I…just…don’t…feel…like…it. And that’s fine.

Ugghhh. I know I said I was baaaack, but like, that’s only kind of true. I also know I’ve said many things on here about it not being ok to allow society/the patriarchy/media/overzealous fitness world people/judgmental toddlers dictate how you should feel about your body/appearance/weight but gosh darn it, sometimes they do and then you feel guilty. I’ve been trying to keep it together for those on the outside looking in, trying to keep up this image of someone trying “do it all” but that isn’t happening right now. And I’m undeniably super ok with this.

Maternity leave for me still hasn’t ended, at least not in my heart. My son is 4 months old and I thought I was going to kick some major postpartum ass this time around and maximize my weight loss by breastfeeding, working out and eating all the healthful things as soon as I got back to work but turns out, with my life revolving around not one but TWO children, one of which depends on me for all of his nourishment, the additional energy required to work out AND work is just not there for me right now. And with my heart not in it, I think it’s best for me to take some of the pressure off and just quietly take a step back and let myself breathe. I’ve always been the type of person strives to feel confident about who I am and not allow outside pressures to bring me down but these last few weeks, I have ended each day feeling really stinkin’ guilty. I feel like I’ve been letting myself, my family and all of you down. I feel like a lazy sack of I-don’t-know-what who just wants to sit around and eat cookies all day like that one day last week when I actually ate cookies all day.But then I realized that’s just bullshit. I get up at 6 am every morning and I just don’t stop moving until the last child lays his or her pretty head down for the night which is usually between 8:30 and 9 pm. That leaves me with about an hour alone with my husband who has also gone through the same kind of day and lately, I’ve actually just gone to bed shortly after the kids have gone to sleep.

I swear I’m not trying to justify my feelings because honestly I don’t have to. But I do feel like I need to get this off my chest because I hate that I feel guilty. If you need some perspective, consider this: when I go to work and I’m not advising students or in meetings, that is the only time of the day I get to myself. And even though working out had become one of my favorite “me time” activities, right now, in this moment, it’s not how I want to spend that time. If I’m being totally honest, I would kill for a day off that only involved me laying on a couch reading fiction with unlimited coffee and pastries [healthy] snacks at my side. So in the small moments during each day that I can spend reading, writing or just hanging out with other adults discussing things that don’t involve temper tantrums and teething, I’m pretty happy with that.

Life is full of so many arbitrary rules that I think far too many of us subscribe to and ultimately end up feeling guilty over when we start to break them. One of those rules is the general idea that once you’re done with pregnancy and you’re all healed up from the birth, you’re all out of excuses for being overweight/inactive/a poor eater. Adding a new member to your family is like a fourth trimester with a whole new set of rules. So on some nights, that might mean getting by on a dinner made of packaged ingredients or picked up at a drive thru (although, shout out to mancakes for cooking his ass off at least 5 mornings and nights a week.). That means I might want to spend my lunch hour staring into space instead of hitting the gym because dammit, that’s what I feel like doing today and I don’t get many moments when I get to do what I want. It means that we need to talk more about the concept of the physical 4th trimester too in which a woman is still experiencing pregnancy and birth after-the-fact by adjusting to her new body and her new life with a new baby.

As I’ve said before, I have a lifetime to work on my fitness goals and I know from experience that it will be much easier once baby grows and starts to become less dependent on me. Besides, I don’t actually think I’m all that ready to get rid of my smooshy belly which is the only thing I have left that indicates a baby was just there growing and kicking me with all of his might. Oh and I LOVED being pregnant so I might keep this belly-relic around just a tad longer. I’m also not in any rush to run a race or clobber a new obstacle course since training for something like that takes a lot of time, most of which would be away from my family or would take up the one hour a day I truly get to myself.

