hello there mr. speculum + 1st postpartum home workout

postpartum check up time!

5 weeks in, and here we are again.

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the last time i sat on this table i was 40 weeks preggo and 2 cms dilated.  just in my thoughts as i waited for Dr. A. lol.

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soon as i walked in the office my eyes were immediately drawn to the tools on the counter though, especially that darn speculum. hate it. and that clicking noise as it opens drives me craaaazy.

however, it was standing in the way of me and the gym so i tolerated it for yet another 60 seconds.  i know i’ll be seeing it for the rest of my life so i’ll make peace with it some day.

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aaaand we’re done here!  Dr. A cleared me to go back to my usual workout routine whenever i am ready.  however, i’m taking it super, duper slow.  teaching vs. taking a class are two different experiences for me as i’ve mentioned before.  kinda like Beyonce vs. Sasha Fierce– falling down the stairs and all.  i don’t want to push it too fast too soon, but ultimately i will be taking classes again, adding the weights back into my routine slowly but surely, and paying attention to how my body responds.  listen to your OB ladies, and listen to your body. i’ll discuss some of my fitness goals in the next post though!

*****

afterwards, i decided to share my very first workout at home with my Mr. Piggy! Sonny is NOT feeling Odego’s nickname but because he grunts and snorts like crazy when he is hungry it was only right.

#sorrynotsorry, hubs.

     

 i’m using body weight for these super basic moves for the most part as Dego only weighs like 9 lbs.  it’s perfect cause i’m forced to go super slow while i hold my precious cargo!

  • squats – looking up and out at the ceiling while performing squats helps to keep my back flat and knees behind my toes.

  • plie squats – you don’t have to go deep! gradually work your way back to that level.

  • side bends – try these to start and keep a flat back and elevated chest for better posture.  my postpartum core strength is loads better this time around as i worked my obliques throughout my pregnancy.

  • modified push ups with kisses :)

remember moms, my pace is not your pace and vice versa.  if you feel any pain or discomfort, STOP.  and if you haven’t been cleared to do these exercises yet, don’t even think about it!  if you have been cleared but still not ready, go outside and walk, hit the elliptical, or start with some postpartum yoga.  if moms could have their pre-preggo bodies back sooner than later, then let’s be honest– i’m positive a vast majority would jump at the chance to.  my message is to first and foremost show how proper nutrition and physical activity can aid in doing just that.  make no mistake, this is not a race.  i repeat…this is not a race.  i exercise because i love it. i make time for it because it’s a priority in my life.  there is absolutely nothing unrealistic about eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly during pregnancy. nothing. my journey may not be typical or the norm, but my results are very real.  my skin gets thicker by the day because of Instagram lol, but i won’t apologize or feel bad for being blessed to have an active pregnancy (i don’t take it for granted one bit) and/or living a healthy lifestyle.  ANY mom can do it and i hope to inspire other women enough to even try!

semi-rant over.

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i stopped at GNC on the way home to try some new Quest Bar flavors before i buy a whole box of them and i’m excited!  they have been helping with my sweet cravings and i don’t mind the fiber and protein that comes with them.  they’re all natural, high fiber, gluten-free, 1g of sugar, and low carb. i bought hubs the Cookies & Cream flavor which he swallowed on sight (which is why it’s not pictured) and i managed to get a piece and loved it too.  it nipped his Oreo cookie craving right in the bud, sweet!

Q: what is your favorite Quest Bar flavor? 

le

happy birthday, Odego

WELL!  a lot has happened since Fathers’ Day.

*****

i know a good handful of current mommies-to-be and the real life story you’re about to read is just one of bajillions. moms, i just want to encourage you to learn from my journey, but don’t let it make you even the slightest bit apprehensive about your own.  your L & D story will have its own twists and turns too…or not!  even with the longest, most detailed birth plan ever, we just never know how these things will play out…

*****

at 2 cms dilated, we finally got our hospital tour done on thursday, June 12th, my expected due date.

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we asked questions, made jokes, reminisced about Chiso’s birth, talked and walked around, met a few L & D nurses (who are all awesome and heaven-sent), and made a family date out of it with big brother Chiso.

i was convinced Odego would make his way into this world on Fathers’ Day (wishful thinking on Sonny’s behalf ), so i finished packing our bags (for the last time) that night and started prepping to celebrate the weekend in the hospital.

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happy Fathers’ Day, Papa!!! sunday morning came and there were still no surefire signs of labor to be found whatsoever though. before we headed to church, Chiso, Dego, and i presented Sonny with a few gifts at home, unlike i planned.  then, we dined at Fish City Grill, per Sonny’s request, and met up with my parents before heading home to finally relax.

9pm sunday night, i began spotting.

i won’t say the spotting and excess fluid was surprising at all as we had been trying a few natural remedies to get this thing going, but the unexpected sight of blood always makes me do a double-take.

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could this be it? would Sonny really get the best Fathers’ Day gift ever? we still had 3 hours left according to him. i was having super light contractions and some spotting, but i was still smiling.  and taking pics. lol. the on-call Dr. told us not to play with amniotic fluid, so we were told to head to the hospital to be checked. i know the front desk nurses had to be like ‘ummm, clearly she is not in labor.’ LOL.

soooo we did the walk of shame right on home 3 hours later.

