When did it happen?

This week has caused me to reflect a lot about a few things. It was very unintentional how this all came about, but never theless it seemed to all tie together under the theme of – When did it happen?

After a few extraordinarily difficult weeks with our youngest I was feeling many things, but above all exhausted. Between screaming, hair pulling, and inconsolable cries I found myself frantically cleaning, in my attempt to bring some semblance of order to the house. However, in the process two very important people in my life got tossed aside. In the chaos of the new baby duties, I have never felt so distant from my toddlers, and I’m not sure, if it werent for my eldest I would have even noticed. After a full week of attitude and defiance from her, I found myself trying to figure out where in the world all this anger and aggression was coming from – and when I realised what was going on, it left me a little gutted.

Dozens of times last week, she had asked me to snuggle with her, to read her a book, to come see what she was doing, to practice her school work – and every time I had brushed her off. After all she’s my big girl; my strong, smart, independent girl. Surley she can see how busy I am right? My realization came durring a hilarious overtired conversation I was having with her when I said ” Olivia do you think I want to be cleaning instead of spending time with you? Of course not! But you guys just keep making messes and I can’t sit for two seconds without something falling apart somewhere!”… wow mama, hold on a minute. Did I just blame my 3 year old for not keeping the house clean and not understanding why I was stressed out? Yeah, I kind of did :/

So when did it happen? When did a clean counter and coffee table become more important that my time? When did the mess of building a fort become more important than how many couch cushions and blankets you could fit inside? When did painting and crafts become a cause for anxiety? Now obviously there are seasons in life where we are busier than others, and we definitely need to have clean clothes and dishes, I’m not saying that. What I am saying though, is I don’t want those things to become so important that when my kids look back on their childhood all they remember is that I was a good mommy who always kept a clean house and took care of them. I want them to look back and remember, mom use to build the best forts! We would spend hours in there reading and singing, and sometimes we would all sit at the table painting crazy pictures and making playdough monsters. The house may not always be tidy, but does it really have to be? 

This time we get with our little people is so fleeting, and precious – My resolution this year is to be more present and available to them, to look at life from their perspective and live accordinly. So this morning we built the fort. We read the books. I took Liv with me on a special date to the mall and let her pick out some things from my list. We had popcorn and donuts, and made special memories – and it’s been the best day in a long time πŸ™„

Noodles, and zoodles, and coodles, oh my!Β 

….Or rainbow noodles for short πŸ˜‰ This is another one of my favorite recipes because it’s super simple and gets my kids to actually eat veggies unknowingly and without complaint.

You will need a veggie spiralizer for this one. I picked one up from Amazon for less than $20, and I honestly use it all the time! So without any further explanation, I give you “Rainbow Noodles”

Ingredients:

  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 baby zucchini
  • 1-2 servings of pasta noodles
  • 1 large sweet pepper
  • 1 C mushrooms
  • 1 Jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 lb hamburger
  • Seasonings of your choice

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil
  2. Spiralize your zucchini and carrot into thin noodles, and chop the sweet pepper.
  3. Put your pasta noodles in the boiling water first and set the timer based on the packages instructions. When there are 4 minutes left on the timer add in the carrot noodles. When there are 3 minutes left add in the zucchini noodles.Β 
  4. Strain and set aside.
  5. Cook the hamburger, adding in the mushrooms and peppers about half way. Season to your liking – I used a bacon chipotle seasoning, onion and garlic.
  6. Add the noodles and sauce, mix well, and simmer.
  7. Β Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Sunday LasagnaΒ 

Who doesn’t love a warm gooey lasagna on a cold winter night. It’s one of the ultimate comfort foods, and when made right it doesn’t have to be unhealthy πŸ˜‰ 
Let’s call this one lasagna’s little brother, equally delicious, and far lighter that its carb loaded big bro. This has become a family favorite in our house- even for hubby and the kids – so it’s a winner in my books. 

