Monthly Archives: November 2012

Today I am Thankful

It is getting close to the day where we celebrate Thanksgiving and as I read status updates on Facebook, other blogs, and listen to my co-workers and friends talk about their traditions – it amazes me how much it varies from family to family. It’s supposed to be a day to give thanks for all the blessings we have in our lives, and so often I think it gets turned into something else. People stress about making the perfect dish, cleaning their homes to be ready to play hostess, stressing about having family all together in the same room for several hours and so much more. Did you know that Thanksgiving night is the highest alcohol sales for the ENTIRE year at bars/restaurants? More so than New Years Eve which is just basically a big party where you are supposed to go out. What does that say about our culture? What does that say about family time in America? Where people are so ready to leave their Thanksgiving plates in the sink and head out to a bar to get a drink instead of spending time with their families. I just think that is sort of sad. I’m sure there are people who have traditions of meeting up with friends and family at bars in the evening and that contributes to it, but mostly it just makes me think that people want to avoid their families.

My family is not perfect. To some, I’m sure we are weird. When we get together, we don’t do a whole lot actually. We sit and talk. Most of the time, we sit around and watch the pros handle all the cooking and baking. I usually find myself somewhere in the middle – not really that great at helping cook, but willing to try and lend a hand when I can. We watch television, we rest. It is mostly a break from real life…and that is something I’ve always appreciated about holidays with my family even if when I was younger I desperately wanted to be hanging out with my friends or boyfriend instead. But now that I’m older – I’m so happy I grew up in a family that for better or worse – we spent the whole day together. Just being together even if we ran out of things to say and just sat in the same room and watched a movie instead. Thanksgiving has always meant family time to me. I grew up in a family that never drank, so I don’t have any funny stories about a drunk uncle or cousins getting into fist fights over the last piece of turkey. I should mention I grew up in Kentucky and hearing stories like this isn’t so far fetched. ๐Ÿ™‚ So again, when we all get together for the holidays – there was no option to just drink more so you could “deal with your family” – that’s not even a part of my family tradition.

As an adult as I’ve hosted a few Thanksgiving dinners at my house – it’s interesting to see what lingers from those traditions I was raised in. I remember one Thanksgiving where several of my friends weren’t able to make it home for thanksgiving – so we hosted a friends thanksgiving at our house. It was just a different type of family! One thing that remained the same for me was I wanted to take a few minutes to say prayer and thank God for all the blessings in my life. This is something we always do in my family. To tell Him how appreciative I was of his forgiveness, mercy and love that I know I don’t usually deserve. I remember that it might have made some of my non-religious friends feel a little strange, but it was my house, and my thanksgiving and the person I am most thankful to is God and I thought it was important to remember that on a day such as Thanksgiving.

This year, I am thankful for so many new things because I have the opportunity to be a mother this year – and being blessed with such a miracle is absolutely amazing on Thanksgiving. I have been blessed with amazing friends both near and far who love me so much – and I’m constantly amazed by the power of friendship in my life. I am incredibly blessed. I have a husband who loves me even at my absolute worst and knowing that we’re going to be a family of 3 is such an exciting adventure we are embarking on this next year. I’m so thankful that I have him in my life. I have a wonderful family (both blood and not) who are supportive and feel more like friends as I’ve gotten older which is such a gift. Mostly, I’m so grateful I’m not one of those people who dread the holidays because they don’t want to see their families – I am blessed to have family who I’m so excited to see and spend time with through out the holiday season.

I know that next year, Thanksgiving will be completely different, my life will be totally changed. I’ll have even more family to love, and for that, I’m grateful for the opportunity to raise my own version of family and add to it the traditions I love so much from my family and new things that will grow to be important and part of my child’s traditions.

I hope that this Thanksgiving – you take time to be with your family if you can – whether that is friend family, blood family, adopted family – whatever. Just spend time with people you care about and be grateful for the opportunity to love and be loved by those in your life. Tell someone you are thankful for them tomorrow!

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Water Running: Great Change Up to your Current Routine!

I finally got to try out a Water Running class this week. It wasn’t the normal instructor – so I’m curious to see how the next class will differ. Either way – I sort of went into the class wondering what we would be doing for an hour and if it would be a decent workout or not. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of movements we did and how fast my heart was beating! For those of you with access to a pool but perhaps no access to a class version of water running, I thought I’d give you a run down (no pun intended) of things you can do in the water to get a good workout aside from simply swimming laps (which is no small feat on it’s own if you’ve tried it in your adult life).

