How to Simplify Your Workout in 5 Steps

I want to start this post about MOVEMENT by talking about MEDICINE.

What do you think about when you visualize that word?

Doctors?

Pills?

Surgery?

Tests?

Clinical “diet plans” ?

Don’t get me wrong. Modern medicine is amazing. But it doesn’t always have to be the first line of defense.

Food is medicine. We’ve talked about this before. In fact, it’s the most powerful form of medicine because it is something you give yourself EVERY day.

There’s another kind of medicine I want to talk about today.

Exercise!

Unfortunately, many of us (yeah, me included!) are lazy and want to have things done FOR us. Medicine is easy, right, because you just have to pop a pill.

Exercise depends on YOU. Not a pill. Not a doc.

You must make the time, the effort and the consistency.

You can’t rely on the doctor or pharmacy to help you with this one – and that’s likely why it becomes the form of medicine you are less likely to prescribe to.

 

OK, now think about your childhood.

Did you play? I’m assuming you did – and you probably weren’t unhappy about it!

Were you worried about food as much as you are now? I doubt you even cared if you ate dinner. In fact, you probably fought dinner in order to keep playing!

I want you to keep that in mind and TAKE THE ‘WORK’ OUT OF YOUR WORKOUT.

Make it fun.

Make it something you enjoy during (and after – a “man I feel like a million bucks. Why would I want to eat french fries?” kind of day).

Cool, Jess….buuuuuuuuuuut…..how do we collect enough motivation to even get started?

I know, right?

Electronics (bless ‘em) help us do any and everything. They are also a total curse.

We have elevators and escalators to move us around and are often not able to take the stairs.

We drive everywhere.

We’re addicted to our phones.

We work ridiculous schedules that don’t allow for the time to produce enjoyable movement.

We balance family and job and school and social life.

Obligations. Exhaustion. Little energy for anything but…Real Housewives.

And takeout.

And a few cookies because I had a killer day and I deserve it, dammit.

Yeah… it’s not easy to get started.

But the time you spend in making this major life adjustment WILL BE REWARDED.

 

Daily movement, in some form, will make you feel better each and every day. Your body CRAVES movement. It was built to move.

That means, we need to find a physical routine (big or small) and we have to do it more than once a week if we want to see results (mental and physical).

Otherwise, it’s like watering a plant with a few drops and expecting it to stay healthy that way.

(It won’t happen)

EXERCISE IS

·      Effective

·      Free (can be!)

·      Abundantly available

·      Tailored to you – you can do whatever you want

When you compare that to modern medicine – drugs, surgery, more drugs – I’m sure you will find a long list of risks to sign off on before your treatment begins. Is the “reward” worth the risks? I can’t help but laugh at some of the drug commercials on now, with the full 30 seconds spent on telling you how much they are going to mess up your body or lead to death. ?!?!?!?!

 

ANYWAY, here are my tips to get started (and stay there):

1. First, you need to recognize that movement is essential to health. No amount of kale can replace daily movement (big or small).

Be more aware of signals your body is giving you. What excuses are you making? They are likely signs that your body is craving movement, not fighting it. Try to reverse this thinking. This looks like “I am feeling achy and sluggish. That means my body NEEDS movement and flexibility. It does not mean I need to rest more on the couch eating ice cream.”

2. Attitude is so key. You need to be positive, as cliché as that is.

“Can’t” = won’t. “Try” = nope, lounging with Netflix will win. You need to tell yourself that you are doing this for the good of your body and you are taking CARE of yourself. This positive attitude will go so much further than the negative thoughts and associations with the gym. Treat the gym the same way you treat happy hour or advancing your career.

3. Commit to movement. Figure out what it is that you enjoy so that you don’t totally hate working out. You don’t HAVE to spend 30 minutes on the elliptical. You don’t HAVE to run. You don’t HAVE to do yoga.

Try a bunch of shit and see what sticks.

What you actually wake up saying you are down to do. What you feel good doing and when you feel amazing all day after. Do that. And commit to it. That means you need to schedule your workout in the same way you schedule the rest of your life and it has to become a non-negotiable.

If you had an interview – would you skip it? I hope not. Your gym date needs to be of the same priority. Literally put your workout days into your calendar so that nothing can be scheduled over top of them.