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definitely not in labor yet.

papsmears are nightmares for me, so just being checked for dilation was enough to rev up my light contractions to the next level  from that point forward. monday morning, Dr. A told me to come straight to her office after the previous night’s fiasco, so we did. i finally began to keep record and contracted 3 random times during the 15 minute drive to her office.  i was still at 2 cms according to her, and she wrapped up my appointment by presenting us with an option to mull over for the next couple of hours.  i could come in to be induced at 530am the following day, tuesday the 17th, or, we could just keep waiting…  she then explained that she would be out of the office on thursday and friday. THAT little nugget of info helped me make my decision right then and there. Dr. A. was out having her twins at the time Chiso was born and i was not missing her  again this round, nope. Sonny was ready to meet Odego on Fathers’ Day so he was all for option 1. we prayed about it and agreed to go for it.  that same night, the contractions were even stronger, but bearable enough for me to take a walk to the park with Chiso. during 1 hour, i counted about 6 or 7 contractions.

once home, i loaded up most of our things in the car and because i was required to fast from food and liquid after midnight, i cooked and ate my last meal around 10pm. i also baked every fillet of tilapia in the freezer per Sonny’s request as he is prepping for a Musclemiania competition at the end of this month.  couldn’t leave him out in the cold!  afterwards, i did my best to lay down and get some rest with Chiso, but that didn’t really happen. i got in the bed around 1, but each contraction woke me up. Sonny started his timer and laid his phone down right next to me. every time a contraction hit, i’d press the ‘lap’ button to record the time between each of them.  by 4am, i was up pacing and breathing through each contraction.  of course to me they FELT like they were coming 2-3 minutes apart, but it was more like every 5-10.  this boy was definitely on his way.

  so we headed out to the hospital,

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(now that looks more like a labor-face)

valated the car, signed in, and waited a few moments for our room.

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Sonny knew i would want these pics later… so he snapped away while i contracted away and did his best to keep Chiso busy.

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  however, Chiso was generally concerned for his mama and every time i got up, he got up and paced with me. it wasn’t funny at the time but he kept asking, ‘mama happy? mama happy now?’

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last #usies as a family of 3.

the staff directed us to our room and i immediately changed into my gown, used the restroom, stood up to my feet, look down, and ‘watched’ my water break!  no induction needed. and it wasn’t a ginormous tidal wave like the movies either :D

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i waddled out of the restroom and immediately called out to alert Sonny when i should have been telling my nurse, nurse Judy. i mean we were in the hospital and all.  force of habit!  thank God for L& D nurses. He provided us with a fabulous one. she encouraged me, told me i was strong, kept me informed, and did her job like she was born to do it.  i laid down on the bed to be checked: 4-5 cms! i was ELATED to be halfway there and also to know i’d be kissing Odego’s sweet face sooner than later.

so about those contractions!  well, they got stronger as expected after my water broke and i labored to about 6-7 cms or so before calling for an epidural around 9am.  in less than 15 minutes the anesthesiologist was literally behind me and ready to go.

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finally… peace, ice chips,

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and electronics for the boys as we waited.

around 12:15pm, i randomly started to feel moderate cramping again.  i was told if i needed more meds to push a Jeopardy like button connected to my IV and placed on the bed right next to me.  i was reeeeally hoping i wouldn’t have to even use that thing, but because the pain kept getting stronger, everybody in the room could tell when each contraction hit cause the button made an electronic dinging noise when pressed. unfortunately, no matter how many times i hit that button the pain didn’t let up and only increased. a 2nd anesthesiologist came in and ‘added’ more meds… but i felt no difference.  eventually, the nurse checked me again- 9cms! it was music to my ears but the thought of laboring through those contractions until i hit the big 10 discouraged me.  how much longer?!?! my dad held my hand and prayed over me through each painful wave.. something i will never, ever forget.  watching your child suffer is no easy task. i understand now.

alright, 10cms, FINALLY!  Dr. A appears out of nowhere again, instantly calms the room, puts on her cape & gloves, and nurse Judy prepares me for delivery. my dad takes Chiso and heads to the waiting area, and my mom and Sonny take their places on either side of me.  let’s GO. with each contraction came a strong urge to push… and i must admit that since my lower body was no longer numb from the epidural, i had total control of my pelvic muscles, floor, and core.  because the epi was in full swing during my 1st delivery, i pushed with everything i had and it felt like absolutely nothing was happening. less than 8 minutes and 5 or 6 pushes later, my mom was crying and overjoyed with emotion, Sonny was cutting the umbilical cord, and Dego’s warm body was laying on my chest.

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in an instant…all the pain was gone and completely forgotten.  by me anyway. my dad? not so much!  Odego was worth it all. i couldn’t help but think of the women who birthed babies with no medication whatsoever. past, present, whether it was their choice, and those who had no choice at all. amazing.

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Chiso could barely contain his excitement!  it was finally time to meet his little brother after all this waiting!  heck, he talked to Dego more than i did while he was in my tummy.  i can’t wait to show both boys this picture when they are older.

 i’d also like to note that Odego weighed in at 7 lbs & 9 oz, but i carried smaller vs my first pregnancy (Chiso was 6 lbs 11 oz).  i was also in better shape and made way better food choices this round. take note, moms! that’s just another reason comparing bumps is really silly and never a fair baby weight predictor.

