Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, wishing you a very Merry day!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Using Downtime to Draft your Fitness Goals

AAAAAAAANNNNDDDDDD here come the New Years Resolution posts. Come on, we all them inside our minds! I usually aim for small goals throughout the year, but lately I have been struggling with my workout resolve. I still say the time change causes all problems: loss of daylight and ruins infant sleep. However, I'm more at peace with my decline in working out because you want to know something? I've been having FUN.

All plaid everything. Wasn't planned. It just felt right.

I got to spend time with some great friends this weekend. We celebrated Christmas upstate together and it was everything you could imagine: drinks, brunch, games, plaid and smiling babies (Who slept soundly like an angel...gosh this kid warms my heart!). I didn't pack running shoes, a sports bra or any form of workout wear. This was about spending time together for a quick overnight trip, and it was lovely. I think there's a time and place for working out, and in this hectic season, it's hard to balance that with the fun times. Dare I say I felt "normal", not like a frazzled new mom? I guess it's my "new normal". I feel like we've turned a corner recently, where I'm not as upset if things are all out of whack, where I can handle if he takes a thirty minute nap or if I'm covered in spit's okay. 

Always keeping me on my toes and melting my heart.

During this Christmas break, I plan on writing down some fitness goals. I will actually have plenty of time to workout since we will be visiting family who are more than happy to watch Henry while I get my sweat on! Plus, it's supposed to be unseasonably warm, which will up my chances of lacing up for some miles. I really want to enter this new season of my new normal with a plan. I seem to be failing at my plans lately, but I feel like I'm ready to stick to some things. 

Here are some of my thoughts about drafting my fitness goals:

  1. Start small. I seem to flounder after a couple of days, often due to outside circumstances. I plan to set some small goals to get me going.
  2. Find a partner. I'm calling on some girlfriends to keep me accountable. I don't think I'm ready for a big linked in group challenge, but a few close friends to encourage each other seems just right.
  3. Get out of the house. I am making it a goal to leave me home for some runs. I feel refreshed, motivated and accomplished when this happens. This will mean lots of night running, as our mornings STILL aren't consistent enough for me to say "I'll set my alarm for 5:15 AM and go running", because gosh darn it, Henry will be awake at 5:11 AM that day! I hope to meet friends, take a class or two, and go to the park more often. I even bought Henry a BOB Weather Shield! He is SO warm in his fleece snowsuit, but blocking the wind will keep him extra toasty!
How about you? Are you into making goals? Do you just sign up for races? Are you traveling AND working out during the holidays? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Myths about Postpartum Weight Loss

So, I love the Today Show. It's no secret that I love it. If you ask my family what I am usually doing around 7:00AM, they would unanimously say "Watching the Today Show!" My friends are probably sick of me starting sentences with "I saw _______________ on the Today Show..." However, my favorite show did me wrong the other day. Really wrong. I watched this segment about how celebrities aren't like us when it comes to taking off the baby weight. DUH. Consider this my "letter to the editor" if you will. Here were my problems with this study:

- The study included candidates who were overweight before they got pregnant. During the interview the expert communicates that most of the individuals in this study were overweight.
- The report stated women should gain 18-25 pounds during pregnancy. That is the recommendations for OVERWEIGHT women. Women with an average BMI gain an average of 25-35 pounds. So, when they say 50%of women had an extra ten pounds and 25% had an extra 20 pounds to lose, they're referring to a study done with predominantly overweight women. They only mentioned that once, leading me to believe all their statistics and studies included people like me, who had a VERY healthy lifestyle and average BMI.
- The report stated that women burn 280-500 calories EVERY TIME they nurse. Not true. Simply not true.
- At 2:05 in the video, the "expert" says we shouldn't base our feelings on celebrity weight loss but we can use it as motivation. The live interview expert had a very uncomfortable disapproving face when the camera panned to her because NO, celebrity's baby weight loss is not motivational. 

Decided to break up my rant with a little HenJo action. He's working on his tripod form. I give this a 10!

