Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Postpartum Nutrition Survival Tips - Stay Connected

Early postpartum can quickly send us into survival mode. We’re constantly feeding, changing diapers, going to doctor’s appointments and managing visits from friends and family - just to name a few. Meanwhile, our bodies are trying to heal from childbirth on limited sleep. As mothers, our own self-care, is the first thing to go during this time. And with that, goes any sense of balanced nutrition. I believe there are three keys to (somewhat) successful self-care postpartum - 1. Having others care for you, 2. Planning ahead, and 3. Staying connected to your body as much as possible. Since there is a decent amount out there on key’s 1 and 2, let’s talk about key 3 - staying connected - my favorite.

  1. Get comfortable listening to your appetite.

Our dieting culture tells us that our appetites are wrong and that hunger is something that needs to be managed and controlled. It’s actually quite the contrary! Hunger is a biological cue that helps you understand how much food you need and when - just like your impulse to breathe or urinate. If you are someone who has dieted in the past, you are probably not used to listening and responding to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. You can start with with awareness. Notice when hunger pops up, how strong or dull it is and what your mind says about it. Take note of how different foods impact your hunger, fullness and pleasure of the meal. This can give you a lot of helpful information about your body and its needs - especially during this unique time while it’s working to heal from childbirth, produce milk and keep you functioning at a reasonable level despite severe sleep deprivation. All of those needs are communicated via high levels of hunger and that might be surprising or unnerving (again, especially if you were told hunger was sort of a bad thing in the past). The best thing you can do when your hunger spikes is to pay attention to it and respond with adequate food - usually a combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Regardless of your eating patterns in the past, you may want to consider eating consistent meals and snacks throughout the day - usually 3 meals and 2-3 snacks.

  1. Have food readily available so you can respond to your appetite in a timely manner.

There will be many times where you’ll be stuck on the couch holding or feeding your baby when hunger spikes. If you’re a new mom, you might be thinking that you’ll simply put your baby down and make yourself a nice lunch. Just trust me on this one, it’s probably not going to happen as easily as you think. It’s weird to imagine but, between your physical healing and a needy newborn, making and eating lunch can feel like quite the task. You also might become so busy that food slips your mind and, when you finally tune-in, you’re ravenous - setting you up for feeling out of control with food. The ideal postpartum meal is nutritionally dense, can be eaten with one hand, tastes yummy and was made by someone else. Think burritos, pitas and sandwiches packed with things like beans, lentils, avocado, nuts, meat, poultry, cheese, quinoa, and veggies - not necessarily all at once but if you have a recipe that includes them all, please share! In the early days post-birth, you might get a lot of meals delivered to your home by family and friends. If you can’t keep up, try freezing some of them for weeks/months down the road. Always keep food like bars, fruit, trail mix and crackers nearby for snacks.

  1. Avoid focusing on your weight.

Every woman’s postpartum weight loss will look different and it often won’t align with expectations. I recommend shifting the focus from postpartum weight loss to postpartum healing. Check in regularly to see how you’re healing physically, emotionally and spiritually - those are indicators of wellness - not some number on the scale that is largely unreliable and is not indicative of healing or health. Of course, throughout your postpartum experience, your weight will more or less trend down over time. You may stand in front of the mirror in awe of your body and its incredible transformation from pregnancy to postpartum or you might stare in horror wondering who is looking back at you. That unfamiliar feeling might also be felt in the context of your changed identity, your home/work roles, internal emotional experiences, family life, relationships and much more. I want you to know that you’re entitled to feel however you feel about your postpartum body-whether that be positive or negative. Of course, I’m in the body positive camp and I dream of a day when all of us can have a healthy body image. I also realize that if we experience negative body image, and feel shameful about that, we are a lot more likely to keep it to ourselves, go to great lengths to change our bodies and ultimately suffer in silence. Finding someone to talk to who you trust and has a healthy body image can be helpful. Just be careful not fall into a conversation of body bashing! Remember that a shift in body image, while it may have something to do with how you look, can also be symbolic for other things going on. If your body image is distracting and causing you to consistently feel bad in your body or about yourself, I encourage you to reach out for support from a therapist who specializes in postpartum. You might also want to consider a dietitian with experience in intuitive eating, mindfulness and body image.

I hope this has brought some new insight to your postpartum healing and will help you as you navigate this stage of your life! If you’re interested in additional resources on this topic, I have a few to share - they’re either audible or easily accessible online because I know how unlikely it is that you have time to read a book right now! I have founded an online body positive community for mothers called www.thenurturedmama.club. We have a closed facebook group, free member calls and more! We talk about everything from postpartum nutrition to supportive nursing bras. It’s free and we really hope you’ll join us if you’re interested! If you’re looking for a more in-depth look at appetite awareness and challenging our dieting culture, check out the Intuitive Eating Audio CD by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. I also recommend checking out the Love, Food Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/love-food-podcast-peace-from/id1076673018?mt=2), Body Kindness Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/body-kindness/id1073275062?mt=2) and Newbies on the New Mommy Media Podcast (http://www.newmommymedia.com/newbies/)!