20140617_171609 FOOD. after fasting since midnight, nurse Judy read my mind and put the menu and the room phone right next to me. i LOVE her.  that was my post-delivery lunch: grilled chicken burger with sweet potato fries, a side salad, and vegetable soup. yall know when i get hungry i get scatterbrained and just want everything. i read the 3 page menu 50 bajillion times before Sonny was like, ‘Leah we will be here til thursday, PICK SOMETHING.’

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i don’t go there often, but i hear hospital food has changed!  i ordered eggs, oatmeal, and fruit for every breakfast, and either grilled chicken or tilapia for lunch and/or dinner.  i made sure to have veggies and a salad with every meal, but i wanted fries so i ordered those sometimes too.

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Dr. A approved me to get up and move around, so i threw on my Nikes and did just that wednesday morning after breakfast. just a few slow laps around the postpartum wing, that’s it.  later that night, Sonny pushed Odego in his nursey cart and walked with me.

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heading home the next day!  but not before ordering lunch one last time, haha.

i missed that fresh new baby smell, skin, and newborn cry… to finally hold and kiss the face of someone you already love so deeply after months of waiting is… indescribable! a blessing. a miracle.

 but with that comes the smell and sting of Dermoplast spray, recovering down there, sitting down super slowly,  swollen, engorged breasts & nipples so sore the brush of a t-shirt or bra feels like hell’s fire, nocturnal newborn schedules and feedings, i.e.,  good ol’  MOTHERHOOD!

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hello, round two!


       thank you, Father, for expanding our home by two more feet, and thank you for reading.

le

in love with lean

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the wait. that dreaded wait.  we all wait for something at some point in our lives.  His timing is….. impeccable though. perfect. every time.  but while you’re waiting, you don’t want to hear that.  and i wanted another baby. and when a woman wants a baby,  she wants one when she wants one.

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Sonny and i prayed and believed consistently for another Egwuatu kiddo. we knew Chiso was only the beginning. however, after stepping off the stage last year i was head over heels for my ‘new’, lean body.  you might say, ‘but you were already lean.’ there’s a huge visual and physical difference between 21% body fat and 10%.   i was thrilled at seeing 130- anything on the scale.  i had not seen the 130’s in this decade.  ‘long & lean’ was something i had always wanted to accomplish with my body.  so once I got there, according to my standards anyway,

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i wanted to stay there. here we go again…but on a much deeper level this round.

<<rewind<<

my menstrual cycle has always been flaky. it has always done its own thing since it finally popped up at age 16. late bloomer right here. from then on, Irregular City…which was prolly due to my active sports life.

i discovered my passion for group fitness and became an instructor for a few local gyms a few years after college graduation and marriage to Sonny.  i was extremely nervous just thinking about getting in front of a crowd, but the support and encouragement from friends, Sonny, and my family pushed me to just go for it.  i started with a BANG teaching 7-9 classes per week (before and after work) and local boot-camps on my own in addition to my full-time job.  then things got a little crazy with my body. i went from monstrous PMS symptoms including heavy cramping & bleeding, bloating, mood swings, swelling & breast tenderness every one or two days a month to absolutely no period and zero symptoms. nothing. when i first met Sonny in college and had an ‘episode’, he actually called 911, bless his heart.

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 it was just something i lived with, and something my family (mom, dad & brother when i lived at home) adjusted to. on the first day of every cycle, life stopped.  4 aleeve, vicodin, hot water bottles,  massive overnight – diaper sized pads, and my bed was my life for 24-48 hrs. so, this exercise thing was quite alright in my eyes. it was my saving grace.  can i tell you how happy a camper i was?  to not have to deal with any of that mess anymore was….. LIBERATING. living like a boy was fun. no tampons, pads, PMS, none of that. this went on for months…. maybe over 8 or so…unfortunately i lost count.  i later researched this to be deemed athletic amenorrhea, but back then i just referred to it as AWESOME.  when the time came for Sonny and i to really get serious about bringing some kiddos into this world, well i was not exactly in the best position to house a child.  i have never been on birth control. so after being a married woman and doing married woman things for over a year and never being  ‘surprised’ (which was fine by me) i had to really wonder what was up with me.  …or Sonny. which one of us needed to be ‘fixed’?

i learned along the way that you don’t even need to actually bleed to get pregnant…just ovulate. but bleeding helps you pinpoit when to expect to ovulate.  and hello, it just comes with the territory of being a woman!  without a cycle, i’d have to take an ovulation test, well, every single day. that got old and discouraging real fast. and obviously, not bleeding on my own meant that things just weren’t right.  Sonny wanted to expand our family from the jump, but his concern grew as time went by without a positive result.

at some point along the way Sonny did wonder what happened to my angry woman PMS symptoms and asked about them.  i explained how they simply vanished completely after i started exercising a lot…along with my period.  he stayed on me about going to the Dr., and i did. eventually.  he naturally felt irritated and annoyed with me for not taking our health seriously and waiting months to see my OB.  i put it on the back burner countless times and kept reassuring him it would come back on its own if i just exercised less and rested more.  gym members were excited about my classes and attending consistently!  slow down? i can’t now! i’m in demand!  i made so many new connections and met so many new fit friends during that time. i was simply enjoying the instructor experience and wanted nothing more than to keep it rolling.  but i also knew i wanted a baby…sooner or later.

