I am sure you are going to see a lot of new year, new me posts from today throughout the first of the year. Disclaimer, this is not one of those posts. I am not blogging to tell you about my new year resolutions. Each year I often join the crowd and make a firm decision to do something, whether it’s committing to incorporating gym time in my daily schedule or simply crossing soda off my list of guilty pleasures.
This year I am taking a different approach. I cancelled my gym membership last year when I realized that I noticed results when I stopped going 3 times a week. Yes, you read that right. I completely gave up on the gym and focused on making better decisions with my meals and that is when I noticed a change in the numbers on the scale. My husband told me that I didn’t have to go to the gym to lose weight and despite him being living proof of this I didn’t believe him. I thought I was actually doing something by checking in to Planet Fitness a few times a week. Showing up made me feel good but I still wasn’t getting the results I expected. And on the days my excuses won and I skipped out on the gym, all it did was made me feel defeated. Yet, I still found pleasure in monitoring my fitbit stats. Did burning those calories after working out help me reach my goal weight? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
I reached my goal weight by changing my diet to a low carb diet. Each meal consisting of meat and veggies. I don’t even count calories anymore. (Bye-bye myfitnesspal) As long as you are sticking to eating meats and vegetables you don’t need to count your calories. A nice portion of meat and vegetables fills me up and gives me all the energy that I need.
So, for 2020 I am focusing on health and wellness exclusively. I can control what I put in my body and I will be eating for nourishment. When I eat well, I feel better and sleep better. This is very important to me and my entire household. My husband and I don’t just eat well for ourselves but we make sure our children are eating well also. This often is a challenge with our picky eater of a 5-year-old. But, we know and understand how much your diet affects your mental and physical wellness. We even make sure our 7-month old is eating well. We are anti-junk and do not purchase any foods with bogus ingredients.
I challenge each of you to start your new year out with reading ingredients labels. If the ingredient list is long or contains items that are not natural—put it back on the shelf. Make your selections of foods wisely; only purchase items with pure/natural ingredients. It’s even better if you are able to purchase fresh and raw foods. Share in the comments if you are going to be joining me and going into the new year making healthier choices. If you have already made changes in your diet to eat raw and natural foods, please share your experience in the comments with others. Did you find anything specifically difficult or was it an easy change to make? What advice could you share with others to encourage them to stick to this lifestyle change?
If you are interested in learning more about how our family has been so successful at sticking to eating “good” food, be sure to follow and subscribe in order to be notified of my next blog post.
Limiting Screen Time. I wanted to make some changes this month and it started with my social media cleanse.
We are currently 8 days into the
month of July. Goals are still being set and worked towards despite the lack of
me posting them. I have really been living in the present moment and on a
social media cleanse. I am active on social media but not as much as I was
before our newest addition arrived. One of my main goals this month is to
remove myself from social media in order to be more attentive and present in
life. We too often get wrapped up in social media stories, updates, and
timeline feeds that we lose track of time.
More Vacations. Hubby and I decided that we shouldn’t wait until certain times of the year to plan trips. We are just returning from a road trip with our little ones. Baby Andrew did so well on our trip and we even had a chance to visit with family along the way.
This includes day and weekend
trips. This is truly something my husband and I have enjoyed over the years.
This is definitely a lifestyle we are passing on to our children. Vacations do
not have to wait until select times of the year. Planning more trips is on my
list of to-do’s. Local adventures and road trips included.
Home Workouts. I am 8 weeks PP and have been cleared to resume my normal workout regimen.
I downloaded Katy Hearn’s app, FIT
by Katy which has a workout generator based on your workout environment, home
or the gym. The workout generator creates workout plans based on the muscle
group you’d like to focus on. This is perfect for me since I am home with the
kids and it’s impossible to make it to anyone’s gym when breastfeeding on
Morning Runs. Starting today, 1-3 miles beginning at sun rise each morning.
Running is my new outlet and a perfect way to incorporate working out and enjoying nature. I’m also preparing for my first run, Remembering Our Angels 5k Walk/Runwhich will be on Oct. 5, 2019. This is the 1st Annual Remembering Our Angels 5k Walk/Run hosted by Alaina’s Gift Inc., a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping others who have suffered infant and/or pregnancy loss. It is funded solely from donations.
My husband and I will be walking in
memory of our Angel, Hope. We hope that our friends and family will sign up to
walk with us for this great cause as well. Sponsors are also needed, please
spread the word and share the event.
