post partum

No Time to Cook? My Top 5 Meal Planning Hacks

No Time to Cook? My Top 5 Meal Planning Hacks

You have to plan it into your life. There’s no easy way around it. If being healthy matters to you, if you’re over the muffin top, if you’re over living in a haze of life, you have to put in the effort. 

My Go To Dinner Recipes When I’m Exhausted and Don’t Feel Like Cooking

Every single parent out there can relate to this one. I know it. It doesn’t matter if you work or if you’re a stay at home parent, there are days that just fucking own you. You’re like counting down the hours until you can lay down because you miss your bed so much and the day has just been all the things. Whatever those things are right? Chaotic, frustrating, busy, it doesn’t even matter. We’ve all been there. 

Those are the days when the prospect of cooking is daunting af. Like what fast food place can I drive through the fastest, that’s the most efficient right now? Because cooking is testing my bandwidth for life. 

Don’t get me wrong, we’re all entitled to those breaks from cooking. But the thing with having a healthy lifestyle, getting back to the point where you’re not frustrated with your weight and where you feel like you have balance means that going through the drive thru at the fast food place can’t be your go to anymore. 

I’m not sorry to say that and I know it pisses some of you off. But if you want to see change, you have to be making choices that are in accordance with said change. And I know YOU know the fast food option isn’t in accordance with the change you want to see. 

It’s these days when it’s imperative for you to fall back on those tools in your toolbox that will help support the change you’re trying to make. Fall back on those tools, take the stress out of it, take the thinking out of it and know that you’re still making a good choice for yourself. 

That’s why I’m putting all these downloadable things together for you. So on the days when the overwhelm feels like it’s going to take over your soul, you can fall back on these tools and know that you’re not losing any of your progress. It’s one less thing to think about, it’s one less thing to worry about and hopefully it gives you a little space in your day for you to take care of yourself. 

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How To Workout When You're Tired AF and Totally Unfocused

I got to that point in my post partum journey where I literally couldn’t find pants that fit comfortably. It was the most discouraging feeling in the world. 

I knew I needed to workout but the prospect of moving my body as a new mama to a kid who apparently hated sleep exhausted me even more than I was already exhausted. It was a daunting prospect.

But here’s the thing: as long as you’re moving your body, and increasing your heart rate you’re going to burn calories. So on the days when you’re tired af, don’t focus on WHAT you’re doing, focus on just DOING.

Here’s my pro tip for how to workout when you’re exhausted:

Listen to your body. It’s really that simple. Be kind to yourself. Our bodies go through such a tremendous amount of change when we’re growing our families. We tend to forget that this change happens LONG before the baby actually shows up in our arms.

Don’t worry I won’t get all science nerd on ya, but rest assured between physical and hormonal changes that occur while you’re pregnant, your body has been through the ringer before you even go into labor.

Then regardless of whether or not your labor goes “smoothly” (OMG biggest laugh ever…smooth labor…I mean a watermelon coming out of THAT is definitely something you’re going to feel) you’ve still experienced a trauma. While it is a beautiful, transformative, life creating experience, it is still a trauma. And even though our bodies were designed to be able to create, carry and deliver life, it’s still a process with its own hormonal releases and physical changes. 

And THEN you start breastfeeding which is a whole other game of hormonal and physical changes.

Here’s my point to this long winded reflection down memory lane. Your body has gone through a lot and if you’re still relatively early in your post partum journey, your body is still going through a lot. Not to mention that you’re attempting to teach a small human how to sleep, eat and all of those things. 

I think of all those things, I think back to when I experienced all those things (with a colicky baby) and I was tired AS FUCK. I’ve never been that tired before, not even when I was in the Army did I EVER FEEL THAT TIRED. Bone sucking, mentally ass kicking exhaustion. It’s the kind of tired that you can’t even explain to another human. It’s that unrelatable.

So I can imagine that the prospect of working out makes you want to kick people in the shins. Conversely you feel like you have to because you’re just so sick of seeing that flab that makes you look like you’re in the not so cute stages of pregnancy (when it looked like you just ate too much) so you feel like you have to workout. Talk about a shitty catch-22.

Listen to your body. Be patient. Be kind. Know that these changes that happened in your body took almost a full year to occur so give yourself TIME to heal and TIME to get back to a healthy state. Focus on the things you can control. Like eating healthy food.

When you go to workout, do the workouts that sound the most appealing in that second of time. I always had a workout and a contingency plan. The reason being two fold: first I could have options if I was so tired I couldn’t see straight AND I needed a back up in case things around me went to shit.

