Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: I'm Pooped

What a year! Wow, what a year. 365 days ago I was packing my metaphorical suitcase and dreaming of 2011, my best year ever. It's so nice to reflect back and realize that every single thing I wanted to accomplish in 2011 got done: I ran another half marathon, earned my Wellness Coach and PT certifications, quit my job, started my coaching business, had a baby, published my wellness calendar, and got full-hog back into running and strength training after giving birth. My business is chugging, my children are healthy and happy, and my husband gets cuter by the day. If I didn't know any better, I would hate me.

And now 2012 is sitting patiently waiting for me to state my intentions. Well, it will have to get comfortable because my big goal for 2012 is to slow down. 2011 was a roller coaster and frankly, I'm worn out. 2011 was the year of achievement, and 2012 will be the year of being choosy. Here are my goals:

1. Return to my 2009 level of fitness (which was before I started trying to get pregnant, had a miscarriage, and subsequently got pregnant, all of which put my fitness on the back burner).

2. Be a mommy first, business maven second. My sweet little man will only be a baby for a short while longer, and this year belongs to my boys. 

3. Get a new rug for the play room in my house. The one I have now is old and yucky and I hate it.

There you have it! 2012, I hope you are ready for me because I am ready for...zzzzzzzzz

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Healthy Stocking Stuffers (and what I want Santa to bring me)

$29.95 at
I drink about a gallon of water a day, and I love to add lemon, cucumber, mint, and ginger to it. You might know that recipe as Sassy Water from the Flat-Abs Diet. It really does wonders for bloating and water weight, plus it tastes really good! But, I get sick of steeping everything in cheesecloth so I only make it about once a week. 

Then this week, I stumbled across this awesome fruit-infusion pitcher!  I rarely buy anything for myself but I might have to cave on this little dandy. So, you know, if you haven't bought anything for me yet.... :)

Which brings me to the ultimate of last-minute shopping tasks: stocking stuffers, AKA stuff you get in the checkout lane because it's only a dollar and who doesn't love Santa-shaped Pez dispensers? Unless you're like my dad, who just saves up all of the post-it notes, lint removers, teeny tiny flashlights, and coin holders he picks up at random trade shows throughout the year, you might want to check out these healthy stocking stuffer ideas (and dad, if you're reading this, I do need some post-its).

Lemons. Yes I got fruit in my stocking as a kid and yes I thought it was lame. But now I know the incredible healing power of fruit so I would actually be excited about this. And hey, they're great for the fruit infusion pitcher!

Pedometer. If someone on your list is resolving to be more active in 2012, this just might shame them into actually doing it. I have this one from Omron and it's pretty cool (translation: easy for tech dummies like me to figure out).

Groove by
Water Bottle. I love a good water bottle and have the kitchen cabinet to prove it.  There are all sorts of fancy water bottles out there that measure how much you've consumed, claim to be green, or have brand names slapped on them, and that's cool too. This one helps you feel good about yourself when you buy it, but mostly, it just needs to hold water and be nearby.

Daily Inspiration to stay healthy. And, what do you know, I just happened to have finished the Healthiest Year Ever 2012 Wall Calendar. How convenient!

That's it. I mean, seriously, how much can you cram in a stocking anyway? I hope you're having a wonderful holiday and keeping it healthy. If you need help, check out my Healthy Holiday Headquarters for tips and tricks. And as always, get out there and get healthy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Let me tell you 'bout my bessst friend...

This is my water bottle. Or, during the holidays, my best friend. It goes everywhere with me. It's quite banged up, scratched, dented, and generally covered in battle scars because, well, we've been through a lot together. Pancake breakfasts, cookie exchanges, office parties, bar-b-ques, and yep even a few cocktail parties (I'm not afraid to be tacky in the name of health). We're so close and such good pals that I've come to rely on it through thick and thin to keep me from getting too thick and help me get (and stay) thin.

Would you like some hot chocolate with whipped cream and a shot of irish? Water to the rescue!

A plate full of cookies? No, I can't eat and hold a plate AND my water bottle at the same time!

Just a few bites of these delicious {insert food here} that so-and-so only makes for Christmas so you better eat a whole bunch right now? Nah, maybe next year. I've got my water.

Okay I know water isn't much of a match for hot chocolate and cookies, but I can guarantee that getting the car afterwards feeling fresh, healthy, vibrant, and filled with the goodwill of time spent with friends (and not stuffing your face) is. Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels. Nothing. I promise you 150%.

