WWWWHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO….

blowing-dust-off-a-bookOk. Now that we have cleared the dust off of this blog, I hope to be a special guest writer from time to time.
I started writing on this platform while I was pregnant with visions of a sleeping baby and an independently playing toddler, while mommy sits at her desk and formulates perfectly punctuated sentences that stem from clear and rational thinking. Then when the allotted time that I gave myself was up, we would return to story book time and riding our unicorn.

But, as it does, reality came. And the strongest lesson that I have learned from parenting… nothing goes the way you plan… set in and over a whole year goes by.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s been an incredible year. One filled with more personal growth than a single person can muster. Seriously faced with staring down two paths. One that sends me down the rabbit hole of mommy melodrama (I swear I am not trying to be dismissive… this sh*t is hard) or one that pushes, pulls, and stretches at every turn. I chose the latter with binoculars always eyeing the other side.

So here I am. I make no promises with the consistency of my posting, nor with the grammar that may be imposed from mommy-brain. After a bit of soul-searching from that latter path, I know a few things to be true. One of which is that I enjoy writing. I like to put my thoughts to paper and create.

And I do hope to do more of it.

Leadership Series

My life hasn’t been by chance. My hopes and dreams and work ethic weren’t genetically handed to me… well not entirely. Who I am today is because of amazing people that have come into my life, either physically or spiritually, and deeply impacted me, motivated me, and challenged me to become more. Please join me in this leadership series as I recognize the top leaders who have made me, me.

Each week, I will celebrate a new leader, show gratitude for what they have added to my life, and highlight the characteristics I try to emulate.

Because everything rises and falls on Leadership.

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!

its-not-about-being-skinny

** “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

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.

Love Your Life, Momma

Personal growth is inherent in our business philosophy, so much so, that it’s become second nature to me. If there is something that I need to get better at, I simply need to study it, and GO. No wallowing. No complaining. Just recognize your lack, without judgement, and simply grow.

So, of course upon becoming a Momma and incorporating work back into my life, I began to scour the literature and mommy blogs for inspiration and tips on doing the working momma thing. Even more preferable is the entrepreneurial/leadership momma thing. Not only did I find very little on the topic, what I did find was your typical momma gripers. I read one blog that listed this woman’s Perceptions  and Reality of a work-from-home mom. Her so-called perceptions were that Work-at-home-moms (WAHMs) had time freedom and whimsy but (HER) Reality was that working from home was challenging and stressful. But upon reading this, I kept thinking, isn’t she looking at the glass half empty??

Since being pregnant, I have regularly processed the notion of “Having it All,” a common phrase used to describe a working mother. Over and over again, I go back to how silly it is. Because before children, I didn’t have it all. I didn’t have my child, I didn’t always go where I wanted to go or do what I wanted to do. There were conflicts in my schedule or I had bigger goals that were more important than immediate pleasure. But it was always a choice. My choice. And it is no different now. I made a really big choice to be a parent and take full on the responsibilities that come with it. In Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean Inshe claims that the phrase is simply insulting, because you would never ask a man if he “has it all” when referring to work and family. There’s probably even less literature and support for men on the topic. Hmmm…

So here’s the deal: Is being a parent hard? Sure. You literally have to relearn how to do everything you’ve spent most of your life perfecting (perfecting, for my fellow perfectionists). Is it worth it?? A thousand times YES! You wanted the kid, right? But isn’t life hard? Or allow me to re-language that…, doesn’t life present challenges everyday? Yes! And it’s your choice to get better, to change your outlook, and to become more.

While my journey through motherhood has been short, while I only have one child, and I am far from an expert, I do know that motherhood is no different than any other life situation. It does not excuse excuses, it does not limit our opportunity, and it certainly is not a platform for pity. It’s one of the greatest opportunities we are given. And if you also have the opportunity to work or build a business or be a leader in your community, you are only further blessed.

