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Our Corner

Hi friends, this week’s blog post will be brief because… I hear a plate crashing to the floor in the other room. Ok, so not in reality, (though it is certainly in the realm of possibility) but metaphorically speaking there’s more than one plate coming down over here. Perhaps some of you have become professional plate spinners, but I’m still an amateur. Truthfully, I am finding it hard to balance “all the things” that call for my attention. Often while I’m succeeding in one area, many others are falling apart. So this week, I might give myself an A+ on meal planning, food preparation, and healthy eating, but if you drop by for a visit I’ll have to warn you that the laundry situation is critical and your feet will probably stick to the kitchen floor. Oh, and watch out for the broccoli bombs the baby threw from his highchair. So what’s a wanna-be super Mom to do? Melt into tears and go rummaging through the cupboards for some chocolate that may have been spared from the cupboard cleanout? Been there done that. Honestly, a brisk fresh-air run is so much more effective at clearing my head. Heart pumping and head clear, I can then sit down and do what I’m sure all professional super heroes do… prioritize. It’s humbling to realize that I can’t keep ALL the plates spinning, but it is empowering to know that choices can be made that will help me succeed at balancing the “plates” I value the most. Relationships are my highest priority; my relationship with God, my husband, my family and friends. And though it is causing some imbalance in other areas, my once buried “fitness plate” is now spinning close to the top. Some may question how or why, but I know what it is doing for my health, energy, and emotional well-being, all of which affect the quality of those relationships that I value so much!! I know things will balance out with time and practice. So please excuse me while I put on my running shoes for some fresh air and fitness… I’ll be back shortly to sweep up those broken plates. ; )

Can I encourage you to consider how health and fitness can find a place on your priority list?

It’s hard to believe that we are half way through this 8 week Body Back Transformation session! I’m glad to say that overall, I am just as motivated as I was at the start. I see this session as a kick start to a life style that I want to continue, which is why I’ve really just begun!

At this halfway point, I thought It’d be fun to take a break from the personal updates, (which I’ll catch you up on next time) to share some fitness and food favorites!

Fitness favorites: * An early morning walk/run. Now that the morning temps are such that I can see my breath, these are less frequent, but still enjoyed. *Leggings. I would wear them every day if I could get away with it. They’re so comfortable and make me feel like at any point in the day I could take a few minutes and do some lunges. *Quiet meditative stretching sessions. This mostly happens right after I’ve gotten my kids settled for their own afternoon quiet times. There are the occasional less-than-meditative interruptions of course. (“I. went. PooOOOP!” Which is translated, “Please come help me wipe!”) *The rush of exercise induced endorphins, especially noticeable during high intensity interval training. Of course one must push through the ridiculous and sometimes overwhelming intensity before one reaches this kind of rush. You don’t want to talk to me during one of these training sessions. Laser focused. Beware if you need help in the bathroom during this time. *Ok, last but not least, body back classes! I really look forward to Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. Working out with a group of gals is a great way to ensure that you’ll push through to the end. Positive peer pressure at work!

Food favorites: *Apples of all kinds. Honey crisp are like dessert. *Almonds. *Almond Butter. *Anything Almond. *Salsa over eggs. *Lots of seasoning, especially Italian. *Having a veggie tray prepped at the beginning of the week for easy snacking.*Red lentil noodles. *Protein bars that make me feel like I’m eating a cookie. *The smell of garlic or onions sautéing in my skillet. *Broccoli. Yep. Broccoli. *The occasional tiny treat that reminds me “everything in moderation”. : )

Now that I’ve made you hungry, let’s wrap this up with a little pep talk, and then you can go raid your fridge for a healthy snack.

I’m the first to admit that I like to see quick results. The small changes over time are sometimes hard to appreciate. You don’t have to look far to find all kinds of “quick fix” fitness products and strategies. Maybe sometimes they work, but most of the time they don’t. Consider this with me… The beauty you see all around you in nature unfolds with time! The Fall leaves almost unnoticeably turn their colors until one day you look up in awe at the flaming beauty and realize the amazing change! Beauty through fitness is realized in the same way; one healthy meal at a time, one launch-yourself-out-of-bed workout at a time, one beautiful day at a time, keep taking one step closer to healthy. Enjoy the process, be amazed at the progress!

Is that a dramatic ploy to reel you in to reading this blog? No. Not really. ; ) I’ll explain, but first some feedback from the week(s). I had to miss week 2 classes because of a family birthday and a conference. I still kept on track (mostly) with the nutrition plan. I did enjoy a celebratory cupcake, minus the frosting, and some complimentary hotel breakfast food. Eehem, waffles. Mmm. My dietitian Mom would remind me, it’s what you do habitually that makes the difference. So occasionally, these things are part of a balanced diet, right? I still grit my teeth a bit when it’s time to write out the weekly menu plan and shopping list, but I AM convinced that the planning is worth it, so maybe I’ll start to enjoy the process one of these days.

We did a water drinking challenge for week 2. 108 oz. a day was usually my minimum. (My water bottle filled 4 times) I seriously felt so refreshed from being so hydrated! To drink that much, it helped to add a drop of therapeutic grade lemon essential oil each time I filled my stainless steel bottle. (Lemon oil breaks down plastic, hence the important mention of stainless steel.) In the past, sore and stiff would define the days following intense exercise. But with increased hydration, that is significantly decreased! I recently learned that sufficient hydration helps flush the lactic acid buildup out of the muscles which helps relieve the pain and soreness. Interesting!

