Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mountains where they should not be

Day one of additional ab work, and I learned something very important about my body. I laied down to do some crunches, something i have not attempted since my days before pregnancy, and noticed that as I rolled up, my abdomen formed a mountain ridge down the center- weird to say the least ! I continued my planned work and felt around on my abdomen while I was working and noticed a weird separation feeling with my hands. Not painful, but weird in the fact that I had not seen this on other people doing ab exercises. So after I finished I started nosing around sites with anatomy discussions and such , and finally came upon a description of what was happening , why it happened in the first place and some possible solutions.

It seems that I have an abdominis rectus separation- it happens with abdominal surgeries( I had two major ones in the span of a year) and pregnancies where the mother has weak abdominal muscles- like me with pregnancy squeezed between the two surgeries. In the case of this separation, traditional ab work will never repair the damage, but other isometric type exercises can improve the condition. Often time surgery is required to reconnect the muscles. Instead of feeling defeated when I read this, I am taking it as a red flag. Someone says I can't do this on my own- consider it done ! I WILL do it, just to prove to the person pronouncing it that they are wrong. So I made notes of what exercises have been proven to help and I am going to work with them. Last night after all the days work was done I was a little sore , but I noticed that I seemed to have more "stability" for lack of a better word. I also seemed to have greater bladder control ( something that has become a very big issue, and I believe is linked to this muscle tone issue as well). I will continue and see how this improves.

Last night for dinner I tried a new to me recipe, Polenta Vegetable Casserole. Think of a cross between a Shepard's pie and a lasagna but minus the meat and a whole lot less cheese. It was pretty okay- meaning it was tasty, but a little too fiddly for my tastes. I served it with a salad made from romaine, watercress, baby spinach, arugula, dried cranberries and sliced almonds

Polenta Vegetable Casserole

2 cups fresh organic baby spinach
1 cup zucchini -- chopped
1cup broccoli -- chopped
1 cup red pepper -- chopped
1 cup green pepper -- chopped
1 cup fresh tomatoes -- chopped
1 cup fresh mushrooms -- chopped
1 medium onion -- chopped
1 tablespoon oregano
1 cloves garlic -- chopped
1 tablespoon Mrs Dash
1/8 cup water
1 jar pasta sauce -- no or low salt
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups sun-dried tomatoes -- soaked overnight & cut into small pieces
4 cloves garlic -- minced
2 cups cornmeal
Cheese topping
1 cup mozzarella cheese -- grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute' vegetables, herbs and seasonings in
water for 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender, adding more water
if needed to prevent sticking. Mix in pasta sauce, reserving 1/4 cup.
Meanwhile, bring 6 cups of water, sun-dried tomatoes and minced garlic
to a boil.Then slowly add cornmeal, stirring constantly on low heat for
5 minutes until the cornmeal thickens.
Spread 1/4 cup pasta sauce over bottom of 8 X 11 baking pan, then spread
a layer of polenta over the sauce. Place a layer of the vegetable/sauce
mixture on the polenta and then another layer of polenta
and vegetable/sauce mixture. Sprinkle grated cheese over top. Bake in oven
for 20 minutes until heated through. Serves 8.


tanya said...

May I ask what exercises you are doing? My daughter has bladder control issues and I think it relates to her muscle tone (though the doctors dismissed that idea and put her on meds that haven't helped much).

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

I've never had good luck with cooking polenta properly. Your recipe sounds great.

I'm sorry you have the abdominal separation. I knew it could occur after pregnancies (and almost always does after several) but I thought it healed itself. I think you can heal it yourself based on what research you have already come up with.

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

Tanya, here are the ones I am using at the moment 1.Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place both of your hands on your abdomen, fingers pointing towards your pelvis. Exhale and lift your head off of the floor, while pressing down with your fingers- I am doing 20 of these.2.Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Work to bring your navel as close as possible to your spine, so it looks as if your stomach is "caving in". Hold this for a minute or two, while continuing to relax and breathe- 25 of these. 3.Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Exhale and extend one leg out in front of you. Wait for your abdomen to contract, and then inhale and place your leg back on the floor. Alternate legs.20 of these.
Diane- I am really hoping so ! It seems that the surgery also requires exercises to be fully successful , so why not try to do what I can first off ? It will not be perfect , but it will most certainly be better than what it currently is and then my other muscles should strengthen and it will be more improvement. I think in my case it got so bad because of having no abdominal strength in the first place, two surgeries and a pregnancy between those.