I’m dedicating this post to Emma.

Emma is the 1-year-old daughter of two childhood friends of mine.  She is already brave, fearless, oh-so-sweet, and cute as a button.  Next month, she will be undergoing chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.  At the age of 4 months, Emma had an ear infection that would not go away, along with a persistent fever that her parents could not get to subside.  After many tests, doctor visits, a burst ear drum and loss of hearing, hospital stays, and exhaustion, Emma was diagnosed with a rare disease known as Severe Congenital Neutropenia.  You can read more about the disease here.  This disease is estimated to occur in 1 in 200,000 individuals.  One.  In 200,000.  Sweet, sweet Emma.

I wish that I could hold my friends close and soothe their angst.  I wish I knew what to say to ease their anxiety.  I wish, more than anything, that this wasn’t happening at all for them.  Seeing how strong they are, and how happy their children are amidst this chaos has truly stirred something in my soul.  While I can’t take this away for them, I’m going to do whatever I can.  I’m going to find a way to ease something in their lives.

I’ve decided to take my love of running and turn it into something hopeful for this little girl and her family.  I have hope for Emma.  Since having my little boy in October, I haven’t been running much.  It’s time to change that.  I will be running for Emma.  I will be running to raise awareness of this little girl’s struggle.  I will be running for her family.  Because if they can keep moving forward, so can I…one step at a time.

I’ll be posting about my training regularly here, and I’ll include updates on Emma whenever I get them.  Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

You can read more about Emma’s journey and donate to her cause here.

I {heart} Cleaning OUT!

It certainly helps that I’m making some money doing it, but it is such a great feeling to be getting rid of stuff!  I’m pretty sure that my mother thinks I’m completely nuts.  I had a baby 5 months ago, and I’m mainly selling baby stuff.  Yeah, actually, I know she thinks I’m crazy.  LOL!  But I have come to the very serious realization that we just have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF!  I’m sorry, but a baby does not need five push toys, nor does he really need a hiking backpack.  I think my mom is more concerned with the “what ifs”.  However, when you’re trying to clear the clutter, it really is time to decide what’s necessarynot what you might need should something drastically change.  I keep telling her that I have friends with kids…I can always borrow!  

I’m relishing in the fact that I can walk to the third floor of my house and not have to maneuver around the bassinet that has been sitting at the top of the stairs for the past 3 months.  I don’t have to try and figure out where I’m going to put the infant car seat and two bases since my super-chunky baby has outgrown them already.  I am itching to find more stuff to sell/pass on to someone who can use it.  So that’s what I’m going to keep on doing.

What I accomplished today:

Made the beds (yay!)

Cleaned the kitchen

Emptied/reloaded the dishwasher

Washed all pots and pans

Started another load of laundry (when it’s not folded and put away, it doesn’t count as completed in my eyes)

Decluttered some baby stuff!

Now, I need to get some shut eye.  Another fun-filled day of cleaning out is scheduled for tomorrow…and I’m registering my oldest for kindergarten!  Oy.  Happy cleaning!

Today’s Accomplishments

Yesterday was a whirlwind.  I feel like I didn’t stop all day.  And I have a love/hate relationship with Sundays.  The hubby is home on Sundays only during tax season…which, it’s lovely to see him, but it also means that my house can become total chaos.  Only because we try to fit a week’s worth of stuff into one day.  Yesterday not only held that “typical” chaos, but I was also out most of the day running errands, going to a basket bingo benefit, and having dinner with friends.  I’m pooped!  

Anyhow, I think I’m still trying to recover from the craziness of yesterday and haven’t fully caught up on the daily chores.  I did

Make the beds

Fold/organize the cloth diapers

Fold and put away the load of towels I did yesterday

Empty and reload the dishwasher

Start another load of laundry

Sort through kids’ clothes to give away

Sort/throw away some of the clutter in the dining room (score!)

