compare them.

As always, remember that I am not a medical professional. I am not telling you what to do or not to do. I am simply presenting my findings and personal experiences.

Why caffeine anyway?

According to science and anecdotal evidence, there are some benefits to caffeine. I think a lot of people can attest to feeling these benefits and that is why it is popular.

There seems to be a lot of research that has been done on caffeine. This is especially true recently. Some of the conclusions from the studies are interesting. I can only hope that research continues to be done because like a lot of other things, the benefits are not solidly set in stone yet.

Here is a list of what caffeine intake can do to us:

1. Cardiovascular energy: Caffeine can provide physical energy. One may be able to withstand tougher cardio workouts when they supplement it beforehand.

2. Physical power: Caffeine can help with the strength needed to perform weightlifting moves.

3. Fat burn: There appears to be some fat burning effect when taking caffeine. This is why it is found in fat burning blends and stacks.

4. Mental energy: Caffeine causes one to feel more awake and can also increase cognitive functioning (mainly memory).

5. Mood: Caffeine may cause one to feel a sense of well-being.

6. Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: Caffeine may reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to some research.

It is important to consider that there are some negative side effects that one can experience. They can occur if too much is taken (for most, over 400 mg) and/or if someone is just naturally sensitive to it.

Here are some of the negative side effects of caffeine intake:

1. Nausea and vomiting

2. Anxiety

3. Jitteriness

4. Anger

5. Headaches-Especially when quitting cold turkey!

6. Insomnia-You do need to sleep!

7. Loose stools

8. Heart palpitations

9. Possible negative affect on hormones

10. May interfere with fertility

My experience with caffeine intake

I started consuming caffeine when I was in eighth grade. It started off with a few cups of green tea everyday and then graduated to cups of coffee/energy drinks in 11th grade. I liked the energy it gave me and my friends would drink a lot of it too (peer pressure?!).

When I started going to college, I found out about pre-workout energy supplements as well as the ECA stack. These provided even more of a boost for me so I was able to engage in my new-found love of working out.

Currently, I take in about 350 mg a day. So that is under the maximum recommended dosage of 400 mg.

My opinion: coffee VS. pills

To get the bulk amount of caffeine I want during the day, I either have coffee or Jet Alert tabs. Even though they might have similar amounts of caffeine in them, there is a definite difference in the way I feel when taking one or the other.

Here is what I experience with each of these methods of consuming caffeine:

Coffee

When I decide to drink coffee the affect takes a shorter amount of time to happen than swallowing a pill. I think this is due to the liver not having to break anything down (correct me if I am wrong!). I also rarely put any cream in it so I don’t know if that might be a reason too.

Shortly after drinking it, I notice a jittery and jumpy feeling in my body. I feel like I need to get up and move. It definitely does get me burning more calories!

I also find myself getting sweaty after it kicks in. This isn’t the best feeling for me but I deal with it. I usually end up having to reapply my deodorant. I guess that means that my metabolism is increasing?

In terms of pre-workout use, it definitely helps! Taking it 30 minutes before a workout causes me to be able to push myself more during weightlifting. I also have more endurance for the cardio aspects of my workouts.

With coffee, I could get by on just one cup (8 oz) a day. The energy effects can last for a long time for me. My go-to type of ground coffee to brew is Dunkin’ Donuts.

Jet Alert Pills

What I love about these pills is that they are so convenient. I can just swallow them down where ever I am and not have to wait for anything to brew. Also, sometimes I just don’t feel like drinking coffee but I still want the effects of the caffeine.

The Jet Alert brand pills are the only kind that doesn’t mess up my stomach. I have tried other brands of caffeine pills and they all made me feel really sick. The list of inactive ingredients in Jet Alert seems to be shorter than the others.

Unless I am taking these pills on an empty stomach, the effects take about 45 minutes to kick in. This is in contrast to coffee which has a near instant affect on me. This doesn’t particularly bother me though.

When the pills start to kick in, I feel a tingling sensation in my chest and head. It is actually kind of pleasant. I also experience a strange effect where I get a distinct smell in my nose. I can’t describe it very well but it happens every time I take them.

In terms of energy, it seems like the same amount as I get when I take coffee. The difference is that it doesn’t last as long. This is one gripe I have about taking them. Admittedly, I have taken 500 mg of caffeine in pill form before. I didn’t have any negative effects from it but I do know that it is probably not a good thing to do everyday.

Something that I experience with the pills and not with coffee is the unmistakable mood lift I get. It picks me up out of the doldrums and brings me to a euphoric state. I get the physical energy with coffee but not the mood lift.

In terms of exercise, I would say that I experience a little less power when I take a pill instead of a cup of coffee. I can still get in a great workout session though!

So which one wins?

I have to say that it is a tie. Even though they may affect me a little differently, I like both methods of caffeine intake. I will continue to have both of them on hand.

What worries me about caffeine intake

I do have to admit that the whole thing about caffeine possibly affecting estrogen levels worries me. Am I making my hormone wackiness worse? Am I decreasing the chances of me getting pregnant? I don’t really know.

I know that I got pregnant when I went through a phase where my intake of caffeine was higher than it should have been. Also, I have taken breaks from caffeine a few times and my hormone related problems (excess hair and stomach issues) were just as bad if not worse.

So I guess at this time I will continue to have caffeine on a regular basis.

Do you take in caffeine? If so, what way? Also, have you noticed it having any affect on your hormones? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3260075/

https://www.mdmag.com/medical-news/effect-of-caffeine-consumption-on-womens-hormones-varies

https://www.caffeineinformer.com/harmful-effects-of-caffeine

https://examine.com/supplements/caffeine/

#pcos #health #caffeine #coffee #exercise