Undereating… The new way for gaining weight

As a health coach a major problem that we see and try to combat in America is the obesity “trend” from our fast food nation. However, there is another rapidly climbing epidemic that I am seeing more and more.

Undereating in active women.

This is the case of many of my recent clients. You come to me,  finally frustrated because you simply aren’t getting the results that you are looking for in the gym. You’re busting your A** and still not feeling toned. And you want my help, thinking that I will tell you to put down the fork and sip some water… And your jaw drops when I tell you to EAT MORE!!!

Well guess what… You’re not alone. Oxygen magazine reported that up to 50% of active women are under nourished (FIFTY PERCENT)!! While in a recent survey by SELF magazine identified that 65% of their readers can be categorized as having **disordered eating patterns. And it’s no wonder. Obviously TV, magazines, and other media have been a major target for creating body image problems, but I can’t even head to the Health and Fitness category in Pinterest without being hit with unrealistic pictures of women in fitness. I literally had to boycott Pinterest for a while because I could see it creating unhealthy thoughts as I am trying to lose my weight in a healthy way and continue to love my body through the process.

I am not writing this post to continue to bash on women (because when we discredit those with great genetics or pick on those that have made the choice to enhance their looks, we are women bashing again…), or even to get into a tirade about body image in America (because I easily could) but rather to point out that you might not even realize that this is happening to you and isn’t healthy for you (mentally and physically), and most importantly, keeping you further from your goals.

Whether your goals are to lose a little weight or to “tone up,” you still need to maintain a healthy caloric intake and no one should go below 1,200 calories. Please use this calorie calculator to help you determine how many calories you should be consuming for a weight loss program. Also note the protein grams for you. This is especially important for anyone trying to lose weight or working out hard. And if you are working out with a high intensity more than 4 hours per week, you will need to eat even more than the number. (Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions).

So please, join me! Pick UP the fork and grab another serving. Because if you are eating clean, nutrient-dense foods, you just might need to eat more of them.

And can I get an AMEN to that!

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** “Disordered eating can be classified as eating habits that women think are normal- such as banishing carbs, skipping meals and, in some cases, even dieting itself.” ~ SELF Magazine

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Fit (Breastfeeding) Momma Nutrition Plan

Hey Moms!

I’m super flattered by all of the questions about pre and post natal nutrition. Remember, I’m not a doctor and not nutritionist, I’m an Herbalife health coach and a healthy momma with results. So with that, I am happy to share my current “shred” (LOL) plan!

One of the biggest myths out there is that you can’t exercise or try to lose weight while breastfeeding. That is 100% false. What you don’t want to do is consume less calories than your metabolism (the calories that support your day to day functioning). I used this awesome calorie calculator for breastfeeding moms. If you don’t eat enough one of two things will happen: 1) Your milk supply will dry up, 2) You won’t lose weight.

My initial struggle was eating enough clean foods. I was coming up about 300 calories short each day, by focusing on 3 meals and 2 snacks. So what has become easier for me is focusing on the six small meals. It doesn’t really matter what you call it as long as you get those in.

**note** On Mexican or pizza night, 2 shakes, and 2 snacks + your indulgent plate of heaven will suffice.

I eat every 2-3 hours and drink water all day. Here’s a little sample:

Meal 1: Hot oatmeal with 2 scoops of Herbalife Formula 1, 1/2C of berries, Herbalife hot Green Tea, and warm water with lemon (this meal pretty much NEVER changes because it has everything I need, it’s warm, it’s easy, and keeps me full. Come Spring/Summer this will probably be a shake, but in the winter I like a warm breakfast).

Meal 2: 2-3 Egg whites, rice cake and some berries -OR- if I worked out I will have a Rebuild Strength and a banana

Meal 3: Shake! Herbalife Formula 1 with 2 scoops of Protein Drink Mix and Prolessa Duo

Meal 4: Garden salad with spinach, romaine, carrots, tomato, tuna and vinaigrette dressing and tea

Meal 5: Chicken, sweet potato and garden salad or other vegetable

Meal 6: Beverage Mix and Active Fiber Complex

Fit Momma Flyer.001I currently workout 2-4x per week, consisting of one 90-minute Vinyasa yoga class, one intense athletic workout, one Fit Momma Camp and then potentially 1 more of any of the previous (but let’s be honest… that’s actually rare).

