Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Let me start this post by letting you know that I have long since stopped making New Year's resolutions.  To me, they are a great way to set myself up for failure.  I don't think I ever met a resolution and instead, usually felt like a failure come December.  I've been contacted by several people asking me about weight loss, the most popular resolution, and how I made it happen after having Jada and how they can make it happen for themselves.  I've heard every weight loss story you can possibly imagine in the 5.5 years of work I've done in the weight management world and what I'm here to tell you is likely nothing you haven't heard before.  The question, truly, is are you listening?  Are you really ready?

I asked myself that question before I had Jada and I told myself over and over that yes, I wanted to lose the weight...right after I finish my plate of nachos and that giant margarita I just ordered with my friends!  I was delusional!   I asked myself that question within the first 3 months of having Jada and then I was honest.  No, I wasn't ready.  I was nursing, had breasts for the first time in my life, felt like Dumbo, wasn't too sure I'd made the best choice in becoming a parent, and I was a bit depressed.  But after 3 months of that, the haze cleared, I got some sleep, and I realized it was time to get to work.  For good.

I can happily tell you I've been successful...and also not.  I can tell you that it's been nearly 2 years and I'm still a regular at the gym...most weeks.  Let's face it.  I could lie and tell you how great it's been but it truly hasn't been great.  I don't even love it all the time but I do love myself and I'm proud of what I've been able to do.  What I'm telling you here is my story.  Some of it may help you but this is not me teaching one of my weight management groups.  This is me being real.  Take it for what it's worth and talk to me another time if you need the "professional, exercise physiologist" me to help you!

1)  Acknowledge that it's going to be HARD.
Really hard.  Probably harder than most anything you've ever done.  And then get over it!
This stopped me multiple times in the past when I said was "ready" to lose weight and keep it off.  I didn't want to change my schedule, eat differently, or exercise.  Finally it just clicked that it didn't matter that it was hard.  I could give birth to a baby, feed her from my body and work full-time on less than 1 hour of sleep a night.  Now THAT was hard!

2)  Make it easy on yourself!
I initially tried exercising before work at a different gym and failed miserably.  Nursing babies come before adventures at the gym!  Then I tried exercising after work and found that I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.  I got to see my daughter for a total of one hour each day when I exercised at night.  It wasn't enough.  Finally, I realized that I might be able to do it at work, during the day, and that has stuck and worked well for me.  I joined the onsite gym here at the hospital.  It isn't updated (or wasn't at the time) but it was comfortable for me.

3)  Make it work for you.
Keeping that in mind, I spoke with my bosses about going to the gym as my lunch break and they were supportive.  I ate lunch early (11 a.m.) at my desk and went to the gym at 1:00 every afternoon.  I have 1 hour to leave my desk, get to the gym, exercise, clean up, change, and return.  Basically my exercise sessions are just 30 minutes at a time, all considered, so now you might understand why it took me a lot longer than a celebrity to lose the weight!  I budgeted my time in the gym and knew what I was doing before I got there.  I even carved out time for a quick shower (e.g. 5 minutes!).

4)  Make a plan.
In terms of knowing what I was going to do when I got there, I initially focused solely on cardio.  I found a beginning runner's program online that seemed interesting because it was composed of intervals.  If you know anything about exercise, you know that intervals are very good for burning some serious calories and boosting metabolism.  Plus, it allowed me several weeks to build up to running what I wanted to run.  I signed up for Pilates classes once a week and used those as a laid back but not lazy day.  I found that I love Pilates and it helped get my Mommy core back in shape.  I also found that I felt accomplished when I finished my running each day.  I will never forget the first time I got to text my husband and my Mom that I had run for 15 minutes and then 30 minutes straight!  I was over the moon excited!

5)  Weight training is your friend.
These days I mix it up.  Honestly, running is not my thing.  I tried to take it outdoors and didn't enjoy it and I began to find that I wasn't enjoying it in the gym either.  I gradually shifted to doing whatever I felt like each day and began incorporating weight training more.  You have to realize that in order to change your body composition you're going to have to vary the activities that you do day to day.  If you want to lose body fat, you're going to have to weight train to gain muscle mass.  And, as an FYI, if you gain muscle mass, you'll gain weight.  Twisted how that works, isn't it?  Still, muscle is more active than fat so you burn more calories just sitting at your desk.  I have always enjoyed weight training so this was easy for me but if you're new, try talking with a trainer at the gym to get pointers.

