#OneBigHappy Play Day + 50.00 Gymboree GC GIVEAWAY!

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this is a sponsored post on behalf of Gymboree's #OneBigHappy campaign.  we received complimentary clothing in exchange for an honest review.  all opinions are my very own, always. 

DSC_0824-02 3 words. christmas in july! they were crazy excited when i told them this bright orange box was filled with goodies just for them.  receiving mail with my name on it as a child always made me feel so special.  even if it was junk mail, haha. DSC_0830-01is summer vacation not the perfect time for a play day?!  my boys know how important getting out from in front of the TV and going outside is to me, and well, they show me daily that they’re listening.  they are constantly asking to go 'somewhere fun' and the park is usually their number one choice.  it's definitely one of their favorite past times.  i hope staying active continues to be something they enjoy doing throughout their lives. DSC_0836-01Gymboree's activewear collection, Gymgo, is made to keep up with active kids, so they basically need to live in these clothes!  by their request, i took them to one of their favorite parks to play and sport their gear.DSC_0858-01Chiso is such an accessories type of guy. the hat, the shades; he's gotta wear it all at once to complete his look. as hot as the texas summer heat is, i don't blame him!Processed with VSCOthe eye-catching, bold, bright colors stood out to me the most. matches their little rambunctious personalities perfectly!  the breathable, cool fabric is a plus as these guys sweat a ton when they play.  heck, we work up a sweat just getting in and out of the car down in texas.

Processed with VSCODego's,  "who's about to go run out there in this heat? not me." look. smart man.

PhotoGrid_1468266519001they kicked the soccer ball around for a while but then we took a much-needed water and snack break. ice cream cookie sandwiches on deck!  err, ice cream cookie soupwiches.

Processed with VSCOthat didn't stop them from sopping that ice cream up like biscuits and gravy though, LOL.Processed with VSCOdon't worry Dego, you won't be the youngest for too much longer, bud :) . alright, sugar rush kicking in! time to play some more.

PhotoGrid_1468266479204i could learn a thing or two from this kid when it comes to posing! i asked Chiso what he loved most about his Gymgo gear:  

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"i love how soft the fabric is and how cool the colors and patterns are.  i love blue so much!!"  he also loved the "Jump, Dunk, Score" tee (pictured at the very top) as basketball is one of his favorite sports to play with his Papa right now. 

meanwhile, Dego clearly came to play, not pose.

Processed with VSCO   PhotoGrid_1468266817430ok, ok, just two pics, mama, that's it! 

quality playwear that stands the test of playtime.

it's a pass from us.  with flying colors, of course ;)

-----> GIVEAWAY TIME!!! <-----

do your kiddos LOVE to play!? awesome, because you could win a 50.00 gift card to get them some of their own Gymgo Active clothing! back to school is waaay too close for comfort but this will help you prepare no doubt. one lucky reader will win, so make sure you're fully qualified to enter!  how? see the no-fuss criteria below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 you must give Gymboree a follow & Like via Instagram, and Facebook!  comment below and let me know you're done, then consider yourself qualified.  what are your favorite looks??  let me know below and good luck!

K E E P   U P   W I T H   U S !

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL, FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAMTWITTERPINTERESTAND SNAP CHAT (FITFOODIELE).

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mommy pooch... BE GONE!

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helloooo october!

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currently 3 months postpartum and training for.... life.  i decided not to compete in another bodybuilding competition until i'm done having kiddos.  i believe this is the first time i've ever typed it out so that kinda makes it official!  i've said and thought it bazillions of times recently.  going from one extreme to the other with my body is not something i'd like to do in between kiddos again so i'm content with waiting.  i have menstrual issues as it is and a super low body fat percentage will only complicate the preggo process. so, no thank you!  'yall want more kiddos?!' heck YES, Sonny and i would love more, God willing.

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about 24 hrs after giving birth, i snapped these pics in my postpartum hospital bathroom.  those postpartum pads are gigantic, right!?  holy #thighgap LOL.  i was left with a loose pooch/pouch-- whatever you wanna call it- of a tummy cause, well, my skin had been stretched out over the last 10 months of course!  take note; most of the mommy pooch pics you see around the net all lack one thing- muscle tone.

but what else contributes to mommy pooch?