Lindsay Stenovec, MS, RD, CEDRD
Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian
President, CA Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, San Diego District

Friday, May 6, 2016

3 “What You Can, When You Can” Workouts For Your Busiest Days

There once was a time when a “workout” was defined in very narrow terms. Getting a workout done meant going to the gym, doing cardio until you were drenched in sweat, or lifting weights until your body couldn’t do one more rep.
Fortunately, times have changed.
New research has shown over and over again that short, challenging workouts (sometimes lasting just a few minutes!) can be even more effective for weight-loss and cardiovascular strength than the long, drawn out workouts we once thought were required.
This news has prompted a bit of a fitness movement based on one simple hashtag: #wycwyc.  It’s pronounced ‘wik-wik’ and it stands for “what you can, when you can”. 
The idea behind #wycwyc is powerful: Everything counts. Any bit of exercise you can do is a WIN. Even 5 or 10 minutes can make a huge difference!
What YOU Can, When YOU Can
Just think of all the reasons you may have to skip your workout today. You’ve got kids to care for, errands to run, and food to prepare. Maybe there isn’t a gym nearby so it would be completely out of your way to make it there at all? Perhaps you just don’t really like working out (it’s okay – you’re not alone!)
Instead of skipping out on exercise and then feeling guilty for it, #wycwyc is a reminder that doing something active, even if it’s just for a few minutes, is always possible and is always beneficial.
Parking a further away from the store so that you squeeze in an extra few steps – that’s #wycwyc.
Choosing the stairs instead of hopping on the elevator – that’s #wycwyc.
Doing some quick exercises while you watch your favorite show on Netflix – you guessed it, #wycwyc.
When you switch your mindset from “I have to go to the gym” to “what you can, when you can” you’ll start seeing opportunities for physical activity all around you. 
Want a #wycwyc Workout You Can Try at Home? 
Here are 3 that can be done in as little as 5 minutes each (no joke – just 5 minutes!). When could you fit one of these into your day?

Guest Author Bio:

Dave Smith is a professional fitness and weight-loss coach who was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013. He shares awesome health and weight-loss tips through his blog and podcast that you can find at makeyourbodywork.com.
Did you miss my podcast interview "How to safely begin strengthening the core" with Dave Smith?

Watch here!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

10 things you need to know about Diastasis Recti


Diastasis Recti Illustration

1 -DR gets all the attention, but it is NOT the only weakness to be concerned about post-partum. There are several others even more common and just as important. LEARN MORE HERE

- If you want accurate measurements, you have to do it the same way each time by the same person. Ultrasound can be very effective, but the technician also has to be well trained

- Sometimes a DR can appear to shorten (tissue doesn't actually tighten, but muscles engage closer together) so DR actually hasn't shortened, but function has improved.

4 - DR does not have to shorten all the way to become functional

- DR only becomes functional by reconditioning the entire inner core system progressively

6 - 3 moms with the same DR can have 3 different situations and limitations

7 - Having a belly bulge does not always mean you have DR

8 - Skinny moms can have DR too

9 - Once DR becomes functional and the inner core system becomes coordianated and strong..you CAN move on to other core exercises safely

10 - DR doesn't mean the muscles have literally separated. It means the fascia/tissue or linea alba has thinned and weakened. If there is a tear..it is considered a hernia.

If you made it this far, you are a DR nerd like me

FIND OUT MORE  - mombodfitness.com

Celeste Goodson, owner of MomBod Fitness, has worked in health and fitness settings for over 15 years as well as physical therapy and cardiac rehab. She has worked exclusively with pre and post natal moms for the last 5 years. She developed ReCOREand the FITsplint after realizing women can benefit from proper screening, rebuilding and guidelines before doing typical exercise. Celeste has a B.S. if Fitness and Wellness, is an ACE Cert. Medical Exercise Specialist; certified to train Pre & Post Natal women as well as those with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and metabolic conditions cleared by physicians. 

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Intraabdominal pressure: Good or Bad?

This is a hot topic lately. The common thought being; intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) is not good for you...therefore any support worn around the belly must be harmful...assuming it increases IAP, meaning it must put pressure on pelvic floor, causing prolapse, hemorrhoids, displacement of organs and diastasis. Agh..it sounds terrible and makes sense right? Pressure causes problems?  And while I agree pressure can be bad, it can also be helpful.

FIRST... we need to recognize that there are different ways a person can engage their core.  There are many incorrect ways and only 1 correct way. This affects whether IAP stays more in the abdominal cavity or pelvic cavity.

SECOND..when a person engages their core correctly, IAP does increase slightly. When a person lifts a heavy weight and engages the core more, IAP increases even more.

Does that mean engaging the core is bad for you? Well we know that isn't true. The core needs to engage to provide a foundation for lifting and moving.

The questions we should be asking is:
1. What is causing the IAP?
2. Where is the IAP going when a person engages their core (abdominal, thoracic or pelvic cavity?)
3. Are the core muscles strong?
4. Is the pelvic floor lifting like it should when core engages?
5. How is the person engaging their core?
6. Are they using proper breathing mechanics?

