Eating for The Trimesters with Lainey Younkin

Friday, July 20, 2018

Eating for The Trimesters


[This is also an episode of Friday Free Talk on The Tranquility Tribe Podcast on iTunes. Listen here.]


Hey Tranquility Tribe!  Do you ever feel crazily overwhelmed by all of the opinions that everyone seems to have about diet, workouts, and weight loss?  The world of weight and exercise can be filled with frustration and disappointment, especially in a time when newsfeeds are constantly flooded with images that only portray the most perfect sides of people’s lives.  Today, Hehe talks to Lainey Younkin, a dietician, about body positivity and what you should truly be focusing on before, during, and after pregnancy.

Who is Lainey?

Lainey Younkin, whose nickname is “the dietician who doesn’t put people on diets”, is a nutritionist in Boston who takes an honest and realistic approach to helping her clients live a healthy lifestyle.  Rather than putting clients on diets that often only yield the desired results in the short-term and can make you feel guilty about eating, Lainey helps her clients make gradual, more sustainable adjustments that allow them to live healthier lives in the long-term.

What to eat when you’re expecting

As both Hehe and Lainey point out, the most important thing, whether or not you are pregnant, is to listen to your body.  You know yourself best, and your body will tell you what it needs. That means that if you’re hungry, you need to eat! Although it can be easy to compare your diet and weight to those of the people around you, everybody’s body is different, so the amount of food you need on a daily basis will be different too.  And this goes for nutrition apps and calorie counting as well! Your activity level will vary from day to day, and therefore the amount that you need to eat will too. Lainey encourages her clients to shift their focus from the number on the scale to their internal hunger scale in order to help them reach their goals while making sure that they give their bodies what they need.

Lainey explains that most people eat for one of three reasons.  You may eat because you physically feel hungry; if that’s the case, you’re listening to your hunger scale - keep it up!  On the other hand, you may eat because you are craving a certain food, not necessarily because you’re hungry.  Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t combat that craving.  And if that’s the case, Lainey says you should eat the food that you are craving, but do so mindfully.  The third reason that many people eat is because they feel stressed and they use food as a source of comfort.  If this sounds familiar to you, Lainey advises finding the root of the stress – once you address why you are feeling upset and find other methods for dealing with stress, it will be easier to decrease your stress-eating. 

If you are trying to get pregnant, Lainey’s biggest piece of advice is to make sure that you have enough folic acid in your diet.  Folic acid is extremely important for neural tube development, which starts very early in pregnancy!  During your first trimester, you should continue to take folic acid and also begin to focus on getting enough omega-3s, which help with the development of your new baby’s brain.  Salmon is a great source of omega-3, and if you are worried that you aren’t getting enough, you can always take a multivitamin too!  Many women have cravings for a lot of carbs during the first trimester; if you find yourself craving carbs, Lainey recommends trying to go for healthier options such as sweet potato fries or whole wheat bread so that you can get as much nutrition from your food as possible.  But you don’t have to make the switch immediately – start slowly and transition to healthier options as you go.

Going into the second trimester, you may find yourself getting hungrier than normal – this is your hunger scale telling you that your body needs more calories!  In addition to eating more, it’s also important to focus on getting enough iron and vitamin D.  And as you move into your third trimester, you’ll need even more calories as well as more iron, because your baby will start storing iron to use during their first few months of life.  Lainey recommends getting lots of vitamin C as well, as that will help your body absorb iron. 

Postpartum health

Immediately after your birth, Lainey recommends setting up a meal train or having others help you prepare meals, because you will have less energy and time to cook but getting the calories that your body needs is extremely important to help your body heal.  This is especially important if you are breastfeeding; the food that you eat is fuel for both you and your baby, so you will need lots of extra calories!  One trick that Lainey shared is to make sure that you find portable foods such as string cheese, nuts, or dried fruit that you can have with you at all times. 

