Diary of an Almost FitMom #3

what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting

Have you every wondered why the first trimester of pregnancy is so taboo? Not only is it bad form to announce that you’re pregnant, but your OBGYN typically won’t see you until you’re at least 8 or 9 weeks along.  I remember thinking….um hello?? I’m a first-time preggo chick here, how do you know that I’m not out clubbing all night or eating tuna out of a rusty can??  Neither of which I was doing, of course, but I couldn’t believe I only saw my doctor once during my entire first trimester. Looking back, I wish I had known the following tips to better prepare myself for the first 3 months of pregnancy.

 

  1. Take it one day at a time.*  What you feel today is not going to be what you feel tomorrow, whether that is good news or bad.  This is true for your taste buds as well.  That gallon container of potato salad you drove ten miles out of the way for is going in the trash tomorrow, barely touched, because tomorrow, it will be the most disgusting thing you could image eating.

*Note: This is true for pretty much the rest of your life as a mom so remember: One. Day. At. A Time!

 

  1. Do not Shop Til You Drop! Don’t buy maternity clothes, seriously.  You have no idea what you’re going to gain (50lbs, people!) by the end of this so don’t run out and buy the cutest preggo clothes and rip the tags off because chances are they will be either too big, too small, or too restrictive in the wrong places.  And if you’re rounding the last trimester during the dead of a Texas summer like I was, you can save your money and plan on being naked for most of the final 12 weeks.

 

  1. Business as usual. I know, you just found out you’re expecting and you immediately feel the need to cancel your nail appointment (the fumes may hurt the baby), your yoga membership (heat and deep stretching is bad for the baby), or you may decide it’s time to start that 6 week intensive Skull Crushers BootCamp you’ve been eyeing on Groupon (can’t gain baby weight just yet!).  Not trying to make light of being a responsible baby cooker, but I think it’s safe to say that life can remain relatively consistent until you’ve had your first appointment. I mean, what about those chicks on “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant!”??

 

  1. Shut it Down! Put down the book, close the app, and shut off your computer. Now is not the time to read up on every horrific pregnancy complication, birthing disaster, rare genetic diseases etc.  Trust me when I say you’ll sleep with one eye on Google once the baby is here.  Don’t earn your Google PhD just yet. It will do nothing but add unnecessary worry and stress to your day.  Shut it down, kick up your feet while you still can lift them higher than 6 inches, and refer to #1.

How To Rock Your Greasy Hair

“Do I have to wash my hair today?” – A question I often ask myself.

To the women who wash their hair daily and never think twice about it this post is probably not for you. For the women who test the limits of how long they can rock their greasy hair, this post is definitely for you! Neither way is right nor wrong. In fact, through my research I have found conflicting views. Some say that washing your hair too often leaves your hair dry and brittle, and that grease is your body’s natural conditioner. Others say that if you don’t wash your hair everyday your scalp builds up bacteria. Who knows… I personally don’t wash my hair everyday because I color my hair and it is a fact that washing your hair often washes out your color faster (especially for a redhead). So for those who workout regularly and don’t want to wash their hair daily here is my guide for HOW TO ROCK YOUR GREASY HAIR:

1: TOP BUN

Top Bun

Top Bun

 

2: LOW BUN

Low Bun

Low Bun

3: SLICK-BACK PONYTAIL

Slick Back Pony

Slick Back Pony

 

4: BRAID

BRAID

BRAID

 

5: HAT

Hat Hair

Hat Hair

How A Fit Girl Faces Surgery: Week 2

breakfast smoothie made of nutrient-dense produce (spinach and blueberries), a healthy fat (avocado), protein, fiber and omega 3’s (ground hemp and flax seeds) and a natural immunity boost (a touch of local honey).

breakfast smoothie made of nutrient-dense produce (spinach and blueberries), a healthy fat (avocado), protein, fiber and omega 3’s (ground hemp and flax seeds) and a natural immunity boost (a touch of local honey).

 

Over a series of posts, I’ll be walking through the healthy steps I took to prepare my body for the trauma that is surgery, highlighting the steps I took to shorten the healing process, prevent muscle loss and weight gain, keep my digestive system functioning and maintain high levels of energy and immunity. Last week I focused on my exercise routine. This week takes a closer look at what I ate.