so i prayed. then i dropped a class. and cried. and waited. and dropped another class. and cried. and waited. and dropped another class. and cried. and waited… for negative result after negative result, and no period.  after several months of this draining cycle, my OB referred me to a fertility specialist.  he prescribed me Provera which brought my cycle back the following month.

just. like. that.

i felt tons better and like a normal woman again. our strength and outlook on the whole baby-making process was renewed and TTC (fyi, that stands for trying to conceive from all the mommy-hood message boards i scoured at the time lol) became fun again, not a timed task.  but after a few more months of ovulation tests and scheduled intercourse, that stick just wouldn’t yield a positive result.  so, i had multiple tests run.  an HSG test was done to ensure my fallopian tubes weren’t blocked. what an uncomfortable day that was.  turns out they weren’t blocked though.  Sonny, on the other hand, passed all his tests with flying colors so he was eradicated immediately.  hopes were high again for the next month. negative.  i’ve never been a fan of roller coasters and wanted off this stupid ride. then the guilt set in.  i was extremely close to accepting that my negligence damaged me to the point of never being able to conceive a child.  around that time, God made two extremely special friends of mine even more prevalent in my life, just when i needed them.  they prayed for me, over me, and agreed in prayer with me that God would bless Sonny and i with a child in His time…… and under certain conditions.  i had to chill with the exercise.  i had to sacrifice the very thing i could not imagine going a day without.  i kept teaching my classes (i believe i was only doing 3 a week by that point) and did no other form of exercise outside of them except, walk. walk, walk, walk. nothing else.  this was because i would use my class as my warm up, then go do my own intense workout afterwards, every time.  even on the days i didn’t teach class, you knew where to find me.  after almost 2 months of sticking to the script, spending more time with the Lord (poof, i had a lot more spare time suddenly) exercising less, and giving my body the break it deserved, i had several friends including Sonny’s mom tell me about Clomid. i brought it up to my Specialist at my next visit.

after the very first round of Clomid (+ the self-administered Ovidrel shot, :shock: yikes), boom. our Chiso was on the way.

just. like. that.

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please read about my 1st fit preggo journey here!

>>fast forward>>

i was eager to return to my regularly scheduled workout program after giving birth….. i could not wait.  i was completely recovered (natural birth + episiotomy) after about 2.5 weeks total.

so, i loaded lil’ Chiso up into our new jogging stroller and hit the bricks! just to the mailbox and around the neighborhood though.  i was a good girl and waited the full 6 weeks to hit the gym again.  trust…Sonny made sure of it :roll:

>>fast forward>>

around Memorial day of 2012  (Chiso was almost 1-year-old), some friends of ours competed in a body building competition which intrigued me tremendously.  i’ve always wanted to be a bodybuilder!!!! always.  this only fueled my fire since it was so close to home.  Sonny has always wanted to compete, but only without the use of supplements.  more importantly to him were the new sleep apnea and blood pressure issues he faced for the 1st time in his life from the added 50lbs he put on after his college track days.  the dr. visit scare reminded him of his late father’s symptoms who passed away when he was 19,  just 1 year before we met.  not wanting to contribute to the possibility of leaving Chiso and I behind too soon, he instantly put his health in the forefront again.  anyway, i would always get crazy looks, comments, blank stares, and ‘are you serious?’ faces from friends and family about bodybuilding so i never took it seriously either.  not this time- Sonny and i agreed to train for our 1st competition together that would take place 4 months later on our 5th wedding anniversary, September 15th.  i still didn’t have a period at this point because i was breastfeeding Chiso regularly.

so we were off!  we committed wholeheartedly to our competition journey and started going hard with the weight training, sticking to our nutrition plans to the T, dropping body fat like crazy, and just training everyday with no breaks or rest days.  the ironic part? after somehow surviving that daily, strenuous, gym, work, home, gym again,  schedule, i was still lactating like crazy.  that was largely due to my diet, no doubt.  no processed or fried foods, only a combo of oatmeal (a big milk production booster), brown rice, sweet potatoes, egg whites, spinach, asparagus, apples, bananas, blueberries, chicken breast, lean beef, tilapia, almonds, and avocado, 5 – 6 times per day. no supplements, shakes, pills, powders were used or wanted because i didn’t want to pass any foreign ingredients to Chiso.

read about our 14 week transformations here.

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the end result? well, we made it! we even ended up bringing home some hardware! (hardware = trophies).  what a weekend and what a ride.

afterwards….. i was in love. i was super proud of my body and the new level of leanness i was able to achieve with the help of my former trainer.  i was fitter and smaller than before i got preggo with Chiso!  teaching my classes minimized my recovery time and got me back to my pre-preggo size quickly, but at the time i was convinced that was the best my body could do.  my clothes fit way different or just didn’t fit anymore at all, and i was slipping into things i hadn’t worn in years  that had been pushed to the back of my closet. my pride wouldn’t let me throw or give anything away.

