Thursday, January 22, 2009

Keep On Rockin' Me, Baby

No, this is not an homage to my favorite Space Cowboy.  Or Gangster of Love.  Or Maurice.  (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you are obviously much younger than I am!)  This post is about yet another way you can incorporate moving your body while taking care of your kids.  As the Momma of a 7 week old baby, I frequently find myself rocking or swaying in some manner to soothe him.  And in the process, I have found a killer ab workout!  

Long story short, Piglet is sleeping in our room, in the bassinet, where we have a chaise lounge - as opposed to the nursery, with the crib, and rocking chair.  And it is not easy to rock in a straight-backed chaise lounge!  So I have taken to sitting on the edge of my bed, with feet up resting on the lounge, and rocking my body back and forth while holding Piglet.  Keeping my back straight and abs firm, I can knock out a pretty decent ab workout, while soothing my little one!  And this works on any flat surface, really.  I sat on the edge of the coffee table and accomplished the same thing.  

Also, there's the swaying (if you are familiar with Happiest Baby on the Block, you know what I'm talking about!).  With baby swaddled and nestled in my arms, I can sway back and forth, easing his fussiness.  If I tighten my legs and buns, along with firm abs, I turn this Momma and Baby time into another mini workout.  

And while I can't be sure, I swear that the more I hold my growing bundle of joy, the firmer my arms will be!  Is it me, or do your biceps and forearms start to burn after awhile?  Let's go with the positive thinking on this, and say "Yes!"

Anyone else have any other Rockin' Baby moves? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration...and Your Health?

What the heck does today's inauguration have to do with your personal health?  Well, stop and listen for a second.  Do you hear that?  The buzz?  It's the buzz of hope and inspiration, the buzz of what is possible in the new world today.  Whether you voted for the guy or not, the election of the first black man in our nation's history is a monumental moment (and really, he's only considered black because he's not 100% white!).  We are still a segregated people, though now it's by choice and not law - how many times do I have to hear from my fellow suburban moms that they don't like going a certain place because it's so "dark?"  

What today shows us is that anything is, in fact, possible.  People who have never cared about the political process are feeling the call to action, reaching out in their communities, to their friends, their families and asking - how can I help you?  We are in this together.  No one man can do much to change - it's the inspiration he gives others to make their own changes.  

And inspiration and hope and feelings of the general good are without a doubt essential to your overall health.  You can be fit as a fiddle, eat perfectly 100% of the time, but if you are filled with hatred or despair, you have a long way to go before you can consider yourself fit and healthy.  Your health is the sum of your body and your mind - so feed your mind today and feel the hope and inspiration buzzing around this country.  

Figure out what inspires you - what can You do to make yourself, your family, your community a better place.  It can be as simple as putting on a smile and being respectful and kind to your neighbors at the grocery store.  Write a letter to one of our troops serving overseas.  Clean out a bedroom or a closet and donate those items to your local church or Goodwill.  Find your favorite charity, give them a call, and find out how you can volunteer - in time or money or both!  There are any number of things that you can do, and all of them will feed your mental health.

This is a new day, indeed.  Get out and make your mark Today!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Working Out However You Can

The past week has shown me that working out as a new mom is next to impossible.  So I've been redefining what a workout is!

Let's see....
I took extra time to walk up and down the steps to the laundry room, squeezing buns and abs one trip, running up the next time.
I did jumping jacks in the kitchen as I was making dinner.
I got the soccer ball out with my 2 year old and kicked it around the yard for about 30 minutes while it was semi-warm over the weekend.  
I lifted my newborn up and down over my head.

No actual workouts - between sleepless nights, feedings every 3 hours, running after (and trying to control) a two year old, those don't really seem to fit in right now!  But every little bit helps, right?!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More is Not Always Better

Every blue moon, I catch The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, and this week, I caught a segment on dieting.  Mike and Juliet reported that on Monday, the National Center for Health released new numbers on the health of Americans, and the numbers are not good!

There are now more obese people in this country than there are just plain overweight people!  Yikes!!  34% of the population is obese - that's 72 million obese people in this country!  Overweight people make up 33% of Americans, and 33% are of average/normal body mass.  Isn't it amazing how a society as obsessed with looking good can be so freakin' fat?  

So what makes you obese versus overweight?  Your Body Mass Index - take your weight, divide by your height and square it.  25-30 means you're simply overweight, while 30 and above means you're obese.  Very simply, it's all about how much fat you have.  Do keep in mind that it is only one number to look at - it's possible that body builders and other muscular athletes might be labeled overweight by their BMI (muscle does weight more than fat).  And BMI does not factor in is where your fat is - belly fat is much more dangerous than the awesome butt/hip/thigh fat I have going on.  Tis better to be a pear than an apple!

All kidding aside, keep in mind the higher your number, the higher your risk for health problems, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  Because it's not just about lookin' cute in a bikini this summer.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Do the GOOP with Gwyneth

I recently came across a pretty cool, informational website and newsletter called GOOP, the brainchild of Gwyneth Paltrow, she of Shakespeare in Love and Brad Pitt fame.  (Yes, that was Snarky.)  Granted, she has access to things not available to the Average Suburban Mom like myself, and I have no idea what her tagline, "Nourish the Inner Aspect," is supposed to mean, but I find her site inspiring and she provides little nuggets of interest, such as this month's DO Newsletter.  