I always had the hardcore, super intense workout. This was normally something HIIT, or longer endurance workouts that I knew would kick my ass. Then my back up was always the gentler option. Yoga, mat pilates, resistance training, stretch days, things that were kinder to my body.

On days when I needed to, I did the gentler workouts and celebrated the fact that I could still move my body and on the days when Grace wasn’t partying like an out of control rockstar, I did the more intense workouts. On days that went so amazingly well I had to pinch myself, I did both (those days were rare in my house).

Regardless, I was doing the work and what mattered more is that I was doing the work consistently. I could focus because the workout was what I needed, I felt better after, and I knew that I was still on my way back to feeling like myself again.

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Do You Love Yourself?

I was talking to a friend recently who didn’t know that much about my history. She didn’t know about my foot, or the litany of other injuries I had, and when I started delving into things she said “damn girl, you’ve got a lot of stuff wrong with you, how did you get to that point?” 

I could go through the specific exercises that caused injury, you know the practicality of it, like what I was doing at the time that caused the injury. But I feel like that would take too long. Because here’s the thing: how I did all the things doesn’t really matter, all of my major injuries all happened in succession in a few years directly following my foot and there was an undercurrent of commonality amongst all of them. I didn’t love myself.

That’s a really hard thing for me to right. I know I didn’t though. I thought I could just push my body to the point of injury because I had already been through worse, so nothing else could be as bad right? It didn’t matter that I was young and had my whole life ahead of me (and totally wasn’t thinking about how chronic pain would look as a longevity issue). I didn’t love myself enough to be compassionate to myself. 

When I coach people, I notice the same thing. We are more often than not cruel to ourselves. We very rarely show ourselves the love that we need in order to experience the growth we’re seeking. I know there’s a lot of contributing factors to mindsets like this, I know because I know what’s contributed in my life to my own mindset and I know now how important it is to do the work to shut that inner critic up.

It’s not an overnight process either. You have to first recognize the negative things that are even coming through in your thought process before you can begin the process of changing anything. Once you recognize what those thoughts tend to be, you have to do your due diligence to replace those negative thoughts with something more positive, and then you have to KEEP DOING IT. Which is easier than it sounds.

Because at first, you’re going to go back to the negative thoughts quickly and you might not even find anything positive to say to yourself because the negative thoughts are such an easy fall back. It’s muscle memory, your brain as a muscle is geared towards a certain line of thought and if you are used to telling yourself how much you suck or some variation of that, then that’s where your mind is going to go.

You have to keep at it. You have to keep shoving those positive thoughts into your conscious train of thought until you think you’re going to explode into rainbows and sunshine. And then you do it again, you do it more, you just keep at it.

Now when I exercise the positive thoughts are like second nature to me. Whenever something gets hard, whenever I want to quit, I have certain things I instantly go to in my head to push through whatever I’m doing. 

If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking well dang I have nothing positive to tell myself. Which I get because if you’ve never done this before it is super weird, we’re not accustomed to celebrating our victories.

The easiest way that I got into the groove of celebrating my achievements was by writing them down. Seriously. I sat down with my journal and I wrote down 100 things I have achieved throughout my life. From the little things like learning how to French braid my hair, to the big things like scholarships, graduating college, learning how to drive.

Celebrate all your victories and relish in the fact that you are totally unique. One of one. Then the next time you’re working towards your goals in a workout or in the board room, you’ll find how much easier it is to show yourself the love you deserve.

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I Gotta Check My Ego

I’ve been thinking a whole lot lately about ego. I mean obviously if you read the last blog post about doing what you need verses what you want, ego goes pretty strongly with that right? Because doing what your body needs might mean putting your ego aside. It might also mean actively stopping the comparison game that I know we all play when it comes to getting healthy. I get it, I share these experiences I have and give these opinions because I’ve been there.

Being in the fitness industry, ego can get in the way so easily and so quickly as can the comparison disease. There’s this constant drive to look amazing, be rocking ALL the muscles, be able to pull off all the tight clothes, be stronger or faster or leaner than the person next to you. Really all that leads to is this dissociative state of reality.

Your ego becomes your inner bully constantly trying to push you to where it thinks you should be instead of embracing the journey you’re currently on.

