Five Tips to Practice Self Care

It’s been an insanely stressful week this week. Life has felt like it’s moving too fast, work has been chaotic, to say the least, and well, there are other things going on with Little Man that we recently learned about that is just adding to my emotionally overwhelmed state.

It was funny, last weekend a friend of mine and I were chatting while running about Body Back and she commented about the hippy-dippy meditations and how sometimes people get really emotional. I chuckled with her, thinking that I love the meditations and stretch routine we go through at the end of workouts because it’s 5 minutes for me where I can turn my mind off.

During stressful weeks especially, I keep reminding myself of the importance of self-care. Taking time to take care of oneself so that you can take care of your little one(s).

Here are five ways that I practice self-care to maintain my sanity during stressful weeks.

Meditate or Practice Mindfulness

I don’t often meditate, but when I do, it’s always a refreshing way to slow down for 5 minutes, clear your mind, relax and re-center yourself. There are dozens of apps out there to guide you, or if you’re really needing some more guidance, check out your local yoga studio for a meditation or mindfulness class – which I always enjoy because the music just makes the mood. I use the Calm app but Greatist has a great list of meditation apps for every personality.

Work-out

My workouts – whether running, body back, yoga or taking 30 minutes to do an at-home workout – are imperative for my sanity. It’s a chance for me to release aggression and recenter myself and I generally just feel better and refreshed after my workouts. Even going for a 20-minute walk in the middle of the day after lunch has an amazing effect on my mood and motivation for afternoons. This week has been tough to fit them in, but I’m realizing just how important they really are.

Get to bed early

Sleep is so important. I mean, we all know this, but it’s even more important when you’re stressed out. Nothing makes me feel refreshed like a good nights sleep. Not is it good practice in self-care but the experts say sleep helps balance everything else out. If you’re not sleeping well, chances are your stress levels will only be heightened so make sure you get your zzz’s.

Read a book

It’s a novel (see what I did there??) concept but turning off your mind from all the stresses of every day life to escape into a good novel is such a fantastic way to turn off and take time for you. Take 30 – 60 minutes, turn your phone off, get a cup of tea or your favorite beverage and curl up to read for a bit. I love reading before bed because it’s a way to reset, and clear you mind of any stresses

Treat yourself

Schedule a massage, get a pedicure, go shopping solo. Whatever you do to treat yourself, take the time to do. It’s not easy to manage stress, but it’s so important to take time to take care of yourself during stressful seasons in life. Take an afternoon to yourself – even if you, like I did the other day, leave early to go home and take a nap in peace and quiet. It’s amazing how even an hour will make you feel better. Just make sure whatever makes you feel good about yourself and happy, is something that you make time for once in a while.

It’s tough as moms – we’re juggling so many things, whether it be school aged kids with after school appointments, a kiddo (or kiddos) with special needs and multiple therapy appointments or even just multiple kids with a husband or partner who travels a lot. But taking care of ourselves makes us better moms and better partners.

practice self care

What is YOUR favorite way to practice self care? 

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Weekly Workouts

Friends, we’re up to Body Back week 4. This past week, I fit in 2 of my 3 at home workouts (missing my core workout….FAIL), getting in 2 runs for a total of 8.5 miles for the week, and 3 solid HIIT/total body workouts – 2 of those being my weekly body back classes. I’m feeling stronger, faster, and definitely better. Shit’s certainly fitting me better which is a nice change of pace even though I’m down only ~ 3 lbs (remember, muscle weighs more than fat).

The heat and little man’s bed time challenges affected me the most this week, but my workouts looked like: monday – run; Tuesday/Thursday Body Back; Saturday – run; Sunday – total body.

Wednesday and Friday were off days – unintentionally but Friday I got to catch up with a gal pal and her new baby so that was entirely worth it because sometimes you just need some girl time.

workouts

This is week is a little more challenging workout wise, especially with my running,  since Hubs has drill this weekend and it’s hotter than eff outside all week. We all know I’m not a morning runner, so challenges abound on that front. We’ve also been working on an earlier bedtime for little man – which certainly helped Monday’s run happen – but when it’s still 85 degrees at 8pm, my runs are often effed before I even get out the door.