Ingrediants:

  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 baby zuccinies 
  • 2 cups mushrooms
  • 3 small tomatoes 
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3 cups(ish) spinach leaves
  • 1 tub cottage cheese
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C marble or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Jar spaghetti sauce

** Now I don’t profess to be a culinary expert or food photographer so please note that measurements may vary based on what’s in my fridge at the time, and photos will not look as catalogue ready as other blogs may be. Also I’m a mom of three, not Gordon Ramsey, so there’s that πŸ˜‰ **

  1. Pre heat over to 375Β°
  2. Brown the ground beef with whatever seasoning you like. I personally use garlic, onion, red pepper, and Italian seasoning from Epicure. 
  3. Using a handy dandy cheese slicer, slice the zucchini vertically into zoodles, and thinly slice the carrots and tomatoes with a standard chopping knife.
  4. Mix your tub of cottage cheese, cream cheese and two eggs with a hand mixer until creamy and smooth.
  5. Then layer. And layer. And layer some more! In no particular order except for the cheese. I would use half of the cheese mix for one layer and half on top, with the shredded cheese being very last…. but that’s just my preferance. 
  6. Bake on a cookie sheet, unless you enjoy scrubbing your oven, for about 40 minutes – you want your carrots to be soft- or until you feel it’s ready

Voila! Yummy, low carb lasagna that the family will Love, and your thighs won’t hate you for πŸ™‚ 

** You can also take away or add any other veggie layers you’d like **

Remember to breath.

To say I was frazzled would be an understatement. The stretch between 4 and 6:30 around here can only be described as pure pandemonium, and this is the time of day where I wish I could be two people at once.

By 4 o’clock my 2 year old who has recently protested napping is beginning his downward decent into emotional turmoil, and my youngest is in an awkward too late to nap, to early for bed phase. By 5, I know I need to begin supper so that its done in time to start baby’s bedtime routine; But with a melting down toddler, a tired screaming baby, and a 3 year old who’s recently taken up a lovely scremo style singing career- compliments of the microphone and piano she got for Christmas 😣 – it’s easier said than done. Every nerve in my body is overstimulated and I feel defeated. As 6 o’clock approaches it’s time to get baby’s jammies on, nurse her and lay her down for bed, while trying to keep the other two quietly playing downstairs. If all goes well, supper will be made, baby will be sleeping, daddy will come home and we will have survived another day.

Yesterday however, all did not go well. Baby was still up at 6:30, overtired and too angry to settle, daddy didn’t come home until 7, and as I looked around the house I felt every ounce of energy just drain from my body.

You see, I had not stopped moving the entire day. I had not sat down or rested for even a few minutes, and yet as I looked around, every room was somehow in a state of chaos. Dishes on the counter, pillows on the floor, an entire bookshelf that had been cleared out on the floor, drawers of clothes strewn across the bedroom floor and to top it all off – at some point durring the evening my two year old so generously took it upon himself to dump out every single bin in the toyroom and proceed to pile the rest of the toys into a massive pile in the middle of the floor. Like I said frazzled, is an understatement. I felt exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed to the max, and completely isolated in my feelings.

By 8 o’clock though, the dust had settled, and the kids where all sleeping. The books where put back and the clothes returned to their drawer – unfolded because, well who am I kidding, it’ll happen again – the counters where clean and I just sat down. The rest can wait I thought. The playroom that had been turned upside down, the laundry that hadn’t been folded, and the last few toys on the floor, could wait; And as I sat, I realized something. The level of chaos I was feeling had far more to do with my emotional state than the actual mess. While it’s true that there where messes, my overwhelmed state made it seem so much worse than it was, because in truth it had only taken about 15 minutes to tidy up the main part of the house to reveal everything I had cleaned underneath.