As a recovering candyholic, this is a rough time of year for me. Sometimes those #$*%ing little Hershey kisses still call to me, paying me compliments and making all sorts of promises I know they won't keep. But I've been fit and I've been fat. Fit is better, and if something as simple as keeping my water bottle nearby helps me remember that, then hand me a roll of velcro and strap that sucker to my hand!

When you encounter holiday parties over the next couple weeks, tote along a friend. A visual (and physical) reminder can go a long way towards making sure that you remember how you want to feel in January.

Now get out there and get healthy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Tomato Condo

Yesterday I was doing my food prep for the week (baking a turkey breast, peeling and chopping fruit, making my little egg white scrambles, etc.) and I had a clever little idea. My egg carton was just sitting there, sad and lonely since I had just used all of the eggs in my scrambles, and as I washed my tomatoes (I love plum tomatoes and eat one just about every day in a salad) I plunked them down in the little egg spots. And I thought, "well isn't that the cutest little tomato condo you ever did see."

I'm pretty proud. :) Get out there and get healthy today!  Hope you have a wonderful Monday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm One Mean Mom (Childhood Obesity and How to Deal)

You may have seen this story recently about a 5 year old child who was taken away from her parents due to her weight. It broke my heart; while this story originates from the UK, childhood obesity is a huge problem here in the states as well. Kids tip the scales more than ever before, and there are several factors that receive the blame: too much screen time, a busy drive-through lifestyle, and parents who are overcome with guilt and overcompensate by using food as rewards. It's scary and sad and it's not an easy problem to solve.

But should children be taken away from their parents because they are overweight? Often, parents of overweight children are overweight themselves, so in my non-clinical opinion, it seems that the problem is likely lack of awareness, knowledge, or access to resources that would help them live a healthier life. In my Pollyanna perspective, I'd like to think that if these parents knew how to be a healthier example and set boundaries with their kids regarding food and activity, the problem would go away.  

What are the solutions? Well, the first step is determining whether your child has a weight problem and what to do if he does. You can read about that here. I believe the next step is modeling and rewarding healthy behaviors. 

Of course, this comes from a mom who is currently battling a child who has wanted to eat candy 24/7 since Halloween. I'm having to remind myself several times a day that I am the grown-up and I set the boundaries of what we eat. It's a slippery slope, and a crowded one. Telling my child no makes me feel bad and mean, but letting him eat candy also feels bad and mean. What's a mom to do?

Here's what I'm doing: I'm embracing my bad and mean side. We're getting outside and walking more, I'm gritting my teeth and standing my ground when he looks at me with those puppy dog eyes, and I'm pulling in the reins. Sweets and desserts have their place, but not every day and not candy!  

And when that all fails, there's always time out. For me. :)

Get out there and get healthy. And hey, bring the kids while you're at it!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Healthiest Year Ever 2012 Calendar is HERE!

I am so excited! My very first Healthiest Year Ever 2012 Wall Calendar is here and ready to be stuffed into a stocking near you. I would roll it up before stuffing it in though, since, you know, it's a calendar.

This was so much fun to make and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my ever patient husband, who had no idea that he was sacrificing every evening since the birth of our son six weeks ago to making it a reality. He is so awesome. 

This calendar is not like other fitness calendars. You'll find plenty of success stories from people who reached awesome goals, but you'll also find the journeys of people who are still on the way. Fitness is a journey, not a destination. I wanted to create something that reflects the many pit-stops on the way to that one "OMG look what I did" goal. I hope you find it to be as inspirational as I do.

Uber thanks go to the lovely ladies who made it possible. Thank you to Erika, Charlotte, Edie, Paula, Tera, Tiffany, and Tracie-Ann. You are all amazing and I so appreciate you sharing your story with me.

But what are we waiting for?  GO BUY IT!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Product Review: Arbonne Nutritional Supplements

A while back I received a beautiful package in the mail from an equally beautiful Arbonne Independent Consultant, asking me for my opinion on the products Arbonne now offers as nutritional supplements.  She also stuffed the box with oodles of skin care products, which were soooo nice to use. Thank you, Cara! I really did feel beautiful and pampered by finally taking better care of my skin than just plain old soap, water, and cocoa butter. My face felt and showed the difference!

Once I was all lathered up in eye cream and conditioners, the real task at hand was to take a look at the supplements, do some research, and determine whether I felt like they were a good investment. Arbonne products are all-natural, made with organic ingredients, are 100% vegan, gluten free, and are created to meet U.S. Pharmacopoeia (USP) standards. This is important because it shows that the company is proactive in its effort to create a safe product. Since supplements are not regulated by the FDA, the U.S. Pharmacopoeia provides a level of standardization for supplements and should be on the label of any supplement you buy.