Additional Vitamins and Supplements that I take:

Cellular Nutrition

Weight Management

Heart Health, Brain Development and Joints

Probiotics and Immune Health

Bones and Calcium for Breastfeeding

Sore muscles from working out, shoulders and back from breastfeeding, and recovering hips from labor

I think the name says it all…

(This program may not be for everyone but I feel AMAZING, even on 6 broken hours of sleep).

The moral of the story is that you can be a FIT MOMMA! With support, nutrient-dense foods, and the right tools!

IMG_2418Part of my job is to meet 10 new, extraordinary people everyday. Simple and Awesome. Sometimes I will meet these people through social media, other times while I am working out, and then others while I am just running errands and doing my day. As a new momma, doing my day can sometimes get condensed or cutout. But today, I set out with intention to go run some errands with L. The intention: fabulous. The execution: less than fabulous.

I think the second reason that parenting is one of the most challenging jobs in the world is because you have NO idea what you’re doing. There is no confirmation of what is right or wrong. You consult 15 people and you will get 15 different answers. All you have is your intuition. I’m currently reading the book, Blink, right now and while intuition can be spot on, it can also be questionnable when the only thing to confirm if you’re getting it right or getting it wrong is a happy baby or a crying baby. When you state it that simply, the answer seems clear, but even then, we question ourselves.

I might have the coolest kid on the planet. She’s adorable. Smart. Playful. Funny. She likes social settings and new people. She’s easygoing as long as she doesn’t have crap in her pants or is hungry (are you easygoing with crap in your pants?). Buuuuuuut, at 3 months old, she refuses to sleep if you aren’t near her. I don’t know how she knows, but she does. She can be in the deepest siesta and you will put her down and her eyes will pop open. So, for now, she sleeps with us, and naps are best if she’s held. And if this happens, she’s a dream sleeper! But  sleep being one of the most controversial and opinionated baby topics leaves you open to question, doubt, and criticism… So I question myself constantly, look for other solutions (try them. Fail.). Then if you consult anyone. Oh lord. Just don’t consult anyone. At least not anyone you know. If they don’t have kids, they might think the solution is way easier (I definitely did pre-baby). If they have kids and have an easy sleeper, then you are a failure. Or they don’t have an easy sleeper and you feel somewhat relieved but then they must be doing something wrong. Then there’s the “experts.” And everyone thinks that you are an overprotective parent that just needs to put the kid down.

So today, I did. I went against my gut. Decided to head out during naptime, let her sleep while driving. We don’t really have a hard and fast schedule yet anyway. It’ll be ok. Big Mistake. My sweet little angel was mortified. It was as if I betrayed her and let her sleep outside in the rain, never to return. Tears, wails, and heaving sighs. We didn’t make it out the front door.

And while many will be reading this, judging, thinking that they may know best. They simply don’t. Because in reality, no one understands my baby, knows her cues, can read her emotions, recognize her signs that she is ready for the next big girl step better than I can. According to my daughter, we have an agreement. I nurse her and snuggle her during naptime. I used to snuggle her for all of naptime. These days, she understands that we snuggle most of naptime, but that she can also finish out 30 minutes or so in her rock’n’play. This is what we’ve worked toward and she’s cool with it. And at some point, when she gives me a sign that she is ready for the next step, we will make another agreement. She might get scared. She might feel unsure. But, I will validate her and support her, even challenge her when appropriate.  No sneak attacks. No manipulation. No pulling the wool over her eyes. That’s just not how we do things.

And I will learn to trust my instinct and forget the naysayers.

So for now, I will finish my workday meeting 5 more extraordinary people via social media. Maybe it will be you. Or maybe you might want to introduce me to someone new.

Pregnancy Must Reads

Like I’ve mentioned, I’m an avid reader and researcher. I love finding out as much information on one topic as possible, taking what applies to me to find the best formula. I’ve read, flipped through and scoured books, and searched blogs and reviews.  These were my favorite reads during pregnancy to help me navigate everything from symptoms to moods to baby gear and most important, parenting.

Favorite Blogs and Websites

Baby Center: This was my favorite go-to for the week-by-week fetal growth and progression. There are many but this is the one that I chose. I also found it the most helpful for community questions and reviews. It was just easiest to scroll through and navigate. There are also some decent less biased articles for your basic baby info, like sleeping, nutrition, pregnancy symptoms, etc.

