- Print the checklists: If you aren’t tactile, you can save them to your computer. I prefer a physical visual reminder. Display the the Week 1 checklist somewhere obvious.
- Take pictures of yourself (OPTIONAL): Stand in front of a closed door and have someone take a picture of you from the front and from the side. You want to see your form, so no baggy clothes (a sports bra and workout pants are ideal). Email these to yourself so you have a date stamp and can keep them for safekeeping. Don’t be afraid to smile. For an unknown reason, I’m “stern mom” in all my Before pictures.
A note: Some women like data when starting a program. Pictures are nice because small changes may not be noticeable from one week to the next, but pictures can make explicit any changes over longer time periods. However, other women get discouraged by pictures that don’t reveal the exact changes they want. This discouragement might stymie future efforts. Also, some physical changes, like a stronger pelvic floor, won’t show up in pictures. Personally, I like the data pictures provide. I encourage this step, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.
- Fill out the Obligatory Physical Measurements pdf (OPTIONAL): Print the form and keep it in a folder or a planner. If you don’t print the form, make sure to record your answers elsewhere. If needed, read about diastasis recti.
Another note: Despite the tongue-in-cheek name, these measurements are not mandatory. Like the pictures, they are totally optional. Some women really like having numbers, and some women hate them. It’s up to you.
- Answer the About Me Questions: Keep a copy of your answers for later weeks.
That’s it for Day 1!
- Fill out Week 1 on the Body Image Scale pdf: Again, print the form and store in a folder, or make sure to record the information elsewhere.
- Read How to Evaluate Your Pelvic Floor
- Schedule an appointment with your gynecologist (OPTIONAL): If you are worried about the state of your pelvic floor or suspect prolapse, make an appointment. Many insurance plans (in America) require prior approval before seeing a physical therapist for pelvic floor disorder or diastasis recti. Your gynecologist or general provider can provide this referral.
That’s it for Day 2!
- Read Food Journaling: I’m not going to tell you what to eat. There is no perfect diet. However, according to the evidence on weight loss, writing down what you eat is helpful. Even though I recommend recording what you eat, your food journal doesn’t need to track calories every single week. You can track calories the entire 16 weeks, but it is not necessary. Some women like the routine, others find it tedious. However, temporarily tracking calories can be useful. Therefore, track them the rest of this week, Week 3, and Week 5.
- Start your Food Journal: You can use a free online tracking program like myfitnesspal.com or a plain ole’ notebook. Count calories the rest of this week (from herein referred to as CC).
- Read Old McMommy Had a FARM
- Practice supine diaphragmatic breathing for 10 minutes: The directions are under “Let’s Get Farming” from Old McMommy Had a FARM. Set a timer. Coordinate pelvic lifts with your breathing. I listen to audio books while doing this. Some people like silence and treat it is a meditation. Others listen to relaxing music. Either way, it’s palliative for mind, body, and pelvic floor.
That’s it for Day 3!
- Food Journal (CC)
- Read What is Neutral and Answer Posture Evaluation questions
- 10 minute supine diaphragmatic breathing: This time focus on the “M” (the contraction) by picking a cue from 10 Kegel Cues.
That’s it for Day 4!
- Food journal (CC)
- Body Image Exercise: Complete That Body Part: This is for your eyes. I suggest writing in Word, emailing it to yourself, or using pen and paper.
- 10 minute supine diaphragmatic breathing: Pick a cue you haven’t used yet. (I promise the other exercises will come soon, but stick with learning how to relax this first week).
That’s it for Day 5!
- Food journal (CC)
- 10 minute supine diaphragmatic breathing: Choose another cue and make sure you can feel the contraction move up to your lower abdomen.
That’s it for Day 6!
- Food journal (CC) AND fill out Week 1 on the Diet Audit pdf
- 10 minute supine diaphragmatic breathing: Choose your favorite cue.
That’s it for Week 1! Congrats on setting the foundation for the next 15 weeks!
Move on to Week 2.