Parenting In Spring- March 9, 2015

Oh, sweet sunshine! I’m not one to complain about winter. I love Christmas, scarves, warm drinks and snow days. But, this year? This winter? This many snow days? No thank you. I’m done. Sunday was the first warm day. I had to get out. I had to get at least a mini-workout in. I went out for a quick jog with Henry in the stroller. I had to Instagram it to prove the exercise happened and to brag to IG followers up north that the afternoon’s temperatures were in the 65 to 70 degree range.

ig stroller

It was during this jaunt that my parenting came into question. Twice.

The warm breeze blew on my face as I picked up the pace. No cars were on our quiet wooded street. I heard birds. Henry said some version of “Woof!” whenever he heard a dog bark. It was sweet and lovely. I was energized as my heart rate went up. That’s when I got a text from a friend to finalize our dinner plans. I stopped in the street to answer her. Again, no cars were around.

As I prepared to hit “send” I saw some neighbors coming up the hill. It was a couple in their early sixties walking in the warmth together. I briefly smiled at this pair of graying Baby Boomers before glancing back at my phone. They were the only others I’d seen out. I heard the man say, “Don’t text in the middle of the road!”

::pause::

I looked up. I was still trying to type my message. In my mind I thought, “Uh, mind your own business, Pops.” Instead I chuckled nervously, “Yeah, not my best parenting move. Ha!” I rolled my eyes and rolled my baby out of the middle of the road. He said, “You can stand in the middle of the road and text alone, but not with your baby!”

What?! Seriously?! I croaked out more nervous chuckles. Was this guy trying to be funny?

This is the intersection where this went down.

This is the intersection where this went down. Dangerous, right? 

I was thinking they may have felt they stepped on my toes by telling me what to do so they came over to admire my babe and be a little more neighborly. They smiled and told me how cute Henry was. That’s when the woman scolded me said, “He’s not wearing any shoes!” I politely smiled and explained how he fights me when it’s time to put on his shoes and since it’s such a lovely day, I thought going barefoot in the stroller would be fine.

Good God, people! Really?! Don’t you think if I had heard a car on our very quiet street I would have moved? Was it the safest thing in the world to stop there? No, probably not. But, no one was in danger and it certainly didn’t warrant comment. Then the shoe thing on top of it? Am I wrong to be rubbed the wrong way by this? I wanted to shout, “Yep! I’m that neighbor. I’m a reckless 21st century mother who’s more preoccupied with her phone than her child. I love the thrill of pushing my kid out of the road at the last second. I hope a car comes speeding by! Screw shoes! You should keep an eye on me and my neglected kids!”

Excuse me while I go inside like it’s winter so I don’t have to see the neighbors.

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Body Back #15, Before & After- March 5, 2015

It’s all been leading up to this. The “Before and After” pictures. They’re an awful thing and a beautiful thing all at once. Awful because, oh sweet Jesus! How did I let it get that bad? Why did I wear that stupid pink shirt? I didn’t know I would be photographed the first day!  Let’s not even get into the fact that I didn’t wear make-up because it was 5:30 am. Even on the last day when I knew I was going to have my picture taken I still didn’t wear makeup because…5:30 am and I’d be working out. Why bother? They’re beautiful for obvious reasons. I mean, it’s like, YESSSSS!

Body Back results after just 8 weeks with Fit4Mom

Results after 8 weeks of Body Back

Body Back Results 3

Body Back results after 8 weeks with Fit4Mom

Lesson learned. When I do this again I will wear the same outfit the first and last day. Our instructor Christie told us to do that and I totally didn’t. I’m so amazed when I see these. Okay, here’s the stats.

During 8 weeks of Body Back I:

  • Dropped 14 lbs.
  • Lost 2.75 inches off my chest
  • Lost 3.75 inches off my waist
  • Lost 3.5 inches off my hips
  • Did 9% more bicep curls in 1 minute
  • 39% more full sit-ups in 1 minute
  • 40% more squats in 1 minute
  • I did one correct push-up in one minute at the start. I did 15 by the end.
  • Added more than two minutes to my time holding plank for a grand total of 3:38!