  • diastasis recti - {which obvi deserves and will get a blog post of its own}
  • stress
  • inconsistent sleep
  • inconsistent exercise
  • bloat from specific foods

the first tip that is not even included in my list below is patience.  if you're looking for fitfoodiele's secret potion/formula/pill/cream it's on sale and you can purchase it here.  oh dang, the link is broken cause it does not exist!!!! #whoops #bubblebursted.  ok, for real tho,  here is the actual link: www.6packusa.com. you can't undo this overnight, in a few days, or even a handful of weeks. but you can get a head start. more on that later.  pregnancy and EVERYTHING that comes with it is a blessing. you must love and honor your body throughout this temporary stage though. never forget that. let me say it again. TEMPORARY. cause if it's up to you (and it is) you're not gonna stay the way you are! besides,

your pre-preggo weight and your pre-preggo body are two different things.

am i right?? i know i am!

 you can drop weight in a matter of days  by either burning yourself OUT on cardio or starving yourself, neither of which are healthy and.... who wants to live like that?  the way my body looks and the way my clothes fit are most important.  and it simply takes time to shape and mold your body.

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this is my time-table so far!  fitness is my life. it's no secret i love to workout. i desire to move every single day. i need it!!! BUT.... i do not have the desire to eat clean 100% of the time 24/7 and neither do you. that said, your nutrition really does play a gigantic role in the PP recovery process since working out takes a backseat for a moment. people tell me all the time how they wish they had my discipline regarding healthy eating and uuuuh, my response is always 'YOU CAN DO IT TOO'.  i have the same temptations and same food devils in my ears day in and day out. i hear them the loudest at the grocery store. specifically in the bulk aisle where all the chocolate covered EVERYTHING is!!!  it's all about preparation for me and keeping things i don't want to go overboard with out of my house.  i know ME and you must know YOU.  if i don't prepare (meal prep, gym schedule, exact workouts) i end up winging it and failing more often than not.  you can take the reins on your body again and start your PP process from the inside out with what you put into your body.  which bring us tooooooo my first tip!

1.EATING COLLAGEN BOOSTING FOODS -  collagen is the cement that holds us together.  it helps to keep our skin tight and firm (which is why those adorable young kids and yummy babies have such smooth skin and shiny hair), so eating a plethora of collagen boosting foods only makes sense, right? right.  processed foods work against you when it comes to your tummy.  the fresher and more whole your food, the better. again, work this thing from the inside out and eat a well balanced diet of the following collagen boosting foods:

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  •  omega fatty acids  - salmon, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, brazil nuts, avocado, tuna, flaxseed
  • vitamin A, sulfur - olives, fresh cucumbers, fresh celery, carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes
  • vitamin C, luetin - dark green vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens,  asparagus, cabbage
  • carnosine - turkey
  • lycopenes (red fruits/veggies) -  tomatoes, tangerines,  red bell peppers, beets
  • antioxidents (dark berries) - prunes, blueberries, blackberries

for more examples and recipe inspiration, look at through my IG feed and the Fit Recipes section of my blog.

***

 so...... avoiding high sodium, high sugar, and fried foods will do your body GOOD.  it is what it is.  keepin' it real.  reduce your sugar cravings by drinking plenty of water (with fresh lemon juice squeezed in), keep up with consistent, regular exercise, chew gum to satisfy that sweet craving, use stevia or any other zero calorie, all natural sweetener, and reach for fresh fruit first. do you have to cut those indulgent foods out completely? of course not. that's no fun and no way to live long-term. but if you have a particular goal to meet at a particular time, well then you will have to sacrifice and limit/moderate those treats.  also, be aware of your trigger foods!  mine are dairy, broccoli, and Kashi as i've mentioned before, so i know my results aren't exactly accurate after eating those foods as they bloat me like nobody's business :(

***

2. BREASTFEEDING.  i know. it's tough, especially those first few days when your nipples are just like, #ican't.  'GO ON WITHOUT ME.' but i promise you the benefits for both parties are well worth that temporary pain. there's that word again!  and if the pain persists, you could very well be doing it wrong! i was. check this out or ask your OB or lactation consultant for tips. i'm on team #savethenipples all day.  while at the hospital i began to breastfeed immediately as instructed and i literally felt my uterus shrinking/contracting as my OB said it would.  when nursing, your body releases certain hormones that shrink your uterus back down to its pre-preggo size.  i take advantage of and appreciate 'cry rooms' and public breastfeeding areas so much more as they are still pretty rare.