In order to be truly successful you have to talk about your goals. Speak your plans and success into existence. The law of attraction applies to the success in our life. To be successful we have to put in effort and speak of it before it is even achieved. Go beyond dreaming about your success; make it a reality.
A strategy that I have found to be the most successful in my life is actually writing down my goals and plans. I am a visual person and actually recording my goals and plans allows me to track my progress as I move closer to achieving my goals. This can be done in various ways. I personally use a planner specifically to log and track my goals. Another method you can use to track your goals is through the use of a vision board. A board that you can write your goals on and review daily. The most important part in planning for success is recording your goals/plans and check in proactively daily in order to be reminded of them and be aware of what needs to be done to move a step closer to achieving them.
With so many upcoming projects that I am working on I could not imagine staying organized without planning. Before I take a step out on anything- I plan. This is a crucial habit to establish if you are looking to achieve success. Planning is what it takes to be a successful person.
What steps are you taking in your life to become more successful? Have you encountered any roadblocks in your path? If so, what have you done to remove those hurdles in your path?
I believe in the African-American Proverb, “Each one, Teach One.” If there is something that I find to be helpful to me, I am going to share it with others. We all would be more successful if we supported each other mutually. True success is about supporting and uplifting each other in order to build a better community around us. We all play a vital role within our communities.
This post came across my news feed on Facebook and I immediately shared it with my friends. It resonated with me personally because I know what it feels like to wake up and go to work each day and give 8 hours to a company and come home feeling drained of energy and peace.
I have been in a place where I was too tired to work on my goals due to lack of inspiration. All because I was giving 8 hours of my day, 5 days a week to a company that was leaving me empty and deprived.
Once I realized that I was in a place of disaster, I proclaimed that something had to change…
Never again will I ever work for a company that does not invest in me.
Never again will I ever work for a company that drains my energy.
Never again will I ever work for company that disurbs my inner peace.
Never again will I ever work for a company that hinders me from focusing on my own goals.
Never again will I ever work for a company that leaves me feeling uninspired.
I don’t know about you by I have so many goals and projects that I have committed too and I refuse to let anything or anyone stand in the way. I don’t make excuses for myself, because I refuse to be the roadblock in my own path.
I am sharing this post with my readers because this is a message that someone needs to hear. Don’t go another day without setting some time aside to focus on you and your goals. We make time for what we want to make time for. If you working on your goals does not fit into your schedule you obviously don’t want to achieve that success you claim to be chasing after.
Time is the greatest investment you can make within yourself. If you are not investing time in yourself you can’t expect to produce results or greatness. You can’t get any water from a dry well.
This blog post is long overdue; sorry not sorry. I am enjoying these precious moments home with our little baby boy. I know all to well the truth in the saying, ‘They do not stay little for long’. It’s the bitter sweet reality of motherhood and parenting. You find out the exciting news that you are pregnant and the time seems to take forever as your body changes over the course of 9 months. Nearing the end you grow even more impatient on your little one’s arrival as the growing pains increase and the due date nears. Once they arrive you are mesmerized by their being. Yet, with each day they grow older and milestones continue. Soon they start walking and talking. Then they start running and before you know it they are ready to start school (Kindergarten).
We take for granted these moments. Time stands still for no one. I am soaking in all the cuddles I can get before our little one grows too big that I can’t cradle him in my arms. Today marks his 25th day here in this world and that also means day 25 of exclusively breastfeeding (EBF). I am here to debunk the myth that breastfeeding is easy. Yes, it is natural, but far from easy. Most women give up on breastfeeding within 21 days after delivery. I believe that breast is best and I was determined to make this work for us. Day 25 and we are successfully making it happen. Yes, it is exhausting: nurse, pump, eat, sleep, and repeat (my life story).
EBF has been the main reason why I have been M.I.A from blogging. Blogging definitely becomes pretty difficult now that I have a baby laid across my lap and chest, rather than my macbook. Always, check in with me on social media if you want to stay updated. I have been posting more on IG and Twitter. I definitely promise to work blogging back into my schedule. I have so many topics that I am excited to share with you all.
Postpartum Weight Check:Prior to delivery, my last recorded weight on 5/8/19 was 180.6 lbs. I delivered on 5/11/19. Above you can see my progress pictures prior to and after delivery. At 6 days PP I weighed in at 166 lbs. By 12 days PP I weighed in at 161 lbs. If you look back at my initial post, Weekly Weigh-In Pregnancy Edition: http://fitlifewitherica.com/2019/02/28/wednesday-weekly-weigh-in-pregnancy-edition/ my pre-pregnancy weight was recorded at 163 lbs [documented on 8/19/18].
