Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Why Should We Have to “Have it All”

Monday, December 19th, 2016

have it allSocial media did it again. Another mama went and did something that has a lot of people armed and ready with all their judgments. A mom, ten weeks post-partum, videotaped herself working out as she went about folding cloth diaper laundry from the dryer. Diary of a Fit Mommy is known for her videos incorporating workouts into daily routines and inspires a number of other people, mostly women, to do the same.

I want to be very clear. I have nothing but love for this mama. You get yours! I work out most days of the week and have my own strategies for fitting it in. My routine is a work in progress but I think I get the sentiment behind the idea that we all have time and can find said time if we get creative and honest with ourselves and our day. I also wonder if people would have a strong response to my laundry multi-tasking—folding while talking to my hubby about our day. We are all multi-tasking.

But my first thought upon viewing this video was more of a question: Why must everything be so complex? Can we make single-tasking a fad that sticks? Perhaps the response is doing squats while stuffing cloth diapers is not a complex task. That’s true—it appears relatively easy. I just tried it myself and, yes, it’s simple enough. I’m just wondering what’s so wrong with single-tasking?

All day I’m doing five things at a time. I just want to sit and do the laundry with a show on the TV or even just in the still silence of children in bed. In some ways sitting in the quiet or watching TV still isn’t singular in focus. I might be reflecting on the day or catching up with hubby. Still, can’t I just not always be thinking and acting on the idea of “having it all?”

Lots of women all over the world don’t have it all—they don’t even have the time or resources to play around with the idea of having it all. Sometimes I think what many of us want is just a little simplicity. I am okay with a single focus even if it means I don’t have a “perfectly” slim tummy. For my own sanity I need to not always be doing, fitting everything in, and getting the most out of the day. That just feels like unnecessary pressure and anxiety.

Yet again, that’s what I’ll have to come down to, my own sanity and my own experience. We are all battling different demons; we all have different places we’re coming from and ideas of whom and how we want to be. If you’re in the mood to multi-task your way to a perkier tush while preparing diapers for your baby’s fluffy bum I’m happy you’re finding ways to make your goals reality. I’ll be over here folding laundry and little else, except perhaps taking a sip or two of wine.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 8 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Daily Planks: Progress or Falling Flat?

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

3-=day plank challengeThe 30-day Plank Challenge: have a stronger core, relieve back pain, and flatten your tummy in just 30 days! I totally signed on for this one. Before the plank challenge, it was the 30-day Squat Challenge, where the number of air squats done increased each day for a month, and at the end, you are rewarded with a really nice hiney. So I hear.

I’ve never actually finished one of these. I’m not sure why. They take such a tiny bite out of a day, and you can do planks, or squats, just about anywhere. These challenges could be an easy way to build fitness into my everyday routine, and as a side benefit, demonstrate for my kids the importance of physical fitness and exercise.

Here’s how the plank challenge went for me:

Day 1: Forgot to start on day one, remembered on day three.

Day 3 1: Goal: 20 seconds. Actual: I’m a superstar, I don’t need to start with 20 … I’ll do 30 seconds. Last 9 ½ seconds spent regretting that decision.

Day 2: Remember to plank right before bed. Husband sends eye-rolls my way as I plank 30 seconds before climbing into bed.

Day 3: What is it with day three? It’s jinxed, I say. Forgot to plank. Will make up for it tomorrow.

Day 4: OK, 45 seconds, done and done. Feel like I really have my life together. Then I remember I was supposed to add on yesterday’s forgotten seconds as well.

Day 5: Start planned 45-second plank, get called away by screaming kids. Never make it back to finish.

Day 6: There was no day six. Or seven. I like to say that I’m such an advanced planker (is that even a word?), that I finished the 30-day plank challenge in five days. But the reality is, I want to succeed and add this into my daily routine, and so far have not been successful. Years of momming, not to mention running, have done a number on my back and abs. (Note to non-runners: it’s true, running is just terrible for you. Just kidding! You should join a running club!)

For those of you that have been successful with a 30-day challenge, what are some tips that can help the quitters of the world (me) stick with the challenge?

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to three little boys. She stays sane by running. And her back hurtssssssss.

Finding Time to Work Out

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

finding time to work outYou’re busy. I know. But you hear the voice in the back of your head. Maybe it talks about the clothes that are snug or don’t fit since having babes. It reminds you that you want to be a healthy example for your children. The voice tells you how tired it is, that you need to get some energy in your life. Yet time is always out of reach. This is true for any caregiver whether with one child or four, whether you have a partner or not. We each have particular challenges that make fitting in a workout very difficult sometimes. If you’re convinced you just don’t have the time, consider your situation and see if a few of the following could create time in your day to break a sweat.

