“Healthy Pregnancy”

After the loss of our first baby in 2015, one of my hopes for 2016 was to be able to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.

“Healthy pregnancy” looks and feels different on everyone… I knew I wouldn’t be one of those awesome crossfit pregnant ladies who still had defined abs at 30 weeks, but I did know my body was capable of continuing to lift weights, being consistently active, and getting appropriate nutrients in the correct amount. I had very heathy habits the first time, but I felt even more of a desire to get it all perfect if the second time ever came around, as if that would somehow help keep the baby.

Pregnancy after miscarriage was a whole new ball game. I was no longer naive about miscarriage stats and all of the fertility struggles women go through. Everyday was and is time to be grateful to love the life within me, and I also slightly nervous about not being guaranteed that my child would make it to delivery.

Let’s just say the ideal perfection went out the window when for the first 3 months I was not able to keep much food down at all.  Between all day nausea, throwing up, and food aversions, the last thing I could even think about doing was eating or smelling vegetables. Just walking into the kitchen made me gag. I was mostly gluten and dairy-free before conceiving this time around and no sugar, but you better believe I did not hesitate to go for the saltine crackers, bread, and any carbs that would settle my stomach… oh and ALL THE FRENCH FRIES! I was in survival mode for weeks upon weeks, exhausted and very low-functioning. Praise God for my patient husband!

But allow me to also say that while this season was difficult, I am not complaining. I was grateful in a way for the sickness, because it felt like some sort of assurance that baby was progressing and a reminder that I was actually pregnant, no matter how hard it was to believe. I know what it’s like to pray for a baby month after month, and enduring whatever pregnancy symptoms was par for the course in my mind. In fact, I had prayed for a baby, no matter what symptoms I had to endure… watch what you pray for 😉 Nothing like feeling weak all of the time to push you to rely deeper on the strength of Christ!

So if you were wondering why I wasn’t as active with Soul Strong Fitness, it was because I worked out just a few times during that time, and had no energy before or after work to give unfortunately. I did feel sort of guilty that I wasn’t being very “healthy”, or really couldn’t be, but every time I went in for an appointment, they said the baby looked healthy and was growing! I did my best to navigate those months, and that’s all I could really ask for.

Fast forward now to 18 weeks. We’ve had several ultrasounds and I am able to feel more positive and confident about baby!  I’m also physically improved, and have some great anti-nausea medicine after a few really bad spells! I finally feel like Rosemary again! I’m breaking out of the dragging days and ready to get back on course and motivated! I want to finish this pregnancy strong; feel strong in labor, and feel strong as a mother!

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my health and fitness journey over the years, it’s that giving up is not an option and it’s never too late to jump back into it!

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slowly starting to bump! 🙂 and the endorphins from exercise help me to get out of “slumps”

A few constants over the past few months that kept me as healthy as I could attempt to be were…

  1. PDP_VitaminWaterZero_SqueezedLemonade_20ozlots of WATER! A few weeks in, water started tasting funny, so I’d have the Lemonade Vitamin Water Zero when I could. The electrolytes were good for hydrating after getting sick, and the extra B6 is thought to help nausea.
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  2. Vegan Chocolate Shakeology -I usually made with a banana and added some extra spinach for more fiber, even though it already has greens included. That spinach might the only extra veggie I got that day! When everything else tasted bad, my body LOVED the chocolate flavor, and it’s quick to make for breakfast when I have ZERO energy. I’m so grateful for the incredible ingredients in my daily shake!                                                                                                                                                         17387874
  3. These amazing gummy vitamins ! I started off with these organic whole food pre-natals, but couldn’t manage to keep them down. Gummies without extra sugars and artifical colors are the way to go! It’s really hard to find gummies that have folate (NOT folic acid), which is the nutrient’s natural form rather than the synthetic form. Not everyone’s body can process the folic acid, so most health experts recommend folate if possible. AND you don’t have to take a separate DHA! All in one! 🙂
  4. Forcing myself (my husband forcing me) to at least take a long walk everyday. The workouts I did manage to do came from Beachbody On Demand’s pregnancy workouts called the Active Maternity Series. Free 30 day trial to the online workouts btw!  thumb_IMG_3299_1024
  5. My mindset to not worry and to pray about every little thing is greatly assisted by journaling! A co-worker got me this sweet pregnancy prayer journal to notate how each trimester was going, prayer requests, and people to pray for who are currently trying to concieve. I think for those who have experienced pregnancy after the loss, the most important thing is to TRY to remain grateful. The last thing I wanted was to end up having a second loss and not really giving that baby the love and celebration he or she deserved. preg10

Due date January 6th! I’ll be using this page to keep me accountable and opening up a fitness group soon for anyone interested in getting back on track with me!

