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Where have all the Mentors gone?
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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.

The Real Super Hero Women
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The Real Super Hero Women
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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.

Together we can change the perception of “Super women”

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GUEST POST: Eating Healthy While on Vacation
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GUEST POST: Eating Healthy While on Vacation
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Here is a great article sent to me by Cole Millan.  In this season of travel and moving around, you can STILL stay healthy. Thanks Cole!

 

Eating Healthy on Vacation – Cole Millan

Eating healthy on vacation does not have to be painful. In fact, it is incredibly simple.

Mentally Prepare and Plan Ahead for Meals

Before you even leave for your holiday, mentally prepare yourself. Tell yourself that you are allowed to indulge on vacation once in awhile as long as you remain active and only once a day. Perform a bit of reconnaissance to find the restaurants and must-have food stops you cannot miss and plan your food splurges in advance. Also, tell yourself that you WILL avoid the minibar, limit your alcohol intake and always order a side of vegetables when possible.

When you book your ticket, if the airline offers meals with your flight keep in mind that a vegetarian dish is often more waist-line friendly than other meals.  And remember that in-flight snacks are often high priced, high calorie and processed.  So plan ahead by filling sandwich baggies full of healthy snacks on your carry on or bring along a real-food snack bar like Lara or Pure bars.  You won’t regret the savings both calorically AND financially!

Choosing a Health-Friendly Hotel

As you mentally prepare, choose a health-friendly hotel to help you in your quest. Be certain the hotel offers a gym or pool. Choose a hotel within walking distance to many sights or activities. Check with the hotel to see if they offer bike rental, if they are close to trails and public transportation and if the restaurant offers healthy alternatives such as baked chicken, fish or vegetarian options. Be certain they have a fridge to keep perishables so you can always eat a piece of fruit before leaving for a restaurant. Often times determining these pivotal aspects can be difficult. This is why it is very important to do your research before booking.

While hotel websites can be misleading to drive in business, I have found that reviews from other travelers are extremely helpful. I most recently took a trip to Sin City, where eating healthy seems nearly impossible, and found a great site called Gogobot that listed reviews for the Las Vegas hotels

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regarding their amenities, the restaurants in the nearby area, as well as things to do. This was extremely helpful and ensured that I would be able to maintain my healthy lifestyle regardless of where I traveled.

Airports

Airports and airplanes were once the easiest places to fall victim to travel weight gain. For this reason, make sure to eat a filling and nutritious meal prior to your departure to ensure you will not be “starving” when you are in the airport. And, once you arrive, have a plan of what you are going to eat and when.

Even if you pack your own meals and snacks you might want to eat one meal at the airport depending on your travel arrangements. Most restaurants in airports offer healthy snacks

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and alternatives, some which are not listed on the menu. For example, you can often have a piece of fruit in place of French fries. Just be prepared to ask.  Also, a number of cafes and sandwich shops offer yogurts, fruit and vegetables.

Realistic Health at Your Destination

Once you reach your destination, be mindful of temptations at every turn. Although food-stuffs and non-movement abound in all times of life, “vacation mode” seems to invite all sorts of selected forgetfulness.  So, it is a good idea to keep a food journal on your vacation. It will force you to be realistic about what you have eaten and what you can still eat or drink for the day. Do not forget that fruit drinks, while somewhat healthy in small quantities, can easily escalate your caloric intake for the day. Go for a walk after dinner. This is also a romantic way to end your day if you are traveling with a partner and good exercise for the entire family. If you remain active throughout the trip, you will be able to enjoy yourself more and return happier with your decisions.

At the Restaurant

It is inevitable that you will be eating out at restaurants; after all it is a vacation. Just make sure to find a restaurant that has a wide variety on their menu to increase the likelihood of finding something that is healthy without sacrificing flavor. From heavily battered entrees to endless bowls of rolls and fresh bread, many chefs create decadent menus with no abandon. If you consistently consume the full portion of these meals during your vacation, your body will quickly begin to show (and feel!) the results. While indulging in your favorite foods every once in awhile is permissible, try to steer clear of fried foods and opt for smaller portions (think “share with someone”) when possible.

