It Works “skinny wrap” After Pregnancy


Many of you have seen my previous post about my first encounter with the It Works Ultimate Body Applicator, aka, Skinny Wrap.

If not, you can read about it here:  https://agirlnamedjenn.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/an-objective-and-personal-review-of-skinny-wraps/

I’ve also gotten pregnant and given birth to my first child.  He was born January 19th.

After I felt comfortable, I started doing some wraps.  Here are my comparison pictures after my first post pregnancy wrap.  🙂
The top picture (sorry they are blurry, apparently I had something on my lens) was taken February 17 and the bottom picture February 20.

After 1 Wrap - sideAfter 1 Wrap - front

I was pretty pleased with my results so I did another one.  Here are those results:
Top picture was taken February 26th, bottom picture was taken March 1st.

After 2nd wrap - side

After 2nd wrap - front

Not too bad!

If I put my first before pic together with my 2nd after pic, then we can see the results after both wraps combined:

after2side

after2front

LOVE IT!

From early March to mid April I started an ab exercise challenge.  You’ve probably seen it on Facebook… you do so many crunches and planks and leg lifts for so many days.  Anyway, I had been doing the exercise hoping it would tighten my tummy even more.  I felt like I was starting to get abs, only I couldn’t SEE them.

So I wanted to take it one step further, I decided to do a wrap for those pesky love handles.  I’m not sure where I lost my front view comparison, but here is a side view of me.  I placed a wrap on each of my sides, so that the wings went around my back and my tummy.  I really notice the definition around higher up on my tummy and also on my back.  I am getting abs!  I just had to tone up the skin around them to be able to see them better.  😀 The top pic is from 4/17 and the bottom is from 4/20

wrap 3

I also started to use the defining gel combined with the stretch mark cream on my lovely tiger stripes to see if anything would change there.  (Disclaimer:  My stretch marks don’t bother me at all, but I know some people are self conscious and I like to be able to show them if a product REALLY works) .  The top picture here was taken on 4/25 and the bottom picture was taken on 5/27.  So about a month later.  I haven’t done any more wraps, but it does seem like the stretch marks are fading.

defining gel

I am not a distributor but if you are interested in this product then my friend Jana will be able to help you.

janajpfliiger.myitworks.com

Top 3 Books for Babies 0-6 Months


I love to read.

I want to pass that love onto my children.

Jayden, our (almost) 7 year old will devour any text placed before him.  His thirst for knowledge is amazing.  He can rattle off facts about any subject and is always eager to learn and read even more.

Our latest edition, the bouncing baby boy lovingly named Jensen is also starting to love books.  While he enjoys a variety of books, these three are the ones he seems to respond to the most.

First up in our bedtime routine is On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
on_the_night_bk
This is an amazing book that is for parents as much as it is for babies.  I’ll admit that I even got a little choked up the first time I read it to Jensen.  It is a great book that celebrates how special and loved your child is.  The text has a lyrical quality about it that keeps babies engaged and the beautiful illustrations catch their attention wonderfully.  Jensen loves to help me turn the pages.  He lingers over each illustration until he is ready for me to continue.  I can see his little mind taking in every detail.  Sometimes he even coos along as I read to him.  I picked this one up on Amazon.

Our next book is Look LOOK! by Peter Linenthal

11996926

Jensen LOVED this book in his first few months of life and it continues to be a favorite.  The illustrations are a contrasting black and white that stimulate developing minds.  Newborns are able to (mostly) see the illustrations and it promotes visual and mental development.  I also got this one from Amazon.

Our last book is Jensen’s FAVORITE.  This was a gift from his great grandmother and he absolutely adores this book.  It is called Eat! by Roberta Grobel Intrater

babyfaces_eat_large
Jensen adores looking at the other babies in this book.  He smiles and coos and reaches out to touch them.  This book is my go-to problem solver when nothing else calms him down.  The text is fun and rhymes.  The pictures are large and colorful.  Sometimes, after we finish the book he will try to open it up again so we usually end up going through it two or three times.  Once our silly little boy even tried to lick the food off of one of the other babies.