So for now, I’m going to employ the What You Can When You Can Rule when it comes to my fitness. If I’m in the mood, I’ll do it. If not, I’ll make up for in other ways like taking the stairs whenever possible or getting off the bus a stop or two early. But if I don’t get to it today, tomorrow is another chance to get it in. Either way, I’m really stinkin’ happy. I have the two most adorable children in the history of ever:

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I mean, really?

and I can’t help but feel like a new chapter is on the horizon for our little family so I’m just gonna roll with it and enjoy every moment. There have been far too many tragic things happening in our world lately so I really can’t be wasting my time feeling like I didn’t do enough with my days. So I guess you could say that lately, I’m unfluffing nasty thoughts and unpleasant feelings out of my life. And I feel as though this blog is just that for me right now: perhaps not just about me losing weight but also about me shaking off the excess baggage that comes with trying to live up to a few too many self-imposed expectations. You might see an uptick of these types of posts moving forward as I feel that I’ve grown beyond just my physical transformation over these last [almost] two years. I hope you’ll stay with me.

<3 M.

I’m Baaaaaaaaack.

I haven’t been around these parts in so long I had to reset my password, friends. I, of course, have nothing to apologize for, having a newborn is no joke. I had to wait til about yesterday for my baby boy to finally mature enough to handle more of his naps in a swing or bassinet instead of on my chest all day. This has led to things like making dinner, catching up on emails and sitting at a coffee shop for a few hours now that the sitter is getting to know him a few days a week. Pause: newborn baby pic!


Next week, I go back to work. I’m feeling like most mamas do around this time: saaaaaad. I wish I could stay home longer, I really do but that would mean missing out on a couple of paychecks and gosh darn it, I like paying my bills!

Last friday, I went in to get my post partum stats taken for the MomFit research study I am in. They had me fast, took blood, checked my blood sugar, weight, blood pressure and they even had me slip into this sexy speedo and swim cap to sit in a body pod.


My sexy body pod pic

My sexy body pod pic

In a year, they will have me do all of this again and let me know my results. I’ll receive nutritional coaching once a month and I have to log my food and activity into Lose It 3 times a week and the rest is up to me. Although I’m 8 weeks postpartum and was cleared for all activity 2 weeks ago, I have not really done anything healthful just yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going too crazy on junky food. In fact, I still pretty much only eat 3 times a day because I almost never have a free hand to eat more! 2 of those meals are usually with my partner so he can take the baby while I scarf my food down just in time to take said baby back and calm/nurse/change/hold him because in our house I’m the cry whisperer. And mancakes is the baby poo whisperer in case you needed to know that (the baby poops as soon as he comes home, everyday, almost like clockwork).

So calorie-wise, I actually think I’m below what I need to eat as a breast-feeding mama. I’ve lost all my baby weight plus a couple of extra pounds. I’m by no means starving, my portions are pretty out of control to make up for the gaps between meals but still, I’m happy to say that I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight which means I can start my unfluffing right where I left off!

It’s funny, I feel like I really am starting all over again. I will have to revamp how I eat, think strategically about my workouts and plan ahead for my new goals. I’m on the fence as to whether or not I’d like to join Weight Watchers again. I frankly don’t feel like paying for the membership and since I’ll be coached by the research study anyway, I think I may strike out on my own this time to get these last 45ish pounds off.

So here’s what I’m thinking:

- Kick off my weight loss with a bang by joining Brooke Not On a Diet’s Birthday Bash DietBet! The pot is over $3,000 and if I lose 4% of my body weight in 4 weeks, I get to split the pot with the other winners! I think this is a great way to jump-start my motivation and start hacking away at my weight once again. Ever done a dietbet? I hosted one last year, it was a lot of fun! You should join me, if you do, let me know!

- Start Couch to 5K again. I haven’t gone for a run in FOREVER. Really. I pretty much set aside my running shoes after my sad attempt at a 10K when I was 14 weeks pregnant. From there I gradually weaned off of regularly working out altogether and I’m sure if I were to go for a run today, I’d be back to a 15 minute mile (I was down to a 11-12 minute mile pre-pregnancy). It’s hotter than a mo outside so I think I’ll do this at the gym at work during my lunch hours.

