Fitness Journey, Monthly Goals

July Goals & Upcoming 5k: 1st Annual Remembering Our Angels 5k Walk/Run

Monthly Goals Overview:

  • 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 demand.

  • 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/Run which 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.

Walk/Run Sign Up: Remembering Our Angels 5k Walk/Run

If you are not able to attend donations are appreciated.

Please check out Alaina’s Gift Inc. to read the story behind the organization and for more information about upcoming events. As well as learn about ways you can offer your support.

Website:  www.alainasgiftinc.com

Facebook: @AlainasGiftInc

Instagram: @Alainas_Gift_Inc

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey, Mom Life, Pregnancy Journey

Update: Exclusively Breastfeeding (EBF) & Postpartum Weight Check

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: https://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.

Fitness Tip:

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.

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey, Pregnancy Journey

Staying Active While Pregnant: Week 39

This picture does no justice to show how big my belly is 🙂
At least, I am still able to see my feet.

Exercising while pregnant does not have to be extensive or exhausting. Since approaching my final weeks of pregnancy, I have transitioned to strictly walking. In the mornings I challenge myself to complete 1 mile of walking between the hours of 5-7 am. I enjoy this time the most because the morning crisp air feels good and wakes me up as I prepare myself for the day ahead. I really do not enjoy the heat so I am more encouraged to workout/walking during the early morning hours. This is a great time to get moving since it is considered ‘fasted cardio.’

Around lunch time I strive to get in another mile or two. Throughout, the day I also work to meet my hourly step goal of 250+ steps between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. I easily reach my step goal of 5,000 steps by 8 am.

Honestly, since I have been walking more in the past few weeks I have been feeling my best. Prior, I was experiencing a lot of back and pelvic pressure from the additional weight from my pregnancy. However, since I have been walking and moving more the pain has eased. My muscles are nicely loosened and relaxed. The tension has completely disappeared. At 39 weeks pregnant I feel more energized than ever. This morning after getting dressed and ready I prepared myself to walk our dog Roger and I sprinted down the stairs so easily. For a moment, I had forgotten that I was pregnant and carrying a estimated 7 lb baby.

Here is a look into my morning walk:

My fitness commitment is to keep moving. I know I can’t run a marathon at this point in my journey. But by moving and staying active it will make for a easier recovery after delivery. Walking not only helps me physically but it is beneficial mentally. Walking relieves stress and we all need to breathe in some fresh often- walking is the best opportunity for this. I use my walking time to catch up on current audiobooks that I am reading. Since I am a busy mom on the go I don’t often have time to sit and read a book. Yet, I don’t use my busy schedule as an excuse- I make it a priority to read on the go through the use of audiobooks. I listen to my books while in the car driving and while walking. The saying is true that we make time for what is important to us.

I encourage you to make time for yourself and your health. Commit to your journey and the progress. Progress requires effort, so you have to be 100% in and committed to the challenge. It only takes 1-2 weeks to form a habit; start today!

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey, Health

9K Steps @ 39 Weeks Pregnant: What’s your excuse?

I have been even more motivated to get my steps in during the past few weeks to hopefully progress faster in labor once it begins.

Today, I logged 9,160 steps, 3.93 miles, burned 2,125 cals, and spent 49 minutes exercising.

I managed to meet my hourly step goal of 250+ steps between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. This is something I do not typically target to accomplish but was very proud of myself to have completed it. I really enjoy using my Fitbit to manage my stats.

To record my walking I use Map my Walk which tracks your walk via GPS. I find it to be very accurate. This morning I started out my day with fasted cardio at 6:15 am and walked for 1.10 miles before work. Around lunch I took another walk and accomplished another 1.11 miles. It’s hard to make an excuse for not having time to walk. Walking is one of the simplest exercises routines you can incorporate into your daily activities. One strategy is to park further away from your destination and walk (parking lots at stores). This can help you burn a few calories, increase your heart rate, and save your car from someone dinging your doors.

Take a look at my stats from my two walking sessions today:

It’s not too bad for someone who is 39 weeks pregnant and carrying a whole (7+ lb) human in her womb. If I can get out and walk- so can you! So, what’s your excuse?

The most important part of embarking on your fitness journey is to START today! Small progress is better than no progress at all. I am not challenging you to be a runner or a top athlete. It’s okay to be a walker and have a slower pace. It’s not about running a marathon, it’s about keeping moving!

