You Don’t Look Like A Runner

Today’s guest post comes from Brittany. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

You don’t look like a runner.

How many times have you heard that? For me it is always the first thing people say. Thanks… I guess. The next thing they say is “Did you win”. Why yes! Yes, I out ran ten thousand other runners. It is these silly statements or questions that gets you thinking about how you got started running. How did you get started running? Is it a story you like to tell? Let me tell you how I got started.
It all started with a friend. A friend that has been my friend since high school. She emailed me one day and said the normal thing you talk about in emails..”Do you want to run a 5k with me?” My first response I am sure was something like “Umm no thanks”. Fast forward to googling The Color Run – IT. LOOKED. AMAZING. I mean you wear white, run 3.1 miles and get color thrown on you. What is there not to get excited about? So of course I said yes, after her having to talk me into it.

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Here is the part were “training” comes in. Let’s use that word loosely because we might have got together a handful of times to “train”. I mean we ran around the track a couple of times and I said to her “This isn’t hard”. I did not want to over train for a little ‘ol 5k. How hard could it be? Let me tell you, I ate my words. It was hard. Harder than I ever thought.
Let me just mention that the course started on a hill. My hometown is what we call “fast and flat”. I was not ready for that hill. I ran up that hill and walked the rest of the way. No shame in walking, but it was not what I had in mind. I finally finished that race, along with my Mom, after all my friends had crossed the finish line way before me. My confidence was hurt. That did not keep me down though. I had cheerleaders at the finish line cheering me on. Crossing that finish line, hearing people cheer other people on, that is why I run. I love it. It has helped me gain all kinds of confidence that I never thought I could have before!
2013 was my first 5k. I ended 2015 with a handful of 5ks, two 10ks and my first half marathon.

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I started 2016 with a 5k, hoping I can finish with 4 half marathons. I am just like everyone else, still learning as I run. Here’s to a new year, many more miles and maybe a shiny new PR.
Happy Running!

4 Things That Running Has Taught Me

This is a guest post from Lesley of Greater Fitness. She is the blogger behind my runDisney tutu creations. Be sure to check out her blog!

I am not a natural runner. I started running as a way to lose weight. Sure, shiny medals and new shoes are fun, but my running focus was all about dropping pounds in the beginning of my running journey. As the pounds came off, I started to truly enjoy running, and I began to see so many other benefits from it, besides the weight loss that I was experiencing. Now, I no longer run to lose weight. I run because I can’t quit it. I’ve learned so much through my running experience that I think other runners can relate to as well. If you are new to running, just starting or if you are a seasoned runner I think we can all learn a thing or two from running. Here are just a few of the important things that running has taught me over the past 3 years (in no particular order):

1. To Appreciate the Importance of Solitude

I am a talker. I don’t spend a lot of my time alone. I enjoy the company of my family and friends, and I like to meet new people. Before I started running, my “alone time” consisted of me cleaning, reading a book, or watching a show on television. When I started running it was really weird for me to not talk for 30 minutes or more. “This is boring.” I would say to myself. Gradually, I started to see why so many runners liked the alone time they had. Runs became a way for me to “shakeout” my head and come back home refreshed. I enjoy going on a run with other people from time to time, but now my favorite runs are solo. I look forward to that time so I can literally only focus on putting one foot in front of the other when my mind is focusing on a million other things the rest of the day.

2. Who My True Friends Are

This is one of the most important things that running has taught me. I am so thankful that I am surrounded by a supportive group of friends. I’ve run in several races with many of my friends, and the experiences have been eye-opening. I ran a few races in which “friends” were highly competitive with me, and it was hurtful. However, I’ve been lucky to have experiences that are the exact opposite. The friends that I race with now are in a competition with themselves, just as I am. I’ve learned to appreciate my friendships so much more through running. Running has allowed me to see different sides of my friends that I never witnessed before. I’ve seen friends crush their finish time goals, overcome injuries, cry at a finish line, struggle with a training plan, etc. Likewise, a group of my friends waited for me to walk across a finish line with an injury many minutes after they finished, they text me to see how my training is going, and they motivate me to be a better runner because they have faith in me. We’ve accomplished many goals together, and we applaud each other’s individual efforts.

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3. A New Attitude is Just a Run Away

When I’m in a bad mood I tend to immediately crave a run. Sure, I’ll stuff my face with gelato if I’m sad about something, but 9 times out of 10 I will lace up my shoes and just walk away from whatever stress has caused my attitude to head south. Running has truly become a much cheaper form of therapy for me. Most of my best running times have been when I started a run while I was angry or upset. I get tunnel vision when I’m pounding the pavement, and I’m not controlling my emotions the way I should. Somehow, running magically adjusts my mood, and I’m much more able to cope with whatever has contributed to my bad mood.

