I am sure you’ve heard the saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat” and while this applies to everything from how you parent, to your work-out style, getting that “shredded” look–that is, having a “well-defined muscular shape–“requires consistent, intentional, healthy choices.
While it is impossible to “shred” while breastfeeding, without severely compromising your ability to produce milk, you CAN work on “building out your frame”, which gives you shape and definition.
How your skin reacts to weight-loss after child birth is based on several things:
- The number of pregnancies you’ve had
- How much pregnancy weight you gained with each pregnancy
- Whether or not you ate healthily during your pregnancy
- Nutritional status
- Hydration status
- How quickly you gained weight
If you’ve experienced more than one pregnancy, for example, you might have an idea of how this will go for you, based on how your body/skin reacted after your first pregnancy.
If you’re a first-time Mom, however, it may be too soon to tell
While red/purple, angry-looking stretchmarks WILL FADE OVER TIME (Ladies, it can take up to two years), “stretch-mark” cream will not make a difference. (In other words, they fade to white/silver whether you do anything to them or not). Click here to read more.
As you know, I’ve had 5 kids. Genetically, my skin is very stretchy. I have stretch marks on my hips, but none on my abdomen and I had large babies–two of whom were almost 10 lbs. Some women can have big babies like me and have ZERO stretch-marks on their bellies, while others can have 6 lb. babies and have LOTS of stretch marks on their bellies, so remember
EVERY WOMAN IS DIFFERENT
Scientifically speaking, it takes 1-2 years AFTER SIGNIFICANT WEIGHT LOSS for your skin to “settle in”.
During that process your skin may appear to be more or less saggy at various points during that time. Factors that may influence your skin’s daily appearance are:
- Where your carry excess fat
- Your current dietary habits
- How often you consume alcohol (too much alcohol is dehydrating)
MINIMIZE SAGGING: You can minimize loose or saggy skin, by first by “building out your frame”–that means, lifting weights or performing resistance training to tone, shape, and grow your muscles size. Think of it this way: If your skeleton is like a coat-hanger for your body, imagine your muscles as the mannequin. Sure, outfits can look a cute hanging off a coat-hanger, but think about how much nicer an outfit looks when you see it on a mannequin. Our bodies are the same way. Excess skin on nothing but fat and bones is not attractive. Add some muscle and you’ll see first-hand how it looks all filled out.
EAT CLEAN: Eating healthy forces your body to use excess fat to produce milk to feed your growing baby. After you wean however, your body can utilize those same fat stores as energy, helping you shed unwanted pounds. Minimizing your alcohol intake is also key. In addition to being harmful to your breastfed baby, alcohol acts as a diurectic of sorts. Because alcohol is a toxin, our bodies work effeciently to excrete alcohol from our bloodstreams and how does that happen? Diuresis. We pee out the majority of the alcohol we consume, making us dehydrated. Dehydration makes our skin lose its elasticity and if you’re looking to improve yours, elasticity is key.
HYDRATE! HYDRATE! HYDRATE! : Hydrated skin is more elastic and smooth, whereas dehydrated skin can sag and look lumpy. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water or more a day (about half your total body weight in pounds as a rough estimate) not only helps you feel better, stay full and ensures that your body functions at its best, hydrated skin is supple, elastic and smooth. Staying hydrated also minimizes the appearance of cellulite.
Muscles, fat and bone give shape to our skin, but without muscles, you would be nothing but a shapeless assortment of hanging skin, internal organs and bones.
Working out gives your body the shape you want, without the droopiness we all fear.
As for when you are ready to shred, being “shredded”, for women, usually happens anywhere below 19% body fat, but the difference between being “shredded” and looking “emaciated” is muscle tone. If you want to look good and show off your hard work, don’t neglect to build your muscles out and take care of yourself in the process!