I am so amazed at how quickly I was able to reach my pre-pregnancy weight and even loose an additional few pounds. I definitely give credit to the fact that I am breastfeeding (burns calories). While, I am taking in an additional 500 calories daily in order to keep my supply up I am efficiently burning calories. All of this progress has been made without exercising. I really have not found the time to fit exercise back into my schedule yet. When I say ‘exercising’ I mean actual workouts and running. Right now I am just staying active by walking which is better than nothing. For those of you that know me, you know that keeping moving is a priority to me.
Tonight, I weigh in at 159.4 lbs. I am not too focused on the scale numbers. Since I am EBF I do not plan on making any drastic dieting cuts. It is important that I am consuming enough calories daily in order to maintain and support my milk supply. However, I still have fitness goals to be achieved. My goal is to become leaner and strength train. Over the course of the next few months I will be focusing more on reducing visceral fat and building muscle. I have some love handles that I would like to see gone and in order to make that happen the visceral fat has to go.
Reduce the visceral fat prior to building muscle [muscle gains do not look good over fat]
I will continue to keep you all updated on my fitness journey and goals. Please continue to follow for updates, as well as other great content as it relates to: Motherhood, Fitness, Health, and Life.
Friday, May 10, 2019: I followed up with my OB/GYN for my weekly appointment. I was still only 2 cm dilated and about 60% effaced. With Jr. due date quickly approaching in 4 days I began to feel overwhelmed. Despite knowing that due dates are only predicted estimates of when baby is expected to come I began to get concerned since my next appointment would be on his due date, Tuesday, May 14, 2019 and my OB/GYN said he would recommend for me to have a scheduled c-section around 41 weeks if I failed to progress. He explained to me that despite having a successful vaginal delivery with my first that inductions are not an ideal option after having a c-section as it puts the mother at an increased risk for a potential uterine rupture with the medicines they would use for induction. While he explained what to expect, he did remind me to stay positive since things can change quickly.
Before I left my appointment, since it was Mother’s Day weekend he handed me a beautiful Pink Rose and wished me a Happy Mother’s Day and I told him that it would be even nicer if baby boy made his arrival. He smiled-laughed and told me to be careful what you wish for.
Later Friday evening, we decided to get our grocery shopping out of the way since we didn’t know what the coming week would bring. After googling ways to induce labor, I decided to pick up some more Dates which reportedly softens the cervix and pineapples. I figured why not give it a try. I had already been walking a minimum of 3-4 miles per day and doing 10 squats each time I would go to the bathroom. All methods recommended to move baby further down into the birthing canal and begin labor. [I can’t say for sure if these methods worked or if it was just naturally the right time for baby.]
Saturday, May 11, 2019: I woke up around 7:30 am and heard my husband scuffling around in our room and putting his clothes on. It’s the weekend so it’s not shocking that he was getting out of bed this early (he never sleeps in). I asked him where was he going and he told me that he was going to go get a oil change. I asked him, “If I ride with you can you stop me to get some Dunkin’ Donuts coffee on the way back home?” He said “sure”, which was very surprising since he had been discouraging me from drinking coffee throughout my pregnancy.
While at Valvoline, I just kept thinking to myself what if my water broke in the middle of the mechanics changing his oil. I even joked with him about this. I mean I know they are quick with changing oil but they wouldn’t be that quick when we are in a state of panic. The oil change was a success and we made it to Dunkin’ Donuts for my medium Caramel Cappuccino Blast. (favorite drink)
Before heading home hubby wanted to stop at CVS to check to see if they had his beard products on sale. I normally would chose to stay in the car but I was determined to hit my hourly step goal so I decided to go in CVS with him. CVS did not have what he was looking for and as we began walking out of the store I kept thinking about the urge I had to use the bathroom and I felt a little trickle of water between my legs. As I set down in the car the trickle became a little heavier and I could noticeably feel that my underwear were soaked. I looked at my Husband Andrew and I told him, “I think my water just broke”.
He looked at me with concern and asked, “are you sure”? I told him that I wasn’t sure but what I do know is that I still have the urge to use the bathroom so I know I didn’t pee on myself. We rushed home (thankfully we was not far). I immediately went to the bathroom to pee and check my underwear (completely soaked). As I cleaned myself up and put on new underwear and pants I called the nurse’s advice line and described to them what just happened. While talking to them on the phone my fresh underwear began to soak up again with fluid. At that point it was definitely confirmed that this was not a simple case of urinary incontinence – my water had indeed broke!
