During my third pregnancy, I had this deep, unexplainable feeling that she would be our final kid. I have heard from others that I’m not the only one to experience this. It was a sense of accomplishment, finality, contentment. I just “knew.”
My season of pregnancy and nursing was coming to an end, and my mindset began to shift. I began to think about myself, my body, my health. It sounds slightly selfish, but every mom understands what I’m saying. We are so selfLESS for so many months or years, giving our bodies to the cause of creating and sustaining tiny humans. I was thrilled, excited, and even nervous about the idea of having my body to myself, finally. No more pregnancies. No more c-sections. No more nursing. I felt a deep sigh of relief, and also a pride for what my body did. I thanked God for the chance to be used to bring life into the world.
My mindset shifted from “I need to take care of myself for my kids” to “I need to take care of myself for ME.” You only get one body. I was scarred from three c-sections, I was carrying about 15-20 pounds of leftover baby weight. I was wearing clothes that didn’t fit quite right. It was time for a change in my health.
As I move into this new season, I know there are moms out there who are with me. I know you’re struggling with your body image. I know it’s hard.
I don’t have any hard and fast solutions for you. I am not selling you a workout plan, a pouch of powder to add to your smoothie, or an “accountability group.” I just hope to share my journey, which is a combination of nutrition, exercise, and faith. And I encourage you: NOW is the time. You did it. You birthed and nursed the babies. NOW you need to find your new groove for your health. You can do it!
What are your initial thoughts when I mention “fasting?” Does it bring up religious ideas? Ghandi? Media fasts?
I have a long history of fasting for spiritual reasons. It’s a spiritual practice that has been a part of my life since college. So when I saw “intermittent fasting” floating around the health websites as a fad diet, my first thoughts were, “Why would you fast for weight loss or health, without the spiritual side?” As I researched and talked to people, I decided to give it a try.
Here is my “why:”
My intentions were pure with this- I wanted to see if the proposed health benefits were true. I listening to The Obesity Code, and was fascinated. It explained that the “eat less, move more” mantra that has been accepted truth for so long is factually ineffective for long term weight loss. Wow. So how do we gain control of our obesity? It proposes fasting. With diabetes a big part of my family health history, I’m definitely interested in anything that is proven to combat this disease.
So I’d be lying if I told you that weight loss wasn’t a factor. I knew it would affect my weight. I’ve plateaued lately after losing about 90% of my baby weight, and was interested in anything that could help me kick those stubborn pounds.
3. Self-control experiment
I think we could all use some more self-control and discipline practice. As a culture, we are more into “treat yo-self” rather than “discipline your body” as scripture talks about. I wanted to see if I could discipline myself to only eat during certain hours. Honestly, it was just an experiment!
Here’s my “how:”
My first day was a Friday. I chose to make this my schedule:
Eating time: 11am- 7pm (8 hours)
Fasting time: 7pm-11am (16 hours)
So basically, that means two things:
1. No breakfast
2. No evening snacking
To give you a little glimpse into my life, here’s a quick overview of my daily schedule:
4-8am Teach online (I know this is crazy early for most people!)
8am-3pm Stay At Home Mom with 2 girls
3pm-9pm Evening activities with family
So my schedule is already a bit abnormal due to my online teaching job. My first thought when incorporating intermittent fasting into this schedule was that it would be a long, hungry morning since I get up so early.
I decided to try it. I am currently three days into this experiment.
Here are my current observations:
Hunger is not the worst thing.
Hunger comes in short waves, and I can handle it.
Disciple is easier in the morning.
Supportive family members are key.
My stomach feels fuller faster.
My meals during eating hours can be less disciplined.
Skipping a meal a day saves money and time.
Feeding kids during fasting is challenging.
Drinking water and coffee helps in the AM.
I’m still able to run/exercise during the fast.
I’d love to hear from anyone who makes this a part of their daily life! Any tips for a beginner?
I wasan “on again, off again” runner. I started running in college, but recently started running again after having my third child. We had decided that she would be our last, so that meant I could finally be done with being pregnant and nursing. I could focus on my health and fitness.
I missed running, and I was ready to get back into it. But it was such a slow start. I began just running for 5 minutes, walking for one. I built up slowly and steadily using the Nike Run Club app. I loved tracking my runs, watching my speed and distances increase.
I remember my first 2 mile run that was scheduled. I didn’t think I could even run that without stopping. But I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, slowly but surely.
The next big milestone was the 5k. It wasn’t even on my radar. These 5k races were things that “real runners” did for fun. It seemed a lofty goal to me.
As with anything it came about slowly. I surprised myself. First that 2 mile run was an accomplishment. Then I slowly did 2.5. Then, 3.2 seemed attainable. That’s the thing about running that I love- you slowly surprise yourself with what you can do. Incremental increases made all the difference.
Then, I set the 10k as my next challenge. My friend and I both had this on our bucket list for running, so we decided to do it on “marathon weekend” in the Twin Cities, the first weekend of October.
We ran every Sunday afternoon after church, escaping our kids and our messy kitchens for a few hours! And I’m so proud to announce that WE DID IT!
Now, I am continuing to run weekly. I’m not as consistent through the Minnesota winters (because treadmill running is just NOT the same!), but I am still running weekly. I think my next goals will have more to do with speed rather than distance. Stay tuned!