So my advice to you would be to just sit. Take some breaths, and appreciate all the things you actually did get done that day. So often motherhood can feel like running on a hamster wheel, running constantly but never getting anywhere. In actuality, if you can take a few moments to think about all that you accomplish each day, it’s so much more than you may realize. I love the saying “The days are long but the years are short”. My oldest is not even 4, but I already know this to be so true. So try and enjoy the seasons, try to appreciate the moments of chaos – hard as that may be, and remember to breath.

What’s in a day?Β 

So what does a day of food look like for me – a lot more than you would think! Taking into account that I’m still exculisivly nursing, I eat around 1,900 calories in a day. For my size and weight loss goals I would typically aim for about 1,400 but nursing mom’s need around 500 extra calories for milk production, so that’s how I came to the 1,900 calorie figure. 

So what does that look like in practical terms:

     5 Cups of veggies, 3 Cups of fruits, 3 3/4 Cups of protien, 2 Cups of whole grain carbs, 1/3 Cup of healthy fats, 2 T of seeds, and 80+ oz of water. 

To simplify, a typical day could look something like this:

Breakfast – Whole wheat toast with butter, 2 hardboiled eggs, a handful of sliced sweet peppers, pumpkin seeds

Snack – Whole grain tortilla, spinach leaves, sandwich meat, 1C mixed steamed veggies, dressed with 1 T Avacado oil – and an apple

Lunch- zucchini and carrot noodles with sugar free tomato sauce and a chicken breast 

Snack – 2 nectarines, 2 kiwis, Greek yogurt

Dinner – stirfry – veggies, hamburger, brown rice or whole wheat macaroni noodles 

Snack – 3C air popped popcorn, or 1 tortilla toasted and dipped in hummus πŸ˜‰

It’s safe to say I’m not hungry! There’s this common misconception that you need to starve yourself to loose weight. While it’s true you will need a deficit to some extent it’s so much more about where your calories are coming from. As an example, all of the food in the list above has the same amount of calories as a medium baconator combo and a frosty, but which one do you think is more sustainable for a healthy body to function?

Likewise, you’ll have a hard time loosing weight when your not eating enough calories. I know how easy it is to grab a granola bar and a cheese string and call that lunch – after my oldest daughter was born I ate nutrigrain bars as meals and snacked on whatever was easy to grab through the day and I really didn’t think much if it. No surprise though, I not only didn’t loose the baby weight, I gained about 15lbs more, I felt like garbage, my skin was the worst it had ever been and I had no motivation or energy to do really anything. That diet clearly wasn’t working.

What else does your body need? Water! You either love it or don’t. Unfortunately whether you have a taste for it or not, your body needs it. I aim for half my body weight in oz a day and since I am a water lover this is actually very easy for me. With a goal of 80oz a day, I typically drink between 100-120oz, not because I have to but because I drink whenever I’m thirsty, and other than my morning cofee the only other liquid I reach for durring the day is plain old amazing water. Food absorbtion, digestion, elimination, headaches, muscle function – can all be traced back to how much water you drink. It’s really an increadable thing. 

In General, food is not your enemy, the types of food your choosing though, and the amount, can be. So eat! But eat well.  Choose real foods, fruits, veggies, whole grains, protines – and look for some new varieties, things you’ve  never tried before. Nature has given us the most beautiful abundance of food choices, naturally full of vitamins and mineral, everything out bodies need to run. So take the time to enjoy them πŸ™‚

How do you do it?

How do you raise three young children, keep a clean house, prepare three hot meals plus snacks everyday, and still manage to workout and stay sane? Truthfully… you don’t.

I won’t lie to you, it’s not easy. I am so blessed to be able to stay home and be a part of every precious moment of my kids lives, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I feel like I am always behind; On laundry, on dishes, on healthy snacks for the kids – Always behind. But we just do it, one day at a time a best as we can. 

Pick your battles – For example my workouts are non negotiable, they are important me and I take them seriously. So if I have 5 loads of laundry to fold, I do my workout first then tackle laundry, and if those 5 loads spread into 2 days I’m okay with that; because I followed through in my commitment to myself to fit in the workout. 

