Assertiveness is self care. Sometimes we have to kindly demand (to ourselves and others) that we will take care of our needs. During the holidays and really any time of year, this includes moving your body and getting your heart pumping.
This workout is a quickie that will leave you feeling fabulous! Do it today!
and this workout will just be about 15 minutes of your day and will give you at least more than an hour back in improved energy, probably more.
Asking those we love for what we truly want is not always easy. But assertiveness is key for positive mental health.
Make some time for you today and try this quickie workout to get your body moving and feeling fabulous!
Here are some ways in which you can ensure that you make a priority for your own needs by practicing assertiveness…
- Don’t feel guilty for asking to have 30 minutes to yourself. Let go of all guilt and put your needs higher up the ranks of the “very important things to take care of today” list.
- Don’t assume that your partner is less capable that you at taking care of your children. They just do it differently, and micromanaging often turns into a disaster.
- Don’t feel like taking time for yourself is any less important than cleaning, laundry, taking care of your babes or anything else. Realize that a little YOU time in the day for self care activities like meditation, stretching, quiet time, a nap, exercising or a bath are an integral component of being a truly happy, present parent.
- Do plan things in advance – so that your partner and kids know what is coming, springing things on people is not always the best, and will be more welcomed if planned sooner.
- Do make it a regular thing, so everyone can know, oh it’s that time of day for Mom again – Mom time! All parties involved like routine and when they know what to expect.
- Do stick to it like it is an appointment with a specialist you have been waiting months for….you have been waiting months for some guilt free you time right?! Just do it!!
I guarantee you if it feels uncomfortable to do any of the above, that just means you need more of it.
Let us know how it goes for you! Please report to us in the FitMama Facebook Group how your mindful self care routine is going!
Self Love Meditation is a short audio guided mediation I created for Day 4 of our #25DaysOfMindfulness Challenge in the FitMama Facebook Group.
Taking time during the holidays for meditation, mindfulness and self love is key to getting through this time of year without losing it.
We cater to everyone else’s needs all year around and we are often in heightened demand during December, so this audio will remind you to just slow it all down and BREATHE. The single most important and loving act towards yourself is to give yourself the gift of air!
Breathing will naturally relax your nervous system, which can often be in overdrive during this time of year.
Take 5-10 minutes for self love today and create some space for you and some deep breaths.
Listen here as I guide you along:
It is so important for you to tend to your own needs and not put yourself last on the list…we all know we are better moms and parents when we do.
Some quickie ways to cultivate self love in your days:
- Breathe deeply for 5-10 minutes in a quiet place (yes this can be in your bed or in the bath! But stay awake!)
- Wake up 30 minutes before your kids get up. This one sets the tone for your day like nothing else. Even if you are tired, starting your day with some calm instead of jumping up out of bed in reactive mode will change the course of your whole day.
- Get to bed early! I know it is your only quiet time in the day sometimes after the kids go to bed, so definitely take some you time to read your favourite book, lie on the couch and catch up on your cleaning or prep – BUT, I encourage you to get as much of that done while the kids are awake and then I always say “head to bed!” it makes a world of difference to lay your head on the pillow before 9 or 10 pm and just relax.
Day 2 of The 25 Days of Mindfulness is a workout to show love to your body even amongst the happy chaos and fullness that is life as a FitMama. If you want to go for a walk, swim, bike ride or just take the stairs up and down for 5-10 minutes – your body will be so grateful!
If you are wanting to up your challenge and try a FitMama prescribed workout, give the one described on the picture and in the video a go!
You will notice by doing the circuit of prescribed 10-20 reps 2-3 times your muscles feel a great burn, your heart rate increases and decreases and you get a good sweat on! What a true loving treat for your body.
Over the holidays, we often say to ourselves, “I deserve (this cookie or that egg nog) treats, I have worked so hard or I am so amazing (which you are!),” But how about treating yourself to a quickie workout instead to send love to all the cells in your body?!
Please try the workout and let me know how you do! These are also posted in the FitMama Facebook Group and we would all love you to share in there as well! Please share this with a friend and invite them in the group too. Love is sharing! And sharing is caring, right!?
If you are wanting to know what the moves are specifically, please check out the video for a few reps of each one demonstrated by me. Feel free to do the pushups and tricep pushups on your knees, they are super tough and something to work up to!
Being a FitMama all begins with love, and the theme of this week’s mindfulness challenge is all about LOVE. Love is the basis and beginning point of everything.