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the contracting was extremely uncomfortable (after giving birth a few hours prior they were a breeze tho lol) but again this helped my uterus do its thing at a faster rate, thus helping to eliminate the pooch faster as well.  now that Dego is 3 months old, he nurses anywhere from 5-6 times in a 24 hr period.  we've all heard the 'bfeeding burns 500 cals a day' thing but i like 'our bodies burn almost 20 calories to make just an ounce of breast milk' better.  that way, i can do the math myself to get a more accurate number and so can you!  i add that number in with estimated # of cals i burn on a particular day (if i don't have my HR monitor then i just use MyFitnessPal) and adjust my macros accordingly.  that is a whole nother post in itself that is coming by request. so anyway, while you enjoy your newbie and wait those few weeks for your workout clearance, you can still burn calories by picking up your baby, not a dumbbell!  i understand not every mom is a workout junkie, so this is a free, convenient benefit you should take advantage of if you're able to do so.

more benefits you should know:

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one more thing about breastfeeding. after reading this the other day from Shape's online mag:

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i was like 'hey!!!! that totally happens to me!! that really is a 'thing'!'  however... it comes in the form of uncontrollable laughter. is that weird or what? i asked another mommy friend if she ever felt the urge to literally laugh out loud when her milk lets down and well, i was on my own on that one.  it only lasts for a couple of seconds and i pretty much suppress it in public, but it is the craziest thing ever.  oxytocin.. it's like breastfeeding endorphins!!!

#OkMovingOn #Awkward

3. DOING POSTPARTUM BELLY FLATTENING EXERCISES - only with your doctors approval first and foremost should you proceed with these exercises. a relapse could prolong your recovery time so it's not worth the risk. there are a billion-katrillion exercises you can do and they are all over YouTube!  again, these are the top 5 i use, but i posted a few more below you should definitely try.

***

don't just go through the motions with these moves.  focus every fiber of your being on your core and keep a mental picture of your goal tummy as you do them.  if you're gonna do them, do them right! you get out what you put in.

***

a. tummy vacuum (see pic below). i love this one cause you can do it anytime, anywhere, sitting, standing, laying down flat on your back or even on a yoga ball (which is my fave cause i can stretch out my back simultaneously).

to do:  imagine pulling your belly button into your spine super-duper tight and holding it there, even after you exhale.  hold everything in, contracting your core, for as long as possible then release. you can start with holding for 3 seconds, then increase it to 5, 10, etc, etc. repeat, repeat, repeat.

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press play below!

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*in order played*

b. can be used as a stretch or an exercise. on your back, arms out to the side, palms down, knees at 90 degrees.  the slower the better.  with your tummy sucked in tight, take knees from side to side, all the way down to the floor. this works your entire core, obliques included.

c.  can be used as a stretch or an exercise. optional advanced move of b. legs straight out, feet together. take your time on this one.

d. start with this exercise if you're a beginner.  inhale and draw your core in tight. keep a 90 degree angle in your legs (i could have done a little bit better job) as you tap your toes to the floor and back to the start position. try your best not to arch your back; you want your core to do all the work so the slower the better. to advance the move, alternate your legs in a controlled motion and keep that tummy sucked in.

e. opposite arm/leg crunches on all fours. inhale and draw your core into your spine and hold it there as you execute the move.

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here are a few more moves from Shape mag that focus on the LOWER ABS, where we need to concentrate the most.

