May 042016
 

I recently read an article that I wanted to share with you guys. Here is the link: I Stopped Exercising For One Year: Here’s What Happened. I read the article and found myself nodding and saying “yes!” to a lot of stuff in the article. It was well-written and I think a lot of people can relate to it. I know I could.

When I first started losing weight I had to be super diligent–like almost obsessive. I was counting my calories and I had to be strict. I had over 100 pounds to lose and I felt weak–I didn’t think it would work or “stick” and so I was diligent about staying within my calorie range each day. That meant denying myself a lot of stuff.

During my exercise mania days, I ate “clean” most of the time, which means, I stripped every bit of fun out of the experience of eating. Every day I ate grilled whatchamadingle with a side of steamed doojawockey. I removed sugar, alcohol and complex carbs out of my diet, along with the will to live.

Yes yes and yes. I stopped drinking all alcohol for the year and a half it took to lose the weight. I just didn’t need the calories. I stopped drinking all of my calories, which was a smart move on my part. But did that mean I stopped doing fun things like going out with friends to happy hour? Yep, it sure did. I didn’t trust myself in the beginning to make good choices — with food or alcohol. In those early days of trying to lose weight I didn’t think I could have just one drink and I knew I wouldn’t be able to order a salad or something and skip the happy hour treats like deep fried foods and fatty treats. You know how it goes…having fun out with friends, have a cocktail, someone orders some fatty food for the table and you vow to have just one bite but then…things get away from you and suddenly you’ve completely tanked your calories for the day. So I just didn’t go out. It sucked.

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Eventually I felt more confident and trusted myself and I started going out again. I found that I could make better choices and I COULD limit myself to one drink and one happy hour treat instead of completely derailing my weight loss goals.

Once I reached my goal weight I was able to loosen the reigns a little bit. I didn’t stop doing what worked but I did allow myself to have treats here and there. Doing things in MODERATION worked so much better for me. Instead of the early days of weight loss where I was afraid of the slippery slope one treat or one drink could do to my diet, I enjoyed more things and enjoyed life. Instead of feeling restricted, I ate whatever I wanted in moderation and it worked for a really long time–years in fact.

After all, life is supposed to be fun–good food enjoyed with people you love.

Something that disappointed me about the article was that the author quit the gym and then proceeded to just eat junk food. As she said–the dam burst. She gained weight and gave in to all the junk. On some level I can understand that but I was hoping that she’d say she quit the gym and quit being obsessed with food and … somehow found a balance.

The article went on to talk about exercising a lot:

I lifted weights. I trained with kettle bells. I climbed a zillion steps to nowhere on the stairmaster. I yoga’d and spun and kick boxed. I set impractical and ludicrous fitness goals, like being able to do 20 unassisted pull ups.

There were other downsides to being an exercise devotee. Going to the gym was time-consuming. Aside from exercising, there’s also getting changed, traveling to and from the gym, showering afterwards – it took up hours of my day. I put more energy into my relationship with exercise than I did with a living human being.

Again, I could relate 100%. Like with food, I went through phases of being obsessed with it. In the early days I did overexercise. I didn’t take rest days like I should and that lead to burnout, overuse injuries and exhaustion. I learned my lesson and incorporated mandatory 2 rest days a week. I’m glad I learned that lesson early on in my “career” as a gym rat because it’s necessary. Rest days are good. For the mind and the body.

Even with rest days incorporated in my schedule, working out 5 days a week would take it’s toll once in awhile. It made it hard to do fun things after work because I “had to go to the gym.” It really limited my schedule. I wish it didn’t. It was frustrating how much effort it took. Like the author of the article said, it wasn’t just the workout, it was the travel time, changing clothes, showering afterward. For me that was about 90 minutes total of my day and that meant less time for other things.

Things that helped alleviate that in my life? When I used to run during my lunch hour at work. I loved that. It gave me so much freedom. I was able to break up the work day, get out of the office, burn off stress, get my workout done and out of the way and then I had my evenings free! To do STUFF! To have fun! See friends! Go on dates with Michael. The other thing that helped was biking to work. Again, that freed up my evenings immensely.