So here is MY REALITY, My Momma Vitamins for the Soul, Life Lessons of a Working/Work from Home/ Entrepreneurial Mom (WWHEM):

  1.  Everyday I get to wake up and see my little girl smile and laugh as she’s excited to start the day. Nothing can take that joy from me.
  2. There are some days that I am so tired and my body aches and I might even cry (ok, I’ll probably cry at some point), and in that moment I have a choice. 1) Cry in self-pitty, or 2) Turn on some personal development, have an extra dark tea (a little extra caffeine in the breastmilk is better than a lotta extra stress… in my humble opinion), cry to get it out, and get better.
  3. Sacrifices come with great rewards. When a baby starts crying while I’m having a meeting or trying to get work done in my home office (or even better, the situation that happened at this very sentence is my husband bringing her to me to eat and instead she wants to play and laugh…), again, I have a choice… Time-wasting Baby –OR– Feel eternally grateful to have the opportunity to have her with me! To see her laughs, to satisfy her needs, and to watch her grow. While it might feel a little hectic going from one thing to the next or shuffling baby and clients, in my opinion it’s better than working full-time and dropping off at day-care (complete and total love for any momma working full-time and taking their child to outside care… this is just my scenario).
  4. Be OK with your new reality. Who cares that it’s taken me 3 months to read Lean In, or that I need a pedicure like nobody’s business. I’ve been giving love to a new human. I probably won’t get everything crossed off my list. And further, my list will probably become shorter than it used to be. It’s ok. Prioritize, don’t quit, and celebrate your accomplishments.
  5. Don’t sacrifice your health. Put your oxygen mask on first! Make healthy meals a priority, get your workouts in, ask for help when you need a break. And when you take that time out for you, enjoy it mindfully and lusciously!
  6. Be present. Or at least the very best you can be. When you’re working, focus on work. When you’re with the babe, focus on the babe. I’ll admit, there is a small portion of my brain that is always on the babe. But rather than let that portion be guilt-ridden, I let it be filled with gratitude. Rather than beat myself up for being distracted, I marvel at the fact that there is a piece of me operating outside of my body; it only makes sense that a piece of my brain follows.
  7. Be selective with the company you keep. It’s not just for you now, it’s for your child. Steer clear from the negative. And steer clear from the ‘woe is me’ mommy dialogue. It’s disempowering for women. Find company that will empathize, but build you up and make you stronger.
  8. Be OK with failure. It’s how you know you are on the path to success.
  9. And like Jim Rohn says, “If you don’t like how things are, change it. You’re not a tree.”
  10. And if nothing else… Choose to Love Your Life, Momma.

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Top 21 Things I’ve Learned in 21 Days as a Parent

I can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks since this sweet pea was born. The days are short and the nights are long and the time is flying by. It’s not a cliche when they say that it changes so quickly. And in this short period of time, I have learned so much about myself, her, and being a parent. It’s so important for me to take it all, grow and learn with her each day, adapt, and make the best decisions for my family.

So here are some of my great life lessons in my first 21 days.