We Can be Free

 

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” {Galatians 5:13-17, 22}

You were called to Freedom. Wow.

First of all, let it sink in that we are called by the God of the Universe, out of darkness, out of the law, out of the curse, out of our own selfishness, out of our doubt to have freedom for faith working in love. We were given liberty not to have license to be sinful and indulgent, but to have the opportunity to mature and grow and to become all we were meant to be! When we live by the Spirit, we don’t gratify our desires that we don’t really want.

This is not freedom FROM rules, this kind of freedom is freedom TO… a positive freedom that gives us the opportunity to choose what we really NEED (not just what our emotions or impulses want).

Sounds exciting and all, but how does this apply to our health?

Put it this way, just because there is giant chocolate cake on the table, and you are free and allowed to consume it, that doesn’t mean that it is the best choice.

  • Does eating that cake mean you are going to be trapped in guilt?

 

  • Does eating this one piece mean you’re going to have another and another and another until you’re caught in a vicious cycle?

 

  • Does it mean you’re going to become a slave to sugar?

 

  • Are you eating it after being indulgent in plenty of other “treats” this week?

 

  • Do you feel the cake calling your name, taunting you, like you can’t say “no” to it?

 

We are free to choose, but we are free SO that we can choose the best God wants for us. I’m not saying never ever have a piece of cake. Cake is wonderful on birthdays, especially if it’s something yummy like this! I am saying that cake will never give us true happiness, and no one needs cake. It will never be the beneficial choice for your body. Don’t hate me, hate the science that proves that 🙂

What to do?

Sow into the Spirit. Ask Him for the fruit of self-control…you know the last fruit on the list that often gets over-looked? The fruit of love or peace seems a little more pleasant, but the fruit of self-control requires a battle within us. It means denying something in the moment for something even more glorious in the future.

It means we have to switch our thinking from a society that says you always deserve to have whatever you want and have it your way, to a kingdom mindset that says it is good for us to deny ourselves sometimes.

And it’s when you finally get to a point in your health journey that you tap into the power to deny those cake temptations that come chasing you, that you actually DO feel free! You didn’t feel out of control, forced into eating something, regretting it later, eating it because it’s what you’ve always done, friends pushing you into that extra cookie, or just in a mindless binging state… you THOUGHT before you ate and actually chose what made sense for you.

“Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything builds up. “ {1 Corinthians 10:23}

When I was recovering from being a binge eater myself, this verse above was my go-to script to find strength. I would whisper out loud,”everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial…”, and it almost always gave me that extra encouragement I needed to continue healing, instead of clinging to my former ways.

Self-control isn’t always fun, but in the long run, it is the most gratifying 🙂

Lord, I thank you for winning freedom on my behalf so that I could have the fullest, most abundant life through new life in You. I pray that you give me the strength and the knowledge to not abuse that freedom. I desire to choose right and not be controlled by my fleshly desires, but it is a hard battle to fight. I ask for the fruit of the Spirit to be made evident in my life. Grant me greater self-control so that I might walk in a manner worthy of my calling. May You get the glory of my self-control victories. Amen.

 

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Six in Sixty: Quick Ways To Improve Your Life

Want to improve your health but don’t have tons of time? Here are six 60-second ideas for improving your health—and your life!

1. Sit or stand up straight! Good posture is the key to confidence and a welcoming appearance. Not only do you speak more clearly and breathe better, you’re also taking pressure off your lower back and allowing your muscles to develop correctly. Taking a second to adjust your posture every once in a while can be helpful in reducing back pain in the future!

2. Do a plank and work the abdominals. This is a great “take with you anywhere” exercise; just drop down on those elbows and toes, keeping the back flat and the butt down. The plank is one of the most efficient and effective when it comes to a solid core workout for ab endurance and stabilization. Hold this position 20-60 seconds for 3-5 repetitions.