Fit Pregnancy: The meat of this website is less substantial, but I enjoy the health perspective. There are simple exercise routines, easy recipe ideas, and sometimes their product reviews are good. It gave me a framework to go from.

Dear Baby Blog: I didn’t get into this until late in pregnancy but enjoyed this light read. The writer is local, so the Raleigh references are fun. Her writing is very poetic and makes a great read to relax before bed. Her perspective is romantic and whimsical but also centered and grateful for the moment.

Amazon: I was never an amazon junkie before getting pregnant but since fell in love. You can’t beat the prices or selection. The reviews are abundant (and usually pretty inline with the rest of the reviews out there when you cross compare), and for a busy mom-to-be like me, I simply didn’t have time to drive all over town to research products and selection (which seems pretty poor where I live) and I refuse to settle on quality, especially when it comes to products made with harsh or dangerous ingredients. My registry was held exclusively on Amazon.

Favorite Books

Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives: This book by Chopra was much more my “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” It’s a holistic guide to pregnancy with a very non-scary, non-threatening, and non-judgmental voice. It has practical advice for yoga postures and exercising, as well as communication with your partner, and preparing for birth. The only portion that I didn’t completely connect with was the nutrition, but even that section was wonderful at illustrating, eat a variety of whole, nutritious foods and if you have the occasional craving, satisfy it. Zero guilt. Loved it. Probably the best part of the book was about centering yourself body, mind, and soul and visualizing your pregnancy, birth, and beyond. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in pinterest, comparisons, and worries. This book helps to keep your grounded.

Understanding Your Moods When You’re Expecting: I referenced this book in an earlier post and just really appreciated it. I know that I am not the only mom that was impacted emotionally by all of the physical changes in my body- lack of sleep, inability to complete daily tasks like I once could, having to cut back on work, and the stinkin preggo brain that just makes me feel like I am losing my mind, not to mention the cluster of hormones. All of the symptoms really made me feel less empowered, not more. This book was just a fantastic reminder of validating what’s “normal” and what might constitute the need for a little more help. The encouragement of seeking support and the guidance to create a post-natal plan (genius) were immensely helpful at calming my mind and relinquishing control.

Bringing Up Bebe: I loved this alternative perspective by Pamela Druckerman. This book was a comparison between the American and Parisian cultures on raising newborns. Now, while this book was completely generalizing the two cultures and looking at the masses, not breaking down different parenting styles, it was a general overview, which I preferred. I am not a one-size fits all, follow this manual step-by-step, subscribe to this parenting style completely, kinda woman. I never have been. So similarly, I didn’t subscribe to everything in this book (i.e breastfeeding, or lack thereof), but what I did like was her take on learning how to become in tune with your baby so that you aren’t looking to a book to read his/her emotions, and being fully attentive to your child, when appropriate. I am a big believer that this is how to get your baby to sleep and behave through toddler years, which this book is advocating. Now, I am still a naive pregnant person, so we may revise this after Baby L gets here.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting: I know, I know. I just about lost ALL credibility by listing this one. And for the most part, I hated it (to be totally honest, I didn’t even finish it), but the only section that I really liked was the nutrition. For a junkie like me, it was great to see which essential vitamins you need to bump up in your diet. I hear there is just a nutrition version, which may be more beneficial to check out. But I cannot stress the importance of good nutrition while you’re expecting. I completely give all credit to my nutrition and health (before and during pregnancy) for the abundance of sweet compliments I have received.

The Book of Nurturing: This book isn’t a pregnancy book per se, but much more of a personal development read in regards to family and parenting. Again, this helps to keep life into perspective beyond sore nipples and exhaustion from sleep schedules. It helps you to be in tune with your family, keep communication open, love, protect, and nurture, but know when to let go and let growth happen. I think these principles are so key for new parents to remember so your start good habits early.

Other Good Reads

SleepI read a number of books on sleep including Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley and The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karpp. The most humorous part about all three of these reads were how redundant they were. They were definitely written with sleep-deprived parents in mind reiterating the same principles. I initially found it annoying but could appreciate the tactics and began to skim through them. The techniques in Happiest Baby were helpful and I appreciated the principles in No-Cry Sleep Solution. Having a toolbox of tricks is essential, but I am a big believer of going into this with a rough draft and a lot of room to edit your plan.