In our society, there are many unrealistic expectations surrounding weight during the postpartum period.  In reality, everybody’s body and birth experiences are different, and your own body will be different than it was before your birth.  As Lainey has learned from her work, many people gain around 25-35 pounds during pregnancy, lose 10-20 pounds during the few months after, and then feel stuck and unable to lose more weight.  But Lainey points out that your postpartum period is not the time to diet or to be stressed about weight – you may not get back to your pre-pregnancy weight, and that’s okay!  Your body grew and carried a tiny human, which is an incredible accomplishment as well as a big change, so it may take some time to get reacquainted with your postpartum self.  Rather than worrying about the number on the scale, Lainey recommends focusing on eating a nutritious diet for yourself and your baby, allowing your body to rest and heal, and then getting into an exercise routine that can help you destress and feel healthy.  And if you really feel stuck or unhappy with your body, reach out for help!  There are countless resources, including Lainey, who can help you find a healthy, balanced lifestyle and build up your body positivity.

Lainey’s postpartum journey

As Lainey points out, it’s extremely important to talk about the struggles that come during the postpartum period in order to combat those unrealistic expectations – you may feel like you’re suffering alone, but in reality there are many others who are going through very similar experiences!  Lainey shares that she had a very difficult weight journey after she had her baby.  Throughout her pregnancy, she went from 145 pounds to 176 pounds, and then got back down to 155 pounds a few months after her pregnancy.  At that point she felt a little stuck, so she started to focus more on exercise by doing at-home workouts.  These workouts, which were focused on strength and cardio, helped her feel stronger and she lost five more pounds.  She also started running and was able to get back down to 145 pounds, but then she broke her toe and gained some of the weight back.  She expected that she would have more luck losing weight after she stopped breastfeeding, but that didn’t happen.  Although she is still struggling with her weight, now she is focusing more on maintaining a healthy life and adjusting her body image to feel more positive about her postpartum body!

If you want to learn more about Lainey and get involved with her one-on-one coaching or her group workshops, you can find her at laineyyounkin.com or on Instagram at @laineyyounkin!

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook,
The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"


Written by our Guest Blogger, Kyra Shreeve. She is a Biochemistry, Health Policy, and Music student at Brandeis University. 

Perinenum Massage with Mandy Rempfer-Kuncio

Monday, July 16, 2018

Perineum Massage with Mandy Rempfer-Kuncio



[This is also an episode of Friday Free Talk on The Tranquility Tribe Podcast on iTunes. Listen here.]

Hey, Tranquility Tribe!  If you’ve ever wondered about your pelvic floor health and whether or not you should see a pelvic floor physical therapist, this episode is for you!  Today, Hehe talks to Mandy Rempfer-Kuncio, a pelvic health physical therapist and a doula from Canada, all about the ins and outs of pelvic health.

Why pelvic health physical therapy?

As Mandy explains, physical therapists are dedicated to the science of human movement and function.  The pelvis plays a very important role at all times during a person’s life, and especially during the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods for women.  Did you know that by the age of 60, one in two women who have had a baby will have bladder leakage or develop some degree of pelvic prolapse?  These pelvic issues are common, but that doesn’t mean they are normal or optimal!  It is very important to prepare your pelvis for birth and maintain good pelvic health throughout your life, and a pelvic floor physical therapist is a great tool to help you do so. 

You may find that the support of PFPTs by other providers varies.  PFPTs are often a controversial subject because the majority of the existing scientific studies that have been conducted do not show obvious benefits for seeing a PFPT.  However, much of the research is focused on the prevalence of perineal injury during birth, rather than many of the other potential benefits that seeing a PFPT can offer, and studies have indicated very little risk from receiving perineal massages and doing other pelvic floor work.  At the very least, seeing a PFPT can help you get more in touch with your body, which can bring benefits to anybody, especially women who are expecting. 