4. TAKING CARE OF MY SKIN -   i believe that what we put into our bodies produces the most dramatic results.  however,  sprucing up the surface can make a difference too.

a. body scrubs and moisturizer. they help tighten skin because of the increased blood flow that produces healthy, elastic, skin.  use it all over your body but pay special attention to your trouble areas each time you shower.  hello, i just posted 3 different super simple homemade body scrub recipes for you here.  after a shower, i'll apply cocoa butter to help tone the uneven parts on my belly as they were discolored from the stretching. and that's it. i keep it very simple.

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b. water. water, water, water = fresh, hydrated, supple skin. s/n: you can tell a lot about your health just from the way you use the restroom.  if your urine is pale and almost clear, that's a great indicator that you're getting enough fluids.  if it's a darker, rusty yellow, you prolly need more fluids. my hands become wickedly dry when i'm not getting enough water, so that's another telltale sign for me.  we also need plenty of water for breastfeeding, ladies, so drink up!  i drink a 16.9 oz bottle with every meal, so at least 6 of them per day.

6 Pack USA Logo By Josephy Doty

5. IMPLEMENTING 6 Pack USA (Postpartum).  so about that head start! weight training and cardio. you need both.  i did both before pregnancy, during, and after. a transformation is a present activity, not a future event! if you wait until you deliver your baby to start working out and eating right, the road ahead will be long. extra long. start practicing healthier habits NOW.  not only will your pregnancy be easier in general, but baby will benefit and it'll take less work to get back to your pre-preggo body after you deliver.  toned, lean muscle under your skin will help it look tighter.  not just your tummy, but all over!  slow and steady wins the race when it comes to weight loss and getting/keeping your skin tight.  crash diets and quick fixes do NOT help the skin tightening process...no, no, no.  it must be done the healthy way as in a steady loss of 1-4 lbs of body fat per week. extreme dieting will force your skin to stretch and sag more quickly, so give it time and build healthier lifestyle habits while you're at it. we live by and promote this successful program and it has been my no-fail plan before, during, and after my 2nd pregnancy.   it has blessed the lives of so many other around the country, including this mother of FIVE, April!

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as i struggle to get my life together daily with my two rug rats, i watch this girl in awe as she juggles her photography career, 5 kiddos, each with their own busy agendas, a hubby, and still manages to make time to take care of herself!  WHAT a transformation!  that's what dedication and consistency can do for you.

i was unaware of my daily micronutrients limit for my first pregnancy, but the second time around i had it DOWN.  knowing what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat it made all the difference.  the picture below says it all! on the left i was 4 months pp with Chiso (prolly my highest un-preggo weight ever), and on the right i was 2 months pp with Dego.  knowledge really IS power!

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if you are interested in joining team 6 Pack USA (only after you have been cleared to workout by your doctor) then click here to sign up for our current 2 phase special. questions? shoot me an email! leah.egwuatu@6packusa.com. you do not need to be local to Houston; we have team 6 Pack USA clients making progress all over the world.

***

what i'm not sold on: 

firming creams.

skin firming and tightening skin-care products don't work as well as their over-exaggerated claims. ever. and the price to quantity ratio is waaaaay off lol!  because collagen is found in the second layer of our skin (the dermis layer), those creams are just sitting on the surface of your skin and not really doing anything but hydrating it. (they work just as well as those lotions that claim to prevent stretch marks. nope, not gonna happen.)  you reeeeally gotta watch those key words when reading the product descriptions like: '..improve the appearance of your skin...' and  '..provides visibly firmer looking skin...' .  most of these creams require daily use but as soon as you stop applying, the product stops working. and that's if it even works for you! the product reviews for these types of creams are all over the place.  i've also noticed that some of the commenters claiming the product works mention that they are using it IN ADDITION TO exercise!!  purchase at your own risk (i'd rather go buy groceries with that money) and definitely read those reviews first.

belly bands, waist trainers, cinchers, etc.

i'm not completely sold on belly bands. i say completely because i feel they are only great for providing back and core support (especially if you had an epidural or c-section), and making your waist/mid-section nice and smooth under your clothing immediately after birth when the pooch is most prominent.  i get it. however, they have nothing to do with getting your abdominals and core back into shape. at all.  once you take it off, everything settles (or drops) back to where it was!  don't be fooled. long term results come from physical activity and proper nutrition. belly bands are definitely a short-term solution.. a band-aid, if you will.

wraps.

there is a reason it takes time to lose fat.  the progress you see from using wraps is usually water weight and not actual fat. which means the fat is still present and can only be burned off.