My advice to you is to cancel that gym membership that you are paying for and not using. Walking is totally FREE! It’s easy to make an excuse of why getting to the gym is out of the way or inconvenient for you. It’s tougher to make an excuse on how you can’t incorporate walking into your daily routine.

Story time: While I was walking today around lunch time I passed a wounded Veteran who was sitting in his wheelchair outside of Starbucks. After I passed him for the third time he looked at me and told me to get some steps in for him. This moment made me realize that while I am complaining about pelvic pressure and backaches from pregnancy I should not take for granted my ability to walk and still be mobile. There in front of me was a man who has lost his ability to walk. Just a Monday reminder to be humble and thankful.

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey

Fitness Goal: Run a 5k

I have felt so helpless in the past 8 1/2 months since I have not been able to be as active as I would like. This pregnancy has also made me even more aware how important it is that I recondition myself and get back into my fit lifestyle once I am cleared after delivery at my 6 week check up.

This past weekend I made a list of my fitness goals that I am prioritizing as I prepare myself to get back out there. I am going to commit to walking 2-4 miles per day and gradually work myself back into running. I recently joined a local running club for women called, “MOMS Run This Town” (aka MRTT). Those ladies are inspiring and is just the support that I need to accomplish one of my biggest fitness goals– to run a 5K before the end of the year.

This group has chapters is various states and if you are interested you can visit the main website https://momsrunthistown.com/local-running-club/ and locate a chapter to locally join.

I am really looking forward to preparing myself for running a 5k. I have the support of my Husband Andrew who also has already began training for our first marathon. It makes it so much better when you have someone to do things together with. When I first shared with him my goal he was thrilled and wanted to do it as well.

I am writing this post to share with you my fitness goals. For those of you that know me and or have come to know me through my blog, you should then know that I am constantly encouraging my readers to set goals for themselves (health, fitness, and personal goals). In my efforts to be as trasnsparent as possible with my journey, I will be sharing with you my goals. I will continue to keep you updated on my progress while on my health and fitness journey.

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey, Motivational Monday

Motivational Monday: Keep Showing Up

Welcome back to another Motivational Monday pep talk. A special welcome and hello to all of my new followers and a special thank you for those that faithfully show up each week and support my blog.

This weeks topic is about “Keep Showing Up”. This quote to the left perfectly sums up everything that I am about to touch base on. And don’t sit back, read, and act like you haven’t been there and felt that. Speaking from experience there are some days when I am feeling more motivated than others. On those other days it takes more than just reading some inspirational quotes to refuel my dedication to the process. When I say ‘process’ I am referring to living and breathing a healthier and more fit lifestyle.

Prior to my current pregnancy, there were many days that I struggled with my commitment to working out. I had to have a talk with myself. It was no way that I would continue to watch my gym membership fees deduct from my account monthly, while I only showed up twice a week if at all- some weeks. At one point I convinced myself that I would just walk in and cancel my membership. Each time I decided to make that move- something always stood in the way. I took this as a sign that God was not going to allow me to just give up on goals and my vision.

It is so easy to make excuses for yourself but when you have a support system behind you, pushing you to keep going- to keep showing up; it makes it harder to give up. I really owe it to my personal coach (my Husband Andrew). He is there supporting me on my good days when I am mentally and physically all in on my health and fitness journey and he is also there on those days when I want to take a break from working out (going through hell feels).

Andrew has taught me that my actions and how I apply myself is all my choice. Making that decision to show up each day no matter what; in ways both small and big is important and crucial to your success. As long as you show up, you are making progress. Keep showing up! Whether your accomplishments and milestones are small or big, there is always tomorrow to do better- to be better!

Self Reflection:

Do you have an accountability partner?

How often have you recently struggled with showing up daily for yourself? Did it cause you to derail from your fitness journey? If so, what did you do to get back on track?

If you do not have an accountability parter. I highly recommend that you find one. It is so much fun and honestly better when we are working together to achieve our goals. Accountability is what will keep you on track. You can make excuses for yourself but those same excuses are not going to be accepted by your accountability partner. Save the excuses! We are in this for the win! Each day you have endless opportunities ahead of you. Wake up to a fresh start and make the best of each day.