We have been on a healthy eating journey with our family for the last couple years. One of our favorite aspects of healthy eating and nutrition is making smoothies. We are not experts, but we have been making smoothies for a while now and I thought I would share one of my favorites!
Three handfuls of greens (we use a spinach, kale, Swiss chard mix)
One handful of frozen pineapple
One handful frozen mango
One frozen banana (we buy a lot of bananas, and when they start to turn brown, we peel them and freeze them.)
One whole avocado
Juice of one fresh lime
2-3 cups of water (depending on how you like the consistency of your smoothies)
One handful of ice cubes
Blend it all up for about a minute. We have a vita mix that I am still getting used to!
It was so good! It taste like a vacation! The lime juice and banana make it taste very fruity and tropical.
I let my four-year-old drink out of my class. Then disaster ensued…
Good thing this recipe makes very large smoothie. I still had a whole glass full, after this one bit the dust!
Excuse me while I go grab the mop and rags. I hope you enjoy your smoothie!
I had my sweet baby at the end of August and took a full month to just relax and enjoy meals from family and friends, and recover physically. After four weeks of that, my husband suggested that we do a Whole 30 in the month of October to get us back on track. We had done a few rounds before, and knew it was so good for us and our family.
At first, my first reaction was that it would be nearly impossible for me to do in this postpartum stage. I felt like my life is a little bit out of control because I was still adjusting to a newborn. I was up at all hours of the night, surviving on coffee and food dropped off by family and friends. The thought of diving into Whole 30 life, with the cooking, shopping, planning felt like way too much for me.
But the more I thought about it, the more it seem like perfect timing. It was a good time to get things back on track and being on maternity leave, I had more time to cook and plan. Also, weight loss played a factor in our decision to start. I had plateaued after my initial post partum weight loss. And still had a solid 10 pounds of baby weight to lose. The final factor that made me give in and decide to do it was that I was reading the Whole 30 book and it said that it is totally safe for breast-feeding moms to do the Whole 30 and- get this!- it could potentially even help both me and the baby with sleep! I was up for anything that could perhaps give me a few more hours of sleep. So we decided to do it!
We are on day 22 of 30 as I write this, and I have to say it has been the best Whole 30 ever! It has included the initial challenges of doing coffee without creamer, and refusing foods that people offer. But we have found our groove with it.
We have some great breakfast options. We have some go-to dinners like Pot Pie Soup and Paleo Meatballs that give us lots of leftovers for lunches. I also experimented with some homemade Lara Bars that were super yummy and satisfied that snack craving I had occasionally. And we’re doing it as a team my husband and I and our friend who lives in our basement. So it seems much more doable!
It has not been a perfect Whole 30. I gave up that ideal quickly. I have cheated a couple times. Once, when a friend brought me a Caribou Coffee latte and I just could not refuse that indulgence after hours and hours of being up in the middle of the night. Another time I ate a piece of pie that my mother-in-law baked just for us. In those decisions though, I see that one of my issues is feeling like I have to eat food that people bring me.
As for the breastfeeding postpartum aspect, it has been a challenge in a few ways. I always feel hungrier when I’m nursing. So I have to plan for that and I have a Whole 30 approved food that I can eat throughout the day. I’d grab a handful of almonds and a banana as I settle in to nurse the baby.
And about the sleep during Whole 30 with newborns, I think at first it didn’t make a huge difference, although my baby slept through the night for the first time one week into the Whole 30! That could be a factor of the Whole 30 food, or could be just a factor of her age and timing. But I’ll take it!
One slightly disappointing part has been the weight loss. Confession, I do not follow the Whole 30 rule about not weighing yourself during the month. I weigh myself every single day- it’s just part of my routine and has been since high school. So, I have weighed myself throughout the Whole 30 and at this point I’ve only lost 6 pounds. I was expecting much more based on other Whole 30s I’ve done. Part of that may be the nursing piece, because they see you say you hang onto some weight as a reserve for nursing. We will have to see when we get to the end of the month.
We found that doing the Whole 30 didn’t impede our lives that much, before or after having the baby. We still carried on our normal lives, just refusing some foods and planning ahead for situations. For example, we still did our annul apple orchard visit. We just resisted the caramel and honey, and indulged on crisp, seasonal, fresh-from-the-tree apples!
We also found that we could eat out at a few certain places and still be (mostly) Whole 30 complaint. We went on a post-baby date to the Mall of America, and enjoyed some cheese-and-sour-cream-free Chipotle salads.
With every Whole 30 I do, I have taken something away from it. The first one, I gleaned the realization that dairy really doesn’t do well in my system. The second one, I kicked the soda (or pop, if you’re from MN!) habit for good. I don’t even crave it anymore. This postpartum Whole 30 has taught me not to use my kids as an excuse, and that I really can cook some satisfying meals. I usually rely on Paul to do most of the cooking because he is infinitely better than me and enjoys it. But this time, I dove it and tried some very successful recipes! I pinned my favorites on my Pinterest board. I even added a new tab to my recipe book for all Whole 30 recipes. I’m just assuming I’ll need it in the future as I incorporate these new foods and ways of cooking into my normal, everyday life. Here’s to more healthy eating in the Risdall family’s future!