I’m so happy that I’ve been able to share these books, and others with Jensen.

I have a set of touchy/feely books that I’m eager to show him as well but he doesn’t quite seem as interested in those yet.  So for now we will stick with his three favorites during story time.

If you find yourself with any of these books, I hope your little ones enjoy them as much as we do.  🙂

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“Can we read it one more time?  Please, mom!”

 

The Birth of My Child Changed My Life


The birth of my son has changed my life.  I know that everyone says that… but I didn’t realize the enormous impact that this tiny person could have on every aspect of my… well, everything.  

It has been an emotional and crazy ride.  There have been struggles and tears of every possible nature.  

I always knew that I wanted children.  Deep within my heart that was one thing that remained steady among all of the other changing variables in my life.  So much so that I found myself making pacts with guy friends that if we were childless at a certain age we would get together and create our own little wonders.  It never came to that, my son was born with my partner in crime, the man who puts up with all of my quirks and craziness.  

I was not a happy pregnant woman.  Scoliosis caused my back and hips to hurt constantly.  I had severe tailbone pain… it hurt to do anything other than lay down on my back… which you aren’t supposed to do.  And the further along I got, the more difficult it was to breathe so constant pain just became a part of my life.  I accepted it knowing that it wasn’t going to be forever.  I vowed over and over that I was only doing this once.  I was lucky enough to skip morning sickness for the most part.  Don’t get me wrong, I felt like crap… but I was able to figure out how to manage that symptom.  

The birth of my son was a long awaited and joyful experience.  It was a painful and exhausting 30 hours but I would relive it in a heartbeat.  The instant that he came into the world I felt like the Grinch when he figured out the true meaning of Christmas.  Not that I was a furry green beast that didn’t know how to love, but that my heart grew ten sizes that day.  I thought I could pack a lot of love in there before, but now… now I just have love bursting out of me.  Literally.  Sometimes I look at my 3 guys (Jason, Jayden and our newest edition Jensen) and my eyes just leak love all over the place.  Then the dogs get concerned, Jason and Jayden look at me funny and the baby spews some kind of bodily fluid and things are back to normal.  

In addition to the emotional changes, there are physical changes as well.  I’m not going to get into anything gory, don’t worry.  And really, I guess the changes I’m referring to are more about how I perceive myself than anything else.  I was a little overweight when I got pregnant, but after having the baby I quickly dropped down to 10 lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight.  Then I promptly stalled out and have been here for about three months.  I’m sure that if I exercised and ate better that I would start losing again… but I don’t have time for that right now.  I work full time (and let me tell you, going back to work after having a baby SUCKS) and have a house to take care of.   I’m still writing (working on the book, freelance spots, and also trying to get my blog going again).  And any free moment I have, I would prefer to spend it playing with the handsome miniature person that has taken up residence here rather than breaking a sweat and causing myself physical pain.  

None of that even seems to matter for me though.  I look in the mirror and I’m not upset with what I see.  Yeah, I’m still a little overweight.  My tattoos are now messed up, I have stretchmarks and a belly pooch.  But I don’t really care.  Instead of love handles, I see the hips that bore my son.  Instead of a belly pooch, I see the place that was home to him for the first nine months of his life.  I nourish and care for him with this body.  I grew him and carried him and now, 4 months after birth, I am still breastfeeding (and plan on continuing).  My hair rarely gets done, I don’t remember the last time I wore makeup… but honestly, I’m okay with that.  Maybe someday I will wake up and feel like I should look a certain way in order to conform with societies norms.  But right now, I’m content being the best mother that I can be.  

I don’t even mind the lack of sleep.  Not saying that it is always a walk in the park.  But I’ve gone with less sleep for far less important reasons.  Waking up 7 times in the middle of the night is no problem if it is for him.  

