Mighty Mommy Monday #4

It’s Mighty Mommy Monday! Laura of Pug in the Kitchen and I have decided to challenge you on a weekly basis.  Claim the Mighty Mommy title for yourself — every day, not just Mondays. Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health: workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. I’ve set a few goals for 2014, but my biggest is to swim a total of 50 miles this year. I even started a new blog to chronicle the process: Mighty Mermaid Mommy!

Thoughts on Deprivation 

Over the past month I have seen so many posts from friends and pages on Facebook about diet changes, and all I can think is that many many people are setting themselves up for failure by depriving themselves. One person is only having fresh juice two meals a day while another is following a strict low-carb plan. Somebody else is cutting out gluten, but to another that’s not enough and all grains need to be eliminated. Others are eliminating dairy, or meat, or fruit, or (insert diet taboo du jour). I have to say that I know myself, and I know that I would not personally be successful on any of these deprivation plans. In fact, I think the only reason I’ve been successful over the past year is that I don’t deprive myself of anything! I don’t have allergies or intolerances to any of these food groups, so I see no reason to eliminate them from my diet.

Continue reading my thoughts and get an update on my swimming over at Mighty Mermaid Mommy…

What progress did you make toward your health & fitness goals in the past week? Share in the comments and/or go write a post about it and come back to link it up here! Feel free to use our Mighty Mommy Mondays badge in your posts or on your side bar, with a link back here, to spread the word. In the spirit of community and encouragement, please take some time to visit the other posts linked below and see what kind of goals everyone else has set for 2014. And don’t forget to come back here or to Pug in the Kitchen every Monday to share your progress!



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Mighty Mommy Monday #3

It’s Mighty Mommy Monday! Laura of Pug in the Kitchen and I have decided to challenge you on a weekly basis.  Claim the Mighty Mommy title for yourself — every day, not just Mondays. Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health: workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. I’ve set a few goals for 2014, but my biggest is to swim a total of 50 miles this year. I even started a new blog to chronicle the process: Mighty Mermaid Mommy!

Update On My Progress

In the past week, I had to take a step back from my fitness goals to focus on my whole family’s health while we weathered a stomach bug. It started at the end of the previous week with three-year-old Joshua coming down with it at school. I thought we were in the clear until the wee hours of the morning on Monday when 14-month-old David began vomiting. He recovered just in time for me to get sick Wednesday evening into Thursday. And now as I write on Sunday night, my husband Ed is showing signs that he’s finally got the bug. It seems like a pretty long incubation period, where we’ve got one or two healthy days between family members getting sick, and it’s a quick bug with only about 12 hours of actual vomiting. However, those hours are brutal and the exhaustion that followed knocked me out for the following day. In a single day I lost about five pounds due to dehydration. Now, I’ve already reached my healthy goal weight and I know I’m not retaining unnecessary water, so this loss hit me hard. I’m still working on getting myself and the rest of my family healthy and hydrated.

Needless to say that between the caring, resting, cleaning up and recuperation, I was unable to get any workouts in this week. I did have the chance to go swim this weekend but instead opted to join my family for a walk outdoors in the sunshine during unusually mild January weather. We really just needed that fresh air! I also managed to take the time we were all healthy over the weekend and catch up on laundry and a bit of cleaning (but not too much!) so that I won’t have to worry about housekeeping during the work week.

I’m counting the past week as a rest week, which is just fine because I know it’s not going to derail the healthy lifestyle that I’ve worked so hard to develop over the past year. I’m planning to get back to my exercise routine this week, and setting a goal of three workouts for the week. I’m going to make sure everything I eat is healthy this week without imposing restrictions, since I’m still down some weight due to my illness, and focus on getting plenty of fluids and rest.

What progress did you make toward your health & fitness goals in the past week? Share in the comments and/or go write a post about it and come back to link it up here! Feel free to use our Mighty Mommy Mondays badge in your posts or on your side bar, with a link back here, to spread the word. In the spirit of community and encouragement, please take some time to visit the other posts linked below and see what kind of goals everyone else has set for 2014. And don’t forget to come back here or to Pug in the Kitchen every Monday to share your progress!



