Motivating Your Transformation: “All great achievements require time.”

Here I am, checking in with a quote on Tuesday. And didn’t I say these quotes were for Mondays? Yeahhhh, about that.

Guilty. I may have mom-brain, but I do know it’s not Monday anymore. The truth is, I was just super busy being a mama yesterday and took a rest day (minus a few sets of jumping lunges and squats). And this morning after I woke up after a not so restful night, I needed that motivation to get back on track, so here’s your opportunity to feel motivated and mix things up too, on a Tuesday! I’d feel badly about this, but motivation doesn’t just have to happen on a Monday anyways.

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In reality, I think this quote is super fitting for my post today anyways. Today, on “#transformationtuesday” (thanks Instagram), I’ve been thinking about my post last week about weighing myself.  When I penned that post I took my monthly progress photo and when comparing that photo with some from the last few months, I was stunned by the changes I’ve made since Josie was first born. It hit me how drastic the little changes we make in our day to day can be when looking at the overall “achievements” we’re trying to make. And the hard truth is that those greater achievements take time. Period.

Thankfully I’ve been so busy as a mom so I haven’t really had time to focus on how fast or slow things have been happening to my body. And honestly, if I hadn’t taken those photos, I think I would forget where I was at month one. Yet, while some days I still feel like that mom who just had a baby a month ago (maybe mostly because I’m still sleep deprived haha), I can’t deny the changes I’ve been conjuring as I make a commitment to my health and fitness day in and day out. It’s not easy, but it has certainly been worth it.

So, as you make your own commitments to your own goals, remember it takes time to make the progress you’re striving for. Settle in for the long haul. Consider how you’ll measure your progress in the short and long term and keep chipping away, doing the best you can. In the end, we can all be surprised–and proud–of our achievements.

To Weigh, or Not to Weigh

Today I’m reporting on a little experiment brought to you by a serious case of mom brain. I haven’t weighed myself in two months. During my weekly trips to Target, I have repeatedly forgotten to pick up a new 9-volt battery for our scale. So, while not weighing myself hasn’t been intentional, this is the longest time I have gone without weighing myself in years and today I’m sharing my personal and professional reflections (and results) about life sans scale.

I won’t lie, I have normally been the person weighing every few days, or at least once a week. And for awhile in between pregnancies, I had the unhealthy and obsessive habit of weighing myself every day. I remember three days after having my first daughter, I came home and while I should have lost at least 10 pounds (she weighed over 8 herself, plus I was no longer carrying around a placenta and I lost all of the amniotic fluid), I was only down 5 pounds. In my fragile postpartum state, I felt like a failure and cried. Then I remember weighing myself day in and day out after that until I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight…four months later.

In the last 20 months, since welcoming both of our baby girls–the youngest just five months ago–I’m happy/relieved/proud to say my relationship with the scale has gotten a lot healthier. Those feelings I had 20 months ago forced me to reflect on who I had become on the inside and think about why I would care about a number so much. My body had just done the most amazing thing possible–it created life and here I was obsessing over a number on a scale. As my oldest daughter moved out of the newborn days, I knew I didn’t want her to EVER obsess in the same way I was so I worked hard to change my mindset. This is an evolution that continued throughout the entirety of my second pregnancy last year and I’ve been continuing to grow over the last few months. A number on a scale will not and does not define me.

Even so, not weighing myself is very unlike me. While I don’t use weight as the only marker of my progress when working toward my health and fitness goals, I do think a scale can be a powerful tool.

Knowing your body weight can help you maintain a healthy weight and encourage healthy eating. I like to keep myself within a “target” weight zone (usually within about 3 pounds, plus or minus of my “goal” weight). This wiggle room leaves room for bloating caused by eating saltier foods (or my period) or dehydration.