My life has changed in other ways as well.  I’ll trade a shower to see baby smiles.  I’ll trade a cocktail for bedtime snuggles.  I’ll trade looking like a sane person for baby laughs.  Not everyone may be able to understand this, but he is only going to be this little once.  He doesn’t care if my hair is done or if I only shower every other day.  We’re only having this one baby so I want to breathe in every moment.  

I want to record each second of time in my mind with both of our boys because this truly is one of the most remarkable jobs I’ve ever had.  I may be tired and look like hell, but those are small prices to pay when raising these boys.  I don’t view this change as me losing my life, or missing out on things.  They are my ilfe.  And I would regret far more if I missed out on them.

Best Ever Meatloaf


Yeah… you read that title correctly. 😉

I know that when most people think “meh” about meatloaf. In fact, I used to be one of those people. Until this recipe came to be… now I LOVE meatloaf. In fact, the whole family does. Our 6 year old was begging us to make it last week so we had to oblige. 🙂 It’s a really easy recipe, but it does require some attention while cooking to make it extra tasty. But it is VERY worth it.

Here you go, the recipe for the best meatloaf you will ever have!

Ingredients:
Meat mixture
2 lbs. ground lean hamburger
1 cup bread crumbs
1 diced onion
1/2 of an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Sauce mixture
1/2 of an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 can of water
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. mustard
1 tbsp. vinegar

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the ingredients for the meat mixture together in a large bowl.  I find that it’s easiest to just use my hands.  Separate the mixture in half and form two loaves in your baking dish (be sure to use one with an edge as we will be basting the meatloaf, we use an 11″x7″ baking dish w/ high sides).  Push the tops in slightly so there’s an indentation along the top of each loaf (this way not all of the sauce runs off).

Combine the remaining ingredients together for the sauce mixture in a dish you can easily pour from.

Pour some of the mixture(be sure to save enough to baste a few times) over the top of your meat loaves and place them in the oven.  Bake until meatloaf has an internal temperature of  165 degrees (about 60 minutes) and baste every 15 minutes.

Enjoy!  😀

Delicious Banana Muffins!


This is my absolute favorite recipe for banana muffins! It’s SO yummy and SIMPLE.   😀

It’s also a great way to use up those over-ripe bananas rather than throwing them away.  😉

bananamuffin

Makes 12 muffins
Ingredients:

3-4 slightly over-ripe bananas
1 egg
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup of white sugar – if you want them less sweet, use 1/2 cup of sugar

1 1/2 cups of AP flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

First, pull your egg out of the fridge.   I find that eggs are best for baking when they don’t have as much of a chill on them.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Using a fork, mash your bananas into a medium sized mixing bowl.  Next, melt your butter.  Lightly beat the egg.  Add the egg, butter, and sugar to the mashed bananas.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients; flour, salt (I like to add just an extra pinch of salt), baking powder and baking soda.  Add your banana mixture, mix well.

Using a cupcake/muffin pan, either pour into a greased pan or use cupcake wrappers.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  If you want to do bite-sized mini muffins, use the same technique but with a mini-muffin/cupcake pan and only bake for about 15 minutes.

These are one of those foods that are even better the following day.

When I’m making a double batch (or if we won’t be able to eat them all), I like to freeze some and then Jason just grabs one out of the freezer the night before and it’s ready for him to eat on the way to work the next morning.  😀

LeanMoms: Get your body back!


Hello again!

After seeing an overwhelming response of views on my last blog post, I’ve decided to stick with the health theme and even take it one step further.  🙂   As I mentioned before, my body apparently has lost its ability to remain stick thin, despite anything I eat.  This saddens me.

I484221_10151376290559225_2120883737_n also really don’t like exercising.  Sure, sometimes I do.  It makes me feel great thanks to those endorphins.  But it’s hard.  And monotonous.  I used to just slip the same Pilates DVD in and half-ass my way through.  Boring.  Same moves, every day.  I was not seeing the results I wanted.  I’m sure we’ve all been there.  We get to the point where we dread working out.  We give up, get bored.  We try crazy diets that promise a perfect body (cabbage soup, anyone?) that just have you eating the same thing every day.  Of course we eventually snap and go on a junk food binge to make up for all those things we’ve been not allowing ourselves to have.  Then before you know it, you’re back where you’ve started.