6)  Accept imperfection.
Look, I'm never going to be a tiny girl, I never was a tiny girl, and thankfully my husband doesn't want a tiny wife!  God bless him, he even tells me that Victoria's Secret models need to eat.  Can I get a hallelujah?    I'm not perfect according to society's standards but I'm healthy, strong, and I do my best to be a good wife and mom.  My body is not the same now as it was in high school; this body has taken me many places since then and gave me a child.  I thank it for that!  Give yourself a break, ladies.  Be who YOU are.  That's all anyone can really be!  I don't go to the gym everyday.  Sometimes I only go 3 or 4 days a week and sometimes I eat REALLY terribly.  I accept this as part of who I am and I enjoy it, too.  There's no point in beating myself up.

Finally, a few things that really did not work for me.
1)  I don't do races.  I don't do 5K's or anything else.  This is not my thing.
2)  I don't restrict food.  That is to say, I eat in moderation those things that I want to enjoy now and then (DESSERT!).  In fact, I eat more now than I ever did.  I have about 6 meals a day!  I love food!
3)  I don't force it.  I've walked in the gym and walked right back out before, simply because I wasn't feeling it that day.  It's rare but there are times when you just need a break and that's okay!
4)  I don't do pills/quick fixes.  Never have, never will.  I pride myself on doing this completely without help on the side.  Plus, I take enough meds and don't need to add to the list!
5)  I am not a morning person.  See #2.  This does not describe the extent to which I am not a morning person.
6)  I don't do competition.  That is to say, I don't like to compete with my friends/husband in terms of losing weight, running times, lifting weights, etc.  It really is not my thing and I find it discouraging.  I will, however, play a friendly game of volleyball, H.O.R.S.E., or badminton with you.  I like sports, just not individual competition.  I only compare myself to myself.

Hopefully you gained something from this post and if not, at least have a nice week!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nearly A Year Gone!

My last post was on November 9th of last year and I have to say, I'm a little bit surprised.  I kept telling myself I'd write tomorrow or the next week or that it really hadn't been that long until I finally logged on.  To my dismay, I haven't written anything about Jada's progress over the last year.  What makes this even worse is I haven't kept up with her baby book either.  I plan to do that this weekend if our visitors are not able to make it but for this post, I bring you some of the things my "turning 19 months old tomorrow" baby has been doing or saying.  Looks like I also need to post pictures but that will have to happen another day in a post entitled, "My Daughter's Afro."  She'll hate me for it someday!

1)  Counting.  You read that right.  She's counting.  Yesterday she rushed over to the metal table we have in the entryway and began fingering the flowers that she loves so much.  As I stood there making sure she wouldn't break them off, she began to count.  "One...two...three...four...five...six...seven...eight..." and walked off as though nothing had happened.  After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I jumped up and down screaming, "Robin, our baby is counting!  Our baby is counting!"  It's the little things.

2)  Some things are better left unsaid.  Case in point:  Robin has started a side business of photography and has had many clients lately.  One of them was scheduled for last Saturday and happened to be his coworker, Suzanne.  She and her husband have two little ones and the oldest just turned 2.  This seemed a great time for dinner, drinks, and a play date.  As we sat down for dinner in the dining room, Jada was going to town on her food, farted, and smiled at us.  We all continued conversations as though nothing had happened until she decided to tell us just what she had done.  "MOMMA!  MOMMA!!"  She screams this at me nearly all the time...  "MOMMA!"  When I finally answered, she smiled, pointed down, and said, "Momma, I fawted!  I fawted!"  I thought I would die of embarrassment   She has NEVER done that before, let alone in front of company!