According to Mandy, there are three most common types of pelvic floors that she sees when working with patients.  Some patients have normal pelvic floors and just need to work on maintaining the balance of strength and relaxation in their pelvis.  Others have weak pelvic floors and often experience bladder leakage or an inability to control gas.  The third group have tight pelvic floors that hold extra tension even when they are at rest.  Mandy explains that those individuals with tight pelvic floors can benefit the most from seeing a PFPT, especially if you are pregnant, because your pelvic floor needs to be able to relax during the birthing process.  Your pelvic floor type can also influence your sex life – if your pelvic floor is too tight, sex might be uncomfortable or even painful.  Massaging and stretching your pelvic floor can help prepare you for birth and sex and enable you to maintain a healthy life in general.

Pain is not normal

In today’s society, people are often encouraged to push through pain and even ignore the fact that something may be wrong with their bodies.  As we have adopted an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, Mandy says that the number of people with tight pelvic floors has gotten higher and higher.  Society’s belief that pain makes you stronger makes it hard for you to be in touch with the natural processes that your body goes through during birth because you aren’t as used to listening to your body.  Having a tight pelvic floor can further complicate things by causing you to feel pain throughout your pregnancy, during your birth, and even in the postpartum stage, which many women feel pressured to ignore. 

But as both Mandy and Hehe point out, pain is never normal!  Pain can be natural, but regardless of its cause, it merits further investigation.  You do not need to power through pain; rather, you should see pain as an indication that something is up with your body and reach out to friends, family, or practitioners for support. 

The inside scoop on seeing a PFPT

When Mandy meets with a patient, she is focused on figuring out how their pelvis integrates with the rest of their body.  Most often, patients often come to Mandy because they have pain or functional issues such as leakage, or they are dealing with diastasis recti.  As Mandy explains, the vast majority of the exam is external – it is important to understand how parts of your body such as your spine interact with your pelvis.  However, because the pelvic floor is an internal structure, an internal exam is necessary to really see how it is working.  Many PFPTs use their fingers to do the exams rather than a speculum, which allows them to go at a pace that keeps their patient as comfortable as possible, especially for those who may not be very familiar with that area of their body. 

For those who are pregnant, Mandy recommends first seeing a PFPT around 20-24 weeks to establish your pelvic floor baseline and identify challenges that need to be addressed.  Women should visit their PFPTs again around 32-36 weeks to focus more on specific birth preparation.  Perhaps most importantly, Mandy also recommends women to check in with their PFPTs 6 weeks postpartum, even if they are not having any issues, just to see how their pelvic floor is doing after the birth.  In many women, pelvic floor symptoms that stem from giving birth may not arise until menopause, so even if you are symptom-free at 6 weeks postpartum, it is important to visit your PFPT. 

If you are going to see a PFPT for the first time, Mandy recommends going alone rather than bringing your partner.  Because it’s often a new experience for people, it is important to start physical therapy on your own so that you have a sense of the amount of pressure required to give your pelvic floor a sufficient but not painful stretch.  However, as Hehe points out, once you have a good understanding of your own pelvic floor physical therapy, having your partner help you with perineal massages and other PT can be good practice for developing communication skills that will come in handy during your birth. 

If you are thinking about seeing a PFPT but are still on the fence or feeling a little uncomfortable, you can do your own mini pelvic floor exam at home!  As Mandy explains, you can get a sense of your pelvic floor health by inserting one finger vaginally and doing a kegel.  According to Mandy, you should feel a squeeze and a lift, rather than pressure down towards your hand.  If you feel pressure, that may be an indication that you should visit your PFPT.  And even if you feel that squeeze and lift, you should still go see your PFPT to make sure that everything is in good shape (especially because PFPTs are specially trained to support pelvic health)!

Mandy’s postpartum advice

Mandy is full of pelvic floor advice, especially for those of you who just had a baby!  She points out that although incontinence can be a sign that your pelvic health needs some attention, it is entirely normal to experience some incontinence during the first 4-6 weeks postpartum.  After all, your bladder suddenly has much more space to bounce around than it did when you were pregnant!  In order to help get your bladder back to normal, Mandy stresses the importance on peeing often (every 2-3 hours), rather than holding it in.  And if you aren’t noticing that your incontinence is decreasing over time or you are still experiencing incontinence by 6 weeks, that’s a sign that you should get it checked out. 

