Post-Baby Carnival body
As Jamaica's carnival season gets into full swing with the highly anticipated road march just a few weeks away, fitting into beautifully bejewelled costumes is a top priority for participating socaphiles looking forward to jamming on the road.
One repeat reveller currently in full preparation mode is Shanique Palmer. A self-styled fitness buff, Palmer now has the challenge of getting back into pre-pregnancy shape, three months after giving birth to her daughter. Already, she has lost almost all the pounds she gained while pregnant.
"I was pretty lucky not to have gained much - only 22 pounds. But the challenge for me has been to drop it rapidly on the heels of the big Christmas and holiday dinners after having an unexpected caesarean," she said.
Since getting the OK from her doctor to resume working out eight weeks after delivery, Palmer has been limited to cardio and light weight training, taking into consideration the effects of the invasive surgery. "I couldn't wait to be able to begin working out again, although I knew I couldn't do my usual lifting."
This time around, she has ditched the heavy weights at the gym and has been relying on popular workout programme, Insanity, choreographed by American celebrity fitness instructor Shaun T.
In an age when many magazines feature post-partum celebrities on their covers flaunting bikini-ready bodies, shedding unwanted 'baby weight' quickly while enjoying life as a new mom has become something of a new obsession.
Palmer explained: "For me, it became less about getting the 'snap-back body' or trimming down in time for carnival day. It was definitely more about getting back to feeling comfortable in my skin again; and that's important after all the insecurities that pregnancy can bring when pretty much nothing in your closet fits anymore."
Palmer's fitness journey started four years ago when she decided to make some changes after participating in carnival for the first time and seeing unflattering photos of herself. Since then, she has made a complete lifestyle change.
"My universal rule is that you can't eat foods that deviate too far from nature. It has to come straight from the tree or the ground, or it had to have been alive a few days ago. So, anything processed, manufactured or generally considered 'junk' cannot go into your body."
Her advice for anyone preparing for the road is to be consistent with a workout programme that addresses specific needs. And, above all, rely on meal prepping to stick to a healthy diet. "If you're not sure what to eat, there are lots of websites that can help you create a meal plan. And, closer to carnival day, take care to avoid anything sodium-filled to prevent bloating."