A few months ago when social media all abuzz with sustainable swaps, #plasticfreejuly and going more #zerowaste, I was inspired to look at our plastic consumption to see if we could do any better with our recycling habits, which I actually thought were pretty good at the time. Conveniently, plastic-free July seemed to collide with an extreme urge to nest I was experiencing that month, and after Matt informed me our local Bottle Depot was no longer accepting soft plastic, I went on a eco-rampage at our house.
With just 2.5 weeks (ish) to go until baby boy is earthside and now that I’m feeling a genuine sense of excitement and curiosity instead of fear about what my body is about to go through, I’ve started to look more into what to expect AFTER baby is here.
One of the benefits of being late to the child-bearing game (aside from all the hand-me-downs!) is the great wisdom other mamas in my circle of family, friends and social connections have to share about their experiences, and one thing I’ve heard a lot about recently is the fourth trimester.
The fourth trimester is essentially the first three months after you baby is born, where you are still healing and recovering and baby is adjusting to life outside the womb. In almost all other cultures, the first 40-60 days after a baby is born is known as a “sitting-in” period or “sacred window”, where the new mother is either cared for by her female relatives at home or at her mother’s house, and the focus is on the new mother feeding and bonding with her baby and resting as much as possible so she can heal while family and friends take care of housework and preparing meals. Sounds amazing, right?
With only 6 weeks left until my due date, I’ve started to think more about to birth experience and what, if anything, I should be doing now to prepare for labour and delivery. Since about week 32 I’ve been reading articles about labour and birth, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos of actual births, and read Ina May Gaskin’s Guild to Childbirth. So far nothing about birth is freaking me out or making me feel like I can’t do it; I find the more informed I am, the better I feel about what my body is going to go through.
I think I’m sitting in the middle of how most women feel about birth – some have detailed birth plans and want the experience to be as natural and calm as possible, others just want to get the baby out and have no issues taking all the pain interventions offered. My feeling about it is I want to go as long as possible without intervention (I seem to have a high pain tolerance), but obviously if the baby is in distress or my health is in danger, I’ll be telling them to cut me open and get him out asap.
Back in 2013 when Debbie and I were super fit and fast, we started mapping some of the best trails to run on Southern Vancouver Island in a series we called “7 Trails to Run Before You Die, Vancouver Island Edition“. Although we’ve been hiking more than running lately (I haven’t run since September 2018 for reasons I’m sure you are aware of), we still map trails and take photos of our adventures.
Yesterday we did a short hike at Devonian Regional Park in Metchosin, located about a 40-minute drive from Victoria. Debbie, being a Metchosinite, has been here many times before but for some reason I’ve never been (well, at least that I can remember) to this little gem of a park.
There are a few trails you can take in the park, but we took the main one down to Taylor Beach. It’s not a very big park, so any route you go I’m sure you’d end up at the beach.
Back when we announced we were expecting a baby boy this September, the first thing most moms said to me (after congratulations, of course) was “Oh no, you’re going to be so uncomfortable in the summer”.
I mean, you’re going to be uncomfortable by your third trimester anyway — but since your basal body temperature is running higher and your heart is beating faster as your body works hard to grow a tiny human, you’re much warmer than normal. And also sweatier. Which when combined with the necessary extra maternal fat you gain when pregnant, means uncomfortable chafing pretty much everywhere.
Knowing I wanted to try to continue exercising for as long as possible, I started to read up on pregnancy exercise tips and the best products to try to help make sweating it out in the summer a little more tolerable. Here’s what I discovered — let me know if any of you pregnant or new moms have anything to add!
Since we returned from our New Zealand honeymoon in February, I’ve been trying to do at least two full-body workouts per week, plus some form of prenatal yoga at least once a week. My body definitely feels less achy when I maintain this routine, so even though sometimes I feel so exhausted I’d rather just crash on the couch, I try to do at least 15 minutes of something a few times a week.
