Tag Archives: guest post

Guest Post: How I Defeated the Baby Bulge Blues by Holly Lane

I’ve always been fairly into fitness.  It started when I was a young girl.  My little sister and I used to watch our mom work out to a morning program called the twenty minute workout, featuring women, looking effortlessly beautiful and hardly breaking a sweat.  It looked easy.  And pretty.  And I wanted to be like those women.  So, when I say that I was always “fairly into” fitness, I mean that I had a certain fascination with the idea of being fit that never actually equated to making a habit of a fitness lifestyle.  My teenage years were dotted with month-long spurts of inspiration-fueled, obsessive exercising, which were always inevitably followed by months of burning out and rewarding myself for my previous great effort with a barrage of junk food.

“The pattern of on-again off-again fitness infatuation that started in my youth carried over into my adulthood.  The result was that I was always just fit enough, but never actually met my fitness goals.  When I got pregnant for the first time, I have to admit that staying fit was not even a consideration of mine.  I bought into the old clichés that pregnancy was an excuse to “take it easy” and “eat for two.”  I assumed that I’d just bounce back – that somehow I’d be extra motivated to get into a real workout routine after I gave birth.  Talk about false security.  The responsibility of caring for my first child was such an adjustment that working out became little more than an occasional daydream.  It wasn’t that I didn’t have time to work out, because I honestly believe that we make time for the things that are important to us, no matter how much we have going on.  It was more like my lifelong paradigm (of doing just enough and at only the times when I was super-inspired to do it) was no longer working for me, and I had no frame of reference for a better way of doing things.  It took a while for me to figure out that I wasn’t going to just fall into a post-pregnancy fitness plan – that I actually had to be proactive about getting in shape and staying that way.  Six months later, I was back into my pre-pregnancy jeans, and determined to make a habit of thinking about fitness in a new way – as a lifestyle rather than a quick fix.

“I carried this new mindset into my second pregnancy, and it made all the difference in the world.  I literally wore my pre-pregnancy jeans to my two-day old, newborn son’s doctor’s appointment.  No kidding.  I do believe it’s possible for anyone to bounce back after a pregnancy, considering they are dedicated to making the necessary lifestyle changes (and the circumstances of their pregnancy allow for it).  I want to share a few things that I learned about pregnancy, parenting, and staying fit:

“If you could do it before you were pregnant, you can try doing it while you’re pregnant.  This is what my doctor told me when I asked him about working out during my second pregnancy, and his words really stuck with me.  Of course, he pointed out, there are common-sense things that should be avoided during pregnancy: laying flat on your stomach, straining your pelvic muscles, jumping on a pogo stick . . . you get the picture.  Basically, if you were physically fit before you got pregnant, then continuing your workout routine during pregnancy, with some slight adjustments, is not only possible, but highly recommended.  Just listen to your body.  It will tell you when enough is enough.

“Pregnancy is an opportunity to get in the best shape of your life.  At least, that’s where I found myself after giving birth to my second child.  Why?  Well, imagine carrying a thirty-five pound weight with you throughout all of your workouts.  That’s what pregnancy is, and it does wonders for your muscle tone.

“You don’t have to schedule a trip to the gym in order to get a good workout post-pregnancy.  I got into the habit of what I called a “Mommy and Me” workout routine that included some heavy-duty playtime with the kids (I’m talking sweat-inducing acrobatics that had the little ones squealing with delight), coop-style cleanup time to dance music, and hour-long sight-seeing stroller rides/power walks in the afternoon.

“Eat well and eat often.  After my first child was born, I found that I’d get so caught up in day to day tasks that I’d sometimes forget to eat breakfast or lunch.  I just felt so scatter-brained that I didn’t make time to make meals, and a great majority of my food came from quick grabs like potato chips, doughnuts, muffins, etc.  Not good.  My solution for that, the second time around, was to keep the house stocked with healthy snacks.  I also started cooking twice as much as needed for dinner and storing the leftovers in single portion-sized, microwaveable storage containers, which was a great way to get back in the habit of eating a healthy lunch.  Adding better eating habits to my fitness regime gave me the physical and mental energy boosts I needed to maintain it.