Looking at the list now, I’m actually pretty thrilled with how the day went.  My house still looks like three little tornadoes went through it (even though my littlest is just starting to sit up on his own), but I did get a bunch accomplished.  And, my baby boy is cutting his first tooth…so he did need extra snuggles today.  Just gotta keep knocking things out, one at a time.  Hopefully, the rest of my life will start falling into place soon, too!

Pinterest May Kill Me

There are just too many fabulous things at my fingertips on Pinterest, and I have no problem helping myself to them! I’m mainly talking about the recipes, like the brownie-in-a-mug recipe that I just doubled. And let’s not forget the fact that I can sit on my butt perusing the site for hours on end…hello, sedentary lifestyle!

In all honesty, I am not really blaming a website for my demise. I have no one or thing to blame but myself for that. But it’s certainly not helping. As a matter of fact, all of my “connectedness” has been nothing but a hindrance to my desire for a healthy lifestyle. Seriously, I am plugged in 24/7. Oh, how I find myself longing for a simpler time, when our phones hung on the wall and the cell phone we carried was used for emergencies only. When we had to go to the library and research information in a book instead of online at the drop of a hat. Boy, my paranoia for childhood diseases in my kids would be greatly diminished. I might even be a little thinner, too.

Huh? A little thinner from not constantly being connected? What are you talking about? Well, let me explain. I’m the type of person who gets sucked into believing well-written, “study” backed, statistic spewing articles regarding health and wellness. You could call me “gullible”. I admit it and it drives my husband crazy! I don’t blame him. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried different diets because I read somewhere that a bunch of people had success with a certain way of eating. But hey, some of it sounds good! I think there is merit to some of it. However, if I didn’t have technology everywhere I turned, I probably wouldn’t be so all over with what I eat. I think I’ve now gotten to the point where my brain is shutting down because there’s too much “nutrition” information in there.  Now, I’m reverting back to what is comforting and familiar…eating whatever I want whenever I want to. Not good.

So, where do I go from here? Well, I’m not 100% sure. This is only one facet of my issues that I’ve identified…but it’s one that I can get a handle on. Less screen time! My cell phone will now live upstairs on the charger (I get so much more done that way anyhow), and if I need to go somewhere, the cell will stay in my bag. Or perhaps even in the car. I want to be present in my relationships. I don’t want my kids to only recognize me with a piece of technology in front of my face or attached to my ear. I want to be available to them and the other people in my life…by BEING.

Positive health thing from today: I ran! I ran outside for 20 glorious minutes. I thought about just going for a walk instead, but there is something about running. For me, it wakes up my body and my soul. I love it and have missed it so much. I need more days like that. Maybe tomorrow.

Here’s to a healthy tomorrow!

Today’s Accomplishments

I’ve always been one to write lists…and then never follow through with them.  Mainly because I’d write lists that were WAY too overwhelming.  Sometimes, I’ve even broken them down to the point where I had every minute of the day planned out.  Hour by hour.  Not good for a black-and-white type of person like me.  If I didn’t get something completely done by the time I was supposed to move onto the next thing, the whole day would blow up in my face.  So, I did not make a checklist today.  But, boy, did I get a bunch done.  And all before 10AM, too!

Accomplished:

Made all three beds (eventually I will be having my girls making their own, but I’m starting small with them, too.  Right now, they clear their places at mealtimes.  Good enough for me.)

Vacuumed the downstairs (isn’t it great when you’re having people over?)

Emptied and reloaded dishwasher

Cleared kitchen counter tops

Washed pots and pans

Started laundry

It’s the little things that seem to make a big difference.  Since tomorrow is Saturday, I’m usually thrown off my routine.  But, the plan is to stick with it and maybe tackle one or two other things as well.  Ah, the sweet smell of victory…no matter how small!  

Foolishness

Foolish.  That’s the only word I can think of to truly describe me these last few weeks.  I have been so foolish: foolish to think that I don’t have to start back at square one; foolish to think that this should ever be an easy road; foolish to feel that I can inspire others without first inspiring myself.  I have started and stopped writing several blog posts since my last.  And this is the truth about many things I do in my life.  Start, then stop.  Start, then, when I have to put some extra work into it, stop.  Give up.  Throw in the towel.