The Chocolate Protein Shake, Immunity Booster, Energy Fizz Tabs, Daily Power Pack for Women, Digestion Plus, Herbal Detox Tea, and Protein Powder were mine to sample.  However, because the labels specified that pregnant or nursing women should not take them, I didn't sample the protein powder or shake. The lists of ingredients on the labels were long, but didn't show anything alarming. After some research and learning that Arbonne has discontinued the use of parabens, a potentially harmful preservative, I feel confident that Arbonne products are safe to use.

The Immunity Booster and Energy Fizz Tabs were super yummy!  They do contain caffeine naturally occurring in Green Tea, so be sure that you're ready for that before you drink it. The ingredients are all natural and include the juices of fruits and berries that are high in antioxidants.

The Digestion Plus powder is mixed into water to provide, well, better digestion! The main ingredient here is Bacillus Coagulan, which according to my reading, may increase immune system functioning and decrease harmful bacteria, which would in fact aid in digestion.

In all, Arbonne products are natural and safe. As for whether they are effective, that is up to you to decide. Supplements can take a while to prove themselves, and not every supplement is necessary or safe for everyone. Consult your doctor before taking anything, and refer to this guide for buying supplements to enhance your already clean eating nutrition plan.

There are many products out there designed to help you get out there and get healthy!  If you choose to supplement your diet, Arbonne is a safe bet!

Please note that I am not a registered dietician or nutritionist. The information provided in this report is based on my own experience and research and not intended to be medical advice.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Change Your Life Salad is Back!

Woot! I actually remembered to weigh myself this morning and was delighted to see another two pounds gone. I'm still a ways off from fitting into my regular clothes, as was evidenced this morning when I attempted to find something to wear for a meeting, but I'll take it. I made it through Thanksgiving unscathed. I guess that one-mile jaunt at the Turkey Trot burned more calories than I thought. :)

A big part of losing baby weight is simply eating more veggies.  Specifically, eating spinach. Spinach is my own personal miracle food. I even have a Popeye t-shirt that I can't fit into anymore. :) Every bit of muscle definition I have ever had (and will have) I can attribute to spinach. So, that means that my Change Your Life Salad is back! I didn't eat much of it when I was pregnant because veggies seriously grossed me out, but now that my taste buds (and gag reflex) are a little more reasonable it is back in full force.

It's the easiest and yummiest salad to make:

2 or 3 bunches of raw spinach
1 bunch romaine 
3 ounces of baked chicken or turkey 
4 or 5 strawberries
About 15 grams of feta cheese

No dressing needed! It is that good. Sometimes I do add a little Annie's Natural Papaya Poppy Seed dressing through. I eat it almost every day for lunch and it is sooo good.

I'm getting out there and getting healthy in the name of wearing my old jeans by New Years. What's your motivation to get out there and get healthy?

Monday, November 28, 2011

No gym, no problem! (At-home workout fun.)

I'm one week out from being able to hit the weights again, thank God. I honestly think the six weeks I am spending away from the gym are harder than the 10 months I spent pregnant. Yes, pregnancy is 10 months, my friends. 40 weeks does not equal 9 months, even a History major like me can figure that one out! :)

But anyway, I put my gym membership and trainer on sabbatical to save money while I am home with my baby, and also because for some reason my sweet precious little angel hasn't yet bought into the concept of arranging his sleep around my schedule. So, no 5:00 am workouts for me unless I plan to do them at home.

Good thing that's exactly what I plan to do! Today, I wandered into my home gym to do a little inventory. Now, when I say, "home gym," I mean a random collection of stuff my husband and I have accumulated over 14 years of marriage. Honestly, I'm pretty proud that there aren't more gadgets in here. Although, I think there is an ab wheel thing in a closet somewhere and more ankle weights than I care to admit.

We have a pull-up thingy, some free weights, boxing stuff, a weight bench, yoga mat, exercise ball, and apparently, a rebel fleet trooper helmet left over from when my husband went to Dragon*Con. I also have an elliptical machine but its not in the picture because it's across the room, next to the bar, because everyone likes to stare at half-empty bottles of Kahlua when they're working out and think of the cocktails they can't drink because they're trying to lose their baby belly. :)

Anyway, it's all cool because I don't need half of that stuff. My bye-bye belly workout will consist of, duh, running and a lot of body-weight exercises like burpees, plyometrics, and fun stuff like jumping rope and maybe trying a few rounds on my hubby's boxing stuff. You can read about how to create your own body-weight workout here. 

So. Gym inventory done. Now I just need time to actually workout. :)  No worries, you know I can always find a way. That's what baby monitors are for, right?

