What’s Up Wednesday

Happy Hump Day!  It’s the last week of school for some kids, and you can just feel the excitement of summer in the air!  I visited my school yesterday and got to see students and fellow teachers.  The main attraction was definitely Miss Helen.  We visited for a little over an hour and a half.  However, she slept the whole time!  She only peeked her eyes open a few times for a select few people.  It was so nice to see the kids, and I may be crazy…but it seemed like they had grown so much in just the two months I’ve been gone!  Helen looked just lovely in her power color, purple, but I didn’t get any pictures as my arms were full of a little baby I know.  Here’s a selfie I took in the Starbucks drive-thru…got to document this out-of-the-house-with-make-up-and-real-clothes thing!

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This week has had a few ups and downs with Helen’s sleeping.  We tried something different on Monday night to try and alleviate the early evening nap crying.  It was AWFUL.  It turns out we just traded the early evening cries for the later evening cries {and for a longer period!}.  😦  Last night, we were back to the cries during the early evening nap.  It took her quite awhile to settle down, but I do think she got a little catnap in before waking up again right before 8:30.  However, she went right to sleep after a feeding, a bath, and some screaming at Daddy.  She screams at him every night.  Isn’t that terrible?!?!?  No sweet baby rocking.  Just screams!  It seems like she has to just get it out of her system.  Then, she settled down and slept until 5:30 with one feeding that I woke her up for at 11:30.  Yay!  No night crying and sleep all around!

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Even Roscoe is happy {though he doesn’t show it}!

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I really feel like this week has been the week for me to get back on the healthy eating horse  and enjoying my work-outs.  When I had Holden, I worked out pretty intensely right after having him {we’re talking like two weeks}.  I knew this was against my midwife’s directions, but I was desperate for exercise to help cope with the postpartum depression.  I am firmly convinced this was why I had bleeding that continue for many weeks.  This time around I took it much easier with absolutely nothing the first week, walks the second week, and yoga and walks the third week.  It wasn’t until week 5 was just beginning that I tried a slight jog.  I gradually added in light weights.  I am happy to report that any bleeding ended by week 3.  Yay!  However, I noticed that the baby weight wasn’t coming off as easily.  I’m sure being older has something to do with it as well.  I also noticed that I was coping with being tired by eating little bursts of “energy” like sweets, heavy snacks, and chocolate!  Obviously this wasn’t helpful for fitting back into my jeans.  I knew I had to do something.  I increased my work-out sessions and intensity, but I pretty much kept eating like I wanted to.  I still felt heavier/sluggish, and my wardrobe choices were limited.  I knew that the next hurdle was diet.  I reread the Eat to Live book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  It is such a motivating book that provides a very simplistic approach to revamping your diet.  I would highly recommend it.  The main facts I want to share from the book are focus on whole foods {no processed stuff}, cut out animal products {this includes dairy…although I’ve been eating eggs}, unlimited greens, lots of other veggies, tons of fruit, and no snacking {this goes against LOTS of other health advice, but I’m telling you…try it for a day or two or three.}.  I’m definitely over-simplifying all the good info in here, but you really need to read it for yourself.  It’s a pretty easy read too.

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My little work-out buddy working on her neck muscles!

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My two treadmill work-outs so far this week…I’m having some Achilles tendon discomfort.  I plan to give the treadmill a break the rest of the week and {hopefully!} get in the gym.  I also did only walking and a 15 minute yoga routine yesterday.  I’m really enjoying the free Tone It Up routines on Youtube.  Here’s the one I did.  

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That’s all for me today!  We’re off to put some items in the mail, grocery shop at Trader Joe’s and Sam’s Club, and chill on the sofa with my favorite girl before big brother gets home from school.

Hope you have a great day!

Natalie

No Excuses???

I’ve been hearing about it on the radio and seeing the actual picture all over facebook today of Maria Kang.  She’s the lady pictured below who has created a media storm about women and their bodies.