So now it’s time for me to get real.  I can’t just jump back into a fit life like I’ve experienced in the past.  My life is different.  My life has changed in so many wonderful ways…but I don’t handle change well.  I never have.  With my husband being a tax accountant, you can ask him what the month of February is like every year when he disappears from our lives for awhile.  And you can ask him what life is like living with me at the end of April when he pokes his head out of his office and resurfaces into the world as we know it.  I can’t believe he’s still with me! (Joking, of course.)  I’m not fun when it comes to change.  I talk a big game.  I know the ins and outs when it comes to doing a lot of things.  But when it comes time to own up to them, I’m like a scared little kid that hides under the covers from the loud crack of thunder.  I.can’t.own.it.

My life feels upside down right now.  I’ve even gained weight – and that’s after going in for my yearly physical.  Ugh.  And, unfortunately, I haven’t cared.  I’ve felt the pain; I’ve felt the depression that comes along with it.  It hasn’t clicked yet.

People say “it’s ok!  You just had a baby, give yourself a chance to transition!”  While those things are true, it’s not ok.  I need to get in the mindset of this is life or death.  Right now, I may not see any immediate dangers to what I’m doing to my body (eating an entire bowl of popcorn, dripping with melted butter, every night.  Making Mug Chocolate Cake and throwing in half a bag of Reese’s peanut butter chips every night.  Man, this just got real.  Did I really just admit that???), but I am slowly clogging arteries, increasing my risk of heart disease by adding fat around my mid-section, and beating myself down with fatigue every second of the day.  So I need to start back at square one.  I need to look myself in the eye and say, “Michelle, you ARE worth it, and it’s ok that you’re starting small.  You need to start small.”  

My focus has been all over the place.  The most obvious place I can see that is in my home.  I’ve never been neat.  For some reason, that gene totally skipped me.  My mother passed it to my sister without any problem, but me?  No way.  I strongly believe that health reaches all facets of our lives.  If my mind is cluttered and chaotic, my house will reflect that.  So will my body.  So will my moods.  And vice versa on all of that.  So, in order to start living a healthier life, I’m starting in my home.  Clean up, clean out, rid my visual surroundings of the clutter.  But I must start small.  So the one thing I’m focusing on for the week is making the beds.  Hey, I said small, didn’t I?  Making the beds every morning seems to really pull the room together, even with the other clutter in the corners of the room.  I know this seems like a silly thing to be writing on a blog that’s entitled This Fit Mama, but it’s important.  I’ve stuffed my home full of junk, just like I’ve stuffed my body full of junk.  Time to rid both.  Starting with the beds.

It’s February.

Yes, hello, Captain Obvious!  It’s the seventh day of February as a matter of fact.  Ha ha.

The point of the title?  Well, it’s February…and I have not kept my word on my original post from January.  My first goal was to track my food.  And guess what.  I didn’t write a single thing down.  Talk about self-sabotage.  I am the Queen of that!  Ugh, and what’s worse is that I even made it a public statement.  Fail.  Not my best moment.  I didn’t even go that big.  I kept it small for a reason…because I didn’t want to sit here and say, “Hey, I’m going to lose 5 lbs this week!”  Here I was, trying to play it smart…

So, now I have to sit back and reflect on why.  This is a step that is crucial and that I’ve never actually taken the time to do before.  Why didn’t I write anything down?  Was my goal “too big” for this season of my life?  What can I change in my original goal?  Was the goal not specific enough?  Do I need to commit to reporting everything to someone?  These are all questions that need answering.  Is my heart really in this right now?  What is missing?

It seems silly to answer some of these questions.  Was the goal too big?  Seriously?  All I was doing was writing stuff down.  I’m not committing to counting calories or points or anything like that.  I literally just wanted to write stuff down to get a really good picture of what I was doing.  What was going in my mouth, when, and how was I feeling when I ate it.  That’s all.

But, now that I’m reflecting on it, I think my biggest problem with every weight loss/get healthy journey I’ve been on before has been my lack of planning.