This seems to be especially hard for Moms.

Granted, I’ve never actually birthed a child.  However, when you desperately want a baby and everyone around you keeps poppin’ those things out like Pez dispensers, then your best friend/roommate gets pregnant… well, your body likes to play “pretend” and fake like it’s joined the club.  And here I am with this belly that never went away because I didn’t actually have a baby in there.  It was just Doritos, Pepsi, and tons of yummy other food.

I had also gotten myself into the habit of eating until I was uncomfortably full.  The food was just so good (I am a pretty awesome cook) and I couldn’t stop myself.  To make it worse, I didn’t have the TIME to do much about it.  I work full-time, go to college at least 1/2 time (6-10 credits a semester), am writing a book, have this blog, have a house to maintain, 4 animals to look after, and my boyfriend and his 5-year-old son to spend time with.  I try to fit time with friends in there too, but it’s hard being busy.

Needless to say, insanely busy people don’t want to spend their few minutes of down-time going to the gym.  At least I don’t.  I would much rather spend my free time doing something else I miss, sleeping.  Not to mention the fact that there are people there.  I don’t want people to see me struggling through a work-out.  I typically don’t care what people think, but I don’t necessarily want to grace all these fit looking folks with my chubby, asthma having, red-faced-when-I-work-out self.  I don’t even let my boyfriend watch me exercise!  It’s something I would just rather do by myself and alone.  Heck, I would probably even exercise in the dark if it weren’t for the fact that the chances of injuring myself would increase by 600%.

So home workouts are my exercise of choice.  Which brings me back to that Pilates dvd.  It was great when I first got it.  Now I can’t even stand the music, so I just mute it.  Then I get distracted since I know the routine so well and start thinking about other things.  Before I know it, I’m off adding to my book or cleaning the kitchen while my TV works out alone.

Then one day, I found a light at the end of the tunnel.  Basking in that light is the angel, Lacy Arnold.

You may think I’m being cheesy here, but seriously, Lacy is awesome.  Lacy is also the CEO and Founder of a company I have fallen in LOVE with.  It’s called LeanMoms and it is AWESOME in so many ways.

Lacy is a mother of 3 that tried several popular programs without ever getting the results that she wanted.  She took it upon herself to create a program designed specifically for moms.  Thus, LeanMoms was born.  Lacy now shares her amazing program with the masses.  Her goal is to help as many moms as possible get their lives and their bodies back.
lacy

The LeanMoms website promotes healthy lifestyle changes that last a lifetime.  The site has several videos, recipes, and workouts.  There’s also a LeanMoms Facebook page with TONS of helpful information.

Becoming a member of LeanMoms opens the door to even more benefits!  I’ve been in the group for several weeks now and LOVE how supportive it is.  Everyone is amazingly nice and encouraging.  They’re quick to offer support when you need it most.  The meal plan that Lacy has created is AWESOME!  There are TONS of delicious recipes that my whole family enjoys!

As far as the workouts go… well, as I said before, working out can be hard.  BUT, Lacy is awesome and has several options that fit everyone’s lifestyle.  Love the gym?  She has a plan for that.  Prefer to work out at home?  She has a plan for that too!  Heck, Lacy is so awesome, she even made a plan for days you’re so busy that all you can squeeze in is a 15minute workout (these are what I end up doing most of the time).  Another thing I love about the workouts, is that you aren’t stuck doing the same thing every day.

The best part is the results.  In the first month, I lost 10lbs and more than 10″ total from various places of my body.  The best part of the best part, is that the weight has STAYED off.  We just rounded Halloween (so much candy…) and Thanksgiving, and amazingly enough, I ate what I wanted (within reason) and didn’t gain back a single pound.  This program truly can change your life.

