Whoa Mama!

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

single-tumbleweed-o

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!

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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.

❤ M.

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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!)

beforeafter

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.

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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

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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.

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My first 5K: Color Run Chicago!
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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.

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Hola from Puerto Rico!
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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??

❤ 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 😉

❤ M.

Race Recaps: Chicago’s Perfect 10K and Team Fabulous 5K

My, my…I’ve been busy! After a hiatus from running, I got 15K in this past week! Not that I recommend going about it that way because today is my first day of not being sore in about 5 days.

On Thursday, I remembered that I signed up for Not Fast Just Fabulous‘ Virtual 5K benefiting the Challenged Athletes Foundation, a non-profit that provides support, rehabilitation and access for athletes with physical challenges. So hit the gym for a lunch time run. It took me forever to finish, a symptom of my lack of keeping up with my running stamina. All I was hoping for was that I finished in under an hour and I did (in 56 minutes).

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This was a pretty strong indicator of how my 10K would go on Saturday. Several months ago, a friend of mine proposed that we try out a 10K together. I was all for it until I took this little test that let me know I’d be completely wiped out for the next 3 months. And wiped out I was! I signed up for the Chicago’s Perfect 10K and within a week or so I was dealing with first trimester exhaustion and nausea and I set aside pretty much all fitness. I had gone into it with a 30 day plan to get my mileage and strength up but I could barely get out of bed for work most mornings, much less a run. Fortunately, these two races happened as soon I was feeling normal again but unlike my last pregnancy, I’m much bigger much sooner this time and I’ve just had to roll with it the best that I could.

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

So I finished this bad boy in under 2 hours (look at that! 2 of my 5K’s put together!) and I was hurtin’ for certain until yesterday afternoon. My nutritionist warned me that running while pregnant could be risky since my joints and ligaments are more malleable and more likely to be injured under a lot of pressure and strain. Boy, my hips were hurting by around mile 4.5 and by the end of Saturday night, my knee was throbbing and stiff. I’ve since then iced and heated everything plus rested and hydrated (and ate all the things too) and I feel like myself again!

Hey nutritionist lady, I got my veggies in.
Hey nutritionist lady, I got my veggies in.

I’m really glad I went through with these runs. I had a moment as I was nearing the finish line of my 10K on Saturday when I started to get really emotional. I thought about my last pregnancy, where I was in my life then and how I would have never in a million years considered doing something like this on a normal day, much less pregnant. I was near tears as I crossed the finish line and realized I just did something huge. I ran/walked 6.2 miles along the lake with the Chicago skyline in the background, one of my biggest fitness accomplishments to date at a time when I could have easily excused myself from such a challenge. Let’s just say, it took everything not to burst out in tears!

My frieeeeends!
My frieeeeends!

As for the race itself, I really enjoyed it! We started at Navy Pier and ran along the lake front path until we reached the museum campus and started the turn by running around Grant Park. Sadly, I took no pictures of the gorgeous Chicago scenery, I really couldn’t stop or I’d never start again! It was the perfect day for a race though, mid 50’s, no clouds in the sky, plenty of sunshine. It was wonderful! My only complaint is that the run back was along the lower lake front path and the cement was severely damaged making it a dangerous path for those that needed to stay to the right. I couldn’t really run along this part if I wanted to, I was too nervous I’d twist my ankle with my floppy ligaments and all. One thing I will say is that trying to run to the end of Navy Pier is like a mind game! You keep thinking you’re close and then there’s like a mile and a half left. You get to the first big ship that’s docked on the water along the pier and think, yeah! almost there! Crap! Half a mile left! So that part was pretty grueling but I probably would have felt that way no matter where I was running. I just reeeeally wanted to finish and this picture was that exact thought crossing my mind:

Am I there yet?
Am I there yet?

