Embracing Your Body: A Different Approach

I spend a lot of time “with” health and fitness: time at the gym, time with my fitness friends, reading about health and fitness, and time thinking of ways to make our children understand the importance of health and fitness.

As I was driving home from teaching my Monday morning strength class this week I started to think about this question, “What does it mean to be healthy and fit?”

Too often we (especially women) get caught up in a look- we believe that being healthy and fit is about the way our body looks on the outside.  I am sometimes guilty of this as well.  Being 28 weeks pregnant, I sometimes find myself thinking about when I might be able to fit into my favorite pair of jeans again or my favorite workout shorts.  We focus on having the flattest stomach for a bikini or the best arms for a tank top.  The pressure of having the “healthy and fit look” is everywhere: all over social media and sometimes right in our faces… our friends, family & colleagues.

What if we changed our mindset about what it means to be healthy and fit?  What if instead of focusing on what our body looks like when we are healthy and fit, we focus on what our body can do when we are healthy and fit?  What if when we wrote our healthy & fitness goals down they focused more on the body’s abilities to do more rather than be a certain size or a certain weight?

For me, my choice to continue to improve my health and fitness is not about making sure I can fit into all my pre-pregnancy clothes, look good in a bathing suit, or wearing the same size dress I did on my wedding day.  (Although sometimes I have to ignore the outside pressures, and remind myself what my health & fitness mission really is.)

It is about the way my body is able to carry, nourish and grow another healthy human being.
It is about the way my body gives me the strength to carry my 22 lb. almost-2 year old up the stairs with ease.
It is about the way my body ables me to get on my hands and knees and play “zoo animals” with a rambunctious toddler.
It is about the way my body allows me to climb up & down the playground creating lasting memories with my daughter.
It is about the way my body gives me the energy to teach a 60-minute long group exercise class. 
It is about the way my body will soon endure the labor of giving birth.

This runs deeper than us.  It is the example we are setting for our children.  I want my children to know that health and fitness is important in our house not because of a certain look.  It is important to take care of ourselves physically and mentally and to honor the body we have been given.  I want to make sure Claire (and baby MK)  knows that it isn’t about what her body looks like on the outside, but what her body is able to do.  God gave us these bodies, these amazing machines, these temples- embrace them for what they are able to do.

1380423_642239069141167_785600090_nThis woman on the left is a living example of embracing her temple….

Everyday she is embraces that her  ALMOST-51 YEAR-OLD body CAN run a sub 2:00 half marathon, CAN do 50 push-ups all on her toes, CAN setup obstacle courses in her backyard and DO them with all the fast little kids, CAN still join her girlfriends on the softball diamond every Thursday night, CAN keep up with her toddler granddaughter, and CAN still participate in any type of physical activity with her 3 children and their spouses…. and occasionally beat them.

Yes, my mom has taught me to embrace my body… not how it looks, but what it allows me to do!

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What I’m Loving This Week

I have mentioned my absolute favorite blogger, Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers many times before. Lately she has been doing a “Things I’m Loving Friday” post each Friday.

I thought I would follow her suit and participate as well. As I continue to think about and strive for true “contentment”. I often time find myself for wanting more: wanting to buy something new, wanting to accomplish one more thing on my to-do list, or wanting to add one more credential to my name. I thought this would beneficial to reflect on the people, activities, and experiences that made me happy, grateful and content through the week.

What I’m Loving this Week

Meeting friends at the gym for a workout

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I love working out and what makes it even better is when you can catch up with good friends over a burnin’ workout. After spending the weekend at the hospital with Claire and taking a couple days to regroup and feel comfortable to leave her, I was ready for a good sweat on New Year’s Day. After a simple text message I had a workout partner lined up and ready to meet me at the gym- talk about instant accountability! My friends are awesome because they do the workouts I create without complaining; unless I make them run too much and even then I just may get an eye roll or two.

Little Lamb’s Bible

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We’ve always prayed with Claire before bed each night. This week she even folded her hands on her own before prayer time- melted my heart. As a part of continuing to grow in our faith and pave the way for Claire we started reading two to three short Bible stories out of “Little Lamb’s Bible” this week. The stories are short, sweet and rhyming. She is pointing to the Bible characters in the story. I love this time with my two loves.

Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart

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Guilty pleasure: I am a Bachelor & Bachelorette fan. However this book by the first Bachelortte, Trista Stutter is truly deep and powerful. I just started reading it this week and am not yet finished, but I am soaking in each word she writes. It goes right up my alley with living 2014 in a state of contentment by recognizing what I have and reflecting the things in which I am grateful. Will you join me each night on twitter using #favepartofday & #contentmentredefined ?