“My second son turns six in a few months, and I still wear the same size clothes I did in high school.  I can say, without reservation, that I attribute that to my appreciation for a health and fitness-conscious lifestyle – a mindset that was triggered by my pregnancies.  Some women think that getting pregnant means the end of body confidence but, for me, it was only the beginning, and I know it can be for any woman who puts her mind to it.  So, for all of you expectant mothers out there, I’d like to say congratulations and welcome to a new world, not only that of being a parent, but of self-discovery.”

Holly Lane is a freelance writer and single mother of two, who enjoys writing about health and fitness, parenting, and the joys and perils of a multi-tasking lifestyle.  She spends her free time cooking, reading, working out and playing with her kids, and is studying to be a certified ultrasound technician.

Guest Post on A Little Bit of All of It!

I have enjoyed reading Julia’s blog for several months now. She and I met in our adult Sunday School class at church, but we didn’t really get to know each other well until we both got into blogging. Since then, I’ve realized how much she and I have in common. We both have a passion for God and all things natural! One difference is that she’s a mom and I haven’t had that privilege yet. But I’m filing away her tips on cloth diapers and homemade baby food for when that day comes. Julia asked me to write a post to celebrate her reaching 6,000 hits on the blog! I had a hard time deciding what to write. After much deliberation, I decided to do a quick summary about my blog, a book review, and a quick recipe. Check out the rest of my guest post here:

Made From Scratch: Book Review (and a Recipe for the Perfect Salad!).

Congratulations, Julia! And thanks for the opportunity to collaborate on your blog! ~Melissa

Celebrating 15,000 Blog Hits with a Guest Post: Cooking Chronicles by Gerald Arnolds

I am so excited to share this guest post with you all. I’ve been waiting for a special mile marker, and we’ve finally reached one! 15,000 hits on My Journey to Lean Blog! Enjoy! ~Melissa

Cooking Chronicles
“Gerald Arnolds is a writer and amateur cook living in Seattle. He is a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on earning your nursing degree online for the Guide to Health Education. He would self-identify as interested in food science, modern cuisine, and ways in which to continue making food better for people while avoiding processed foods.”

“Growing up, I had the privilege of never having to think a whole lot about cooking; food was simply something presented in front of me, either by my mother or another cook, several times a day every week. As an adult I realize just how much work this would have required and how much time and energy goes into producing food on a daily basis.

“When I moved out in my late teens, I was suddenly responsible for feeding myself, and this required a pretty substantial reconfiguring of how I did things; I was required to either eat out several times every day, purchase a whole lot of frozen foods, or (gasp) cook for myself. After realizing that the first strategy was unaffordable and that the second only yielded miserable eating experiences, I decided that cooking was the best thing I could pursue.

“I made a few trips to the grocery store. I purchased a pile of vegetables, some staples (rice, noodles, and so on), some spices, and set to work. I quickly realized that I was only ever making pad thai well, which became boring quickly. All of the peanut oil that made my pad thai recipe so solid also helped me come to the conclusion that I probably wasn’t doing things quite right.

“As a consequence, I picked up a handful of cookbooks and went out of my way to get educated. I learned how to make salads, stews, and other things; however, health wasn’t yet an issue for me. It was only later on, when I got interested in why certain vegetables tasted so bad out of season, that I found myself fascinated with the availability of certain items at particular times in the year, the use of pesticides in growing, and the other factors that help determine the quality of one’s ingredients.

“From there, I realized that I needed to know more, and I tried to find ways to create simple, delicious meals that were low in carcinogens, unhealthy oils, and out-of-season ingredients while maximizing flavors and antioxidants. Within a year, I’d learned the importance of baking my own cereals to bring down sugars, realized that sweet potatoes were all sorts of awesome, quit cooking with tomatoes out of season, learned how to make a simple salad that was both filling and nutritious, and figured out why it’s important to toast spices before grinding them in making my own curry powders and pastes, among other things.

“Alongside exercise regiments and other things that incidentally changed over the course of my life, I found myself feeling cleaner, making better food than my friends who cooked pasta with a heavy cream sauce every night, saving money, and generally feeling healthier than I did when I was eating a diet heavy in fried foods, prepackaged vegetables and fatty meats. Over a longer period of time, I found myself losing weight, feeling happier about who I was, and more in tune with my body and my surroundings than I’d ever been before.”

Thank you, Gerald, for this guest post. And thank you, An Apple A Day Blog, for sharing it with me! Enjoy the journey!