Ab Separation after Having a Baby

Diastasis recti. Ever heard of it? I sure hadn’t before I had my little man. Luckily, I saw a Facebook post about it and wanted to learn more. It is not uncommon to have some type of ab separation after having a baby, making diastasis recti pretty common.

While researching, I stumbled upon Carrie Harper’s website and Flat Belly System. She explains diastasis recti extremely well so feel free to click the link to learn more. Her video below even helps you determine if you have ab separation or not.

I have a small amount of ab separation (1 finger width), but many women do have much larger gaps. It is extremely important to heal the injury or improve the gap (some larger gaps decrease in size, but do not fully go away) before getting back to certain exercises. The gap can be made worse with full push ups, planks, crunches, etc. leading to a bulge in the abdominal area. From what I have read, a 1 finger gap is not much to worry about but since Carrie’s system is so reasonably priced (seriously, 10 bucks as opposed to over a hundred bucks that I saw on 2 other websites with similar type plans), I purchased it and have been doing it for a week and half.

I honestly feel like Carrie’s plan is good for anyone though. It has reminded me how important posture and alignment is in everyday life. It has also given me a new focus when it comes to abdominal work. Working harder isn’t always best, but working smarter is.

So anyway, I feel like I would be doing you all a disservice if I did not mention ab separation, diastasis recti, and Carrie’s website to you. I don’t personally know Carrie, but I can tell she is passionate about what she does and I love it when women are on a mission to help other women.

Can I get an Amen?!

Curious, have any of you heard of diastasis recti before or experienced it yourself?

Have a happy, healthy week!

Gearing up to teach my first yoga class

I have been practicing all week, here and there, for my very first yoga class. I have taught other fitness classes, but never yoga. And no matter how many fitness classes one has taught, the nerves of a new class do not go away.

But with nerves comes excitement too. I do feel honored to be teaching others the gift that is yoga. And I feel lucky that students will actually be in my class. That isn’t a guarantee, you know.

Tonight is it, dear friends! Tonight is my first class. So earlier today, I put on my new maternity workout shorts that were gifted to me from For Two Fitness® to review and got to stretching. It was divine and I feel ready. Granted, I will still have the nerves as I drive up to the studio, but overall I feel ready.

I will provide an update on how my first class goes later this week on the blog. Today I want to talk about the shorts. I know so many other pregnant mama’s out there so let me just tell you, these are awesome! So comfortable and if it weren’t 50 degrees outside right now I would also wear these for my boot camp workouts.

I had never heard of For Two Fitness® before I got pregnant. And if you are into fitness like I am, you want to stay fit during pregnancy so as soon as my belly got bigger and my regular workout shorts got uncomfortable (there is nothing worse than doing squats with shorts that are too tight and don’t move with belly) I started looking for prenatal workout wear.

Here is a little about For Two Fitness®: For Two Fitness® is the premier maternity fitness apparel brand, offering performance apparel that functions and flatters like nothing else. They are committed to celebrate and support moms who are striving for healthy, fit pregnancies. Their fabrics are high performance, soft, moisture wicking, and originate from the same mills as the fancy athletic apparel you already wear. Maternity clothes are expensive as it is, so they work hard to keep these high end, specialty garments affordable. They offer basic neutrals and vivid, on-trend colors that pop. They also design all their own garments in-house and slogans are trademarked so you won’t find these cute tops anywhere else!

Love that! I am in my third trimester so comfort is HUGE for me. Here is a pic of me practicing my yoga in the maternity yoga shorts.

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If you have been pregnant or are currently pregnant, did you purchase any maternity workout wear? If so, what has been a lifesaver for you?

Disclaimer: I was gifted the maternity shorts by For Two Fitness® but all opinions are my own.

Pregnancy Update: 25 weeks

September and October are the busiest months for me with work. November might be too, but I am hoping it slows a bit. We’ll see. Since I work for a benefits company, we work hard during these months to prepare for the new calendar year. So with that, I have been distant from my computer (and this blog) lately.