Sonny and i headed to Jamaica to celebrate our wedding anni the sunday after our show and had a blast.  when we got back, i wasn’t necessarily interested in doing another show right away because, well, i told myself after i was done i would chill out and prepare my body for baby #2.  that was the plan…that fell through immediately.  from October 12 – June 13 i was living and training like i was about to compete in another show.  i’d wake up claiming that day as a rest day and found myself outside running or at the gym anyway raking up cals on my Polar HR watch.  now, being active is important to me.  i recommend daily movement to everybody.  but unless i burned a certain number of cals or was drenched in sweat, i wouldn’t leave the gym.  obsessed & unbalanced.  i was being stubborn and counter productive to my ultimate goal. again.

 let’s be real. we all want to look good, all the time.  for some competitors that desire is even more so magnified once we step off that stage.  when we start to look ‘normal’ again and go off our competition diet in the slightest bit, we feel fluffy, unfocused, and as if we’ve let ourselves go completely.  so, we flip the competition prep switch on.  in my case, i had no scheduled shows coming up.  since my body was on a way fitter level than before my 1st pregnancy, it was twice, no, quadruple times harder to let go of the exercise reigns.

the journey to baby #2 went in a somewhat similar fashion. this time though, increasing my body fat along with decreasing my workout intensity and activity level was number one on my to-do list. first, Provera brought my period back (after i stopped breastfeeding around 19 months it needed another jump-start i guess), then a round of Clomid.  and another round of Clomid. and another, followed by my very first IUI.  i remember speaking with my good friend by phone and expressing my frustrations as Sonny and i were on the rocky TTC road again.  she felt in her spirit that there was one constant clearly hindering the process. again.  and she was right.  of course she was right!  God was speaking through her because i wasn’t listening to Him.  then she politely reminded me about our agreement from my 1st pregnancy when she prolly should have screamed it into the phone instead.  we made the very same commitment with the Lord together in prayer and from that point on i only walked outside of teaching my 2 classes per week.  committing to do nothing but walk… don’t even get me started!  one of the toughest mental battles, ever.  i’d glance in the mirror every so often and see more jiggle here, a new softness there, and it would just make me want to say screw it and go sprint outside in the street!!!!  i could not disregard my promise or my priorities, and worrying so much about every little change in this temporary, earthly body of mine was ruining me.   this process reinforced spiritual discipline, submission, and obedience to God.  patience. faith.. the list goes on.  so while enduring the ongoing, daily spiritual growth (which is most important), there is something greater developing beyond my simple sacrifice:

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our 2nd blessing,

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*****

i have stopped asking myself  ‘why did i wait until 30 years old to finally do a bikini competition?’ and accept that the ‘delay’ was all apart of His plan for my life.  He knows me better than i ever will. He created me.   fitness will forever be my passion. i was born to do this! no doubt in my mind.  but abusing my gift and living an unbalanced, unhealthy lifestyle was never apart of the deal.  if balance is not present in anything we do, the snowball effect takes place.  you may think you can handle it and that things are under control for a few weeks….months….even years… but eventually the scales tip and fall over.  i highly doubt i would have been able to handle sacrificing my body for even one child had i dabbled in the sport of bodybuilding at a much younger age.  i’ve learned that menstrual cycle issues are such touchy and taboo subjects for women competitors, and some would simply rather not discuss it.  apparently some women never lose their cycle, and some cycles come right on back once that competitor’s body fat level rises to a normal range. does that happen for the majority of women competitors? good question. i don’t know. i do know that the road to conception is different for every woman…just like the pregnancy itself, labor, and delivery.  every woman’s got her story whether she chooses to share it or not.

writingishard

this post was months in the making.  part of me wanted it to come out perfectly, and the other half just wanted it to come OUT already.  i’m no longer ashamed or so secretive of the fertility drug discussions or questions.   7.3 million active and inactive women face infertility, yet it’s still such a taboo subject, especially in the bodybuilding and athletic arena.  the sense of feeling like less of a woman for being unable to conceive naturally can be overwhelming and lead to a loss of self-worth.  unfortunately, the same can be said depending on the way a woman delivers her baby!  there is nothing wrong with ‘help’. pain meds, epidurals, c-sections, etc.,–  they all go under the same umbrella in my eyes.  infertility is a medical condition, not a measure of who you are as a person.  breaking my silence has been incredibly empowering and played a crazy huge role in eliminating the ‘broken’ feelings i used to have about my body.  this ongoing journey has reinforced how living as a positive, balanced, realistic picture of health to my family and everyone i reach via social media, my blog, and on the street is such a vital part of my purpose.

yourstory

transparency is not easy. i feel the reader isn’t affected nearly as much as the writer spilling their beans and putting themselves out there.  regardless, it sure does feel good to share.

as always, thanks for reading.

le

halfway there! 20 weeks

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already!? cool with me.

  baby boy (we have a name but i’ll let Sonny finalize it first) is measuring the size of a banana this week.  i’m feeling him move all the time, day and night, and the flutters have definitely turned into random punches, kicks, and pokes.  my nurse says i am not drinking enough water (no surprise there unfortunately) so i’ve been chugging when i can.  so i have to pee all the time. day and night. i have to pee right after i finish peeing. no kidding. so annoying!!!!!! :evil:

foodery:

trying my hardest to keep things on the healthy side for the most part. here are some recent eats:

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been grilling up lots of chicken. people tell me they get tired of chicken quickly but as long as i switch up the flavors often, it’s like eating it for the first time to me.  i found the Weber Kickn’ Chicken seasoning blend a few days ago at my Walmart and i really like it so far. i don’t even mind the spice, which i’ve never been crazy about!  yummy.  since Sonny is about to be on the competition trail again he’s been eating lots of tilapia, so i usually eat some too with my meals.  i made that homemade bbq chicken pizza using Naan flat bread up there and omg. it was just incredible.   along with all my meals though, plenty of veggies and fresh fruit, everyday. some nights i have a strong craving for SOMETHING…… and nothing i eat will satisfy it. nothing. so i just eat a small chunk of cheese and go to bed.

and then there’s the occasional indulgence i have yet to deny myself.  Boston Market mac n cheese. why? because CHEESE.