As far as the hot topic of postpartum kegels, Mandy says they aren’t for everyone.  While some women find that their pelvic floor is weaker after birth, others may develop tightness in their pelvic floor, and doing kegels will only increase that tightness.  It’s important to check in with your practitioner before doing any sort of exercise after birth.

If you want to hear more from Mandy, visit her practice website at nurtureher.ca, where you can find her blog, online classes, and even a video explaining how to do a perineal massage!  You can also find Mandy on Facebook at Nurture Her as well as on Instagram at @core.believers.


Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"




Written by our Guest Blogger, Kyra Shreeve. She is a Biochemistry, Health Policy, and Music student at Brandeis University. 

Endometriosis, Emotions, and Infertility

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Endometriosis, Emotions, and Infertility 


[This is also an episode of Friday Free Talk on The Tranquility Tribe Podcast on iTunes. Listen here.]


Hey Tranquility Tribe!  Welcome to this episode of the Tranquility Tribe podcast!  Today, Hehe talks to Carli Blau, a sex therapist located in Manhattan.  In addition to helping individuals and couples through the variety of struggles that can result from sex, relationships, infertility, and even life in general, Carli is also working on finishing her PhD in Clinical Sex Therapy.
How did Carli become a sex therapist?
Carli has always had a loving and supportive family.  However, at age 14 she found herself in a relationship with a partner who was controlling and emotionally and physically abusive, and she felt very isolated despite the support that her parents provided.  In addition, Carli became sexually active at a young age and, in an effort to learn about what was going on with her body, read up on all things sex. Because she knew so much, she became the go-to person for anyone with questions about sex, periods, anatomy – you name it!  She enjoyed being able to help others understand a topic that was often viewed as confusing and even taboo. Her relationship experiences and her wealth of knowledge inspired her to pursue a career in which she could enable others to cope with their feelings towards sex, relationships and commitments, pregnancy and infertility, and a variety of other topics.
Why sex therapy?
As Carli points out, not everyone is comfortable talking about sex.  This holds true for therapists as well; you might find that even licensed professionals try to avoid the subject!  The great thing about sex therapists is that they go through specific training that allows them to process the feelings and emotions that they may have around sex prior to speaking to clients.  This way, when they are helping others, they have already developed an understanding of the topic and are comfortable having those conversations.
Nobody’s relationship is perfect, and if the idea of sex makes you feel stressed or unhappy, you are not alone.  In the age of social media, it is incredibly easy to think that everybody else’s relationships are completely faultless.  But in reality, everybody faces some sort of struggle within the dating/relationship world. This is especially true regarding sex, but because it is so often seen as such a taboo topic, it can be difficult to find a space to talk about your experiences (or even someone to acknowledge that your feelings about sex are valid).  Sex therapists are a wonderful resource to allow you to process your attitude towards sex in a safe, comfortable, and open-minded environment.
Carli’s Corner

Thanks to all of her experience as a therapist, a patient, and simply a person, Carli is full of helpful advice about a variety of topics.  Both Carli and Hehe agree that it is incredibly important to feel validated by and comfortable around your doctor, but they both recognize that it can be difficult to find a doctor that respects your views and that you trust.  Carli’s tip when dealing with less than empathetic doctors is to remember that they are people too, and approach a conversation with them on a human-to-human level. Keep in mind that they may have boundaries up for a reason, and let them know how you feel.  It can be difficult to have those conversations, but it’s important to advocate for yourself because you deserve to be treated in an environment where you feel safe and comfortable. And if after expressing your needs, you feel like you are still not receiving the respect you deserve, it may be time to find someone new.  As Carli points out, this can apply to any relationship - romantic, medical, you name it!