Case in point: when I was cleared by my doctor post delivery to start practicing Pilates again, I went into the studio, by myself just to see where my body was at. I remember trying to do a roll up (if you don’t know, it’s an ab exercise) and I could NOT DO IT. AT ALL. Instead of taking a deep breath and giving myself credit for even being in such an amazing state of health that my doctor COULD clear me 4 weeks post c-section for exercise, I thought “fuck I’m gonna have to find another job.” No joke. I had NO sympathy for myself. My ego was the sole operator, telling me that I needed to be in a certain place, to be able to perform a certain way when I was only a month post partum, not to mention post major abdominal surgery.

You know what I figured out though? I didn’t need to be ashamed at where I was on my journey because I wasn’t alone. In fact, the women I trained loved me sharing my journey back to my “Pilates shape” because it was more relatable to them than the women who just seem to bounce back post baby with zero issues whatsoever.

That struggle is what binds us because it draws commonalities and also shows us what we’re capable of accomplishing. While that potential for accomplishment can be completely limitless, we have to check our ego in order to make it happen. That ego, that internal bully is going to be the first thing to give you a hard time whenever you try to make a positive change for yourself. Like that saying “you are your own toughest critic”, that ego gets in the way of progress for whatever reason, and ultimately your end goals that are completely attainable end up suffering.

I know you can do it because I’ve done it too and I know how much internal grit it takes to ignore that critic, that bully, that mean girl that always wants to knock you down a peg.

So now whenever that internal bully comes up in my head and starts telling me all my failings, not only do I tell her to sit down and shut up, but I also remind myself of 10 of my accomplishments. Small ones, big ones, it really doesn’t matter. I put where I think I should be aside and embrace where I’m at, embrace that I’m on a journey and it’s only going to get better from here.

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Your World Totally Changed, Now What?

Before I became a Mom, I always tried to be that friend who was super understanding to the people around me with kids. I obviously knew on some level that kids took over every single aspect of your life, that more often than not their needs surpassed your own, and I tried really hard to be cognizant of that, but I felt like this whole idea of a “Mom Club” was stupid.

Why should there be any difference between them and me? Just because they had kids already and I didn’t have a family yet. I was obviously understanding to their needs as well as to what their kids needed. I knew my life would change when I had kids, I would talk about the need to be flexible all the time, the unknown of what my life would become all the time.

Holy shit girl was I totally off. Like beyond completely and totally just freaking wrong on every single level.

I didn’t understand my wrongness until I had Grace and all of a sudden it was like ya no wonder no one told me anything because there is literally NO way anyone could understand this level of change unless they went through it themselves. I think that’s why moms with screaming kids at Target give the silent nod of solidarity. Because we get it and we don’t truly have the words to describe it to anyone else.

And girl I would get SO frustrated in the beginning. I would want my day to go a certain way and then it wouldn’t happen for whatever reason, and it would drive me crazy. All that flexibility I talked about before that I knew I needed to have was non-existent. It always seemed to happen in relation to my workouts, that I would want to do a certain workout and for whatever reason, it would never happen. And the reasons my friend, were plentiful, most of which I don’t remember now.

I wish I could say that I found a solution overnight and everything was totally ok. That wasn’t the case for me. I spent a long time being frustrated, a lot of days not getting the workout in that I wanted, and a lot of days wondering when things would go back to “normal”.

So I embarked on this journey of trial and error. I needed to figure out what would work and I wanted to have a plan because that’s just in my nature. I tried to workout when Grace was awake (you can read previous blog posts to see how that went), I tried to go to gyms that had daycare, I tried to workout after Grace went to bed or when she was napping. The one thing I learned almost immediately was that every single day was going to be different.

After a ton of trial and error, I learned that my plans needed plans. Seriously though. Oh and I needed to HAVE a plan because trying to wing my workouts wasn’t working with the kind of sleep deprivation every new mom operates under.

Eventually I found that what worked for me was having a contingency plan. Like the plan of the workout I would ideally want to do and the time I would ideally like to do it, and then a back up plan. The Oh Shit plan as it were. This plan gave me alternate times for working out in case my original plan didn’t work, as well as alternate workouts. 

In all fairness, this takes some thought and duh obviously planning on my part which is something I usually do over the weekend when I’m looking at my week ahead. It takes me being intentional and realistic to my time constraints as well as being methodical for what workouts go on which days (as well as back up workouts) so I can continue to see gains from working out.

For me, this works most of the time. I’m still learning the art of being flexible and patient but I feel better knowing that I now have something to fall back on just in case.

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What? You Thought It Would Just Go Back to Normal?

