Sunday, June 28, 2015

My thoughts on getting your body back after a baby....

A couple of things lately have made me think about writing this... one of them being a post by my sister, Mara, about the difference between being positive about your body type and people celebrating their self-destruction through morbid obesity. She said, "We're not all going to look like fitness models and bodybuilders. But none of us should be okay with morbid obesity being acceptable/commonplace. Especially in our children, who are the product of our poor decisions." And I couldn't agree more. We are the example and a child who is already far to overweight is being set up for health problems and a future of struggles weight-wise. The original article (hyperlinked) that sparked this seems to be no long available... but a similar one is found here
The second thing that really pushed me to actually sit down and write this was my friend Erica- She writes a very honest blog about being a mother. Aside from great ideas for activities with your kids, she is very open about her body image and struggle with how she looks after children. Here is a link to her blog: You can also follow her on facebook. :)

The final reason why I wrote this was because of my recent CrossFit competition. I had my shirt off during an event- something I do all the time and didn't even think about... but when the pictures came out I was not proudly tagging myself like I usually am. I was embarrassed at what I saw. I didn't have the rolls of a normal bent-over stomach- there were the very distinct shrivels... ew. It took me back to all my insecurities- it is hard for me (even to admit) that I don't feel completely comfortable the way I look now... this is perpetuated by the fact that I am no longer with the father of my child and anyone with me in the future has to love this new me that I sometimes look at and don't like. It has taken me a long time to realize that I will never look the way I did before, or like the 25 year olds I compete with, but I am honestly in better shape than I ever have been, feel amazing, and have a healthy little girl- that should be enough.

I am not looking for compliments or reassurance- but especially with social media now, the pressure to lose the weight, look a certain way and be super mom is very real for almost everyone and a big topic of conversation among new moms. These are my thoughts on the subject of post-baby bodies... 

 When people look at me, or see a picture of me, especially in a fitness setting, most people would never know I have a three year old. I usually get comments about how I look good for having a baby (wait?! I want to look good anyway, not just for having a kid!! kidding- kind of) or that I don't look like I have ever had one. I also get comments (or hear through others) that people never want to look like me or that they think the muscle tone is unattractive, I spend too much time in the gym, etc.- that's fine too- it isn't for everyone- I don't "accidentally" look this way and I probably don't want to look like them :) 

What people don't see when they look at me, and what we probably share, is that I have insecurities just like everyone else. I have parts of my body that still show the signs (unattractive in my mind) that I have been pregnant and had a child. After having a child you will never look the same... that's non-negotiable, but you can arguable look and feel better. These are some things to keep in mind... 

1. The people we compare ourselves to are not "real". 
Do you know how many selfie takes, angles, light variations, filters, make-up, etc. went into 99.9% of those pictures? With the right angle and lighting and too many hours in the day to take pictures of ourselves we can all look a lot better. With social media the way it is now, it seems like all your friends are at the gym, on a diet and looking amazing 3 seconds after having a baby, blah blah blah. Take all of that with a grain of salt because social media is deceiving. If you are all about instagram and twitter and follow a bunch of people you don't know who always seem to wake-up with perfect "morning abs" stop it.... When you look down you do not see what the world sees- the world does not see those people the way they look in pictures... stop comparing yourself to them. 

2. All women who have carried a child have permanent markings of carrying a child. ALL OF THEM! 
We all show these markings in different ways just as we carried our children and our weight differently. When people look at me they think no way- she has no body fat (I do actually) and as I stand up straight or hang on a bar they do not see those markings- mostly because the parts mostly effected are covered by clothes. ;) I never got stretch marks and I have regained my abs, but when I bend over I have the "shrivel" stomach that only comes from skin being stretched. As much as I do like the way I look, I am learning how to deal with that part of me because I sadly see it as "gross" or "ugly" still. 

The more I thought about all of this the more I thought the permanence is someone's way of letting us know we are more than our image and I think part of becoming selfless once you become a mother. She is the reason I am pushing myself, she is my sunshine, she is my everything... and I am hers. Every woman... and I mean EVERY woman... who has carried a child, regardless of what you see when you look at them, has some marking of that experience. Get over it, love it, accept it. 

3. Healthy does NOT need to look like a fitness model or entail a thigh-gap.
First of all thigh-gaps are F-ing stupid... Seriously stop it. 
Secondly, this makes me think of the article my sister shared. I am just going to lay it out there honestly... ...and I know people hate fit people who comment on less-fit people. It is a true statement that genetics play a role in our physical appearance... but there is not gene on Earth that makes you morbidly obese... that would be due to lifestyle choices, sorry. It is true that I spend a lot of my effort in the realm of fitness and healthy eating, but I like it, it's my hobby and makes me happy. I am in no way whats-so-ever suggesting people do what I do and should look how I look in order to be healthy.