Infertility and Endometriosis

Dealing with infertility can have a serious impact on how you feel about sex and your relationship.  Carli explains that when you begin to put a lot of pressure on getting pregnant, you may start to resent sex, which is entirely normal and understandable.  While sexual anxiety is not a defined diagnosis, it is a common and very real feeling among people who are trying to get pregnant (and this doesn’t just apply to women - partners and same sex couples can feel anxiety around trying to get pregnant, too).  If you are struggling with anxiety around sex, Carli recommends trying to see a sex therapist. If you don’t have access to a sex therapist, Carli also advises trying to gradually rebuild positive intimacy between you and your partner - start slow with something like a massage, and go from there.  

Trying to get pregnant can be a scary, embarrassing, and confusing process.  As Carli says, the most important thing to keep in mind during this process is to approach it in a positive light - not only will this make the overall experience more manageable, but maintaining a low stress level will keep your cortisol levels low, which helps support fertility.  However, this is definitely easier said than done. To help get you through the lows of the pregnancy process, Carli recommends learning as much as you can about your body and pregnancy itself; knowledge is power, and having more information about what you are going through can help it feel less frightening or overwhelming.  Carli also reminds listeners that as a parent, you will have the very important role of setting an example for your child. If you approach things with a negative attitude, your child will mirror your behavior - start practicing now by trying to maintain a positive attitude as much as possible!
Throughout the podcast, Carli opens up about her own experience trying to pregnant.  Carli has endometriosis, which is a chronic benign disease that affects one in 10 women.  Endometriosis is caused by excess tissue around the uterus and other reproductive organs, which can cause extreme fatigue, painful sex, bad cramping, heavy periods, and inflammation.  Depending on where the extra tissue is, endometriosis can make it very difficult to get pregnant. Carli had a miscarriage in July of 2017. She has since undergone egg retrieval and is hoping to get pregnant at some point in the future!

With both endometriosis and egg retrieval, Carli stresses the importance of finding a doctor that you trust and who really knows what they are doing.  Endometriosis can be very difficult to diagnose, so it’s important to go to a specialist if you believe that you may have it. When looking for a doctor for egg retrieval, Carli recommends interviewing doctors and asking about the protocols that they offer.  Doctors who provide a wide variety of protocols are more likely to be able to work with you to find a process that is personalized for you. Egg retrieval is an expensive process, but as Carli explains it is worth investing in a good doctor that you feel comfortable working with.  

If you would like to hear more from Carli and learn about the services that she offers, check out her blog at honestlynaked.com and her website, carliblau.com!  Carli is also on Instagram at @sexdoccarli and can be contacted via email at cabtherapy@gmail.com or by phone at 917-710-4497.

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"



Written by our Guest Blogger, Kyra Shreeve. She is a Biochemistry, Health Policy, and Music student at Brandeis University. 

Dressing Intentionally for Pregnancy and Beyond with Helena Grant

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Dressing Intentionally for Pregnancy and Beyond

[This is also an episode of Friday Free Talk on The Tranquility Tribe Podcast on iTunes. Listen here.]

Hey there, Tranquility Tribe!  How much do you know about your style?  Do you have a go-to clothing color? Did you know that the colors you wear can say a lot about your personality?  In this episode, Hehe talks to Helena Grant, an entrepreneur and stylist expert, about the major impact that clothes have on your life!


Who is Helena?


Helena recently celebrated the three-year anniversary of her business, H Grant Style, with a style popup in Boston.  Hehe attended the event and said it was a huge success! However, as Helena expressed, she could not have done it on her own.  For the majority of her time building her business, Helena did everything herself. However, when she began to prepare for her anniversary event, she decided to ask for help with the planning.  And she said that she is so glad that she did – at 1:30am on the morning of the event, Helena’s daughter had an acute asthma attack, and Helena ended up calling 911 and stayed up with her daughter for the rest of the morning.  Luckily, her daughter was okay and the event went on without a hitch, thanks to the hard work of Helena and the rest of her support group. Helena said that the event ended up being the perfect celebration of both motherhood and entrepreneurship as well as a reminder of the value of her village.  


