A Better Body After Baby
“Empowering Mothers to Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle”
Motherhood is one of the single most trying, stretching, breaking down of self things you will ever do. It is hard. Full of extremes and opposing emotions all at once.
It is exhausting and exhilarating. It is joyous and painful. Exciting and annoying. Frustrating and inspiring. It teaches you about yourself on a level nothing else could. You find out what you are really made out of and what you lack. But if you give yourself over to the removal of selfishness, the control of every element, the ability to think about yourself first and primarily, it will change you into a better human being. More compassionate, passionate, patient, and loving.
I have never met a mother that has ever said they are not a better person because of their child. They may awe at the amount time they used to have and the way they used to carelessly waste time they didn’t even realize they had. But even after a few short months as a mother their former selves are starting to shed. This can be grueling. But, it’s growth as a human.
During this growth the world around you will tell you that you need “me” time. This is true. you should find ways to do what you love and refresh and renew your mind. But time to “refresh” is time that is meant to make you a better mother not time that is meant to make you forget you are a mother. This is a tough balance. But it’s key to being more fulfilled as a mother overall.
Motherhood is a gift and a priveldge. It was never said to be easy or convenient. It makes you grow up and reprioritize and see the world in a way you never have before. It should make you value human kind in a way you may not have ever thought possible.
Growing and changing is good. It’s hard, but it’s good. This is you going from seed to bud to blossom.
Blossom mamas. Add beauty to our world.
I need to finish this thing I started. The “I need to get back to the real me” thing. The last four pounds. The more clean eating. But, many days I just don’t give a rat’s back end. Why? Because, I compare myself.
Here’s how it plays out… Compare me to the average American and I eat like an Olympian. Compare me to my teenage self and I am far more fit. Compare me to most “I’ve had three kids” mamas and, currently, I look pretty darn good. (Don’t worry, that ego goes right out the window here in a second).
Then compare to those I really respect who are healthy and at their peak (in their late thirties and forties). Compare me to Jillian Micheals and I have practically no abs. Compare me to the woman I see EVERY day at the Y, five years my senior, and my arm muscles are practically non-existant and I feel twenty pounds overweight (rather than the aforementioned four). Compare me to the crazy clean-eating, clear-skin yoga masters coming out of class with their mats rolled up and not a drop of sweat on their faces and I seem clumsy, awkward and very poorly dressed (even for a gym).
Bottom line. Stop comparing. Comparing can stall you out or make you feel inferior. (Which will also stall you out).
The only person to overcome and be better than and strive for is the absolute best you.
You a size smaller and feeling better about your body. You exercising five days a week and feeling more focused and strong. You eating better and feeling less tired, less sick, less frustrated, less sluggish. You choosing to teach your kids the importance of moving and eating good food full of nutrients so they don’t have this battle someday. You making sure you stand a little straighter and wear clothes that flatter you. You on your best day. And, your “best” day, is the day you stop comparing and complaining and feeling bad about who you are. It’s the day you take ownership of all your quirks and your “not quite perfect”s. Make today your best day.
Today I am posting a blog from another page. It may seem like a bit of a cop out but, honestly, I think I needed this blog and you may too.
You may not be a person of any faith but the words here are still true in so many ways. Have faith. Motherhood is hard. Loving is hard. There are no promotions or pay raises. And it can make you wrestle with your mind day in and day out. However, the life achievement you receive is undoubtably inexplicable. And your children really are your greatest work.
Motherhood is hard physical labor, sweaty work, manual labor of the most intense kind because it requires more than just body.
Turns out it’s hard heart labor, too.
And when the work doesn’t pay off? When the pulling and tugging and coaxing and dragging and pushing and begging and praying don’t seem to change things as fast as we’d like, we can be left empty, exhausted, worn down.
It reminds me of the story of Peter and the disciples in Luke 5:1-9.
A fisherman, Peter had worked hard all night long trying to catch fish and hadn’t caught even one.
In those days, I imagine an empty net meant an empty stomach, empty table, empty mouths, and maybe, for Peter, an empty heart. I can almost hear him thinking, “All that work for nothing! Wasted effort, wasted time. I should just quit.”
Ever felt that way, Mom?
Jesus, in need of a safe place from which to teach the people, caught Peter coming in from the long, hard, dirty night of fruitless work, and asked for a simple favor.
The crowds, desperate for a word when the voice of God had been silent in the land for four hundred years, were pressing in all around him, and the fisherman’s boat looked like a good place to land.
He taught the people from the boat for a time, and then told the weary fisherman, Peter, to cast his net in the deep water once more.
Can you imagine Peter’s response? Wait, what did he just say? I gave him my boat, and now this? He’s got to be kidding.