Cut something else. For example, take the Facebook app off your phone so you are less tempted to scroll after everyone is asleep and instead put on your sneakers or get some rest so you can wake up a few minutes earlier. Maybe you like waking up slowly in the morning, requiring an extra 15 minutes. Several times a week, take a deep breath and just get moving, literally.

Add an app. Perhaps it’s a nutrition app. Maybe you already have a workout app through your favorite online program or smart watch technology. Update it during that minute you have at lunch or while nursing the babe to sleep. Tracking may offer you incentive. Or add a reward of something special when you reach certain milestones, like a target number of workouts, minutes of workouts, inches lost, pounds lost, and so forth.

Get some accountability. Turns out when people expect me to check in I am more likely to magically find time in my schedule. Accountability offers motive and incentive for me to create time in my day. Try joining a group of friends or even strangers. If you’re in a mom sort of group I am almost entirely sure you could ask and suddenly other moms you know will appear to jump on board or invite you to their group.

Adjust what you consider working out. It doesn’t require fancy weights, a high-profile coach, or an expensive jogging stroller. Use your body weight and take advantage of at-your-fingertip resources like the endless variety of free YouTube videos. Many magazines (like Runner’s World) or organizations (like Yoga International) have free access to many videos with their knowledgeable teachers and leaders. Start small, like with a plank challenge—anyone has time for 2 minutes a day, and a strong core can make other types of exercise easier.

Include the kids! Run around with them, let them climb on you, or encourage them to follow along. You don’t have to find time without them if you include them. This is especially great for caregivers who are with their young children all day but can’t find time alone or those who don’t want to spend what little free time they have at the gym in the evenings after work. This encourages them also to get up and get moving, and may inspire new behaviors and bonds in your family over the years.

At home the kids know I have a workout time. Immediately your preschooler will need you like never before, but stick to your guns so you can firm up your guns! My infant likes to sit in her high chair with a snack and watch the entertainment that is her mother trying any variety of workout moves. She offers inspiration for me to be a great example and I take heart in knowing she won’t remember any of the silly faces I make in pure determination. My preschool-aged sons play with Legos or sometimes join in—as long as they give me enough space to exercise safely.

…Or Set the kids aside.  Sometimes knowing you’ll have kid-free time can motivate you to get out there and get moving. Ask your partner to take over some of the morning or bedtime routine so that you can work on being healthy. Whether you walk, run, or ride, an hour away from the house can be a great way to catch up on the news, a favorite podcast, or audiobook, and being able to keep up with our grown-up interests helps us all feel a little more human.

Break it up. You don’t need to pour sweat for 60 minutes to get in a workout. Ten minutes here and there of getting your heart rate up is a workout! Or, for a SAHM like me, I can manage to find 30 minutes in my day but that takes effort. Sometimes that means 25 minutes of workout and 5 minutes of stopping to redirect my children in some way. I use that half hour and then shower later as I find another free five or ten minutes.

Cut out other time related to working out. Perhaps the time to wash and fix your hair cuts down on your enthusiasm to work out. Throw your hair back in a ponytail a couple days a week or find online tutorials on cute simple wash-and-go hairstyles. Perhaps the travel time to and from the gym is stopping you. Cut it out by finding online videos or body-weight exercises you can do at home.

Consider the gym. Many say it’s not worth the cash. I say it depends. We did not have the extra cash for a gym membership until it became important enough that I was willing to cut other things in our budget. The stars aligned for me when a third child made any childcare too expensive; my interest in getting back to great health increased; and a gym that includes childcare opened nearby. Now it’s a win/win/win—a 90 minute reprieve from the kiddos several times a week, the opportunity to get in workouts, and child-free showers! Look at your budget, local options, and find if health can get a line in your budget.

IMPORTANT: Moms who are nursing must find time to shower and change after every workout! Staying in that sports bra increases risk for mastitis, clogged ducts, and yeast infections. If you don’t have time for a full shower, wipe your breasts with a baby wipe after and change bras at the very least. Never re-wear your sports bras without washing them.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Tags: infant, toddler, preschooler, parenting, health, exercise, schedule

When You Haven’t Lost the Baby Weight

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

When baby comes and you find yourself still struggling with your weight, here are a few things to consider.You find out you’re expecting and it is so exciting. That moment finally comes when you can wear the stretchy, maternity pants and the loose-fitting shirts. I don’t know about you, but I love the moment when I can finally ditch the jeans with zippers. You go through your pregnancy and have your little miracle baby, and then there is this saggy belly instead of this cute, hard belly.