I curated a diet of simple, easily digestible foods, eating similar foods at the same times from day to day to keep my body in sync. I removed potential gut agitators, primarily gluten and dairy. Though I’m an O-blood type and need red meat, I cut it out of my diet this week. Red meat stays in the system for quite awhile before it’s fully digested.

Monday and Tuesday my food focus was easily digestible, high protein foods and fresh produce that would work together to build my immune system and sustain my energy levels.

Breakfast: sautéed oatmeal. This is my go-to when I’m looking for a hearty, protein and fiber-dense breakfast that can be prepared in under ten minutes. It’s gluten and dairy-free, naturally sweetened with banana, and keeps me full for hours. Watch for the recipe in an upcoming post!

Lunch: roasted root veggies (beets, carrots and sweet potatoes) on a bed of arugula tossed lightly in oil and lemon, served with roasted salmon

Salad spotlight: Specific reasons I chose these foods pre-surgery

  • Beets increase blood flow and carrots are highly anti-inflammatory, both touting cardiovascular benefits preventing the formation of clots during the immobility in recovery
  • Sweet potatoes are high in immunity-boosting Vitamins A, C and E, as well as digestion-friendly fiber and anti-inflammatory antioxidants
  • Although greens are typically more difficult to digest, arugula is high in magnesium and vitamin C, which work together to destress the digestive system
  • Salmon is not only among the most digestible protein sources, but new studies show it actually works as an anti-inflammatory in the intestinal tract. (A win-win for a fit girl fearing for her tummy once anesthesia and Vicodin make their way onto the scene) 

Dinner: pulled chicken breast, baked sweet potato topped with coconut oil (a major digestive aid), and a baby watermelon (it wasn’t intentional, but I ate the whole thing!)

I snacked on apples, mangos and dates throughout the week and consumed a ton of water.

On Wednesday I switched to a liquid diet to ease up on my GI tract even more. Before breaking out the juice, I started the day with a breakfast smoothie made of nutrient-dense produce (spinach and blueberries), a healthy fat (avocado), protein, fiber and omega 3’s (ground hemp and flax seeds) and a natural immunity boost (a touch of local honey). I then eased into juices the remainder of the day and began fasting at midnight in preparation for my operation in the morning.

What to watch for next week: How a Fit Girl Recovers  

Diary of an Almost FitMom #2

IMG_0844

“I think I’m pregnant??” I said with uncertainty. That was the grand reveal to my husband in late January 2013.  To truly understand why there was so much confusion, I have to back up a bit and share a little about my life pre-pregnancy. Up until the year before getting pregnant, I didn’t want kids. In fact, I went so far as to outwardly tell people that I didn’t want children and secretly revel in the horror that came across their faces.  I found some bizarre pleasure in going against societies grains.

 

So imagine my disbelief, anger, and embarrassment when after deciding to start a family and a year of actively trying (is there anything more romantic than scheduled sex??), finding out that I was the reason we weren’t getting pregnant. When I got the call from my doctor, two things entered my mind.  First: I had literally been wasting hundreds of dollars on birth control and Second: I got what I deserved.

 

I was lucky that my situation was not nearly as complicated as some of my friends’ that have undergone countless rounds of IVF, some successful, others still trying. We were starting with hormone pills that would force my body to ovulate and cross our fingers that it was coming from my one open tube.

 

We had just finished our first cycle and I eagerly waited for the day I could take my first pregnancy test….it was negative. I tried again the next day, negative. After three days of tests, I was certain it didn’t work and that we would have to wait until next month.  On the fourth day, I decided to give it one last go and within minutes, saw that the second line just wasn’t there.

 

I honestly can’t tell you why I picked the test stick up from the trash, but an hour later there is sat in my hand, (and yes I washed my hands afterwards!) and the faintest second line had appeared. “I think I’m pregnant??” I was uncertain, but hopeful. And with that, a new chapter had begun.

We’re Crazy For HardTail!

 

HardTail

HardTail

We love Hardtail not just because the leggings are unbelievably soft but because they are so great for every day wear. Pair them with your newest sandals, a fashion top, over-the-shoulder bag and throw on your sunglasses to go straight to brunch from your morning strength-training sesh. Even better – spritz a little dry shampoo in your hair, brush on some natural pressed powder to take away the shine and you’ll be good as new!