Since I don’t have the documentation (pics, measurements, etc) to SHOW you the results, I’ve opted to restart the program at Week 1 Day 1 on Monday December 10th, 2012.  At the end of that week I will create a new blog post which will track my progress through the 12-week program.  That way you can see the transformation and know for sure that there are amazing results!

If you have any other questions at all about this great program, you can find more information on the LeanMoms website or on the Facebook page.

You can also sign up to try Level I (12 week program including meal-plan, workouts, and TONS of great support!) of this incredible program here:1354094067
Lacy has also created a Level II program for the more advanced LeanMoms who want to take it to the next level.  You can find more information, or sign up for Level II here:LeanMoms - Level II

An objective and personal review of “Skinny Wraps”


For this blog, I’m doing something a little different. Like many people in the world, I’ve noticed that as I get older, my body morphs into a less attractive version of itself.  Unfortunately, I’m a little late in getting ahead of this whole weight gain thing and I put on a few pounds.  It happens.  Even more unfortunately, they never come off as easily as they went on. After deciding that I couldn’t put it off any longer, I started exercising and watching what I eat.  I lost the first 10lbs easily.  Then I suffered a knee injury.  It was both depressing and frustrating that I would have to find some other way to lose the weight other than running.  Before I knew it, 5lbs had returned to me, despite my protest. It was then I joined a wonderful program (I will be dedicating a blog to this program later on).  With a life-changing meal plan and great workouts, I easily lost another 10lbs (bringing my total to 15) and several inches.  I was getting compliments, clothes were fitting better.  Then I hit the dreaded place that we all hate, the plateau.  The place where, despite your best efforts, your body just says “You know, I think I’m just going to stay this way for a little while.”  I hate that place.  So that, combined with the holidays, I was getting frustrated at a lack of results. That’s when I heard about the It Works! body wraps.  My curiosity was peaked.  The before and after photos I was seeing across the internet were showing amazingly drastic results.  I know that there’s no magic cure to take off the inches, but this product looked promising. If you’re a regular follower you know by now that once I’m curious about something, I get mildly obsessed.  I want to know everything about it.  I want to try it myself.  Well I was in luck, because one of the gals in my fitness group, Camie Scott, is a distributor for It Works! and was able to hook me up with one of their Ultimate Body Applicators (they normally come 4 in a box) with a great deal. I was excited when it arrived.  So excited in fact, that I wanted to try it right away!   The dainty little package was calling to my curiosity.  Before ordering the wrap, I did some research.  I watched videos, read other reviews, and read about the scientific side of these interesting things. This is what I discovered.  We’re constantly putting toxins into our bodies with the foods we eat and things we are exposed to.  These toxins are stored in your fat cells.  While the wrap doesn’t actually get rid of fat cells (only proper diet and exercise can achieve this), they do help remove the toxins from your fat cells, making them smaller. Ultimate Body Applicator The wrap is a cloth, coated on one side with a lotion.  It comes in a much smaller package than I was expecting.  I took a hot shower as the instructions suggested.  This helps your pores open up so the product can do it’s job a little better.  Without using any other products, I opened the wrap and was greeted by the smell of… Vapor rub?  I was slightly puzzled at the familiar smell when my loving boyfriend suggested I check the ingredients.  Sure enough, one of the many (all natural) ingredients was Menthol.  That explains that. I unfolded the wrap, placed the lotion side onto the area I wanted to change (in this case, my abdomen), and smoothed it out.  It was cool and a little tingly against my skin.  There was no discomfort or irritation at all.  The directions say to use an ace wrap or plastic wrap to hold the wrap in place.  I opted for the plastic wrap because I had just bought a new roll, and because I didn’t want to worry about washing the one ace bandage wrap I had in the house if it got this lotion on it. wrapped My boyfriend was more than happy to help mummify my midsection in plastic wrap.  The tingling intensified along with my curiosity.   Despite feeling like a wrapped leftover, I made myself comfortable and let the wrap do it’s magic. Now, one very important thing to remember (something I didn’t really think about) is that, while wearing the wrap, they suggest you drink water.  