Have a healthy day: get out there and get healthy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey Talk: How to not gobble your way through Thanksgiving

Wow, Thanksgiving already? This year has been a blink of an eye. This time last year I was prepping for the Turkey Trot 15k, and now I have two kids, one of which just woke up and the other which wants a snack so this is gonna be quick.

With the radical changes going on in my life right now, stress eating would be a very easy trap to fall into, especially around the holidays! I can't workout yet, I'm surrounded by temptations at every turn, and dang it if I don't love stuffing. But I'm riding the wave of a 2-pound loss this week so there is no way I am caving to that kind of pressure.

But tomorrow, I won't be worrying that much about what I eat. Instead, I'll be focusing on three Ws: 


Check out how to avoid the gobble gobble tomorrow and any day.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am truly thankful for all of my readers, followers, and fans. You help make my illusions of grandeur possible, and I appreciate every little bit I can get! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bye-Bye Belly Update: I'm going back! (Photos don't lie)

I cannot waaaaaaait to be back at the gym. 


The lack of endorphins in my life is not good. Not good at all.  Where last week I was worried that my fuzzy memories of being in a much fitter body were a signal that I had lost some of my mojo, now I realize that was baloney. *smack* Of course I will get back into shape. I have to, because my husband will likely leave me if I keep on with this mopey attitude I've been shoving around lately. :)

It also helps that today I found this:

and this:

and this:

...while I was cleaning out some photos. Seeing pictures of myself in a fitter, stronger, unflabby and less dough-like body made me smile in a way that I haven't for a long time. For the past few weeks I've laid the groundwork with a leaner nutrition plan, and in just two weeks I'll be back to the weights.  For the record, I've still got 25 pounds and 10% body fat to lose. I've got boxes to jump, hurdles to clear, sprints to run, weights to lift, and protein to eat. For the first time since my baby was born, I feel like I can actually do those things again. 

Oooh I can't wait. I'm getting out there and getting healthy, and I CAN'T WAIT!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Can't workout? Imagine you can!

I'm still a few weeks away from being able to really workout. And let's be honest, after three months of pretty much nothing, my first stab at retro-fitting myself isn't likely to be really working out. But hey, I'll take it.

One thing has creeped into my mind lately and it's a little freaky: just how normal not exercising has become. Just as we get accustomed to any change, like sleeping through the night or getting to eat at regular intervals or remembering to look in the mirror before leaving the house (all of which have made swift exits from my life in the past month); I've become accustomed to not exercising. Scary. I hate it. I really really don't like it one stinking bit.

I used to ache for the gym, and now it's a distant memory. Muscle soreness?  Please. My eyelids and boobs are the only thing getting a workout these days. It's all for a good cause (cause my baby is WAY cute and super sweet) but still, I don't like how not working out has become my new normal.

Visualization helps. By imagining myself working out, remembering myself in a fitter body, and visualizing what I will do and how I will feel when I am able to be more active, I can remind my brain that this is not the new normal, that I will get back to the old normal, and that it better not forget it for one single second.

I've been unhealthy and I've been healthy. Healthy is better. Here's how I am on the way to getting back there!

Now come on, enough babbling. Get out there and get healthy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bye-Bye Belly Update (and healthy food swaps)

Day seven of my Bye-Bye Belly plan is good news!  Down 3.5 lbs to 151.5. Now, of course I didn't actually lose 3.5 pounds in a week. That would mean a calorie deficit of 12,250 calories! Um, no, I've been sitting on the couch watching HGTV and feeding my baby every day. So I'm chalking it up to water weight, which means that soon my weight loss will revert back to it's usual habits, which generally net me about 2 ounces lost each month.

Insert good-natured eye-roll here

But, that doesn't mean I am not still making healthier swaps. My day has become a lot more colorful as I've been eating less grains and more veggies and fruit. Here's today's healthier food switcharoo: 

Bye-bye cereal for breakfast. It was fun, but I have a better bowl now.

Helloooo oatmeal! Those are cranberries, by the way. Not Craisins, not sugar-soaked dried cranberries, they're actual natural cranberries. You can get them in the frozen food section and when added with walnuts, oats, and cinnamon they are a power-packed antioxidant rich breakfast that's perfect before a walk in the beautiful fall weather. Read here about the health benefits of cranberries.

Just FYI, the cranberry sauce in the can does not have health benefits, no matter what my husband tells you.

Okay, back to baby feeding and couch-sitting. What are you doing to get out there and get healthy today?