3)  Elmo.  Our lives are consumed by Elmo.  I have no idea where she picked up the obsession but she just loves Sesame Street and all things Elmo.  A few weeks ago we were visiting our local Goodwill searching for deals and she began screaming "ELMO! ELMO!" from the front of the store.  Neither of us had a clue where she had seen him until we got to the back where the toys are located.  There was a Sesame Street couch, filthy, sitting there for $3.  I immediately said it would not come home with us but Robin found a zipper in the back so the cover could be washed.  We decided it was worth a try and thankfully the thing washed up great and looks brand new.  Now Jada sits/jumps on/plays with her "Elmo Couch" nearly constantly.  Best $3.00 spent in my life!  I'll bet you can guess what things she's getting for Christmas, too!

4)  I love you!  She says this to us quite a bit, typically followed by many kisses, kiss blowing, and hugs.  My favorite is when she sings the old Barney song that goes, "I love you, You love me, We're a happy family..."  She can't enunciate very well so it comes out, "I wuv oo, you wuv me..."  Usually she'll start singing and say, "Mamma, yoo tuwn!" so I sing as best I can and she smiles, giddy even though I can't sing a lick.  Waking up to this most mornings really makes the day better and coming from a non-morning person, that's saying something.

5)  A, B, C...  She can sing her alphabet!  She gets hung up around H, I, J but typically comes back in around L, M, N, O, P.  Tobi, our daycare provider, told us they sing it most days which makes me so happy to have Tobi in our lives!  I love that Jada is learning new things daily rather than sitting in front of a t.v. but it really is odd to hear this little girl, my baby, singing something I associate with pre-school or Kindergarten.

Well I suppose this is a good enough start for now.  I'll probably think of a thousand more interesting things to share and hopefully take the 2 minutes to post them from time to time.  Take care!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Learning New Things

Here's a little photo montage of the things Jada has picked up this week.  The only one I don't have is her getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth.  I can now say I'm ready for her to start crawling.  Miss Diva has a bit of an attitude now that she can't reach the things she wants or go where she wants all the time.  It'll be nice when she can do those things, although I'm well aware we will be doing more chasing than anything else.

Here goes:
In case we were ever in doubt as to who Jada takes after, I present evidence #1.  Note they are laying EXACTLY the same way and no, we didn't position her this way!

TIME SAVER!  Jada mastered holding her own bottle this week so now I get her up while I'm getting ready in the morning.  She eats and watches me do girly things and I get the chance to spend even more time with her.  I'm so glad we've reached this point!
Okay, she didn't learn this, she's just stinkin' cute!  I DIE for this smile!
Last but not least, the frog pose.  Who doesn't watch Sunday cartoons like this!?
We've started limiting tv time now that she's able to focus on it.  I'd rather teach her some good habits while I can!

That's all!  I'm positive we will have a little better update after this weekend because Grandma J will be here for three full days!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship

We've all got them.  We love things, we hate things, and sometimes we feel both for one thing in particular.  For me it has always been this one thing: Exercise.

I heard you gasp.  I hear you thinking, "But Renee'!  You're an Exercise Physiologist!  How could you hate exercise if you've made it your life!?"  Good question and I'll tell you.

I grew up playing all kinds of sports!  I think I started with tee ball, moved on to swimming, moved on to softball, moved on to basketball, and then added my all-time favorite, volleyball.  When I was a senior, I got a wild hair and gave track and field a try.  I hated every minute of it but I sure did love the results!  I was the "thinnest" I'd ever been!  I have a love hate relationship with sports, too.  Did you know I mostly hated basketball?  I started playing when it was still 5 on 5 for girls (God, I'm getting old!).  I ended playing when I was a senior in high school so I basically played for 12 years of my life...and I basically hated it all 12 years.  There were a few things I loved about it though.  I loved the girls.  I loved my friends, the atmosphere, spending time with these ladies who maybe wouldn't give me the time of day any other way, and the parents.  That's why I played so long, not because the sport was fun all the time or that I was very good, though some might disagree on that last point.  See what I mean?  Love/hate relationship.