Helena has been interested in style and fashion for as long as she can remember.  From designing dresses for herself with her mom as a kid to helping friends and clients build confidence along with their wardrobes, Helena has always had a true talent for helping others find their style.  Helena has been an entrepreneur since 2009, when she started her own line of handbags. After trying to upscale her handbag business multiple times, she decided to take some time away from her business during her pregnancy.  When a friend pointed out that she had an innate ability to identify and help others curate their styles, Helena decided to pursue that instead, eventually launching H Grant Style on the day of her daughter’s seven-month birthday.


The Capsule Project


Helena is currently working on a project focused around creating capsule wardrobes – structured wardrobes that contain a limited number of intentional pieces.  Capsule wardrobes are built around three base colors and two accent colors and are perfect for people who do not have a huge amount of closet space, are in a transitory time, or want to save time and energy when choosing their outfit for the day.  In addition to teaching others how to build capsule wardrobes, Helena is creating her own capsule wardrobe to truly experience what the project entails.


Helena is also very interested in the psychology and meaning behind colors.  As she describes, natural, earthy tones typically reflect grounded, neutral, and dependable personalities, while yellow conveys feelings of optimism and joy and purple of royalty and ambition.  On the other hand, black portrays a sense of power and elegance while red is bold and confident. Regardless of which color appears the most in your wardrobe, the colors that you wear can offer insight into your personality and mood.

Tips for building a maternity wardrobe


If you are currently expecting or planning on having a tiny human in the future, Helena has some special style tips for you!  As Helena says, the most important thing is to remember that you are a woman first. You can’t control how your baby will affect your body, so investing in wardrobe pieces and accessories that you can control can keep you feeling confident and comfortable in your body.  Helena recommends finding clothes that stretch, such as t-shirt dresses and leggings, so that you can wear them throughout your pregnancy. She also highly advises investing in a well-fitting pair of maternity jeans, because they will be an invaluable staple throughout your pregnancy!


In addition to having a maternity wardrobe that makes you feel self-assured, Helena also reminds listeners that positive affirmations during pregnancy are so important!  Pregnancy is HARD and your body undergoes a crazy number of unpredictable changes, but the fact that you are able to grow and carry a tiny human for nine months is incredible.  Remember that you are still you, even though your body is going through this transition, and keep in mind that pregnancy is temporary. Take care of yourself, keep your brain and body healthy, get plenty of sleep, eat well, and count on your village to help you through!

For all you postpartum women out there…


Postpartum women are constantly overlooked, and the postpartum world is filled with unrealistic expectations and ridiculous body shaming.  In reality, the postpartum period should be a time of celebration! You just accomplished something incredible, and you deserve to be celebrated.  Helena emphasizes the importance of taking time for yourself, especially after giving birth when it can be very easy to sacrifice all of your time taking care of your new tiny human.  She also gives her top fashion tip for motherhood – have a go-to “mom uniform” that makes you feel good while also not getting in the way of all of the incredible things you do throughout your day!


For those of you who are thinking about revamping your wardrobe, Helena recommends picking out about five pieces from your current wardrobe that you absolutely love, think about what you like about them, and compare the rest of your closet to those pieces.  Try to get rid of pieces that don’t inspire the same feeling as those original five pieces, and then look for that feeling in other places to build a closet that makes you feel fabulous!


If you want to learn more about H Grant Style, you can find Helena on Instagram at @hgrantstyle and on Facebook at Closet Boss with Helena Grant.  If you are curious to learn more about your own style, check out Helena’s style archetype test in her Instagram bio, and if you want more tips for building your closet, check out Helena’s Be Your Own Stylist course!

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"



Written by our Guest Blogger, Kyra Shreeve. She is a Biochemistry, Health Policy, and Music student at Brandeis University. 

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