I used to laugh, when I would read articles about things that contribute to someone not losing weight, like stress levels or lack of sleep as I was breastfeeding my baby at 1am or trying to get a fussy child to sleep in the middle of the night. Literally everything about becoming a parent is contraindicated to losing weight.

My delivery with Grace sucked. While it could’ve been tremendously worse, when I was sitting in an orthopedic surgeon’s office when Grace was 3 months old being told that delivery worsened a herniated disc I didn’t even know I had, and my pelvis was completely displaced, oh and there was nothing they could do for me because I was breastfeeding, it was a little hard to stay positive.

I remember feeling so discouraged that my body would be in this much pain for however long, I was so inflamed you couldn’t even tell I had already lost half of the baby weight, and I was exhausted. I would drive to places and not even remember how I had gotten there the fatigue was so extreme.

It wasn’t just the sleepless nights. Chronic pain is this amazingly awful thing that trickles into every single aspect of your life. Your body is working overtime to deal with nerves and stuff firing, to address the pain that’s putting you into a constant state of stress, top that with becoming a mama and not being able to rest (which was what I needed) and I was in a world of hurt. I also had massive digestive issues post partum that I never experienced before and were embarrassing to the point that my husband didn’t even know about it.

I have to say that even with all I went through with my foot, it was this time when I really felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I thought this was my new normal and I was just going to have to figure out a way to survive.

I was at a loss. I didn’t understand why I looked flabby even though I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight and back to doing two-a-days most days of the week. I wanted to believe it was temporary but I just couldn’t wrap my head around the whole thing. I had no energy for anything because my body hurt so badly. I couldn’t stand too long without my back hurting, I couldn’t sit without my back hurting, I was waking up in the middle of the night in pain.

It’s no way to live. This is not a solid existence to me. I was seeking out help and answers too but everyone around me was at a total loss. I had one doctor tell me that my digestive issues were my new normal that there was nothing I could do even though I was adhering to a very rigid way of eating.

It was so discouraging that I can’t even find the words to describe it. I eventually found my way past it all, it took time and the flexibility to be willing to change things to see what changes helped and which ones didn’t, but I got to the other side. I can sit here today and tell you that when I was in the thick of it, I didn’t think I would ever get to the other side and now, I’m proud of the work I’ve done.

It’s pushed me to share because I know that becoming a mom will change aspects of your life that you never anticipated changing. Becoming a mom changes you in ways you never anticipated you would change and it changes every single relationship you’ve ever had or currently have. There’s no way to know what that change will look like until it actually happens and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that light.

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Becoming a Parent Terrified Me

Ok so maybe I didn’t have the best balance in my life immediately following my injury. And by maybe, I mean definitely for sure I DID NOT have the best balance in my life. If anything I think I potentially exacerbated chronic pain by not checking my ego. But the one thing of importance that I learned for me was the power of exercise. That lesson carried with me through to my new career in fitness.

Here I am thinking all is well and good, life is good, I am content finally with my life and we start trying to get pregnant and really my thought is again that God will take care of me. If I’m meant to be a mom then I will be, if that’s not God’s intention, then He will show me where I need to end up.

I was scared shitless when I found out I was pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited, but I was fucking terrified. Thank goodness I had people around me who didn’t question my ability to love and be a good parent, because I was for sure bringing all my self doubt to the surface on a regular basis.

To me, becoming a parent was this huge thing because of the tremendous amount of responsibility that goes along with being a parent. I mean you’re not just responsible for keeping said human alive, but you are also responsible for not creating an asshole that will then be sent into society as an adult, and hopefully as an adult who is a productive citizen.

All of those feelings aside, I wasn’t worried about the brass tacks of it all. I knew my husband and I would figure out the practicalities of life and schedules and work and all the things as we went along and as things changed. I wasn’t even worried about if I would deliver on time or not. I knew it was going to happen one way or another, so why stress about it?

It was just like when I was hurt. I knew in the end, when the bigger picture came to pass that I would be taken care of and so I didn’t stress. It was the logistics that caused me angst. Again like working out post partum.

When you’re in the fitness industry, there’s this associated stereotype for how you should look, what your nutrition should look like, what size you should be and the capabilities of your body. While I understand those stereotypes and why they exist, they often don’t take into account what happens with your body after you’ve had a child. You see women on social media rocking these amazing bodies post baby and that’s amazing, but that’s the 1%.

I wasn’t even stressed about losing the baby weight. I knew I would do it, I knew I would do it naturally and I knew it would take time. Really if it takes a full 9 months to put the weight on, it’s going to take even a little longer for the weight to come off because now you’re trying to drop weight and be a parent.