This Girl

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Yes, every little face (attitude and all) this little girl makes! Each day this week she got better and better and became more the happy, feisty, and more of the loving 15-month old I love and adore. Yes, my patience was still tested, but I didn’t get as frustrated every time she threw a piece of food on the ground for the dog to eat instead of herself… because at least she is here to do that.

A Stay-cation

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We were originally supposed to be skiing this week , but with Saturday’s incidents, we had to stay at home… and have actually loved it! We are always on the go (hence the goal of just being more content) and have really embraced this stay-cation. Some people do things in their own cities they have never done before during stay-cations- not us. We have done nothing… we are just “being”. We have had all-day fires, worked out, read a lot of books, built with blocks, and have enjoyed each other’s company. It has been a great week! In fact, it has been so great that Josh and I have decided this would become an annual ritual.   

And that’s a wrap for the week, friends- thank you for reading! Enjoy your weekend!

 

The Kennedy’s

First things first… FOOD.

Before I get to the title of my post, I apologize for not posting my meals yesterday or posting my dinner on Monday evening.  Yesterday I came down with something yucky and had me under the weather for the majority of the day.  My meals consisted of oatmeal, chicken noodle soup and more chicken noodle soup.

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Today I started the day with my favorite oatmeal concoction once again- you will learn that I am a creature of habit.  I then had a snack of a small banana and a half serving of almonds.  In light of trying to drop this baby weight, I am being very diligent about counting and measuring my food.  It also helps that I am entering everything into MyFitnessPal (thank you, new iPhone).  For lunch I had leftovers of my dinner that I didn’t post from Monday night: turkey enchilada casserole.  I also had a late afternoon snack of a handful of almonds and dark chocolate chips.  Dinner came together quickly thanks to one of our favorite crockpot meals courtesy of Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers: chicken, carrots and sweet potatoes with soy sauce and some spices.

What I am learning from documenting my food is that I MUST EAT MORE VEGGIES- my goal for tomorrow!

It was a beautiful day January day in Indiana today and I was so glad I was able to get in a run outside.  I planned on going in the late afternoon when the sun was still shining, but agreed to wait so that the hubby could join us.  Despite having some road blocks (literally) and having to push the baby jogger through some slush, we logged in 3 miles at a 9 minute pace.  (I am getting there!)  I came home and then completed two circuit workouts.

The Kennedy’s

So, I have a slight obssesion with the Kennedy’s.  Okay, maybe obsession isn’t a good word, but I am very intrigued by the family and President JFK’s administration.  I used to just be in love with Jackie’s fashion and style, but a few summers ago there was a mini series on AMC that we watched and after that I started actually reading a lot instead of just admiring Jackie’s attire.

Prior to the mini series, I didn’t realize how much JFK’s father had his hands in the decisions in President Kennedy’s decision.  I felt as if he was living vicariously through JFK and filling the void from his other son who he had initially hoped would some day become president, but then passed away.

I have a very good friend that is just as intrigued as me and recently recommend a book to me: Mrs. Kennedy and

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 I am currently about 1/3 of the way through the book and am hooked (although it takes me much longer than it used to finish a book).   The author, Clint Hill, was Jackie’s bodyguard during her time as first lady and shares some very intimate details about Jackie not only as a first lady, but also as a person.

I hope to finish the book within the next week and am excited to do so.  Once I do, I will begin listening to these…

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I was surprised to find a box from Amazon with these on the porch the other day from my hubby: “Historic Conversations On Life With John Kennedy”.  The best part of these are that these are real-life interviews, her voice!  I am quite excited- my husband sure does know me well!

Is there a famous person or family that really intrigues you?

My Day: Fighting Irish, Circuit Workouts & Beginning Reading Behaviors

Ahhh Mondays….

I started off this morning with my favorite breakfast of all time!  Oatmeal topped with a teaspoon of melted dark chocolate and strawberries, and of course a cup of coffee and water.

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Lunch consisted of scrambled egg whites with red pepper and mushrooms and a piece of grilled Jennie O turkey ham.  I am not usually one to buy or eat deli or processed meat, but if I do this is the one I choose.  My mom always has this at her house and I had purchased it to use in a breakfast casserole and I needed to get rid of it.

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We were also ready to cheer on our Fighting Irish today from the time we woke up.  In fact, we were so excited that someone refused to take a nap until just now (3:24).