Breastfeeding: I really enjoyed So That’s What They’re For, by Janet Tamaro. It was well-writtten and very funny (but not in the brash humor that so many pregnancy and parenting books are written in these days). This book would have made my Top Reads list until I went to my breastfeeding class and realized how much this book frightened me with the long list of what-could-go-wrongs.  My class seemed to simplify things more and return the confidence that I think you need to get the job done. However, still highly recommended for any mom that is wavering a bit about breastfeeding, or with no breastfeeding mentor (my mom didn’t breastfeed), simply to strengthen your conviction in the health benefits for your child.

Vaccines:  Touchy subject, I know. But with all of the hype out there, you owe it to yourself to be equipped. I thought my opinion on this topic was one way, went through it very confused, and came out with a better, more confident decision. An unbiased book that just gives you the facts is The Vaccine Book by Robert Sears. I often found myself just wanting the author to tell me what to do but after careful reading, note-taking, and conversations with my husband, we are on the same page. It might be more homework than you want to do, but again, with the controversy, you might just want to feel as educated as you can so if anything arises, you felt you made the best decision possible.

At the end of the day, or your pregnancy, you may not be a big reader. That may work for you. But I think the goal of every parent is to become better everyday. Work on yourself, your relationships, communication, and your ability to be open and learn along the way. Maybe that’s through books for some and mentors for others. But knowing that we are all going to make mistakes and learn from each one of them will make us all a little bit better and hopefully let go of some of this infamous parent guilt.

Food Prep Sunday

One of the biggest pointers that I can give anyone who is trying to establish a healthy eating routine is to plan! Unless you have a lot of time to designate to prepping and cooking meals, then you are like the rest of the 98% of us who are busy! We work, have errands, kids, spouses, friends to attend to and don’t have a whole lotta time to spend in the kitchen each day. I think where many of us fail is in our intention vs. our reality. We want so badly to have a lot of time for the Farmer’s Market, then prepping a healthy, organic meal for all 21 meals that we consume each week. But in reality, that might happen once (if we’re lucky) and then we spend he rest of the week scourging for what’s convenient… and that might not always be healthy.

Here are just a few of my tips that are successful for our life.

  1. Shopping. I shop once a week, creating my staples, a few meals for specialty ingredients, and snacks that are convenient. I hit Costco once or twice per month which is my favorite money saving tool. This is where we get all of our meat and most of our dry goods and produce. For produce, you get about twice as much for the same price as the grocery store! We save on our meats, buying organic chicken, free-range beef (when we buy it), and wild salmon.  Freeze most or prepare the fresh fish for the week. We also stock up on our dry goods for the month- quinoa, rice, beans, and oatmeal. In between our Costco weeks, I’ll hit Trader Joe’s or the Farmer’s Market for fresh produce.
  2. Prep in advance. Sometimes I am able to do a lot of this and sometimes very little. Anything you can do to prep foods in advance will save you time and money. Some simple things that I like to do are chop my veggies, boil some eggs, portion out snacks, grill meats, make a pot of grains. If I am able to do all of them, like I was this past weekend, then I will portion them out into containers for convenient lunches and dinners for my husband and me. If I’m not able to prep full meals, then at least we have some easy grab and go snacks and pieces to put together salads and meals.
  3. Make breakfast simple. Start with a shake everyday and that will eliminate 7 meals that you have to think about! It’s simple to keep smoothie adds on hand. Some frozen fruit, some milk, and breakfast is done!
  4. Snacks are crucial. Don’t forget to have a lot of easy, high protein snacks on hand. Hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts or trail mix, protein bars, and cottage cheese are some of our favorites. It’s so easy to grab these with a piece of fruit and call it done.
  5. Don’t buy crap. Just don’t even bring it into the house. Then there are no excuses. If your kitchen is packed with nutritious and convenient options then you won’t be as tempted by the crap!

Body After Baby and Why I am Getting in the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE

If you have read any of my recent posts, you may already be familiar that I have not been one of those women who have adored pregnancy. I wanted to be. Really I did. I thought I would be. And I have my moments, like when she is moving around, that I think this is pretty, freakin cool. I’m grateful for the opportunity to bond and connect with her before she arrives. But at the end of the day, you could say, I’m Over Being Pregnant.

I have been a long time advocate and professional in women’s health. I am all about empowering women through health and wellness. How we portray that can be tricky. When you slam pictures up on the internet, it can easily be taken two ways: motivating for some and self-depricating for others, usually more of the latter, especially if we don’t know where or how to start. Approaching health and fitness for women has to be done with care and precaution. I never want to alienate anyone… especially a new mom. We are going through enough as it is.