My super-organized, super-planning sister will just love this.  Yes, I am a poor planner.  I have my good days or weeks, but man, I could really spend some time to get better at this!  So, I believe that some tweaking in my goal is necessary.  I did not set myself up for success.  I had no great place to track all of my food that was easy to use (for me) and constantly at my fingertips.  I’m a pen and paper kind of gal when it comes to this type of thing.  I’m much faster at that than having an app on my phone and typing all of the information in or searching for a food.  I’m sure this is very useful and handy, but not for me.

Now that I’ve identified a rather huge weakness of mine, I need to readjust where I’m going and how I’m getting there.  Since I need to work on my planning abilities, my first goal needs to include planning.  So, with that in mind, my first official goal will be to do meal planning for the next week.

How do I accomplish this goal?  So glad you asked!  I very recently cleaned off the outside of my refrigerator.  While I have yet to find a spot for everything that was originally on there, the fridge looks amazing.  I added a corkboard to the side of it, and that’s where I will be putting the menu for the week.  It’s in a high-traffic area, so I will constantly be looking at it.  So will my husband…win-win!  I’m also carving out some time to write the plan on Sunday night (8pm – feel free to check on me!).  I’m putting this on my calendar so I see it, and I get a reminder.  The kids will be in bed, and I’ll have a good chance to really sit down and focus for awhile.

I can change the goal to read a little something like this: I will complete a weekly meal plan, including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks on Sunday night at 8pm.  Now it’s super-specific and to the point.  It has a timeframe attached to it as well.  Another thing I can do to ensure my success is to use a meal-planning calendar.  That way, instead of just making a list of meals, I can see what I’m eating on what day.  (Helps my unorganized brain to focus.)

There you have it.  For the week of February 9th, I’m meal planning, baby!  Maybe I’ll even post what the plan is.  Then I’ll have to really stick with it.  Hmm…maybe.  🙂

What’s your goal for the week?  And, how are you going to accomplish it?

Early Morning Realizations and a Lesson I’m Learning

Last night I had an epiphany. Does that ever happen to you? Lying in bed at 2:57a.m., I was mulling over the quote “Be the change you want to see in the world” and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I have to do the changing if I want to change the world. Well, maybe not the world, but my little corner of it anyway. I have to be the example if I want those around me to live healthier lives. My life, not just my words, needs to speak that truth.

Now please don’t get me wrong. I’m a smart woman even though I have a terrible mommy brain sometimes. I’ve understood the meaning of this quote for a long time, but last night it took on new meaning to me. If I want positive changes to happen to those I love and those I want to inspire, then those changes have to start with me, with my life. My thoughts and ideals must become actions and devoted alterations to how I’m living. My body, my life, is a treasure. A true gift, and one that is worth treating with compassion, respect, love, and forgiveness. I should care for myself just as I care for my child. I always want what’s best for my children; why don’t I do the same for me?

There’s a reason I haven’t stuck to my previous resolutions, commitments, and passions. It’s because my heart wasn’t truly devoted to the change that was necessary. My head was ready to lead, with all it’s knowledge on nutrition and exercise, but my heart was stuck on unhealthy vices. My heart was stuck on stuffing my face with Thanksgiving dinner because maybe I wouldn’t get it next year. (Seriously, it’s about the same deliciousness every year…no need to go into survival mode.) Those Christmas cookies? They’ll be back next year. If not, then better for my waistline.
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Confession time. I have caught myself, more often than not, eating in secret. When I was little it was hiding what I was eating from my parents or my siblings. Now, it’s hiding from my husband and my kids. If they don’t see me eating it, then they can’t follow my horrible example. Ugh, how wrong to think this way! And that truth unfortunately reared it’s ugly head over our Christmas vacation. My husband caught our youngest daughter hiding under the bed eating as many chocolate candies as she could get her hands on. Lord, what a teaching moment! All I could picture was me as a young child doing the same thing and how depressed and shamed I would feel after; how disappointed that I was overweight and not fit like my friends. Granted, my daughter is only 3 and I’m praying she knows nothing of these feelings or thoughts at such a young age. But I don’t want it to grow into that situation. I need to start leading by example. Time to put on my big girl pants and get to work!