4. Movement can be whatever you need it to be. You don’t even have to go to a formal gym or class each time. Movement can also be some stretching in your room when you wake up. It can be a 30-minute walk at lunch-time. Or it can be a run with the dogs after dinner. You can literally find everything (some free) on the internet – I’ve done Blogilates 6 minute workouts for free, Yoga Glo streaming yoga for $18/month and the 7 minute workout app for free on my phone. Or I’ve taken the kids for a walk during the day. There is always time to do something. Find the something that works for you. (for the record, I am mostly walking right now!!)

5. CHOOSE to do more. Every day we are faced with something more active and something where we can be lazy. Examples: take the stairs; take the elevator. Walk to work; Uber to work (within reason, obvi). Walk during lunch; scroll through Facebook during lunch. Grocery shop; have groceries delivered. Whenever you are faced with something where you have the opportunity to be active – do it!

Remember – keep balance and find the joy.

You don’t want to be 100% working out everyday to the max, especially if you’ve been rather sedentary for a while. It’s important to move and it’s important to rest as well.

Find that joy you had when you were little. Enjoy the movement you are doing. Don’t worry about the million other things you have to get done. I promise you will feel so much better about ALL of those things after you are done (and you’ll probably be better at completing them, too!)

Postpartum poop tips

OMG - listen, I am embarrassed even writing this but YOU HAVE TO KNOW. I am HERE for you and my fellow mamas and people need to talk about this! Literally this is one of the TOP 5 things someone asks me about when talking about postpartum so naturally it MUST BE WRITTEN ABOUT.

I’m dedicating this post to my new friend Eliza who inspired this post. Hey girl!

You want to be prepared for pregnancy, motherhood… but no one wants to talk about the details in between when it comes to giving birth and ALL the stuff your body has to go through before, during and after the fact. I’m here to touch on just ONE of those things - but a pretty major moment.

If for some reason, you were blessed with amazing bowels and you’ve never had an issue with this - my sincerest congratulations.

So here it is - let’s talk about what it’s like to poop for the first time after you give birth. And then show this to your partner who is NOT giving birth and make them feel really bad :)

Pregnancy

First things first, PRE-baby, you go through a lot of back and forth with your systems: nausea, constipation, hemorrhoids, peeing 4937548 times a day, leaking when you don’t pee in time.

Side note for another post some day - I actually found out that my pelvic floor is really messed up from having kids, and I need to see a physical therapist about this! But having pelvic floor dysfunction can lead to urine leakage as well as bowel issues. You might want to ask your doctor or midwife about this if you are experiencing any issues!

Will you poop when you give birth?

Absolutely possible. You are pushing a baby out - and you are supposed to “push” from your rectum, so naturally other things can come out. ;-) Don’t worry, the nurses are God-sent angels and clean it up quickly.

Now…post-partum!

Well, depending on your hospital - you may be forced to poop before you can leave. It used to be a thing. It wasn’t a thing with Graham.

Now, the things our body has that keep us from pooping our pants at random times, are the same ones that make us have to push in order to get it done. So, you can imagine that the thought of any sort of pushing after pushing out a baby - MiiiiiiiGHT make you start sweating at the thought of breaking your stitches. It also makes you constipated.

Will it hurt?

Yes.

(For most.)

I honestly think half of the pain is made up in our heads, though, because we THINK it is going to hurt and that we are going to bust our stitches. Do this at a time where you can be alone for a while, take your time, and sit with your feelings (physical and emotional lol).

Now, let me tell you about something else just as fair warning. I find the INTESTINAL pain to be worse than the actual deed. I always had (a few days to weeks after) - intense pain in my intestines as the kinks were worked out. It felt like contractions all over again, but in a different place. Because of this - I continue to take the stool softeners and drink tons of water. I’ve asked my midwives about this and they agree it’s just part of the “constipation”.

Ok, so things you can do to help yourself out -

>> Take the stool softeners while you are still in the hospital - don’t wait. Don’t like meds? Me either. But I find these to be really helpful and temporary! I took mine until the intestinal pain was completely gone, about 1-1.5 weeks later.

>> Use the Tucks pads, cooling creams/sprays, do it all. Wine helps too.

>> Drink tons of water. Like, double and triple what you are used to. You just ran a marathon, you may be breastfeeding, and now you also have to deal with lubricating your intestines. AND - drink warm lemon water every morning. Warm - not hot or cold.