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Since napping was unsuccessful until late in the day, Claire decided to roll over from back to belly again.  She did it last night, but neither of us caught it- I caught it today though, but not on camera.  I am sure there will now be many opportunities for me to catch her rolling in action.

Since napping wasn’t an option until late in the afternoon, Claire decided to make her “teacher” mommy proud…

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YES, we are working on beginning reading behaviors at 4 months in my house!  (Teacher friends you will appreciate this.)

I also had great intentions of making it to the gym, hopping on the dreadmill treadmill to log some miles and doing a heavy lift, but my intentions were quickly shattered (just like my window- no pun intended).  Last week my windshield shattered from the freezing cold (thank you, Indiana winter) and the glass company was supposed to come fix my window.  Well, I assumed they’d be here early and then I could go…. NOT, they called this morning to say they’d be here between 1:00 and 4:00.  So, I knew immediately I had to resort to some at home circuit workouts.

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I put on my cross trainers, grabbed my watch and completed workouts 1 & 2 from the January challenge group totaling 34 minutes of exercise.  Wow, I worked up a sweat and didn’t even need a single piece of equipment!  I then grabbed a post-workout snack of almonds and an apple.

Now, we finally have a napper so it looks like this Mommy will attempt two more circuits, some laundry and meal prepping for tonight.  Turkey Enchilada Casserole, IU basketball, and the IRISH in the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP game is on our agenda for tonight.

What do you do when your workout plans are shattered?  

January Challenge

With a new year always comes the hopes for a new workout regimen, starting one or continuing one.  My good friend started a Facebook group in December called, “25 Days Until Christmas” where she posted a short, at-home, circuit workout each day to keep people on track during the crazy holiday season.  The group was so successful she decided to keep it going, but asked me to do the workouts for January to take some of the burden off of her.

This past week I posted 4 workouts and we had 32 people complete all or some of the workouts and 19 people that completed all of them.  I am so proud of the people that have committed to making fitness a priority this month.

In the midst of this, I have had several people message me and ask me about their diet and nutrition.  “What should I be eating?”  I am not a nutritionist, in fact, I can log a ton of miles, several workouts, spend hours at the gym, but my eating habits are my downfall.  The 9 months I spent carrying my sweet Claire I thought I could eat whatever I wanted which included McDonald’s french fries and regular cokes- two things that were previously not found in my diet.  I ate a ton of sugary cereal, and pasta with just olive oil and parmesan cheese.  To say the least, I lost any healthy ways of eating I had.  Before becoming pregnant, I was “okay”.  I would have good days and horrible days.  I was about 5 pounds heavier than usual when I became pregnant and I would contribute that to my diet.

It is hard for me to give other’s advice on what to eat if I don’t follow my own advice.  I know how to do it, but it is about making the change, saying “no”, and committing myself and my family to a change.   When I was in my best shape and felt the healthiest was when I followed Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Diet (I hate the word diet because it is a lifestyle change, not a diet).

So here I am challenging others to complete four workouts a week, but also challenging myself to take the month of January to set the tone for the rest of the year of clean eating.  Now this doesn’t mean I don’t have cheat days, but I have less of them.

I have decided to start my clean eating lifestyle by documenting what it is I eat through pictures… here goes today.

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Breakfast: I started the morning like I always do with plain, natural oatmeal.  Today I topped it with an apple, cinnamon and walnut pieces.  I of course had my coffee, but made sure I matched my coffee with a glass of water as well.  I knew I had a hard workout coming up and needed to hydrate.

Pre-Workout Snack: I taught my interval training class at noon today at the YMCA.  As I was getting ready to leave, I started to feel hungry so I grabbed an apple and a spoonful of natural peanut butter and ate it in the car while I gulped down some more water.

Workout: I taught a tough 55 minute interval training class today.  I love that class!  We alternate between 4-5 minutes of high intensity cardio moves and recover with 2-3 minutes of strength moves.  Great workout!

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Lunch:  After my class I was starving!  Unfortunately I had to go to the grocery to get items for Josh to make chilli.  I was wishing I would have packed a protein shake or something, but I didn’t- I need to get better at that.  I resisted all junk that looked good at the grocery store and waited until I arrived home.  I fixed 3 egg whites on a sandwich thin with avocado and a few dashes of tabasco sauce.  Mmmm that is my go-to quick, healthy, high protein lunch.  I also ate a red pepper alongside it.

Lunch #2: Josh was cooking chilli as I ate my first lunch and my hunger couldn’t wait.  So, once it was finished, I was still a little hungry so I had a very small bowl to tie me over until dinner.