Since it has been awhile, it is only fitting to give a little update. I am at 25 weeks today! Little guy is growing a ton. Want to see Prego the Cat?

catprego

What I love about being pregnant so far:

  • Feeling little guy kick. He has been very active lately and especially likes to move whenever I am hungry or sitting/laying down.
  • 2nd trimester energy. I know I am almost out of the 2nd trimester, but I hope I can hold on to this energy as long as I can. I enjoy working out right now (with modifications, of course)!
  • How nice people are to me. I don’t know if it is solely because I am pregnant, but I love how nice people are right now. I have had doors held for me by strangers and the women that I workout with are so motivating and always tell me how great I am doing.
  • My brother asking me how his nephew is doing. Little guy is already bringing joy to the family.
  • Not really caring too much about nutrition. I know, I know.. I am a pregnant dietitian. Shouldn’t I care? I think as long as baby is getting calories and I am taking my prenatal, all is well in the world. Some foods simply do not appeal to me right now so eating 5 vegetables a day is not going to happen. I don’t overeat simply because it is uncomfortable if/when I do so I eat what I can and what I want at that time. It really is interesting to see how taste buds change with pregnancy.

I had a virus earlier this week and then my husband caught it. It was such a scare. I ended up passing out during one of my vomiting episodes (I had 9 different vomiting episodes by the way… my poor body!) and it scared me so bad we went to the hospital. I didn’t know if passing out could affect the baby so we had to be safe. That hospital bill won’t be fun to look at, but at least it gave me peace of mind. Little guy’s heartbeat was fine the whole time. Thank God! We are feeling back to normal today. I think we may celebrate with a yoga class and a Starbucks tea (holiday cups, anyone?).

Hope everyone had a fabulous Halloween! Welcome to November.

A Day in the Life

My life has changed dramatically the past few months… in more ways than one. The best change that my husband and I are thrilled about is that we are expecting in February! All of the immediate family knows now so I can share the news on the blog too (officially). 🙂

So with that news, a day in the life has changed for me. A lot! But, not in a bad way. I am enjoying every moment that I can (even when nausea strikes) because I feel blessed to be the vessel for baby Kennedy.

Before I get to mine, “A Day in the Life” is the Fit Dish topic for this week. Jill Conyers and the Fit Switch host this link up each Tuesday.

Back to it… a day in the life for Bri Kennedy. Most of my days are somewhat different, but a typical work day where I get to work from home looks like this…

  • I wake up STARVING. Before I got pregnant, I was able to do a workout first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and then eat breakfast. Not anymore! I have to eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up or I grumble loud enough for the neighbors to think the tornado sirens went off.
  • My taste buds have changed dramatically so where I used to choose a healthy, hearty bowl of oatmeal, sunbutter toast, or some type of egg dish I now choose cereal. Currently, “I gotta have my pops.”
  • I have not wanted any sort of hot beverage lately, tea or coffee included. But, today I made a cup of Cinnamon Apple Spice herbal tea. Delicious!tea
  • I sit down to start work after breakfast, usually around 7:45 or 8:00. I almost always have a cat to pet before I get to work though. Cali wouldn’t have it any other way! So she jumps in my lap, I give her some attention, and THEN I start my work.cali
  • Around 10, I get hungry again so make a snack. I joke that it’s my 2nd breakfast, but it is usually not breakfast food at all. Today it is 3 chicken taquitos, but most of the time it is yogurt and a piece of fruit. I was EXTRA hungry today though.
  • Around 12 or 1, I take a break from work and try to do a workout. I am 2 weeks into my 2nd trimester so luckily the energy levels are back up. In my first trimester, it was hard to get a workout in for at least a month. Now I find it enjoyable to do a Cize workout or to go for a walk and follow it up with strength training and stretching. I need want more yoga in my life again so should be incorporating more of that, but will get to that soon. I am just happy I am active again! Here is me after a Cize workout…cize
  • I shower, get ready a bit, and eat lunch before heading back to my office upstairs. I work until about 5pm, but since I work from home I am sometimes guilty of working later. I make sure to have a fun or relaxing evening though when I do that!
  • My husband gets home around 5 or 5:30pm so we like to chit chat for a bit and then I make us dinner (on days I actually cook) or we heat up something already made.
  • Evenings vary from listening to the husband play piano/guitar to watching some TV shows to cleaning to getting outdoors. We are soaking up the time we have to do whatever we want in the evenings since pretty soon we will have a little one dictating our time.

All in all, a day in my life is not over the top adventurous, but I dig it. I try to take time to enjoy the little things, whether on my walk or sitting down at home. There is always something to be grateful for!