Honestly on the fitness front, I wasn’t very motivated during week 2. It was a struggle to roll out of bed most mornings… just in a bit of a slump. While in the habit forming stages of this level of fitness, I’m finding the accountability and guidance found in class to be very helpful for success. Not having that during week 2 contributed to the slump. For week 3, I was back on track with classes and am back to feeling motivated. Mornings are my best time to fit in exercise. If I think about it too long, sometimes it doesn’t happen. So, I try to fling the covers off with a determined grunt and launch myself out of bed. Once my body is up, the inspiration and joy of the morning kick in and I’m good to go.

This transformation course is called Body back. But I do think we could add “sleep back” and “sanity back” to the title! In her book called “ReFresh”, Shona Murray writes the following, summed up from several medical journals and articles:

“Nonwork-related exercise redirects nervous energy and gives it a physical outlet. This kind of exercise produces in us a healthy kind of tiredness that is conducive to sleep, not the mental tiredness that leaves us unable to sleep.”

“Moderate physical exercise helps to expel unhelpful chemicals from our system and stimulates the production of helpful chemicals. It not only strengthens the body; it also strengthens the brain. Exercise triggers the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus and the release of neurotrophic growth factors – a kind of brain fertilizer that helps the brain grow, maintain new connections and stay healthy. Exercise and proper rest patterns generate about a 20 percent energy increase in an average day, while exercising three to five times a week is about as affective as an antidepressants for mild to moderate depression. It lowers stress and anxiety levels and increases problem-solving abilities.”

These are some pretty compelling reasons, beyond just physical strength and appearance, to get my body moving!

How was it, you ask? Well let’s see… throw intense exercise, meal planning, clean eating, increased water intake, and accountability into the pot and you get an interesting concoction of exhilaration and exhaustion! Things kicked off on a Saturday, bright and early. I personally feel so inspired by early mornings, so I was pumped. (I’m sorry if some of you just groaned. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those constantly energized people, I just find mornings invigorating.) Fitness assessments went well, though I honestly hoped I would be able to do more than 3 pushups. But hey, getting stronger is what I’m here for. We did measurements, weigh ins, and before pictures. (*Please see my closing comments for a little heart to heart about those “dreaded” before pics.) Talking through meal planning closed out the class.

On that note, writing out the meal plan has been stretching for me. I’m usually a fly by the seat of my yoga pants kind of gal when it comes to meals and shopping. I still have yet to stick closely to my written meal plan, though I fill the fridge and pantry with healthy foods, so whatever we do end up eating is “on plan”. (Except for a couple DD munchkins that ended up on my counter… Just keeping it real ya’ll.)

I’ve tried to get out almost every morning before my family wakes up, for a walk/run and Body Back video workout. This starts my day off on the right foot. Baby has been waking up really early though, so I’m thankful that my hubby is supportive of my goals and takes over until I’m done working out. I find the classes on Wednesday night and Saturday morning to be very challenging and motivating. Honestly, I try to push myself to the max at class to make the most of the time. This has left me with some sooore muscles a day or two after class, but no pain, no gain.

So let’s wrap this up with that little “heart to heart” I mentioned. Instead of Before/After, I want to label my pictures like this: Confident and Strong/More confident and Stronger. Starting out on an intentional fitness journey is not about disdaining where you are currently at. It’s about appreciating where your body has been, (I grow people, what’s your superpower?) and realizing the potential for increasing strength, energy, and confidence! I’m so glad that Fit4Mom encourages this vision. Thanks Jenny and Ellen for reminding us of all these things!

900 days. That's approximately how long my body has collectively been on the pregnancy journey! Well, guess what? This gal is getting' ready for her body to come back!! ;)

Before we chat more about Body Back and why I'm so excited to start...let me briefly share a little about myself. I'm married to my best friend Jeff and we have some precious little people. Seals is 5, Sky is 4, our 3rd child is our angel baby, and Blaze is almost 1. You think we've got our hands full? You're right, and we love it!

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday. Two years ago, when I decided to join Fit4Mom Stroller Strides, was when I started taking my personal fitness seriously. Seriously, it was one of the best decisions I could have made. (You're gonna wonder if I was paid to say that. Nope. It's just been THAT amazing.) Strength for motherhood is what I've found. Throughout my pregnancy with my youngest, I did Stroller Strides consistently up the end and also went to Fit4Baby classes. Out of all my pregnancies, this last one was by far my strongest and healthiest! Fast forward to almost a year postpartum, and here I find myself as busy as I've ever been. My little guys is crawling around like a champion and knows how to get attention! I'm about to start homeschooling my two older children. Sounds like a full time job to me! Add to that all of the other stuff we mama's take care of, and I'm going full time, over time, and all the time.

Enter Body Back. A chance to take care of my health, to hang out with other women who are on the same course, to maybe, just maybe fit comfortably into my "normal waist" pants, a chance to embrace the strong woman I've been created to be! I'll take it! For these reasons and more I am very excited to get started with this Body Back Transformation session! Nutrition plans, body measurements, and fitness assessments here we come! I'll be back after my first class to let ya'll know what's going on!

Tune in next time to hear this mama say, "What was I thinking?! I'm gonna die! ;) Just kidding, it's going to be great!