Knowing how much we weigh can also help encourage healthy habits. I use a scale to keep my eating in check. Ie. weighing myself helps me avoid scarfing down a dozen donuts and multiple ice cream sundaes in a week. And on the flip side, it helps remind me to eat enough calories to build and maintain muscle if the number dips too low (which doesn’t happen too often, but sometimes could when I was marathon training).

Not weighing myself has really mixed up how I measure my progress and the markers I’ve been relying on have actually been motivating in different ways in the last couple months.

Living life without a scale means I’ve had to stick to what I’ve been saying since before I gave birth last October: the number on the scale isn’t important to me right now. Instead I’m more interested in how my clothes are fitting and my progress photos. And I’m proud to say that in the last several weeks, I’m down another pants/dress size and I’m seeing more muscle definition. These markers may not come with the fast gratification of the scale where you can watch your weight rise and fall a few pounds in a day or two, but these markers indicate changes that are certainly more permanent and that’s something I LOVE.

Further, my daily decisions haven’t been influenced by the scale and I think that’s actually helped me achieve more accountability and I’ve made even more positive choices than I would have in the past. Whereas I may have allowed myself a junk food treat when I was within my “weight zone,” I’ve been making more and more healthier choices as I look forward to fitting into new clothes and seeing progress in my monthly photos.

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Not identifying my progress with a number has been empowering and enlightening. While I think that when done in a healthy way, weighing yourself can be a positive part of anyone’s journey to health, it’s not the only way. In fact, the number on a scale is a tiny part of a way to define progress and sometimes someone can live a healthier life without it. The last couple months has shown me firsthand that measuring weight doesn’t have to be a part of everyone’s path.

If you haven’t lived life without a scale recently, I challenge you to do so. Consider analyzing your health in different ways for the next 30 days. Measure your life using different numbers. Track the number of steps your taking, count the number of workouts (and reps and sets) you’re completing in a week, look forward to fitting into a new size dress or pair of pants, and tally the number of veggies you’re consuming in a day. Take a photo at the beginning and end of your journey and you might be surprised by the changes. I’ll tell you this: after living without a scale for awhile, I still haven’t added “9V battery” to my Target shopping list.

How do you track your progress? Share in the comments below. 

 

 

Motivation Monday + Quick Legs/Abs Workout

Another week, and another snowstorm is in the forecast. While this seemingly endless winter can get me down at times, I am feeling happy on this Monday after completing a short workout this morning.

Currently I’m munching on some veggie soup for lunch, and I’m sharing this morning’s quick workout. Both babies wanted to be held today while I was exercising, and in between the diaper changes and soothing, I didn’t fit in as many sets or reps as maybe I would have liked. However, I did what I could and still think I’ll be sore tomorrow. Holding both kiddos was definitely an extra strength workout!

Lately, when my workouts have been tough (ie. when my muscles are on fire!), I just envision bathing suit weather and how I want to feel and look this summer. While vanity driven, this tactic is almost instantly motivating and sometimes even encourages me to add an extra few reps or set into my workout (when I can). It’s okay to want to look and feel your best!

If you want to repeat the quick leg and ab burner I did this morning, here it is:

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And as promised last week, here is some motivation for your Monday. Set your goals and work towards them, bit by bit and day by day. You’ll be amazed by the person you become.

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Wishing you all a wonderful week!

HIIT Workout for a Snow Day

This week I’ve been running a fun workout trial group on Facebook and today I’m excited to share one of the group workouts with all of my blog readers too!

Since I’m completing a lot of my workouts at home these days, I’m constantly putting together high intensity interval training workouts. They’re very convenient when you are exercising with two babies, and I definitely have a love/hate relationship with these workouts.

I love them:

  1. because HIIT workouts are fast! They take less than 30 minutes to complete.
  2. because they use little to no equipment. Traditional HIIT workouts use mainly bodyweight so you can literally do these workouts just about anywhere.
  3. and because they work! Did you know HIIT workouts can boost your metabolism for up to 48 hours after you finish your workout?

