My Struggle with Fitness

I know I’ve missed the New Year’s Resolutions/Goals hype, and maybe I did on purpose so that I wouldn’t fail…but I am now ready to commit to a new exercise regimen to reach my fitness goals.

A little back story–prior to my pregnancy, I was in fairly good physical condition, I was doing moderate-intense exercise at least 3 days per week.  I was a healthy weight for my height and had great muscle definition.  I also had energy during the day and felt sharp mentally.  I became pregnant in late 2014, and throughout my pregnancy I continued to exercise, although less intense.  I still felt strong and healthy.

I gave birth in August 2015 to my sweet baby girl and I wanted to get right back into my exercise routines and get back to normal…but things never went back to normal.  Fast forward to now, my daughter is almost 18 months old, and since she was born I have struggled to get motivated and stay motivated to exercise regularly.  I know how important physical activity is, I know how it can positively impact your health physically, mentally, and emotionally, but I’m still struggling.  My main problems are that I either have no energy to exercise, or I start working out and quit after about 5 minutes.  I often feel tired and sluggish.

I want to stick to exercising regularly to improve my energy level and tone my muscles.  My fitness goal is to exercise 3 days per week and to run a 5k before the end of 2017.  I am just putting this out there to help myself stay accountable.  I will be posting updates as I progress through my fitness journey.

Do you have any advice on how to stay motivated to exercise?  Please share and let’s help each other!

Breastfeeding a Teething Baby

So, breastfeeding is going smoothly for you and baby and all is well. Until one day you feel a sharp pinch and notice baby’s gums are getting tougher.  Baby’s first tooth is coming through!  What now?

How can you breastfeed a baby with teeth? Doesn’t it hurt?

You absolutely can continue to breastfeed your baby during the teething process if you choose. Just like before the baby started teething, a good latch should not hurt.  The mother’s nipple actually goes to the very back of the baby’s mouth; therefore, the most sensitive part of mom is nowhere near the baby’s teeth while nursing.

Will my baby bite me?

Probably, yes. And it does hurt.  Remember, biting down on something helps babies to relieve their teething pain.  You just have to train them to bite a teething toy or something other than you.

What should I do if my baby bites me during breastfeeding?

Get your baby’s attention and tell them no. Be firm and repetitive so that they get the connection that biting is not good.  At first, my daughter would pinch me or bite down and look up at me and giggle.  I had to continue telling her, “no, don’t bite.”

What if baby keeps biting?

If baby is not listening, stop the breastfeeding session. The baby will cry and be upset, but eventually they will get the message to stop biting.  There were a couple of times that I had to give my nipples a rest and give my daughter expressed milk in a bottle if she still seemed hungry.

Any other advice?

Sometimes babies will bite if they are distracted while nursing. It may help to breastfeed in a calm, quiet place so that your baby can focus on eating.  Also, babies may bite if they are not truly hungry and just want to play.  If that is the case, just take the baby away from the breast and move them on to another activity.

In my experience, getting the first four teeth was the roughest time. Each time a new tooth came in, it’s as if my daughter had to learn how to adjust her mouth for nursing.  Like all things, teething/biting during breastfeeding is just a phase that will pass.  And you can continue to breastfeed though it.

Do you have any advice or experience on how to handle breastfeeding while teething? Please share.

Simple Strawberry Smoothie

This smoothie is one of my favorites—it’s easy, tasty, and toddler-approved! We enjoy this as a snack, but it also makes an excellent breakfast smoothie.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 4-6 oz Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • ¼ cup uncooked oats

Directions:

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Make this smoothie your own—frozen blueberries, mixed berries, or bananas work great in this smoothie. I prefer soymilk and Greek yogurt, but any type of milk and yogurt will do.

10 Ways to Eat More Vegetables

Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and help reduce the risk for many chronic diseases.  Try these tips to eat more vegetables!

  1. Top a pizza with tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, and zucchini.
  2. Add chopped bell peppers or onion to scrambled eggs.
  3. Stuff an omelet with mushrooms, onion, tomatoes, or spinach.
  4. Dip raw veggies in low-fat salad dressing or hummus.  Try bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots, celery, or cucumbers.
  5. Give your basic green salad a nutrient boost with grape tomatoes, baby carrots, or spinach leaves.
  6. Sneak shredded zucchini, carrots, or spinach into lasagna, pasta sauce, or meat loaf.  You can’t even taste the difference!
  7. Give mashed potatoes a boost by adding cauliflower. Steam and mash the cauliflower right in with the potatoes.
  8. Try a vegetable smoothie, or add a handful of spinach to a fruit smoothie.
  9. Replace regular spaghetti noodles with spaghetti squash or zucchini.
  10. Try a variety of vegetable soups or try making your own vegetable soup.

 

These are just a few ways to add more vegetables into your meal plan. Do you have any tips or tricks on how to eat more vegetables? What are some creative ways that you “sneak” veggies into your kids? I would love to know, please share!

17 Tips to Eat Healthy in 2017

Ahhh, 2017.  A new year, a fresh start.  Do you have a goal of eating healthier, losing weight, or maintaining a healthy weight this year?  Or maybe you would like to better control your blood pressure or diabetes this year.  Good nutrition and eating right is the key to success.  Here are 17 practical tips to help you meet your food & nutrition goals this year.

  1. Set realistic and measurable goals.
  2. Plan your meals ahead of time.
  3. Make a grocery list before shopping.
  4. Eat healthful snacks.
  5. Drink more water and less sugary drinks.
  6. Fill up on fiber.  Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain products are great sources of fiber.
  7. Cook more often.
  8. Pay attention to portion sizes.
  9. Try new recipes.
  10. Use more salt-free seasonings, herbs, and spices and less salt.
  11. Choose whole, unprocessed foods.
  12. Track your progress with an app or journal.
  13. Find an accountability buddy to encourage and motivate you.
  14. Get enough sleep.
  15. Find healthy ways to deal with stress.
  16. Move your body more.
  17. Ask for professional help if you need it.

4 Ways to Drink More Water

Are you struggling to drink more water each day? Here are my top 4 tips for drinking more water.

Start Early. Start each morning by drinking at least 2 cups of water before you eat or drink anything else. Doing so will hydrate you and get your day started right.

Use a Reusable Water Bottle. Purchase a large, reusable water bottle to keep with you to sip on water throughout the day. Look for a water bottle that has measurements so that you can track your intake throughout the day.

Drink Before Eating. Before you begin to eat a snack or meal, drink at least 1 cup of water. This will help you get in more water before you become too full of food.

Make it a Habit. Make a habit of drinking water while doing other daily tasks. For example, drink water while you feed your child, read emails, or drive home from work.

Do you have other creative tips that help you drink more water?  Leave a comment and let others know about it!