Summer Hair TLC: Natural Homemade Hair Mask

 

Coconut + Honey Hair Mask

Coconut Oil + Honey Hair Mask

 

With summer right around the corner, all of that extra pool time means more chlorine and drier hair. Not to mention the regular wear and tear of highlights, styling with our hot tools and harshly brushing out those tangles. Get rid of frizziness and split ends with a little TLC for your hair and end up with soft and shiny locks… the natural way.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1-2 tbsp of Coconut Oil (or more depending on the length and thickness of your hair)
1-2 tbsp of Honey (also depending on your hair)
Shower Cap (optional)
THAT’S IT!
DIRECTIONS:
(1) Start by mixing the room-temperature ingredients together in a bowl (the longer you mix, the warmer the ingredients will get, allowing them to combine more easily).
(2) Next, separate your hair into sections and apply the mixture as evenly as possible to dry hair from scalp to tip.
(3) Last, either tie up your hair with a pony tail holder or tuck away in the shower cap and leave on for a minimum of 30 minutes (longer for more nourishment and softer hair).
TO WASH OUT: We recommend lathering with shampoo BEFORE getting your hair wet (as oil and water tend to create separation and can make getting the mixture out of your hair more difficult). Finish with conditioner, towel dry and style as usual.
*Note: a little bit of oil may remain on the hair. While this is good for the hair and scalp, it may impact the desired look and leave an oily texture. To avoid this, you may need to shampoo twice or just apply from the midsection of hair to the ends. Otherwise, leave the oily texture for added nourishment and wear your hair up until you shower again the next day.  

Diary of an Almost FitMom

Pilates Mommy

Pilates Mommy

As a new mom, I am constantly being inundated with lists of tricks and secrets, ads for the latest gadgets that swear to make your child sleep 20 hours, and words from experienced moms that tug at your heartstrings. I have poured over Google and Facebook Mommy Groups at 3am in hopes to find the PERFECT answer for every ailment and phase of development.  The cliché’s of “sleep when the baby sleeps” or similar action items of its kind are ever circulating my Facebook feeds.  So if all of the obligatory mommy blogs have been written and shared, why are my words any different?  Well, to be honest they’re probably not.  But, my perspective might be somewhat unique.

 

I work in the fitness industry, Pilates to be specific, which means that I experienced pregnancy while all the fit people around me were becoming smaller, tighter, toner, and tauter.  What was worse was that I was THAT girl, that girl that swore I wouldn’t gain more than the weight of my actual baby.  That I would be the ever so cute 9mos preggo girl holding the perfect lunge on the reformer that unless you were standing to my left, you’d never know I was pregnant. That no matter what, I’d be rocking my pre-preggo lululeggings into labor and delivery….yeah, it didn’t quite turn out that way….

 

Over the series of my posts, you’ll read about my journey through gaining 50lbs of baby weight (of which 7.3lbs being an actual baby) to navigating my first year as a new mom and my struggle to maintain an Almost fit life.

 

Stay tuned….

Healthy Breakfast Bars

Healthy Breakfast Bars

Healthy Breakfast Bars

Healthy Breakfast Bars/Cookies

2 mashed browning bananas
1/4 cup unsweetened, organic applesauce
1/2 cup nut butter of your choice
1.5 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp agave
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

We added flax seeds, hemp seeds and goji berries but you can throw in any number of ingredients! Try chocolate chips, walnuts, dried cranberries, fresh blueberries or chia seeds to change it up.

Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix vanilla, oil, applesauce, agave, bananas and nut butter together separately. Combine all. It should be thick, but you can add a little more applesauce if it’s too difficult to stir.

Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown (longer for thicker, larger breakfast bars or cookies). We made them round but you can shape them however you like!

And go ahead, eat a few of them. They’re the healthiest cookie out there and are heavy enough to get your through the morning (even with a light workout). Enjoy!

How A Fit Girl Faces Surgery: Week

Not Quite A Reformer!

Not Quite A Reformer!

Over a series of posts, I’ll be walking through the healthy steps I took to prepare my body for the trauma that is surgery, highlighting the steps I took to shorten the healing process, prevent muscle loss and weight gain, keep my digestive system functioning and maintain high levels of energy and immunity.