So, I did my own research. It took about ten minutes. Hello, Today Show, expert researcher and new mom for hire! (Note I did more than ten minutes of research but this was the best article I found.) I found a Q&A on WebMd with Elizabeth Ward MS RD. She seems legit. The Q&A featured some of my burning questions, so here are a few myths to bust:

1. Nursing will help you lose weight. Yes, nursing burns calories (280-500 a DAY, not per feed), but with those burned calories comes increased hunger. Just as with an active lifestyle, food should be fuel while nursing. Ward even states that you can gain weight while breastfeeding! The reason is because, although you could burn some calories and fat, your body protects some stores of fat for breastfeeding.

2. Counting calories will help you lose the baby weight. If you're not breastfeeding, go for it. Ward does not recommend doing that for breastfeeding moms. The energy it takes to breastfeed means limiting calories could zap you of even more energy. Fun fact: she states that the quality of milk is determined by the quality of your diet, the quantity is dependent on how often you nurse. (Note: some women simply have low milk supply, plain and simple.)

3. You will lose the baby weight in a year. Ward cautions that many breastfeeding moms do not lose the weight until they are finished breastfeeding. So, depending on how long you plan on nursing, keep this in mind. I hope to nurse Henry until one year (When he will hopefully transition to milk pending his allergy), so this helped me have a more realistic outlook on things.

Year. Made. And thanks Vaseline for following me...

Finally, to my lovely Savannah. She is simply the cutest. I loved watching her adorable prego self every morning, and I'm glad she's back! She was absolutely right when she said "I don't know how I feel about this study." After the expert stated gaining 18-25 pounds was average, she made a comment I would have made concerning putting on weight during pregnancy: 

"A lot of the advice you get is to start (being active/healthy) during your pregnancy so you don't put on so much weight, which by the way is really hard to do from someone who put on 42 pounds." 

You could just insert "38 pounds" and that would be something I would say. You see, I was active during my pregnancy, I was eating healthily, I am still active now and I am still eating healthily. Just as my feelings were about the onslaught of tips to avoid holiday weight gain, I think we need to back the heck off with the obsession with losing baby weight. It does no good for a mom's self esteem, whether you're a nationally televised news anchor or a stay at home mom. We all see the pictures, we know some people miraculously lose the weight, but we need to take a step back and be concerned with our own world, not the world around us. If I had known this information before I had my baby, I think I would have been handling my (What I have considered to be slow) progress better.

The takeaway from this is that everyone and everybody is different. Some women are going to lose their baby weight quickly, while others, like myself, will have weight stall after weight stall after weight stall. The important thing is putting healthy nourishment into your body, exerting a healthy amount of physical activity, and doing everything possible to raise this beautiful baby you've been blessed with. It took me a long time to get to this place, and I have my moments of "UGH I just want to fit into ALL my clothes again!" But Henry is the greatest thing I have ever done, and he's worth all the effort to get myself back into my best running shape.

How about you? Have you ever seen a television segment that irked you? Have you ever written a letter to an editor? Any myths you would like to bust? Tell me about it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

5 Gifts to Give Yourself

I am not the queen of gift guides. In fact, I love reading them! Ashley  and Jess posted some awesome gift guides for runners. I *think* I'm done shopping, and now there are nine days till Christmas, where we will be traveling (driving) a ton and visiting with family and friends. I decided to go for a quick run yesterday, cut even shorter by holiday traffic! My eight minute drive to the park took almost twenty minutes, go figure. I hadn't been to the park in a long time, and the weather was so perfect that I had to take advantage. While on my run, I started thinking about how things have been a  bit hectic lately, how I have been checking things off of my to do list, and I really haven't enjoyed the season as I usually do. So, I want to consciously enjoy the rest of 2014 in small simple ways. Here are 5 gifts I will give to myself to wrap up 2014:

1. Make time for friends. This is THE busiest time of year, but this is a great time to meet up with people and celebrate this past year, or to leave it behind! Parties don't always promote meaningful conversations (Though they are FUN), so I'm trying to have little dates with friends. I find it so easy to not go out, especially since it's cold. Henry, get ready to be bundled up in your bear suit! We're going to get together with some friends! 