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staying active:

getting it in 5-6 days  a week lately!  this past week i went 6 days in a row so i didn’t go anywhere near the gym saturday at all.  ok sunday too :lol: . i have never liked taking two days off in a row, but i am rested and ready to attack monday head on.  i haven’t skipped a beat with my super early morning HIIT and weights classes and i’m lifting at least 3 days a week on my own.

these are plain ol’ squats with a weighted barbell. (thanks for your patience, Tamika ;) )! as an instructor, proper form is a big deal to me, and using less weight has really given me a chance to focus on the muscle i’m working and ensure i’m doing it right myself.  sometimes my thoughts are clouded with how heavy the weight is and how many reps i have left to go vs. what i’m actually doing!  now, normally i’d slap 45 lbs on my bar for class (22.5 on each side) but i’ve modified that to 30 lbs total as of late.

remember:

  • knees BEHIND toes at all times

  • sit in your imaginary chair

  • back flat

  • spine, neck, head all in alignment

  • chest lifted

  • squeeze your glutes on the way down AND up

  • put your weight in your heels. can you lift your toes in your shoes at any time?

  • pick a spot on the ceiling and focus your attention there. looking up helps to keep your chest lifted too.

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so just.keep.moving.  it has been too uncomfortably cold to walk outside in Houston lately, so i have been using the elliptical, stair master, and treadmill for my cardio, 4-5 times a week.  however when it warms up i can’t wait to get back outside to my neighborhood walks again.  no idea how much weight i’ve gained and i’d like to keep it that way to be honest! i’m thinking once i deliver and start my transformation i’ll let Sonny track all my measurements and numbers in the beginning JUST for documentation/timeline purposes.  weight is just not something i want to stress myself about ever again.

conclusion:

against my wishes, i’m gonna need some maternity clothes this round.  i finally starting showingshowing around 6.5 months with my first pregnancy, so i wore all my regular, breathable clothes til i delivered for the most part. this time… belly is getting on out there and everything is tight already. especially my underwear.

Q: what was the best thing you ate this weekend? that mac n cheese made my DAY.

le

OB check up + why try swai

happy hump day and  happy 7 days til Christmas!? whoa.

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had another check up 1st thing this morning and all is well in this tummy of mine, thank God.  baby’s heartbeat is a strong 150 and by the next visit we’ll be able to determine its sex.  i don’t wanna know though!!! i would love to be surprised in the delivery room, but Mr. Egwuatu says he would like to know as soon as we can find out.  so if he knows i must know too, jeez. my OB just popped out her 4th and final kiddo a few months ago and after i told her my symptoms are super similar from my first pregnancy, she said that didn’t mean a thing.  i feel like it’s another boy though and the chinese gender predictor agrees :lol:

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i had a pregnancy-brain moment and ruined 36 perfectly good eggs by leaving them in my truck for 2 days.  the cartons were on the floor of the passenger seat, still in the grocery bag and everything. ugh. sooo, we made a pit stop at Whole Foods (yes i had an alterior motive) to get some more and see what they had cooking for lunch.  i let my ‘cravings’ (post coming soon) get the best of me again and got a few scoops of their vegetable fried rice and mac n cheese.  to my surprise, the stats for both were available on www.myfitnesspal.com, and i didn’t even do too bad!  just when i think a food item won’t be there after performing a search, it pops right up. LOVE THAT SITE.

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 ok, this was the real reason for the WF trip. confession:  i completely forgot i was pregnant on Thanksgiving eve while i was up cooking and pretty much licked an entire bowl of leftover raw brownie batter. CLEAN. who does that? apparently pregnancy brain is real, my goodness. i did freak out afterwards but calmed down…. eventually.  i asked Sonny to bring me some of this addicting vegan cookie dough so that if i ate some raw it would totally be ok.  dairy / egg- free and tastes like the Nestle Toll House recipe batter i grew up eating. it’s incredible. incredibly dangerous. 2 tubs later…….
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ok let’s talk about healthy stuff!  swai fish was the same price as tilapia fillets at Walmart this week so i chose them to give our taste buds something different.  here’s how they stack up:

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i made a Swai Po’ Boy sammich with it cause the texture and taste is like that of catfish to me.  tilapia is definitely flakier though.

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i coated the fillets in my homemade whole wheat breadcrumbs mixture (no parmesan cheese and swapped the Italian seasoning for salt-free Caribbean Jerk), and pan-fried them in 2 tsp of coconut oil for 5-7 minutes on each side.  

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i threw the fillet on a ciabatta loaf over shredded lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and topped it with some homemade sriracha ‘mayo’!

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for the mayo, it’s:

  • 2 heaping tbsp of greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp sriracha
  •  few shakes of seasoned pepper (by Mc Cormick)
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

mix!

have you tried swai? what’s your favorite white fish?

le





lululemon Journey Crops + #sunfamfun

soooo, what did you and your fam get into today?