I created this mindfulness challenge with Stephanie Renaud, a close friend, FitMama and colleague of mine. When we were discussing how we wanted the 25 Days to unfold we both knew immediately that it all had to begin with love.
Today’s challenge involves listening to a guided mediation I created about cultivating self love and love for those around you.
By unconditionally loving ourselves and loving those around us, we can start to change our perspectives on things. Sending loving compassionate thoughts to ourselves and others instead of criticisms will have a huge impact on the feelings we have throughout our days.
By performing this meditation, you can start to change the words you use towards ourselves and others and we can start to realize that we are all equal and we all deserve just love.
Start to notice when you speak negatively towards yourself and others and turn those words around to more positives. Coming from a place of love and compassion can turn into a snowball effect where it just grows and grows the more we do it.
Practice it today and notice your feelings of love grow! Notice the peace and happiness that start to trickle into more moments of your days.
Take time throughout the day in addition to listening to this audio to send soft unconditional loving words to yourself and others.
25 Days of Mindfulness is the daily challenge starting in our FitMama Facebook group (click here to join), where we will be sharing short mindfulness tools with you every day for you to practice so that you can cultivate more peace, calm and presence into this festive and full holiday season.
Check in daily here or in the Facebook group for tools such as guided meditations, gratitude practices, book recommendations, stress reduction techniques, videos, affirmations, visualizations and many other ideas and ways to give yourself daily presents of presence over the month of December leading us into 2016.
We all want to enjoy the season, be present with our families, be grateful for what we already have, embrace the ups and downs of this time of year and set our minds in a positive direction as we welcome in a New Year.
Join me as I travel this month from Palm Springs to San Fransisco, to Los Angeles to Maui to Fiji and then on to Australia to close out the month. I will be sharing pictures and stories and ways I keep myself mindfully present amongst the beautiful chaos that is the life I have chosen to live.
See you online!
Abs are made on the cushion is my play on words from the popular adage in fitness “Abs are made in the kitchen,” which I do believe to be true in the most literally physical sense. But when it comes to longevity, overall mind body health and happiness, I believe mine to be more accurate. Here I will explain why and how.
Anyone who has worked out before knows that no matter how hard you work out, if you go and eat junk food or even just overeat for your needs, your abs (and overall physique) will not reflect all the hard work that you have done.
Now, it’s not all about appearances though. It’s more about about how you feel and how you function. If you are working out hard and eating foods that keep you lean and ripped in the midsection but leave you feeling drained, deprived and dull…your abs, and more importantly you, will suffer in the long term.
What does this mean? You need to take care of the whole you, especially your mental/emotional wellbeing, for you to really shine your light from within and walk with the confidence you want to project outwardly.
What you eat plays an enormous role in how much body fat you are carrying, yes, but how you feel about yourself, how much self love, self care, sleep and personal time you have all play an even more important role in your mind body health.
The reason I bring idea up that “Abs are made on the cushion” is because so often we get caught up in the “diet and exercise” aspects of our physical appearance without considering the massive impact that our mindset, outlook, daily loving self care routines and attitudes play in every aspect of our lives, even our abs.
When you make a concerted effort to cultivate a daily mindfulness practice (meditation, relaxation, journalling) you will start to reflect through your behaviours your deeper desires and needs – which will show you that you have enough already, and you don’t look to something external (like more exercise or counting calories and banning foods) to fulfill you. Life will naturally flow and you will feel like your efforts feel effortless and your results are exactly on point.
You will naturally feel satisfied with less food, you will naturally choose foods aligned with your deep love for yourself and you will look to food as fuel and vitality instead of comfort and escape.
I look forward to hearing from you about how this goes for you!
Not your average Brussels sprouts is a recipe that will get you from thinking of Brussels sprouts as “no way!” to Brussels sprouts as “seconds please!” These little mini cabbages have a poor rap, but let me tell you, if cooked right, they will make you salivate for them the way you never imagined!
When I was little, I was on the fence about cooked vegetables. The texture of things like mushrooms and zucchini made me loathe these and have one of those kid moments whenever my mom cooked them (NO!!!). Brussels sprouts, however, were one of my faves growing up. It didn’t dawn on me until I was in University, when my housemate gawked at me making them regularly and constantly said, “I don’t know how you eat those, Brussels sprouts are so disgusting!” and upon further investigation, I learned that this was mainstream thinking.
Still now, I read my kids books and they make comments about not liking Brussels sprouts (lines I leave out when I read to my kids!) and it almost creates a self-fulfilling prophecy around disliking vegetables (the opposite of what we want for our kids!)
