Tag Archives: baby

Do Busy Moms Really Need to Work Out?

baby“I carry a 15-pound baby around all day while I chase after a toddler. I’m physically exhausted at the end of the day…do I really need to exercise?”

My answer is: YES!

Parenting a small child is a more physically demanding job than I ever imagined. It’s tempting to think that playing chase, carrying a baby, and wrestling on the floor can count as our daily exercise. However, we may have gotten too used the modern sedentary lifestyle we had pre-baby.

Our bodies benefit from moving all day, and from additional targeted, intentional physical activity. As parents, we’re involved in many repetitive activities that can throw our body off balance over time.

We need to promote balance and strength. Here’s some more explanation for why you need to exercise:

Balance, Alignment and Restoration

Picture someone pushing a stroller, nursing a baby, vacuuming, changing a diaper, doing dishes, and holding a baby. As a mom, these are probably the activities you’re doing for the majority of the day.

What do they all have in common? A stooped forward position with rounded shoulders or a pushing motion.

Our body is meant to move in every direction, using every muscle group. When we spend too much time sitting or involved in repetitive motions, our body will lose its ideal natural alignment. Certain muscles will become weak and overstretched, while others will become tight. This can result in chronic aches and pains and a higher potential for injury.

Exercise can be medicine for moms with aches and pains:

  • Move your body through it’s complete range of motion
  • Stretch all muscle groups and open up areas of the body that are tight
  • Strengthen muscles groups that are underused

Walking with your baby in a carrier or stroller may be your only option for exercise as a mom. However, this can exacerbate some of the already existing imbalances in your body and posture.

Walking is a great form of exercise that I highly encourage, but be sure you stretch well and don’t neglect strength training to build up the areas of your body that are weak.

Expanding Your Capacity

Maybe it’s hard to exercise because you already feel completely physically depleted…but what if this could change? Some of the proven benefits of exercise are better quality sleep, decreased stress, and more energy.

Rather than merely surviving your daily obligations and collapsing into bed, train your body and expand your capacity. The right kind of exercise will make you stronger and improve your endurance and stamina.

Physical and mental wellbeing are linked. Being physically stronger and more easily able to complete your daily to-dos will translate to a more enjoyable day and peace of mind.

Busting a Weight Loss Plateau

Some of the pregnancy weight will naturally fall off when you give birth. But you might relate to what I experienced with my first pregnancy. After the first two months, my weight was stuck in the same spot, which happened to be 20 pounds more my pre-pregnancy weight.

What did I do? I faced the fact I could not sit around watching TV and eating Twizzlers and the weight to magically fall off. Nursing a baby was not enough to counterbalance bad habits!

Fortunately, it may not take a lot – just a change to your current routine. It may simply be adding 15 minutes of strength training or cardio a few times a week.

Remember that to achieve a new state, you need to change your current activities and habits. You can’t simply do what’s most comfortable or convenient. You need to work on the weak areas, and push a little further.

An Important Tip

Start small and don’t overdo it! It’s important not to take on too much too quickly or you may get:

  • Injured
  • Even more fatigued/burned out
  • Overwhelmed with the commitment and more likely to quit

You ARE a very busy and physically active mom, this article isn’t meant to discount that fact. A small amount of targeted effort can have big results. Exercise should be used to enhance what you’re already doing, restoring balance and increasing strength.

Start out with short bouts of yoga, strength training, dance, etc. a few times a week. It’s not going to take an Ironman training program to achieve the benefits and results discussed in this article.

You are already a Super Woman!

What is your current exercise routine? What is your biggest struggle? Please share in comments below:

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Make Your Own Baby Food Purees – Bellina Magazine

Making Baby Food PureesI am honored that one of my articles has been featured in the premier issue of Bellina magazine, a local Austin publication. You can view the magazine online: Bellina. My article, “Making Your Own Baby Food Purees” is on pages 16-19.

You can find many healthy, organic commercial options for baby food, but they are NOT cheap. Making your own baby food purees can be better for:

  • Your budget – you’ll typically spend $1 or more on each serving of baby food
  • Quality control – knowing exactly what your baby is eating, and that it’s nutritious
  • The environment – creating less waste and trash from individual packaging

You don’t need to buy any special baby-specific equipment, simply use a blender or food processor. Although the process may initially take some trial and error, you will find your rhythm and foods your baby enjoys. Then, you can save time by making large batches of purees and freezing for up to three months.

Please check out the magazine article to read more about:

  • Cooking and preparing baby purees
  • Food storage and safety
  • Ideas for food pairings
  • Recipes
  • Advantages to making your own purees

12 Resources For Quality Sleep For Weight Loss and Wellbeing

Healthy Sleep“Get Quality Sleep” is the first tip on the Basics page. It may seem boring, basic, obvious…or maybe not that important, but I believe sleep is an often neglected but essential first step to health and wellness.

I love to sleep. I jokingly say I’m neither a night owl nor an early bird – I’m a bear, I like to hibernate! I would love to sleep about 10pm-7am plus take an afternoon nap every day.

Unfortunately, that’s hard to do with a toddler and everything else life brings. When I don’t get enough sleep, it has a terrible effect on my physical and mental energy and wellbeing. When I’m feeling off, the first thing I try to do is get my sleep schedule back on track.

I’m not a sleep expert, so I’ve included a list of resources below to help convince you (if your skeptical) about the benefits of sleep and also help you form good habits and deal with sleep disturbances. Here are a few quick reasons why quality sleep is important:

Sleep for Weight Loss

Sleep deprivation can sabotage your weight loss goals in a variety of ways including:

  • Increased cravings (especially sugar) and eating to compensate for lack of energy
  • Fatigue interferes with your ability to make good decisions and have the willpower to follow through
  • Lack of energy for effective workouts

Sleep for Health

  • Sleep is vital for our body to rest, repair, and grow
  • Inadequate sleep can increase your risk of obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Insufficient sleep can negatively impact memory, judgment, and mood

Sleep Basics

  • Most adults need 7-8 hours a night, but needs vary and can be affected by poor quality sleep or accumulated sleep debt
  • Be consistent with your daily routines, including sleep time, wake time, and bedtime routine
  • Decrease stimulation as you approach bedtime, including exercise, caffeine, alcohol, technology & artificial lighting

Sleep Resources

  1. Harvard Medical School: Get Sleep
  2. National Sleep Foundation
  3. Mayo Clinic: Sleep
  4. Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine: Tips for Good Sleep 
  5. Discovery Health: Sleep Basics
  6. National Institutes of Health: National Center on Sleep Disorders Research 
  7. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Sleep
  8. Yoga Journal: Yoga Poses for Insomnia
  9. How to Sleep Better Naturally 
  10. Michael Hyatt: 5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Everyday and Podcast The Secret Power of Naps
  11. Zen Habits: 10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It
  12. Dr. Marc Weissbluth: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (this was my #1 resource for getting my baby on a good sleep schedule, and also great for educating about sleep patterns in general)

What tips do you have for getting a good night’s sleep?