>> Apply counter pressure. If you are worried about your stitches, THIS tip is pure gold. You can freeze a pad and use that to hold them in place. It’s half science, but half a mind game.

>> Limit the foods that cause you GI issues - dairy could be one of them. Up your intake of fiber-rich foods like fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains.

>> Keep in mind that painkillers are constipating (!!!!!) so gobble up your Motrin, mama, but be warned and be proactive about some of the other tips above.

I hope this is helpful, but if you have any specific questions - let me know below!

My new favorite stroller - the Mockingbird

Y’all, I know I have 3 kids. Do I really need another stroller?!

Yes. The answer is yes.

Here’s why.

We have a single stroller that we used with Carmen - that worked with her carseat. We also kind of used it with PJ. It’s 4 years old and a BIG issue I have is that a lot of our stuff was in the basement and got pretty gross over the last year. (I wish I covered everything with a tarp) The other issue is that this stroller is hella bulky. It’s a PITA to get around the city, in and out of our tiny row home. We also have an umbrella stroller - which is super light and easy to move around, but that doesn’t fit a newborn baby. We ALSO have a 3rd stroller, a double stroller- hand-me-down that is, maybe 9 years old, LOL - and I’m sure you can just use your imagination to picture how gross and dirty it is after being with approximately 6 children over 9 years.

SO. I was definitely thinking I needed a new stroller for the baby. But my original idea was to buy a brand-new $900 double stroller from you-know-what brand. I could use it for Graham, but also for PJ and/or Carmen.

Truly, I was trying to justify spending the money. If I was going to have to spend this amount of money, well, it should be a double, right?!

THEN, my sister-in-law told me she met the creator of a new direct-to-consumer stroller brand called Mockingbird and that I should check it out. I did, and I got it.

I should note that it’s not a double stroller, but that’s okay for us right now!

Here’s why I got the Mockingbird.

COST

First thing: cost. Cost is huge to me when I’m buying things, in general.. Everything is SO expensive these days. It’s crazy… but my Mockingbird stroller was only $350. That is literally half, if not MORE THAN HALF the cost of the strollers I was looking at. And for that $350, you get a free 30-day trial, free shipping and a LIFETIME WARRANTY. I did also get a bassinet for an extra $100 because I wanted to have the option to use that in the newborn days.

Do you want to know why they can do this? They cut out the middle man. By skipping the retail markup and going direct-to-consumer (DTC), they let us save money without sacrificing quality!

IT’S…CUTE

Call me whatever you want, but I like my things to look nice. When I was nesting for the new baby, I threw away a ton of crap. And my friend Gaby trained me to only keep the things that are super functional, super used, and super nice to look at. So anything I buy now - I keep this in mind. I don’t shop just to shop. I go for quality over quantity. I don’t buy a ton of fast-fashion. So, I wanted my stroller to…bring me joy, as Marie Kondo would say.

But seriously, you all know me, I walk to coffee shops for meetings, I walk to the park with my girls, I LOVE to walk around the city! The Mockingbird stroller is sleek and gorgeous.

IT’S EASY TO USE, ESPECIALLY IN THE CITY.

With 3 kids, most of the time, I only have one hand to do things. (Even without kids, I think I only use one hand haha) This stroller is incredibly easy to use with one hand. It can be folded with one hand—with or without the seat attached—and it automatically locks and stands upright when folded.

The frame and seat suspension work together for smoother strolling and a more stable ride, and the handlebar rotates to accommodate parents of different heights. I often find myself having to push the stroller with one hand because I’m holding a coffee, water, or the baby in a wrap because he got fussy.

The Mockingbird folds up to go neatly in my car if I need to take it to another part of town.

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The basket under the stroller seat fits up to 25 lbs. of stuff. I have our backpack diaper bag in there, along with snacks for me, my massive 36 oz. YETI water bottle, and am able to add groceries or other things that I buy while out, with plenty of room.

IT’S SAFE.

Mockingbird strollers exceed the required safety standards across nearly every dimension and have been independently certified by the JPMA. Triple thumbs up.

Want to get your own? Click here to learn more about them. I’m happy to answer any questions you have, and the team at Mockingbird is incredibly responsive as well.

I did receive a gifted stroller in return for an honest review of it. This story is entirely accurate and I reached out to the brand on my own :)