Our Slafters were in town from the West Coast, SO glad we got to spend time together!

2. Do yoga. Take it or leave it, but yoga really does help you quiet down. Beautiful Belly Mommy and Me yoga helps me connect with Henry, but we haven't been doing it lately. I plan on trying to work this into our days as much as possible.

Bringing the Happy Baby Pose to a whole new level. SLIGHTLY jealous of his flexibility...Also: ROLLS.

3. Take the eating pressure off. If I see one more "Here's how to avoid gaining weight" segment on the Today Show I may scream! WE KNOW WE ARE EATING UNHEALTHY FOOD. WE KNOW HOW TO WORK OUT. IT'S OKAY TO INDULGE. Phew, glad I got that off my chest! "Everything in moderation" applies to eating AND exercise. Obviously there is a fine line between "I deserve a dozen cookies" and "I'm going to enjoy some cookies", but seriously? Let's all take a chill pill and relish our treats that come around once a year.

I was craving salad like whoa. Make no mistake, this salad was calorie loaded! Cookie with my coffee month probably made me crave veggies ;-)

4. Be present at events. Of course I will be taking pictures with my phone HELLO HENRY'S FIRST CHRISTMAS. However, I won't be scrolling through Insta or Facebook while enjoying family festivities. It's so easy to, but I really enjoyed putting my phone away during Thanksgiving. We took a few pictures and that was it. I had a great time with my family and I plan to replicate that for Christmas. There's nothing wrong with Latergrams!

My sweet baby with my sweet Grammy at Thanksgiving.

5. Run/walk somewhere festive. The lights of NYC have always been a calming force, and I really enjoy them at night! With Henry it's a bit more challenging to get into the city at night, but there are plenty of places around us to enjoy the sights and lights of the season. 

Astoria Park had a pretty tree!

Practicing our sitting up skills with two forms of motivation: Lambeau Puppy and the Christmas tree!

How about you? What gifts will you give to yourself this season? Do you ever go phone free? Yoga, yay or nay? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Challenge of Working home.

Motivation to workout can come from different sources. A goal, a workout buddy, an event or simply the feeling of working out can be the motivation for people to break a sweat. I have never had a problem working out at home. In fact, I haven't belonged to a gym in over two years. In my rose colored thoughts, I thought that I would EASILY get my workouts in when I became a stay at home mom. Not so much. We had some good running moments, some good workout moments, then a couple of twinges (tendinitis in my wrist, a broken pinky toe, which resulted in joint damage/soreness in my pinky toe) put a wrench in my forward motion. I find myself facing some hurdles on my way to breaking a sweat in my living room.

One hurdle is my environment. Are there dishes in the sink? Did I send in my article? It's still dark out and I'm sleeeeeeepy. These are just a few things that have deterred me from working out. I have an open invitation from Brian to run when he gets home from work, but by 6pm I'm SPENT. I can also be found putting dinner together at this time, Henry is often in his witching hour after six, so overall I just want to sit for a minute and breath. I'm struggling to find the motivation to lace up and go in the pitch black. 

Meal prepping. Left chicken is soy free, middle chicken is soy full, broccoli is SAFE!

Another hurdle is the season. Christmas is my favorite, and I'm still trying to wrap up my shopping! When I have a spare moment, you can often find me browsing gift guides online, checking store stocks and ordering from Amazon Prime. Curling up and watching a movie with Mr. Miller sounds a lot better than running outside. Between that, Christmas cards, and baking (Which I have done the smallest amount of EVER), I find myself wanting to do something festive versus doing high knees and burpees. 

Henry loves the tree. And the Packers.

My last hurdle is my body. Imagine that: my body isn't how I want it to be, so I don't want to workout?! How backwards thinking is that? Usually it would put a fire under my rear to get myself moving, but I have been finding myself lulled into inactivity. I think this is because it is overwhelming to think of the extra effort I usually have to put in to lose a few pounds, and it seems one hundred times worse postpartum. Did I mention we're taking a beach vacation in mid January? So yea, I should be motivated. Le sigh.