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Secret of 100+ Weight Losers (and how to use them)

Since I've been home, watching TV, I've reconnected with the Today Show and the Joy Fit Club. If you're not a breastfeeding couch potato like me, Nutritionist Joy Bauer features people who have lost a ton of weight, usually 100 pounds or more, and shares their story on the show. You know what I've noticed about all of them?  Pretty much everyone who tells their story of losing so much weight have these things in common:

1. It took a long time, sometimes even up to two years, to lose the weight.
2. They had tried a ton of diets and gimmicks in the past, but...
3. They finally abandoned them in favor of, wait for it, better nutrition and exercise.

It's the time of year when commercials are going to start convincing you that the perfect body of your dreams is just one mini-brownie a day away. But please, take a note from these weight loss winners and skip the gimmicks. Set realistic expectations (one or two pounds a week, or a deficit of about 500-1000 calories a day through exercised and reduced portions), focus on nutrition (eat unprocessed foods and get most of them from veggies and lean protein), and get some exercise!  Seriously, that kind of success doesn't lie. Follow these tips to bring the promises of weight-loss programs into reality in a way that won't backfire on you later.

Get out there and get healthy - the right way!  And if you have a weight loss victory to share, tell Joy about it here!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nursing Mothers Burn More Calories? Plus body image info :)

New moms everywhere have always been comforted by the knowledge that nursing mothers burn more calories, which helps take off the weight gained during pregnancy. Well, now that I am in that category of people I've been wondering how true that really is.  So I did a little experiment: I put my GoWearFit armband on and for the past five days have compared my sedentary calorie burn to my burn on rest days before I was pregnant.  On average, I'm burning about 2,100 calories just sitting around on the couch watching daytime television.  On my rest days of Thursdays and Sundays this time last year, I burned about 2,000 calories a day. So, technically I am burning more but nowhere near the 500 calories I've read about! But hey, I'll take it. Calories are calories! 

A few of you have jumped on my 10-pounds-gone-by-New Years bandwagon and to you I say, "climb aboard!" I expect my weight loss will be mostly related to those whopping 100 extra calories I am burning each day, since I am not going to be lowering my calorie intake for a while or adding lots of exercise. Nope, I still have three weeks to go before I can start working out again, and since nursing my baby is priority one, I won't be dieting for a while either. But as I have said over and over, wellness is 80% nutrition, and so much can be done for greater health just based on what and how you eat. I've started making some healthier swaps already and eating more vegetables, which I couldn't stand when I was pregnant. I already feel so much better and have way more energy. Yay!

I was also smart enough to buy some non-maternity clothes in larger sizes before the baby was born, knowing that I would want to wear something normal but would instantly get depressed if I tried to squeeze into my old stuff.  And let me just say now that I would like to retroactively kick myself for all the times I thought I was fat because these days I am feeling amazing about my body and how much it has transformed in the past two weeks but it is still WAYYYYYY too big for my pre-pregnancy clothes. So yeah, a little perspective there. :)

Speaking of perspective and body image, the biggest thing I am doing for my wellness this week is channeling positive energy. Read here about the valuable impact that I healthy body image can make on your weight loss and how you can start creating one today. :)

It's a wonderful day to get out there and get healthy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bye-Bye Belly Day 1: Time to lose weight AGAIN

Okay. My GoWearFit is on my arm and I am ready to track, burn, and lose! I've got 25 pounds to lose and am starting today.

I tried to start yesterday but then I had a piece of leftover pizza and a fun-size Three Muskateers for lunch so I am calling today Day 1. :)

I'm no weight loss newbie. I've lost about 200 pounds over the course of my life (thanks to yo-yo dieting that never worked) and during the past few years have gone from baby flab to fitness fab, losing a total of 75 pounds and keeping them off through clean eating and lots of fun workouts. And now, after my second pregnancy, it's time to put the armor on again and battle those pounds.

My starting point: 155 pounds and according to my body fat scale that I had to dig out from its place of exile under my dresser, 32.5% body fat. Hey, lay off! I've been pregnant for ten months!  

My goal: 25 pounds and 10% body fat gone by April 30, 2012.  Totally doable.

My strategy: no more pizza and candy bars at lunch for starters! Eat clean, the way I have for years, and once I am recovered from my c-section, start walking and then running. I've already registered for two half marathons in the spring and have a 5k on the books for December!  Shameless plug: you can read about my pregnancy-to-half marathon training on Fridays at GetFitPod. 

I have a mini-goal to lose the first ten pounds by the end of the year. That's eight weeks, a little over a pound a week, about 700 calories shaved off each day. During the holidays. LOL To help me (and you, if you're game), there are a few things I can do each week to make the adjustments I'll need to stay healthy through the most wonderful time of the year.

Okay, enough babbling on.  I have to go figure out what these calories are going to look like today.  Are you in? Join me and make your own weight loss goal for the holidays. All it takes is you getting out there and getting healthy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hello baby, goodbye baby weight!