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 we got fro-yo this evening to conclude my first ‘relaxed’ sunday in a really long time.  i was honestly emotional today thinking about the sunday class i no longer teach (we were in Miami this time last week so it was the furthest thing from my mind lol).  but now i’m back in town and i found myself letting those guilty feelings and thoughts creep back in concerning my decision to drop the class.  just taking it one sunday at a time.

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first off, let me just say how BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE i am from this past weekend’s Blog Elevated Conference.  just wow.  my brain is literally overflowing with info and i am JUST now sitting down to review it all. or at least try to.  pages and pages of notes.  a gigantic stack of business cards from the other awesome bloggers i met.  i’ll get to it all.  after this post!

i had the pleasure of testing out these fan-freakin-tastic Journey Cropped pants from Lululemon recently.

can you say ‘second skin’?

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they kept right up with all my shenanigans.  stretching, running, HIIT, treadmill, yoga, weight training, lounging, grocery shopping-  all of it.

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why i love and recommend the Journey Crops – 78.00:

  • compressive but comfortable
  • they fit like a glove / accentuates my shape and holds everything in place
  • high waist band to prevent muffin top
  • secret pocket
  • long & lean length
  • breathable, cool, sheer, lightweight mesh fabric on the back of the leg (hamstring and calve) area
  • mesh area is stylish not see-through
  • crazy comfortable

my 5:30am members got a kick outta my one-woman fashion show while up on the stage before class.

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they are made with Luon, Interlock Power Luxtreme, and mesh materials.  click to see how to take care of these fabrics and increase their lifespan.

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the Journey Crops are certainly Fit Foodie Le APPROVED!  in every color ;)

monday motivation:

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everyone who lost a fairy large amount of weight did so by adding in some form of physical activity.

even if it was a little bit, the fact that they were more active definitely contributed to their weight loss efforts.

what helps you stay consistent is finding something you enjoy!

trial and error. run. do yoga. dance. twerk. walk. bike. skip. jump. sprint. swim. ski. kickbox. jog. try it all.

just get up.

get active.

get moving.

le

my 14 week transformation

 remember this?  boooo… *throws a tomato*

- June 2012 -

Chiso had just turned one a month prior to my decision to compete in my first bikini competition.  my weight fluctuated give or take 5-10 lbs in either direction depending on what i ate since i had given birth.  heck, even pre-prenancy.  in a way, i was honestly sorta proud of my post-preggo body…i mean the few extra pounds that i did gain melted off rather quickly and i was back to my pre-preggo weight pretty fast.   but, i was still unsatisfied with myself to say the least.  i still didn’t have my goal body.

i’m 5’10 and my starting weight according to my home scale was:

161 lbs.

21% body fat

per my trainer’s scale:

156 lbs.

21% body fat

translation = fluffy!

two weeks into my training, i had my very first progress check.  even after just a full week of clean eating, i saw changes instantly and got so excited i made a post about them.

- JUNE  23rd. -

156. 5 lbs.

19.88% bf

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 – JUNE 23rd -

however, i was still super sloppy fluffy and had a lot of work to do. plus a horrible, horrible tan.

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- JUNE 23rd -

  i was still breastfeeding at the time, hence all that boobage.  heavy boobs reeeeally gave me awful posture, but having a great, supportive regular and sports bra helped.  i’d rather just lose body fat though, wouldn’t you?!

- JULY 7th. -

153 lbs.

18.5% bf

each progress check was done early in the morning- can’t you tell?  and hey now, after two more weeks, you can see i’m a little tighter, specifically in my mid section.  the slim waist i never thought i was built to have was slowly appearing!  i was easily fitting dresses that were purposely hidden in the back of my closet cause they were too uncomfy to wear anymore.  my pride would not let me get rid of them.

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- JULY 21st. -

152.5 lbs.

16.2% bf

the july 7th pics look pretty similar  to july 21st, huh!  i did 50 billion comparisons between them to make sure they really were different.  i thought my trainer had sent the same pics twice for a second there, but my polar heart rate watch gave it away.

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- JULY 21st. -

thigh gap was getting wider and they were slimming right on down.

- AUGUST 4th -

147.8 lbs.

13.5% bf

awww yeeeeeah, big difference there, huh!  why? carb cycling.  yep, i did a post on that too, but there are so many awesome informational sites on the net that go into greater detail as to how it all works.  it’s very simple though. don’t over complicate it.  i had  three low carb days followed by one high carb day and repeated that over and over again for a few weeks.  i was able to lose fat while keeping my muscle!  seeing progress like this lifted my butt outta bed every morning to do my cardio.

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- AUGUST 18th.  -

142 lbs.

11.11% bf

by my next progress check, i had found my show suit. i had just finished posing practice with my coach, so i took my pics in it.  i was down 2% lower in the body fat and lost another 5 lbs from the carb cycling.

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 – AUGUST 18th -

i’ve got wings!

 – AUGUST 18th. -

4 weeks away and ashy.  it’s important that i note that i was not only feeling slim at that time, but i felt STRONG, mentally and physically.  in the past, i could easily drop a few pounds after exercising my face off for a few days and heavily restricting my diet of carbs, sugar, and fat.   i often felt lethargic, super tired, and moody though.  i didn’t understand how women could diet down to a size they wanted without feeling…well, BAD.  this was totally not normal! if i had to feel that way in order to achieve my goal, i felt it was worth it.  it was a very sad situation and a screwed up, unhealthy relationship with food and fitness.  after i hit my ‘goal’ weight (yes i said weight and not body) i would eventually let those foods back into my diet.  why?  well cause i craved them terribly, that’s why!! which equals instant weight gain.  you better believe i know better, now. there IS a better, healthier way.

