Body Image

I think everyone struggles with body image issues (if you’ve never had a stray thought about self improvement – you’re probably a terrible person). One of my favorite sayings is “Would you talk to your best friend the way you talk to yourself?”. I’ve always thought that was such a good way of looking at it. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think “I’m huge, I need to lose 20 lbs, my stomach is flabby” etc. and when I think about going up to a friend and telling them their “stomach looks flabby” I visibly cringe. Why do we think it’s okay to talk down to ourselves?

Part of it I think is generational. We hear our parents talk down about themselves (because we’re all human and we’d all like to improve) and then we do the same thing. And let me say – there is nothing wrong with wanting to get in better shape or focus more at work or relax and stop being so OCD. But there is a point where it is no longer about self improvement and instead becomes about self depreciation. That’s what I’m talking about.

Now I am as guilty (if not more so) than most people. It makes me think of that scene in Mean Girls “Apparently there is more than skinny or fat.” (when they’re all talking about their pores and their noses and their hips). We all fall into that trap, and I find myself doing it more and more post children when I want to magically be super thin and ready to rock a swimsuit. So how to overcome this deeply ingrained body dysmorphia? I’m not sure that we (I) can completely shake it off but I do thing there is something to be said for positivity.

Instead of looking at that picture from last night and saying “Ugh I look terrible” say “Oh you look cute!” to the other person or ” well my outfit is on point”. If you have to say something negative make it “not the best lighting” or “wish the camera angle was higher” instead of about you/your body. When we compare ourselves to those in the media – their entire job is to look good. Private chefs, personal trainers, makeup & hair teams, photographers who follow them only getting the best angles/lighting. You can’t look at them and think less of yourself. Only think well of them.

It’s dang near impossible in today’s society not to compare yourself to models/actresses/bloggers/friends/etc. but you can choose to love yourself. To think about yourself positively. Never stop trying to better yourself but do it for the right reasons and do it without tearing yourself down. Love yourself so others can love you too.

XOXO

Kendall

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P.S. Currently I’m reading this Mantra to myself 3X per day while I move along my meditation bead necklace:

My body is worthy of my love

my body is fierce and fabulous

My body is strong and stable

My body is full of wisdom

My body is powerful beyond belief

My body is balanced and beautiful

My heart is full of grace

My heart can forgive and let go

My heart is open to goodness

My heart sees balance in the universe

My heart takes the good with the bad

I trust my body. I trust my heart, I trust my mind.

 

Post-Partum Recovery

Real Life: After I had a baby I had stretch marks on my stomach & chest, loose skin & extra fat on my low tummy, and Diastasis Recti ( the separation of your abdominals). It’s not like my body immediately snaps back to my pre-pregnancy bod. In fact, it takes 6-12 weeks for your uterus to shrink back down (faster if you breastfeed) and a year for your body to get its organs back in the right spots (they move out of the way so baby and grow). That means recovery is a long path, and I’m an impatient person lol. Not a great combination. 

Today’s post is twofold. First, I want to be honest with my readers and by doing so hopefully help some other mamas out there who are dealing with the frustration of a slow recovery. Even with being in good shape before & during pregnancy, eating well, breastfeeding, and doing small workouts I am still nowhere near where I would like to be fitness/strength/tone-wise. I can still grab and twist my “bubblegum tummy” as a fellow blogger would call it. 

I have friends who six weeks after they had a baby they look even better than they did before kids. They say breastfeeding and eating clean is the secret to their success and they look amazing. Not the case for me. Breastfeeding makes me retain water (and my boobs huge which of course makes me look 3 sizes bigger in about half of my tops). So despite being a great calorie burner and way to shrink my Uterus down, I don’t really get to enjoy the benefits until I stop. If you’re out there in the universe thinking “LIES! Breastfeeding is the worst and I don’t look/feel skinnier.” you’re not alone. It happens. If you expected to come home form the hospital in our smallest pair of pre-pregnancy jeans and its not happening the way you expected, don’t worry. Take your time and be patient (as patient as you can be) and make sure your getting back in shape in a healthy way. 

Which brings me to part two of my post. I want to talk about getting back in shape in a healthy way post-baby and how to heal Diastasis Recti. If you’re not sure if you have Diastasis Recti, lay flat on the ground and curl your head and shoulders up as if you were doing a crunch. If your stomach cones or presses up higher in the middle and when you press on it with your fingers it is soft to the touch with no resistance – you have it. We’ll start with how to heal it. 