Can you picture him, head in hands, eyes tired from lack of sleep, and heart weary from the weight of failure, answering the man Jesus?
Lord, we have been out here all night.
We’ve worked our fingers to the bone trying to provide for our families, trying to take care of them and give them our best. We’ve given our all, all night long and it hasn’t been enough. We’re tired, and we don’t want to try again. Not even one more time. But because you seem to be something special, we will. Just this once, and don’t ask us to do it again if you please.
You know what happened, right?
Peter’s choice to blow on the flame of hope one last time nearly sank his boat with success.
He knew at once that he had been in the presence of greatness, and knowing it, repented, left his nets, and followed Jesus.
I find a lot of strength from Peter’s story because there’s not a week that goes by when I don’t entertain the idea of quitting — at least for a few seconds.
Just this week, I sat back and allowed myself to remember what it was like before we had kids.
Freedom and quiet were words that came to mind. I’d never really failed at anything much before becoming a mom — and I never thought loving someone so much could make me feel so bad.
Certainly, there are professions that garner more praise, and pay significantly higher wages.
As moms, we can feel trapped in a long-term assignment… that often makes us feel like failures.
But I’m beginning to understand that there is a way to find hope.
I think our victory, like Peter’s, starts with just one more cast of the net
Friends, I can’t promise your next act of obedience will produce the fruit in your children’s hearts you’ve been craving.
I can’t promise you that following Christ, like Peter, even just one more time, will bring immediate change or smashing success.
But I can promise that holding out that flicker of hope, just enough to propel your feet forward in one more step of faith, matters to God.
He sees you, and He knows what it will require to pursue your heart. He’ll pursue it with reckless abandon, just because He loves you that much.
But in the same way that He loves you, the same way He’ll move all of heaven to chase your heart and make it His, He also loves your children.
When they break your heart, they break His.
When they run away from you, they run away from Him.
When they reject your love, they reject His.
When they refuse to walk in obedience to you, they refuse to walk in obedience to Him.
He hurts with you.
But His plans for you—and your children—are good.
Will you make a commitment with me today, friend? Can we stand together, unified by Christ and our love for our children, and covenant with the Lord that we will never, ever give up the fight?
Can we covenant with the Lord that we will never give up on His ability to move in our hearts and those of our children?
Say it with me…
“I believe God’s plans for me are good. Therefore, I commit today that I will never give up on my family, and I will never give up on God’s ability to move in our hearts. With His help, I will take the next step of faith even when I don’t feel like it, because He is the God of miracles.”
I believe God will meet us and fill our nets as we trust Him enough to cast them just one more time.
Mama, look out at the water, and place your feet firmly on the dock.
Then let your net fly.
To read the original blog please visit this page
This is a weird post for me to write. In it I will be very open about current body challenges which, warning, can be a bit gross. However, if you have EVER had skin issues that won’t quit or persistent yeast infections please know you are in good company and I hope to reveal some helpful cures you may or may not have known.
Since being pregnant with my third son about two and a half years ago, I have had chronic issues with yeast infections (I know, eww!), acne and itchy skin. Now you would THINK I would have connected the dots at that point but, no. I chaulked it up to hormones and pregnancy. Then my son was born so I blamed adjusting hormone levels and aging.
However, when these problems persisted well after my pregnancy and postpartum “hormone phase” I leaned heavily on my diet to adjust what I assumed were responses to what I was eating. And, if VERY strict, about 90% of the symptoms and intesisty subsided. (This is still true!) Although I recognized this is a good thing it was (and is) still frustrating to gauge when to eliminate this and that. But, still, I got it down pretty good. I just needed to actually DO it.
About two to three weeks a month if I eliminate dairy (which I already had for the most part), wheat, yeast, chocolate, and sugar my skin and my body line up. But, even get a little off of that elimination train and it’s chaos. See if you can relate:
My skin flares up – acne like I am a thirteen-year-old pizza-loving Hostess cupcake eating girl rears its ugly head.
I have red dots underneath my skin which coat my cheeks.
My skin gets itchy – my arms, legs, inner thighs feel tingly and itch.
I get “internal” yeast infections – no need to explain.
This goes on in waves as I eliminate and figure out how to help my body return to normal.
And then I realized it’s all connected.
Now, you may say “duh, hormones”. And, yes, I do believe there is a factor playing there which I will see and OD about soon. HOWEVER, the common link regardless is yeast. ALL of it! YEAST.
Turns out what I thought was acne is mostly yeast trying to get out from under my skin! That is why many of the “dots” were under my skin rather than forming pustules on top like a regular zit. The itchy skin is yeast as well. And, well, the other is obvious.