The only reason I sometimes hate HIIT workouts is because they’re challenging and are never done before your muscles start to burn like crazy. It’s amazing how you can sweat so much, lose your breath, and build so much strength in just fifteen or 20 minutes!

So, if you’re in a part of the country that’s been or is being crushed with snow (like we are today), don’t let the wintry weather be an excuse to not workout. Set aside about 15 minutes and you’ll still have time to shovel (yay!). Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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Motivation Monday

Happy Monday! Every time I utter these two little words together I wonder if it’s a total oxymoron or if I should be laying the sarcasm on extra thick. Happy and Monday? Are Mondays ever really happy? A quick internet search using these two words comes back with some hilarious memes and I’d say the pop culture verdict is Mondays stink.

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For most people Monday signals the start of the work week so it’s not such a happy day. Now that I’m not working a regular “work week,” I guess Mondays aren’t so bad, except dad goes back to work, and mom (me!) is left with the chaos and mess of the weekend, loads of diaper changes, buckets of laundry, etc etc etc. Okay, I guess it can be a lot for everyone who isn’t waking up on vacation.

Getting back into the weekday grind means that oftentimes the LAST thing I want to do is exercise and eat healthy, but I think Mondays are actually one of the most important days to stick to your healthiest habits so I have a few tricks that help keep me on track. Don’t get me wrong–every day, meal, and moment is a spanking new opportunity to do your best to make better choices, but there’s something about a new week–kind of like the new year–that helps me hit that reset button.

Perhaps it especially feels like this because I love to let myself have more treats and variety in my diet and relax my exercise routine on the weekend. And Monday is the time where I have to get back to the business of taking care of myself and committing to my health. Monday is the day I sign back up for a whole 5(ish…Friday is the weekend at 5 pm around here) days of healthy habits.

One of the number one ways I stay motivated is with quotes. I have a couple quotes hung above doors and on the walls in my house to serve as simple reminders of positivity. I have a favorite workout tank top with a quote that makes me feel strong every time I put it on. And I have quotes saved up in my Pinterest account and flagged on my Instagram that I can draw from when I’m having a down or tired moment.

As an old college English major, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I find words to be so powerful. But thinking of the power behind a simple phrase motivated me to help motivate you! Instagram is full of all kinds of catchy hashtags, one of them being #motivationmonday, and this hashtag inspired me to take some of my favorite motivational quotes and brand them for my page. I’m excited to start sharing these momentos, not just on Instagram and Facebook, but here on my blog too!

So, here is one my all time favorite quotes. It’s applicable many Mondays for me, and I think it’s an especially excellent quote for those starting in my fitness workout group today (feel free to sign up and join all week to catch up on the workouts, recipes, and motivation):

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This simple quote is my reminder that I don’t need to do anything extraordinary on a day I might be feeling pretty ordinary or less than all of the super amazing athletes I follow on social media. Instead of comparing myself and quitting, my goal shifts from feeling like I need to keep up with them to just being me. Starting where I am and using the skills I have means I get to be me and do the best I can. I just have to try. And I think that’s a wonderful and simple reminder that most of us can apply to our lives every day.

How do you stay motivated? What are some of your favorite quotes? Share in the comments below. 

My Postpartum Journey (You’re Not Alone)

Let’s real talk for awhile. I’m going to super overshare about my postpartum journey. So if you don’t want to read about “girl problems,” just close this window now. But if you are a mom, or you have a mom, or if you know a mom I urge you to continue reading. Because I’ll bet out of all the moms you know, someone is feeling or has felt like this before. Maybe right after having a baby. Maybe a few months after. Maybe years later. But if and when they ever feel like this, I bet they would love it if you could even try to understand their experiences. Because labor and delivery isn’t where our journey to motherhood ends. Not even close. And no mom wants to feel alone (except maybe when we’re hiding in a closet to eat our favorite snack and don’t want to share).

Truth: I think the postpartum period, aka the “fourth trimester” is even tougher than being pregnant.