It’s well known there are so many benefits to exercising throughout pregnancy, and if you were quite active before getting pregnant you can still continue your workout regime with some modifications to keep your body and baby safe. Since I cut out all exercise aside from yoga and walking before getting pregnant, my prenatal workout routine (shared below) is rather light compared to what it used to be, and that’s okay.
I’ve noticed as my belly gets bigger I need to modify things a bit more (lunges aren’t feeling so great now and I’m being careful with how I engage my core as I’m noticing some ab separation already), but otherwise I’m hoping to keep this up right until delivery.
Prenatal Full Body Workout
A few tips/things to keep in mind:
Make sure you are cleared by your doctor before doing any prenatal exercise.
Use a wider stance (feet hip-width or slightly farther apart, toes slightly pointed outward) than before you were pregnant during standing exercises to help you stay balanced.
Use a chair or other prop for balance if needed.
Ensure you maintain proper form (knees not tracking over toes when bending, keep your core engaged for a nice straight back) – if you can’t, don’t do they exercise.
Obviously avoid any exercises on your stomach, crunches, and extreme twists.
I can usually do this routine in 15-20 minutes, as I kind of power through without breaks and only use 5-8 lb dumbbells so it acts as my cardio routine as well. I also usually do an extend yoga stretch at the end, making sure to hold long side-stretch poses now that baby’s feet are constantly up in my ribs (ouch).
Let me know if you try the above workout or if you have any other favourite prenatal workouts to suggest!
I don’t even want to think about how much I’ve spent just to be somewhat comfortable during this pregnancy, especially now that I’m in my third trimester.
It seems like every few weeks I’m back on Amazon or the Thyme Maternity website looking for deals because I’ve outgrown yet another piece of clothing, or am dealing with yet another new pregnancy discomfort, such as itchy skin or chafing.
With about 10 weeks to go until baby is here, I think I finally have everything I need to get through the summer: lots of flowy dresses, a swim suit, pregnancy-friendly sunscreen, three new pair of sandals in a half size bigger in preparation for swollen feet, maternity tank tops, and a rose gold silicone ring so I can take off my wedding rings before they get stuck.
Since I stalked several blogs and Instagram feeds along with asking my mommy friends what pregnancy must-haves I should get, I thought I would share some of my mostly made-in-Canada pregnancy favs that have been helping to keep me comfortable since the second trimester.
After having an extremely anxiety-ridden first trimester, I have to say the second trimester really is as good as most women say it is.
While I still have a week or two to go until I’m officially in the third trimester, I thought I should check in here because I said I would. It’s not that I have been too busy to write, I just honestly haven’t felt like it.
When we got back from New Zealand in February I started a new role at work as a Workplace Health Advisor (I’m working on a mental health and early invention/return to work program among other things), so I think most of the energy I devoted to writing about health and wellness on my blog has been diverted to my day job, which is a great thing. The extra pay has also meant I haven’t had to take writing or fitness side jobs anymore, so I have more free time at home to do whatever I want to do before baby comes.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this post from a few days ago:
Yes, we’re expecting! And it’s been part of the reason why I’ve been fairly quiet on here and on social media.
After struggling with infertility for several years until I discovered the root cause in September of last year, I was readying myself for another long struggle of actually trying to get pregnant. First of all, couples only have a 20-25% chance of conceiving each month; about 1 in 6 couples in Canada struggle with infertility; and miscarriages happen to about 1 in 4 women who do get pregnant. Not fantastic odds, so I was doing everything I could to hopefully swing those odds into our favour.
I kind of disappeared (again) after new years, but for a good reason. My hubby and I took of to New Zealand for three weeks for honeymoon number two and had the most amazing time. We stayed with my family in the North Island for most of our trip, and rented a camper van to drive almost 2,500 kms around the South Island for a week. We saw so much of the country that it was almost exhausting, but we have a hard time just lying around doing nothing on vacation anyway so we wouldn’t have done it any other way!
Now that we’re back to real life, I figured I should either get back to writing regularly, start teaching yoga or maybe take on training clients again. Even though I’m fully recovered from hypothalamic amennorhea now and have started to ease back into exercise after almost three months off, I’m not ready to jump back into that world completely… BUT, luckily, my bestie Janine had a great idea for me to work on in the meantime — make all the hundreds of training plans I’ve created over the past four years available for download!