This is what determines whether  IAP is helpful or damaging!

IAP does NOT automatically put pressure on the pelvic floor

When the CORE stabilization system (diaphragm, transverse abdominals, pelvic floor and multifidus) is reactive, the pelvic floor will lift when the TVA engages. This protects the pelvic floor and helps contain pressure in the abdominal cavity and off the pelvic floor.  It is this pressure when increased that helps stabilize the spine (lock it into place) when exerting force.

PRACTICE CORRECT WAY TO ENGAGE: Lift pelvic floor, breathe out as you engage abs. Where does the pressure go?  Up in the Abdominal Cavity off the pelvic floor. (If you are having trouble figuring out how to do this, you need to reconditioning your core)
Copyright 2015 MomBod Fitness, All Rights Reserved

IAP is what helps stabilize the spine 
so a person can lift heavier weights safely

If the pelvic floor is not responding (lifting) when the TVA engages (see pic below), then IAP may get pushed downward and put more pressure on the pelvic floor (like when a person has a bowel movement)..this of course is not a good thing. This is what contributes to peeing when lifting heavy weights.

PRACTICE WRONG WAY #1: Breathe out while engage abs in and "bear down" (like having a bowel movement) - where does the pressure go? Yes, down to the pelvic floor.

PRACTICE WRONG WAY #2: Hold breath, "bear down" without engaging the abs (belly bulges out instead). Where does the pressure go? Yes, down to the pelvic floor and out to the belly button. 

Copyright 2015 MomBod Fitness LLC, All Rights Reserved

Yes ladies, peeing when doing CrossFIT or lifting heavy weights is not a good thing. This can mean that the pelvic floor is not engaging like it should and pressure on the bladder is too much.

Picture a flat bike tire. Without the proper amount of air pressure, the tube walls are flimsy and weak.

Picture a filled bike tire, when air is contained and increased, the tube walls are strong and stable.

Increased IAP helps stabilize the spine when lifting or exerting force

It is very difficult to increase too much IAP into the abdominal cavity when lifting weights. Especially when the walls (spine, muscles an fascia) are strong and stabilized. If someone who does not have a strong core decides to try and lift a very heavy weight, yes...they are at risk for lifting with incorrect alignment, pulling a muscle, causing a hernia or a herniated disc.

So is  IAP good or bad?

It depends on your breathing
It depends on your muscles ability (strength) to contain the pressure
It depends on where the pressure is going
It depends on what is causing the IAP

Learning to direct intra-abdominal pressure correctly will help:

  • reduce stress on pelvic floor
  • use core muscles efficiently
  • breathe efficiently
  • stabilize the spine

To say that all abdominal binders are bad for you..is also a big assumption. Its like saying all ankle braces are bad for you. Again, it depends on what it's being used for; how it works, how much pressure is applied, how it is used and what the claims are. A person can wear an ankle brace too tight and restrict blood circulation and restrict too much motion.  There is a science to taping an ankle correctly. The same goes for abdominal supports, they can work differently! Some are flexible, some are stiff, some are fully adjustable, some are not, some are tall, some are short. It's very possible to wear an abdominal support and have the same amount of IAP applied as when someone engages their core. Its possible to have less, its possible to have more.   Again many variables, many differences.

We all want the simple answers, yet there are many variables that create a healthy or unhealthy pressure environment.

Celeste Goodson, owner of MomBod Fitnesshas worked in health and fitness settings for over 15 years as well as physical therapy and cardiac rehab. She has worked exclusively with pre and post natal moms for the last 5 years with ReCORE. She developed ReCORE and the FITsplint after realizing women can benefit from proper screening, testing, rebuilding and guidelines before returning to typical exercise. Celeste has a B.S. if Fitness and Wellness, is an ACE Cert. Medical Exercise Specialist; certified to train Pre and Post Natal women as well as those with musculokeletal, neuromuscular and metabolic conditions. 


Bartelink, D.L. (1957). The role of abdominal pressure on the lumbar intervertebral discs. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery [Br], 39, 718-736.

Sullivan, M.S. (1994). Lifting and back pain. In Twomey, L.T., & Taylor, J.R. Physical Therapy of the Low Back. (2nd ed.). New York: Churchill Livingstone, 329-356.

Thompson J,  O'Sullivan PBBriffa NKNeumann P (2006)Differences in muscle activation patterns during pelvic floor muscle contraction and Valsalva maneuver. Neurourol Urodyn., 25(2):148-55.

Cobb W, Burns J, Kercher K, Matthews B, James Norton H, Todd Heniford B. Normal intraabdominal pressure in healthy adults. J Surg Res. 2005;129:231–235. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2005.06.015.

O'Dell K, Morse ACrawford SHoward A 2007 Vaginal pressure during lifting, floor exercises, jogging, and use of hydraulic exercise machines.Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. Dec;18(12):1481-9. Epub 2007 May 22.