When I went to college, I was extremely scared of the freshman 15, those pounds you accumulate because you can do or not do whatever you want and eat or not eat whatever you want.  My friend, Amber, went to the same school with me and lived just around the corner.  We forced each other to get up and go to the on campus gym.  Okay, she forced me more often than not; I am not a morning person!  Prior to this, exercise was something I did because I played sports.  During this, I fell in love with exercise...but I hated the pain.  Exercise doesn't always feel good!

I met a guy that year.  Nothing motivates a college girl to get fit like meeting a guy.  An important guy.  A guy you REALLY like...okay, you love!  So I started running...and I hated it.  I H.A.T.E.D. running!  The longer I ran, the more I started to push myself to do it and the more I started to love it.  The running, well that lasted ~6 months and then I stopped running so I could spend time with the guy.  The guy, well that didn't last either.  Sometimes what you love gets all mixed up with someone you love and when they don't love you anymore, you don't love that something anymore...if you're following me here.

That's when I took a class called exercise physiology.  It was an advanced course and I was a sophomore so I was intimidated.  I got an A+.  I didn't get that grade because it was easy and I didn't have to study, I got it because I fell in love with what exercise did FOR the body, not how it made a person look good.  Seriously, I am the biggest nerd when it comes to exercise physiology.  I love it.  I decided to make it my career and spent time in the professor's office asking questions.  I found a school where I could do a master's in exercise physiology, ended up suicide applying (e.g. I didn't apply anywhere else), and thankfully got accepted.  Sometimes I just hate exercise, or the act of exercise.  Yep.  Love/Hate.

And now I'm here.  I'm 28 years old.  I have a 7 month old baby and a post-baby body.  It took no time at all for me to lose the baby weight and then some but there's one thing I know I can give my baby and myself that no one else can.  A healthy, happy version of me.  I decided to pick up something I hated: running.  About 2 months ago I started to do intervals.  1 minute running, 3 minutes walking, repeated for 30 minutes.  I'd change it up over time and now I'm up to running for 25 minutes.  Sure, it doesn't seem like much to "real runners" but it's a lot to me!  I've also gone from hating running to loving it again in a short period of time.  In fact, I get frustrated when it's a hard day and I just can't force my body to run.  Even my body has a love/hate relationship with exercise!

See?  Sometimes love/hate relationships are good things.  I may have a love/hate relationship with exercise, but I've been exercising nearly my entire life!  Not very many people can say that!  I'm off to plan my run today.  It's interval day.  I LOVE interval day!

Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Do you hear that?

I hear quacking...You know, like a duck?  Hmm....

OH!  That's right!  It's just my little duckling on her very first Halloween!

The cutest duckling I've ever seen!
Come to think of it, I don't think that was quacking.
It was giggling!
Or maybe it was Daddy.  He was getting his lipid panel at the health fair and they had to draw blood 5 times to get it right!

Good thing this Daddy is a good sport!

My duckling is educating the public on the obesity epidemic...by eating the obesity reading material.
The pamphlet is called "Outrun Obesity," in case you didn't pick that up!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


This post is dedicated to my friend, Lanie, who reminds me at least once a week that I am 3 months behind on posting anything on my poor blog!  SO, here's a short photo montage of our most recent weekend.  I'll do my best to find my creative side again and start posting more often!

Jada has been jumping and jumping AND jumping!

We helped cure a nasty diaper rash with a little naked baby time!  Jada's favorite toy, George the Giraffe, helped. too!

We went to the Louisburg Cider Mill and Pumpkin Patch.  This was Jada's first time seeing pumpkins.  She especially liked the hay.

She didn't know what to think about the pumpkins....

...but in the end she loved them, too!  Here she is in a sea of pumpkins!

Grandma J stayed with us ALL weekend!  She came to the pumpkin patch with us.  I wish we had pictures of Jada discovering how fantastic Grandma's necklace was because it made noise and went over Grandma's face!

She also taught Jada how to play Patty Cake.  She thought that was the bees knees!

And finally, one of the only decent family pictures we got of the day.  I guess this is what they'll look like from here on out but I don't mind!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over

Apparently I haven't made the time to write about all that is going on in our lives.  I have often thought about it but rarely do I come up with anything creative or exciting to share.  The funny part about that last statement is there is plenty of excitement going on in my life and I realized last night, as I listened to my 3 month old baby girl giggle a real grown-up giggle for the very first time, that my cup runneth over. 