MondayRun 3.5 (Done)
TuesdayBody Back (Done)
Wednesday – Run 3 OR Total Body (depending on when Hubs gets back from our community organization meeting)
Thursday – Body Back
Friday – Run 3-4
Saturday – TB OR Run 7
Sunday – Core & Legs

I am SUPER jazzed btw! I signed up for the  Fit4Mom Severn Run Club that starts up in August! My coach & Body Back instructor asked what my goals were and I went big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG – bringing it back from my lululemon days!): I WILL hit a sub 1 hour 10k by the end of the year. Maybe it’s the group race, maybe it’s my relay leg for the Baltimore marathon relay or maybe I sign up for the Across the Bay 10k as a last ditch effort but that’s my goal.

I think it can be done. Especially if I’m not running in swamp like conditions for 2/3 of my training.

What’s your big hairy audacious goal? Any fun workouts this week friends? 

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Body Back Review: Week 1

So I signed up for Fit4Mom’s 8 week Body Back course. I’d been interested in this program for a while, but I finally bit the bullet since my schedule opened up for the summer. I had done stroller strides in Annapolis back before I went back to work but their evening class options were next to none (until recently) and I didn’t want to drive 25 minutes to a 5:30a workout. So I found Fit4Mom Severn, which is like 15 minutes from us and they have not one, but TWO evening body back options.

It started last week with a goal setting call, and two (separate) HIIT workouts (the classes). In addition, we were to complete 1 HIIT workout at home – I did two and fit in 2 separate runs.

The program comes with special workout videos provided by Fit4Mom, as well as a made-for-moms meal plan, and templates to track our food and workouts. Pretty comprehensive,

Workout review

The workouts are hard. I mean, shit, I know I’m weak and my upper body strength is complete garbage. I’m a runner and a wannabe biker. Strength workouts are not my m.o. Nor are HIIT workouts. I do know, however, that they are a necessary evil to getting stronger. All the research says so.

Thankfully these workouts aren’t like that – well, they are tough, but they’re also fun and I feel incredibly strong after.  The group is fun, super encouraging and the workouts are quite challenging – even our supplemental 20-30 min videos. I finished the Total Body workout last night after E went to bed and Hubs even joined me for a couple of butt kicking rounds.

This week’s workout plan:
Tuesday: Run 3.5 (Check)
Wednesday: HIIT (Check)
Thursday: Body Back Class
Friday: Run 3
Saturday: HIIT Core (before flying to Boston)
Sunday: TBD (either run or bike ride when I get home)

I should note that I’m in Boston this weekend with my sister for a concert, so I’ll do my HIIT workout first thing in the morning before I leave, and hit the run when I get back since my flights are mid-morning to Boston and early coming back on Sunday.

Meal plan

Since we know 80% of weight loss comes from diet, I was really looking forward to the meal plan part of Body Back – the recipes were compiled with a busy in mind (that’s me!!) The meals are super easy and absolutely delicious. I kind of went off plan a little bit this weekend with the family. I don’t want to be a 97%-er but man, weekends in the summer are going to be tough. I indulged (mostly in kiddie-sized ice cream), but I fit in my workouts and kept to my meal plan MOST of the time and meal planned the shiz out of this week. I even packed us super healthy lunches to bring to the pool on Sunday so that was something right?

body back week 1

 

Results so far

So it’s super early but I’m down about 2.4 lbs and on twice now I’ve run a sub 12 min mile (mostly) consistently for 3.5 miles – granted it was 80 degrees and I did 4/1 intervals to account for the terrible heat/humidity *even at 8a – will I never learn?!* I know what matters most is going to be the inches lost at the end of this all but I feel really good. Because I know someone is checking out my food journal 1-2x per week, I know I need to stay #accountable.