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4. To Not Be Afraid

I was a big ball of nerves the first time I ran a race. But, as I completed each new race my confidence soared. I have learned that I can truly accomplish the goals that I have set for myself if I work for them. Each race has pushed me to do better at the next, to strive for new PRs and train harder. I’m not afraid to be the last in the pack, I’m not afraid I’ll fail. Running taught me my strengths and weaknesses as an athlete. More than anything, running is always teaching me to be a better person. To not be afraid of the skin I’m in and to be satisfied with my accomplishments.

If you are a runner I am sure that running has taught you things that have truly changed your life. If you are not a runner then maybe this list will motivate you to give it a try!

QOTD: What has running taught you about life?

Awesome Total-Body AMRAP

Awesome total-body AMRAP workout (& thoughts on high intensity exercise) - #fitfluential #fitness #AMRAP #workout

Hi fitness lovers! My name is Sarah Jane, ACSM certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and blogger at The Fit Cookie. I teach different group fitness formats (I even taught Zumba for 5 years!), and one of the group fitness classes I teach is an AMRAP class. I created this workout for one of those classes tried it out on my guinea pigs students. It’s a tough one, but fun!

This workout is a high-intensity weights and cardio workout performed AMRAP-style (As Many Reps As Possible). Everyone spends the same amount of time working out but the number of rounds you complete is up to you. If you are slower, you might get through 3 rounds, if you’re fast, maybe 5 or 6 rounds. Push your pace but take time to sip water and maintain good form for every exercise. If your form suffers, reduce your weights or slow down.

Awesome total-body AMRAP workout (& thoughts on high intensity exercise) - #fitfluential #fitness #AMRAP #workout

For this workout you will need a set of dumbbells (I like starting heavy then dropping the weight as I get tired), a jump rope, and enough space to do reverse lunges and burpees.

Beginners do 10 minutes and work up from there. My class did this for 25 minutes – I was in the middle of my 5th set when the timer went off. 25 minutes seems short, but you need to make sure you are doing an adequate warm-up before the workout (preferably with some dynamic stretching) and a good cool down at the end. With those added in, you are looking at 40 minutes from warm-up to cool-down – definitely doable!

Try doing this workout one or 2 times a week for a little variety in your fitness routine. This one is high intensity, so I wouldn’t do more than 3 or 4 of these workouts a week. 25 minutes of this is plenty! Intensity and duration are related: the more intense your workouts, the shorter they need to be, and vise versa.

Awesome total-body AMRAP workout (& thoughts on high intensity exercise) - #fitfluential #fitness #AMRAP #workout

On a related side note, I have been reading about the 80/20 rule for workouts and fitness. Men’s Journal had a great article about this and I’m also reading about this in my RunFit study manuals. Here’s the idea: 80% of your workouts should be moderate paced, and 20% should be higher intensity (HIIT, AMRAP, sprint intervals, etc.). So if you’re working out 5 days a week, 1 of those days would be high intensity and the other 4 should be moderate/low intensity.

This concept seems to go against everything we are hearing these days! It’s all about push-push-push till you puke, but I can personally say that I have had burnout going 110% all the time! Not even elite athletes perform at their max for every training workout. It’s just not feasible for long-term performance.

What does that mean for you? Plan your workouts ahead of time and include this one as a high-intensity workout in your week, but don’t do this one every day and don’t feel like you have to keep up with other people at the gym to meet your goals. In fact, going 110% every day can make you a slower runner too, and hamper your fitness progress. Your workouts should be at varying intensities through the week, so high-intensity workouts are just a piece of the bigger fitness picture.

Awesome total-body AMRAP workout (& thoughts on high intensity exercise) - #fitfluential #fitness #AMRAP #workout

 

QOTD: What is your favorite type of workout?

You ARE Enough

I first met Tasha when I visited Under Armour headquarters a couple of years ago, and we were ambassadors together and roommates. She has become a wonderful and inspirational friend who is very dear to me, and I am honored to have her guest post today. She has an amazing story of overcoming shame, guilt, and anorexia that she is sharing here today. I hope you will read it, it’s worth it!