My OB/GYN was contacted and I was advised to make my way to the hospital. At this point, my husband, sister in law, and daughter were all scuffling around the house trying to get everything that they needed. All of us in disbelief that it was really happening – in a few hours we would be welcoming our son into the world.
Upon arriving at the hospital, the L&D Nurse checked the leaking fluid and confirmed that it was amniotic fluid. The on call OB/GYN was the same doctor that cared for me when I had the stomach flu a few months ago and she was wonderful. The odds of her being on call this very day was unbelievable. God had everything to do with the planning and timing. She came in to check my dilation and I was at 3 cm by the time I arrived to the hospital. She asked what my birthing plans were and I told her that I wanted to try for a VBAC and she told me that, that was a great choice. She explained to me that I have a 99% chance of success given my history and she did not suspect that I needed to be induced. She was allowed me to labor on my own and my body did just that.
She came back to check my progress every 3 hours and I dilated 1 cm every 3 hours. It definitely was a long time waiting but things began to progress faster as the time went on. I opted for my epidural at 4 cm and it worked pretty well but my left side and leg did not numb up as well as my right did. At 10:30 pm, the doctor checked me and I was at 7 cm. She informed me that should would be back in about 3 hours and will introduce me to the other doctor coming on for her. I was disappointed to hear this because I really wanted her to delivery baby boy.
Immediately, after she left the room not even 5 minutes had past and I started feeling intense pressure and as my mother in law and sister in law watched the monitor my contractions were coming less than 1 minute a part. In my first pregnancy the last time I started complaining about pressure Abby was already crowning on her own. I really am starting to believe that it’s something about these McKinney babies that they want to deliver themselves into this world. My hubby pulled back the blankets to make sure the baby’s head was not crowning but he was too terrified to really look. He immediately, told me to press the button for the Nurse. When the nurse walked in she looked at me and heard my complaints of pressure and wanting to poop and push – she called the doctor and began setting up the room for delivery. She knew at that point (10:45 pm) that it was time.
Once the doctor came in she check me again and in just 15 minutes I went from 7 to 10 cm dilated. Baby boy was ready to make his arrival. After about 8 pushes baby boy, Andrew Jr. entered the world on 5/11/19 @ 11:02 pm, weighing 7 lbs 8 oz. and 21 1/2 inches long.
He arrived right on time for Mother’s Day and it’s true- be careful about what you wish for. ❤ This will forever be a Mother’s Day that I will never forget.
This post is long overdue, but as you can see our first week home has consisted of a lot of sleeping and snuggling with our newborn (Baby Andrew).
I would like to thank everyone who has reached out via phone and social media congratulating us on our newest edition. Thank you for the gifts we are still receiving.
A special thank you to all of my husbands co-workers for surprising him at work that Friday before baby’s unexpected arrival with a baby shower. You all were right on time with planning this celebration. We truly appreciate each of you for your kindness and thoughtfulness. Far too often, Daddy’s are not celebrated like us Mommy’s. It really means a lot to each of us.
After having hubby home with me for a week I am not looking forward to him returning to work tomorrow. He is also not looking forward to it as well. He has been such a great help with our little Jr. and around the house as we settled into our new routines. I was totally surprised at all of the help he has been with assisting me with managing breast feeding and pumping to increase my supply of breast milk. But oh man, he gets a little crazy when he controls the speed and suction of the breast pump. I felt like he was coaching me in a marathon- “up the speed- up the suction- repeat”. Needless to say, my supply is in and heavy- all thanks to him. Pushing me to limits as usual, even when I don’t have the will.
Since I am breast feeding exclusively that has been part of the reason why I have taken a hiatus from blogging and social media. The first few weeks are a challenge when trying to meet the demands of a hungry baby, especially until your supply comes in. Skin to skin and bonding overall with your newborn is crucial to your success. I was determined to breastfeed 100%. With our first daughter Abby, I attempted but gave up shortly after due to frustration of not being able to get her to latch well. With our second daughter Hope, I pumped exclusively and then bottle fed her. I was so proud that Jr. latched immediately after delivery when we had our first skin to skin moment.
Since adjusted, I will be resuming my normal blogging schedule this week. So, please be sure to remain connected for updates: LIKE, SHARE, SUBSCRIBE.
Upcoming Post Topic: My Birthing Story – [TO BE POSTED THIS WEEK]