You can start in the shallow end to get warmed up. Our pool has an open area and then about 4 lanes blocked off for swimming lanes. So we used the width of the pool in the shallow end from wall to first swim lane to do some shorter laps if that makes sense. We did the following:

Jog in the water (just like you would jog on land) forward to swim lane, return jogging backward. Keep your fingers uncupped so that you aren’t propelling yourself forward with your arms.
Move toward swim lane with alternating high knees, come back to wall doing butt kicks – focus on speed.
Move toward swim lane using a “skip” style – focusing on jumping out of the water and forward. So not focused on speed, but on height of your jump. Make sure you are switching which leg you are leading/jumping with. Return to wall in same style

Of course – you can repeat all these several times for a nice warm up.

The instructor also used Tabata style format to get our cardio workout in. If you aren’t familiar with Tabata – it forces you to work at high intensity for a short period of time and then rest and repeat. You can pick the times and how many times you repeat. For our class – we did different versions of Tabata. For example:

Shallow End Tabata (move so you are shoulder deep)
20 seconds: Sprint in place (focus on moving as fast as possible with hand/arm movement in water)
Rest 10 Seconds
20 Seconds: High Knees in place (focus on crunching and make sure you have your arms going)
Rest 10 seconds
20 Seconds: Butt Kicks (in place, quickly)
Rest 10 seconds

And then we would change it to 30 seconds with 10 second rest, etc. You could pick a variety of movements to suit your own needs and amount of time you have to spend for each section.

You will definitely feel all of these exercises in your hamstrings!

To really get into water running you have to incorporate the deep end – because jogging in the shallow end is super easy when you compare it to trying to propel yourself forward when you can’t touch the bottom. A few things on form when water running:

Don’t cup your hands – you want the forward motion to be coming from the leg movement. Pretend like you are doing a leg extension in the weight room – move your right leg to a 90 degree angle in front of you and pull back, repeat on other side – this is the motion you are doing to water run in the deep end. Your hands are moving, but fingers are straight, not cupped. Work to keep your body straight – not leaning forward or backward. You will feel like you are barely moving – but your heart rate will tell you otherwise!

When we got to the deep end wall, we did short kicks while holding onto the wall andย  long scissor kicks (using Tabata style again). We also put our backs against the wall and arms on either side to support us as we lifted our legs straight up (back flat against the wall) and pushed them back down into the water. This was extremely difficult!

If you are comfortable in the deep end, you can move away from the wall and do another set of workouts such as the following:

30 seconds: Tread Water using hands and legs
30 seconds: Tread water using hands/arms only – keep legs straight (if this is too difficult, bend your legs some and that will help)
30 seconds: Treat water using legs only – put your arms out of the water to make sure you aren’t cheating!

You can repeat that several times and change up how long you are doing each thing until your hearts content!

Obviously once you are done with that you have to water run back to the shallow end!

A lot of the articles I looked at about water running show people running with floatation belts on. In our class, we didn’t utilize these, but I could see how you could probably work on speed more if you had a belt on to help you stay afloat. I’ll have to try that out one time to see what different it makes. Without the belt, I think it would be difficult to keep doing laps without stopping because it does require so much effort to stay afloat on your own and move forward!

This would be a great alternative to just swimming laps if you are bored with that routine. It’s also great if you are injured or pregnant and can’t do high impact stuff anymore! As always, check with your doctor before taking on any new exercise program as I am not a doctor and can only tell you my opinion of the workout!

 

 

 

 

 

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Holiday Weight Gain – How are you preparing?

Happy Monday! There are a lot of reasons I hate the onset of colder weather, but lately I’ve been appreciating the lack of mosquitoes eating me alive every time I go outside to play Frisbee with my pups. As winter approaches, it’s easy to slack off on your fitness and healthy living goals. Putting on those comfortable sweaters instead of squeezing into your swim suit makes those extra pounds seem nonexistent. Trust me, they are still there!