So tonight I need to forgive myself. I went overboard at dinner, and I’m certainly feeling the aftermath. However, I’m recognizing it, I’m apologizing to my body, and I’m leaving it all right here…right with today. I will not think on it tomorrow. I also need to forgive that little girl. The one who used to chow down on three-quarters of a bag of Oreos in one sitting and not think anything of it. That girl who would plop herself in front of the television instead of running free in the sunshine and breathing in that wonderful fresh air. That girl who still makes mistakes and won’t stop making them. Tomorrow is a new day, but right now is a new moment, a chance to turn things around and be the change I wish to see. There is no time like the present, and I’m finally going to take advantage of it.

-Michelle

How about you? Do you need to forgive yourself for something?

What changes do you hope to see? How can you make them happen?

Passion and a Recipe Review!

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What’s your passion?  By definition, Merriam-Webster says it’s “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something”.  Well, I’ve found that one of my passions is writing.  Not just writing in general, but writing about health and wellness.  Yes, I’m passionate about my family.  But I’m finding that writing and journaling light a fire within me that gets me excited to complete a new post immediately.  It’s something for me, not for anyone else.  It has taken me so long to find this.  I feel as though I’ve just been clunking along through this life without really knowing where I belong.  Those tides are changing, and I’m so thankful!

Of course, I’ve been much better about writing about health than actually following through with it!  Man, do I know a lot.  I read everything I can get my hands on, and, unfortunately it all sounds good.  I know that I may be gullible or naive when it comes to “facts” on nutrition (just ask my hubby how many times I’ve tried to change our diets at home).  I’m quickly learning that there is no one-size-fits-all way of eating.  Duh.  What works for me may not work for you.  I can’t just copy what someone else is doing and expect to be super-fit by the next morning.  Oh yeah…and there’s no magic pill for weight loss.  Shocking, I know, but I’ve already tried to find it.  Doesn’t exist.  What I did find is that it’s all about the mindset.  If your head AND your heart aren’t in the game, true change cannot occur.  All in or not at all because the middle of the road will only get you part way.  I started a dream journal to help me visualize where I want my life to be at the end of this year.  Here’s the first page.

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It’s a good reference point in case my mind wanders.  And it does.  Often.

Writing about this journey is keeping me on track.  Sharing with the world (you know, the small portion that’s paying attention) my intent has shed new light on the situation.  So many of us are going through the same thing with only minor differences.  I have always had a desire to help others but have never really known how to do that.  This is how.  This is my passion.  What’s yours?

Onto another topic: being that intentional mama that I was talking about earlier.  Yesterday, instead of worrying about cleaning the house (which I never really do anyway) and doing the laundry, the kids and I read books in the morning.  One of the books was Emily and the Snowflake by Jan Wahl.  Emily catches the first snowflake that falls on Christmas Eve, but it melts when she goes into the house to show her parents.  Her mother then cuts out a paper snowflake so Emily has one that never melts.  So, that’s what we did yesterday.  The big one loved it.

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The smaller one, not as into it, but she humored me.

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We hung our artwork on the windows and doors.

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(I know, I really need to work on my photography skills.  Trust me, it’s a goal for this year.)

It really is amazing what can happen when you take the time to just…slow…down.  I have a totally new perspective on life when I do that.

I’d love to hear your passions and how you’re making it a point to be more intentional in your relationships!  Share some ideas in the comments!

Now, onto the recipe!  I’ve made this twice now, and I am just salivating thinking about the fact that they’re sitting in my fridge right now.  “No Bake” Chocolate Chia PB Cookies.  De-lish.  I got this recipe emailed to me by Peak313 Fitness.  Love this website!  It’s a great tool for health and fitness with the spiritual link that many of us don’t incorporate into this area of our lives.  Check it out!