Sunday Start-Day

The week begins. Sundays are always an opportunity for a clean “reboot,” but prepping for surgery later in the week, this Sunday’s reboot was even more important. Priorities for the week include starting to simplify the load I put on my digestive system by eating easily digestible, anti-inflammatory foods, increasing my water intake, getting a solid sweat session in at Bodybar every day leading up to my operation, carving out time for more sleep than usual to keep my immune system and energy levels high, strategically integrating applicable wellness therapies into my week on the proper days and taking time to relax.

My workouts

The effectiveness of a Bodybar routine pre-surgery: the short twitch muscle fibers, which lengthen and tear during a reformer class, burn mega calories as my body works to repair them while I eat and sleep in the days to follow. Translated: this means I’m burning calories from my Tuesday workout as I lie in recovery on Thursday. The catch: finding balance. I had to be careful not to overwork my body, as I didn’t want it fatigued going into the trauma of surgery.

My exercise schedule ended up looking like this:

  • Sunday: Kimberly’s 1:00 Reformer class; ended the day with a 40-minute walk on the Katy Trail
  • Monday: Michele’s 12:15 Express; Yoga Sculpt at 7:00 pm
  • Tuesday: my own Chair/Jump, sandwiched in a break in between teaching morning classes in Plano
  • Wednesday: a day I had to take a breath in and realize the world wasn’t going to end if I missed a workout; I tried my best to be active throughout the day instead, getting up frequently from my desk at work and jumping in frequently to demo during the four Bodybar classes I taught that evening

In an ideal world, I would have taken a few more Bodybar classes. I would have added the detoxification of a hot yoga session or two, and would have gone on a few more walks. However, the success of an exercise plan is really a reflection of how it can be integrated into life in the real world. It’s true for me, and I know it’s true for each of you.

Balanced. Athletic. Real.

Next up: What I ate. Look for it in next week’s #raisingthebar updates.

10 Tips For Getting A Better Night’s Sleep:

 

Get A Good Night's Sleep

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Workout or get intimate: people who are regularly active tend to sleep better at night and sex can lower stress, also making sleep a little easier.

 Get out of bed: do something boring (other than watching TV) and get back in bed when you start to feel tired again. Don’t associate your bedroom with frustration about your inability to sleep.

Avoid alcohol: this one can be confusing because the immediate effects of alcohol are often drowsiness. Nonetheless, alcohol can disrupt your REM cycle in addition to depriving your brain of oxygen. When your body has to work against the alcohol to push you into REM and to make sure you are getting enough oxygen, it is less able to fully relax. Thus, you end up more tired in the morning, despite feeling as if you slept well. 

Create a relaxing habit: the word habit is key here and sometimes plays a larger role than the activity itself. Whether you choose to repeat calming words, take a bath, read a book, or drink a cup of tea, these tasks (if done regularly) will help signal your brain it is time for bed.

Avoid light: this is another difficult one because we don’t feel any immediate, negative effect from light exposure before bed. Melatonin is a chemical in your brain that helps put you to sleep and lights actually make it more difficult for your body to produce melatonin. Having your phone, TV, or any bright and unnatural light in the bedroom before or during bedtime can keep your brain from following its natural circadian rhythm, interrupting your sleep cycle, without you even realizing it.

Try progressive muscle relaxation (flexing and releasing the muscles in your body until you sink softly into your bed, starting with your face and moving slowly to curling your toes).

Try diaphragmatic breathing (an example would be inhaling and exhaling through your nose making sure your belly rises higher than your chest)

Try an imagery exercise (rather than counting backward from 10, which may take some mental energy). Picture a beach in as much detail as possible – What does is smell like? Can you taste the salt water? Hear birds? Nothing but the waves? Is there a slight, cool breeze or just warm sun on your skin? –  Be specific and don’t rush the process. It’s time to take that much needed vacay!

Turn your thermostat down or adjust your bedtime attire. Socks can help regulate blood flow and body temperature, while cooler rooms can be easier to sleep in. In sum, get comfy and try not to associate non-sleep attire with the bedroom (no matter how comfy those new yoga pants are).

Reduce external noise: Use earplugs or a sound machine to remove/distract from any disruptive noise that may inhibit the peace and quiet of your sleep space.