The main reason why I didn’t hate Brussels sprouts was that my mom did not overcook them, she almost undercooked them, so they were still green and crunchy, instead of overcooked, brown and squishy. This is a common mistake when cooking peas, broccoli, zucchini and other delicate vegetables.
Fast forward from my childhood to a few years ago when I began to see Brussels sprouts appearing on all the menus of many restaurants. I encouraged friends to order them and cautiously they tasted them and were completely blown away. “They are savoury and delicious! Not like I remember!” they would say, as many of their parents would overcook them and remove all flavour or good texture. Life changing!!
Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables that are known cancer protectors. The more the better! Recently at a restaurant, I had the best Brussels sprouts of all time, and although everyone at the table agreed they were delicious, we also agreed that we would never put that much oil on our vegetables. These things were swimming in oil! It turns out, the reason they were so good was that they were deep fried. So I made it my mission to make a healthier version of these terrific Brussels sprouts, and maybe even amp up the flavour.
Roasting vegetables in the oven is just such a fabulous way of cooking them. It brings out the natural sugars in the vegetables (we naturally love sugars), so it makes them browned and caramelized – so flavourful without the deep frying even necessary. Every time I post vegetables roasted in the FitMama Facebook Group I notice so many comments from others saying how much their whole families love eating their veggies this way! Do it! Anything that helps you and your loved ones eat more veggies is the way to go!
Lucky for you Fitmamas, I think I have created a healthier but equally decadent tasting brussel sprout. Good luck not eating the whole batch!
Save this. Make it. Enjoy it!
Let me know how you like these!!
Kale is a beautiful dark leafy green than can hold up well to many kinds of dressings and it is actually even better left with the dressing on for a few hours or overnight to soften and flavour the leaves.
When I had my newborns, kale salad was my go to meal. I craved it day and night. And, I would eat when baby ate. It just so happened I wasn’t letting the act of breastfeeding get between me and my kale salad! I recall numerous times that I would find small green leaves in her hair or on her clothes after feeding time…oops. Sorry babe.
I just couldn’t get enough of this though!!
So I would fill up a large salad bowl with kale – the part I liked least was the breaking it up, washing it and drying it. But I found if I washed the leaves in the morning and set them out on a towel, they would dry through the day and then I could make the salad at night and eat half, then save half for the next day. This worked well. I also am a fan of chopped and washed bagged kale (that was revolutionary! I was super grateful to find that).
So here it is. Save it. Make it. Enjoy it!
Let me know how you like it! I can’t wait to hear.
Do you snack on foods when you walk by them? Or eat all kinds of snacks while you prep dinner? Do you get dessert if others are, without checking to see if you really want it?
What I am proposing is to make the conscious, mindful choices to make everything you put in your mouth something that you truly want! Something you are really hungry for. And at the very least offers you positive mind and body energy that you can carry on with you through the day. Yes, this is possible!
The key is to find foods and combinations of foods that not only nourish your body, but nourish your soul. And make those foods the ones you choose. Then you will naturally eat them moderately. When you start to choose more foods that make you feel good and start mindfully listening to your body (“oh I felt great after eating that soup, steak or homemade stir fry, and I felt lousy after I ate that processed vegan burger or poutine”) then you can start to realize, its nearly impossible to mindfully enjoy a whole bag of large chips, or a massive Frappuccino from Starbucks. It just never feels good – no matter how much you tell yourself you “deserve” the treat. How about also, the foods we eat without noticing we do it…kids leftovers anymom?
It’s so easy to mindlessly eat the leftover toast on your toddlers plate, or the last few bites of their pasta, sandwich or pizza crusts they left behind after they were done.
Or the cold eggs, or the soggy cereal or mindlessly reaching for the re-heated microwave dinner because you are so exhausted from your day. I get it! I understand that you have a lot going on. Taking care of little humans is a job not for the faint of heart. It takes every. little. thing. out of us sometimes! Yes, it does. But instead let us look towards our loving little ones and watch how they eat. They leave food on the plate after all…they eat until they have had enough – they eat just what they want. They rarely overstuff themselves and never binge.
Being tired doesn’t have to lead to poor food choices. Being a parent doesn’t mean you have to eat junk food. There is no excuse for not finding some bright colourful vegetables or fruit, lean proteins or nuts and choosing those. Often we use cost as a deterrent, but it is a myth that healthy food costs more. Maybe in time to prepare, but making time for your health and well being is a good investment.