Shame, as defined by vocabulary.com, is “a painful emotion resulting from an awareness of inadequacy or guilt.” In my life, it defined an entire period of my life, a darkness, a private hell that I lived in and out of for far too long. With my daughter just turning twelve last week, memories of how my life came crashing idem, all over my weight, shortly after her birth came flooding back. I decided, now, more than ever as she enters a very delicate period in her own development, to really acknowledge how I got there, how I can deal with any remnants of what was and make to decision about walking in freedom about my body and my weight and being a worthy example for her to follow.

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Six months before I became pregnant with my daughter, I had just successfully lost a little over forty pounds. I had been dating a man for a little over a year and had gotten “comfortable” and had ended up getting very close to two hundred pounds again, something I promised myself I would not do. I had gotten a membership at the local YMCA, cleaned up my diet and was really really proud about being under 160 pounds, a weight I had not seen since my first year of college. Within a month of reaching a healthy weight, my boyfriend proposed and we were married three months later. I became pregnant three months after that. All of the quick changes (not just getting married but losing my job, going through a custody battle over my oldest child and moving to a different city) made gaining fifteen pounds SUPER easy. I felt “happy” but out of control. So many people were inspired by the changes I had made and I was now feeling as if I was letting them down. That guilt on top of the guilt of being put on a diet by my doctor for gaining too much weight (as a pregnant woman) on top of no longer having a job on top of feeling bad for being “vain” about my body when I was supposed to be taking care of myself to bring another life into the world. The weight of it all was super heavy on my shoulders.

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When I gave birth, I became obsessed with losing the weight. I wouldn’t go visit family and friends because I was ashamed of what I had become, or in my mind, become “again.” On top of severe post partum depression (which I’m sure was affected by the way I felt about myself), I exercised excessively. I battled my second round of anorexia. I rarely slept. I almost killed myself. I felt trapped, again, all because of a number on a scale. It’s amazing how trying to be what we think is acceptable to others will destroy us.

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I have battled the same thing since entering the fitness profession some eleven years ago. Shame is what led me to a binge eating disorder. I was a yoga teacher. How does a yoga teacher explain to her students that her emotions are our of control and she is ashamed of her body when she is telling them to breathe and love themselves? I shoved brownies down my throat before class in the corner of the parking lot where no one could see, cried for ten minutes and then went to play the role. That’s what shame does to us. We play roles to feel “accepted” and hide from who we really are. When I came to terms with who I really was and that it was o.k. that I was super small or that I didn’t dress a certain way or that I wasn’t a runner and that who I was indeed was ENOUGH, my battle with shame became less and less and less and while I still struggled (honestly, struggle) with body image from time to time, I no longer hide from people or the issue. When I feel that way, I get to the root of the issue and not just accept it as before. I have not only had to change my thinking but there are times I had to change environments, friends, who I was following on social media, where I was shopping and what I watching on television. If it made me second guess myself, it had to go.

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Shame is hard. Suffering is hard. Silence is hard. It secretly kills. If you are in a shame cycle,may I encourage you with these words: you ARE enough. Shame attacks us when we feel inadequate. You are more than capable and more than worthy. When we believe in our own worth and power, shame dissolves. When shame dissolves, we can see who we really are and go from there. There is nothing wrong with self improvement. We just can’t become undone trying to undo who we truly are. Be encouraged. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you Tasha for sharing such a personal story! If you are not already, please be sure to follow this amazing lady on her social channels, here are a few: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

QOTD: Can you relate to Tasha at a time in your life? How did you overcome these feelings?

Easy Honey Broth Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

Please enjoy this yummy recipe/guest post by my friend Lesley!

Before I get started on the recipe I want to say a huge hello to all of Heather’s readers, and a big thank you to Heather for the opportunity to share a guest post with y’all!

Heather and I have been “blogger friends” for a couple of years. We finally got to meet at runDisney’s 2013 Tower of Terror 10 Miler.

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I blog about weight loss and running (among other things) at greaterfitness.wordpress.com Stop by the blog or say hello to me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! My username is @greaterfitness

An old friend of mine actually shared this recipe with me a few years ago. I cook it pretty frequently because it is now a favorite of mine, and it is super easy and not too bad for you. Because of its simplicity, this recipe is definitely one you can get your kids involved with. The leftovers are great as well! I suggest using any leftover chicken to toss in a salad or thinly slice the chicken and put it on a sandwich. The best part about this recipe is that it only requires two ingredients that you probably always have in your kitchen:

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Yep, that’s all you need! You’ll need 1 cup of honey and 2 cups of chicken broth.

In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of the broth and ½ cup of honey. In an oven-safe dish, combine the remaining ½ cup of honey and 1 cup of broth. Stir both.