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Then the author said she woke up from the fog of not working out, eating junk and gaining weight and she DID find a balance that worked. Instead of hardcore everything, she found moderation.

I’ve had to reframe my whole idea of myself. My identity was wrapped around being very skinny, and I’ve had to give that up.

Now that I’m a mom I’m reevaluating my life. I think that’s why this article spoke to me so strongly. Priorities have changed in my life, obviously.

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When I was pregnant, that last month or two I started reducing my workout schedule. Instead of five days a week I went down to four. Then it was three. I was just tired, my body was starting to hurt, and I needed a break. I thought it would be a slippery slope for me–that I’d just stop exercising, that I’d fall off the horse–but I didn’t. I just took a little bit of time for myself. The world DID NOT END. It was ok.

Now that I’m easing back into the fit life postpartum, I’m thinking about the future and what I want it to look like. I know once I go back to work full time and Logan is in daycare, the last thing I’m going to want to do is drop him off at home every night and then go to the gym for an hour. I don’t want to miss these moments with my son. I don’t want to waste what tiny time I have in the evenings with Logan by leaving. I just don’t.

At the same time, I know I want to keep active, stay fit and healthy and have some ME time, too. So it’s about finding balance.

I’m already thinking about what the future might look like.

Biking to work after dropping him off at daycare once or twice a week will be a good option when the weather is nice. It means I can get my workout done and then have the whole evening at home with my family.

Running at lunch is something I’ve missed a lot! I would love to get back to that.

The gym at work is also an option. Is it ideal? No, but it’s something I can do during my lunch hour in a pinch, especially if the weather is crappy.

Working out on the weekends is still ok because Michael can be with Logan and honestly if we can find things to do together as a family that would be even better — like hiking as a family! That’s something I am really looking forward to.

Running with Logan once he’s old enough will be great.

The Warrior Room is another option, too, because they have childcare options if I need it. We also have kettlebells at home, so I can always do that if I can’t make it to the gym (or if there are childcare issues).

And maybe it’s ok to drop my schedule down to 3 or 4 days a week instead of going back to 5.

Basically what I’m saying is that my workout routine/schedule will look different in the future, but I think it is still doable. I don’t think I have to sacrifice me time, fitness and time with family as much as I thought. I just think it will take more planning and will definitely take ME to learn how to be more flexible and let somethings go if necessary. Maybe it’s doing quick sprints in the neighborhood instead of long runs on the weekend, for example.

Finding balance in life is hard, even without kids. You want to be able to enjoy the things you love to do (even if that includes sleeping in on a Saturday morning instead of getting up early for a run!) but still be fit, right? There’s GOT to be a way!

So what about you? Especially if you have small kids/babies, how did you find that balance and what worked for you? What did you think of this article?

 

Apr 182016
 

I stopped counting my calories when Logan was born. I had other priorities at the time and honestly I just needed a break. Plus, my schedule was all over the place. I wasn’t really eating meals, or preparing food for myself. I just ate whatever people put in front of me, gratefully! It was a nice break mentally. I focused on eating enough food to not feel starving all the time (which was hard–I think Logan would go through growth spurts because I’d have days where I just could not eat enough food to feel satisfied!).

But a little over three weeks later and it was time to get back into a routine. After the fog of the early days cleared and Michael went back to work, I was starting to feel more myself again and I could also see myself getting into some bad habits. I needed structure again. As much as I could get, anyways.

So I started counting my calories again. In some ways it was kind of a bummer to be back to doing it after a nice little break; but overall it was also comforting and familiar to be sort of “back to normal.”

I also talked to my midwife about doing some light exercise again. I didn’t really want to wait until my 6 week postpartum appointment because honestly at 3 weeks I was feeling a lot better. She said no swimming yet (which I kind of guessed) but said I could do some light, easy exercise like the elliptical, walking, and yoga. She said if I started having postpartum symptoms come back then I needed to take a break or back off. Fair enough! I was going to listen to my body and see how I felt.

I need to get rid of some of the bad habits I let slide back into my life. Drinking diet soda is one of them. I did really well and pretty much gave it up for my entire pregnancy. It wasn’t like I drank a ton before I got pregnant but I was starting to get into the bad habit of having one every day. And honestly diet soda doesn’t make me feel great and makes me crave sweets. I started drinking it again recently and found that I was back to drinking it every day, craving soda and also eating more junk food as a result. No more! Back to sparkling water.