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3. Drink a glass of water. As you’ve probably heard, the average person should drink about eight glasses a day to help prevent dehydration. Yes, drinking water helps regulate your metabolism and your body temperature, but additionally it can give you younger looking skin, keep you from getting sick, remove toxins in the body, and boost your mood. Water is the ultimate medicine!

4. Compliment someone. It is the easiest way to spread a little bit of happiness and your thoughtfulness can go a long way. It’s a win-win for the other person and for the way you can also feel good, empowered, and kind. When we live our lives so inwardly focused, we can get down about our own problems and miss so much of the world around us. Making someone else happy might just make you happy, too.

5. Read the label. Ideally you want to look for food items with low sugar, high fiber, and high protein, and preferably nothing processed. Looking at the calories seems easy, until you realize that’s the calories per serving size and there are four servings in that container you just ate. The nutrition facts can be confusing on those labels, but understanding exactly what you’re feeding yourself can make all the difference in your health!

6. Floss. Your dentist tells you this at every six-month cleaning. It’s something so simple that most of us don’t care to do it or don’t even think about it. When we don’t floss, we’re leaving a heck of a lot of tooth unclean, susceptible for gum disease to set in and spread bacteria to the rest of our bodies. Fun fact: people who floss live six years longer than those who don’t.

Remember, healthy living comes in the consistency of our good choices. Take 60 seconds today to do something to better the life you live and make every step count.

#SneakPeekSaturday: Health Apps I LOVE/USE

Fitbit

Yall, I know people might be sick of hearing about Fitbits, or other similar bands…but I LOVE THEM. I have tried from the beginning not to become obsessive about my steps, but it has really helped me be mindful on a daily basis of my sitting! I enjoy some healthy competition with myself and with friends/family, and as a fitness junkie, I love checking my heart rate while I’m working out to know how intense I’m working. On days I’m being lazy, I’m motivated to be a little more active, and on days I’m really tired, I have “proof” on the app of how hard I’ve worked. THE BEST PART IS THE SILENT ALARM! aka Waking up in peace.

MyFitnessPal

I have been using this app off and on for YEARS to keep track of my day’s calories. I’m not strict by any means with “counting calories”, but sometimes I like to be aware. I haven’t once looked up a food they didn’t have, even from restaurants! I can sync this app with my fitbit to adjust my calories for the day… if I’ve walked a lot or worked out hard, it will adjust my number to tell me to eat MORE so I don’t risk falling below what my body needs. In addition to keeping track of what I ate that day, I can be “friends” with my personal training clients and see their diary of what they’ve been doing for exercise/nutrition without me. It’s a good way to cheer people on and interact!

AchieveMint

Now I don’t have to do much for this app, but I keep it around because I’m slowly earning $$$$ for good habits. You can set different goals for yourself, and as you accomplish them each day, it rewards you points. Once you reach 50,000 points you get $50! It’s a good way to reward yourself after working hard to be consistent. Studies show we are often motivated by a reward we find valuable… like money (if doing it for your health wasn’t enough 😉 )

 

 

Beachbody on Demand

THIS.IS.AWESOME. The ultimate “no excuses” program. You can stream the FULL 60 or 90 day workouts on your phone, tablet, laptop from Insanity, P90X, P90X3, Turbo Fire, 10 Minute Trainer, Brazilian Buttlift, ChaLean Extreme etc.! I’ve done PI-YO and T-25, so those purchased programs also show up on to stream. So if I don’t want to take the DVDs with me on the road, I can always have a workout with me via technology. There are also a few trials of the other newer workouts, so you can try the 21 Day Fix, Pi-Yo or T-25 for FREE!!

You can get a 30 day FREE TRIAL to Beachbody on Demand! CLICK HERE

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Out of Control

Do you guys remember this commercial from the Super Bowl?! Take a look.

“It’s a special occasion.”

“It’s on sale.”

“It’s a social thing.”

“But it tastes so good.”

I SO identified with this commerical when it came on! (I’m not preaching Weight Watchers, but if it works for you, hey! that’s awesome!) The music in the video always creeps me out too! haha

This video is the world in which we live, and the struggles we face everyday with the temptations all around us: online, with friends, in the store, on TV, and even walking down the street.

There are choices everywhere we look.

There are many many instances I can look back on with a vivid memory of gorging on food when I felt at war with myself to stop. To those people who can have “just one”, I applaud you! But for the majority of Americans, it’s not so easy.