What is one thing you fit into your life each day?

Six:02 6K in November!

I am not running these days. At all. I have no interest, especially in this Texas heat. But, I do always look forward to a 6K in Dallas in November because it is the most amazing fun run I have ever participated in. Yes, I am talking about the Six:02 It’s Your Time 6K run.

I plan to do it again this year and hopefully bring some work buddies with me. Two of my co-workers joined last year, as well as my husband. It’s definitely more of a female run so I think my hubby will stay home this year. The finish line gift was a necklace and the race shirt was a hot pink tight-fitted girl shirt. Hah! I laughed when he got his package and felt like, “Oops, sorry I signed you up for this babe. But, thank you for doing it with me anyway!” He was a good sport FOR SURE!

So this year’s race is on November 14th and if you live in or around Dallas I highly recommend it. No, I am not paid to say that. I just like this one SO MUCH because it is extremely female friendly, not uber competitive, and Six:02 spoils us after the race. Seriously I think we got a free massage or pedicure last year. And hot chocolate. It was a bit cold that day! And, as if it could get any better… the Charity partner for the race is The Family Place. Love supporting a good cause!

If you don’t currently run like me, don’t fret. We can be walking buddies or “walk-ish” buddies like me and my co-worker call ourselves. Walk-ish is when you jog part of it and walk part of it.

I am so excited!!!! Not only for this race, but also for the cooler weather. YES, PLEASE!

What are you looking forward to this fall?

My Current Fitness Faves

Back to fit dish Tuesday today. Thank you to Jill Conyers and The Fit Switch for hosting. Today’s topic is full of fun, fitness fashion pictures from the #fitfam. Before we get to my three though, please note I don’t consider myself very fashionable. In fact, I used to ask my mother for advice in high school (she was a textiles and clothing major and I did not inherit her fashion smarts). Second, I am not a photographer. I consider myself a picture taker in training, always trying to learn new things by experimenting.

So take that into consideration as I share with you my current fitness faves…

outfit 1

This first picture includes my new workout program I am trying out this month, Cize. I love Shaun T and I love to dance so figured why the heck not. And to keep my feet moving, I just got these socks and shoes from Six:02. I love that place because they have such a variety of brands that I love. These shoes are killer! I am so in love with them. It’s hot here in Texas so I like to go bright like the sun. This neon yellow tank pairs well with my new Nike capri’s. I will spotlight the capri’s in the next picture.

outfit 2

I don’t currently run, but I do live FEARLESS. Heck yeah! I love it when workout wear has a fun or motivating message included somewhere. A great reminder to kick butt during your workout! So even though I don’t run, I love to wear these doing yoga. Meet my black yoga mat with grey and cream flowers. I got it at Target. Thank you Gaiam. They have cute options!

outfit 3

I am sure many of you heard the news back in May about Texas’ flooding. We had some heartbreak in Wimberley so I found this shirt being sold to help with relief there. I love it! It is my current fave tank for working out or general wear. And it reminds me to stay strong during tough times! If you have ever worked out with me, you also know I LOVE Emi Jays or similar hair bands. I love this purple one.

What is one of your current fitness faves? Happy Tuesday!

Let’s talk summer habits

Summer Habit

What habits are you currently working on? I think it is fun to change habits every now and then. I am a HUGE believer in baby steps and celebrating improvements, no matter how big or small. So it is time to think about summer habits.

The fit dish link up topic for today is, “What’s one habit you want to create for summer?” Shoutout to the hosts, Jessica and Jill!

The summer habit I want to create is VERY simple. I have been in a bit of a workout funk lately and have not done ANY weight training in months. Months?!? Yep, you got it. This workout lover has been slacking in that department.

I blame it on my Fitbit. Don’t get me wrong, I love this device, but it makes me cardio crazy. I have to try and figure out how to get 10,000 steps per day for my charity team at work so that takes the cake over other workouts lately. However, I think strength training and flexibility training are important too.

So, my summer habit that I am creating is to do weights 3 times per week at home. I particularly like to use my 8 lb dumbells, 5 lb dumbells, and 18 lb kettlebell. Since my habit consists of 3 days per week, each of these will be full body workouts. I found this great workout in Women’s Health magazine so will start with that and then change it up in a couple weeks.