So, how do I kill the yeast? Diet, of course! Ugh. Seriously?
Turns out, dairy
For more information read articles by searching Candida!
“It’s. That. Time of yeeeeeear where the world falls in love…” With food.
Let’s face it, ladies. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years… it all spells over-eating for most of us. And gaining five extra pounds (or the “average holiday-time weight gain” of three pounds) does NOT make me merry in the slightest. So, why do we do it?
Without going into all the “whys” I will simply say this – don’t give into the hype that we “all gain weight” at the holidays. You don’t have to follow the rest of the every weight fluctuating world. YOU can be different. You can liberate your mind from the syrupy-sweet Rolo cookies and the seductive gingerbread men. You CAN DO IT… and (get ready for it) you can still eat the holiday foods you love.
Here’s a simple (although hard on the follow through sometimes) to follow plan:
1) Stop eating the dough
By this I mean, don’t nibble and nibble and nibble. Try to resist eating all of your luscious baked goods until they are actually baked. Then eat just ONE. Yes. ONE. (I know… trust me, this is hard, but you have so, so many options, one is plenty as you will want to sample more of everyone else’s creations).
2) Eat SLOWLY
This is actually hard for me a lot of the time. Try to savor, savor, savor. And enjoy those around you by having a conversation and talking as you eat. It will help you slow down and it will help you remember that Holiday celebrations are about being with people. Not just curled up on the couch eating a bag of your favorite homemade sugar cookies. (Oh, you don’t do that? Then, that’s a reminder to me alone).
3) Save the non-homemade goods for the kids
Kids love sugar. They usually aren’t terribly discreet or picky. Store bought, home made, organic… if it has sugar, they are all in. But, you’re not a kid. As Tina Fey would say “You’re a grown-a*@ woman”. So, be PICKY with what you eat. Save your taste buds for the homemade and the rare or the hard-to-make stuff only Aunt Jane bakes anymore. Let the kids eat the other stuff. They don’t care about the taste. But you should.
4) Pick three
Along the lines of being picky, if you are at a party, choose three items to indulge in. JUST three. It will force you to up your taste buds’ game. OR half portions and choose six. (Keep in mind, I’m thinking cookies and such here, not pie pieces… three pieces of pie is too much… although, tempting )
5) Set yourself free from the guilt – don’t eat if you’re not hungry
I hate counting calories. HATE it. So I don’t. But, I do take note of if I am feeling hungry. By checking in and seeing if you are actually hungry, you help your body regulate its weight on its own. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat. Whether it’s dinner or a salad or dessert. Again, if you are NOT hungry, save your food and wait until your are. Take it with you and eat it later if you have to. And when you finally eat, don’t feel guilty for eating SLOWLY. Your body needs fuel.
6) Remember your family AND that you’re family
This is the time of year where things and food and events and stress all take over what holidays are about. So, take a breath, sip some wine (or what-have-you) and remember that this time of year is about family. So look at your sweet baby’s handmade ornaments or the Nativity set that your toddler insists on rearranging or their sweet stocking hanging way, way up high so he doesn’t pull the stocking hanger on head precious head and remember: Holidays are about loving your children and teaching them traditions. It’s about being more patient and being grateful. And, remember that loving family includes loving YOURSELF. Take time out to exercise and eat right. Because those little wrecking balls of love need you sane and in good health.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Mamas!
I’m no spring chicken. I know this. I also know that I’m no dummy. In fact, I’m pretty darn smart much of the time. When I’m not doing relatively mind-numbing chores or one of thirty of the same exact micro-actions which are now muscle-memoried into my daily life.
But loving three little boys can take a lot of the “smarts” and redirect them into things none of us like to work on like patience, self-control, thoughtfulness, and joy in the moment. And that can feel harder than any essay I’ve ever had to write or any client relationship I’ve ever had to finesse. And, even knowing that the pay off is coming (someday?) and it’s all worth far more than any paid project I’ll ever have, it’s hard. And sometimes you simply need to know what’s on the other side of this.
Enter a mentor to cheer you on. Someone who can help mold your good decisions into great ones. Someone who has lived a similar life and has found success in a happy homelife, a successful career, and great relationships with friends and family. Someone who is smart, clever, has a killer work ethic, and cares about the impact they have on those around them.
Except, for most of us, this mentor is a fairy tale. A fairy god mother in a dream.
So, where did all the mentors go anyway? I mean, what is it about finding a female voice that has found lasting success at home and in a career (albeit part time or freelance or when your kids are all in school)? Where are these women?