Awareness is the first step – NOTICE that you are doing this. Mindless eating (the opposite of mindful eating) is just that. Mindless. We do not even see ourselves doing it. Often we can be picking, grabbing and stuffing in foods and drinks out of habit without even noticing it. If this is you, then decide you are going to become more aware.
My top 3 fave ways to ensure you don’t get too hungry then eat mindlessly:
- Raw cashews! I eat these on mornings or times when I am rushing or too busy to cook/prep. They pair really fabulously with coffee (which is desired on said mornings). The little morsels of heaven are creamy, rich and filling. A small handful can keep you full for hours. And they are REAL food! Other amazing options are brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts and pecans. Choose raw where possible. YUM! Fibre, protein, healthy fat. They are a complete meal that won’t disappoint.
- Smoothies! I always say, “Make a Smooth Start,” because things go a lot smoother when you have eaten in the morning. A simple smoothie like some milk of your choice, some frozen berries, half a frozen banana, a scoop of chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds – then top with spinach and a scoop of protein powder if you feel you need even more – is a simple whirl in the blender, put in your fave to-go mug and sip sip sip all the way to work. You can also blend this up and take it for a lunch or snack later. And this smoothie contains REAL food (don’t kid yourself and get the “strawberry” one at the drive through – it often has NO strawberries in it!
- Pack snacks so you don’t get too hungry! Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, roasted chick peas, kale chips, baked tortilla (non GMO) corn chips, dried apple chips and non GMO popcorn are all crunchy snacks that are pretty easily digested and filling at the same time. They can keep you full for a while and they are easy to take on the go, stash in your car or diaper bag and they are great to share with the kiddies too. And they are REAL food! Don’t end up at the mall and have to choose the processed burger and fries or pizza. Neither you nor your kids deserve that.
Don’t these all sound better than leftovers, fast food, microwave dinners and sugar/perservative/chemical laden “foods” that leave you wishing you hadn’t eaten them 2 minutes after they go down? Not guilt FitMamas, indigestion, bloating, fatigue, food hangovers and cravings is what chemical processed foods create. Just avoid all that.
It’s just about CHOOSING, being more mindful. Deciding that you’re going to be more picky about what you put in your mouth. Sounds more fun right?
The key is:
PREPARING – so that you have chopped veggies in the fridge to stir fry up with scrambled eggs for a filling, fibre rich, nourishing breakfast. So that you have apples and pears to grab as you run to practice or daycare pick up. Take the time to wash and prep after you shop, so healthy foods are in your fridge at eye level and not hidden away in the crisper drawer (to get the opposite of crispy). A little weekly food prep can go really far!!
Join us in the FitMama Facebook group, where I share success tips and tools daily for more mindful eating and preparation to make choosing what you want that much easier!
See you there!
Side Lying Safe Move (SLSM) is the way to save your core.
Did you know that increased intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) is what largely contributes to core injuries and dysfunction? Did you know there are ways to avoid increasing IAP?
IAP is a natural consequence of pregnancy – after all, there is no better way to increase the pressure in your abdomen than by growing a human in there.
One of the most common consequences of increased IAP is Diastasis Recti (DR). Diastasis is the thinning of the linea alba, the fascia connecting the two sides of your rectus abdominis, causing them to move further apart to make space for the growing baby. DR can be thought of as a separation of the superficial abs, which requires time for healing postpartum. Diastasis is nothing to fear, it is a natural consequence of pregnancy but it is important to not make the DR worse than it needs to be. Postpartum belly wrapping (done right) can help heal a diastasis faster, check out my post on that HERE.
One of the major causes of IAP is the forward flexion movement of crunches and sit-ups, which is why I advocate for avoiding these moves – especially while healing your core after baby. Until you have fully rehabilitated and restored your core anatomy and function, I would be very cautious to avoid all crunches, sit-ups, v-sits, Russian twists, leg raises and any other moves that increase IAP.
By doing this move I demonstrate in the video below, you will create no increase in your IAP and therefore not cause more harm to your core.
If you can practice this move every time you get in and out of bed (especially if pregnant), or every time you get up from lying on the ground playing with your kids, you will significantly reduce the IAP you create with sit-ups.
Remember, after the first trimester of pregnancy, you don’t want to be lying on your back at all anyway, so push up using the strength of your arms, NOT your abs. This will stop you from doing multiple sit-ups per day inadvertently as you get in and out of bed (to pee during the night perhaps!?)
Let me know if you have any questions about this!