However, I will be quite clear: I don’t buy into women’s (or anyone’s) excuses to be overweight. Yes, genetics plays a role in our size. No, we do not all need to be a size 6 or smaller. However, embracing obesity (defined by the CDC as 30 lbs overweight or more) is unacceptable to me. When you embrace obesity, you are actually hurting yourself, your culture, and your gender. The health problems associated with obesity are insurmountable and this is the first generation where parents are predicted to outlive their children. NO THANK YOU!! When we embrace being overweight, we excuse ourselves from changing and that’s the message that we pass on to our children.

I don’t always vocalize this opinion loudly, because while obesity runs in my family (and I have lost family members to obesity), I, myself have never been obese. Even when I was carrying my extra weight, I was still in a healthy BMI and weight. So, I am fully aware that my statement above may seem like I lack empathy, but it lacks no more empathy than if I were to be ok with the other side of my family getting away with alcoholism because they are Irish.

For me, pregnancy has been very eye opening as to what carrying extra weight is like. While, I know I am growing a baby (which is awesome), it is still extra weight on my body. At my last weigh-in I had gained 29 lbs in 7 months and I weigh more than I ever have. That’s a lot of new weight for my body to adjust to. So, it’s no wonder that I have been tired, stiff, achy joints and muscles, back pain, hip pain, and S L O W. I actually have to contemplate things like how to get off of the couch, how to tie my shoes, or climb a few flights of stairs.

So here is why I have decided that I vow to get into the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE: Because I refuse to live my life that way. I refuse for my daughter to grow up with a mom that can’t run and play with her. I have taken advantage of my health many times. As a child, I was small, weak and unathletic. It didn’t bother me because I was skinny. Then in college, I started to work out. I felt stronger. I was no longer the weakling and I liked it. Working out empowered me. Then I became very comfortable with a maintenance level. Maybe we call it complacency, or maybe we just call it a shift in priorities at the time. My health and weight were good. I worked out. I was content. But now, after a glimpse of a life that is slower, more lethargic, heavier, I don’t want to take advantage of my opportunity to be in my best shape possible. I want to be the best me, not just for me, but for my daughter; for my family.

The life that I envision for my family is active! It includes Sunday hikes with the dogs, surfing and adventure sports, walking through cities as we explore, running and chasing each other at the park, Family 5Ks, lots of lessons in nutrition and cooking healthy foods together, and endurance through the days.

So if my body changes after this awesome baby or the next one through stretch marks or sagging boobs, so be it. But I refuse to excuse the baby weight and let it slow me down. Because the extra weight that we carry isn’t just in our bodies, it’s in our minds. And I have way too many other important things to worry about than my own self-guilt or body image. It’s just not worth it.

Let’s Document the Journey… Stay tuned…

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Favorite Smoothies… YUM!

I see so many smoothie recipes out there these days. It’s a popular, yet sensible thing to do. Grind all of your goodness up and take it on the go. I love it! The one ingredient that many people neglect in a smoothie is the protein. A key element! There is a lot of debate out there on how much protein one needs. Most experts will agree that 10-35% percent of our daily calories should come from protein, but that is a pretty big margin. How do you determine if you are ok at 10 or should be getting closer to 35? Protein does 3 things for the body:

  1. Boosts Your metabolism
  2. Helps with appetite control
  3. Assists in building lean muscle

So essentially if you are looking to burn fat, lose weight, or build muscle then you probably should be hitting the higher end of that recommendation.

The other concern with smoothies is that often times they have too many calories and too much sugar for the average American. So even if you are putting yummy, nutritional goodness into your smoothie, you must be careful that you haven’t built yourself a 700 calorie breakfast (unless you are trying to gain weight), or doused yourself in sugars (which will turn to fat).

Here are a couple of my absolute FAVORITE Healthy, High Protein, Calorie/Sugar Controlled Smoothies. In each smoothie, I start off with one serving of Herbalife Formula 1. It is a Healthy Meal, complete with heart-healthy veggie protein, fiber, and 19 essential vitamins and minerals. From there, every additional ingredient is bonus healthy!

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

Blueberry-Kale Mega Antioxidant

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Banana Bread

Sweet Heaven

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