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You can view her facebook page here where I got the picture from.  Some people are supporting her image for being good motivation and an example of a fit mom, and others are deeply offended by the image.  They feel she is everything that is wrong with women and body image.  My take on all this mess is GIVE THE LADY A FREAKIN’ BREAK!  After viewing her website for longer than it takes just to see this picture (website here), it seems like she is really passionate about helping women achieve their own personal goals.  I think that it was meant in a “tough love” sort-of way.  I’m all one for tough love.  The bottom line is love.  Maria appears to want every women to be her healthiest, most fit self possible.  How can you argue with that?  Each person faces obstacles daily, even to the minute in this struggle.  We have to think about our food intakes as well as energy output in the form of exercise along with the permission slips, Bible studies, laundry, groceries, cleaning, bill paying, doctor’s appointments, cooking, and just plain old fun like reading a good book or for heaven’s sake a shower!  I’m not saying that there aren’t a million and one excuses to put our health on the back burner, and some days you (and I) will definitely have to.  Some days there just aren’t enough hours.  I have to choose making dinner over a yoga routine or perhaps an early morning work meeting over gym time.  The thing about it is that these excuses can’t. happen. every. single. day.  We have to commit to hopping right back on our healthy routine, working and weaving that into our daily lives.  For me, it requires meal planning and grocery shopping on the weekends and hauling my behind out of bed at 4:45 two work days a week to get gym time in.  No excuses.  I’m not complaining (well maybe a little that morning but no one is up to hear me!), because I’m choosing not to let myself get away with any excuses.  At least, not for more than a day or so.  If you’ve seen this picture and felt offended by it, I urge you to reflect why you feel that way.  Is it because it brings to light things you may not have been doing to take care of yourself and your health?  I would also urge you not to look at it in a “She’s hot.” light or as in “I’ll never be that skinny.” way.  Instead, I wouldn’t dwell too much on it at all.  I wouldn’t even tape it up for inspiration or thinspiration as some people are calling it these days.  I’d just move on.  Use that reflection time to formulate a plan for taking charge of your health and not making any excuses for why you can’t follow this plan or reach that goal.  Remember to be kind to you.  

 

Something to Keep You Fit, Something to Keep You Full

First things First!  I had good intentions of posting on Thursday evening.  However, our dog baby, Roscoe, decided to act in a crazy manner which led to an emergency vet visit which led to a crazy Thursday evening.  As it turns out, he was completely fine!  Apparently, he doesn’t like his dog food anymore and is sharing his feelings with (like by puking and refusing to eat).  He seriously had a bunch of tests, and he’s totally fine!  Not that I’m not happy about this but jeez!  150 buckaroos later we somehow make it through another work day to the weekend!  Hallelujah!  We celebrated appropriately with an hour and a half ped visit with Holdie and subjected him to a bunch of shots.  Fabulous, huh?

 

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Cuddling up with Daddy Prior to the Main Event!

By the way, how about the fact that most of the well child waiting room was males with kids?  At one point, I was the only adult female in a group of about 6 parents.  Way to go dads for stepping up and letting the mamas get some work/fun done wherever they were!  Holden being the slightly over-loved (we’ll say that instead of spoiled!) had mama and daddy to make faces at and spit on.  We sure know how to celebrate on a Friday afternoon!

 

As stated, I wanted to share something to keep you fit.  I try to fit my cardio in when I can.  Case in point, squeezing in a run while Jake is home and Holdie is sleeping.  This can be tricky at times when I’m alone with Holdie.  I certainly can’t leave him with the fur baby.  Although Roscoe cares deeply about Holdie, he has no thumbs, so therefore he can’t be a good sitter (diapers and such would give him trouble!).

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Morning Chill Time

I have to resort to other means to get my heart rate up.  I’m not much for jump ropes…too much coordination required.  We don’t own a treadmill or any other type of cardio equipment.  I do 2 minute intervals of plyometrics/cardio moves.  I do 2 minutes of butt kicks, 2 minutes of squat and punch (much like it sounds do a squat hold and punch alternately with fists), 2 minutes of pretend jump roping (lame I know, but so much easier for me to just pretend!), 2 minutes of high knees, 2 minutes of jumping jacks.  Then, I repeat sequence (without breaks) for a total of 20 minutes of cardio.  Presto!  Cardio done!  All while babe is sleeping or watching his mom act like a crazy woman!