Healthy will look different on everyone... we carry weight differently, we have different careers and different restrictions (dietary and physically), etc. but we all have only one body to take care of. That should be a priority. How do you do it without money, time, gym, etc?? Get outside when you can, do squats in the living room, try to make healthier meals, do research on cleaner eating, go for a walk as a family, run around the yard with your kids... there is no better feeling than feeling good. Seriously. I didn't know how good I could feel until I really started caring... it's amazing. As much as I don't want to workout sometimes, I have never regretted it- hardest step is the one out the door.

4. The way we care for our bodies and choices we make are what our children will emulate. 
We are a role models for our children, that's not new information. We are setting them up for life the best way we can...good schools, good morals, lots of love.... good lifestyle habits should be a part of that. You don't like working out and healthy eating is not enjoyable for you? Well remember what I said above about having a child making you more selfless? This is part of it, suck it up buttercup because we lead by example and they are watching. 

We need to teach them to take care of their bodies and that is hard to do if we don't take care of ours or constantly belittle the way we look. It is becoming more and more clear how much my daughter watches and copies me... it's scary. I don't want her to think she is anything other than beautiful the way she is, so why do I not tell myself the same?

I make sure she is in the kitchen with me (let's be honest, that's not usually a choice) when I am cooking, she grocery shops with me, she sees me at the gym, she watches me lift in the driveway... there is nothing like the pure joy and giggles when I chase her around the back yard. It's sad but true that a child that is over weight will struggle and that isn't fair or their fault because they do not make their own choices with food and exercise. There is a lot to be said about being healthy as a family- set a good example. 
Healthy choices will also make you live longer so you will be around for your children... I bet no one would not want to be with their kids as long as possible. Be the healthiest version of you. 

5. Keep working hard. 
You got it girl... progress mentally and physically doesn't happen over night. Don't give up because they see that too. Do it for you, do it for them... you are stronger than you think you are and I promise you will amaze yourself. I don't believe I "can't" do something and neither should you... we just haven't done it yet! ;) 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Crockpot Shredded Steak

I competed over the weekend in my third individual competition ever. I picked this one because the workouts were almost all movements I am not very good at. It was the perfect opportunity to push myself in areas of weakness. There was pretty much no gymnastics and all barbell- eek! Not surprisingly I struggled with the workouts only requiring the bar and did well on the body weight movements. Competing is always a learning experience and definitely exposes your weaknesses. Despite absolutely dying on the last workout (lots of thrusters followed by an AMRAP of an abbreviated "DT") I still finished in the top half. Not where I wanted to be but lessons learned it's back to training. :) 

Sunday, even though I was so sore walking was hard, I went out on a boat with some old friends. People can say what they want about Michigan, but summer here, especially on a gorgeous day, on a lake, is hard to beat. I could lay on a boat all day. 

This recipe was taken and changed from one my sister gave me. I ate it with rice and broccoli. Although it is not the prettiest when it is done, it is tasty! I was thinking I could eat the steak on a salad or as a taco too!

Crockpot Shredded Steak

- 1.5- 2lbs Flank Steak (skirt would probably work in a pinch)
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Aminos (or Gluten Free Soy Sauce)
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup Arrowroot Powder
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced (or more... hehehe)
- 1/2 tsp Fresh Grated Ginger
- 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

1. Place all the ingredients except the steak and arrowroot powder in a bowl and whisk. 

2. Coat the steak in the arrowroot powder and add it to the bowl. Flip it until it is covered in the marinade. Cover and let it sit at least a few hours or over night. 

 3. Add the steak and marinade to a crockpot. Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-6 hours. Use two forks to shred the beef- it should fall apart.

I told you it isn't pretty... but it's good so who cares?!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Simple Banana Coconut Muffins

The official start to summer vacation has begun!!! I am thrilled. Today I went to the gym early (6am ew- but better then rather than not at all!) and picked up Charlie from her dad. We went to swim lessons, then to the chiropractor at a non-busy time, cleaned out the gutters, did some meal prep, took naps, and cuddled. It was perfect. 

Yesterday I hit Pr's on both my clean & jerk and clean. Neither numbers I hit (150lbs and 160lbs respectively) are super impressive, but up is up and they are closer to where I want them to be now versus yesterday! Below is my clean....

Yes, I got out of that crazy low squat with elbows that weren't where they should have been. ;) I know I do not make the best faces when I lift. Eek! 

Personal things in my life have made me feel down lately. I am fully aware most people aren't like I am and they go to the gym because they have to, not because they want to. But to me, having a good workout- standing up those lifts-- erases the number of bad ones I have had prior. It also makes my entire day shift- mood is better, overall outlook on the day is more positive, and next time I walk through the doors of the gym I'll be that must more confident. Not a lot beats the high of a pr... succeeding in something you work so hard at and have put so much time into. Woohoo! Happy start of summer to me! 

My mom requested muffins the other day so I tried to come up with something really simple. I added coconut to the tops of mine but next time I am thinking I will be adding chocolate chips as well! They are delicious with a pat of butter for snack time. 

We are rocking our summer looks- no makeup, gym clothes... well Charlie is in her "naked phase" but that's another story. :)

Banana Coconut Muffins 

(makes 12 muffins)

- 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
- 1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour
- 2 Very Ripe Bananas
- 3 Eggs
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
- 1/4 Cup Milk (any kind)
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Mash the bananas and whisk the eggs, banana, oil, and honey together.