In addition,  

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lean proteins
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, undressed salads and heaping portions of fresh veggies are all great dietary options that you can find in most restaurants. And you should also avoid greasy buffets and fast food if possible, as it can be challenging to find appropriate foods in these dining establishments AND they will leave you feeling sluggish instead of energized for your vacation activities.

Remaining healthy while on vacation does not have to be overly complicated or difficult. You can make smart decisions, allow yourself a few indulgences and stay active. In fact, if you follow this guide, you may just return even more fit than when you left.

Motherhood or POW Camp?
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Ever feel more like Cinderella rather than a mother? Or maybe you feel more like a P.O.W.?

Do you feel like someone who is forced to labor away day-in and day-out at the same menial and often disgusting/gag-inducing tasks while deprived of sleep and sanity, wearing the same outfit for seemingly weeks on end, covered in spit up/poop/food, all while acquiring little or no time to dedicate to hygiene, all the while living on a slim diet of leftovers from children’s plates and the occasional piece of dark chocolate?

Not everyday perhaps.  But maybe for a string of days and then not for awhile and then another string of days.  Or maybe, for some,  everyday.  Or just every once in a while?

Welcome to the Motherhood Blues.

Before having kids it was sad and annoying to hear people talk of Motherhood in a way that seemed more like forced community service than a joy. When I would hear conversations about the “doldrums of Motherhood” I wanted women to grow up or shut up or realize they needed to not “just” be a mom but to be the best at what they did and inspire others or get inspired and really live life alongside their children.

And then I actually HAD children.

And I started to understand their perspective.  Not every day, but on occasion.  Okay… many days, but, I’m digressing.

But not all mothers feel this way.  Ever.

Some seem to soar into spectacular orbit with every single child.  As if they are destined to be a mom who not only reads to her children but who teaches them sign language, makes all home made meals with glee, plays WITH her kids and makes daily crafts with them AND manages to have a well-organized, clean home.  Some mothers simply are seemingly stress free, happy, grateful and, most importantly, fulfilled at being a mother.

So what gives for the rest of us?  What’s our deal anyway?  When did we start feeling overwhelmed… swallowed up by this life we choose. Even if it is just days here and there.  Or maybe it is many days.  Or maybe it’s been many months.  What is going on with us and our minds and souls?

First I could talk about how we should all be grateful, truly, for having healthy, happy kids.  That alone is a huge blessing in a world full of malnutrition, disease and abuse.  I could talk, too, about how hard mothers tend to be on themselves and how being a mom is a sacrifice and how motherhood was never meant to be easy and how it’s so wonderful we even get to have kids and how kids are little treasures and a goldmine of love and affection and joy and on and on and on.  And… it would all be true.  But, I think we’ve all HEARD that all before.  And maybe we even REMIND ourselves of it time and again. Or remind yourself of famines around the world and third world countries riddled with poverty just so you can have some perspective on your “privileged” life as a mom. And you tell yourself to grow up, buck up, get up.  Or, you tell yourself to give up on whatever it is that you thought this would be or whatever it is that is gnawing at you in addition to your chore list and just embrace the life in front of you.

And yet… we still have a longing. This nagging longing.  Something inside us is calling to get out.  And even if we love our kids, our husband, our dog, our life… we are still seeking that “something” and we want to let it out.

Well, Mamas, I have had an epiphany that I want to share.  A two year struggle that has revealed two very raw truths to me.

First, that “thing” that is crying to get out can get out without you having to sacrifice your soul or your family.  But it might not be in your ideal timeline.  That “something” that aches inside you is not to be ignored but it might have to be put on hold for a bit. Or put aside most of the day or week and only brought out every now and again rather than in large masses of time.

Secondly, I have realized that you are meant to be YOU all the time.  You are meant to be you when you are mad or sad or angry or happy or overwhelmed.  You are you… you are maturing and growing daily and needing help (that we often don’t ask for) but you are meant to be you.  Not your mom or someone else’s mom or your best friend or your Aunt.  Just you. But must figure out a time during the day to be alone with your own thoughts and be just you.

Not the “Facebook you” or the “Twitter you” or the “searching the web out of habit/boredom you” but the “what I want to be when I grow up you”.  The young women full of dreams you. You are not selfish simply because you want to remember who you are without all the titles. But you must find a realistic amount of time (say 20-30 minutes) to focus on it.