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Mighty Mommy Monday #2

It’s Mighty Mommy Monday! Laura of Pug in the Kitchen and I have decided to challenge you on a weekly basis.  Claim the Mighty Mommy title for yourself — every day, not just Mondays. Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health: workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. I’ve set a few goals for 2014, but my biggest is to swim a total of 50 miles this year. I even started a new blog to chronicle the process: Mighty Mermaid Mommy!

Update on My Progress

The past week has been a crazy one! I started the new year strong with a visit to the pool and completed my first mile in my 50 mile goal for the year. Only 49 to go! New Year’s Day is a busy one at the Y, and I ended up sharing a lane (and “circling”) with three people. It could have been intimidating, but it was just he push I needed to be able to swim a mile all front crawl, instead of alternating crawl and breast stroke. Breast stroke is more of a “resting” stroke that enables you to breathe more often, but if I really want to swim in a race or open water some day, I need to build my crawl (or “freestyle”) endurance. Since the lane was so packed, I decided to swim as much crawl as I could so I didn’t end up accidentally kicking someone — which I have done twice before and I’d like to not do it again. Also, since we were swimming in a big elongated circle instead of splitting the lane the long way, I ended up trying to match pace with the other people in my lane so they didn’t pass me quite so often. They wore flippers for part of their work out, so it was a fast pace! I ended up swimming my entire mile freestyle! It’s funny how I thought I couldn’t, but it was all in my head. My time was 39:24, which I was pretty pleased with!

I also started doing a fitness DVD after the kids are in bed. I got Jillian Michael’s Six Week Six Pack from Santa this year and I was really excited to use it. The moves are quick paced and they’re fun! I was worried it would be all crunches but there are a lot of new moves that I learned that I really like. It is definitely a challenge and I’m having trouble with the side plank moves, but I’ve gotten better at it each of the three times I’ve done it in the past week. Jillian says you’re supposed to do it five days a week, but I’m just doing the best I can. I figure three is still pretty great. It’s a tough workout and I’m sore the next day, but it’s actually fun and I enjoy doing it.

I’ve been counting my points with Weight Watchers, though I’m not looking to lose any more weight. I just am trying to learn to maintain where I am, which may be even more challenging than losing! I went over my allotted points a few times, but I’m not too worried about that. All this exercise has my metabolism up and I’m hungry!

We went back to school on Thursday, but I had to leave work early because Joshua got a stomach bug. Poor kiddo was really sick and slept all afternoon, then all night long. The good news was that he felt much better the next day, which was a snow day! I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine in the next week as I head back to work. I feel like it’s easier to maintain healthy eating when I’m not around the house all day and too busy to snack at work. The negative is that it’s harder to find the time to exercise, but I’m still planning to swim on the weekend and do a DVD at least 3 nights a week.

Some Thoughts on Getting Started

If you want to start exercising but are a little concerned about getting started, you’re in good company here. I was so nervous about going to the pool and having people see me in my bathing suit. Since the Y is right in our town, I felt guaranteed to run into someone there. Once I got over that fear once it got easier and easier. The reality is that there are only about 30 seconds of time when I’m in my bathing suit, not wrapped in a towel or in the water. It’s the moments from when I hang up my towel and get into the pool and when I get out of the pool to get my towel. Otherwise I’m in the water swimming. The other reality is that the people in the pool are so focused on their own workouts that they really don’t notice what I look like in my bathing suit. The only other person at the pool is the life guard, and I want him or her to keep an eye on me! My best advice is to just go and conquer your fear. The only way to look better in that bathing suit (or yoga pants, or whatever) is to go exercise! So just go! You’ll be so glad you did.