 

Now, time to be full!  Thursday night we had chicken soft tacos, and this was a 2 ingredient main dish.  The night before I put frozen chicken breasts along with enough salsa to cover the chicken into the crock-pot.  I put the pot in the fridge overnight and slung that thing onto its stand Thursday morning.  Hit the low button, and I was out the door!  I came home to a delicious smell and dinner!  I fished the chicken breasts out of the salsa/chicken mix and shredded.  Then, we made our tacos (chicken, some of the salsa, plain Chobani greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and mixed lettuce greens).  It would also be super yummy to added chives or avocado slices.  I was just short on time (see vet visit drama above!) and made do.  I liked it.  The Mr. liked.  Best of all, the crock-pot did the cooking for us!  I would post pics, but the drama of the evening took over!  It was all gone by the time I though about it.  Crock-pot meals can be so good, and they are so easy!  I finished off the night with some delicious mint tea which I’m sadly out of right now.  Off to the store in the morning!  You can clearly see the back of the fridge and the food cabinets.  Very sad!

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Yummy deliciousness!

 

Do you have any easy 1 dish meals or small number of ingredients that are healthy?  Share, share!

This or That?

Run/Work Out in the Freezing Cold or Heat and Humidity?

I definitely prefer to run/work out in the heat.  I know a lot of people complain about it being just too hot, but for me I just do better in the heat.  Today is a perfect example.  The temps dropped a bit.  Everyone’s enjoying the fallish weather, and I’m wheezing way more than normal on my run.  Something about the moisture in the air is just so much more relaxing for my airways.  I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma in high school  I had pills.  Decided not to take them purely for the fact that I dislike pills.  I try to think very consciously about my breathing when I work out and breathing out my nose only….blah blah blah.  It does the trick most the time.  

Washboard Abs or Flat Abs?

Washboard abs!  I love the definition.  Still a work in progress for sure.  I’m quite sure that ice cream did not just help…

Cardio or Strength?

Strength training.  For sure!  I love seeing muscles develop where they weren’t before.

Craving Sweet or Salty?

Usually sweet.  I have dessert almost every night.  It’s usually something small (ramekin of ice cream, greek yogurt with smidge of almond butter, rice cake with almond butter and chocolate morsels sprinkled on top -> deliciousness x10!).

Gym or Home?

I love a gym work out, but sometimes it just isn’t in the cards.  

Frozen Yogurt or Ice Cream?

I prefer frozen yogurt with lots of toppings.  I do get Haagen Dazs to have at home.  I like the richness and quality ingredients.  It’s a small container, but we’re only eating a tad right???

Dessert or Drink?

Some people prefer their treat to be a mixed drink, beer, or glass of wine.  Although I do drink on occasion, I do not see that as an everyday or even once a week treat.  I will definitely choose dessert every time!  

Yoga or Pilates?

Yoga!  I love the peacefulness of it.  My flexibility has definitely increased in the past year as I’ve tried to be more committed to doing just 15 minutes 2 to 3 times per week.

Running:  Treadmill or Outdoors?

Outdoors!

Exercise Classes or Videos?

Videos!  I need quick and easy.  I’m not much of a class girl.  I’m always in a hurry (or so it seems) especially keeping up with Holdie.

Steamed or Roasted Veggies?

Love roasted veggies!  I’m really looking forward to roasting up some fall/winter veggies soon.  We just did broccoli the past couple nights.

Peanut or Almond Butter?

I love both, but I did start to eat more almond butter while pregnant.  It’s better for you and (I read this somewhere no idea where!) better to eat if you’re pregnant especially.  

Morning or Afternoon Work Outs?

Morning ones are best, but I rarely can do those during the week.  I got in a morning run this past Saturday, and it was awesome!  I think the empty stomach is key for me.

Solo or Group Work Outs?

Solo!  I’m moving so fast in the gym to get home to Holdie.  Classes require too much time for me right now.

Weight Machines or Free Weights?

Mostly weight machines.  I feel like I can accomplish what I need to do faster with these (considering the set up of my gym).  However, I do use free weights at home and enjoy the flexibility to create your own work-out.

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Working it out at home…

Protein Shakes or Food with Protein in It?

Food!  I’m definitely not a shake girl.  I like to chew my food!  🙂

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Stir Fry Veggies topped with a Fried Egg

Nothing Changes. Everything Changes.