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Set the saucepan aside. This will later become a sauce. Place chicken breasts or tenders in the oven-safe dish with the honey and broth mixture. This will cook in a 375 degree oven for about 35 minutes. You’ll know it is done when the chicken has a tender, white center. Once the chicken is done cooking, let it cool. While it is cooling, put the saucepan containing the remaining honey and broth mixture on medium heat. Cook until it just begins to boil and then back the heat down to simmer. Once you are ready to serve the chicken, spoon the sauce over the chicken. This keeps the chicken very moist and gives additional flavor.

I actually prepared the side of roasted potatoes before the chicken. They will cook at the same temperature, but will need an additional 15 minutes. I will usually get them ready and in the oven then start to prepare the chicken. Once the chicken is ready to go in the oven the potatoes have already been cooking for the extra time they require. This way both foods are done at the exact same time. You can use any type of potato that you like.

Simply clean the potatoes, cut into small bite-size pieces (I leave the skin on for extra flavor) and spread onto a baking/roasting pan. Liberally coat them with olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Put them in the oven and you are all set!

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Usually I serve the chicken and potatoes with a salad. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any lettuce when I made this recipe last week so I steamed some green beans as a substitute.

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This meal is so yummy yet so simple to make. I hope that you give it a try and like it just as much as my family does!

QOTD: What is your favorite way to cook chicken?

If I Can Be a Runner, ANYONE Can

Hello from Destin, Florida! We are having a great time relaxing and unplugging a bit. Please enjoy this guest post from Michelle and read about her journey from the couch to the runDisney Princess half marathon!

In the middle drawer on my chest of drawers, where I keep my jewelry, is a palm-sized silver medal with a purple ribbon. It says 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon, and when I look at it, I smile. I smile because I’m proud of myself, and because I still can’t quite believe I actually did it. I smile when I think about how far I’ve come and all the changes I made to earn that medal.

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Between August 2013 and February 2014, I lost almost 30 pounds. Before that, I was about 60 pounds overweight with high blood pressure. I also suffered from arthritis in my hands, hips, knees and feet. When stress built up, as it often did being a middle school teacher, and 42 year old mother of two young children, I would find myself facing a day or two of fatigue so extreme that taking a shower was too big a task for me, and every joint in my body ached. In my life, though, with my children, taking it easy isn’t really an option. My husband’s job involves long hours and working on Saturdays. He often isn’t home much before bedtime. My kids are great kids, but they have needs to be met. And they deserve a mom that plays with them and pays attention to them. I began to resent those times of fatigue and pain. I resented my body that seemed to be rebelling against me. I resented the fact that stress made me want to do things like eat bags of Double Stuffed Oreos. A stress eater under stress. It wasn’t a pretty cycle. Feel bad, eat, feel worse about myself, eat some more. I knew something had to change. I just didn’t have a clue how to start it.

One day in March 2014, while surfing the time suck that is Pinterest, I discovered an interesting looking pin.

There was a picture of a lady in a cute running outfit in front of Cinderella’s Castle. “Disney Princess Half Marathon”, it said. I remember thinking, “How far IS a half-marathon?” A quick Google search got me to the answer…..Thirteen point one miles. I clicked on the pin, and read what others had to say about this race.

“Run through EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom……dress as your favorite princess…….run through Cinderella’s Castle…….pictures with characters…..and at the end, you get a big, pretty medal.”

On that day, sitting in my recliner, I KNEW I had to do this. I knew nothing about running. My personal philosophy on running had always been that if you ever saw me running, you might want to run also, because something big and hairy was probably chasing me. Not only was I not currently running, but I wasn’t engaging in ANY form of exercise. Prior to having two children, I used to enjoy the gym: doing the elliptical machine, weight machines and for a while, I regularly attended Body Pump classes. But in the last five years, nothing. Still, I was unfazed. I kept picturing Cinderella’s Castle and that shiny medal.

My wonderful husband’s reaction to what I had decided to do was pretty much what I expected. His brow furrowed, and he kind of stared into space while he chose his words carefully. “You know that’s for people who run, right?”

“Yes, dear. I know it’s for people who run.”

Again with the furrowed brow and the carefully chosen words. “You know you DON’T run, right?”

I looked him dead in the eyes and said, “I’m going to start.”