Just sit and remember that you like the song “Sweetest Thing” by U2 because it reminds you of the summer you met your husband. And you like the smell of brownies cooking in the oven because it was one of the few recipes you knew how to cook as a kid and it made you proud to make them by yourself. And remember that you have always wanted to tell stories – really GOOD stories.  And you want to do it for others and help them and you want so much to have time to tell those stories.

Then take your dreams, simmer on them a bit and remind yourself to be patient.  Be patient and just do a little something that fulfills you.  Take a tiny little step toward your other dream.  Like sketching a drawing or starting a story outline or making a blog entry or writing a verse to a song.

You aren’t meant to get lost in this time of life.  You are meant to grow in patience.

Take a moment and remember. Because trying to forget is what brings the torture. So remember your dreams and hopes and ambitions… then throw out the timeline and trust that the little steps will add up to a long completed journey someday.  Long, happy, and fulfilled.

And after the remembering and reminding and attaining a little piece toward your dream, remind yourself you are already living a dream come true.  You are a mom.  And even on the toughest day, your children are the greatest creation and fulfillment your life will ever see.  And they are worth this sacrifice.  And so are you.  Because this sacrifice is creating in you an amazing woman that is meant to impact the world around you.

 

 

Why Are We Not Talking MORE About Health and How it relates to Religion
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I recently had a friend who went through a rigorous weight loss regime under the watchful eye of a Doctor.  I involved dropping his caloric intake drastically (some days only 600 calories) and taking HCG* injections.  Similar diets I have read up on say that all preservatives and artificial foods are out switching primarily to an all organic diet.  And you are allowed little to no sugars. Without going into my pretty strong opinion I have given limited data I have researched I want to skip to the point of this entry and applaud my friend for mentioning it on his Facebook page.

I applaud him for his success but mostly I want to applaud him for posting it on his page because his platform (aka his FB page) usually never mentions health or fitness.

You see, my friend is someone who is a leader in the Christian community.  He is a great guy and his ministry is aimed mostly at people 35 and under.  His media company poses challenging questions to Christians about life, culture, art and global responsibility.  I have admiration and respect for him and his point of view.  But, to my knowledge, this is the first conversation on weight loss and health posted to his “friends” or other constituents.  And that’s fine.  Health and weight loss stats are not something people on both sides necessarily like to hear or discuss for many, MANY reasons.

But now that he’s posted about his gains and successes with the “battle of the bulge”, will there be accountability from his community?  Will people check in with him?  Will he mention if he struggles or becomes discouraged?  Will he continue to improve and grow from here? I obviously have no idea but it begs a question: why don’t more people who are in a position of leadership in the Christian (and other religious communities for that matter) talk about weight loss and health?

Are we afraid we will be judged or exposed in what is perceived as failure?  Do we see this as only a personal struggle?  Do we think that it lessens our impression as a strong leader?

Americans and other Western cultures are priveledged to live in countries where there is plenty of food – real and lab-created alike.  We are a land of plenty dispite the fact that people in our country are malnourished on food-like stuffs and others simply lack resources to eat a healthy diet.  And this means we have a greater challenge to not indulge in excess and to set an example to the world on how to eat healthy food while helping those who can not afford or do not understand the point of eating healthy food.

But how can we do that when so many of us don’t understand what true excess is and so many people in our culture promote excess as a right and privilege? Simple: we start a challenging conversation.

(Enter a collective sigh here).

“But… how many challenging conversations can one person take on?  Can’t we all just count points and calories and drink shakes and fit into our size 8 jeans and move onto more important things at hand?”

What is “more important” than your body, mind and soul?  Each is connected to the other. Starve one and the others will die, too.

“But ignoring things is our way of life”.  Yes. And it needs to stop.

Is our avoidance to welcome an open-armed discussion simply we don’t know where to start?  Are we inviting a series of road blocks, walls, and genetically-lined excuses to hinder the journey before we even take one step down the proverbial road of resolution? Or are we simply so used to ignoring or accepting the problem at hand it’s not even on our radar as a “problem”?

I think: yes, yes, and yes.

So, I shall throw the gauntlet down.  I shall open the conversation wide. There are no wrong comments or answers or reasons here.  Talk to me about this.  We need to start a long conversation about the thing that is literally killing us. Something we ignore every single day. Something that is killing our kids even faster.  Their generation is learning from us and they are said to be the first generation who will die younger than their parents due to diet and lifestyle. We can’t let that happen.