Before I jump into a more serious post, let’s recap the weekend.  We were on the road again this weekend.  We left Friday night for a wedding weekend, but we had a yummy fall-like dinner first.  Chicken with White Wine and Caper Sauce, Steamed Corn (Frozen Steamer Pack), and Paprika-Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  

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The potatoes were just about 4 smallish wrinkly white potatoes that we were given from a local farmer on the Eastern Shore.  I cubed them up with skins still on and boiled about 10 minutes-ish.  Then, I poured in some skim milk and a bit of “fake butter” (Country Crock to give it that buttery taste that the Mr. prefers).  I used an actual hand potato masher and mashed them up right in the pot to prevent another dirty dish.  Lastly, I added a sprinkling of paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (really garlic upsets my stomach but not the powdered stuff~ go figure!).  The corn was just steamed in the microwave.  It was the last vegetable-like food we have in the house.  I really hate having a meal without some type of “green” on the plate but oh well!  The chicken was pretty easy as well.  I sprayed the pan, salt and peppered the chicken breasts (2), and cooked over medium heat for about 10 minutes with a flip in the middle.  Then I added in the white wine (to be a little smarter about nutrition you could use vegetable broth or chicken broth) that the Mr. won at a company function.  Since I had it, I decided to splurge and use it as a base for the sauce.  Cook for another 5ish minutes.  Next, I added in two heaping spoonfuls of capers (delicious little salty things that you can find in the ethnic food section or with the olives).  Lots of flavor!  Add more wine to keep that chicken juicy!  I kept the chicken swimming in about a half inch of wine.  Take the chicken out and put a little foil hut on it to keep it warm and juicy.  Cut into it to make sure it’s cooked through.  I turned the heat up to medium high and stirred/sprinkled some whole wheat flour into the wine.  This thickened it up to make a nice sauce that we spooned over top.  All in all this would not be my pick for the most fabulously healthy meal, but I used what I had in the kitchen, avoided spending money on junky fast food, and the Mr. really liked it!  Plus, the chicken is lean protein.  Success!

Well, our weekend started out as planned but certainly fizzled.  I went for a lovely run with Roscoe at 6AM on Saturday…in the rain…with a dog that hates the rain…and a giant Mag flashlight.  It was slightly ridiculous, but I so wanted to try out my new kicks!  I was soaked in rain and probably a bit of sweat when we got back.  The weather went downhill after that with torrential rain and some pretty decent wind.  Here’s a picture of a wooded area with the water ripping through it like you wouldn’t believe!  One road was even completely washed out.

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No wedding for us!  I felt so bad for the bride and groom.  So much work goes into planning that big day, but Mother Nature just wasn’t letting Saturday be their day.  We did get to spend some time with the Mr.’s parents and enjoy some delicious Italian yummies like eggplant and manicotti.  I rarely do Italian, so it really hit the spot.  Today, we worked very hard preparing for Holdie’s first day at daycare.  I’m a slight mess, but I know he’ll be fine.  Can’t wait until the afternoon pick-up though!

Now to the serious stuff!  Two sayings come together to title my post today.  I heard these in a song by a group called SOJA.  They are a reggae band with a surprisingly strong message of love for your neighbor and the world at large.  I’m certainly not going to get in a political discussion, but the group does make some interesting points.  I was jamming out on the elliptical at the gym today, and a particular song of theirs came on my iPod, “Everything Changes.”  The song starts off with saying nothing ever changes.  I think that people feel that way sometimes when it comes to fitness and healthy eats.  Do we say “Tomorrow I’ll fix something healthy for breakfast” or “I’m too tired, busy, overworked, etc. to exercise my body?”  Do we feel powerless to make a change?  Do we feel like “Oh well, nothing every changes?”  Do we feel that our health isn’t a priority?  The CDC states that more than a third of adults in the United States are obese.  We are suffering as a nation from heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer due to our weight/lack of physical movement and what we are consuming.  By the end of the song, the lyrics have changed to “everything changes.”  If we don’t like how we feel, everything has to change.  How do we begin a journey like that?  First, don’t become discouraged if we fail at times.  Today, I had cookies for my mid-morning snack (delicious but surely not a nutritionally good choice!) and enough snack pretzels to sink a large ship.  I’m sure a piece of fruit or some greek yogurt would have been better.  I told myself “It’s okay.  I’ll do better.”  I went out and hunted up some fruits, veggies, and whole wheats at the local Kroger and Sam’s, and I’m all set for better days ahead.  It can be tough, but we have to make a choice.  Nothing changes or everything changes.  Start this journey…A journey back to our health…one change at a time.  Here are just a few ideas plus some resources…

1)  Use a water bottle and drink, drink, drink H2O.  If you don’t like water, add a splash of juice.

