As a fitness professional for over 12 years,, I consider new fitness and health books mandatory reading. I read or skim most of the new "big releases" to stay educated for my team, my customers, my class members, and myself! Not only is this stuff what I live and breathe every day, it's my responsibility to stay on top of all the new health and fitness trends.
A couple of years ago, I read a book called The 8-Hour Diet. I liked the concept a lot....and was admittedly nervous to give it a go. The book challenged my long-held beliefs about nutrition. Yet the idea of eating in an 8 hour window was interesting. The theory of intermittent fasting had always fascinated me and I had actually implemented it unknowingly when trying to get back to pre-baby weight after each girl. Newborns cause life to get a little out of control, but I could control what I put in my mouth and how often I ate. So I would go long periods of time without eating, and it worked. But something about that seems a bit off, doesn't it?? Because we've been told over and over and over that we MUST eat breakfast and we MUST eat every 3 hours and we MUST do this and we MUST do that.
Then recently, my good friend Melissa McAllister shared her secret to her amazing physique. While speaking on Chalene Johnson's absolutely awesome new podcasts, Melissa went into detail about eating within the 8 hour window, the science behind it, and the results that could be achieved. Seriously, take a look at Melissa....yeah, I think the 8 hour Ab Diet she has perfected works, don't you??
So with Melissa's patient coaching (translation: me sending her a text in all caps
"I AM HANGRY!", and her coaching me through it, helping me establish new habits and understand the process behind the 8 Hour Ab Diet), I have stuck with this new way of eating for over 8 weeks now. Yes, there have been a couple days when I've been off...yet I have even surprised myself with how setting firm boundaries really creates a non-negotiable time frame.
Some of you have seen me post about my digestive issues. Basically, I have a colon that doesn't work very well. Melissa's 8 Hour Ab Diet has truly made a HUGE difference in how my system functions. I feel better, I have more energy in the morning, I feel clear-headed, I definitely have less bloating and less digestive issues. All from this way of eating and thanks to Melissa's mentoring.
As I said earlier, I live and breathe health and fitness. Yet that doesn't mean I ever stop being a student!!! And as someone once said to me, our bodies are our best experiment. Because I trust Melissa, I trusted her recommendations, her process. I trusted the fact there is always something new to learn and I trusted my body to tell me if this way of eating would work for me.
SO MUCH of our health and fitness is mental. As I've transitioned to Melissa's program, there have been times when I thought "should" be eating or that I was sooooooo hungry that I might eat my computer. But so much of that is mental. The cool part is, when we KNOW it's mental, we can flip the switch!! We are in control of our thoughts, our attitudes, and our habits!! We CAN create and establish new habits. We ARE stronger than we think we are!
Bottom line....Melissa's patience, mentoring, and recommendations work for me. Her 8 Hour Ab Diet works for me. My digestive system feels better, I feel leaner, and more in control of my nutrition.
Trust the experts in your life. Trust that new processes take time (in anything in life). Trust that we can always learn something new! Trust that your body is your best experiment. Trust that constant learning is key to constant growth! Trust that surrounding yourself with people who inspire you and push you is essential!
Thanks, Melissa, for pushing me to stick with this!! I'm a lifer
My first and most important tip is to remember that the post-baby recovery starts BEFORE the baby arrives. That means what we do BEFORE getting pregnant and DURING pregnancy completely affects our recovery after the baby is born. So even before you have that little bundle of joy, start making changes in your life to make sure you are healthy and strong. In general, this will make your recovery much easier!
TIP #1: Keep it low impact.
Some moms really want to get the baby weight off right away, however, your body has been through a marathon, literally, and you need to give it time to heal. Follow your doctor’s guidelines and wait the 6 weeks to start any sort of program. Once you have your doctor’s approval at about 6 weeks postpartum, I recommend sticking with low-impact exercises, walking, yoga and a personal favorite, PiYo.
TIP #2: Include HIIT workouts
Once you’re about 3 months postpartum you can start adding in short, HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training- workouts to your routine. These short bursts of intensity are great for revving up your system and burning some major calories and fat. Suggested exercises: lunges, burpees, skaters, pushups. Choose 4 total body exercises, do as many as you can for a minute each, rest a minute, then go again. Do 4 or 5 rounds to start and add more as you increase your fitness level.
TIP #3: Get good nutrition & sleep.
This may seems like a ‘duh’ tip, however, good nutrition and adequate sleep is so important. Eat lots of leafy greens, whole foods, fruits and drink plenty of water. “Sleep when the baby sleeps’ is great advice and while it may be tempting to use that time to "do something", I'm here to tell you....don't! Don't use it to do anything but sleep yourself! Your body repairs itself during sleep. Making sure you’re getting enough sleep will help you heal physically and keep you healthy emotionally and mentally. In addition, when we are sleep deprived, our defenses our down, our immunity is down. We are far more prone to making less-than-stellar nutritional choices, which sets us back in our road to recovery. Sleep is the great healer and will do more for your recovery than almost any other single action. Take that advice, it's been around for generations for a reason, and catch a nap when your baby sleeps. It's truly the best habit your can establish to help you recover more quickly.
Teaching is in my heart. Sometimes the venue changes, though. 13 years ago, I made the jump from classroom to gym. Still teaching - just in a different setting. I was, and still am, fueled with the desire to help others see a big picture and embrace their potential. Now, 13 years later, every day I feel so fortunate and grateful to continue pursuing that opportunity. This month, I had the experience of sharing my desire to inspire with ActiveLife Guide Magazine.
One key concept I've learned over the years is that everyone is stronger than they think they are and EVERYONE can do more than they think they can do. We are so capable, so strong, with so much potential. We just have to believe in ourselves! Remember…. Yes You Can.
Married to a college football coach, 3 daughters, Beachbody Master Trainer and Coach, Disney fanatic, aspire to inspire, serve others, and be a force of passion. Meet Julie!