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey, Health

Health Tip Tuesday: 5 Reasons to Avoid Eating Late at Night

If you are struggling with weight loss you may be over looking an impacting factor. Ask yourself: When are you having your last meal of the day? Do you find that you are snacking after dinner?

You should have a eating window set and an established cut off time at night after your last meal. Data collected from animals and night-shift workers correlate that those who eat late suffer from what they call, “night eating syndrome“. “Studies tend to show that when food is consumed late at night — anywhere from after dinner to outside a person’s typical sleep/wake cycle — the body is more likely to store those calories as fat and gain weight rather than burn it as energy, says Kelly Allison of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders” (Allen, 2015).

Data collected suggests that overall the body processes food differently throughout the day. This can be a result of, but not limited to: digestion, body temperature, hormone levels, and physical activity (Allen, 2015).

While eating late at night often prompts weight gain it can also raise your blood sugar. The spiking of blood sugar levels has been linked to raising the risks of other chronic diseases. Often, night time cravings consists of higher calorie foods/snacks (sugary or salty cravings). It is recommended to avoid late night snacking and this can be successfully done through training your not only your body but yourself. Change your mindset if you are seeking to change your current lifestyle (Allen, 2015).

5 Reasons to Avoid Eating Late at Night:

  1. Altered Hormone Function: Consuming food late at night alters your hormone function, specifically- insulin, glucagon and leptin.
  2. Increased Inflammation: Calories consumed between the hours of 7 pm and midnight have been linked to an increased C-Reactive protein, which is a indication of inflammation.
  3. Impaired Blood Sugar Regulation: Insulin produced as a result of the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day is least efficient at night. Consuming food and/or snacks that have a high-glycemic index will increase your blood sugar and impair your body’s ability to regulate your levels, resulting in increasing your risk of other chronic diseases.
  4. Increased Weight Gain: Eating late at night is linked to weight gain because the disruption of our circadian clock in our fat tissues are disrupted when consuming foods late into the night. As a result, the body is prompted to store fat rather than burn it. The body is less active at night as it attempts to slow down for the night, as triggered by our bodily clock.
  5. Elevated Triglycerides and Cholesterol: Eating outside of our circadian cycle has an impact on how our body metabolizes lipids, resulting in elevated levels.

Knowing the effects of eating late prompted a change within our family as we are all on our fitness journey. It required us to change our schedule and be consistent in our commitment. Our household enjoys dinner together each night between the hours of 5:00 – 6:00 pm. It only takes on average about two weeks to build a habit and this is a standard that we have set. We avoid eating outside of our dinner window and my husband Andrew is so strict that he will fast if he finds that eating would put him outside of our set eating window. If your schedule does not permit you to eat dinner early, adjustments will need to made to work around this. You can not use your schedule as an excuse. It is true that people find the time and dedication to do what they chose to do. If you are looking to live a more healthier lifestyle you have to want it and make the appropriate changes as needed.

Recommendations:

In the effort to minimize nighttime eating I recommend that you commit to a time window for eating. Set a time in which you will break your morning fast from the night before (breakfast= break-fast) and a time in which you will begin your fast at night (last meal of the day-dinner). If you do find that you have a hunger urge outside of your eating window replace high glycemic food/snack options with smaller and high-protein snacks (I.e. eggs, nuts, yogurt).

I encourage everyone reading this post to share your experiences in the comment section. Are you currently battling with eating late? Is weight gain a concern of yours? Is obesity effecting your health? How do you feel? Your testimony can help someone. My primary focus is to build a community around my blog but this is only possible with the help of all of my followers and readers.

Be sure to follow my Facebook page, Fit Life With Erica in order to connect with myself and others on their fitness journey.

FLWE ❤

References:

Allen, J. V. (2015, August 24). Why eating late at night may be particularly bad for you and your diet. Retrieved April 8, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/why-eating-late-at-night-may-be-particularly-bad-for-you-and-your-diet/2015/08/24/ad8b85ac-2583-11e5-b77f-eb13a215f593_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a8f4bd12bf7a

Clark, C. (2018, July 11). Is it Bad to Eat at Night? 6 Reasons to Avoid Nighttime Meals and Snacks. Retrieved April 8, 2019, from https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/is-it-bad-to-eat-at-night-6-reasons-to-avoid-nighttime-meals-and-snacks/