What progress did you make toward your health & fitness goals in the past week? Share in the comments and/or go write a post about it and come back to link it up here! Feel free to use our Mighty Mommy Mondays badge in your posts or on your side bar, with a link back here, to spread the word. In the spirit of community and encouragement, please take some time to visit the other posts linked below and see what kind of goals everyone else has set for 2014. And don’t forget to come back here or to Pug in the Kitchen every Monday to share your progress!



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Mighty Mommy Mondays! Introducing a New Linky!

In 2013, I started a new journey toward healthy happiness. I was feeling unhealthy, exhausted and frumpy after giving birth to my two beautiful children. I wanted to have the energy to keep up with my busy boys, and I wanted to feel better in my own skin. I wasn’t a fan of exercise in general but I absolutely love to swim. My mom finally convinced me to start swimming again at our new local YMCA pool and gave me a year’s membership for my 32nd birthday. I went in with high hopes but felt crushed after I could barely make it one length of the pool without gasping for air. I loved synchronized swimming and mermaids when I was a child, and I never stopped swimming, but I only swam for fun. I was sorely out of shape but determined to swim.

I found the Zero to 1650 program from Ruth Kazez, which renewed my hopes that I’d be able to start swimming laps. I started the program at the YMCA and then moved to my parents’ pool when the weather warmed up. I remember that first swim in their pool: watching the sunbeams dance on the bottom of the pool, listening to nothing but the little sounds of my splashing, and knowing my children were safe and having fun playing with my mom. I fell in love with swimming there and swam my first continuous mile, all breaststroke, in August of 2013. I continued to swim throughout the summer and into September before heading back to the YMCA.

My whole outlook changed. I had so much more energy and I felt great. I was excited to exercise and raring to go when my children wanted to play. I started looking forward to taking walks with my family and I also decided to change my eating habits. By my younger son’s first birthday in October 2013, I was 75 pounds below my heaviest weight. I had lost all of that weight slowly but steadily, swimming regularly and eating a mostly healthy diet following Weight Watchers. I can’t say enough about how wonderful I feel now.

Throughout the year, Laura of Pug in the Kitchen and I have been chatting about swimming, incorporating healthy routines into our families and encouraging each other. I was so excited when Laura told me about her idea for a new blog link up to share our health and fitness progress in 2014: Mighty Mommy Mondays! We’ve decided to challenge you on a weekly basis.  Claim the Mighty Mommy title for yourself, every day, not just Mondays. Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health; workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. I’ve set a few goals for 2014, but my biggest is to swim a total of 50 miles this year. I even started a new blog to chronicle the process: Mighty Mermaid Mommy!

Have you set a healthy goal for 2014? Share in the comments and/or go write a post about it and come back to link it up here! Feel free to use our Mighty Mommy Mondays badge in your posts or on your side bar, with a link back here, to spread the word. In the spirit of community and encouragement, please take some time to visit the other posts linked below and see what kind of goals everyone else has set for 2014. And don’t forget to come back here or to Pug in the Kitchen every Monday to share your progress!

 



*Special thanks to Mr. Pug in the Kitchen (aka Laura’s husband) for drawing the image in our button! We’re both very fortunate to have husbands who are supportive of our healthy journeys!

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How I Lost 75 Lbs – What I Eat & My Top 5 Tips

Welcome to the November 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Feeding Your Family

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared recipes, stories, and advice about food and eating. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Over the past year, my life has undergone a huge change: I lost a lot of weight. I embarked on this journey as a way to improve how I feel, and the amazing way I feel is what keeps me on track. I started swimming three days a week over the summer, following the Zero to 1650 program, and I’ve been able to continue swimming about once a week now that I’m back at work. I believe that my success is due in a large part to swimming, but it’s also due to completely changing my eating habits.

Let me just say before I go any further: I don’t care what anybody else weighs. I didn’t feel healthy or happy where I was physically, so I made a decision and I changed my life. I have never felt healthier or happier about my body than I do right now at age 32 as the mother of two children. I feel strong, energetic and athletic. A year ago I had no idea that this is where I’d be today! And it’s not really about the number on my scale. But 75 lbs lost is the best way I can quantify the change.