I am one of those lucky women who feels awesome when she’s pregnant. I exercise throughout my pregnancy. I feel strong. I gain a healthy amount of weight. I feel confident. I keep up with my regular activities (minus drinking some wine). I generally feel happy. I am grateful for this. This is probably why I was open to getting pregnant so soon after having my first daughter (hello, two babies in 15 months!).

But postpartum is a whole other story. The fourth trimester only technically lasts three months, and since my second daughter will be five months in just a couple weeks, I guess I don’t fit in this “box” anymore, but I have been in such a funk lately and I’m going to blame some of this experience at least partly on my own personal postpartum journey.

Six weeks after Josie was born I was cleared by my doctor and told I could resume my normal life. My new normal life. I was super overwhelmed by the two children I was rearing at home, but I passed the psychological questionnaire they give you (ie. I didn’t have postpartum depression), I had finally finished bleeding and my incision was healing nicely so yeah, I was told to carry on.

Having just had my first baby fifteen months before I was prepared for the gauntlet of my least favorite symptoms, or so I thought.

I was expecting my bad B.O. I smell so bad after I have kids. I sweat like crazy. On my chest and my armpits. And no, this is not because of my all natural deodorant. I literally think my body has me sweat like a maniac so my kid can smell me from a mile away. Along with every other poor soul within that mile radius. I change our sheets twice per week. It’s so gross, but I was ready for this. I have accepted this.

I also wasn’t shocked to get my period two days after my postpartum checkup. Yes, despite the fact that I’m exclusively breastfeeding, I am one of those lucky women who doesn’t get a break from Aunt Flo for six months or more. And to add insult to injury, I bleed super heavily and irregularly. So heavily that my doctors thought I was still experiencing postpartum bleeding after I had Isla. And so irregularly that I have had my period 6 times in the last 20 weeks since I welcomed our littlest beauty into this world. I was kind of ready for this too, though I forgot it sometimes interrupts my workout routine because I feel like garbage. And I am trying to accept this (okay, I’m actually just praying this bleeding gets lighter and more predictable).

Additionally, I was prepared for the loose ligaments and tender joints as the hormone relaxin works its magic in my body and keeps my body parts more relaxed as I breastfeed my baby. I was ready for the fatigue from night feedings and sleep training. I was ready to lose my hair by the handful. I was ready for the extra skin and cellulite. These symptoms are shit, but I was ready for them.

Yet, there is one major symptom I’ve been feeling lately that I was NOT expecting. This postpartum period I feel sad. And in this one major way, my postpartum journey has been so different than last year’s and the depth of this new unknown territory can sometimes be hard to navigate.

While I find motherhood so fulfilling and beautiful, while I laugh with joy with my daughters, while I don’t have trouble getting out of bed in the morning or doing work during the day, and while I’m not sad every day or every moment, I’m still sad!

Reflecting on this emotion, I don’t think it’s all due to my having a baby or two in the last couple years because let’s face it–this has felt like the longest winter in years–but do I do think it has something to do with my hormones and the crazy ride my body has churned through like a champ? Hell yes! And for that reason, I think it’s worth acknowledging. Because I know from talking to my mom tribe, I’m not alone. Many of us are experiencing all of this, and more, and if you feel like this YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Like with many other things in mamahood, we maybe can’t be ready to feel all of these feels, but I’m learning there are other ways we can be ready to cope. Because this emotion can be totally normal too, and it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, or that you’re doing something wrong, or that you love your kids any less than the bubbly, happy mom at playgroups. Or that you can’t be that bubbly mom, and still be sad sometimes too (that’s totally me).

First and foremost, if you’re worried and think your feelings are debilitating or you’re considering harming yourself or your children, you should talk to your doctor. But if you find that you’re feeling more of this “funk,” that I’m referring to, there are some natural ways you can cope and help yourself too and slowly, I’m finding these things are helping me feel better and so I have to share.