Even though I’m not in weight loss mode now since I’m pregnant, I’m still trying to get my head focused on staying as healthy as possible during and after this pregnancy. And if you are like me, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years (and all the other holidays celebrated) all mean yummy food, tasty drinks and time NOT spent at the gym. So even though I’ve accepted that I will indeed be gaining weight over the next 6 months, I want to be gaining weight for the right reasons. Note to self: Giant Gingerbread Cookies & Triple Fudge Squares are not the right reasons. Continue reading

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Back to My Primal Ways…

Well, I’m starting to feel more energetic lately, so that is good news. I’m not grossed out immensely by certain foods so that is also going on the winner board. So what does this mean for my healthy eating lifestyle at this point? I think I’m going to make the leap and go back to eating primal/paleo inspired next week and see how it goes.

The last few weeks we have been trying to eat LESS of the bread/wheat stuff in an attempt to slowly help me move away from it now that I’m not on the verge of being sick all the time. I’ll admit that bread is just comforting to your stomach for whatever reason – or at least it helped me get past a lot of the sickness/queasy stuff in the first three months. BUT – man cannot live on bread alone, RIGHT!?

I was really digging my primal eating ways pre-pregnancy and saw improved energy, less cravings, feeling full on less food and I did experience some weight loss from naturally making better choices particularly when I went out to eat. So I’m going to re-focus and see how this goes. Of course, I’m planning on discussing this with my doctor on Monday during my next check in. I expect that I’ll still have the occasional weird craving and I’m not going to be all or nothing about this eating style while pregnant because what’s most important is that I’m eating what baby needs.

But I’m going to take a wild guess that baby does NOT need a chicken filet biscuit for breakfast…really ever. Okay, you only live once – so maybe just a few along the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll still be eating dairy – so not true paleo style but still in alignment with Primal eating. I’m focusing on healthy fats like avocado, raw nuts, olives. And of course, moving back toward more lean protein and veggies as my main focus. So we’ll see how I do.

It’s funny because when I started this Paleo/Primal (wheat/grain free) back in the summer, my husband hated me for changing our diet. He hated eating wheat free. He hated all the things he saw as limitations and complained about it ALL THE TIME.

It made sticking to the plan so much more difficult for me. But now he is the one who keeps asking if I’m ready to go back to eating Primal/Wheat Free because it made him feel so much better. Now we laugh after he gives in and eats a biscuit or something at breakfast because he is SO reactive to it – gets stuffy almost immediately. He wonders how he never noticed before (despite my constant attempts of explaining my theory!).

Amazing how much we don’t listen to our bodies even when we have pretty strong reactions to foods/drinks that we have on a regular basis. So this next week or so will be interesting to see how my body reacts to changing up my diet and getting back on track with eating good for me foods!

Of course, I’ll keep you posted.

 

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Daydreams & Dentists

I started out my morning with a visit to the dentist. For some reason, I have memories of my dentist appointments taking basically a lifetime. But maybe it was just a case of “kid-clock” and 30 minutes felt like an hour. Or maybe my dentist office is just super speedy. OR (and most likely) I’m not a whiny kid complaining the whole time slowing down the process. Anyway, I always play this game with myself when I got to the dentist or to get my oil changed and I thought I’d share it with you. So because when you go to the dentist regularly, they schedule you for your next appointment 6 months out. It always feels so crazy to me to schedule something that far in advance, but I know I’m way more likely to keep my appointment if I just go ahead and put it on the old calendar. While you usually don’t make appointments to get your oil changed, I always pay attention to when they estimate I’ll be due to come back.

For both these occasions, I always end up thinking about what will be going on in my life the next time I’m at the dentist or getting my oil changed. Since the dentist is 2x a year – it’s interesting to think about where your life may be, what will have happened by then, etc. Six months is a significant amount of time. At some of my past dentist appointments I’ve thought to myself, “oh! I’ll have started my new job by then” or “I wonder if I’ll be engaged by then?” to “I’ll be getting married that week!” I am wondering if I’m the only person out there that recalls life moments via dental appointments?

Ironically enough, when I finished at my dentist this morning and scheduled my next visit I agreed with the receptionist that May 7th sounded just fine. After all, this far in advance, I can’t imagine anything going on. As I started to walk away, I stopped in my tracks and turned back around. I looked at the receptionist and told her “I’m sorry, I don’t think that date is going to work, after all. I’m due to have a baby the week before that.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. By the time I go to the dentist the next time, I’ll have a child.