Welcome to another edition of my annual non-New Year’s resolution blog post, where I list my top three goals for the year to come. I always used to have one fitness-related, one professional, and one personal goal for the year to come, but plan to change things up this year since fitness in the traditional sense is no longer a priority for me. Oh how I’ve changed in 2018!
I started publicly sharing my goals back in 2012 as a way to keep myself accountable, but also so I could look back and see where I was at the time fitness-wise, professionally and personally.
December has always been a stressful month for me. And not because of busy parking lots, crowded malls and draining bank accounts (well, that’s always stressful no matter the time of year) — but because of all the family get-togethers where delicious seasonal food would be served, all the Christmas activities that filled my calendar that would take away from gym or run time, and all the tempting treats that were brought into the office at work.
Yes, all of those wonderful seasonal things that most people love about this time of year would stress me out. And I feel sad that it has been like that for so long for me — how many Christmas activities and family events I was never fully present for or experiencing because I was so worried about how many miles I needed to run to burn off X amount of calories to “be healthy”. Ugh. (more…)
Yesterday afternoon I taught my first 75-minute foundations yoga class to complete my 250-hour yoga teacher training program at MokShana Yoga Center. I only made a few minor cuing mistakes and ended up coming up short on time (which meant students got an extra long savasana!), but overall Ida (the studio owner) said it was a great class and said I seemed very comfortable teaching. Yay! (more…)
After 16 years without a natural cycle, I finally got a period yesterday, all on my own! *tear*
Sorry / not sorry if this post is TMI. I don’t care. Women’s health is important and if it helps even just ONE other woman realize why her period is missing and/or she’s not ovulating or cycling naturally, it’s 100% worth potentially offending some of my readers. (more…)
Back in 2013 when Debbie and I were super fit and fast, we started mapping some of the best trails to run on Southern Vancouver Island in a series we called “7 Trails to Run Before You Die, Vancouver Island Edition“. Although we’ve been hiking more than running lately (well, Debbie is still running but I’m taking a break), we still map trails and take photos of our adventures. I’ve been meaning to get this trail up for awhile since we couldn’t find a good route map online. Also, the signage on this trail is awful and wrong, so clearer directions and photos means more people can enjoy the beautiful views at the top! (more…)
If I had known when I was 16 years old that restrictive eating and over exercising would have caused infertility 15 years into the future, would I have changed my behaviour?
I highly doubt it. How could I have, when I grew up with the perfect storm of conditions for having hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA) later in life: an overweight father with health conditions related to a poor diet, which in turn made me extremely fat-phobic as a child (I was scared to eat foods high in fat because I thought I would have a heart attack, too); a slightly Type A and perfectionist mindset combined with anxiety due in part to my dad’s poor health; an introverted personality type that prefers individual sports such as running and weight lifting over team sports; over 10 years of competing in endurance sports; going on the birth control pill at age 16 which prevented me from cycling naturally thus hiding any ovulation problems for over 15 years; and growing up in North American diet culture, where every magazine told me how I needed to lose those last 10 pounds. (more…)
You know when you read something profound and it sort of clicks, then you come across several other timely articles and examples and you think, “That’s it. This makes total sense! But now what can I do about it to help?”
Last night I came across this article about the opioid crisis we’re experiencing in BC at the moment. Author Andrew MacLeod examines the many complex factors that contribute to deaths due to opioid addiction amongst middle age men and women, including broken marriages, guilt, shame, past abuse, high housing costs, debt, poverty, mental illness and the weakening of social support groups like churches and service clubs. But the overarching reason for addiction, MacLeod argues (citing retired Simon Fraser University psychology professor, Bruce Alexander), is cultural isolation. “When I talk to addicted people, whether they are addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, Internet use, sex, or anything else, I encounter human beings who really do not have a viable social or cultural life. They use their addictions as a way of coping with their dislocation: as an escape, a pain killer, or a kind of substitute for a full life. More and more psychologists and psychiatrists are reporting similar observations. Maybe our fragmented, mobile, ever-changing modern society has produced social and cultural isolation in very large numbers of people, even though their cages are invisible!’