All things told, I’m pretty pleased so far. Stay tuned for an update halfway mark and at the end of the program to see how it turns out!

Have you done any of the Fit4Mom programs? 

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2016 Intentions

Last year, I feel like I had a good year. Mostly.

I set my 2015 intentions and set off on my merry way for the year. Then I kind of forgot about them. My intentions this year are similar. Ish. I don’t necessarily think intentions should change drastically year to year because these are still the intentions I want to live my life by: take care of myself. be a good mom. be a good wife. be present in life. challenge myself. work hard. be passionate about my work and be an expert. It’s a lot but these are the intentions that I want to focus on every day. Last year, I just set those intentions.

I did not complete ANY of my 2015 goals….I think I need a better plan to you know follow through.

…I am not registered for a 2016 Half Ironman
…I did not bike a century ride. I would still like to do that but I’m not sure this is the year.
…No sub 2:15 half marathon…no half marathons actually.
…I did NINE races…so close to 12 but yet so far.

However, I also accomplished a number of OTHER things.

  • I did start a new job with a hefty salary increase. Working on the whole inbound marketing expert thing.
  • I did coach/mentor a 10k group. Not 25 people, but it was a great group.
  • I did place in my Age Group for the first time ever at the Hagerstown Duathlon.
  • I did rebrand my blog. But didn’t quite blog consistently. At all.

2016 Intentions (1)

This year, my goals/intentions are

  1. Run more. It makes me feel good, balanced and helps my weight loss goals. Why wouldn’t I? I don’t want to set a mileage goal, but I ran 340 miles in 2015 and I’d really like to hit 500 miles in 2016. That’s an average of 10 miles per week which I think is beyond doable. Considering I have the Zooma Run Love Challenge, Zooma 10k, the MD Sprint Duathlon, Dewey Beach Tri, Across the Bay 10k…among others. I think 500 miles is doable.
  2. Eat Cleaner. I have a sugar problem. This year? I want to kick it. Like really…really want to kick it. I can’t just have one cookie…i have 5. That’s an issue. So I’m giving up sugar (mostly).
  3. Be Present. I need to focus more on family when I’m home. Work when I’m at work. Myself when I have the time. It’ll help with my stress levels which will in turn help with other things.
  4. Write more. I love blogging and social media. I love this space and I hate when I neglect it. I invested a decent amount of time and energy into my rebrand and I need to reinvest to keep it going and to keep my mind sharp outside of work.
  5. Stress less. This goes hand in hand with my be present goal but I want to get back into meditation and more yoga…these are two things i know that keep me balanced so let’s stick to that. For sure.

What are your 2016 intentions or goals? Any big scary goals?

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January Workouts & February Goals

Rather than sharing my workouts weekly, I’m going to share them monthly. I had a rough start to January but in general I think I did pretty well!

I restarted the Bikini Body Mommy challenge. I jumped in around Day 16 of 3.0 with some mamas in a facebook group I’m a part of. I had grandiose plans of doing P90 this month but I got away from it. I have workout program ADD. But my goal is to make it to the end of February with Bikini Body Mommy and then start the new 21 day Fix Extreme in early March  because I figure if I can make it to day 45/60 of BBM, I’ll have some real measurable results just in time to go shopping for my spring wardrobe. Right? Right.

Why Bikini Body Mommy?

It works for me. I generally find that 3-5 workouts per week is doable. This month is really strength building since in February I start training for the St. Michaels Half which is going to result in 3 runs per week – 1 long run, 1 speed workout, 1 easy run. I don’t have much time to do more than that and that coupled with strength (well Bikini Body Mommy) 3 or 4 days per week (the program is 6 workouts but I typically double up or catch up on nights when hubs has class).

Plus Breanne is adorable and super relatable – she shares similar struggles to mamas of all kinds – working and stay at home moms alike.