2)  Stretch for 5 minutes as soon as you get out of bed.  

3)  Start with a nutritious breakfast (eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, etc.).  You’ll be more likely to make better choice all day.  

4)  Double your dog’s walk.  Enjoy the outdoors.  He/she will thank you with licks and goofy dog smiles.

5)  Buy that workout DVD.  It can be any type of workout you like…yoga, dance cardio, whatever!  Just buy it, so you can have a workout ready to go in your living room.  

6)  Make half your dinner plate filled with veggies.

7)  Do something physical everyday even if it’s just 20 jumping jacks during every commercial of your favorite hour-long show.  

8)  Buy some fresh fruit and cut it up or display it on your counter as soon as you get home.  It’ll be ready to go when you need it.

9)  Think of your family and friends.  Remember you want to be healthy and happy for them.  Then, get up and take a walk.  

10)  Buy a healthy magazine and cut out interesting articles, recipes, work-outs and start a healthy living binder.  It can be your go-to resource when you’re needing some encouragement or information.  

Health Magazine

Oxygen Magazine

Fitness Magazine

Cooking Light – Recipe Finder

Women’s Health Magazine

 

Why I bother.

Why commit to a work-out program?  Why try to rustle up a nutritious snack?  Why get up early just to sweat buckets?  Why make dinner (AGAIN) with fresh foods?  Why pay that monthly gym membership?  Why leave your sweet baby for an hour and a half?

 

Here’s why…

1)  A good work-out has the power to dramatically change my mood and general outlook on life.  The Mayo Clinic stated that exercise is helpful for those who suffer from depression and/or anxiety.  

 

2)  Healthy food sits better on my stomach than unhealthy foods.  For years, I suffered from stomach cramps, nausea, plus a bunch of other not-so-pleasant stomach conditions.  I would sometimes end up doubled over in pain.  These episodes would last hours (time for the yuck food to digest).  I remember having to leave items in the check-out line at Wal-Mart, because I couldn’t stand upright anymore.  

 

3)  I feel strong after I eat healthy food and have a good work-out.  Example:  My roommate and I were moving a loveseat into our 3rd floor dorm room.  I had no problem whatsoever lifting and carrying it.  This was the first time that I realized what my exercising had done…created a stronger body to help me go through life’s everyday events.

 

4)  My weight doesn’t fluctuate too much, so I am able to wear all of my wardrobe whenever I want.  I don’t have skinny day pants or fat day pants.  I just have pants!  This is also good for the wallet since I do not have to purchase a new wardrobe for my weight going up and down.

 

5)  I love planning and going on adventure vacations.  Kayaking, Snorkeling, Climbing, Parasailing, Mountain Biking, plus all sorts of water sports ~ You can really enjoy these with a strong body!  

 

6)  I had a relatively “easy” pregnancy and labor/delivery.  Now, I know that some pregnancy and deliveries can be challenging no matter what physical shape you are in.  However, I strongly believe that nutrition and fitness played a role in my personal experience.  I trained for that pregnancy and delivery like I was competing for a medal.  No lie.  I would be running early on in the first trimester, and I would feel a little whinny and like stopping.  I would tell myself “Do you really think you’re going to be able to stop during delivery?”  Little crazy but it worked.  

 

7)  I work out my arms intensely to prove my gymnastics teacher wrong.  He told my mom (with me standing right there) that I should probably not attend any more classes since I had “spaghetti noodle arms” and really no hope of doing well in the sport.  Now, this is the kicker.  I was like 5 years old!  My arm muscles are the ones that I work extra hard each work-out just to rub it in his face (figuratively of course!).

 

8)  “Sweat is the fountain of youth.”  -A coworker

 

9) Healthy foods give me the energy I need to make better choices throughout my day including treating myself and my family in a loving manner.  Don’t tell me that after you eat 2 donuts you feel very at peace and pleased with your life and your choices.  Eat some fruit, yogurt, and drink a tall glass of water.  Feeling better already!

 

10)  I work-out and eat healthy to do my part to live a long, healthy, active life with the amazing family that I am blessed with.  Can I get an AMEN?!

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My loves and Me