All in all, I’m really friggin’ proud of myself! Holy cow, I did a 10K! I did a 10K while pregnant! I think it’s safe to say I’ve arrived on the other side of “would never do it” to “challenge accepted!”. And now I’m a 10K finisher and I know I can only go up from here 😉

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I really need to use the mirror that’s not in the bathroom…also, the sink doubles nicely as a baby bump shelf.
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Finishers!

❤ M.

What Up, Pregnancy?

Thanks to all of you who showed me some love for my announcement last week! It’s been really fun hearing how excited you are for me and my growing family. It’s been a fun ride thus far, my second trimester is upon me and besides my achy body and need for a little extra sleep most days I’m feeling good! My energy is back up and I’m making progress in wanting to get back into the fitness game.

Speaking of which, I’ve had a few things on my mind lately. As you know, this is my second pregnancy so I’ve been around the baby-building block before. I loved being pregnant the first time and I’m remembering why all over again now. It’s quite literally the coolest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I love the way my body changes to accommodate a little growing person , I don’t mind the stretch marks and the bloating and the overall discomfort even though I’m the first to complain when I get the chance. It’s all so fascinating to me, I feel like a science experiment in which my innards are rearranged, I grow temporary parts like a placenta and amniotic sac and my body produces and pumps twice the amount of blood than it does when I’m not pregnant. That, my friends, is really freakin’ cool.

Also on my mind? How I can do things differently this time. Last pregnancy, I had yet to adopt a healthier lifestyle and it was pretty much impossible to do since I was still in graduate school and working full-time. I was really just practicing the don’ts of pregnancy to keep my baby as healthy as possible (i.e. don’t drink alcohol, smoke, take unapproved meds, eat unpasteurized foods and raw meats/fish, etc.). Working out was not on the list nor a whole lot of clean eating. Those are things I’m working on including this time around because I really want to get back in the game as soon as I am able.

Along those same lines, I also witnessed the explosion over Maria Kang’s weird attempt at motivating people by reposting (cuz she originally posted it a year ago) her version of a “fitspiration” poster. Now, if you want to know my opinion, it’s this: Maria lives a lifestyle that is extremely conducive to staying on top of her fitness and for that I respect her for not using motherhood as a reason to stop exemplifying the industry for which she is a part of. What irks me about her attempt at “fitspiration” is that she stated in an interview that what she wanted the poster to say was this: “I wanted to say, ‘I know you think you don’t have time if you have kids. But if I can do it, you can do it, too.’. Man Maria, you should have just said that. Really, those words are far more inspiring and supportive in my opinion, it’s a bummer that it became this sensationalized fat-shaming/fit-shaming/mothers vs. mothers thing. Instead she chose the words “What’s your excuse?” which in any situation can be hurtful and shaming to some as opposed to her more supportive statements that would have probably been a better choice. But you know, people do things either to inspire or provoke and in some cases to attempt to do both. And in that, she succeeded. Nice job Maria.

On most days I have some legit excuses, on others, I don’t. Either way, I could care less about your conventionally hot post-baby bod, Maria, not all of us can ever look like that regardless of how many or how little babies we have or workouts we do. We just won’t, I’m good with it and if I were to choose someone to motivate me to let go of my excuses and just do the dang thing, I’ll pick someone who’s a little more conducive to my need for unconditional self-love and support while making me sweat something fierce. If you need an example, check out my Fitbloggin ’13 post about Patricia Moreno from IntenSati Fitness. But that’s me and I know many people, including a few of my friends, family and followers agree with Maria and if that gets you up and moving, I respect that and high-five you for it. Really, whatever works as long as it gets done, amiright?

Anyway, the point of all of this is to say I’m excited to have better outcomes after this baby makes his/her grand appearance. I’m already in much better shape, with cholesterol that’s 40 points lower (as of May 2013) than last time, no anemia detected in my blood work from 8 weeks ago and I’m already shopping for maternity clothes that are 2 sizes smaller than my last pregnancy. Check it:

maternityjeans

So I guess you could say, I’m feeling pretty rock star about having this baby. I already know the hard work is paying off by how I feel this time around.

❤ M.