Will you be willing to be uncomfortable to make a cultural impact? Will you be willing to be exposed and wrung out and terribly honest with me?  Ask me.  I’ll answer you the best I can.  No shame.  Shame slows progress.  Honesty cleanses and progresses.  Let’s do this thing – as women, as parents, as people wanting to make a change.

After all, it’s hard to change the world in a casket.

 

 

*HCG is a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women and is said to suppress appetite and increase fat burn.  Uh… tell THAT to pregnant women.  Seriously, this sounded so strange to me, but people swear by it.  Unless you write for Web MD.  Read more here

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Sleep Deprivation = Trouble in Paradise = Personal Challange Time?
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Even on a good night’s sleep mommy’s can have bad days.  But take away a steady stream of shut-eye (and by “steady” I mean, like 5 straight hours at this point) and the virtues of patience and joy can be far from being practiced.  Add a life of carpooling and errands galore and it’s a potential keg of crazy.  Not to mention the fact that the beloved stress relief known as “exercise” is far from regularity since the aforementioned “sleep” is not happening.  Basically, the infancy stage and sleep deprivation can create stress in ways you never imagined.

Enter, prioritizing. And re-prioritizing.

It really, REALLY stinks that there is a steady stream of dishes, laundry, toys underfoot, dirty diapers and feedings when all you really want to do is get a little rest, play time with your kids, and adult conversation and what you really NEED is exercise.  And, if you’re like I am this go-round, you have an annoying injury which means you need to work out to help it get better but you can’t work out in all the “easy” ways (like, “Hey my husband is home I’ll go on a run or walk or bike ride… oh, wait, those are three things I can’t do because of my AWESOME injury.”) So how can you work out when you’re constantly needed or needing to do chores and/or sleepy?  Basically, you can’t NOT be a mom and you have to rest so, guess what needs to suffer now and again?  The house work.

I know, I KNOW… if you are a person that feels you live in a house of swill this will be a hard sell.  Or if you are the type of person who needs all their ducks in a row and all their rows at 90 degree angles then this will be a hard sell.  But, after years of seeing moms who do not take care of their bodies and the repercussions of that, you need to understand – taking time out of EVERY day to take care of your body IS taking care of your family AND taking care of your “house”. It isn’t about weight loss at this point, it’s about stress loss.  And sanity.  And feeling good.

Add that feel good, de-stress action to good eating and you have a recipe that will morph your potential “keg of crazy” into a keg of crazy-awesome.

So, skip the laundry or the vacuuming for now and turn on the latest Jillian video or ride your stationary bike or get OUTSIDE and run!  Trust me, that cyclical life of chores will not stop any time soon, so take a break from it for an hour and do your body, mind and soul some good.  Learn to take care of your kids’ mom as well as their house.

 

 

 

Note to my Former Self: Screw You
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Okay, it may seem harsh, but sometimes I think of my former self and get annoyed.  Not my chubby teenage self but my “self” three years ago.  The self who had two kids and seven mornings with a spouse at home to get up and exercise.  Now I have more on my plate – a child in school, two days of running a preschool class, an infant who I hope so desperately to get on a sleep schedule, a four year old who is shy and a bit overwhelmed at going into a large class area with 25 kids, and and SI joint that won’t let me run, ride a bike on the road, do sit ups or most of the usual exercises I was accustomed to doing.  I want to say to my former self:

“Screw you, lady.  You can get your kids to the Y first thing.  You don’t have to wait around until school starts, past the ‘happy window’ for your infant.  You can get in a work out because you have a three year old who LOVES it there.  MY four year old is shy and cries when I leave him for too long.  Or he sits in a chair and waits for 45 minutes telling the workers that he’s waiting for his mom to come get him.  And it’s hard for me to see him unsure of himself and genuinely sad.  And my baby gets a crappy nap.  One more day he’s not at home or on a set schedule.  You live in Groundhog day – each day is basically the same and predictable so that your kids know what to expect.  My day is varied depending on the day of the week.  And it sucks a little bit.  So, take your workout advice and ‘Better Body’ and stuff it”.