So, how can I overcome these hurdles? I have been taking baby steps. I have been doing T25 three times a week. I realize that I need to get this done first thing in the morning, or my motivation is shot. "I'll do it later" is like a death sentence for my workouts. Because of my tendinitis, I have to be careful how much floor action I am doing, so I am hoping to push it to five times a week soon. I also started a "12 Days of Christmas" challenge with some girlfriends. It's fun and requires no equipment! 

The 12 Days of Fitness Exercise Routine...LOVE these challenges for the month of December. Why wait until the New Year???

I've also been finding inspiration from YouTube. My friend Emily is a fantastic trainer in Buffalo, New York. She posted a couple of 15 minute workouts which I loved! These workouts work the largest muscle groups providing maximum results. I added a bit of difficulty for an added challenge. I added 20 kettlebell swings and held a kettlebell for a single leg lunge.

Emily Long does a bulgarian split squat at her gym TREO Sports & Fitness in West Seneca Wednesday, December 3, 2014.  (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)
Isn't she fab?! She has been a great source of inspiration to me!

Finally, I'm committing to being committed. This sounds simple, but my blase attitude has gone on long enough. I am motivated to put in the work. I want to reconnect with my love of (winter) running. I want to look at working out as a get to not a have to. I am going to add in some yoga for all its benefits; I always feel more at ease and ready for life when I do it!

How about you? Are you facing a holiday workout slump? Do you workout exclusively at home? What;s the best gift you've purchased? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Henry: 6 Months

Happy Christmas month! It's the most wonderful time of the year! Though I feel like December is flying by at warp speed, we're trying to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. This month we're celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary AND our six month old boy!!! Here's the scoop on this handsome little fella:

This onsie was purchased last January because of our Christmas card last year....

Last year's Christmas card! Henry was definitely worth the wait, and came at his estimated delivery!

  • Henry weighed 16.8 pounds at his last appointment, but tomorrow's appointment will be edited in.
  • He consistently rolls belly to back, but he gets stuck on his elbow from back to belly! Soon, oh so very soon...eek.
  • He laughs all the time. It's the best thing ever. I never want it to end.
  • Henry and Lambeau are now best friends. Like REALLY best friends. Daily Lambeau licks him, checks on him and allows him to touch him. Henry is pretty gentle for a six month old. He pulled a little too firmly on his hair today, and Lambeau just whined and looked to us for help. This is a complete 180 for our puppy who wanted nothing to do with him. 
  • Henry's sleep continues to be a roller coaster. He sleeps through the night (8pm-5/6am). Somehow he has gained a habit of waking at 4am and requires his pacifier. His naps still are no where near consistent but are getting better. He generally takes his longest nap first, between 1 1/2-2 hours long, then 45-60 minute naps late morning and afternoon.
  • We're beginning with solids. So far he doesn't like much of anything (Besides oatmeal and rice cereal), so we'll see where this journey takes us this month! Especially with holiday travel.
  • He has started squeaking (I call it squawking), and making really long sounds from his throat. He is noisy noisy noisy and I love it.
  • Henry is the happiest baby on the block. And I mean that. He met multiple people for the first time this weekend and smiled the whole time, not one fuss. He is such a lovey dovey guy. The dry cleaner, people at the grocery store, our mailman, everyone gets a smile out of him. 
  • He loves staring at our Christmas tree first thing in the morning. After he nurses we spend about ten minutes staring at it. He's so content and it melts my heart.
  • Henry is now front facing in his BOB stroller! It is so light I can't believe it. Car seat pushing is for the birds!

This Christmas is extra special. We look forward to creating new traditions and adding him to our existing ones. We're visiting both sides of our family, so we're excited to celebrate with those we love. I can't believe what a personality this guy is developing, and how much I enjoy spending time with him. I thank God everyday for the privilege to be his mom. 

Happy Six Months Little Lion Man!
Ladies, watch out for the bottom right!!!

Feel free to check out my posts on the Smart Mom blog!