Dinner: Just a bigger bowl of chilli- he really makes the best chilli!  We use turkey burger in it instead of hamburger too.

Snack/ Late night treat: I love my sweets!  As hard as I try, I just can’t give up my sweets, so I try to limit them as much as I can.  Tonight I cut up a few strawberries and melted 2 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips in the microwave.  Just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

I know I will get better at eating clean.  After looking back on today, I need to eat more veggies- a good goal for the week.

What are you challenging yourself to do this January?

Losing that Baby Weight

“I can’t believe you still workout and you are THAT pregnant.  Your baby weight will come off really fast.”  I heard this constantly when I was pregnant with Claire.  I heard it so often that I believed it.  Couple that with watching the Today show and someone on there saying, “You should be back to your pre-baby weight at 6 weeks after you are pregnant.”

Well, here we are 16 weeks later and I am still not back to my pre-baby weight.  However, for the first time in 16 weeks I am okay with the fact that it is taking me longer than I intended- it has been a humbling experience.  I have always been an athlete, always been in good shape, but darn this is hard work.

Have I worked hard at this? Yes.  Could I have worked harder the last 16 weeks?  Yes.  Could I have eaten better?  Yes.

I started working out again two weeks after I had Claire and started running (slow and short distances) four weeks later.  I started teaching my class again at the YMCA after 6 weeks and I would say when Claire was 2 months I was working out four to five times a week.

My daughter is 16 weeks old tomorrow and I am 10 pounds away from my pre-baby weight and 16 pounds away from my goal weight.  (I was about 4-6 pounds heavier than usual when I got pregnant.)

I am not as fast as I used to be, but I am getting faster.
I can’t run as far as I used to, but with each run I go farther.
I am not as strong as I used to be, but I am getting stronger.
I am not the woman I used to be… now, I am a mother.

I will get where I want to be.  I will get there within a year of giving birth. I have learned to give myself time and to give my body time.  I have also learned to be kind to my body- it took 9 months to grow a healthy baby, it might take 9 months to lose that baby weight and that is okay.

I can do it, but know that the most important thing to me is not  the number on the scale, but to teach my daughter through example to live a healthy life and and to be comfortable and confident in her skin- it begins here…

Last Minute Shopping Ideas

Well folks, you have one week left to finish up your Holiday shopping.  Are you struggling with some last minute gifts?  Here is a short list of some of “my favorite things” that might be what you are looking for to finish up the last minute shopping (all you need to do is click on the picture).

Note: most of these gifts are for women

Chica Band

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I can’t seem to run or workout with these awesome headbands that keep my hair back AND stay on my head.  Most headbands I have come across do not stay on my head, but the Chica Band has never failed me.  They come in both thick and thin bands- I prefer the thin band.

Vera Bradley Grand Traveler Bag

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I received this bag as a baby shower gift before Claire was born and it is incredible!  I  packed all my necessities for the hospital in the large bag, and it was perfect.  Now, I use it whenever we go out of town for the weekend and I am able to fit everything for both Claire in me in this perfect bag.  Not to mention when you are a mom, you are usually carrying a million things on your shoulder and this bag frees up a shoulder as you can put it across your body.  Plus… Vera Bradley is offering $9.95 two day air shipping until Wednesday!

Monogrammed Address Stamp

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I am not sure if you would be able to get this in time for Christmas, but if you hurry on over to this etsy shop, you might be able.  I love this return address stamp: it makes addressing cards, letters, invitations, etc. so easy.  I used to hate always making sure I had return address labels- with this you just need a stamp pad.

Fleece Sweatshirt

Thanks to my favorite running partner, I have been introduced to the wonderful, inexpensive line of JC Penny workout clothes.  I recently purchased this sweatshirt for cheap and I LOVE it.  It is perfect for after your winter workout at the gym.  The outside is a warm fuzzy fleece, but the inside part that covers your torso and chest have a dry fit material so the fleece does not stick to you after sweating.  Not to mention, it is cute and looks good with workout pants if you need to go out and about after hitting the gym.  Unfortunately, it is no longer available online, BUT if you hurry to your nearest JC Penny, I bet you can get this.

Membership

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Sometimes it is hard to come up with a perfect gift for people.  So, how about a membership to somewhere?  For those Indianapolis area residents, I think a membership to the zoo or children’s museum would be a perfect gift for your favorite family- it is something parents and kids can enjoy together all year long.  And for those of you not in the Indianapolis area, what about a zoo or museum near you?

Do you have any great holiday gift ideas you could add to this list?