So far I’ve stuck with it for 2 weeks which is pretty flipping good for me. I lasted with PiYo for about 3 weeks because of said ADD (and the holiday craziness so there’s also that).

Why Weight Watchers?

Hubs’s office is doing it. So he decided he wanted to do it. So we decided to do it together. In the past, if I was eating well, or trying, we’d usually end up sabotaging one another which is just…total fail. So it’s been two weeks and I’m down both weeks. I don’t feel bad if I go over my points as long as I stay under my weekly points and earn activity points.

As my father-in-law told me (my mother and father in law have both used weight watchers in the past) “if you stick to the points and don’t go over, you will lose weight.” it might only be a half a pound, but it’s better than nothing right?

What’s my goal?

Back when i was nursing, I was pretty much at my pre-baby weight of 139 (I was actually 135 before I got pregnant but was up to 139 when I got pregnant). My doctor and I agreed that 135 would be a good goal for me to have but realistically I’d love to be closer to 125/130ish. Where am I now? At the start of 2015, after the holidays I was at 155. When I stopped nursing, the weight just came on…every so slowly and I’ll raise an eyebrow if I’m in the 140’s but the 150’s are just not okay with me and my 5’2″ self so I’ve been battling the bulge pretty much since I stopped nursing in October 2013. Despite my best efforts, my doctor confirmed that my metabolism has slowed to a crawl and/or went on strike so it’ll take a little bit of extra effort to get to my goals.

So how was January?

january workout recap

Workouts: 20
January ending weight: 152.3
Total loss from January 2: -3 lbs
(I weigh in on Fridays for now)

Workouts? Averaging 3-5 workouts per week is pretty goo. I’m pretty good about getting workouts in during the week (especially wednesday and thursday – that’s when hubs has class) Tuesdays i usually have Junior League stuff going on, and with an exception of one weekend when hubs had drill, I was good about working out at least one day on the weekend. The yellow days? Workout changed from what I originally planned. Red days are obviously missed workouts. I had intended on working out this past weekend but was a bit under the weather with a small head and just haven’t gotten around to updating the spreadsheet.

All in all? I’ll give January a B+

Goals for February

Weight wise I want to stick with my 4-6 workouts per week and tracking 5-6 days per week and hopefully be well back into the 140’s which I haven’t seen since I stopped nursing E over a year ago.

– My first race of the year is on the 14th with a 5k and I just want to run the whole thing. That’s all. I also want to add in 1-2 spin classes or rides on my trainer each week.

– Complete the Green Smoothie cleanse which I’ve started today alongside a pal who is also following the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge

– Workout 22 days in the month of February. I hit 19 in January but I’m in a routine for the most part so I think 22 days is doable in February despite the shorter month.

 

What are your workout goals for February? How did you stay healthy in January?

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Recipe: Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

I’ve gotten in the habit recently of cooking one meal that can get us through a couple of lunches, and a couple of dinners. This is necessary mostly on busy weeks like this one, where if I don’t plan things out, we can easily end up eating out 2 – 3 days per week.

This week I wanted to bust out the slow cooker. In the fall and winter, it’s one of those things I like to do every couple of weeks. Our slow cooker is a total tank and takes up a lot of counter space so I tend not to use it as often as I probably should but unlike other appliances we got for our wedding (I’m looking at you waffle maker that Hubs has used TWICE in the five years since we got it). My favorite slow cooker meal? Chili.

I tried a new recipe, my boss had mentioned a slow cooker pumpkin chili so I took the idea to pinterest for some inspiration. Pinterest never fails, let’s be honest.

slow cooker turkey pumpkin chili

Turkey Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

Ingredients

1 -2 lbs ground turkey
1 bag frozen chopped peppers (or 1 each of red, green and yellow peppers sliced)
1 can (28 oz) Tomato sauce
2 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 cans beans (I used 1 each of dark red kidney and black beans) drained
2 T chili powder
1 medium onion diced
8 oz pumpkin puree
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic puree or 2 cloves garlic minced

Directions

Brown ground turkey with garlic and onion.
Add all ingredients to the slow cooker (tomatoes & sauce first, beans, veggies, meat mix, pumpkin, spices), stir well.
Cook on low for 8 hours. Stir.

slow cooker pumpkin chili

I love to eat my chili over either brown rice or a sweet potato, quinoa is another great choice. I top with a little bit of shredded mexican blend cheese (cheddar based) and sour cream. Hubs uses greek yogurt instead of sour cream and loves it – you could use either.

