Hello from Ives & Christy
Our desire is that the ula and us blog inspires, educates, and provides practical tips and tricks to help you conquer your individual summits.
If you are pregnant or recently postpartum chances are you have seen some celebrity endorse using a belly band or waist trainer to get her body back after birth. For some reason, in our culture we tend to value what celebrities say more than healthcare professionals. Don't get us wrong, as new mamas we get it. After birth you don't feel like your former self. You are searching for ways to find a rhythm and routine as you navigate motherhood. Quick fixes seem appealing. As a reminder, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Since we are certified in postpartum exercise and group fitness, we want to share our expertise with you on the topic of waist trainers.
I'm sure by now you know someone who has taken on the challenge of The Whole30, what is said to be 30 days to total health and food freedom. That is a big STATEMENT! I personally have completed it 3 times, my first 30 days being more than 5 years ago and I wanted to share with you the basics, what I really like about the program, and ultimately why I don't feel like I would do it again. It's been about 2 years since I last completed my last 30 days and there are absolutely benefits in which I will share, but in my opinion you have to be committed to the whole process which includes the reintroduction phase to better understand which foods impact your overall health and well being. When done with the right mindset, it can be beneficial to your long term health. A Whole30 diet is not achievable for the long term, so it is more of a journey to better understand which food groups may be problematic for your well being. Contrary, when it comes to long term change, a 30 day approach is not going to solve all of your problems. Healthy habits are formed over a lifetime and this is simply a tool that can be beneficial to better understand your relationship to food and how certain food groups impacts your overall well being, at least that is the way I look at it. I do feel that I am more sensitive to certain types of food and have had issues, so this is ultimately why I decided to take on the program.
In the preface of the book Melissa Hartwig (the author) writes, "Our relationship to food is our comfort, our reward, a trusted friend, a mother's love. You've got food habits, traditions, and associations that go back to childhood." Because of this, it makes breaking food habits hard. Food is something we have to do and ENJOY doing. We have to eat, so when it comes to creating healthier habits with eating it can be challenging. Melissa mentions that this isn't supposed to be a willpower test for 30 days, it's designed to change how you think about food and your body and in return improve energy levels, mood, self-confidence, and much more. This program did not change my life as I was already a healthy person, but there were things it did help with and that I can advocate for. In addition, it's important to note that the goal is not to lose weight, it's to better understand how your body responds to certain food groups, by first eliminating them and then slowly reintroducing them after the 30 days. If they still work for you, keeping eating them ma! If you find a food group is not working for you, then it's your choice to eliminate it for good or to enjoy it when it's worth it.
There are so many diet fads out there. I have never been a proponent of one or committed to a weight loss/strength gain nutrition program. After years of battling with body dysmorphia in my early teens and an unhealthy relationship with calorie counting (which I didn't even understand why I was doing), I now have a healthy relationship with food as fuel. I tend to eat what I want, when I want with the overall goal of fueling my body with the nutrients it needs to participate in the endurance training I love to do. But this doesn't mean that I am not intrigued by what's out there. Quite frankly I find diet fads interesting to research and understand. I heard about reverse carb cycling through social media and did a quick internet search, which opened up my eyes to the world of carb cycling. Let's see where it takes us.
If you've been paying attention to the health field then you probably understand the concept that not all sugars are created equal. Nowadays there are so many alternatives to table sugar that it can get pretty confusing. My first piece of advice, don't always believe marketing, it's called "marketing" for a reason. Secondly, science doesn't lie and nature is much more profound than we give it credit. My recommendation always, eat sugar in it's most natural form AKA in fruits. Our body knows what to do with an apple, it isn't able to digest highly processed sugars in the same way. If you eat to feel good or to FUEL your life of adventure or simply to thrive, then continue reading on. Oh and girl, I am NOT telling you to put down that ice cream sandwich. We all deserve a little joy in our lives and if your form of joy is a little sugar here and there, I am not one to judge. But I am here to inform and give you the tools you need to make better choices down the road.
How many of you have taken a workout class and heard the phrase, "suck your belly button (navel) in towards your spine?"
I am personally guilty of coaching others with this exact phrase. You hear it so often because it's a simple, visual cue. Everyone has a navel and knows where their spine is. But if you focus on sucking your belly button in, then this facilitates shallow breathing. Shallow breathing is bad. It leads to improper function of the diaphragm. Improper function of diaphragm impacts your pelvic floor and spinal stability.
If you or someone you know is complaining of neck, chest, or back tightness, this could be a sign of utilizing secondary muscles for respiration and improper diaphragmatic breathing. The goal of this over-utilized phrase is to promote activation of deep core muscles or the TVA (transverse abdominis). But it does the opposite of that. Let's dive deeper into the difference between the two breathing patterns and get you one step closer to activating the deepest layer of core muscles.
You may have seen on our Instagram stories that we went on a little weekend adventure in Quincy, Washington where we stayed at Cave B Inn & Spa Resort. If you have never been to Central Washington, it's absolutely worth a visit. The rocky terrain and desert-like climate is so different from Seattle, you feel like you are in a different state but you only had to drive 2 1/2 hours out of Seattle. It's also where the premier outdoor concert venue, Gorge Amphitheater is located. If you are looking for a relaxing and retreat status experience, Cave B is the place to stay. As they put it on their site, "Cave B Inn & Spa Resort was founded on the idea to unite human and nature, nestled upon cliff-sides overlooking the gorge and Columbia River" and we couldn't agree more.