THIS IS SERIOUS, my friends.

So we scheduled for later in June and my only response was, “okay – we’ll put it down, but i guess I have no idea if that will work for me.” I drove away thinking about how I would do things like “go to the dentist” with a baby. Who would take care of the baby while I went to the doc? Do you bring the baby with you to doctor appointments? I was trying to recall all the times I’veย  been at the dentist and trying to remember if anyone ever brought their baby. I have no clue. Is there a guidebook out there called “Where you can bring your baby etiquette?” Apparently I’ll need this.

Everything is going to change. I know this. I knew that before we even decided we wanted to try and have a baby. It’s just sort of frightening to have that moment of truth unexpectedly in the dentist office.

It makes me think back to what I was doing 6 months ago. It reminds me to think through the goals I’ve set for myself and see which ones are still relevant. I’m definitely in a different phase of my goal setting now since I can’t really make a goal to lose weight at this point. So maybe my goals looks different for the next 6 months than they have in the past. Maybe they are more about getting prepared, mentally and physically for this major life change. And that’s okay. Life is constant change, when we stay in the same place we become stagnant – we stop moving and things get murky and gross. So this next 6 months is all about change for me, just in a totally different way than I expected.

So I’m excited to go to the dentist in SEVEN months time and see how future Dre is doing. I’ll be a month in to the whole mommy thing and I’m pretty much expecting to fall asleep in the dentist chair. And when that day comes, it will be funny to go back and read this post and think, “man, Dre – you were so right.” ๐Ÿ™‚

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The one where I didn’t run

Today has flown by – full of appointments and even being interviewed for the student news station. Hopefully my hair looked nice ๐Ÿ™‚

Last night’s work out class was a major flop. I would compare it to a belly flop in the water since we ARE taking about a water running class. This class didn’t suck or anything – it just didn’t actually happen! For whatever reason, the instructor didn’t show. So that was disappointing – and I’ll admit that I was a bit irritated because I was already in the water and ready. Only having a swimsuit is sort of limiting when you are at the gym. I certainly wouldn’t be running barefoot around the track in my Speedo suit which looks slightly less attractive every time I put it on now that I’m gaining weight/width in the mid section.

Pretty soon I’ll need some more forgiving spandex materials than the Speedo in order to get in the water. So since i was already in the water – but didn’t want to get my hair wet (I Know! I’m in the pool – just get your hair wet! But I had to get back to our house for our neighborhoods trick-or-treating events. I certainly couldn’t be left holding all that candy in the pantry. Kids, please take it away from me!) I decided I would make up my own version of water running. I didn’t work out for the whole hour or anything because I wasn’t really sure what else I should do other than “run” from one end of the pool to the other. I did add some chin ups at the end and flutter kicks upon recommendation of the other ladies who have been to this class before. I will say that “running” the length of the pool and back is actually pretty challenging. It got my heart rate up and I could feel all the muscles in my legs working. So I am looking forward to next week when I actually have someone directing me on what I should be doing for the class. I guess my official review will have to wait a week.

In the meantime, I would like to go on record saying I am very happy to have an excuse to wear stretchy pants throughout the holiday season. This is always a trouble season for me because Iย  basically like all types of fall holiday treats and being preggers makes it even more challenging to say no thanks. The exception to fall holiday treats I love would be fruit cake. I have no idea why those things exist. Does anyone eat them? I’m not really even sure what they are made of. Ugh. If only all fall holiday treats reminded me of fruit cake, I probably wouldn’t ever gain weight during this season.

As much as I’d love to eat everything on this platter…I must be stopped!

What are some strategies you use to help avoid gaining unnecessarily weight during the holiday season? I know that being pregnant means that I am not dieting – but it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try and eat healthy and avoid bad for me things! Some things will never change!

Here are my thoughts on ways I can stay healthy during the holidays:
When attending a holiday party – bring a healthier option to the party so you know that at least one thing is not terrible for you there
Use recipes from magazines like Cooking Light to find healthier versions of my holiday favorites
Give myself the ability to indulge every now and then so I don’t binge on sweets
Share a treat instead of hording it all for myself. “Sharing it with baby” doesn’t count!

Would love to hear your tactics on saying “no thank you!”

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