So, what do I eat? How did I change my eating habits? I have always been a proponent of cooking at home, sourcing local and sustainable foods and sharing family meals. I tend to cook healthy, but I just love food! I realized that I needed a better way to control my portions, so I went back to following the Weight Watchers guidelines and counting my Points Plus. I’ve followed Weight Watchers a few times over the years with varying success, so I didn’t sign up for the official program because I didn’t want to spend the money. Instead, I found How to get Weight Watchers for Free and started the program. One of the criticisms of the Weight Watchers program that I have heard is that it relies on processed food, but the truth is that you can follow the program and cook the majority of your meals at home. I can eat anything, and I choose to eat real food. Over the past year, I’ve found some tricks to keep myself on track and I’m sharing them here!

1. Find great recipes on Pinterest! I discovered that Pinterest made Weight Watchers easier than ever before because there are tons of healthy homemade recipes there. Check out my Weight Watchers Points Plus board for a bunch of healthy recipes. Through Pinterest I’ve also found some great Weight Watchers Friendly sites including LaaLoosh, Emily Bites and Skinny Taste. These are my go-to sites when I want to try something new, and the best part is that my husband and children will usually eat these recipes with minimal complaints!

2. Make Substitutions! There are some foods that I love but I know that I’ll eat too much of them. Instead of cutting these foods out completely, I make substitutions so I can enjoy something similar. Instead of eating slice after slice of homemade pizza, when I’m making pizzas for my family I use portabello mushroom caps as mini pizzas. I just flip them over, scoop out the gills, fill them with sauce, cheese and toppings and bake them. I can eat a whole bunch of them with no guilt! I also use mushroom caps in place of hamburgers, and with all the toppings I actually prefer them to beef burgers. I use spaghetti squash instead of pasta and enjoy a big portion. Instead of cream cheese or dip, I use plain cottage cheese. Instead of sour cream, I use Greek yogurt. I don’t even miss the old versions.

3. Plan Ahead for Supper! Each Saturday I plan a menu for the coming week and shop accordingly. (Sometimes I even am organized enough to post my menu plan online.) I don’t just plan a main course for dinner, but I also plan what vegetable side will go along with it. When I have a stocked fridge it’s easier to make sure I serve fresh veggies and salad. I also shop mid week to replenish our fruits and veggies. I like to plan a few quick meals and a few that are more involved and then choose whatever I have time to make in the evenings.


Who’s the “Smart One” now?

4. Plan Ahead for Lunches! I was afraid that I would get off track when I went back to school in the fall, so I spent a few days over the summer cooking and freezing meals for lunches when I didn’t have time to pack them. I froze individual portions and labeled them with the Points Plus values so I would be able to grab my own frozen convenience food instead of buying the processed version. Right now, my freezer contains portions of Quinoa & Sweet Potato Chili, Turkey Pumpkin White Bean Chili, White Turkey Chili, Butternut Squash Posole, and Mexican Style Zero Point Soup. I plan to make some Pumpkin Lentil Stew, Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili, Winter Minestrone and Chicken Pot Pie Soup in the coming weeks to add to the freezer. I love that I have individually portioned comfort food now that the weather is getting colder!

5. Treat Myself on Occasion! The one thing that I really love about Weight Watchers is that it is realistic to my life. If I want to have birthday cake or a piece of pie or some ice cream, I can. I just need to make adjustments to what I eat during the rest of the week. Sometimes I indulge, and sometimes I don’t. Either way, I know it’s fine. I also have rewarded myself for reaching weight loss goals with things like buying a new bathing suit or goggles, a new waterproof watch to time my mile, or a new cookbook.