And start I did. I did an internet search for running plans for non-runners, and found a plan that suggested alternating walking for four minutes and then running for one minute, for a total of a 30 minute workout. The plan suggested increasing the running and decreasing the walking by one minute until you were running for five minutes. Reading over this plan, it seemed very doable. So, on the first of April, I began. I knew I probably looked really slow, but I really didn’t care. I just knew I had to change what I had been doing and do something different. I ran two days, then took a rest day. After three to four running days of doing the same interval, I would increase the run and decrease the walk. In June 2014, I ran my first 5k. It was hot, and I didn’t run nearly as much of it as I would have liked, but I finished with a pretty respectable time of 44 minutes.

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Training for the Princess Half began in earnest in late October. My sister-in-law jumped on board with me and we trained together for it. I’m so glad she did, because as we increased our mileage on weekends, I learned that long runs by yourself just plan stink. Throughout the fall and into the winter, we ran. Our training schedule had us running two to four miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays with longer runs on Saturdays. Days got shorter, and the air got colder. Before I knew it, I had to buy a new pair of running shoes, and we were running upwards of seven miles on Saturdays. Considering that I had only been running for a short time, racking up those kinds of miles was mind-blowing to me.

All of our training and hard work paid off, though. We completed the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon in three hours, thirty minutes and some change. Considering the fact we stopped for a half a dozen character pictures, and I had to walk a bit between miles 7 and 10, I was really pleased with the time. Crossing the finish line and getting my medal gave me such a feeling of accomplishment.

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I’ve stuck with it, too. Since the Princess Half, I’ve done a couple of 5K’s, a 10K and another Half. I’ve already planned the events I’m going to do for the rest of 2015, and making plans for 2016. I’m studying designs to make my own medal hanger. I’m sure at some point my body won’t be able to do this anymore. But that day isn’t here yet.

Deciding to run the Princess Half, going through the training and then completing the Half is one of the few times that I’ve ever set a goal for myself and actually followed through and attained it. It taught me that truly, my body is capable of WAY more than I would have thought. I’ve told plenty of people my story of how I got into running. I’m hoping that someone who hears my story will be inspired to do something like this for themselves as well. If I can do it, I know that anyone who wants to can do it as well.

QOTD: What was the thing that made you start running, and realize that you could do it?

Losing the Baby Weight: A Guest Post

Hi everyone!  I’m Denise and I blog at Healthy Disney Family. While Heather is spending time with sweet little Emma Kate, I’m here to talk about tips for losing weight after having a baby.

One of the biggest challenges for many new moms is losing the weight they’ve gained during pregnancy. It was a huge challenge for me. After being on restricted activity and bed rest throughout my pregnancy for severe pre-eclampsia and other complications, I gained 70 pounds. When my little boy Chase was born healthy, I was filled with joy and happiness to be his mom! At the same time though, I was deeply sad because I had gained so much weight and didn’t recognize myself anymore in the mirror.  I was 5’5.5 and weighed 245 pounds after I delivered. I’d never been that heavy in my life and the weight seemed determined to stay there. I wanted to be a healthy and active mom who could play with my son and not get winded just getting up off the couch. I had to make a real lifestyle change and work harder than I ever had in my life to lose weight. If you’d like to lose weight, I’m sharing my experience in hopes that it will help you too.

Here are some tips that helped me lose the baby weight, plus an extra 40 pounds!

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1. Join a Mom and Baby fitness class – I joined Stroller Strides when Chase was an infant and it really got me on the right track. When I started, it was Winter and the classes were held indoors. We met at a local mall and walked around with our jogging strollers, stopping at different areas to workout on the floor or with our resistance bands. It was fun way to both exercise and meet other moms and their babies. The friendships you make through Mom and Baby fitness classes are wonderful and long lasting. We still hang out with moms and kids we met there!

2. Eating healthier, whole foods – As a pregnant mom, sometimes when we’re “eating for two” the portions are larger than we ate before pregnancy or we rely on take out, processed or prepared foods instead of cooking. When I talked to my doctor about how slow my weight loss was going, he recommended 80/20 eating to me. He said 80% of what I ate should be recognizable to my great, great grandparents if they saw it. The remaining 20% could be flexible. So veggies and whole grains – yes. Twinkies and fast food – no. I thought it would be really hard to stick with but surprisingly your tastes change pretty quickly. I really started craving the healthy food!

3. Portion control – Even with eating healthier foods, portions matter. If you eat too much or too many calories, you’ll maintain or worse – gain more weight. I had a hard time cutting back my portion size when I was working out twice a day and even though my body was looking leaner, I still saw the same big numbers on the scale. It was only when I got serious about cutting my portions down that the rest of the weight came off.

