The first thing people usually ask me is “How many kegels should I be doing to strengthen my pelvic floor or what exercise will fix my diastasis recti?” Whether you are postpartum, dealing with pelvic organ prolapse, heading into peri-menopause or experiencing pelvic pain, exercise is only a small piece of the much bigger picture. You need to think first about what your body needs to heal, because if you aren’t giving the body what it needs (Starbucks and protein bars do not count), then the exercise will not be as effective.
The body cannot heal without building blocks to repair; those building blocks include protein, vitamins and minerals, healthy fats and water.
Protein is the building block of our muscles and connective tissue. Research shows that a woman in her late 20’s to late 40’s needs 46 grams of protein per day. If you are nursing, you need 71 grams! Try to eat a little protein every time you eat. Great sources of protein include: eggs, almonds, protein powder (*not all protein powders are created equal, do your research!), chia and flax seeds, Greek full-fat yogurt and lean organic meat.
Vitamin C, D3, A, Zinc & Iron: good quality multivitamin and supplements, as well as colorful vegetables (like I say to my son, we need to eat the rainbow each day).
Essential Fatty Acids: High quality fish oil supplement, eggs, olive oil, almonds, broccoli, spinach and walnuts.
Water: Remember, our body is mostly water, so we need to have well-hydrated tissues for them to work optimally. The recommended amount of fluid is HALF your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 150lbs, you should be aiming for 75 ounces of water per day (more if nursing, exercising).
Lastly, make sure you are getting quality calories and enough calories (your kids leftovers don’t count!) Your body will not only heal efficiently, but you’ll feel better when all cylinders are firing. Menu planning and food prep are key- if you have your snacks ready to go, you’ll be less likely to grab a less nutritious snack. I love smoothies, and here is a recipe from a colleague of mine, Jessica Drummond, MPT, CCN, CHC. Enjoy!