Have I mentioned Habitbull yet? It is an app that helps you develop habits. I have been using it the past month and find it pretty helpful! Check it out if it interests you. I don’t get paid to say that.. just like the product. I read about it in a magazine while I was on vacation.

What is your habit for the summer? Much love to ya, friend!

 

Simple Ways to Healthify your Vacation!

5 Healthy Travel Tips!

Who is going on a summer vacation? Or who has already been on one? Whether you are going somewhere this summer or not, you are bound to go on a trip at some point. And today’s Fit Dish link up is all about healthifying your vacation. Thanks to Jill and Jessica for hosting!

Now, let me be honest here…. I am not a strict exerciser on vacation. Why? Well, because 1) exercise is NOT what my vacations are about and 2) I would rather be taking in the sights and sounds around me with the people I love. Not everyone I love and travel with exercise. Ya know?

But, I do have some simple ways to stay relatively active and not overly indulge. That is more important to me than working out in the hotel gym or sticking with salads during my whole trip. Bah hum-bug!

So what are these two simple tips you speak of, Bri? Glad you asked dear friend.

  1. I get at least 10,000 steps and don’t sweat the rest. One of my favorite things to do in a new city or town is walk around. Walking is staying active and you can be amazed at how many steps you’ll get staying curious, exploring the beautiful place you are in. Actually, I think the most steps I have gotten in a day was when my husband and I went to Nashville, Tennessee. We walked around the downtown area for quite some time so even if he didn’t realize how active he was being, he got over 20,000 steps. Haha.. how is that for being active AND hanging out with ones you love AND seeing the sights? Just call me the step wizard!
  2. I try foods that really look delicious and don’t sweat the rest. On vacations, food is a secondary focus and not really a primary. Well, I guess it can be reversed for some (like chefs and foodies), but I 100% love seeing new places over focusing on food. And this helps to healthify a trip a bit. When you don’t focus too much on food, you eat 2 or 3 meals a day and only snack when hunger strikes. You still taste delicious food, but you aren’t participating in a gluttonous affair. Eat what you really want. Drink what you really want. And when your done, be done. No need to clean your plate unless you really are that hungry.

Did you pick up on the fact that I used “don’t sweat the rest” twice up there? Yeah, that’s because a vacation is supposed to be stress-relieving! If anything you are doing is adding stress, stay away. And that includes trying to be a stickler with your marathon training plan or 6 week cleanse while on vacation. No sir. Stress keeps that waistline thick too, ya know.

So what would be your top tip to healthify a vacation if even just a little bit?

I actually wrote a blog post for Nature’s Bakery not too long ago about vacations and ways to stay healthy. You can read that here if it interests you. It’s geared towards keeping you from getting sick on your trip so you have more time to smile and frolick to and fro!

Happy Tuesday, friends!

The rules are… There are NO rules!

The

I was doing yoga today. Not in the morning like I usually prefer to do yoga because I was in a bad mood whenever I woke up and DID NOT want to do any movement, I also did not want to eat a healthy, wholesome breakfast.

And you know what? That’s okay. Because the rules are… there are no rules! And that was my mantra today while doing yoga. Living a healthy life is never about perfection or following strict rules.

Not everyone wants you to believe that. Some want you to buy his or her book or follow his or her diet and fitness plan so that you help them become famous or put money into their pocket. A book full of rules that you enjoy at first and then feel ashamed about whenever you “fall of the wagon.” You blame yourself because the rulebook says you have to do it and if other people can do it, why the heck can’t you?

I am not saying everyone is like that. In fact, I think more and more people are truly becoming the CEO’s of their own body. I think more people are relishing in the idea of mindfulness, not only when it comes to various life things but also nutrition and fitness.

This. Is. Awesome.

I am really happy that more professionals in the health industry are pushing mindfulness, making your own “rules” (and being okay when you break them… consider them guidelines instead of rules), and being happy in the body you have NOW.

This mindset is so empowering. Yes, it takes away the excitement or thrill of the next fad diet or fitness plan. But, it also puts YOU in the driver seat instead of in the back of the truck. It’s a bumpier ride back there!

You are the CEO of your body. I love saying that. I totally 100% agree with it. So much so that it should be the tagline of this blog. I promise to never be the dietitian/nutritionist that pushes a diet, pill, or specific fitness plan. I promise to always help others see their potential and help guide them to making decisions that are best for them at that specific time. I promise to educate others on the power of changing simple habits and not following strict rules.