4. Food journaling – Writing down everything you eat or drink really helps to open your eyes to what and how much you’re eating. I’ve maintained a healthy weight for a few years now but sometimes my scale will bump up 5-10 pounds while I’m training hard, or most recently after our road trip to Disneyland in August. I always go back to journaling to help me get back on track. My favorite food journaling apps are My Net Diary and My Fitness Pal.

5. Sign up for a race – This is my favorite tip of all for anyone who runs or wants to run. I still had 60 pounds to lose when we took our son to Disneyland on Labor Day in 2011. I saw so many people walking around the park wearing their runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon medals and finisher’s shirts. I didn’t even know they had races at Disneyland but as a lifelong Disney fan, I thought it sounded incredible! A Half Marathon seemed huge and scary to me at the time, but how cool would it be to run at Disney?!

I decided right then that my goal was run a Half Marathon at Disneyland. I made a deal with myself that I would hit my goal weight of 135 pounds, 40 pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight of 175 before the race. That was the push I needed to bring all of the things I’d learned about weight loss together. I ate 80/20 with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, journaled everything, and followed Jeff Galloway’s run/walk training plan for the runDisney Tinker Bell Half Marathon. I met my weight goal of 135 in December of 2012. I ran the Tinker Bell Half at Disneyland the following January feeling healthy and strong, better than I ever had. My family got involved too! My husband ran the 5K and our son did the Kids Race. It was amazing to have my family there, participating in the runDisney races, and supporting my lifestyle change. Following the Tinker Bell Half, I went on to run 4 more Half Marathons and 2 Full Marathons. I’m now training for the 2015 runDisney Dopey Challenge and the 2015 runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge at Walt Disney World.

Thanks Heather for letting me share my story and weight loss tips on your wonderful blog!

QOTD: What is your best tip for losing weight after having a baby?

10 Things I Thought I’d Never Do As A Mom: A Guest Post

Hello everyone! I am so honored to write a guest post for Heather while she takes some much needed time for her new daughter! I am a fellow blogger at Enchanted Desert Minnie as well as a huge Disney enthusiast! I also am a new runner and hope one day to go to a runDisney race! But most importantly I am a mom to 3 amazing boys. I have 11 year old twins and an 8 year old. When I became a mom there were things I never thought I’d do. Here’s a list of a few of them!

10 Things I Thought I’d Never Do As A Mom

10. Not Be Able To Sleep In Silence

Before I had kids I slept like a rock. I remember my mother telling me that as a child I slept right through a tornado. The next morning I had no clue my parents had carried me into their room in case we had to move to the bathroom. After having kids, the tiniest little noise wakes me from a dead sleep! It stems from when they were newborns I swear I could hear a crying baby anytime! Now that the boys are older and if they need something they can come get me I have to sleep with a plethora of items to drown out noise. I sleep with a noisy fan, noise machine and ear plugs. If I can hear even the tiniest noise I’m awake!

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9. Hearing baby/children cries all the time

Moms are wired to be able to take care of our babies needs at a drop of a hat. But even when you’re baby isn’t crying that basic instinct doesn’t quit. Heck you can be completely home alone and you’ll swear you’ll hear a cry. In the shower you try to enjoy the 1st shave of your legs in who knows how long and you will almost cut yourself when you stop to listen for the cry to continue. Even when your kids get older you will cease whatever you’re doing to tune your hearing to the possibility that one of your kids is in tears.

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8. Knowing how to tell if your child is really hurt

Speaking of crying when you first become a parent every whimper that comes out of your baby causes you to become super human to rush by their side. However once you get more comfortable you learn to tell the difference between each cry or wail. Between hungry, hurt, scared or needing a change each cry is different. Then when they get older you hold your breath when your toddler falls and wait to see the damage. As older kids you figure out when your kids truly are in agony or just mad that their little brother touched their prized lego creation.

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7. Forget your children’s names

As you wait for your baby to arrive you scour over baby name books and websites. You finally settle on that name and say it over and over again. By the time you have another child you start to notice your mind slipping. You come across a mess and you know who the culprit is. But you automatically start yelling off the wrong name until you catch yourself and what comes out of your mouth is gibberish. I fully admit I call my kids Jaoseph (a combo between James and Joseph), Joames (a combo of Joseph and James) and anything in between! Sometimes the dog gets called a kid’s name and the kid gets called the dog’s name.