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Let's Switch It Up

I realize that up until now, the intention of this blog has been for me to share funny parenting stories. While I will still be doing that, I feel like it’s time to expand the horizon of this blog into something more, something still funny and still equally worthwhile.

I think it’s time for you to learn a little more about me, about how I operate and about how I integrate all of these healthy things into my life and ultimately why that matters to me. I guess on some level that’s important for Grace too so she can understand her Mama a little better. 

But ultimately, especially when you’re working with someone, be it through coaching, or even just using their workouts or recipes, it’s good to know their motivation. It’s good to know why they’ve decided to do the things they do so you can decide whether or not they’re someone you vibe with.

So coming in hot with all things mommyhood and just adulting at its finest. The good, the bad and the ugly because that’s often how life goes for all of us and if we can’t support each other then really what’s the point?

I figure my mindset shapes how I do pretty much everything, including parent, so knowing me and knowing my mindset will help you understand how I am (especially with my funny parenting antics) even more!

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I'm Finally There

I guess this is the final part to my health journey, the talk about how the rest of my body and soul was after I had Grace. If I’m being honest, it was horrible. I was SO fortunate that I didn’t get post partum depression (and God bless any one who is reading this who is currently going through that struggle, I send you ALL of my love), I was fortunate to lose all of the baby weight REALLY quickly, but I felt like absolute ick.

 All the new mom stuff aside, I mean truly becoming a Mama is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I learned how to walk again as an adult. People say you’re going to be tired, but you can’t even conceptualize what that means (well I could from this one time I stayed awake for 3 days on an ROTC exercise but that’s a story for another time), the adjustments your body goes through, shoot the adjustments your family goes through, and that’s just scratching the surface. One thing is a lot for one person to handle, not to mention all at once, and all the while you’ve also been deemed responsible for keeping this tiny human alive. Ay yai yai.

I had all those adjustments and then I had this weird thing happen with my digestion, it completely changed. Like drastically and in the worst way ever, changed. I got IBS symptoms without having IBS, and it was miserable. I couldn’t understand why my body was having such a severe reaction to everything I put in it, and I tried everything under the sun to change it. I also tried really hard to accept the “new look” for my body because the symptoms were so severe (and yes I did seek medical attention because of it), I was amazingly inflamed through my core and even though scale wise I lost the weight, it didn’t look like I had lost the weight.

I worked out like crazy as my means to cope, and my means to get whatever excess weight I had off, I had my healthy lifestyle with my healthy eating habits and nothing was working. I was so frustrated, I was so discouraged, and because of those symptoms and being a new mama, I was also exhausted. Quite honestly, because my symptoms were IBS mimicking (I was actually initially diagnosed with IBS, the symptoms were so parallel), I was also embarrassed.

 Finally I confided in a girlfriend of mine who takes a more holistic approach on life and she started talking to me about the power of detoxing. I definitely had a reason to, the medications alone from the c-section were reason to detox, so I thought sure why not. Really at that point I figured I had nothing to lose and I just wanted to feel better. I needed it, I was suffering.

3 days after having that superfood in my body only once a day and I felt like myself again. Symptoms gone, digestion back to normal, I didn’t feel tired when I first woke up in the morning, and I was sleeping better at night. 3 months later and people were noticing and asking me to help them get what I had so they could also feel better. Because they were noticing I felt energetic, they were noticing that I was losing weight (which actually turned out to be inflammation), and they were noticing a change in my overall affect.

1 year later and I was teaching people how to safely intermittent fast and fasting with my husband who’s also seen amazing results and feels his best. I get to see my tribe take their health journey to a whole new level because they’re truly giving their body the best nutrition, and I get to celebrate their victories.

And now? I’m growing. I’m teaching people how to incorporate fitness into their nutrition, giving details on how a woman’s body responds differently to fitness, and I’m in a place of maintenance. I’m smaller than I was when I was a sophomore in college (and you better believe I did a happy dance when I put on a pair of jeans that was a size down from where I was when I was 21), I get sick less than I ever have, and I get to give my body the best nutrition everyday.

I’m teaching people how to be accountable to themselves, because I was accountable to MYSELF. I’m teaching people not just how to reach their goals, but also that they deserve to reach those goals. I’m showing people, just like I showed myself, that we MATTER and that we won’t be able to give our best selves to those around us unless we give it to ourselves first.

 

 

                                   

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