(Sigh).  But the truth is, I’m just annoyed.  At myself mostly.  And my body.  (I’m not used to having a body that won’t do stuff.  And I forget a bit the squishy body you have for months.  And this body is even more squishy because I haven’t been able to do consistent workouts at ALL in months).  And the in-between wardrobe that still doesn’t quite fit. Or look cute on me.

And, so, with violins swelling I join 99.9% of all other mothers in the world as we, united in frustration, wish we had an hour a day of awake-ness and energy to get in a workout and the self discipline to NOT use that hour on the internet or flipping through magazines or getting some time to think of thoughts other than what is needed throughout the day. And a bit of cynicism enters into my brain as I look at women who got six pack abs in “just four months”.  (Must be their first kid, I think snidely… remember how much time you had with your FIRST kid?)

But, the truth is, I could do a better job.  I COULD prioritize better.  And I COULD do a better job of paying attention to if I’m hungry rather than just wanting to eat.  I just get annoyed that I’m not further along.  I wanted to prove that you can lose all of your baby weight in 20 weeks.  I’m 17 weeks in and I’m still 10 pounds from my goal.  Ugh.

So, although I maintain the mantra “you can do this!”  I also have the mantra – do it at the pace that keeps you sane.  Just keep moving!  Even with a stupid SI joint and adorable baby who likes to wake up several times a night.  Even if you can’t get to the gym and have to figure out the ins and outs of good and… uh… not very good workout videos.  You can do it.

And even if you’re not Jessica Alba with her flat belly in four months… your a good mama.  And a mama who is setting an example.  Even if your winded doing workouts that used to be warm ups for you.  Keep going.  Your day will come.  (And that tankini – needed now because of stretch marks – is around the bend…. a longer bend, perhaps, but a bend none the less).

 

Honest and Vunerable
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I’ve spent several years now writing about how moms can get healthy and have an even “better” body after having a baby (or two or three!).  I love seeing women feeling their best and using that to fuel the way they parent.  But, to be honest, there are tons and TONS of resources out there on weight loss and fitness tips other than mine.  And I don’t really want to be blindly slumped into those camps.  Although they are also doing good things, I want to use my unique voice to go beyond the normal “health and fitness” world.  I want to be a human being fumbling around like everyone else.  Not just a pulpit or soapbox. I want to always be honest, real and vulnerable.

Being honest isn’t as easy to me as being vulnerable.  Although they go hand and hand you can be honest with many things without really shedding any light into your soul.

Being vulnerable can feel scary.  It’s as if you are opening yourself up to judgment and opinions galore.  And you can seem a bit unstable.  At least, that’s how our society seems to promote vulnerability.

We live in the world of surface living. We enjoy people seeing the outside of us more than the inside.  Facebook (although useful in many ways) is a sea of “here’s my great life, look at me” and not a lot of “life is really hard today, somebody send me a virtual glass of wine and a joke”.  And, those who dare to say “Hey, I’m having a hard day” seem desperate, needy, or immature.  When in most cases they are just lonely and in need of someone to validate them and their struggles.

Moms are the most susceptible at being sucked into this way of thinking. Saying “I’m having a hard time” is usually frowned upon.  Much less saying things like “my marriage is struggling”, “I feel like my dreams are dying inside of me” and “I’m having a hard time finding the high points of being a mom… this isn’t what I thought it would be like”.

Accepting our deficits is a large part of accepting where we are in life and who we were created to be.  It leads us to the knowledge that we need others.  And they need us. We aren’t meant to live this life alone. Only showing surface details will lead us into incredible loneliness.  And our nation is plagued with only showing surface details.

So, in future (as the British would say) I promise not only to encourage and teach what I know, I promise to show my vulnerable side more and ask for help when I need it.  And I ask you to do the same.  I want this site to be a site of those wanting to grow and change by admitting they need others.  That we are NOT perfect be we are all important and have something to bring to the table.  God made us all unique but He didn’t make us all complete unto ourselves.  And that is a comforting thought when you really let it sink into your soul.

My Back is Fat (not Phat)
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My Back is Fat (not Phat)
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I have never really taken much time to look at my back, but I can tell you this: I never remember it hosting fat.  I’m sure it has.  I have been very roly-poly in my day but I don’t think I ever looked at my back.  However, getting into the shower the other day I took note of my back as I turned.  And there it was.  Fat.  Clear as day.  I have fat on my back.