If someone told me I would be able to do real push-ups and hold plank like that I would have thought they had lost their minds. How did I do it? Well, I did everything I was supposed to. That included:

  • Going to every Body Back class (except for the one when I was sick)
  • Going to every supplement class I could, classes like Stroller Strides
  • Working out 3-7 days a week each week during the 8 week session (that includes Body Back workouts)
  • Journaling my food in My Fitness Pal everyday during the 8 weeks and remaining within my calorie goal each day
  • Reducing (but not eliminating) the sugar and processed foods in my diet
  • Doing all the extra weekend workouts assigned
  • Having the support of my family and friends

I am sad this is over. It was worth all of it. Waking up. Working out hard. Not drinking delicious sugary lattes. Not finishing what my kids left on their plates. Ordering a salad when I wanted a burger. All of it. Worth it.

Let me know if you have ever done Body Back or if you’re thinking about doing it. I can promise you won’t regret it. I’ll have one more Body Back post after this one. Thanks for following along. It’s been amazing.

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Body Back #14, Supplements- March 1, 2015

I’m writing about my Body Back journey, but these past 7 weeks haven’t just been about Body Back workouts alone. Yes, my group meets twice a week for full-body, high intensity workouts but in between we do supplement workouts. My workout of choice at this time in my life is Stroller Strides. Stroller Strides is how I first became connected with Fit4Mom.

Stroller Strides sit-ups

This is my favorite picture from Stroller Strides recently. The only non-obstructed/blurred face is mine. I wish my kids were in this shot so you could see how they are in class. It’s pretty comical. If you have a jogging stroller, black leggings and a headband, you’ll fit right in with our crowd.

I’m never at Stroller Strides alone. Henry has gone to Stroller Strides classes almost all of his life. Charlotte has become very familiar with them. Let me share with you her thoughts on Stroller Strides:

You hear her trail off at the end. She started talking about MagiClip Princesses. That’s because she watches toy review videos on You Tube on my phone during class. Yes. To get my workout I pacify my 4-year-old with my phone. Age 4 and 5 are about as old as you can get with the stroller, so I’ll take what I can get. Charlotte doesn’t usually go with me. It’s usually just Henry. Henry is the perfect age. He munches on crackers, drinks from his sippy cup and laughs when mama sings “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” while sweating it out in a wall squat.

You hear her little safety caveat? Yeah, no playing with the resistance bands that we use in class. She knows that. She always says, “When I’m a mommy, I’m going to use those bands! I want a pink one!”

Another thing I do during the week is the Body Back DVD you get when you sign up for Body Back. This was particularly handy during the snow storms we’ve be through the past few weeks. I try to do it when the kids are asleep or elsewhere. Ginger is usually my audience. She’s seldom amused.

photo 2 (39)

The video is by Lisa Druxman. She’s the creator of Fit4Mom. Obviously she talks to the other moms helping demonstrate the exercises. She says “How you doing there, Amy?”

For a second I stared at the TV like, “Whaaa? Lisa?! Hello! Are you speaking directly to me?!” Then I remembered the woman to her right is also Amy. I mean, you get individualized instruction during Body Back, but that would’ve been out of control.

bb video

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Body Back #13 Healthy Weight Loss- February 26, 2015

NEDAwareness_2015_Shareable_Athletes

As I work out and continue to lose weight during my Body Back journey I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the issue of healthful weight loss and eating disorders. I can think of no better week than now. It is National Eating Disorders Awareness week. As someone with great awareness of eating disorders, I like to pass on the message of good health this week each year. Many years ago as a high school student and aspiring ballerina, my dieting got out of control and my battle with anorexia began. Fortunately, I was 15 and my parents made sure I got excellent treatment. I have been in remission for a very long time and as I’ve said previously, an eating disorder is no longer part of my life. I have healthfully gained and lost weight over the years and now have a healthy relationship with food.

I feel so fortunate to have gone through that battle when I was very young. It made me a savvy and critical media consumer with so many extreme beauty messages out there. As a teenager I became very aware of my mental health and that has served me very well in adulthood.

When I was at an in-patient treatment center the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school I met many women much older than me who had been sick for decades. After hearing their stories, I knew that was not a path I wanted for my life and I worked very hard to take steps to beat anorexia.

So many of the women I met were mothers. Many were “fitness enthusiasts.” Their dieting and exercise was out-of-control. They were suffering as their behavior became compulsive and obsessive. They were sick. Any time a family member battles a mental illness, the family does too. The children suffered as their mothers suffered. When I had children, I wanted to make sure that I was a great example of health and good body image.

The 2015 NEDA Eating Disorders Awareness week theme is “I Had No Idea.” It’s about early intervention. Here is a free, anonymous online screening that may help someone.