- Say goodbye to dessert! I’ve pretty much had dessert everyday since the last trimester of my pregnancy. The best thing about breast-feeding is that in the beginning, as your body is working hard to establish a milk supply, you can burn up to an extra 500 calories a day. You SHOULD BE EATING THESE EXTRA CALORIES TO KEEP UP and I’ve been doing so in the form of dessert. Yes, I know this isn’t a good thing. But I told myself that this maternity leave, I was going to focus on my happiness and my baby’s health and establishing his routine. 2 months later, my milk supply is AWESOME! and he’s pretty much sleeping through the night in the breast-fed-baby-way meaning: he wakes up every few hours, nurses in his sleep for literally 5 minutes and then drifts back off. This means we’re all getting more sleep nowadays and so my body and my milk supply is regulating which means my indulgences WILL catch up with me if I’m not careful. So the day I go back to work will be the day I cut that shit out.

- Be gentle with myself. I have a lifetime to lose the weight. I don’t have some arbitrary deadline for when I’d like these next 45 lbs gone, although, if I could do it by my 30th birthday, which is in exactly 1 year and 4 days (my birthday is June 24th), that would be amazing. 365 days to lose 45 lbs is a reasonable goal but mancakes and I want to have a third baby at some point so if I don’t get there by then, that’s ok too. What last year taught me was that I was CAPABLE of changing my life of which the effects happened to be losing weight and making healthful choices. Even though we as a family have slacked off a bit with this last pregnancy and new baby, our fridge is still full of lean meats, fruits, veggies and mostly whole foods. The junk food that has made its way back into our pantry NEVER gets finished anymore so even when we fall off the wagon, we get back on pretty quickly and pretty much forget we have oreos/pop tarts/chips etc. Seriously. I throw out half-eaten junk food all of the time, something that never happened pre-Project Unfluff. So the new habits have been established and are here to stay, it’s strengthening them again that needs to take priority once again.

So I think it’s safe to say that I’m back and ready to get into the game! And although I’ll be navigating this with an extra human under my care and will face days, maybe even weeks, when I might miss workouts and healthy meals, the Unfluffin’ mindset is back and I’m ready to see what lies ahead in this next chapter of PU. I hope you’ll join me once again!

photo (1)

Thank you for your patience, I’ll give my mami back to the fiblogging webosphere now.

<3 M. and Baby Dos!

P.S. To all my Fitbloggin’ friends: I REEEEALLY wish I could join you this year! I wish you all safe travels to Savannah and I hope you have a blast! Fingers crossed that I will join you next year!


Whoa Mama!

Oh hai. Wait….let’s just get this out of the way….


Yup. That’s pretty much how it’s been around here lately. Sorry kids, what can I say? There’s not much additional brain space left when growing a human. I’ve been busy trying not to fall asleep in the middle of the day and making sure I’m eating enough produce, dairy/calcium-heavy foods and whole grains. Plus I clean when I can, make baby to-do lists, pick out cloth diapers for our registry (yeah, we’re going to try cloth this time!) and try to keep my feet on the ground as my time as a mother of one is quickly coming to a close.

Health-wise, things have been great, I’ve only gained 16 lbs total and I have only 9 weeks to go! This means I’ll be within my recommended weight gain range (even if I gain a pound a week from here on out, which is normal in the last tri) thanks to tracking and daily guidelines I try hard to follow. You know the usual: 3-5 veggies, 2-4 fruits, 3 servings of dairy, 3ish servings of whole grain. That alone has kept me crazy busy, I find it really challenging to stay on top of these goals. I’m still struggling most days, especially since I grew out of enjoying the taste of a glass of milk. Luckily, almond milk makes a good substitute but still…by the end of the day, if I haven’t met my daily health goals I’m usually too full or too tired for anything else. It also doesn’t help that staying on top of healthy cooking has also been tough, pasta and meat sauce is just.so.much.easier.