It's no secret that I've been obsessing on how to lose the baby weight since, oh, the day I found out I was pregnant. No, I'm not one of those girls who can embrace the weight gain and splurging on food while pregnant. I've been scheming and planning all along, and already registered for the Mardi Gras Half Marathon in March. Heck, I'm even blogging about it all at GetFitPod! So yeah, I'm ready at the gate to launch into post-baby fitness.

So that means it's almost time to put on my GoWearFit! You may remember my lusting over this handy little enabler, I mean health tool, a couple of years ago when I first bought it. I haven't been wearing it since I got pregnant and all freaked out about every little thing I did, but soon it will be back on my arm and giving me the data I need to get back into my running clothes.  The ones I didn't stretch out by all of that pregnant running, that is. :)

Gadgets and gizmos can be a huge help to losing weight, when they are paired with your own actions to change your behavior. Remember, real change requires real change, so no gadget, no matter how technical or slick, will do it for you. But, they can be a huge help. Check out these three tools for weight loss and health education, (and then share the article with someone you love!) and start thinking about how you can get out there and get healthy today!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New mom = bring on the coffee (plus 4 reasons to drink up)

Some people try to wean themselves off of coffee, I am trying to wean myself back ON! I love coffee, and while two cups a day is more than enough for me, it was definitely a morning ritual (and sometimes sanity-saver) before I got pregnant. But, once with child, coffee upset my stomach something fierce so I put it aside. Ten months later, I'm ready to give it another shot. So today, I brewed myself a little pot in my 4-cup percolator and tested the waters. So far, no jitters and I am already feeling the calming, soothing effects of caffeine addiction. I mean, health benefits. Yeah, health benefits! That's what I meant! :)

Coffee, as bad a rep as it gets, can actually be healthy for you. It's what we put in our coffee that makes it unhealthy. Stop at Starbucks for a sugar latte or add artificially flavored creamer and you'll not only get yourself on the fast-track to sugar cravings the rest of the day, you'll also rack up the calories faster than you can say, "venti frap no whip." My coffee is good old-fashioned cafe au lait. Just reduced fat milk and coffee, straight up.  Good for the soul, good for the mommying!

Check out these 4 great reasons to drink coffee and then keep it simple while you sip. Remember, it's a pretty safe bet no matter what the menu item that the more ingredients are listed, the more calories and sugar you're taking in. It's a great day for coffee! Now get out there and get healthy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Oh Holy Diet Plans...

One step into Target will confirm it: while the calendar may say October 31, Christmas is upon us. As a self-professed Christmas fanatic, I am partially filled with glee. As a tired and hype-weary parent, however, this kind of fills me with dread. Okay, not dread. Just overwhelming fatigue.

I love Christmas, but what I don't love is all the emphasis on FOOD! The commercials have already begun, reminding us of all the food we loved as a child and how much fun we will have eating it again. And then, faster than you can say Black Friday, the next commercial chastises us for gaining so much weight and tries to sell us a quick weight loss gimmick.

But are they really gimmicks? I'm not a fan at all of frozen packaged meals or unrealistic expectations for weight loss, but there are some valuable lessons to be learned from programs like Jenny Craig, Nutri-System, and Weight Watchers. I've known people who have had great success on these plans, and those who have just added it to a long list of failed attempts to manage their weight. The difference? The winners learned from the programs they chose, and the losers expected the plan to do the work for them.

You can learn the lessons and be a holiday weight loss winner, too. Check out these tips for holiday weight gain prevention and put them into action now! Why wait until January? Get out there and get healthy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

GetFitPod: A new adventure!

Whew! It's only been a week but it seems like a lifetime. Having a baby does that to you: makes time and space stand still while you try to get your bearings. Luckily, my bearings were close by and all of the people who told me that it's easier the second time around were right. I probably just jinxed my entire life by saying that! :)

Anyway, these days health and wellness are paramount in my mind, just on a different plane.  I'm starving all the time and have no clue how many calories I'm eating. My mom and friends are making meals for us, which I am devouring like I've just escaped from a refugee camp. I am not getting any exercise to speak of since I had a c-section, but I don't have the energy to do anything anyway. So far my biggest bout of activity was a trip to the grocery store yesterday, and I had to take a nap when I got home!

Priorities change after you have a baby. It happened last time, when I was adamant that I would immediately launch a weight loss campaign immediately after leaving the hospital and....didn't, and it happened this time, when I packed away my maternity clothes and filled my closet with stuff I thought I would be motivated to wear. Um, no. I'm still in my jammies.