Q: ok weigh in, mamas! what has helped YOU bounce back after pregnancy? what didn't??  share and help another mama or mama-to-be out.

le

it's hottt

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why? two words: THE SUN.

nothing drains me more these days and it's not like i'm out jogging in it either! just walking up to the store and/or driving around in my truck (even with the air cranked to the max) still makes me crazy tired more so than any of my gym workouts. which is why i'm glad this little guy will be outta here before the texas heat really shows out. God bless and be with you preggo mama's this summer (wherever you are)! i mean that sincerely. be safe, stay hydrated, and stay indoors.

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the weekend was rather warm too, so Chiso and i jumped at the chance to hit the pool with my sis, Michelle,  and her daughter, cousin Livvy.  time for swimming lessons for these two.  we did a family maternity shoot last month and i totally want to do a look in my bikini now! i enjoyed wearing it and sporting my bump.  most likely Sonny will have to be the camera man for that though, lol.

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something about the pool makes me want chips, hot dogs, burgers, and ICE CREAM! thanks, Sonic.

remember that summer stir fry i made? i finally got some shrimp from HEB and made it again.  this time i added red bell pepper and yellow squash too since they were on sale.  and yall know the more color in your meals, the better.

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i have still been eating the heck out of nectarines these past few days. i can't get enough of them! plus the longer they sit in the fridge the softer they become. so i must eat them while they are still crisp. all of them.

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was sad to finish the last of this stir fry today for lunch but it'll be back soon.

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Q: do i ever feel my bump is too small?

A: during my first pregnancy? yeah. this time around? nah. when people ask me (especially at the gym) how far along i am these days, 'almost 10 months' is the last thing they expect to hear.  their faces say it all, and 'you're so tiny!!!' is usually soon to follow.  then the women reflect back on their own journeys and express how ginormous they were compared to me before delivering, and the men usually tell me the same about their wives, sisters, friends, etc!! never, ever gets old.  i welcome the questions (yes, the same ones over and over ;) ) and LOVE to discuss my journey with anyone willing to listen!   i enjoy hearing all about other women's preggo stories by the same token as they are all unique.  anyway, that darn, 'every woman is different' statement refers to, well, everything, including bump size. the 'right' size doesn't exist. also: bump size is not an indicator of your baby's weight.  mom's height, weight, activity level, the way baby is positioned, how much fluid present, etc, etc, etc...... so.many.factors.  so don't compare bumps.  especially if you trust your OB and he/she assures you that you and baby are on track every check-up, just as mine has!  done deal ^^'.

Q: what's your biggest pregnancy pet peeve? vent below!

le

8th month recap

group B-strep test is up next, guys.  HEY FIT FOODIES!  i'm gonna get in as much last minute preggo blogging as i can these last few weeks (or days, that's cool too).  my 8th month has whizzed on by

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*bloop*

and i'm knocking on week 36 in like 2 days, praise God!

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O_o :P   >:( :'( :| #flipacoin

early AM workout classes & breakfast:

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so, getting up at 4:15am to teach my classes is only getting rougher.  but i'm hanging in there! that's my automatic answer for my gym members every time they ask me how baby and i are doing, lol.  that's really all i can say though, seriously.  sure i'd rather get those extra hours of sleep but i feel good after i get on up and most days and the urge to workout is still strong.

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mmhmmm, don't forget that. aim to move every single day, even if it's just walking around your hood.

i am asked how i am still doing HIIT training  this late in the game.  modifications! lighter dumbbells, monitoring my heart rate, using my knees instead of toes for pushups...just a few examples. see vid below!  plus i'm doing way more coaching/encouraging/motivating and 'working' the group exercise room more. the classes are NOT about me anyway- it's all about the members!  i'll do a quick demo of a high intensity/plyometric move though, then quickly modify it just so i can keep moving with the members.