DO NOT jump back in to a serious core routine. That will undoubtedly make it worse. This separation can get bad enough to require surgery if you’re not careful. Instead work primarily on core stabilization exercises (standing Marching high knees, bird dogs, side planks, glute bridges). There are a few good YouTube videos on some HERE, HERE, and HERE. Definitely avoid crunches, sit-ups, and any “twisting” where you are wringing your core out side to side (such as russian twists). 

Additional ways to start getting back in shape include:

  • Wearing a Post-Partum girdle 1-3 hours per day during the first 6 weeks. This helps press your uterus back in place faster.
  • Eating healthy: While you can’t exercise in the first 6 weeks you can eat clean. Don’t use this time as an excuse for cookie dough and pizza (Like I did after my first pregnancy). Instead eat lots of veggies, whole grains, and protein.
  • Mini-workouts: While you should listen to your doctor and not workout without approval, my doc was fine with me doing upper body routines with 3 lb weights, going on long walks, doing my core stabilization workouts, and even doing some light jogging. It helped me get back to feeling like me faster.

Hopefully this helps some Mamas out there recovering from their wonderful childbirth.

XOXO

Kendall

Cooking Vegan Pasta

I love to cook! I don’t always have enough time (after work, barre, and spending time with Kensington & David) so I’ll admit that I order food for delivery more than I should, but in general I really enjoy the process of cooking and then sitting down to enjoy a home cooked meal with my husband and daughter. I try not to eat any animal proteins (probably about 95% of the time), but my husband still eats meat and dairy and Kensington still eats meat on occasion. That means that when I cook, I always make a variation with meat for my husband. I don’t force him to eat like I do, but I do load up his plate/bowl with TONS of veggies.

I stumbled upon this recipe via Instagram and decided to try the white wine lemon pasta.

Vegan Pasta

It looked very good and healthy, not to mention it was easy to modify for David. So I picked up all my ingredients, sat Kenz safely in her bumbo so I could cook, and got started.

Step One: Lay out all the ingredients.

Ingredients

Step Two: Prepare & Chop Ingredients

Chopping 1

Step Three: Actually cook some yummy food

Stirring

Step Four: EAT!

Of course, not everything happens as it should (or as I tediously plan out). Here are some of the fails I faced while trying to cook this meal:

  • I thought the quinoa/WG pasta I bought would take longer to cook. Not so – hello overcooked noodles
  • The Italian Sausage I bought Dave wasn’t the “right” kind I was expecting, but he swears it turned out fine (smart man)
  • My stovetop was out of character-ly HOT. Burned the garlic (obviously this is not the best showcase of my cooking) and had to start over

ULTIMATELY it was still really good. Dave had seconds, Kenzie ate a bunch of veggies & noodles, and I had enough in my belly to keep baby 2 happy. But real life means even though I consider myself an above average chef (but no means a pro) sometimes getting distracted by baby, trying to do too much at one time, or even just the exhaustion of the day means not everything happens perfectly. And I’m cool with that. We all ended up fed and happy and David even commented “I’m so glad you’re a good cook.” Little does he know…

XOXO

Kendall

Links:

Utensil storage behind me: I bought mine at home goods but see similar HERE

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Grey Cardigan: Sold outSIMILAR ITEM

 

Home Gym

Most people who follow me know that I teach Barre & Bootcamp classes (yes…even when I’m 32 weeks pregnant). But what most people don’t know is that I ALSO have a home gym. I like to workout first thing in the morning (but I’ll be honest 5:30-6am workout classes are just not for me. I can’t get up in time and I’m exhausted all day if I do. I’m much for of a 7-8am kinda gal) and try to make sure that each day I either do a high intensity workout OR a deep self driven yoga flow. It doesn’t always happen (I am human and some days I’m just not feeling it), but for the most part ensuring I stay active helps me calm my mind and push past stress & anxiety.