Include your kids! For me if the kids will sit through a t.v. show while I work out than that’s perfect! If they won’t though, I won’t let that be an excuse to stop. Grab a blanket and spread it out so they have their own mat – you could even give them a resistance loop your not using or a 1lb weight and let them join in. I’m not saying there isn’t a chance you may knock them over by accident while your trying to do a reverse lunge and the plow into your leg – but it’ll be Okay, they’ll learn to give you some space, and you’ll become accustomed to watching for stray toddlers in the future. 

Don’t let a bad day stop you! Just because your morning was a bust doesn’t mean the whole day has to be. Likewise, just because you missed a workout Monday and Tuesday doesn’t mean Wednesday through Saturday is out and you can’t start again until next Monday. Carpe diem- Seize the day, tomorrow is not guaranteed so stop pushing it off until tomorrow and just start already! 

Amy

What it’s all about for me

Growing up I was very aware of body image, and not in a good way. I do not have “genetics” on my side, and I watched many of the women in my family struggle with huge self-confidence issues, resorting to all the latest and greatest crash diets, fat burners, carb blockers, and cleanse fads available. This really became second nature to me, and I didn’t know all the health problems these fads would cause in the long term.
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The past couple years I had 2 huge moments of realization.
The first came at a midwife appointment when we got to the family history section of the appointment. This had really become a running joke for me, when asked about it I would casually say, if it’s on the list, someone in my family has it! But this time was different, this time it wasn’t funny. She went through the list one by one and asked me specifically who was affected by this particular illness. Cancer, check. Diabetes, check. Heart disease, check. Endocrine disorders, strokes, digestive problems, clotting disorders, high blood, pressure, check, check, check. And as I named each person who was affected by it, it became so obvious that each of these people had died, or very well could die because of these problems, and not only that but now I was passing that legacy down to my own babies! This is not a legacy I want to pass down.
The second moment came when my dad asked me to help out in a surprise bedroom renovation while mom was away for the weekend. My task was simple, clean out the old and organize the new closet. It was upon doing this task that I found and collected a box of 15…yes, fifteen bottles of 3/4 empty fat burning and blocker pills. Why 3/4 empty? This I already knew the answer to. If it doesn’t work in the first two weeks it’s not going to! Or so I was taught. This went for anything, the diets, the pills, the workouts, whatever promised a quick fix and didn’t return on the promise. As an adult, at this point I had learnt better, and I was so mad I could have screamed and cried; Because the woman I knew who was taking all of these pills and starving herself over 30lbs was the most beautiful, strong, amazing woman in my life, and I knew she just didn’t see it.

So here I sit, and I want you to know you are worth so much more than you realize, and your health is not going to come from a bottle, or from starving yourself. The last year I have overhauled my own health, and although I’m certainly not perfect, what I have learned is that it’s possible. Even with two toddlers, and a newborn.

You have to take time each day to take care of yourself. Your kids deserve it, your partner deserves it, and YOU deserve it!
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Health is about so much more than what you look like in a bikini (although that happens to be an added bonus ), or what the number on the scale or your jeans say. It starts in the kitchen, on the inside of your body, nourishing every part of you so that you can function at your very best. This is continued in your fitness, taking care of your heart, and lungs, sending oxygen through every cell of your body and promoting health, energy, and strength.
Since I have committed myself to 30 minutes of moderate activity every day, I feel so much better, not only about my appearance, but I also have focus, energy, and stamina. My mood is better, I have more patience, I sleep better and I actually wake up feeling rested!

So I hope you’ll join me on this crazy adventure of motherhood, health, and fitness. To kick it all off I will be participating in the launch of 80 Day Obsession, and I am beyond excited to make this my best year ever! Watch me as I embark on the newest program from Beachbody and when you’re ready to take on the challenge for yourself, please reach out so we can crush our goals together πŸ™‚

 

Amy