And just for the fun of it… what is one rule you have heard that you are going to break in terms of nutrition or fitness? One of mine is “Not eating carbs past 3pm.” So freakin’ ridiculous and is so not my cup of tea! How the heck am I going to know ahead of time if I want some type of carb after 3pm or not? That changes by the day!

Your turn! Happy Friday, dear friends.

How I Like to Manage Stress

How I Like To Manage Stress

Stress never goes away. Every single one of us will encounter stress on a regular basis. Since we can’t completely exterminate it, we have to learn to embrace and manage stress instead.

For me, the first four months of this year have been a little more stressful than normal. Surprisingly, I have felt happier than ever though!  It could be that most of my stress is from good things. But even more than that, I feel happy because of my attitude and priorities.

I made a commitment to enjoy and savor every moment of my wedding planning process (or as much as I can).

I made a commitment to put managing stress as top priority.

I think the first commitment is pretty self explanatory. Everyone wants to remember the little things leading up to their big day, as well as the day itself. I also wanted to celebrate with my fiancé on a regular basis. We had already made a commitment to each other by staying in the relationship for so long (going on 7 years), but are solidifying it by getting married. And it has been SO COOL to see how excited we both have been throughout these past several months.

The second commitment is a little more of a challenge. I think stress reduction and management tips are so individualized. What works for me may not work for you. And believe me, I have tried several things I thought would work because it worked for a health guru, but it left me feeling more stressed. Go figure! So, even though I am sharing a few tips that work for me I encourage you to experiment. Find what works best for you!

You can always try a class at the gym or maybe go for a walk solo. Sometimes your health insurance will even help you get going.For example, Oscar Health Insurance in New York and New Jersey gives their members free Misfit activity bands for tracking their steps and also offers reimbursements for gym and yoga studio memberships. I was asked by Oscar Health Insurance how I manage stress and after I responded I kept thinking… this would make a great blog post! So my props goes to them for this post.

Another thing I want to note before I get to my list is that trying to be perfect with stress management can backfire. Did you read that? It can cause more stress. I once set a goal to meditate every day for 15 minutes per day. I also had a misguided perception that this meant the 15 minutes had to be me in a dark room sitting cross-legged with light music and a candle. I had to focus on my breath and keep my mind calm. That didn’t last long for me. It wasn’t until I realized that meditation can be done in SO MANY WAYS that I could experiment and find different ways to meditate and kick my stupid goal to the curb. That was a goal that I ended up more stressed out over because I found myself not always wanting to sit in a dark room. Sometimes I wanted to get outside and move a little. Well strike the harp… moving meditation works! And is way more me.

Let’s get to it… here is my list of stress management techniques that work for me:

  1. Moving Meditation. Some days this looks like a 20 minute yoga session at home (usually with Yoga with Adriene or Tara Stiles with Strala Yoga.) Other days this looks like a 30-50 minute walk outdoors. When I walk outdoors, I always use my Ipod. I LOVE MUSIC! And you know what? Music can ease stress too.
  2. Putting the phone down before bed and reading a book or magazine. Oh man oh man, if I had a dime for every time I thought I could look at my phone before bed and sleep well I would be rich. I know the lesson, but don’t always follow it. However, when I do follow it I sleep like a baby. Not looking at the phone before bed is a game changer for stress reduction and improved sleep! No lie. So here’s to finding more books to read (as long as it isn’t a page turner that keeps me up too late). J
  3. Listening to a guided meditation. I have tried a few different guided meditations and I always turn to the ones from Deepak and Oprah. I love them! I have two: Desire and Destiny and then Perfect Health. I love listening to these every so often (~3 days per week) while on one of my outdoor walks. It is a 21 day guided meditation, but I don’t follow the days. I press shuffle!
  4. Bubble Bath, Tea, or Hot Tub. What do all of these have in common? HEAT! I love hot things… I know, that may sound weird, but I am in Texas after all. Plus, heat really does calm the body and ease the mind. I tend to grab a cup of hot tea, hot water with lemon, or a café misto during the day. If I really need to relax at the end of the day I will take a bubble bath. We also recently got a hot tub so sometimes I will choose that. Both are so soothing!

Now it is your turn, what works best for you?