This little butt move from her trainer, Tracy Anderson, may very well kill you.  However, no doubt once I can muster a full round on each leg, my a$$ will be looking killer!   And isn't it nice of Gwyneth to share workout tips from a trainer-to-the-stars like Tracy, who is currently on tour with Madge (aka Esther, aka The Material Girl, aka Madonna)?

Not everything Gwyneth discusses is helpful to me, such as next week's newsletter, which promises a list of the best places to eat and stay in NYC.  Maybe we can get her to do a segment on the Lou soon.  In the meantime, I'll share newsletter segments from her that I find helpful - and I hope you enjoy the GOOP!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Post-Partum Reality: Where'd My Abs Go?

We all know that pregnancy does real doozy to women's bodies, but I learned something yesterday at the doctor's office that not only did I not know, it shocked and somewhat freaked me out!  It was my six week post-partum follow up visit, and my doc did a neat little trick to see how my stomach muscles were doing.  She had me lay down flat on the table, and she placed her fingers over the center of my abs.  She then had me lift just my head (chin to chest.)  From this, she was able to measure the space between my abs.  Because, apparently, your abs don't stretch over your belly, as I had assumed, but actually separate and go to the sides of your belly.  (Ewwww!)

So your abs have to come back together and then rebuild their strength.  And I still have three solid fingers worth of space between my ab muscles.  That translates into:  Get movin' on those sit-ups, sister!  

That does, of course, make me feel slightly better about the ginormous muffin-top I'm sporting over the top of my jeans.  And what us moms all need to remember is that the post-partum period is technically an entire year - so let's give ourselves a break all around, let our hormones get back to normal and let our bodies heal.

In the meantime...I'm all clear to begin working out again, so no excuses!  The gym will have to wait, as I'm not ready to expose my newborn to the nursery at the gym (can you say RSV, people?).  But crunches and pushups will be my new wake-up routine!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cesar Millan Whispers Subtle Truths

As I perused the Parade magazine in the Sunday paper, I came across an article written by Cesar Millan, the famed Dog Whisperer called "What Your Pet Can Teach Yo." I laughed when I read that out loud, and my 9 1/2 year old stepdaughter replied "Uh, Nothing!"  She's obviously too young to get the subtle lessons to be learned by a non-speaking four-legged, hairy being, but hopefully you all with find some insight in these lessons from your pooch.  The last one, Celebrate Every Day, is definitely my favorite!

And here is the text copied below:

The Dog Whisperer:

What Your Pet Can Teach You

By Cesar Millan
Publication Date: 01/11/2009
I am honored that so many people look to me to help them enjoy more fulfilling relationships with their dogs, but the truth is that the dogs themselves have been my teachers. The most valuable lessons I’ve received have come from animals. Here are some of the ways dogs have helped me become a better, happier, and more-balanced human being. 
Live in the moment. 
People often wonder how I get such quick results with the dogs I rehabilitate. The answer is simple: Dogs live in the moment. They don’t regret the past or worry about the future. If we can learn to appreciate and focus on what’s happening in the here and now, we’ll experience a richness of living that other members of the animal kingdom enjoy. 

Nurture a balanced life. 
I tell my clients to follow this simple rule with their dogs: Offer exercise, discipline, and affection every day. Do the same for yourself. We humans are happier if our routines include physical activity, a sense of structure, and the opportunity to give and receive love on a daily basis. 

Trust your instincts.
Animals don’t care about words. They recognize that what’s really going on in any interaction is beneath the surface. Many of us have lost touch with this all-important instinctual part of our natures. By paying attention to nonverbal cues such as body language and energy, we can learn more about our friends, our loved ones, and ourselves. 

Be direct and consistent in your communication.
Many of my clients only intermittently enforce rules, leaving their pets confused about what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. Great relationships, no matter the species, begin with clear and consistent communication. This is a lesson we should carry into other areas of our lives—with our family, our friends, and at work. Remember: We teach people how to treat us. 

Learn to listen.
Make the time to lend an ear to those you love or those who want to transform their lives. But don’t try to fix their problems, and don’t take their problems personally, either. A great leader is also a great follower and knows that everybody counts. 

Don’t hold grudges.
There’s a remarkable lack of conflict in dog packs.  That’s because members resolve the situation when disagreements arise, then move on. Imagine what our world would be like if we dealt with our conflicts before they escalated out of control. Holding onto negative feelings tends to make them multiply and prevent us from moving forward. 

Live with purpose.
When dogs are bored, they develop issues ranging from anxiety to aggression. But when given a job and a way to contribute to the pack’s well-being, they turn around almost immediately. All animals—including humans—have an inborn need to work for food and water. Ask yourself how you can contribute more to your job, your family, and the world around you. You’ll feel much better about yourself if you earn your food and water, too. 

