For Two Fitness Anniversary Giveaway!

I am thrilled to partner with For Two Fitness for an amazing anniversary giveaway. If you recall, I wore For Two Fitness apparel through my pregnancy with Baby #2 and they quickly became my absolutely favorite maternity fitness apparel brand. For Two Fitness is running a phenomenal giveaway for their anniversary. Read the details below.

It’s our anniversary month! We are so thankful to YOU — our community, customers, and friends. In order to express our thanks, we are hosting a huge giveaway this week in partnership with some amazing brands and fit mom ambassadors.For Two Fitness Giveaway

There will be three winners of the giveaway prize packages. A grand prize winner and two other lucky ladies. Here are some details about the amazing products that have been generously donated for you to win and enjoy!

For Two Fitness Giveaway

Giveaway items:

  • Sarah Haley Fit DVDs Expecting More and Sweat Unlimited — prenatal and postpartum workout DVDs for fit mamas and mamas-to-be.
  • Kind Bars — healthy snack bars to fuel your day.
  • Maclaren Beginnings care products — oils, lotions, shampoos, and nursery/powder room products for both mama and baby.
  • GNC — a three month supply of prenatal vitamins.
  • Happy Family Brands — baby and toddler foods for your little ones.
  • For Two Fitness racerback tank and pair of pants or capris
  • Baby K’tan — stylish carrier to aid in hands-free baby-wearing.
  • Zensah — must-have compression leg sleeves. Relieve leg fatigue, increase circulation, reduce varicose veins, and get fresh legs.
Wow, we are thrilled to have some amazing products for you to win with a grand prize worth over $600.
So, here’s how to enter:
Visit the For Two Fitness site to enter via Rafflecopter. Be sure you “Like” For Two Fitness on Facebook, and follow For Two Fitness on Instagram (@fortwofitness), to say up-to-date on giveaway announcements.
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Reebok Skyscape: So lightweight and comfortable, you’ll forget you have them on!

Reebok Skyscape

The Reebok Skyscapes are SUPER cute!

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Reebok.

I’ve had the privilege of partnering with Reebok via a very fun FitFluential campaign to test out their new Skyscape shoes. Last week, I was thrilled to receive a super cute pair of pink Skyscape’s in the mail (perfect for my birthday week). Truthfully, I’m always looking for stylish flats that are also comfortable. I joke on my IG account all the time about how I wear workout attire 90% of the week. Many days, I’m working in a coffee shop on client websites, heading straight to the gym to train PT clients, rushing back to a digital marketing meeting, and then hitting the road to head home with the kiddos. I spend a LOT of time in my running shoes, and even though they are pink, they still give the PT vibe. I’m so glad to have the Skyscapes as an additional option.

The Reebok Skycapes are known for being, “So lightweight and comfortable, you’ll forget you have them on!” I appreciate light weight shoes and comfort is an absolute must in my world. When you’re chasing a toddler and 10 month around, it’s very important to have comfy shoes!

Here are some awesome features of the Reebok Skyscape:

  • This shoe is crafted borrowing the materials and soft molding process used to create lingerie
  • Foam material in the upper for softness and flexibility
  • Low-cut design for added mobility
  • Seamless construction for minimized rub and irritation
  • Minimal rubber accents only where needed for traction
  • Skyspring technology – features a unique design architecture designed to help support the foot and provide all day comfort
  • Only weighs 5.0 ounces

Also, when you live with a two-year-old and a 10-month-old, this next point is extremely important — Reebok Skyscapes are machine washable!!

Reebok Skyscape

The Skyscapes are so comfortable and versatile! Perfect to slip on with my workout clothes and for shopping trips.

Earlier today, I filled out a survey and review on the Reebok website for the Skyscapes. In my opinion, these shoes get a solid 4.5. I happen to have very wide feet, so the shoes fit just a tad narrow for me. In time, I’m sure they will be absolutely perfect once I am able to break them in a bit more. I am extremely happy with the shoes, and I feel very honored to have the opportunity to show them off for Reebok.

If you are looking for a super cute, stylish, comfortable casual walking shoe — look no further! The Reebok Skyscape is perfect. Hers is where you can purchase:

Eat Clean Challenge: Approved and Unapproved Foods

eat clean challenge

Brandon and I decided to start an eat clean challenge.

The hubs and I decided to start an “eat clean” challenge this week. I am running it in combination with my online boot camp program which runs for another 5 weeks. The goal is not to lose weight, but to tighten up our eating and become less dependent on sugar. I am also hoping to redistribute my weight a bit  – basically, I want to be able to see my abs for bikini season.

On Sunday, we created a list of “approved” and “unapproved” food items. We also went grocery shopping and did some food prep including my favorite egg casserole. You can find the recipe on this post from my pregnancy with Cole.

Here is my list of food items for the week. I will also include a sample meal plan at the end. Please note — this is not a diet plan for you to follow. It is simply a listing of what foods I am focusing on this week. I do not count calories. I eat when I am hungry and to satisfaction. I am not working to drop pounds, (I don’t even own a scale) but rather removing nutrient void foods from my diet.

Approved foods:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Steak
  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Green pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Onion
  • Lettuce
  • Oats
  • Sweet potato
  • Almonds
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sugar free hard candy and popsicles
  • All-natural peanut butter

Unapproved foods:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Sugar and treats
  • Carbs (except complex carbs from approved foods list)
  • Fruit
  • And anything NOT on the approved foods list
eat clean challenge

Sunday food prep with Baby Cole.