But, a new adventure looms: I am so incredibly excited to be part of the launch of the new GetFitPod website. I've spoken of GetFitPod before, when I sang the praises of its former owner, Skip Orem. Now it's been turned over to Coach Jonathan Tilley, who asked me to be the site's first GFP Hero! I'll be blogging for the next six months on my journey from my current state (dough-like and slovenly) to the Rock-n-Roll Mardi Gras Half Marathon in March. In addition to my role in the site, it has a whole new look and lots of new extras. Check it out today and download a workout for yourself. I love this site, have used it for years, and am so so so excited to officially be part of it. Jonathan, thanks for asking me to join the fun and for giving me an extra motivation to get back into shape! My first entry publishes tomorrow so read it, fools!

Have a great day. I'm going to go take a nap. Or maybe have a snack. Maybe I'll just put a snack next to the bed so I can eat in my sleep. And hopefully later I can get out there and get healthy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Get it Started Workout

I am a little superstitious about my workouts on big, significant days. The first workout of the year has to be really awesome. My birthday better start off with a great one, too, because it kicks off my own personal New Year's Day! Any time I am embarking on something new, I want to launch it with a cleansing, therapeutic, and super-energizing workout. It's my thing. So, as today is the last day of my fit pregnancy, it was my "Get it Started" workout, maternity style. Meaning, heart rate low, energy high!

I could not have asked for more beautiful weather. High 50s, clear blue skies, really gorgeous. I only had time for about a two-mile walk, but it was enough to get out there and feel the energy of the day. Knowing that for the immediate future most of my runs will include a baby in a stroller, and thus no headphones, I set out for a walk with some really loud music.

My Get it Started playlist:

Duh, "Let's Get it Started," by the Black Eyed Peas 
Then, Smash Mouth: "Then the Morning Comes"
"Suddenly I See," by KT Tunstall 
"Walking on Sunshine," by, don't hate me, Aly & AJ
"Invincible," by Ok Go. Sooooo hard not to run when this song is on!
And no new chapter can begin without hearing R.E.M. and, "It's the End of the World As We Know It" 

.....and I feel fiiiine. 

Better than fine, actually. I feel awesome. When I got back home, I had gone through a roller coaster of emotions: sadness that this pregnancy is almost over, trepidation at the road ahead, excitement over finally seeing what this little munchkin is like, and laughter over just how much more amazing my journey is about to become. 

My Get it Started workout is in the books and now this new chapter can start! Do you have a new chapter starting in your life? Kick it off with a Get it Started workout to make sure it is positive, high-energy, and started in a healthy frame of mind. And then, you know the rest: get out there and get healthy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Like Mother, Like Baby

I've been cleaning out the desk drawers in my office as I prepare for my permanent maternity leave, and today I found a list I made back when I had my first son of similarities between mothers and babies in those first few weeks of getting to know each other. It seemed suitable that I would be reminded of those things just a couple of days out from having my second baby.

On the list of things mothers and babies had in common...

1. They're both on a liquid diet: Baby on milk and mom on coffee to stay awake!

2. Poop is a big deal. Sorry guys, but it's true. They won't let anyone go home from the hospital until everyone has pooped!

3. Both bodies are adjusting to new settings, but get different responses. While little toots and burps from one elicit adoring coos from the people around them, the same things coming from mom aren't quite as cute. :(

4. Both probably have poop somewhere on their body and don't realize it. And likely don't much care anymore.

5. They're both wearing their jammies most of the time.

I can tell from the list that I had intended to come up with five more ways that mothers and babies are alike, but must have fallen asleep. I was a new mother after all! But it's nice to know that even in that hazy and altered state I had the capacity to grab a pen and jot down something I thought might be funny later. It gives me hope for next week!

Since then, I've realized a few more ways that mothers and babies are alike. Both are facing a brave new world, both have unlimited potential, and both will come to rely on each other for sources of inspiration, challenge, and accountability. We can apply this kind of thinking to all sorts of goals, wellness and otherwise. Are you a newbie? Search within yourself today for something new - it can be as simple as trying a new speed on the treadmill or switching from flavored yogurt to plain - and approach it with the attitude of a newborn. Just so we're clear, that would be one that is open to learning about the world around them, not crying until someone gives you what you want. :)

To all of the ladies having babies this month, of which I know at least three, look for ways you and your baby are alike (beyond poop) and look at wellness through new eyes.

And then, get out there and get healthy! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pregnancy Fitness: The Extras

Wow, one more week and I will not be pregnant anymore. It's hard to imagine because I've been pregnant pretty much all year, so everything that's happened this year has had the background music of "something extra." Either extra worry, extra excitement, extra caution, or any of the other little things that pop up in my head and remind me that my actions don't just affect me right now. But after five short, busy days, that little extra will be defined in new ways.  Much cuter ones!