2. You could use a separate bowl to whisk the remaining dry ingredients together (except coconut) ---or don't use a separate bowl and just throw everything in which is what I do because I am lazy and don't want more dishes- and add the dry ingredients to the wet. Whisk until really well combined.

3. Pour the batter into a greased muffin tin, filling each about 1/2-2/3 full. Top with unsweetened coconut. 

4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Servings 12.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 120
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6 g9 %
Saturated Fat 5 g23 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 47 mg16 %
Sodium 293 mg12 %
Potassium 103 mg3 %
Total Carbohydrate 15 g5 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g11 %
Sugars 5 g
Protein 3 g6 %
Vitamin A2 %
Vitamin C3 %
Calcium2 %
Iron6 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Baked Eggs in Avocado with Spicy/Sweet Bacon

School year ends tomorrow!! Yay!! The first Monday morning you don't have to wake up and go to work is the best morning. My peanut and I have a lot planned this summer, starting with swim lessons. We are members at the local community center and have been going to swim after school... can't wait to go in the middle of the day :) Funny the rules they have posted about bathing suits... I get that it is family place, but the sign cracks me up- no string bikinis, thongs, see-through, etc.... yet there are old men in speedos... ew. It's actually hard to find suits that fit me- I don't own, and don't want to buy a one- piece, and to find one that doesn't have strings poses another challenge. Not to mention squatting a lot more has made even the most appropriate bottoms look inappropriate from last summer to this summer. ;) Oh well, good advertising for Maven. Hehehe.

There are a lot of recipes for baked avocados out there. I noticed a lot of them have very long cooking times... nobody wants to wait that long!! So I cranked up the temperature of the oven and topped mine with something spicy, sweet and salty! Yum! 

Baked Eggs in Avocado with Spicy/Sweet Bacon

- 2 Avocados
- 4 Eggs
- 4 Pieces of Bacon, cut in 1/2" pieces
- 2 tsp Maple Syrup
- 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

1.  Cut the avocados in half, and take out the pit. You need to scoop out about two tablespoons of the avocado around the center so the egg will fit without overflowing. I bake mine in a muffin tin so they stay upright but you could easily use a cookie sheet.

2.  Gently crack an egg into each avocado half. This works best if you let the yolk drop in first.

3. Bake 15-20 minutes until the whites of the egg are solid.
4. While the eggs are baking, add the bacon to a skillet over medium heat. Cook until crispy. Toss with the maple syrup and pepper. 

5. When the avocados are done they easily come out of their peel... top each with 1/4 of the bacon. Enjoy! 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Post-Workout Popsicles

Counting down the days... one more week of work until summer vacation! I have my own equipment at my house now so getting extra lifting in will be happening this summer. I can either do it while she naps, or have my own cheering section because we are fans of being outside together anyway. 

My home box, thoughtfully named CrossFit Clawson, is still a work in progress....I have a women's bar (they are thinner and 15kg), a men's bar (Thanks Alex!), a rack, rings, low wooden blocks (Thanks Brad and Maven!!)- excited to use these, two kettlebells, dumbbells, and 330+lbs in plate weight--- so with two bars, and that kind of weight, I can have my friends over to workout with me :) Yay summer! There's something about training outside that is fun in and of itself. 

Now that weather is warming up I was trying to think of what would be good to have after a workout or a run. Charlie is a huge popsicle fan, I used them as a potty-training reward, and we were eating them the other day and I thought instead of the sugar-laden version I could make one with protein and good fat in it for after a workout.

A word on coconut milk-Coconut milk is lactose-free and high in fat, but unlike other nuts, the  fat they contain is mostly medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs). One of the main MCFA's is lauric acid which is converted in the body to a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an antiviral and antibacterial that destroys a wide variety of disease causing organisms. This is also why "oil pulling" is often done with coconut oil. MCFAs are rapidly metabolised into energy in the liver and are thought to be used up more quickly by the body, therefore less likely to be stored as fat. Coconut products shoudl still be used in moderation because they are still a saturated fat... I just thought you'd like a science lesson in macromolecules to go with your popsicle. 

 I made two different versions of these... the other one will be posted soon. I bought popsicle molds at the store- very inexpensive- and away we go! Just as a note- hold the popsicle under warm water until it loosens enough to get it out of the mold... I broke my plastic mold getting one because I didn't do that... oops...must be the gains. ;-) 

Post-Workout Popsicles 

(makes 10 of these thinner popsicles)
 - 2 Ripe Bananas (I used the frozen ones I keep in my freezer when they ripen too much on my counter)
- 13 oz Coconut Milk (about 1.5 cups)
- 1 Heaping Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
- Pinch of salt
- Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (optional)

Add everything to a high powered blender.

Blend until smooth.

Pour into popsicle molds- about 1/4 inch from the top. 

Freeze at least 30 minutes.

Run under warm water until loosened from the mold and enjoy!