Social and cultural isolation aren’t just catalysts for substance abuse. I feel it’s at the very heart of what’s breaking down our society as a whole right now, even though we have access to more information and knowledge than ever before. You think we’d be so enlightened by now, right? (more…)
Hi friends! With all the summer craziness coming to an end, I thought I should pop back on to the blog to let you know how I’m doing and what’s coming up next now that our wedding has come and gone…
Except, my blog had disappeared.
Since we hosted the wedding at our house, we had a ton of work to do to get everything ready in the six months leading up the day. I was in full wedding planning mode in July and August and missed the emails from my website host, GoDaddy, saying that it was time to renew my managed WordPress site. I guess it expired in early August, and Run. Lift. Yoga. has been offline for almost a month. Whoops!
When I went to log in to write a post, my blog was gone. I called GoDaddy and they wanted just over $300 for me to get my site back up and running again. I briefly thought about just letting it go, but I would have lost four years worth of content. I do want to rebrand next year, but for now Run. Lift. Yoga. stays put. I’m working on a super awesome exciting new side project with my talented bestie Janine that we’re hoping to launch in January, so stay tuned for that!
Hello friends! It’s been awhile so I thought I’d pop back on my blog to share some life updates, since I’ve grown pretty quiet on social media lately.
My silence hasn’t been fully intentional; since January, I’ve been busy with wedding planning, entertaining three dogs, hiking, social events, friends, family, work, and now getting the yard ready for summer. Any free time/downtime I do have is spent reading in the bath or watching Netflix with Matt. And it’s not that I don’t want to write — I just don’t have anything new to say that fits into the categories of running, yoga and lifting for the blog.
I’m still practicing yoga a few times a week at home, strength training four days a week and running 3-5K once a week with Gus.
But I’m not logging miles. I’m not researching my next race. I’m not hashtagging Instagram photos with #yyjrun #running #sweatpink. I’m not spending all my money on running shoes and clothes. And I’m not devising yet another training plan to get my elusive 3:30 time so I can get into Boston. (more…)
So far 2018 has been the year I’ve worked harder than ever at getting my sh*t together.
I made a budget in January and stuck to it. I write everything down I put on my visa so I don’t forget to pay it later. I went through the kitchen and cleaned out the pantry, and put together two huge bags full of non-perishable food items to drop off to the food bank. I sold almost everything I own on VarageSale to pay for all the wedding decor I’ve been amassing. I have a 14-page “Wedding To-Dos” document I update every weekend. I have a wedding budget spreadsheet I also update weekly. I never miss I workout, and I meal prep my workday breakfasts, lunches and snacks every Sunday afternoon.
None of this would be possible if I didn’t write it all down. Not track it in an app on my phone. Not rely on what things I’ve put in my Outlook calendar. No, I’ve come to realize that for things to stick and for me to feel calm and in control, I need to write them down. (more…)
Although my formal yoga teacher training ended at the end of November, I still have one more observation to do, one more written assignment, my practicum, and my certification class to complete before I can actually call myself a yoga teacher. The plan was to do my practicum and certification class this February, but due to unforeseen things taking up my time this coming month and now being in full-blown wedding planning mode, I’ve postponed my practicum, observation and certification class until fall of 2018.
Since I had already started my final written assignment back in November, I thought it might be helpful to post it on the blog for yoga teacher class inspiration 🙂
Yogic Text Assignment: Design a class around a theme from a yogic text
Most of the yoga classes I attended at MokSana incorporate elements of yogic tradition into the asanas, which is important because without weaving yoga’s rich tradition into class in some form — be it chanting, meditating or sharing stories — students are just moving their bodies into various positions and gaining none of the mental and spiritual benefits. Yogic philosophy provides context, and a well-prepared class with a yogic theme that ties in nicely with your poses makes a class feel purposeful and complete. (more…)