  1. Baby Blues should be more like Baby Bipolar. One minute I am smiling deeper than I have ever smiled, the next I am in tears of complete amazement and wonder, then I am laughing at her coos and farts, and then I am crying from pure exhaustion. In any given day, I am the strongest and weakest person I have ever met.
  2. Newborn pictures should be taken in the first 48 hours. That’s when they are asleep and adorable. I can’t wait to get ours back. Rumor has it there isn’t a single shot of her by herself where she isn’t wailing. Oh the joys!
  3. Every day is different. I remember when I got puppies and as a naive puppy owner I would swear that my dog was so smart, knew every command, and was potty trained after two months. The same is true with babies. People ask if she is on a schedule yet and that’s comical. If you think that the same thing happening two days in a row is a schedule, then we have lots of schedules! I hear schedules can’t really kick in until about three months. Truth? I am a schedule person so will welcome that as soon as it’s feasible.
  4. Babies have an opinion a BIG opinion! I am an avid researcher and read lots of books on various parenting styles and reviews on baby gear and while some would suggest that your child will have an opinion, I thought, “OK, sure, but they can adjust,” or “They’re babies. How big of an opinion can they have.” From everything from co-sleeping, to the stinkin paci, and a few baby gear items have proven that it doesn’t matter how much research do, or that am the mom. This kid gets to weigh in on every decision and I am a fool if I think I am the one with the final say!
  5. There is no such thing as a good baby. I have a GREAT Baby! She is the most adorable kid out there, loving, strong, inquisitive, strong-willed, but also stubborn (uh, dad) and impatient (yup… that’s me). She’s a talker too. So in the “good baby/ bad baby” scenario, ours can cry and while that can be hard and tiring and confusing. She is not a bad baby!! We’re just simply figuring it out.
  6. I like to work. I didn’t think that I would work at all for the rest of 2013. I gave myself full permission to clock out. But it’s way more fun to send a follow up text or email to a client or check in with the team rather than go on a Netflix series bender while killing breastfeeding time.
  7. Parenting truly is the hardest thing you will ever do. It’s funny because this warning that everyone tells you doesn’t come for no reason. It’s not the no-sleep thing. Yeah, that sucks. It’s the complete emotional investment in your child’s well-being and not always being able to deliver. It’s devastatingly difficult and I can see why this will only get harder as they age.
  8. There really is this secret/not-so-secret mom’s club. I didn’t get it. I sort of resented not being a part of it. I didn’t understand why my friends with kids were slightly distant. And while I don’t want that to happen with my current friendships, there is just a very special bond with your friends that are going through the same thing, around the same time. Not everyone can understand the importance of topics like thumb-sucking (good self-soothing technique or bad long-term habit) or are interested in exploring the major complexities of newborn reflux. While not glamorous, these are the single most important details of your life and hearing from your most trusted friends who fully feel the same, make everything better!
  9. Breastfeeding is worth it.
  10. Most of the help is needed after the first 10 days. That was my first breaking point. I literally just said on the 9th day, “well this isn’t so hard,” with my mom and husband there to help with everything. I was sleeping about 4 hours per night, completely in a fog, functioning off 100% adrenaline. And then the adrenaline went away, sleep deprivation kicked in, and my awesome sleeper, woke up and wanted to be heard…
  11. Single moms are Gods in my eyes.
  12. If you come across a slightly grumpy, not so patient person in the grocery store, they could be a new parent. Empathize and get out of their way.
  13. While I have been a high-functioning, multi-tasker that likes to be very productive, I have to be ok with accomplishing nothing “significant” other than, you know, sustaining life. I can start lots of tasks, but they very often get interrupted (like writing this blog) and may or may not complete it by days’ end.
  14. I am beginning to eat the same thing everyday because it’s quick, easy, and meets my dietary requirements (B: oatmeal with Formula 1, MS: Shake, L: Sandwich or salad, AS: Yogurt Parfait, D: Chili, soup, healthy casserole… tea, water, water, water… er… a glass of wine… not everyday I swear)
  15. Great communication skills with your partner prior to baby is ESSENTIAL! Patience goes down drastically, everyone is craving just a moment to themselves, you are both tired, and “No, she doesn’t like it like that anymore, she likes it this way,” may come into play. Your partner is your co-captain not the opposing team.
  16. After one attempt at Target with a fussy baby and needing to nurse in public, not knowing what to do, I have slight PTSD of leaving the house. I am confident this will pass.
  17. I have Body Dysmorphic Disorder… but in reverse. I swear I should be able to fit into that top or those pants. Surely my chest and hips are not that much larger. While this is comical now, I hope that my body changes before it’s no longer funny.
  18. Jack Johnson Children’s Station on Pandora has become my new favorite, followed closely by Lullaby.
  19. There is no single feeling in the world greater than your sleeping infant on your chest. I work very hard to stop what I am doing and embrace those moments. I know they are fleeting.
  20. My life has never been more complete than with this amazing human being in my life. I am so blessed to have the privilege of being her mom. I am trying to never take that for granted.
  21. Having it all is a choice. While there are times where I may want to be in two places at once because I am missing an event, that is absolutely no different than any other part of life. Having it all is a state of mind and Big Picture kind of stuff. If you let yourself get lost in the immediacy of what that means then you will never have it all anyway.