My home gym includes my yoga mat – with 2 blocks & a yoga strap. I use the blocks EVERY DAY! I used to be so embarrassed because I’m not very flexible and I saw blocks as “cheating”, but I’ve found that I stretch so much deeper and more consistently when I use them. Even though I was a cheerleader for years I could never touch my toes. Part of my 2018 resolutions was to do Jessica Aolie’s “Lets start yoga” a minimum of 3 times every week so that I could touch my toes (and hopefully get the splits). So far I’ve been really consistent with it and I’ve seen a huge improvement. I never enjoyed yoga classes (tempo is either too quick or too slow and I get bored over an hour), but I’ve found that doing my own flows at home – I REALLY enjoy it. Now I can touch my toes for the first time, and I’ve found that it relieves that “low back pressure” from sitting at my desk all day (like right now lol).

It also includes my new Peloton Bike (WHICH I LOVE!). Last summer I bought a cheaper bike off amazon, an inexpensive tablet, the wahoo cadence tracker, and I set it all up so that I could take the classes through the peloton app for a fraction of the cost. And it worked pretty well. I found myself riding multiple times per week after I had my baby. Unfortunately, it drove me NUTS that I couldn’t match my resistance to theirs or see how I ranked on the leaderboard. This year when I got my bonus I finally caved (along with 3 other ladies I work with) and spent the $2,000. It. was. so. worth. it. Seriously, I push myself so much harder and find myself looking forward to the days I don’t do yoga so that I can ride (LOL).

Lastly, it has my husband’s bench press, free weights, and jump rope. Sometimes I’ll use the bench for chest, legs, or the bicep curls at the end of the bench, but it is definitely more for him. This way – the theory was – we could both workout at the same time. He rode the bike the other night while I did yoga and it was super fun. Kenzie just played on the carpet and ate crackers the whole time LOL. Hopefully my next maternity leave will see even more of the home gym. I love the freedom to workout when I want and knowing I have all of the equipment needed to get a great burn. What is your home gym like? Do you actually find time to use it? My consistency isn’t always there, but I love the opportunity to stay healthy at home.

XOXO

Kendall

Favorite Pregnancy Foods

Being pregnant can be REALLY hard. I’ve been so blessed that both of my pregnancies have been really low risk with very few “bad” symptoms. I haven’t really been nauseous (although I get the WORST headaches) and I still have super high energy that allows me to workout regularly. All of this being said, when I get hungry I go from 0 to 100 like this *dramatic finger snap*. For me personally, this means I need to have foods on hand that are quick, delicious, and [sometimes] healthy. Thought I would share some of my favorite foods lately:

  • OWYN Cold Brew Coffee Protein Shakes: For all the moms out there screaming “NO CAFFEINE” at the top of your lungs – my doctor actually prescribed me to have 100mg a day as my headaches are INSANE without it. The alternative was a caffeine pill which I wasn’t wild about. Now moving on – This shake is made with plant based protein, 2 servings of veggies, 20 g of protein, a yummy coffee taste, and helps me get quick energy and healthy protein into my body at the speed of light. Its a morning staple for me.
  • Bananas: I swear bananas are a cure all. Hungry? Sore? Headache? Eat a banana – its my equivalent of “spray windex on it”.
  • Ezekiel Bread: I have a slice with jam or cinnamon toast basically every day. Helps me get some good carbs into my body without having to wait forever.
  • Eggo Chocolate chip waffles: I’ll be honest with BOTH pregnancies this was my midnight craving (lol). I sent David out to the CVS at like 11:30 one night because I wanted some so bad. 100 cals, quick, and yummy. Not really healthy but definitely a go to for me.
  • Thin Mints: In honor of Girl Scout cookie season I had to put this one on the list. Lets be honest who isn’t addicted to these little cookies?
  • My daughter’s banana puffs: Alright feel free to laugh at me here. Do any other moms out there poor a handful of puffs out for their kids and then slowly steal them?
  • Freshly Meals: I’ve been eating these for lunch on days I don’t wanna run out or have overlapping meetings. SUPER yummy and made with healthy ingredients.

Some of my favorite places to pick up dinner (when I’m just not in the mood to cook and use the “I’m pregnant” excuse):

  • Chipotle: Yeah. IDK about all those Chipotle haters out there. During my 1st pregnancy I ate there 37 days in a row. Kensington REALLY craved it lol.
  • Pei Wei: Yummy. Quick. Saturated with soy sauce. Double thumbs up.
  • Sprouts Soups: Running by the grocery on the way home? No problem. All of Sprouts soups are made with all natural ingredients and taste AH-MAZING. I really love their Roasted Red Pepper.

Hopefully this helps some of the other Mamas-to-be keep their tummies full 🙂

XOXO

Kendall

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