Also, when I was pregnant I craved orange juice like mad. Like had I not reigned it in and controlled myself I could have drank an entire gallon in two days. Now? That craving for orange juice has diminished so I’ve stopped buying it. While I enjoyed drinking it, I don’t need the calories.

I’m trying to make better choices with my food, especially my snacks. Some days it’s hard, especially if Logan is fussy and I can’t put him down to fix something. I need quick and easy food that can be eaten one-handed. I’m trying to get back to focusing on fruit and protein for snacks instead of convenient stuff like protein bars and granola bars.

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I do pretty well with breakfast. Most days Michael helps out and makes me breakfast before he leaves for work. Days he can’t I have oatmeal or I try and make my own eggs. Some days when Logan is super fussy it’s plain Greek Yogurt with fruit gulped down!

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I intend on blogging my weight loss efforts in the future, but right now losing weight isn’t really on my mind. I have days where I feel really good about my body–even though I am 20 pounds over what I was a year ago–and then there are days where I just don’t feel like myself. I miss being active. I’m kind of going stir crazy in the house and would like to get off the couch. Some days it just isn’t happening (like the other day when Logan decided he was not going to nap at all and was fussy and cranky and nothing would soothe him but me cuddling him on the couch).

This won’t become a “mommy blog” per se, but this blog has always kind of been more about just my life and balancing fitness and eating healthy with indulging and living life like a normal person. My intent going forward is to blog about that–balancing life with a newborn, trying to find time to work out and to lose the baby weight– but that isn’t my priority right now. The first step for now is getting back to being accountable (counting my calories) and getting off the couch and back in the gym (when I can).

So I’m counting calories — CHECK!

Now the fitness part!

After the doctor gave me the green light to give it a try, I decided to go to the gym and try out the elliptical. I have to admit, it was kind of hard! After nearly a month off, I definitely felt out of shape. I was winded walking up the stairs (much like I was when I was pregnant), I was slow and had to keep the resistance down but I was able to do it and that felt great!!

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None of my clothes fit really well right now (I think I need to buy some new workout clothes–especially a new sports bra), but I got out there and did about 2.8 miles on the elliptical, around 35 minutes total and then called it good. I was starting to get tired and I suddenly felt REALLY HUNGRY. Like starving. So I headed home and called my first time back a success! (And then took a nap!)

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The next day was really gorgeous out! We planned on going for an urban “hike” in a park but shit went sideways and we never got to do that. 🙁 Everything kind of went wrong (including our garage door breaking) so instead I took Logan for a long walk around the neighborhood. It was something!

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We ended up walking a little bit further than planned but it felt nice to move and be outside in the sunshine and warm weather. Plus, our neighborhood is really hilly so that burned some calories.

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Since our family hike was kind of a bust, we decided to go to a nearby park for a picnic lunch to try and salvage the day. Michael got us a sandwich from Subway and then we took a little walk around the park. It sort of made up for the catastrophes of the morning!

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Sunday Michael went for a run while I fed the baby and then pumped and then I got to go to the gym for a quickie elliptical workout. It was MUCH easier this time around. I don’t know if I got my stamina back already or if having a decent night of sleep did the trick but it was a good workout.

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After that my cousin and a friend came over to make us brunch! It was so sweet of them! They brought all the ingredients and made us chilaquiles, which I’d never heard of before but might be my new favorite breakfast. It was absolutely delicious!

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And of course, mimosas. 😀 I’m not sure how many calories was in brunch, probably a lot, but it was worth it and I enjoyed every bite and it satisfied my insane hunger that I’ve been having lately.

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We sat outside on the deck in the glorious sunny, warm weather and enjoyed the light breeze while we ate brunch. It was kind of the perfect day. After they left Michael and I took Logan and Bella for a 1.55 mile walk in the sunshine. Then I was pretty much pooped for the rest of the day!

This coming week I plan I going to yoga again (looking forward to that!), another gym session and if weather permits, a few walks with the dog and baby!