Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

I consider vanity and pride as unattractive as obesity; why are they the primary motivation of diet and weight loss? Shouldn’t the focus be a healthy, long life? The irony is that in California we live amidst these polar opposites everywhere we go. In one aisle of the grocery store is the lululemon wearing gym rat buying protein powder, quinoa and waterproof mascara for her cardio days, and in the next is the 300 pound woman with a cart full of Cheetos, potato chips, and the rest of the processed food aisle. Our health should be the priority, not the way we look, yet the easiest way to conclude if someone’s “healthy” is by looking at them, right?

Not necessarily. I know so many people who are bikini ready, yet you should see the junk they put in their body. That being said, quinoa is delicious and I love me some Cheetos puffs! It’s about balance and lifestyle, not a quick fix. After gaining close to 50 pounds during my pregnancy, there is not a day that goes by that I’m not asked with shock and dismay how I look the way I do already. This is a little awkward. After getting over the awkward I figured maybe I should pass on some helpful information on what I do. I probably won’t be posting any bikini pictures for you so let me just paint a mental picture for you: I’ve been back to pre-pregnancy weight since 10 weeks postpartum; and now after only six months, with toned abs, arms, and thighs, my husband told me that this is the best shape he’s ever seen me.

I want share with you my journey of getting healthy again after having my baby boy. I am writing to help you on your journey and share some tips to encourage you that it is important to be healthy, but that doesn’t mean you have to have a six pack. In a book I’m reading it talks about how women were designed with a “padded physique” for cradling babies. What a refreshing perspective! You can eat what you want, but sometimes that means you need to change what you want. Its kind of strange too that as you make small additions of cleaner foods to your meals, the bad foods don’t sound as good. You can’t expect to be healthy eating burgers, carne asada burritos, fries, pizza, and potato chips every day, but in my opinion they each have their time and place! My husband and I are foodies, he’s a chef, ’nuff said!

Keep in mind that many studies have shown that high sodium and fatty foods are linked to anxiety, depression, and mental illness, and foods packed with Vitamins B, C, D, and E actually boost the serotonin (the happy hormone as I like to call it) in your brain and decrease stress.

Prior to getting pregnant I prided myself on eating healthy and exercising, but never being obsessive about either. I HATE diets and think extreme workouts are kind of ridiculous. Rarely do they actually produce a healthy lifestyle. Typically they result in over committing and then failing because they just aren’t feasible to maintain on a regular basis. I do admit I was a fan of P90X and got incredible, very quick results; however, the reality is I never could stick to the actual calendar, because I-have-a-life-to-live.

When I got pregnant I was determined to stay healthy and exercise so my baby would get all the nutrients he needed in utero. I had been juicing for a couple months before getting pregnant and was excited to introduce all the amazing nutrients to my baby. Then the toilet seat reality hit me smack in the face with what I call “all-day” sickness; whoever called it morning sickness was a moron, I’m just sayin’. As soon as the juicer turned on the smell of vegetables sent me running to the bathroom. No onions, no fresh vegetables, no coffee! My munchkin wanted beef and cheese. I had to start every morning with eggs and either bacon or sausage. Trust me, I tried everything, but he wanted protein protein protein!!!

I couldn’t keep a prenatal vitamin down if my life depended on it, and all it took was me trying to get off the recliner after five minutes to raise my heart rate. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t sitting around my whole pregnancy eating bon-bons watching soaps on tv. I was working on my feet up to twelve hours in a day sometimes and doing squats and labor stretches any chance I had. Nonetheless, I was sick everyday up until 23 weeks and on and off my whole pregnancy. My body ached, and all my preconceived notions on how I would do things were being thrown out the window one by one.

All these details aside, again, I gained almost 50 lbs during pregnancy. People don’t believe me because apparently being 5’9 you can’t see the extra pounds as much, but 50 lbs is 50 lbs!

So, how did I lose it?
1. Take Baby Steps:
(I am breastfeeding, which I cannot deny has helped, but lets look at some other things you can do too). After being medically cleared to exercise at six weeks I decided to just start walking. After not really exercising much in nine months I needed to start slow. What I found out quickly was by just getting out of the house for a short walk actually helped me feel better too. The postpartum emotions didn’t seem as bad and that heavy depression cloud that lingers for most moms became thinner and thinner as I got some sunlight on my face and got my body moving.
2. Use your lifestyle to your advantage:
For me it’s my baby. I turn on music. I love to dance, he loves to watch, and while he’s cracking up I’m getting cardio in (and legs and core). I have several other exercises I have created that I’ll have to share another time. You just have to find small shifts to make your daily routine more active. Maybe it’s doing sit-ups or leg lifts while you’re watching your favorite show or reading a book, doing squats while drying your hair, something, just find something that works for you.
3. Make a small food adjustment:
Add more veggies, shrink your portions a little, maybe you need to increase them, eat out one or two less meals a week. What works for you? No more excuses! We all have small shifts we can make.
4. Balance-redefined:
Whenever I’m having a really hard day, feeling exhausted or anxious, unable to figure out the source of all the frustration, it usually boils down to something in my life being out of balance. What I’m finding, is that having balance doesn’t mean equal time and energy put into everything, it means figuring out the most important things and the most necessary and putting them in order. In the past, the first thing to go was exercise time. If it wasn’t apart of my daily routine, like a dance class or walking from the parking lot to the store, as soon as life got busy, the gym or workout video seemed impossible to maintain. Living a healthy life really is this simple equation: a healthy mind means healthy body, healthy body means healthy mind. Even if its stretching (and breathing) for ten minutes before starting my day or walking around the block, moving is key. Watch and read things that are positive or inspirational. fore its a daily devotional reading and avoiding violent movies and the news. What we put in is what comes out; that applies to food too. Change to snacking on hummus and pita chips or Greek yogurt, granola, and fruit instead of chips and salsa or Cheetos. Don’t forget to spend time with friends and family in the meantime; they are key to sanity!
5.Smile:
Right now! Try it! See you feel better already, don’t you?

Well, until my munchkin’s next nap time, I hope this encourages you to make small changes to discover the healthier you!

What pointers do you have for me?

What’s your success story?

Do you have some healthy recipes to pass on?

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My new favorite: Vanilla Greek yogurt, granola, cashews, strawberries and blueberries drizzled lightly with honey- less than 250 calories, could be breakfast, snack, or dessert:)

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