Like I said when I started this, I took the “I love my body, I don’t care, let’s eat a cupcake!” thing a tad too far and was eating a bit too much junk and being too sedentary. That’s not a good example either. So, I looked for a good program. Before I ever started classes with Fit4Mom and before I started a program like Body Back, I made sure to look into the ideals of the program. While Body Back does encourage weight loss and features high intensity workouts, it DOES NOT promote extreme dieting or unsafe exercise.

I’m raising a daughter and a son. Most often eating disorders effect women. I NEVER want my daughter to suffer as I did. I will always be forthcoming with her about my battle, food and exercise. (Age permitting of course. She’s 4.) If you think because you’re just raising sons that you don’t have to worry about this, you couldn’t be more wrong. The National Eating Disorders Association reports this year that “10 million men and boys will battle some form of the illness at some point in their lifetime and, due in large part to stereotypes and cultural bias, males are much less likely to seek treatment for their eating disorder.” I believe it. The battle to make the team or the demand for athletic scholarships could push a kid into unhealthy behaviors, boys included. I feel it’s just as important to discuss healthy eating and body image with my son as well.

There are mothers out there who become consumed with “losing the baby weight” and their pursuit of fitness becomes dangerous. If you have a friend who you think is suffering, learn about how to reach out to her. Know that eating disorders are a mental illness and need to be treated as illnesses. Read more on how to help someone you love.

Someone asked me yesterday if losing the approximate 15 lbs. I have lost put me at my “ideal weight.” I don’t have an “ideal weight.” Body Back is just helping me have the fit body I need to be the best mom I can. For me, it’s all about balance. I killed it with good workouts this week because I wanted to and it felt good, not to be thinner. I enjoyed a snow day brownie with my kids too because I refuse to deprive myself to the point of misery or diet to obsession. Never again. Balance. Fit4Mom and Body Back encourages a community of healthy moms. I’m proud to be a part of that. I hope this helps someone.

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Yes Day- February 24, 2015

snow day yes day collage

We’re ending another snow day. Another day gone with no preschool, no playgroups, no workouts and a shortened workday. No amount of hot chocolate, movies or sledding could save our sanity by 5:00 pm.  I tapped on my husbands headphones as he diligently filled out spreadsheets at his laptop. He came home early to work from home as the threat of even more treacherous roads loomed. I said, “We’re going out to eat with the neighbors.” He looked up at me and down at the kids and said, “Yes.”

I’ve seen all of you excelling mothers out there with your homemade snow cream, handmade crafts and smocked little painters at easels happily painting the cold day away. Well done. Be sure to tell your troop leader you earned your Pinterest badge.

Don’t mind me. I bitterly say that out of jealousy and shame.

I’m ashamed that I was damn near losing it by the end of today. Don’t get me wrong, now that I’m not working, I love snow days with my kids! I get to enjoy some fun without constantly checking my laptop or phone. I don’t have to wait for “the email” from the boss about whether the office is open, sealing the day’s fate. I don’t have to wonder what ungodly hour I’d be freezing my tail off to tell television viewers to stay off the roads as I ventured out on them. (Yes, I was a news reporter in what sometimes feels like a past life.) 

But practically an entire week of snow days? That’s different. I felt shame that I was seriously sick of my children when evening came. The whining. The tantrums. The crying. Chasing one while peeling the other off of me was exhausting. My daughter looked at me about this time and said, “Can play with the iPad again.” I stopped and looked at her and said, “Yes.”

She looked surprised. That’s when it hit me. Sometimes you just have to make it a “Yes Day. ”

“Mommy can I watch another movie?”

Yes

“Can I have another cookie?”

Yes

“Will you open this for me?”

Yes

An entire bag of blocks gets dumped in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Yes, that happened. I’m letting it happen.

“Can we eat pizza for lunch?”

Yes

I watch as he feeds the dog cheese from his highchair.

Yep. I just let it happen.

I didn’t make it enough of a “Yes Day. ” I didn’t pick my battles. I let it get to me. Of course Yes Days can’t happen every day. I would raise spoiled little assholes that would still be demanding I open applesauce pouches for them after college. But, sometimes? On some snow days? For my sanity? Yes. It’s okay to have a Yes Day. It’s even okay to toast to Yes Days with a drink. Cheers to spring being a few weeks away.

drinking beer on a snow day

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