Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fit, Fab and Almost 40!

Post Pregnancy Fitness Goals

9 years ago I celebrated my 30th birthday and had just qualified for the ‘World Triathlon Championships’ Queenstown 2003. This time 9 years ago I was 3 months out from the biggest race in my life. A training session mid-week would be a 40km TT bike followed by a 16km hilly run.  Now many years later and 5 months out from turning 40 I can just about manage a 20min run. I used to be able to run a 19min 5km off a 20km Bike and complete a Half Ironman!

Now wait a minute Lorraine are you complaining? No, I’m definitely not. My body has gone through 4 pregnancies and 3 births in just four and a half years. The time I had to train back then is now time spent with my kids and on my business, my priorities have definitely changed.  Triathlon training was once my number 1 priority.

You can’t be too hard on yourself post pregnancy. Sometimes we find it all too easy to forget what our bodies have been through and that we are still recovering.  It takes 2 years alone to recover from sleep deprivation never mind your pregnancy.

Many of us should and need to set fitness goals, achieving a goal gives a huge sense of personal achievement and can also make the journey of losing post baby weight and getting your pre baby shape back a little easier. It is also something and maybe the only thing you do for yourself!

My original goals were to have my children at school and get back into triathlon before I turned 40, that’s not going to happen but I don’t mind. The goal I am now setting myself however is to be able to run 10km and feel strong for my birthday now that should be achievable.

It’s best to set a main goal then to set several targets. By setting yourself small stepping stones you achieve things along the way helping to increase motivation.  Goals must be achievable if they are not then you will only set yourself up for failure and that does no one any good. It is also better for you if the goal is not centered around weight and body shape. I know as a mum I don't feel happy if I have a 'muffin top' but I try not to focus on losing weight , instead I focus on fitness and healthy eating and in turn I get rid of the 'muffin top'. Set goals such as running a 5km, Cycling for 60 minutes, perform 20 full press ups etc. Take the focus away from weight loss and you are much more likely to reach your goal and be happy with your shape.

The path to your fitness goal(s) is now not as straight forward as it was prior to you becoming a mum. The journey will be full of ups and downs; you now have to take in to account breast-feeding, sleepless nights, sick children and fluctuating hormones. All this can affect your training routine and how your body recovers and adapts to exercise.  Some weeks are better than others; I have learnt to let things go and ‘go with the flow’. This can be very difficult especially so for first time mums as they may think that things will never get any better/easier and that they won’t be able to exercise ever again! Now you may not be able to exercise like you once did but you will eventually find the time, you will get there.

Set yourself a goal, write it down, tell people about it and program several steps along the way, be patient and positive you will get there. Now go and plan your exercise for the week!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Post Pregnancy Hair Loss

As I write this I am experiencing this for the third time and sorry this is not an article telling you how to stop it. If you do find an answer let me know although I’m not planning on having any more children and going through this again.

This instead is an article to let you know that what you may find quite shocking and worrying losing your hair post pregnancy is absolutely normal. I have included  in this blog the things I have done this time to try to reduce post pregnancy hair loss.

Even though I had seen it happen to my clients I was horrified the first time I noticed I had bald spots 5 months post the birth of my first daughter and that I had receded- argh!  I can’t actually remember losing it first time but second time around I was prepared although it was still up-setting all the same.
Yes I know I have gorgeous children and I'm truly grateful but losing your hair can be really hard to deal with.
4 months post the birth of my second daughter Brooke the big fall out started, my brush was full of hair, my partner was complaining there was hair everywhere, and when I would blow- dry it you could see it falling out. I once caught my hair in a bag strap, I lifted my hair out from under the strap and half of it came out and was left on my jumper! Seems strange too I mean genetically and from a safety point of view why would this happen as your baby becomes littered with hair.
I searched on –line for answers but I knew there was no way to stop it. Can you imagine, most of the articles said try not to stress? Try not to stress, what when you can see yourself going bald erm yes that’s a tough one!

It can take around 2-3 years for your hair to recover from the post pregnancy hair loss. You lose minimum if any hair loss during a pregnancy hence why your hair looks so dam good. Then post pregnancy you lose it. For those very lucky women with thick hair they may not even notice or be glad of the natural thinning but for those of us with thin hair it can look absolutely awful and it takes time getting used to. My base-ball hat becomes my friend and I change the side of my parting.

Pregnancy hormones are to blame and you lose your hair regardless  if you breast-feed or not. Hair loss normally happens around 4-6 months post although everyone is different. So if you start seeing mounds of your hair falling out this is what I have tried third time around to try to reduce and help healthy hair grow back. I have found the extreme loss continues for approx 3-5 weeks.
  • Avoid washing your hair regularly- the weight of the water pulls more out
  • Avoid brushing too much and use a wide tooth comb when you do
  • Get a cut around the 3 month mark as medium length hair has less chance of getting caught in bag straps and under clothes.
  • Tie your hair up loosely at night to avoid it being pulled on the pillow
  • I have used a caffeine hair serum this time to stimulate new growth. I have yet to see if this really works.
  • Finally try not to worry, it is normal. Part your hair on the other side if it covers loss and by the time your baby is 2 your hair will be back to normal!

If you have any other tips to share on this subject please comment and help other readers going through this one downside for me anyway to pregnancy.