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

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.

The Lost Luxuries of Motherhood

10 weeks in and they are not lying when they say that parenting is one of the hardest jobs ever. But it’s hard in a way that I never thought of and probably one that I can’t even explain all that well. I think what has been the hardest part for me is that I have had to literally relearn how to do my entire life. Things such as eating or carrying a conversation. And don’t even get me started on something like Time Management!

There are so many luxuries of my past life that are simply non-existent in my current state of motherhood. Some may return. Others can stay gone. 

  1. Blow-drying my hair. Oh how I have spent hours applying product, drying, straightening, curling, and spraying my hair. I like to do my hair. My hair is my thing. Not so much right now. A blowout (not even a good blowout) is now a weekly luxury and boy do I feel glamorous when it’s done!
  2. Taking my health for granted. I have been fortunate to be quite healthy and in a healthy weight my whole life. So I got comfortable and complacent. Then pregnancy took over my body and did things that I wasn’t psyched about it doing. And now it’s starting to readjust. BUT, it’s given me a glimpse of a tired, stressed, and overweight body, and I AM SIMPLY NOT HAVING IT! I need to be around a LONG time and I need to keep up with her. So sayonara “good enough.”
  3. Watching a movie. Like a whole movie. Start to finish. I take that back. I did watch one movie from start to finish since L has arrived… but it took about 3 1/2 hours to get through the 90 minute film. 
  4. Eating. Well, more like meal prepping. Thank God for shakes and crockpots. If it couldn’t be done one-handed, it might not happen. 
  5. Giving a S#*&. Yikes. That sounds harsh. Especially from a health and business coach. Let me set this straight. I care A LOT, maybe even more than before, if YOU care. But I simply don’t have the time to care more than you do. And I definitely don’t have the luxury to care about things that simply don’t matter.
  6. Blogging. Scratch that. Lazy computer time in general. Sometimes, I truly miss thee. Wasting countless hours in an email/ Facebook/pinterest rotating trap. If it can’t be done easily on the iPhone, it probably doesn’t happen that often. It sucks to have to be more intentional with my time. 
  7. Sleep. I don’t think that one needs any further description. 
  8. Taking my time at achieving my expired, time-stamped goals. You see, I have someone watching me now. And many of those said, time-stamped goals are for her. Oh the lost luxury of not living up to my potential. Buh-bye.
  9. Sitting down. Dancing, bouncing, swaying, walking, squatting are my new ways of doing things. Probably why I can’t get a lot of computer time in. But at least it keeps me active. 
  10. Being selfish. When you get married, you definitely take into account the thoughts and feelings of someone else, but it’s nothing like being a parent. There is no decision that I can make without thoroughly taking into consideration the many variables that will impact her. This includes me-time, which I take deliberately now. 

And while some of the things of my past life I do miss… like a luxurious 8 hours of sleep… there is absolutely nothing better than getting smiled at by your precious baby and knowing that you are the most important person in her world. And, as in my conversations with her, I don’t take that job lightly. Everyday I will mess up. And everyday I will get better.

Thank you L for making me better. 

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.

What is Maternity Leave for an Entrepreneur?

Last week my husband and I finished our final prenatal class. This one was the Part II in our Breastfeeding Class. I believe the eloquent title was Express Yourself. Cute. All about the amazing world of pumping (expressing your milk, for you non-preggers). I am definitely a breastfeeding mom but given some of my independence issues and my struggle with sharing my body while pregnant, I know I want the option to pass off baby to daddy with a bottle when mommy wants to go to the gym, have a glass of wine or just take a break. Plus, I know he really wants the bonding time to feed her and I want that for them too. But I found out I am not your typical pumping mom. I don’t have to  pump. Sitting in this room with all of these working moms really made me so grateful for my life. We had the mom returning to her law school program two weeks after delivery, the mom that was so ready to begin her breastfeeding supplement regimen of fenugreek before the baby arrived for fear that her supply would dwindle, the mom returning to work full-time 8 weeks later (with the dad convinced they would need to supplement with formula), and the yogi mom, probably most closely related to my situation, that would need to leave for a couple of hours for a class. We spent time talking about how to work with (maybe battle, in some cases) your daycare providers so that they will feed the baby at the right times and in the right ways to not give too much nipple confusion. We chatted about the regimented pumping schedule and the nooks and closets you could hide in during your lunch break to pump. My heart ached for these moms. The pressure. I know I would constantly feel a race against time if I had immediate demands to return to an office.

I remember even when I was a therapist thinking how the heck am I going to do this? As a therapist, if you don’t see clients, you don’t get paid. And if you take an extended period of time off, you run the risk of becoming irrelevant to your clients and having to rebuild your caseload. There were some perks because I could still see a full-time caseload and only be in the office part-time… but still… the money…

Since becoming pregnant, I have been grateful to skip through the chapters and the weekly checklists on informing your employer and shopping for daycare. However, as an entrepreneur, I have had to fight my own battles. Different battles. The battles between myself and my boss (myself). So much of how I define myself and my self-worth is tied into my work. Learning how to let some things go and delegate others has been a major obstacle. The only person I have needed permission for any maternity leave is myself. I think many times it would have been easier to just submit my necessary paperwork to a boss.

I worked my normal workload- 60+ hours, leading 2 Fit Camps, seeing clients, working at our nutrition club, etc, up until about 20 weeks. At that point, my first trimester symptoms hadn’t really seized, burpees were becoming awkward, and I was just tired. So I changed my work up, reduced my hours, and started to let go of some of my responsibilities. I think so many of my hormonal mood swings were tied into this. I resented having to do this. I felt bored, sad, and I missed my team!! I didn’t know who I was because at that point, I wasn’t yet someone’s mom. I was just the pregnant woman who needed to reduce her stress and prepare for becoming a mom. And although I knew I should’ve loved and embraced that opportunity, I didn’t. Hindsight it was good for me, my team, and completely necessary groundwork to prepare everyone for the baby’s arrival but it was an internal struggle with myself.

Now I am FOUR WEEKS AWAY (holy crap) from my due date and I am still uncertain about what this leave will look like. Sometimes I say I will be completely removed for the rest of 2013. Sometimes I think a bit longer. Other days I think, no way. I will do plenty of correspondence from home and be back in the game ready to go. But here is what I have learned. I don’t actually have to decide anything right now. I can have the baby and play it by ear. I can see how I feel and how she is adjusting. I can wait until I’m up for it. I can learn what it means to be a working mom at our pace. I have options because of the residual income we have built in only 2 years!

When I was a therapist, I used to talk with my clients about designing an integrated life- one where their work, their family, their interests, were all woven in as one. It sounded beautiful in philosophy. Little did I know that I was simply designing the philosophy for my life.