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 eating, on the other hand.... i know my appetite is flaky cause baby boy is growing rapidly and fattening up for his grand exit/entrance, but after breakfast and a small lunch (even after working out), i could honestly be done for the day.  the rest of my meals are pretty much forced since i'm still very active,  so WE need those cals and nutrients to keep coming. and they shall.  so i have my pre workout snack (usually banana w/ peanut butter) on the way to the gym, then tackle my real breakfast afterwards as usual.

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here are some breakfasts i've been rotating (clockwise starting from the top L):

1. spinach, tomato, and mushroom scramble (1 whole egg, 2 egg whites) with strawberries and blueberries

2.  4 egg whites over a whole wheat english muffin & topped with homemade guacamole w/ blackberries & a halo

3. spinach & mushroom egg scramble taco (La Tortilla Factory 80 cal light low carb, high fiber flour tortilla) w/ shredded part-skim mozzarella & pineapple salsa w/ berries

4. plain greek yogurt with strawberries & blueberries and dribbled with maple syrup (also a great post-workout snack)

 

individual workouts & lunch/dinner:

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i have been enjoying taking classes to the fullest these last few weeks!  why?

  1. i'm not up there teaching so i can stop at any time :P
  2.  i get ideas and inspiration for new moves i can use later in my own classes and just experiencing another instructor's style, music, and motivational sayings
  3.  group fitness is FUN and keeps me motivated!  i look forward to it. period.

i do a combo of the following every week:

  • TKB - turbo kickboxing
  • Zumba
  • Barbell Strength (Lifetime Fitness signature formatted class)
  • Step (don't knock it lol! keeps my heart rate nice and steady... great cardio workout vs. the boring treadmill and elliptical)
  • Weights - since i'm not lifting crazy heavy, i'll do a full body workout in one day most times using basic exercises for each muscle group. 3-4 sets of 12 does the trick. looking forward to getting back to my postpartum 6 Pack USA workouts though.

 

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lunches and dinners (starting clockwise from top L):

  1. homemade Chipotle inspired salad (i cut the chicken into chunks and marinated it in Weber Kick n' Chicken seasoning blend)
  2. Kick n' Chicken pan seared chicken breast with pan roasted brussels sprouts and grilled pineapple
  3. pan seared whiting (cheaper than tilapia at Walmart right now so i gave it a try) grilled squash, and fresh coleslaw
  4. salmon & avocado deviled eggs sprinkled with sweet & smokey paprika and black pepper with raw sugar snap peas and sliced roma tomatoes on the side.

 

the bump and i will be walking down the aisle in my brother's wedding this weekend! can't wait to party and celebrate gaining another sister. fun times ahead. and cake.

-----> if you are preggo and need help with staying on track (or starting) a healthier workout and nutrition regiment for you and your little bundle-to-be, please check out www.pregnantnotpowerless.com and sign up!  even if you're not preggo but know a woman who is, please tell her about this awesome program created by one of my inspirations and fellow fit mom @babyfatboss on IG. follow herrrrrr! <------

'my kids didn't ruin my body. Ben did. and Jerry.'

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i snagged my blog title from a random preggo message board concerning weight gain and had to include it in this post somewhere!  while the commenter was being funny, there is so much truth to her statement.  i stated on IG that the full list for preventing 'stretchies' (as my best friend refers to them) would be posted here to my blog, but honestly the list is quite short and sweet and focuses on these 3 things:                              skin, diet, and exercise.

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overall great health begins on the inside, and so does the handling and even prevention of 'tiger stripes'.  i do the whole cocoa butter & sometimes olive oil thing on my belly at night (ok almost every night..sometimes i'm already in the bed and say screw it) and sure, that helps to keep my belly smooth, moisturized, and the itching to a minimum.   does that actually prevent them from forming? in my opinion, not at all.  i don't believe they are hereditary either, but eating habits can be.  nevertheless, stretch marks are caused by          ----->rapid<------ weight gain and / or weight loss.  for all the creams, treatments, and remedies i researched, avoiding aggressive weight gain is usually in the fine print somewhere and one of the biggest factors in avoiding stretchies altogether.  since babies don't go/grow from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye in your belly, it's important to make the weight gain process a gradual thing as best you can.  now, i have a few preggo friends fighting hard to get through their first trimesters, and i can empathize with them greatly as the memory of my own is still pretty strong :shock: .  for the majority of women, you either can't eat a thing, or you want to eat everything during that time span.  or, you can only eat certain things without...well, you know.  so when your appetite and normal eating patterns have pretty much been shot for a few weeks or more, motivation to stay active, be active, and eat healthy can be at an all time low. what has worked for me after getting back on track around week 14? read on!

