Healthful Mondays: The holiday pounds

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

I put my jeans on the other day and they were tight. Not just a little tight, like shimmy on in and then do a couple of squats to stretch them out tight, but muffin-top tight. Thanksgiving was a blowout with cheese, sausage, stuffing, BREAD, butter, MORE BREAD, a good amount of mashed potatoes and gravy, and some cookies for dessert. I also made that cheesecake and ate my fair share. So, basically, I’ve packed on some holiday pounds.

It’s not just me. The husband has a little extra wiggle around the middle, too.

Now, how to get rid of the pounds? With Christmas in just a couple of weeks, I know there is more and more eating, along with a good amount of drinking, right around the corner.

I like doing yoga, walking, sitting, reading, and eating. Yoga happens if I’m lucky – and if the babe’s awake, most of that short yoga session is spent with her hanging on me or trying to imitate down-dog. I do spend a good amount of the day walking and moving about, but, I’ll be honest, I sure like sitting, reading, and eating.

I needed help and I needed it FAST! How do other mamas get rid of the extra pounds? If I start good healthy eating and exercise habits right now, maybe they’ll last through Christmas – and beyond!

My friends over at Momster had some fantastic ideas from real-life ladies dealing with the same thing. What I learned is there’s no way to shed the weight without putting forth some effort and and giving the whole shedding of pounds process a good amount of time. One mama suggested switching over to salad plates at meal times – awesome idea (although the hubs wont like it)!

Now I’ve got motivation for cutting back during meals, but what about getting my sweat on? It’s really hard to make time to exercise when you’ve got a wee tot, but I can’t keep using that as an excuse. And maybe there are some things I could be doing WITH the babe that I haven’t thought of.

I love Fitness Magazine and enjoy checking out what they have to say on the health front and found a fun article sharing winter ways to shed the holiday pounds. Along with great ides, they included calorie counts for some of my favorite treats, which also put things a bit in perspective, too.

So, instead of spending loads on a gym membership, I’m going to strap the babe into the baby-back-pack and head out on a brisk hike – and drag the hubs with me. Although there’s no snow in my neighborhood to shovel, spending an afternoon weeding and raking the leaf-ridden yard will also burn tons of calories!

What’s your secret for beating the holiday bulge?

Healthful Mondays: Walking with babes (and moms behaving badly)

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

Walking is the way I lost about 20 pounds after the birth of my daughter. I try to walk every day, whether it’s just around the block or along one of the great trails in my area. There’s something about spending time with your child while they are safely tucked into a stroller and sharing the wonders of the world. I invested in a great walking stroller when my daughter was born, and haven’t regretted it since.

Taking a walk is a great way to relieve stress, get the heart rate bumping, and create long lean muscles in the legs, which us women are always dreaming of. Walking is nice and safe, low impact, and doesn’t involve hurtling or hitting moving objects (which always makes me flinch). And, it’s free. WIN!

I’m always on the lookout for other walking mums, ready to hook-up with others that enjoy bonding with their babes while enjoying outdoor exercise. Sometimes I luck out, other times, not so much.

Yesterday, I headed out for one of my favorite walks ready for an interactive experience with my daughter full of stopping to look at leaves, waving at dogs, and general human interaction with strangers.  It was a lovely day – all crisp and bright. The leaves were all shiny and blowing around and it created a cool juxtaposition with the sporadic palm trees. The wee one and I were having a great time enjoying some waving, babbling, and strollering.

I was coming up to another mom walking with a stroller. Could this be an opportunity to make friends – to start a conversation with a fellow mom? As I got a bit closer I could hear her talking and thought how awesome it was that she was chatting away with her child (just like I do!). I walked a little faster trying to catch up. As I got closer I got my smile ready and made sure I didn’t have anything stuck in my teeth that would scare away my future best friend.

I was ready to pass. I came along side and said a quiet, “hello.” She didn’t turn her head, so I said it a bit louder. My future best friend turned to me, raised her hand in the air, and gave me the “one minute” gesture. It was then, at that sad gut wrenching moment I realized she wasn’t chatting happily away at her adorable child, but into a small hidden obnoxious and ridiculous earphone.

I looked down at her small child and smiled big and gave him a super large wave. So did my daughter. I looked back at his mom, who was still talking into her phone, and then back to the boy. I shrugged my shoulders and passed him by.

I was so sad. I understand that sometimes mommies need to make important phone calls or listen to their iPods, but does it have to be when they are spending time with their kids – especially in the great outdoors? What an opportunity to share something special with your child, and encourage her development, wasted.

I decided not to let it bother me and sang the ABC’s with my daughter instead. She doesn’t really know the words yet but she likes to yell along.

Healthful Mondays – Pilates

I’m pretty lazy when it comes to exercise. I do it, but am not into the high-impact-super-sweaty kinda stuff. Anything that guarantees getting in shape that involves laying down, sitting in a chair or low-impact cardio, I’m excited about.

While pregnant, I figured I needed to do something to stay in shape that wouldn’t shake the baby. Someone suggested to check out Pilates, so I did. At first I thought the whole thing had to be a bunch of hooey – something that promised long lean legs and a flat tummy by doing slow movements. I wanted long lean legs and a flat tummy (yes, I am fully aware that a flat tummy can NOT be obtained while pregnant – but I had visions for the future).

With a couple of fun and super short work out DVD’s, I started out slow and found Pilates to be an enjoyable and challenging work out routine that was beneficial during pregnancy and post-pregnancy. Today, along with attempting some cardio to keep the heart healthy, I still do Pilates almost every day. Do I have long lean legs and a flat tummy? NO. Genetically, I’m just not built that way. I can still dream though, right?

My favorite pregnancy Pilates work out was Pilates During Pregnancy with Niece Pacenka. Not only do I like Niece’s name, I found her routines easy to follow, comfortable and adjustable for your trimester. Post pregnancy, I couldn’t get enough of Ana Caban and her Maintenance Pilates for Weight Loss. These short work outs kick your tushy and are also easy to follow. Yes, you spend most of the routine on your back, but be ready for your stomach to burn the next day!

So, whether you are pregnant and want an engaging work out or just looking for a way to get some defined muscles, check out Pilates. You can do it in the comfort of your own home or check out a class at your local gym. In no time you can look just like me!

No chocolate for me

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

The other day I decided to jump on the scale – just for fun (insane, right?). I was rewarded by a gut-wrenching number a good 7 pounds over what I thought it would be. Not believing my scale, I got off and got on again and saw the same number. Hey, it’s not that bad, really. But, the scale rules us women and I had been major chocolate over-indulging.

I love chocolate. I love chocolate in any form. I have eaten chocolate covered bacon and bugs. If it’s chocolate, I will eat it and probably like it.

So, these last weeks I’ve found myself hitting the chocolate pretty hard. I made chocolate muffins, chocolate crackers, chocolate chip cookies and ate lots of plain old chocolate. I guess it translated into 7 extra pounds.

I challenged myself to spend a week without chocolate and see if it made any difference, along with staying away from sugar in general and getting some regular exercise.

It hasn’t been a fun week.

As a reward, I am allowing myself a super special chocolate indulgence tonight. I haven’t decided what that chocolate decadence will be – but it’s going to be good!

Oh, and I weighed myself this morning, and was down 2 pounds, which is good and all – but seriously, this weighing yourself thing is asinine. We really should just eat healthy, exercise and get over it, right?

What do you cut back on eating when you think you need to lose some pounds?