Celebrate every day. 
For a dog, every morning is Christmas morning. Every walk is the best walk, every meal is the best meal, every game is the best game. We can learn so much by observing the way our pets rejoice in life’s simplest moments. Take time every day to celebrate the many gifts that are hidden in the ordinary events of your own life. 

Cesar Millan is the author of “A Member of the Family” and star of the National Geographic Channel’s “Dog Whisperer.”

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oprah and I are *Like This*

Who knew I had so much in common with the world's richest woman?  Much less the world's richest woman who is also a 200lb black woman from Mississippi?  I mean, on the surface, I'm just a semi-skinny, curvy, big-butted white girl from California.

But if you've been watching Oprah's Best Life Week like I have (and I suspect millions upon millions of others) this week, you've been learning what Oprah thinks we all need to live our Best Life.  And what has struck me most this week is something she said in the very first installment.  Oprah's life needs to be about Balance.

Say what?  Cuz if I'm not mistaken, that has been the ongoing theme of my personal blog for the last six months.  Family, God, personal time, kids, money, eating, weight, working out - I've been discussing the need to find the balance of all these things in my life so that I can feel content, happy, purposeful.  

And there was Oprah, the world's most famous talk show host and more, saying the same dang thing this week (something tells me I won't be getting her pay check anytime this week, tho!).  

So I plan on making Balance a main theme of this blog, and I hope it doesn't appear that I've taken that theme straight from my TV screen.  

In the meantime, think about those things that are out of balance in your life right now.  Look at it two different ways - the balance amongst the roles you play each day (mom, wife, daughter, employee, friend, for example) and the activities you spend your time doing (cleaning, writing, exercising, working, for example).  Identify at least five of YOUR roles and activities, I've just given examples.  
What do you pour most of your energy into?  
What would you like to invest more energy in?
(I got this activity from my MOPS group earlier in the fall - great idea!!)

Right now, let's just identify where our energy is, let's not worry about balancing today.  Once you see those things in your life that are sucking all your energy, then you can start to make small changes to give other areas what they need.  So let's identify first....

Anywho, I'll be back at ya in a few.  Right now, I'm typing as I eat scrambled eggs and wheat toast, with coffee (with some Nesquick and milk added.)  Pretty good, decent meal.  Even better, my 2 1/2 year old is eating it as well (well, without the coffee!), so that makes me feel good.  But I should make one confession:  A MOPS mom brought us a meal last night of a very heavy (read: fattening) broccoli, cheese, and potato soup with brownies.  Guess what my appetizer was this morning before breakfast?  Yep....brownies...  
But the soup and brownies were absolutely DeLish!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Welcome Back!

The FitMommas Blog has reopened for business!  I have been on what turned out to be a five month hiatus - not necessarily my intention, but I have good reasons...

1.  I was pregnant and have since given birth!
My second child was born December 4th, and I am just now attempting a return to normal life.  I'm not quite to the six week recovery mark, but I'm feeling good and know that it's time to ease back into my former workout/healthy eating life!

2.  2009 had more than life's usual stress.
I've had some major disappointments this past year, and one that I dealt with for a large chunk of the year just made it incredibly difficult to discuss living healthy - when I struggled from day to day to even get out of bed.  Life deals you blows, and this was one of my first.  But time to move on...

3.  Daily blogging is hard!
OK, if I was paid to sit here full time and wax poetic about living a fit and healthy life, I'd be all over it.  But my full time job is not to sit in front of the TV.  It's to raise my kids and run my house.  Coming up with thoughtful discussion on health and fitness issues when also dealing with teething toddlers, bills, laundry, etc is not nearly as easy as I expected it to be!  Surprisingly, my 2 1/2 year old son can clearly say "Mommy, off the computer!" - and since he is my boss during this time of my life, I do listen to him sometimes!

All this being said, I'm hoping to figure out how to blog somewhat regularly, as was my original intention.  I am now the stay home mom of two boys - 2 1/2 and one month old.  I'm not exactly sleeping.  Eating takes a back burner to changing diapers and wiping tears.  But...this is my life, and I can't put everything on hold "until this time passes."  Because it will always be something!

So...let's start over again.  OK, last March when I got pregnant, I was 135.5 pounds.  This morning, I weighed in at 153.  Not to sound like I'm copping out, but a week, week and a half ago, I weighed 149.5.  So I either packed on some Holiday weight, or I've got some water weight going on.  But for the same of argument, let's say my weight is what it is - 153.  Hey, all the more weight I can claim to have lost in a few months, right?

As of this morning - I have nothing.  No workout plans, no meal plan.  But I am going to slowly reintroduce daily workouts and meal planning - putting it all together here on the blog.  I have found in the past that I wait to start my plan until it's perfect, stick to it, and then let it go.  I'm going to try a different approach.  I'll work on the plan, but start today to do the little things to make that daily change.  Like the banana I'm eating right now.  ;-)

Also, along with blogging about my daily attempts at living fit and healthy, I'd love to find some other bloggers, sites, etc that I can tap into and reciprocate some postings.  I'd love to bring fresh content on a daily basis, but realized that developing fresh contact on a daily basis is an altogether different beast.  So if you find sites that you love, let me know!