I mentioned earlier in the post that I feel wonderful. That’s what keeps me on track with swimming and Weight Watchers. My life has literally changed for the better. Now I feel like I have so much energy! I enjoy chasing and playing with my kids. I love to take my boys outside and go for walks with them. I even plan to get back on skis this winter after about 5 years off of the slopes! I couldn’t be happier with my new lifestyle, and I love that I’m modeling active, healthy habits for my children.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon November 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Nut Free Desserts for the Holidays — Becky at Crafty Garden Mama will be talking about navigating the holidays with peanut allergies in the family.
  • Making Peace with My Picky Eater — Once upon a time, there was a boy who would try anything. And then he turned 3. Thus began the dinner chronicles at Dionna at Code Name: Mama‘s house.
  • Foodie Morphed by Motherhood — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis reflects on the changes of her family’s food culture since becoming a mother, and shares a snapshot of their current food rhythm.
  • Introducing First Foods — Wondering what your little one should take a bite of first? That Mama Gretchen explains baby-led weaning/baby self-feeding and answers a number of questions that may come to mind!
  • Feeding Your Family — Coconut Oil!!! — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama is a coconut oil devotee. In this post, she shares her favorite ways to include coconut oil in her family’s diet as well as why she feels it is important to do so.
  • We Thank the Earth for its Food! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle spends hours in the kitchen each day trying to make medicine in the form of food.
  • Focusing on Healthy, Gluten-Free Foods for My Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares what her family is doing to eat healthily along with her recipe for gluten-free peanut butter oat bran muffins.
  • Intolerancesustainablemum laments the misunderstanding surrounding food intolerances.
  • Don’t Let Food Sensitivities Ruin Your Holidays! — Rachel, the Titus 2 Homemaker, talks about ways to enjoy the holidays even if you wrestle with food sensitivities.
  • Losing grains, keeping empathy: Paleo and fat acceptance — Lauren at Hobo Mama vlogs about her family’s decision to cut grains to improve health — and hopes she can retain her position as a proponent of size acceptance even as she loses weight.
  • Easy Homemade Crockpot Mac & Cheese — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work, shakes off the blue-box blues with an easy crockpot mac-and-cheese recipe with no artificial dyes or excessive preservatives … just creamy, delicious, comfort-food goodness.
  • Extended Family Dinners — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about sharing family dinners with housemates and why it works for her.
  • Five Suggestions for Eating Healthy During the Holidays — No need to feel powerless when it comes to our highly sugared/processed food culture during the holidays &emdash; Andrea at It Takes Time offers tips to stay on track.
  • How to feed your family — no food required! — Jessica at JessicaCary.com is kind of obsessed with food. But, lately she’s realized there’s more to nourishment than what she cooks up in the kitchen.
  • Food as family medicine: living gluten-free and beyond — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama sticks to her gluten-free guns but sees room for improvement in her pursuit of a real-food family table.
  • Feeding My Family — Challenges and Growth — Susan at Together Walking shares what has been most challenging about feeding her two kids and how she has grown in the kitchen since becoming a mother.
  • How I Lost 75 Lbs — What I Eat & My Top 5 Tips — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares how she and her family became healthy, happy and active.
  • The Weight of Motherhood — Revolution Momma at Raising a Revolution rethinks her relationship with food after struggling with post-pregnancy weight gain.
  • Geek Food: Pumpkin Pasties — While Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy and family might have food sensitivities, their geekery knows no limits. So, when faced with a desire to recreate Pumpkin Pasties from Harry Potter, they do not shy away!
  • Pumpkin Harvest Muffins — This summer Mama is Inspired and family grew pumpkins, and this autumn they are baking scrumptious, healthy muffins out of those pumpkins.
  • Reintroducing Meat to the Vegetarian Tummy — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares some of the considerations she explored before transitioning from a vegetarian diet to reintroducing meat as a protein source and a few tips on making it an easy one.
  • Thanksgiving Meal, Thankful? — Jorje of Momma Jorje has never felt terribly thankful for Thanksgiving itself. Perhaps that could change if she’s a little more invested?
  • 5 Ways to Use Healing Bone Broth — It’s that time of year again, when unpleasant little bugs make their way into our homes. For Megan of Boho Mama, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, homemade stock or bone broth is a natural remedy.

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