The reality is that there will more than likely be more days like that from here on out. Energy-wise, I’m back to first trimester-like symptoms. This kid is growing so fast and I’m getting more and more uncomfortable that sleep is sometimes rough and I’m just exhausted all over again. I’m also having stronger cravings lately. Mostly for sweets and I’ve had to really try and curb those or come up with substitutes like these awesome blueberry yogurt muffins I made for my cake cravings I was having last month! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve given in a lot more lately (like this wicked carrot cake craving i’m having) but luckily, my ability to have just one serving and/or get over something after a taste still lingers from my weight loss days. So even if you put a whole cake in front of me and tell me to have at it, chances are I’ll be good after a slice or two (over 2 days, not all at once!).

My days of binge-eating have been over for a while now, even more so now that I just don’t have the room for both a baby and a super full stomach. And now that I’ve been reaping the benefits of a healthier pregnancy, I have even less of a reason to get crazy and let myself go these last few weeks. Seriously, by this time last pregnancy, I was not making any intentional decisions and went for ice cream and pizza most days for the last two weeks. I won’t be doing that this time. If I even want to go there, I’ll probably switch to frozen yogurt instead because I love me some toppings and it meets my daily requirement of low-fat dairy, huzzah!

Here’s the latest pregnant lady pic of me!


Whoa Mama. 31+ weeks

I realize I missed out on supplying you with a steady stream of these but never fear, your compilation is here!

From top left to bottom right: 13 weeks, 14 weeks, 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 24 weeks, 28 weeks, 31 weeks

From top left to bottom right: 13 weeks, 14 weeks, 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 24 weeks, 28 weeks, 31 weeks

I’m going to try and write a little more from here on out, I’m thinking of adding a “Dear Diary” section in an effort to capture more of my daily happenings in life but let’s be real, once this baby comes out, I can’t guarantee anything and the tumbleweeds might come back for a while or at least until I start unfluffing once again! Either way, I’m here, I’m doing great and I’m loving life.

<3 M.

Year in Review: 2013

It’s been over 3 weeks since my last post. I know because my life is lived in weeks these days as I tick off the time left until the arrival of Baby Dos (18 to go! Well over halfway there). As I reflect on this last year, I’m blown away by the huge amount of changes I experienced in just 365 days. Although my committment to improve my health by losing weight and upping my nutrition efforts started last November of 2012, the most dramatic changes didn’t take effect until 2013. Here are my biggest achievements I accomplished this year:

1. Joined Weight Watchers and learned what real portions should look like and how to manage my hunger with balanced meals and good hydration.

First WW milestones: 25 lbs lost and 10% body weight lost

First WW milestones: 25 lbs lost and 10% body weight lost

2. Lost over 40 pounds before getting pregnant (which is almost halfway to my goal of losing 82 lbs!)


3. Lowered my cholesterol by 40 points! BMI dropped by 8 points and overall, the physical I had in late May 2013 showed vast improvements.


4. Dropped 2 dress sizes and I am out of plus sizes in most stores, including maternity! (this is a huge one for me!)

First pair of maternity pants from 1st pregnancy vs. new, non-plus sized maternity jeans.

First pair of maternity pants from 1st pregnancy vs. new, non-plus sized maternity jeans.

5. Attended FitBloggin’ 13 where I met the coolest Fitbloggers on the planet, explored Portland, OR, met great vendors and live blogged a session.

Top Left: Meredith from merbear.net; Top Right: Kelly from nothankstocake.com; Bottom Left: Margo Porras from nachomamasblog.com; Bottom Right: Brooke from brookenotonadiet.com

Top Left: Meredith from merbear.net; Top Right: Kelly from nothankstocake.com; Bottom Left: Margo Porras from nachomamasblog.com; Bottom Right: Brooke from brookenotonadiet.com

Om nom nom nom

Om nom nom nom

photo (23)

Me on a JumpSport Trampoline!

Me on a JumpSport Trampoline!

6. Fell in love with exercise, particularly running. I ran my very first 5K race (ran the whole thing!) and attempted a 10K.


My first 5K: Color Run Chicago!