All of us women have different bodies. We are different sizes and shapes. According to the American Pregnancy Association, these are guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy:

  • Women with a BMI (body mass index) of 18.5-24.9 should gain 25-35 pounds.
  • Women who are considered underweight with a BMI of less than 18.5 should gain 28-40 pounds.
  • Overweight women with a BMI of 25-29 should gain 15-25 pounds.
  • Women who are considered obese should gain 11-20 pounds if their BMI is over 30.

Now we don’t always fit into this magical category. For me, my BMI was around 19 pre-pregnancy and I have gained around 40 pounds with each pregnancy. This time around, I am well on my way.

When baby comes and you find yourself still struggling with your weight, here are a few things to consider.

  1. It takes time. It took you 9 months to gain the weight, so don’t expect it to fall off automatically. With my previous pregnancies, I lost all of my weight except the last 10 pounds easily. Those last 10 pounds were a struggle. I tried Weight Watchers, exercising regularly, and tried to count calories. I can tell you that before each of my three pregnancies, my weight has been within 5 pounds of where it was before. So, don’t stress momma. It will come off.
  2. Nursing helps. If you do decide to nurse your baby, breastfeeding will help your weight come off. One study done by the Danish National Birth Cohort showed that women who breastfeed are more likely to lose all of their baby weight within the first 6 months. As a mom who has nursed both of my babies over a year, let me tell you this wasn’t true for me. It did make me more health conscious, however. I was more aware of what I was eating, since in turn my little one was also getting what I was.
  3. Embrace your new body. Postpartum bodies are beautiful bodies, but even at the same weight, they won’t be the same body you had before. So, embrace your new body. Maybe you have a bigger bust or a booty you never had? It’s okay to not be the same. Treat yourself to some new clothes if you can. Remember, it’s probably been a year or more since you bought non-pregnancy or postpartum clothing. Changing styles can make as big an impact as a changing body.

Get creative with exercise post-baby. There are classes you can take and exercises you can find online that will help you get moving, and will also help you mentally as you recover from pregnancy and birth. Even just going for stroller walks can help. Use this new little person as a reason to get yourself healthy. Try new recipes, find new kid-friendly foods.

Take care of your emotional health, too. Find mom friends, get breaks for yourself, and find a hobby you love. Even if it just means watching Netflix alone after everyone is asleep, take the time to do something that makes you happy.

The weight will eventually come off, and if you’re like me, you may be pregnant again before you know it. You are perfect just the way you are momma, and now you have a little miracle. That’s totally worth the weight!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Arkansas. She needs to remember her giant baby bump is a blessing, not a burden.

Baby and Me Yoga

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

IMG_5324When my daughter was first born and I was working full time I was constantly looking for things we could do together that would help us bond. We experimented with lots of classes and yoga was one of them. There are a few different types of yoga, starting with Baby and me for non-crawling babies and then as they get older there are plenty of yoga classes you can do together and then for older kids there are also great ones, like imagination yoga, which my now 5-year-old daughter loves!

I’ll admit that my favorite things about doing yoga with your child is that it’s all about multitasking. You get a workout and relaxation in, you get some amazing bonding time and you learn great tools to help calm yourself and your baby down. Perfect!

Yoga is a great way to ease back into exercising after having a baby and it may even help you deal with the stress of becoming a parent. Few things are more stressful and confusing than having a baby so think of it as a time to help calm your jitters and relieve some stress.  Traditional yoga poses are modified so that you can hold your baby throughout the poses so you can maximize bonding time.

Those benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. Yoga offers almost as many benefits for babies as it does for adults. Every part of the baby’s system is stimulated including their digestive system, which translates into helping with colic or other digestive issues. It also helps them feel more calm and restful and can be a great tool to help babies sleep better – especially if that’s an area they are struggling with.

There are so many different places to find a good class. I recommend starting with your local yoga studio. If they don’t offer one they might be able to point you in the right direction or even be willing to put a class together for you. As your child gets older you can incorporate more yoga poses through DVDs or even yoga books – some focus on relaxing poses to help relax before bedtime.

Take the time to experiment and see what works best for you and your child and enjoy your bonding time!

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their groove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.