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6. Lose your sense of privacy

Of course we all know going through pregnancy and childbirth means you lose the feeling of privacy. But that doesn’t stop once you bring the baby home. If you’re breastfeeding you’ll feed your child anywhere! Your baby’s hunger trumps embarrassment of exposing yourself quietly under a blanket. Then once your child starts to walk when you try to go to the bathroom by yourself there they are, knocking on the door wondering what you’re doing and sticking their fingers under the door. Heck just the other day I was in the bathroom and one of the boys started talking to me while I was in there. My 11 year old didn’t even think that I might have a problem with that! My idea of a spa day is just going to the bathroom or showering by myself without someone knocking on the door needing something!

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5. You’ll start to sound like your mother.

What’s one thing that drove you crazy that your mom told you growing up? Mine was “life isn’t fair” when I wanted something and couldn’t get it. Imagine my surprise and disgust when I uttered that phrase to my children! How could I start to sound like her? Inconceivable! I made a point to do certain things differently! But it turns out our mothers are actually pretty smart women and as children we couldn’t see it. Once the tables were turned I was glad for some of the phrases my mom told me because I didn’t have to think of any other catch phrases to make up! They were already in my back pocket!

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4. You’ll sound like someone with Tourette’s on the phone or in general.

I was just talking to another friend yesterday on the phone. Her daughter was awake and she would have to stop our conversation and answer her daughter’s questions. I have been guilty of this myself. Even on said conversation! Riley came up to me needing something. I know it drives non parental people crazy and we parents try hard not to do that. But as soon as the phone hits your ear it’s like a signal gets sent to your child to go bug you about something that minute! At that point we have 2 options. Hurry up and figure out what they want or listen to the incessant plea of “mom, mom, mom, etc…”

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3. I talk yet no one can apparently hear me!

It’s the weirdest thing! My kids can hear me tell them yes to dessert or to go play outside. But as soon as I ask them to shower or chores either I become mute or they suddenly lose their hearing! They honestly think that if they act like they didn’t hear me then it never happened so they don’t have to unload the dishwasher. It’s a real epidemic that moms are dealing with ya’ll! clip_image016

2. Being such a great multi tasker

I admit I can be a bit cluttered. We have papers all over the kitchen table from school that the kids always bring home! But when it comes to their activities, either at school, sports or personally, I’m on it. I know when one of them is going to a birthday party, which day is a snack day, where this week’s basketball game is and when it’s pajama day at school. I don’t know how I can manage to remember all of that but can’t remember their own names! When my husband had to take over for a little while all heck broke loose. I couldn’t understand how hard it is to remember it. Once you become a mother it’s like a day planner is wired into your brain!

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1. How much you love your children

I know #10-#2 are funny and tongue in cheek. But honestly, the main thing I never realized when I became a mom is the love I have for my boys. They are my life. As a mother you don’t even mind not having privacy, or listening to a crying child. Sure sometimes it drives you crazy but you wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. The love for your child isn’t something that is complete the moment they are born. It’s something that grows over time. Until you become a parent you can’t even comprehend the amount of love you have for each child. It’s not something that is finite. It keeps going on and on until your last breath.

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Thank you so much Heather for having me as a guest today! I hope you are enjoying your sweet little girl and are loving every minute of it!

If you would like to connect with Shayna you can find her here:

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QOTD: What is something you thought you would never do as a mom?

Evolving Christmas Traditions

Today’s guest post is from GirlsGotSole.com. Enjoy!

I’ve been a vegan for four years now, so this will be my fourth Christmas as a veg. Since the majority of my life was spent as an omnivore, enjoying the “traditional” holiday eating and festivities, I can still vividly recall all those years celebrating with my family and friends with certain traditions and
celebrations during this time of the year.

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Being a vegan though, isn’t that far of a stretch from my “old days.” It just takes some planning and you’re
good to go! In fact, I’ve begun to create some new traditions since being a vegan. My family ALWAYS gets together for the holidays, just as most do. Food is a big part of the holiday, so in past years, we would eat meals with meat
like ham or turkey. What my family has done the last three years (going on four) is do a spaghetti dinner on Christmas. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy some awesome pasta? The only difference is that the omnivores in the family make the “usual” meat sauce while I create a veg-friendly option.

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This way, we all sit down and eat the “same” meal together. It has proven to be a great new Christmas day meal and, we ALL love spaghetti.

Since I was young, my mom has had a tradition on Christmas morning of having a birthday cake for baby Jesus. This has continued on for as long as I can recall. Now, I make it my job to make a vegan cake for the occasion. It not only makes me feel good to make Jesus a cake, but my cakes are never sitting around long. We’re lucky if there is any left the day after!