Lots of water.  Take your weight, halve it, and drink that many ounces in water.  I’m not going to say how much water I had to drink, but it took me 2 hours to drink it all.  (The instructions say that you can wear the wrap anywhere from 45mins – 8hrs). Now, the mistake I made, was doing this right before bed.  That much water, right before bed is not a good idea.  I was up peeing half the night.  But, again, if you know me, you know I’m impatient and like to do things right away.  I didn’t want to wait until the next day. I made sure to take a lot of before and after pictures and measurements(shown below).  I wanted to give the most accurate, objective review possible. After removing the wrap, my skin was extremely soft.  I rubbed in the remaining lotion as instructed, took a few more measurements and photos, and went to bed. Now, this wrapping experience is actually a 72 hour process.  It takes time for your body to flush the toxins out.  I continued to drink lots of water as directed over the course of the weekend.  I wrapped on a Thursday night (November 29, 2012) and am now writing this the following Sunday (December 2, 2012). Before I get to the results, please keep the following things in mind: *This isn’t a debate.  I don’t want to argue about the results and why it does/does not work.  I’m simply posting about my experience with the product. *Take the results how you will.  There is some fluctuation in the measurements.  I tried to make sure I measured in the same spots each photo by using my tattoos as guidelines. *Be kind.  As I said, I know I don’t have the body I used to.  Weight loss is a journey.  These pictures are not exactly flattering.  But I wanted to be able to provide my readers with an objective view on my experience with the product. *To ensure the most realistic/accurate view, I am not sucking my stomach in at all in these pictures. First, I’ll start with the overall before and after pictures.  I like to think that there’s a slightly noticeable difference.  🙂 before and after before and after side Now I will get to the specifics.  Each set of measurements includes pictures in the following order: 1.  Before 2.  Immediately after removing the wrap 3.  36 Hours after the wrap 4.  About 72 hours after the wrap midmeasurementsuppermeasurementslowermeasurements These results aren’t as drastic as other photos I’ve seen on the web, however, I do feel that they are more realistic.  I tried to make the measurements as accurate as possible, using the same tape measure as well as my star tattoos for guidance.  In one measurement you can see that I actually got bigger briefly.  I credit this to having to drink so much stinkin’ water. So there you have it.  My personal results of using the Ultimate Body Applicator from It Works!  Take it how you will.  In my opinion, these count as results.  But, only you can decide if it’s something you would like to add to your current exercise/diet plan.  (Remember, exercise is the only way to REALLY get rid of those fat cells, this wrap just makes them smaller by removing toxins). Also, while I’ve been here typing this (90 minutes or so) I took the same wrap from above, cut it in half, and put it over my lovehandle area.  I’m sure you noticed the stretch marks above, and this product can help with that as well.  Here are my results: stretch2stretch1

Since my original cameraman (my boyfriend) was unable to assist me with the “after” photos here, the angle and distance may be slightly different.  Also, I seem to still have a few little lines on me from the wrap itself and the plastic wrap.  So I’m not sure if you can tell in these pictures, but in person the stretch marks aren’t as purple as they were before.  Since this was the 2nd time using the same wrap (there’s no more lotion on it now so I tossed it), there was a lot less lotion.  I still had the cool, tingly feeling from before, though it was not as strong.

*********UPDATE********** This is another comparison picture after using more wraps (they come 4 in a box).  I wasn’t working out during this time because of my knee injury and lack of free time.  I LOVE the results.  My tummy has always been a trouble area for me. Right now I’m 3 months pregnant so I will add another update after I have the baby.  🙂 This is over a period of 56 days: 56days Anyway, if you have any questions about the product, the process, or anything else… feel free to comment below.  🙂

If you are interested in ordering, my friend Jana can help you

janajpfliiger.myitworks.com

*********UPDATE**********

I’ve written another post about my experience with the wraps after my pregnancy.  See it here: https://agirlnamedjenn.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/it-works-skinny-wrap-after-pregnancy/