Pretty Muddy Run 5K

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Not Fast Just Fabulous Virtual 5K (first run while pregnant)

I wasn't kidding about this bump, y'all.

Perfect 10K Chicago

Hey nutritionist lady, I got my veggies in.

Hey nutritionist lady, I got my veggies in (icing that sore knee after 10K!)

So. To say the least, it was an epic year! And I’ve rewarded myself with a much-needed vacation these last 2 weeks. I’ve done nothing but soak up the sun and ocean with my family in Puerto Rico, sleep in, and hold my little family close during our time off before we go back to our hectic lives as full-time employees and parents. 2014 has nothing but exciting new things in store for Casa Unfluff including the birth of our second child and a much healthier postpartum transition to look forward to. Oh! And did I mention, it’s a boy this time? Yup! We can’t wait to meet him in May.


Hola from Puerto Rico!


Measuring my belly

Our little announcement

Our little announcement

Couldn't resist these outifts. He's gonna have so much swag!

Couldn’t resist these outfits. He’s gonna have so much swag!

Until then, it’s back to the hard work of staying healthy and fit while I continue to grow this little guy and prepare for my time off for most of the summer. What are you looking forward to in 2014??

<3 M.

19 weeks already? Holy cow!


, ,

I just realized I’m hitting my 19th week of pregnancy this week. Where does the time go? Seriously, with my daughter I was impatient to progress and get to the end. This time around, I’m so occupied with chasing after a toddler that another week will go by or my belly will just expand overnight and I’m shocked by how fast it’s happening. Suddenly, May 5th seems a lot closer than I’m willing to admit.

Thanksgiving was pleasant as I’ve been craving some very much needed time off from work. I’ve just been so swamped I haven’t had much time to workout, blog, see my friends, etc. It was nice to be away from home for a few days and hang out with family. I always love this time of the year because of all the celebrations and time spent away from work. Mancakes, baby cakes and I leave for Puerto Rico in 12 days! 12 DAYS!!! I can’t wait for our trip, it will be nice to get out of the midwest/cold/city for 9 days. Sunshine, beaches, my extended family and my beautiful island! It’s too bad I won’t be able to enjoy some rum or medallas (local beer) but I don’t even care because I’m going to the caribbean for Christmas!

Until then, I have some smaller goals to focus on until I unleash on vacation mode. It’s been three weeks since I started tracking my daily eats for MomFit (the research program I’m a part of for pregnant mamas). I’ve had my second coaching session and some things seem to keep coming up: I suck at eating enough produce in, particularly fruit since a lot of stuff I love is out of season. I’ve been making a conscience decision to pick up frozen berries and grabbing a side salad whenever possible. It’s funny how you switch to healthy eating on then the pressure to do it at all times is upped when you’re growing a human being.

Bumpdate: 18 weeks

Bumpdate: 18 weeks

This is the part where I talk about wanting to work out more etc. but honestly, it hasn’t been easy and I’m already burning an extra 300ish calories a day with this kid and doing what I can when I can and when I feel good about it. I feel great in general, I have more energy than my last pregnancy (although mancakes might disagree, I make him do stuff or get me things even more right now…) and overall, I feel much better than I did with my first pregnancy. So that to me is a great sign and I’m going to feel good about that and feel even better when I do get a work out in.

Phew, glad I got that off my chest since I’ve been beating myself up for it these last couple of weeks. But really, I work 40 hours a week, have a kid, a partner, advise a local collegiate chapter of my sorority, sit on several planning committees both at work and for the sorority and I’m also the president of the graduate/professional chapter of said sorority in Chicago. Not to mention, I’m a blogger here and for my sorority’s national conference blog so if the best I can do is a couple of lunch time work outs on the elliptical or a few walks around downtown each week, I’m happy. Bam! How’s that for a healthy outlook? Once this kiddo comes out and I’m cleared for workouts, I’m ready to get my toning on again along with taking lots of walks with baby dos over maternity leave. I am looking forward to having that time to get back on track as I will be on leave from work and the bulk of sorority responsibilities will have calmed down by then.