Now, I know, technically, we ALL have fat on our back.  But I don’t remember seeing it so clearly.  And, it made me feel many things – chubby, out of shape, older.  Ugh.

Now, I can go on and on about aging and fat placement and “the average womanly shape isn’t skinny” but none would be as honest as saying – I don’t like that I have a fat on my back.  (Ignoring impulse to insert a joke about “fat back” beef cuts here).

If you haven’t ever taken note of your back and if it has fat and how that looks I plead with you: do not do it.  Resist the urge.  Seeing fat on your body in places you usually can’t see is not encouraging.  It is depressing.  And, I don’t think depression is a good motivator.  I mean, being depressed makes me sad and sleepy, not raring to go and get some good workout time in.  Or it makes me want to watch a movie… and be a little angry at all the skinny actresses.

But, what’s done is done.

Now that I have this knowledge, what do I do with it?  What do I do with my “fat back”?  Still pondering that.What does one do with news and information you simply wish you didn’t have?  You can’t “undo” the awareness that the fat is creeping up behind you wherever you go.  It may not be easy to see… but it’s there.  Oh, it is there.

In a few weeks as I do another weigh in, I might see if it has lessened.  MIGHT. After all, I would assume if I am losing fat other places my back is in the running, too.  But, in the meantime, I will try not to think about it.  It’s too depressing. I figured the back fat would come one day, but… it seems that day is today.

So, off to not think about it.  And to get my bike on it’s trainer since I have been released to ride a stationary bike (yea).  Steer clear back fat.  I’m onto you and your sneaky ways!

 

My At-Home Workout Challenge: Find Fun Workout Videos
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Okay, so, working out at home is has never really been my scene. And now I have to make it work for me… for many reasons.

I have a 900 square foot two bedroom house where the living room is the center of the universe.  It is also the only room with enough space to workout in.  WHEN toys and other baby objects aren’t taking up the majority of the space.  And when this is the case, I really only have a few options on workouts inside.

First, I can put my bike on it’s trainer and ride for 45 minutes to 1 hour. That is IF my baby is asleep and other boys are occupied. Which means the baby must sleep at least one hour (getting on and off the bike takes a few minutes, plus the workout itself) and the older boys can’t be sleepy, tired, hungry, getting ready for school or bed, fighting with each other or needing me to get the water, a kleenex, a toy up on the shelf, batteries or anything else.
Secondly, I can do a workout video. These are a bit more lenient since my baby COULD be awake for part of the video… playing on a mat or in his chair.  But workout videos require total consumption of the video machine (in my case the computer) so I can’t do it during the older boys “video time” per se.  And, videos make noise.  Which draws attention. Which isn’t all together a big deal… but I might have to field a plethora of questions as I try to burn some calories and build some muscles.

Finally, there is my trusty pull up bar and weight resistance bands.  I can put together a routine which integrates these along with stretches, core strengthening exercises and yoga.  These are forgiving on the time crunch scale, allowing for interruptions, but are hard to get back to once interrupted.  AND they aren’t much for cardio or feeling the “burn” as it were.

Most likely I will opt for a combo of things… half a video until the baby is restless then the pull up bar and resistance bands for 20 minutes a bit later.  Then my bike for as long as I can do it after the big boys are asleep (watching West Wing – as I’ve never actually watched West Wing before – or listening to podcasts).

I guess the bottom line is this, I admire women that thrive on at home only workouts.  I prefer getting outside with a jogging stroller (or before the kiddos are up!) or to the gym. But I’m learning that this stage of infancy and the schedule of the other boys makes it very, very hard.  However, the lure of less stress and toned muscles is much greater than the need to stay “comfortable” with my daily routine and veg out rather than workout.  So, with that, I embark on a two month hiatus from the gym, until my life is a bit less busy and my baby is (please Lord!) sleeping through the night and on a more predictable schedule.  During this hiatus I hope to find some fun workouts that even my boys can join in with me and try some new things (like Zumba!).

After all… I have 9.3 weeks before my “10 weeks to get my body back (on track)” challenge is over.  I need to mooooove it.

If you have suggestions for workouts, I would LOVE to hear about them!