I love being vegan and love even more that my family has slowly but surely come to embrace my lifestyle. There is really not much to the change, and I feel as though I can share my newfound care for the animals with the ones that I love. Family means a lot to me, so that’s a biggie.  I never push my way of thinking on the subject to my loved ones, but it makes me feel good when they tell me my cake or the brownies I made are the best they have
had.

If you’re interested in trying something new this Christmas, here are a few links to check out. I’m not a huge cook, so these will pretty easy.
http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/847964-Cinnamon-Coffee-Cake
http://www.vegparadise.com/cookingwith512.html
http://www.feastie.com/recipes-course/dessert/from/fatfree-vegan-kitchen-83563/season/christmas-83420

7 Easy Ways to Stay Fit and Healthy During the Holidays

Hi! It’s Heather from Divas Run for Bling and I am so excited to be guest blogging here at Through Heather’s Looking Glass. The holidays are my favorite time of year and I am a sucker for all the presents and decorations this time of year. I am also a fan of the food. I have a serious sweet tooth so this season is perfect for me.  It’s just not so perfect for my diet. I will typically gain a few pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas and not all of it comes off when those New Year’s resolutions are made. Since I am not running 10 miles a day to work off all the calories, I have come up with a few tips that will help me stay fit and healthy during the holiday season.

1. Get motivated. I always try to find ways to get motivated to get out the door and run.  It’s not easy this time of year with all the stress and busy schedules and cold weather. As with last year, I have signed up for a spring half marathon. This way, I know that I have to get out there and get my runs in or my money will just be wasted if I can’t finish the race. I am also doing the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak in which you run at least 1 mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Even one mile a day can go a long way in staying fit and healthy.

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My spring race this year will be the Georgia Publix Half in Atlanta.

2. Make a plan and be consistent. It is important that you have an exercise plan in place to keep you on track. This will help you see what events are happening on a particular day and allow you to adjust your workout schedule accordingly. I have both my training schedule and any events on my calendar so I know when I’ll be able to do those runs and cross training. It also helps me figure out what time of day is best to do those workouts.

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This is my training schedule for the winter months. It’s based after the Beginner Half Marathon training plan at digitalrunning.com.

3. Exercise early. Coming from me, this is kinda funny as I will be the first to tell you I love to sleep. A lot. However, working out in the morning has a lot of benefits.  For one, it gives your metabolism a boost for the day. Also, getting your work out in early won’t interfere as much with all the parties, dinners and family events. This allows you to stick to the fitness plan you decided on and work off some of the calories that you are putting into your body.

4. Track your calories. This is something that I absolutely HATE to do. It’s time consuming and annoying. But it is also helpful. I find that when I know I have to track my calories, I will make healthier food choices. Just looking at my food journal and seeing that 1 slice of pumpkin pie is 323 calories will make me think twice about going back for a second helping.

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I use the food and exercise tracker at myfitnesspal.com.  It’s easy and can track my calories, exercise and water intake. There is also an app for it so I can track when I’m away from the computer.

5. Eat smart. I know it is not always possible to stick to a diet during the holiday season. You can be smart and what and when you eat, though.  Do not skip meals in order to bank calories for the rest of the day. Especially if this meal is breakfast. This will slow your metabolism and cause you to overeat, adding more calories than if you just ate as normal.  Try to eat balanced meals when possible. This will ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs. Also, it is okay to have a taste of the good stuff (i.e. all those yummy pies and cakes). I try to have a few bites of 2-3 of my favorite desserts so that I can enjoy them without totally going overboard. Be aware of how much you are drinking. Calories from alcohol can add up fast if you are not careful.

6. Drink lots of water. We all know the benefits of water. It helps keep your body working at an optimal level as well as keeps you hydrated and energizes your muscles during the workouts you have planned. Water also will help control your calorie intake. If you are drinking water, you are not drinking other high calorie drinks that are presents during the holidays.

7. Get enough sleep. Not consistently getting enough sleep can have multiple effects on your body. A lack of sleep can slow your metabolism, stimulate your appetite and cause cravings of high carb, high fat foods. Not to mention you’ll be too tired to exercise if you are not well rested.

The most important thing to remember is to stay positive. There is no need to feel guilty if you slip up a bit throughout the season. Just relax and enjoy the time spent with family and friends.

Heather

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Heather is the creator of Divas Run for Bling, a blog devoted to all things running and fitness. She is a runner, blogger and scrapbooker living in Chattanooga, TN with her husband and 3 fur children (2 cats and a dog). She can be found on twitter @divasrunbling and facebook at http://www.facebook.com/divasrunforbling.