Besides, how often can one take it easy with a legit excuse? Hey yo, I’m building a life here! Let’s all relax ;)

<3 M.

Food Adultery

It’s been a while since I’ve written but today, I feel inspired.

Do you ever feel like your partner or best friend is cheating on you when they try a new restaurant or food without you? Have you ever been reduced to “WHEN DID YOU EAT THERE?!” when they tell you, “oh yeah, that place is good.” Have you ever genuinely felt hurt, betrayed or just plain jealous when you find out he/she tried spaghetti squash/specialty hot dogs/ frozen hot chocolate etc. without you? I have. I’m feeling it right now.

Today, my husband snagged a day off from work since he has all sorts of extra vacation time he needs to use up by the end of the year. He’s out and about, having a day to himself while I’m at work and babycakes is at the sitter. Don’t judge, we try to tell our sitter well in advance if she won’t be getting paid a full week and since this was super last minute, we dropped babycakes off in the morning. Well, I’m over here reading buzzfeed buried in work and he starts checking in to the movie theater on facebook and then he checks into Hot Doug’s, a place we’ve talked about visiting for years. Suddenly, I’m not even mad that he watched Thor without me (which I refer to as movie cheating, another subject for another time) or that he’s having the time of his life on his day off, I’m mad he is eating gourmet hot dogs without me. This may be a mixture of the uptick in my hormones lately or the fact that I’ve been dying for a day off for weeks and/or both but I suddenly feel like I’ve been cheated on. And although in real life, I realize it’s not actually adultery or even anything bad, I can’t help but feel a little slighted (sorry, boo). I’m slowly coming to my senses as we speak and also, I’ve been to many a restaurant or bar that my husband has yet to visit but for some crazy reason (probably his OFFSPRING I’M GROWING), I feel entitled to my jealousy.

Now, I know this is supposed to be a blog about my weight loss and health journey and, for the time being, about having a healthy pregnancy but dangit, a girl wants a fancy hot dog every once in a while too! We’ve been living barely a mile from this particular place for over a year now and on the one day I’m crazy jealous that I don’t have a day off, he goes and eats these two pieces of deliciosity:


At the end of the day, I will look back and laugh at myself for this because really, they’re just hot dogs. What’s really interesting to me, however, is the fact that for a moment I really genuinely felt hurt. What is that about? My husband gets to make the most out of his day off and hit up a restaurant we’ve been dying to try for years and I feel like he’s cheating on me? That’s nuts. Could be the baby hormones. Could be the huge influx of work I’ve had to do at my job these last few weeks. And it could also be my emotional eating creeping up on me.

In the past, eating something indulgent in secret or finishing off leftovers I knew everyone else would want somehow gave me a false sense of joy. On the flipside, finding an empty cookie plate or a wrapper of that thing I’ve been hoping to get my hands on all day genuinely made me feel sad, betrayed even. Well for a fleeting moment today, those feelings came back. I didn’t even know gourmet hot dogs would be on the menu today for one of us and now suddenly I’m mad I didn’t get to have them too? Come on Mariana, you’re better than that.

But you KNOW what I’m talking about. Food for many of us is enjoyable. It’s an experience and trying new foods and/or restaurants is an activity we may cherish with our partners, especially when you live in a place like Chicago where incredible restaurants pop up around you everyday. But it can also be this thing we can get really obsessive about pretty quickly. I’m already looking back on the last hour thinking really? All that for some hot dogs? But that’s the old me reacting to the fact that I missed out. I didn’t get a piece of the delicious pie. I don’t get the bragging rights he does. And those are the more unhealthy and dark sides to my relationship with food that have plagued me for years.

So mancakes, I have nothing but love for ya. No really, you’re the freakin’ love of my life. And I’m glad you got to enjoy your day off with a good movie and tasty eats that I only hope give you heartburn. I’m already over it and I look forward to the next time we get to explore a new place together.

<3 M.


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