I've been very "extra" this time around. For one, I've been extra healthy. It has been such a great experience to keep exercising and focused on nutrition because I didn't do that last time and really regretted it. I ran for 30 weeks, worked out for 38, and have consistently eaten clean throughout, albeit with more chocolate chip cookies and gelato than I would normally eat! But, relaxing the rules has been easy, which took me by surprise.

Moderation is not usually my friend. I love being strict, regimented, and "perfect" with my nutrition. It's like a personal challenge every day and I enjoy shooting for "healthier than yesterday." In the wrong hands that kind of thinking can be dangerous, but ending the day feeling like I really nailed my nutrition is really satisfying for me. So when I try to use moderation, I get cranky and annoyed because it just feels opposite from my instincts. But being pregnant has changed that. I think because I knew pregnancy was a temporary state, it's been easier for me to divert from my usually very straight path and wander around a little. I've been extra laid back, which is not the norm for me. So not the norm for me. So very very very much different for me. But it's been kinda fun and I've only felt about 65% bad about the cookies. :)

In a week, my path will straighten again, and I'll go back to Usual Heather. I'm looking forward to the reunion. Vacation eating has been fun at times, but I've been craving my old ways: extreme workouts, super-power nutrition, and everything that comes along with it. Yeah, I'm talking about my body. I want my strong, kinda-chiseled, single-digit body back. Call me shallow but it's true. I don't always like being extra.

Each pregnancy is unique and should be celebrated for the experience that it is. This has been a great one! I'm very excited to meet this new little man and be his mom! But I'm also excited to reunite with myself.

Oh, there's one other little extra that I've found this time around: extra bravery. I quit my day job and decided to go full-hog into wellness coaching and personal training. :) :) :) It's a risk, but one that feels right. I've got lots of fun projects in store that I can't wait to share with you, and I am so so so excited to find out where this path goes. It likely won't be straight, but I feel very much pulled along it and so far the universe seems to agree. I hope you'll travel with me! And buy stuff from me! :)

Okay, I'm just rambling now. A new chapter looms and I'm peeking ahead at the pages. I'm sure there is mystery, intrigue, adventure, and comedy in store, all read in the context of a greater collection of stories, one of which being the last nine months and where they have led me. So fuel up, stretch out, and get ready for a new adventure!

I'm sick of eating cookies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Not Buying It: Messages to Junk Food Marketers

Super thanks to my friend Kim for sending me the link to the Prevention Institute's "Not Buying It" petition to protest the marketing of junk food to kids. We all know that marketers will say whatever they need to say to sell their message. I know it because I've worked as marketer for years and I know how many hours I've spent trying to come up with the catchy message that is going to convince my audience to buy what I've got. There are good causes and bad, and marketers who work for all of them. It's our job as parents and adults to figure out which ones are telling us the truth.

We can all remember sitting in front of the television on Saturday mornings watching commercials for toys, ThunderCats, and nutritious breakfast cereal!

What we likely don't remember is how fast our brains were aborbing those messages about the role of food in our lives. I know I personally considered myself to be abused and neglected by my mean, uncaring mother because she never bought Lucky Charms or Froot Loops, instead forcing my sister and me to to eat Cheerios or Rice Chex. Of course, I later went on to eat a dinner of Cocoa Puffs for an entire semester in college just out of spite.  I'm pretty sure I was not the winner of that little battle.

Anyway, marketing junk food to kids is nothing new, it's just become a bigger problem. Our rapidly rising obesity rate alone makes the issue more urgent, and the huge increase in marketing channels makes monitoring the different ways that kids are advertised to an overwhelming task for parents. Junk food companies sponsor school programs, pose as non-profit organizations, and develop video games based on the characters that they created to market their product. And, they make their packages very, very tricky to decipher.

Luckily, there are more and more resources out there to help. The Prevention Institute's website offers tips, tools, and information for parents who want to make their Saturday mornings (and the other ones too) healthier for their families. Check out their informative online publications, and study up on the opposition: the companies that have your kid in their marketing crossfire.

Companies have every right to market their products, but we also have the right to reject them. The Prevention Institute wants the government to have stricter regulations on what companies can do and say to send their messages. I've signed the petition and support their cause, but it doesn't look that that will happen anytime soon, so I encourage you not to wait. Start making change happen now by NOT BUYING IT.

Get out there and get healthy by getting SMART about food and what those colorful boxes placed at kid-eye level are really saying!