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Friday Fives: Fall Favorites

There’s a crispness in the air friends. After spending last weekend in the beautiful lake region of NH watching two of my favorite people get hitched, I’m loving this pseudo-fall like weather.  The cooler mornings, the pretty trees…you  know fall like stuff. AND we’re going pumpkin picking this weekend with little man, so that’ll be fun! I still need to hunt down his costume, I’m not a 100% sold on what I bought at the wee-sale.

Anyhoozle, onto my favorite things at the moment!

 

1. My Bobeau Wraps

Seriously, these are the most comfortable things EVER. Go get one. Or two. Or three (I have three. But i’m dying for the camel one.)

2. Shakeology

So I became a coach mostly for the discount. But mostly because I REALLY like the product. I did the 3 day refresh before the wedding we went to earlier this month and had decent results (down 4.5 lbs). I’ve since gained 2 back but I’m trying to get myself back into my routine. It’s been really challenging with the darker mornings – you know, everyday struggles but I’m getting there. At least I’ve effectively kicked my soda habit (WAHOO!)

3. My new Mom-mobile

Last week, I picked up a new Honda CRV. I call it my happy mom-mobile. No, it’s not a minivan (or family fun bus as Liz would call it) but it’s bigger for me. Our 2001 Ford Taurus was about to gulp down another $1,000 in repairs and as Hubs just got a new job, and we just paid off our other car, we made the plunge so that we don’t need to be a pseudo-one-car family anymore. We were trading off the Ford depending on who was on drop-off or pick-up duties with Little Man.

4. Zucchini Muffins

I made some delicious zucchini muffins a few weeks ago and it was AMAZING. I have some zucchini that i need to use this weekend so I’m thinking of this bread (maybe muffins?) or something similarly inspired. Cue pinterest.

5. Leggings and Boots.

I don’t care what anyone says. Leggings and boots and long sweaters are my fall uniform. Nothing says fall more than a cozy sweater, a nice pair of leggings and some cognac colored boots. Forgive me but leggings can be pants any day (as long as your butt is covered).

 

What are you currently loving this fall?

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The Wurst: Life Lately

So I have to step back and apologize for officially being a horrible blogger.

Life, man.

It started with the week of our anniversary – cramming two weeks of work into five days that didn’t have nearly enough hours and a lot of other crap going on. Thankfully we did get a date night and got to enjoy dinner and some live music out at Lures in Crownsville. Highly recommend!

Anniversary weekend was followed by a week long conference in Boston for work. During which I had the best of intentions to blog and workout but neither really happened (at all) but I did tweet a bunch and because the convention center where the conference was, I did manage to get in about 15,000+ steps each day. BALLER.

{with JL & Liz – two my awesome co-workers at Inbound Rocks with Janelle Monae}

We got home late Thursday night and I had an early (crappy) train ride to New York City, a mediocre lunch with my dad in Penn Station, followed by a m’eh train ride up to Brewster to meet Adam and my sister in law for a weekend at Hunter Mountain where we celebrated my brother in law and his fiancee at a joint bachelor/bachelorette party weekend. Little man stayed with the grandparents – all parties had a great weekend. Adam and I did in the mountains and my in-laws loved their time with the little guy.

Highlight of the weekend? This view.

And these donuts. Homemade, old fashioned cake donuts with your choice of toppings.

This past week was supposed to be clean eating but ended up being…not so clean. That’s what happens when you have events going on every. freakin’. night. Ugh ugh ugh. Life needs to slow the eff down.