Some of this is because we grew up in a “clear your plate” generation and don’t know how to distinguish between situational/emotional eating, and actual hunger. That part is not about food at all.

THEN, there is the food industry that has added chemicals to the food to make it addicting and market it well, so we are fighting a very physical battle in that regard, which is partly not our fault.

I ADMIT: I am a recovering emotional eater. So when I saw this graphic, I knew I needed to share it as a reminder to myself and to you!

I am a strong believer that knowledge can be a huge factor in change because you’re more aware of what needs to change! Just being aware of the signs of emotional eating helps me identify it when it’s happening and stop and PRAY for the courage to say NO. I am not saying “no” to the food. I am saying “no” to the feelings that tell me I am not satisfied and that eating will make me feel better. More often than not, it makes us feel worst.

How many times have you been out to brunch with girlfriends, downed the endless buffett, and afterwards hear the joking words, “I hate myself!” ? Is the TASTE worth the HATE?

Are we eating because we need to? Or to fill some void within us? Check out these signs below to recognize physical vs. emotional hunger:

Physical Hunger vs. Emotional

Don’t get me wrong, my personal philosophy allows for treating yourself every now and again! It’s your birthday–have some cake! You just got a promotion–have a big fancy dinner! It is normal not to be restrictive and to let loose occasionally without beating yourself up. It’s just important to know WHY, and that it is not a habit or downward spiral.

Be mindful. Be prayerful. Be balanced. And be a good steward of the body you’ve been given.

What to do, When What You’re Doing Isn’t Working

This past week several friends have come to me asking, “WHY?!?! I’m eating less, working out more and still not losing any weight.” While this “eat less, move more” philosophy definitely can help with overall health or beginning weight loss, it may not be that simple for everyone. Each body is different! There can be a number of things to keep in mind when you feel like no changes are happening.

What to do? Remember:

  • Stick it out! Don’t lose heart! Changes take TIME. Make a decision to be committed and be relentless toward your goals. It WILL happen, just keep at it. Your body fluctuates several pounds on a daily basis just because of water intake, sodium bloat, constipation, and inflammation, that it’s impossible to get a good measurement if you’re weighing yourself too frequently.
  • Realize the other victories that are happening in your body. The scale may not always reflect it, but the time you spend exercising or being more disciplined with your nutrition is appreciated by your organs and muscles. You may be gaining muscle, more energy, better sleep, or more confidence. No steps taken toward improving your health are wasted.
  • You may not be accurately counting your calories (if you’re paying attention to them at all). Be honest, are you really eating as clean as possible? Are you still treating yourself to extra treats in your coffee? Are you eating after 8pm and not giving your body a chance to digest?? Maybe you’re over doing it even on healthy foods? You don’t need an entire avocado just because it’s a healthy fat for you or several protein shakes a day with tons of peanut butter in it. Some things our brain says we can have plenty of because it’s “healthy” is actually very caloric, and better served in smaller portions.
  • You may need to switch up your workout to high intensity, sprints, interval training, or circuit training with weights. Your body gets used to the same old 30 minute cardio session, adapts and becomes more efficient at using the fuel. You need muscle confusion to challenge yourself enough that your body will react to it and change. Lifting weights increases your metabolism and gives you more effective, long term weight loss. Cardio alone isn’t enough. Try switching it up with a fitness class, a home DVD workout, one of my challenge groups, or find a personal trainer!
  • Check in on your stress levels. Take a look at your lifestyle habits and see if you’re getting enough sleep or paying enough attention to your emotional/spiritual needs. Chronic stress releases a hormone called Cortisol that increases fat storage and the rate at which you store fat. It can also increase your appetite and raise your blood sugar. Excess exercise then may be contributing to the stress in your body, not helping. You may need to take it easy for a time if you’re over exercising, until your body is able to get enough rest and recover. Drink plenty of water to make sure you’re not dehydrating your body either!
  • Your body may already be below it’s set point. We are naturally designed to hold on to our fat, as our ancestors didn’t know the next meal they’d get. Take time to learn if you realistically are at a healthy weight and it is unsafe to lose any more. I know society can push push push on this topic, so just be sure you actually NEED to lose weight. If not, find a new goal: maybe exercise consistency, a measurable endurance or strength goal, or something fun and active to focus on. You may be able to measure your progress by goals, or how your clothes fit, rather than the number going up and down on the scale.

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