Perhaps, ladies, our standards are too high. Maybe wanting to be a great wife, mother, career-women, entrepreneur is just too much. Maybe, as I have been told time and again, each of those is a “season” of life, not to be had all at once. And what if, in the cringing and agony of hearing that, living that, it finally sinks in. What if we can NOT have it all at once? Is that so wrong?
Or, if you can, where are the women who have had it all at once? Seriously. Ones that aren’t man-haters or don’t have nannies and chefs at their beck and call (not judging that, but, I just can’t relate)? Ones that succeed at their passions and have a great relationship with their kids and are able to give back to their community? Ones that love their husbands? Ones that aren’t paving the way but have already built or walked the path?
The world needs women like this to speak up. To look around at others a bit further back in the journey and help guide them through the brambles. Not only to encourage but to help dissuade them from making mistakes that can be detrimental to their relationships or business. The world needs strong women to speak up and teach others. Not in little quotes on Twitter but in real, actual chunks of learning and advice. In coffee shops, in a book, in conferences.
It’s time, ladies. It’s time to speak up and listen up. Otherwise we may all just give up on hoping our passions and our talents are meant for anything but dreaming.
I recently looked at Super Hero women’s depictions.
My son loves graphic novel style books. Luckily there are some age appropriate ones out there. But, there are many that are not so age appropriate (even the teen-age Hardy Boys’ have girls in pretty sexy outfits). And, then, there are super hero comic books.
Now, I like super heroes. They’re fun. They do good deeds. They are “super”. And, I realize that they are NOT your regular human being, for the most part. There are traits they have that are unique and superhuman. From web-creating, to heavy lifting, to flying… these folks are not low on the ability scale.
However, I am pretty annoyed at the depiction of women in these graphic novels.
Apparently, the “super-est” part of a superhero woman is her boobs. And her six pack man-abs. Then there’s the outfits.
I mean, come ON. If it’s Halloween and you want to dress slutty, that’s your thing. But, if it’s NOT Halloween and you want to say, I don’t know, save the world, why are you wearing the same type of Halloween-slut-outfit? It doesn’t seem like these “super” women can do much of anything in these skin tight, often barely there, ensembles of justice. What gives? Is this what the 99% of males think a women with super powers should look like? Low-cut, body-tape-needed pleather wisps with boots?
Now, I am SURE this is what 99% of males think porn stars should look like, but, women who’s job it is to kick butt and save nations? Seriously?
What are we saying to our boys and girls about women in general, much less “Super” hero women. What are we personifying about feminine “powers”… that female power lies in being large busted, synthetic-looking, and scantily clad? What ever happened to Olympiad-looking women? Or strong Rosy-the-riveter types?
My fear is that my sons will see power of a women ONLY in her body. Not in her mind or her talents or her abilities or her power to love.
And, yet, I see the “power” in a healthy, fit, trim body. Because I know what it can do. What it can accomplish. And how it feels to not let your insecurities to hold you back.
So. Once again, ladies, we stand at the gateway of perception on behalf of our children. It’s our culture versus our courage.
We need to set an example and be the REAL superheros in our kids lives.
Be strong. Be healthy and fit. Be honest. Be honorable. Be courageous. Be loving. Be what those 2-D big-boobed imps created by men sitting in a graphic novel fantasy of foolishness don’t represent on those pages.
Be real. Be present. Be tangible.
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup coconut milk or half and half
1/3 cup walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a sheet pan or shallow roasting pan, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of oil and a little salt. Roast cauliflower until tender and lightly browned, stirring once or twice for even roasting, 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, dry roast the nuts if desired.
In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, coconut milk (or half and half) and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the roasted hot cauliflower, scraping any residual oil and brown cauliflower bits into the bowl. Add the nuts and freshly ground black pepper; toss to coat. Serve warm.
A great way to get Kale into your diet in a tasty way… no, really.
Recipe by Mark Sisson:
1 Bunch kale, center stems removed, coarsely chopped, rinsed and drained.
3-4 Tablespoon butter or ghee OR coconut oil
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Melt butter or coconut oil in a large skillet or a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add kale and cover to slightly steam – about 4 minutes. Check kale and stir or turn to cook evenly, making sure kale and butter/oil do not burn at the bottom of the pan. (Depending on the pan you might opt to lower heat and add 1 tablespoon of water to avoid burning).
When kale is uniformly limp and about halfway cooked, pour cream all over kale and turn up heat to medium for 1-2 minutes. When cream is bubbling, reduce heat to low until it is just slightly simmering when left uncovered. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring once or twice to avoid sticking. Kale is done when tender and cream is thickened and reduced by about half. Season to taste with sea salt, fresh pepper and nutmeg (if using). Serve warm.
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