One huge way you can help yourself is with self care. Yes, I know motherhood is overwhelming. I know you have babies and a significant other, and maybe pets and other family and friends you’re taking care of. But if you’re forgetting the most important person you should be taking care of–YOU–take a look in the mirror and reflect on how you might help yourself too.

My brother once told me I’m the biggest advocate for self care he knows and this is a compliment I cherish. It’s something I remember when I am feeling sad and need some self care myself. It’s the reason I’m trying so hard to keep digging deep for the happiness that normally comes so naturally to me. Sometimes taking care of ourselves is what we need to feel a little better. And after I took some time this morning for a solo run (something that makes me feel better), I knew I had to share these intimate details about my postpartum feels.

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Some of the best ways to care for you might be meditation. Or exercise. An appointment with your favorite manicurist or at the spa. Or maybe it’s a nap or a cup of coffee out somewhere by yourself while your spouse or a babysitter takes care of the kids. Maybe it’s a date night. A girl’s night. Maybe it’s all of these things!

But whatever it is, DO IT. Because if making room to take care of me is making me feel a little better, it can make you feel better too. And I’m hoping sharing way too much of this intimate info might help someone else feel a little better too. Though who else is hoping the arrival of permanent springtime will help too? 🙂

Fitness Trial Workout Group: SIGN UP HERE!

Funny thing, this is a fitness blog, but I often check in with food updates vs. exercise. Why is that? Probably because the workout portion takes way more time, and most conveniently would require me to record my workouts for my blog sans babies. As you can imagine, that’s not always easy around these parts.

However, behind the scenes (ie. behind the piles of toys, dishes, and laundry), I’ve been putting together workouts and the other material I’ll need to start an online training program.

I’ve been working hard to create fun and quick workouts you can do anywhere with little or no equipment. And today I’m excited to share a sample workout video.

Today’s workout will burn your full body. Glutes, legs, arms, back, chest, and abs–nothing is missed. And you’ll work on increasing your stamina because as you blast from exercise to exercise you’re getting in some cardio too (hello, high intensity interval training)!

You’re aiming for 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise and the goal is to complete 3 or more sets, but really do all that you can. Even just one or two sets is better than none! You will want a step or chair and a resistance band if possible. If you don’t have the band, these are the couple changes I would make: do the lateral walks in a low squat (the lower the better)! And if you don’t have a step, do standing knee taps vs. step ups (hold your hands at chest height and lift your knee to meet your hands).

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Starting next week you can join a FREE training group and access five more workouts like this, along with lots of other helpful information that will help you commit living a healthy life. Starting the first day of spring (March 20), I am launching a paid online training group, but from March 5-12 you can test out a FREE trial workout group.

This will be a private Facebook group and when you sign up you’ll receive an email inviting you to join a community of like-minded people who are committing to regular exercise and healthy habits including nutritious eating! We’ll be moving together, motivating one another, and sharing recipes.

Five days next week I will post a quick workout video, like the sample above. This is a workout that should take you between 15 and 20 minutes to complete. You will have the option to complete all exercises simply using body weight or utilizing equipment you have at home or at a gym. I will cue for safety on each movement and will be able to give information about how you can scale an exercise back or ramp it up for a bigger challenge!

Everyday, I will post some of my favorite recipes, plus I’ll share some of my favorite recipe sites and apps so you can find recipes that truly work for your tastes and budget.

Additionally, you can chat with other members of the group so you can share what’s helpful for you and seek advice about what’s been challenging. We will cheer each other on and I can answer any questions and provide professional health and fitness advice.

I am PUMPED to start this group. Work out on your own time, in your own space, but with professional guidance and as a part of a community. It’s a workout for a new era and I’m thrilled to be a part of this trend.

To join the trial group, it’s simple. Complete the quick form below and click, “Submit.” Before Monday you’ll receive an email inviting you to the group and we’ll get started together! Sign up now and share with your friends!

PS. Signing up for the trial group WILL NOT sign you up for the group starting March 20. Watch for details about the paid group soon.