Here’s the recipe: 

Ingredients:
1 cup of nut butter (I used natural peanut butter)
1/3 cup raw honey (or whatever honey you have.  Original recipe calls for 2/3 c, which I did use)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (I substituted butter because I don’t currently have coconut oil in my house)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa, or carob)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 – 3 cups oatmeal (Adjust depending on how dense you want it. If you use more, you may want to use more honey – I used 2 c)

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Start by mixing all the wet ingredients together well.  Then add the dry ingredients and mix those together well, too.  Since I used 2 cups of oats, it was a little tougher to mix together, but give it a little elbow grease.  🙂  

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Chill the dough in the fridge for about an hour (or whenever you get back from running errands).  I threw mine in the fridge while my oldest was at preschool.  And then I did some pushups.  This was my view.

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Total motivator right there!

After the dough is chilled, take it out and roll it into bite-sized “cookies”.  Put them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge.  I have no idea what a serving size is.  I probably wouldn’t eat them all in one sitting (although I may have almost done that).  But I did eat a lot of them over the weekend (like I said, this is my second batch that I made), and I’m happy to say that today I’m down 3.3 lbs from Friday!  No, it’s not from eating a ton of these cookies, but they didn’t kill my waistline either.  VICTORY!  Thanks for the awesome recipe Peak313!

Do you have any interesting recipes that have helped you in your journey?  Link them up in the comments!

 

Day 1: In the beginning…

No, today’s post is not a Bible lesson. However, God did give me this body and is trusting that I’ll take care of it. Hmmm, how’s that been going so far? Let’s just say I could be doing a better job. And that, my friends, is why I’m here.

I want to be fit. Not skinny, not prettier. Healthy, plain and simple. And I want to inspire others along the way. I’m a certified Personal Trainer and a fitness instructor who has let her weight hold her back for far too long. I haven’t done much with my certification because I’m scared…of what people will think, of not being good enough, and of not looking the part. This is going to change.

I took my weight and measurements on Friday. Doing both will be crucial for those times when I’ve hit a plateau and want to give up. This weight loss thing is psychological warfare, I tell ya! I’m tired of struggling with my weight. I’m over it…it’s not going to defeat me anymore!

I also checked my BMI on the cdc.gov website…I’m considered to be in the obese category. How incredibly sobering. They put it in nice bold letters for me. Lovely. My healthy weight range is between 111 and 150. There, now it’s public, literally spewed all over the internet. Guess I better follow through now, huh?

My first goal? Track my food. That’s it. This is a huge item for me. I find that nutrition is about 90% of the game, so I need to know what is going in my body, and when. That is my challenge for this first week: write it all down.

I’m (re)starting this journey, officially, three months after my third baby was born. It’s beyond time for me to get fit and healthy so I can keep up with these kiddos! So, I hit the gym this morning for some cardio. My alarm went off at 5:30; however, my husband had to pretty much kick me out the door at 7:15 so I would get my workout in. It’s great having a partner who cares about my health just as much as I should!

So the day started off well. Got in 20 minutes on a machine I call the stairliptical (because I keep forgetting to check the actual name of it), 6 minutes on the rower (I do not like that machine), and about 5 minutes on a spin bike. I shake my head because I used to do so much more. But, I’m coming off of just having a baby, so I’ve got to start somewhere! Did my foam rolling and then I was off! Here’s a lovely selfie of me after my gym workout.
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Cute, huh? Sweaty and still not quite awake. But I survived. I walked in the door and my oldest wanted to play Go Fish. So that’s what we did. Because I’m not only trying to be a fit human being, I’m trying to be an intentional mama and wife. After our game, the girls and I busted out some pushups…
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I did two and a half with the oldest on my back. Don’t let my picture fool ya! Then I pumped out eight more and did some stretching.

Later, as I was putting away the laundry, I did 20 squats, and Snow White did them with me! Here’s the proof.
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Seriously, my kids are so cute.

It’s definitely time for bed. Gotta get up and do it all again tomorrow! (Well, maybe not all of it, hehe.) Here’s to another day on the right track!

-Michelle