I can't hit on everything that has been new, exciting, or even not so exciting or so fun but I can certainly tell you a few highlights.  Jada is thriving, thank God!  She eats like a champ, sleeps well at night, and is generally a happy go lucky sort of gal (she got that from her dad).  She began smiling pretty early on which probably looks more like a BIG yawn, mouth fully open, dimples on both cheeks (she got those from her dad too), and eyes alight with excitment (she got those from me)!  On June 18th, she rolled from tummy to back for the first time and promptly began screaming from fear.  Some of these new experiences are fantastic for Mommy and Daddy but not so much for our little girl!  Jada holds her head steady and wants to sit up these days.  She will still be cradled when she's sleepy but the majority of the time, she wants to see the world.  Last weekend we put her in the Bijorn and went to the Farmer's Market where she was able to see all kinds of people and new things.  We didn't hear a peep out of her.  In fact, she just rode along staring and chewing on her bib!

My favorite parts about the few months we've spent together have been watching her really learning things and those times that I get to cuddle her as she drifts off to the land of Nod.  Jada takes time to really look at things, to listen, and really study, all qualities that we could take note of ourselves.  She loves the tv (I don't know that this is good or bad just yet) and watches as the colors change and characters flit across the screen.  Rocking her to sleep brings me a lot of joy, so much so that I tend to shower her with kisses and study her face and body just to remember it for as long as I can.  I don't get to do these things as often as I want now that I'm back to working full-time and since I know just how fast time flies, I really take the time to relish in these quiet, peaceful times.  Sometimes she studies my face and in the last few weeks has begun reaching for objects.  This morning, as I sat cradling her while she woke up from her long night of dreams, she reached up to my face, put her palm and fingers on my cheek, and just stared with an awed expression.  I wish we could all look at ourselves the way our children look at us!

The most recent changes are pretty notable, too.  Jada is laughing non-stop!  She smiles a lot and we've noticed she's more of a morning person (she gets that from her Grandma J).  Last night was the very first real giggle and it was in the top 5 best sounds I've ever heard in my life.  I got so excited, I jumped up and down and clapped which scared her to death.  That still can't erase the wonderful sound of my baby giggling for the first time!  Jada is really trying hard to roll from back to tummy now, too.  She gets frustrated because she can get to her side but can't quite get that rear end to roll.  I still say it'll be any day now, though.

Aside from changes there are interactions with other adults and kids to note.  Jada has lots of friends her age because many of our friends had babies this year, too.  We've spent time with Monroe Easley, Adalyn Fast, Kimber Elo, Kellen and Rowen Roth, Lena Roth, Michael Castillo, and probably several more kids that I can't remember right this minute.  So far she barely takes notice of her pals with Monroe as the exception.  The girls have spent lots of time together so while Monroe reaches and squeals in delight trying to grab at Jada, Jada simply looks at her with an expression of "What is this fool doing to me?"  Friends are one thing.  Nothing compares to seeing your family with your baby.  My Mom is the one I watch the most.  She LOVES being a Grandma and Jada loves being a Grandma's girl!  My sister was a surprise to me.  She loved holding Jada, even changed a diaper or two, and talked and played with her as much as possible before she went home to New Mexico.  And then there is my husband.

Now that Jada is here, she is his whole world and that isn't a bad thing.  He gets right in her face and they "talk" to eachother.  She loves to cuddle on him because his chest is wide and soft, not like mine.  He also makes really strange sounds that I can't make and that always sets her off squealing in delight.  We take turns rocking Jada to sleep at night and Robin's approach is to sing her songs.  Sometimes I take the monitor downstairs and just listen in, even going so far as to turn off the tv so I can hear that sweet sound (if you're reading this, Robin, no you cannot stop or be embarassed). 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I never thought I would be a good parent, have the patience, or that I should even attempt to have kids.  Boy was I wrong.  Thank goodness I got some sense and figured that out!