I did start out days with some Shakeology (YUM) once I got back and one day even got some juicing in. I need to do that more often.

This week will be a bit more tame. But I’m restarting all of my goals. The tri is off the books, but I am getting PiYo certified next weekend (exciting!). And, and, I’m actually going to menu plan. I haven’t done that in 3 weeks. No wonder I’m so off my friggen a-game.

I digress. October intentions/goals coming up Wednesday. If I want to hold other people accountable, I need to hold myself accountable first. Not just with my fitness goals but also my blogging goals.

This week’s workouts…

Monday – PiYo
Tuesday – Run
Wednesday – PiYo
Thursday – Run
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Dirty Damsel 5k
Sunday – PiYo Certification

Who’s going to be my October accounta-billy-buddy. I just made that word up. What of it? But really, who wants to hold me accountable? (and vice versa! I want to help you reach YOUR goals!) 

 

 

 

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Friday Five: Fall Goals

This Friday we’re talking goals. I usually set my goals seasonally, and tend to keep the SMART acronym in mind – mainly realistic, attainable, and timely. Though strategic by thinking of my overall long term goals – lose 20 lbs, and be healthy.

So my fall goals – I had to really be realistic – I’m traveling for a week after my triathlon, I have a wedding and bachelorette weekend that I’m traveling for all between labor day and columbus day. With a half marathon currently on the books, I’m not super excited about it, and I’m just kind of m’eh.

fivefallgoals

That being said there are a few goals I’m especially excited about….

1. Finishing my tri under 2 hours. 

I squeaked in just barely under 2 hours. However, this tri, the bike is a touch longer, but the 5k is flatter. SO, I think I can, i think I can. My workouts over the past ten days, thanks to Ethan’s Roseola have been wretched. Like…really.

2. A trail race. 

My first trail race since HIGH SCHOOL, I’m doing the Zooma Dirty Damsel 5k. I loved trail racing back in the day so I’m stoked to give it a go again! Not to mention I fricken love the Zooma Organization so I’m excited to check out this inaugural trail race!

3. My fifth half marathon

I’m not sure I’m as excited about the half as I am that it’s #5 so I can kind of set aside half’s for a while I focus on other things. Running hasn’t been doing much for me mentally, so I’m going to move to more 10ks and 5ks and Tris next summer. I haven’t entirely decided if I’m actually going to run this race, it’ll probably be a “let’s see how September goes” kind of thing.

4. Coaching! 

I’m going to be coaching this fall and leading some challenge groups. Stay tuned into September for details, but hopefully it’ll rejuvenate my blog, hold me accountable and help me coach some people to accomplish their own goals while continuing to work towards mine.

5. Getting a trainer.

Not a personal trainer, but one for my bike so that in the winter, I can keep training for triathlons. I really want to do an Olympic next year and want to keep working on my biking in the winter so I told hubs I wanted to get a trainer for Christmas. He’s going to oblige and I get to keep biking once cooler days roll around! Woo!

 

What are your Autumn goals? Any big things that you’re looking forward to towards the end of this year? How often do you set goals for your self? 

 

Be sure to check out Courtney, Cynthia and Mar – the gracious hostesses of the DC Trifecta Friday Five! 

 

 

 

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Weigh In Wednesday: Dealing with Setbacks

No one is perfect.

Last week, my tracking was uber craptacular. Like there was no point. I enjoyed a couple adult beverages at a work happy hour Thursday, a couple beverages with hubs on the fourth – you smell what I’m stepping in. It just snowballed to a whole lot of bad food and not watching what I ate.

No one is perfect.

I was dreading my weigh in this week but it wasn’t so bad. I was expecting much worse.

Because here’s the thing, weight loss is as much about your eating as it is about your workouts. If you’re not eating right and eating well, then no. No you will not lose weight. Duh. Time to be better.

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A setback but I’m back on track this week.

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