- SEPTEMBER 1st -

144.4 lbs.

10.6% bf

why did i weigh more here?  water, water, water weight.  i was drinking over a gallon a day at this point…or trying too, lol.

 two weeks left until show time and not able to fit a single thing in my closet.

- SEPTEMBER 13th -

137 lbs.

8.7% bf

two days out here and super slim after peeing my heart out and getting rid of all that darn water.   my diet on this day and show day was full of carbs though which helped my muscles to fill out and ‘pop’.

i ended up at 138 on show day.  hadn’t seen the 130’s in this decade!

the big day!  September 15th.

23 lbs and 13% body fat lost in 14 weeks.

 alriiiiight, time for just a few questions i’ve received up to this point:

Q: did/do you take supplements?

A: no. no protein shakes, no fat burner pills, no powders.  i started and finished this journey completely natural.  the only ‘supplement’ i took every morning is the same thing i’ve been taking for the past two years- my generic prenatal pills.

**i’m not taking shots at or discrediting anyone who used those items along their journey to the stage.  could i have improved my results with them? possibly!  i wanted to remain natural though because i was also nursing Chiso heavily at the time. we are just  now in the weaning stages (any day now) but i never had to worry about him ingesting anything questionable and having a bad/allergic reaction to it.

Q: will you compete again?

A: absolutely! i know the experiences hereafter aren’t guaranteed to turn out as amazingly cool as my first one, but that’s ok!  i loved seeing my body change and transform in addition to all the information and knowledge i soaked up along the way.  i still keep in contact with some of the amazing competitors i went through this journey with at that.

Q: how was it competing at the same time as your husband?

A: *blank stare* :shock: i don’t think i wanna do that part again!  the sugar withdrawals made me … how should i say.. hard to live with? lol.  sharing my food with Sonny was never a problem before, but because everything had to be precisely measured, ‘no you can’t have even a spoonful.’ *straight face*. omg i was so mean!  it’s just that when i have a goal and already racing against time, i don’t want to be up on stage telling myself  ‘see!? if only you hadn’t eaten (or not eaten) that  _____’. i wanted to do everything right the first time.  which is also why i didn’t cheat on my diet-  no nibble, no bite, no taste of anything that was not on my meal plan.  i wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night!!  if we both compete at the same time again in the future, i’ll definitely know what to expect…

Q:  how are you adjusting to off season?

A: weeeell, if you follow me on Instagram (fitfoodiele) then you’d know that off-season is going great!  i’m maintaining my current weight and body fat until my next competition.   i’m also experimenting with building a little muscle too.  i’m feeling solid, slim, and strong, not overworking myself in the gym, and enjoying my food freedom to the absolute FULLEST, lol.  i still eat 5-6 meals every 3 hours all day long, and i workout 5-6 days a week including teaching my two gym classes.  i’m following 6 Pack USA for my current workout and nutrition plan- the same program Sonny used to get ready for his 1st, 2nd, and 3rd show.  read more about 6 Pack USA below.

progress instacollage!

what did we learn here?  CLEAN EATING AND WORKING OUT guarantees successful results.  depending on what you got goin on in your life determines how fast you get them though.  remember,  just like you prioritize anything else, fitness has to fit in there somewhere too.  you should never, ever, be too busy to take care of yourself.   now whether you want to use powders, pills, and all that extra stuff is up to you!  just know you don’t need it.  some might argue that those things repair joints and aid in recovery etc., but adequate rest can do the same thing.

  6 Pack USA offers both personalized workout & nutrition plans specific to your fitness goals.  before competing, i knew how i wanted to look, and i had the exercise part down!  i even ate what i thought to be healthy and was spot on, however, my portion sizes were not specific to me and the results i desired.  even though i was a group exercise instructor, always active, ran 5 and 10k’s often and worked out hard 5-6 days a week, i couldn’t out train my diet.

Sonny used 6 Pack USA for his nutrition and workout regiment for his competitions and currently.  his results were phenomenal!  see?

sonny progress 6 pack

2 month progress shot from June 10th – Aug. 21st;  26 lbs  lost using 6 Pack USA.  yes, 8 weeks.

1hdhere Sonny is competing in our first show on Sept. 15th in the male model swimwear round.

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ripped, front to back!

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he then went on to win 1st place in his second show in Fort Worth a couple of weeks later.

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and at his final show of 2012 in Las Vegas, he place 8th out of 54 men at Fitness America Weekend.  his first international show up against regional winners from all over the world!

if you are interested joining 6 Pack USA, please contact either of us directly via email and send us your contact information:

Sonny.Egwuatu@6packusa.com

or

Leah.Egwuatu@6packusa.com or le@fitfoodiele.com for any fitness or nutrition questions, advice, or tips.

we can also be reached by phone at (281) 912-3804.

whether you want to set a goal to compete in your first bodybuilding competition in 2013 or to live a healthier, fitter, lifestyle, 6 Pack USA can make it happen.  if you have any more questions for me concerning my journey to the stage, ask away!

le