1. eating a skin nourishing diet

  • antioxidants - nourishes and protects skin.  eat leafy, dark greens, blueberries, strawberries, and fresh, unprocessed produce, period.
  • vitamin E - protects skin cell membranes. eat nuts, seeds, avocados, broccoli, cabbage (pictured above and part of my dinner one night), and collard greens.
  • vitamin A - repairs skin tissues.  eat carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, squash, & red bell peppers.
  • omega 3s - keeps cell membranes healthy for glowing skin. eat fish (salmon's a winner), fish oil supplements, walnuts, eggs and oysters.
  • prenatal pills - keep popping them, everyday.

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2. chug, chug, chugging that H2O

  • keep those skin cells plump and hydrated by drinking a full glass or bottle of water with every meal. how much in a day exactly? half your body weight in oz is a standard rule, especially if you are staying active.  i know, pee, pee, and more peeeeeeeee
  • all natural, flavored, herbal, decaffeinated teas (in the bag) sweetened with Stevia have helped me achieve my water intake goal these days.
  • seltzer water with a bit of 100% juice is awesome too and the closest thing to soda i will go.
  • snacking on water-filled fruits and veggies counts too. watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, cucumbers, bell peppers, & celery are great picks.

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3. MOVEing

  • if you're a reader of my blog then you know physical activity is automatic and understood! exercising keeps your skin elastic, flexible,  improves your body's blood circulation, keeps those joint lubricated and from getting stiff...the list goes on.  plus it just makes you feel so much better in most cases.  you'll need all the endorphins you can scrounge up.. every drop.
  •   staying active *drum roll* prevents you from gaining too much weight too fast which is what we're trying to prevent!
  • as you grow, modify your movements and your workouts as needed.  as i near the 3rd tri, prenatal yoga, the elliptical, walking outside, zumba, and spinning will be my go-to activities.  light weight training here are there for my back and upper body, but that's about it.  slow down, but don't stop.

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postpartum

KEEP IT GOING.  exercise will be added back into your routine eventually, but use that inactive window of time to sustain those healthy nutritional habits as you enjoy your newborn, breastfeeding or not.   your skin and body will still need to get those vitamins and nutrients to renew itself from all the stretching.  no crash diets! you'll need to lose the weight as gradually as you gained it.

if you get'em, treat'em 

  • bio oil - this method gets high marks and reviews across the WWW as it is great for both old and new scars.
  • glycollic acid - women who use this cream on new stretch marks saw huge improvement as it is proven to boost collagen.  the word 'acid' always makes me raise an eyebrow, but unlike Retin-A, which apparently causes severe birth defects if you are preggo or breastfeeding, you can safely use this cream during and after pregnancy.  it can be bought over the counter, but you can get a stronger dose from a dermatologist.  read up on the pros and cons of this method.
  • laser treatments - this is not my area of expertise, but according to Dr. Oz, banishing them completely is just not possible at this time.  laser treatments can successfully reduce redness, diminish the appearance of white marks, and improve the texture of the skin, making them a lot less noticeable though.
  • and then i came across a story that was shared on bodybuilding.com from a young lady with a surefire stretch mark treatment (and four kiddos later might i add). it's worth reading and checking out her progress pics; some of her methods just might work for you too.

tiger stripes

battle scars, stretchies, war wounds, tiger stripes, etc...there are far worse things to worry about.  so nip them in the bud while you can, or minimize them as best you can.  these knuckleheads were worth it.

Q: what has worked for YOU?  prevention and  minimization? share and help another mama out.

le