Here is an example of what my food log looked like yesterday:

Tuesday Food Log: 

Breakfast:

  • Egg casserole
  • Black coffee
  • Water

* I did have half an avocado as well 

Mid­-morning snack:

  • 10 almonds
  • Water
eat clean challenge

Yum! I am loving the egg casserole for breakfast.

Lunch:

  • Chicken breast
  • Sweet potato
  • Water

Mid-­afternoon snack:

  • 10 almonds
  • Peanut Butter with celery
  • 2 sugar-free popsicles
  • Water

Dinner:

  • Steak
  • Broccoli
  • Water

Evening snack:

  • Smoothie: 1 cup spinach, 1.5 cups of mixed berries, ½ water, 1/2 banana
  • Water

* I added the smoothie because I am finishing off my berries (even though fruit is on the “unapproved” list for the week. Here is a great article referencing the importance of not eating too much fruit. Eat high carb fruits in moderation (ie: bananas). 

eat clean challenge

Goals for my 28th Year

My 27th year was full of blessings.

My 27th year was full of blessings.

It’s that time of year again … my birthday week! Gosh, I can’t believe how fast this past year flew by. I wrote a blog post about my 27th week of pregnancy with Baby Boy and my 27 goals for the year. Seems like just yesterday. This past year has been full of blessings, and I was lucky enough to complete the large majority of my goals. I taught Emma how to go poo on the potty chair just in the nick of time (goal #6). She went on the potty chair for the first time this week! If you missed it, be sure to visit my Instagram page to watch the video of Emma singing, “Let it go” from Frozen while doing her business. LOL!

Here are 28 goals for the coming year.

  1. Drink at least 5 glasses of water per day (I am SO bad about drinking enough water).
  2. Decorate my bedroom.
  3. Streamline my businesses and cut back on jobs that are not quite as financially profitable and/or take too much time away from family time.
  4. Drink only one cup of coffee per day.
  5. Teach Cole how to walk and talk.
  6. Continue to develop my business mentorship program and help at least 25-30 women start their own business and website so they can realize their dream of being self-employed and working from home with the kiddos.
  7. Plan and go on a kid-free vacation with just the hubs.
  8. Land one or two additional larger clients for my digital marketing business so I can focus on a few larger companies versus so many small businesses.
  9. Teach Emma how to play soccer.
  10. Install a pool or work on contentment.
  11. Invite my neighbors to church.
  12. Prioritize bi-monthly dates with the hubs.
  13. Pay off our new car loan (I just bought a new car last weekend for my birthday).
  14. Wear sunblock on my face every day.
  15. Continue building into the lives of our friends and hanging out at least 2 times per month with other couples.
  16. Read 3 books (I’m open to suggestions).
  17. Lift heavy at least once per week by myself (not during a gym client session).
  18. Continue serving on the greeting team at church and consider more involvement.
  19. Paint the basement.
  20. Take my mascara off before I go to bed every night.
  21. Complete a few online and in-person boot camps to get as many women fit and healthy as possible.
  22. Write an eBook (I need to decide on a topic — fitness or business related).
  23. Enjoy at least a few hours of play time with the kids each day.
  24. Keep my phone on “do not disturb” during family time 7.30-10 p.m.
  25. Decide on a new pre-bedtime snack (versus salty popcorn that isn’t helping the appearance of bags under my eyes, LOL).
  26. Develop a 6 pack.
  27. Landscape the outside of our house.
  28. Slow time down and enjoy every possible minute (that doesn’t include poopy diapers) with Emma and Baby Cole.

Whew! That list just scratched the surface of what I am hoping to accomplish this year. I will pray for continued blessings on my family and hope to make the most of my 28th year of life.

What are some of your goals for this year?

Fit Parenting Top 5 Tips for Packing Healthy Kid-Friendly Lunches

Healthy Lunches Fruitshoot

Baby Cole enjoys helping me pack Miss Emma’s healthy lunches for the baby sitter’s house.


Emma and I are thrilled to review Fruit Shoot — a healthy, and kid-friendly drink perfect for any lunch box. This post is generously sponsored by Robinson’s Fruit Shoot, and I am very excited to tell you all about the product.

Getting diaper bags, both kiddos, a change of clothes, my gym bag, and lunch boxes out the door every morning is quite the chore! Baby Cole still primarily drinks milk, so his diaper bag is easy to pack. Emma’s bag and lunch box has been a bit more of a chore this year. But thanks to Fruit Shoot, it just got a little easier! Here are my “Top 5 Tips for Packing Healthy Kid-Friendly Lunches.”

  1. Start packing healthy items from the get-go. I’ve been packing veggies, raisins, avocados, bananas, and other healthy items for Emma since she was able to eat solids. I’m so excited to have Fruit Shoot — a no-mess healthy drink alternative now too!
  2. Prepare the night before. I don’t like feeling rushed in the morning. I typically wake up before the kiddos, get showered and ready, wake Cole up to nurse him, and then get Emma ready to run out the door. It’s so great if I already have a diaper bag and lunch box packed to grab and go.
  3. Pack healthy no-spill items. In the past, I’ve packed applesauce, yogurt containers, crumbly crackers, and other messy items that the babysitter chooses not to take out of the lunch box and serve to my energetic 2-year-old. Fruit Shoot is the perfect solution! With it’s no-spill cap, it’s perfect for Miss Emma. Fruit Shoot contains no fructose corn syrup, added sugars, or natural flavors, and it’s only 15 calories total – making it a much healthier option than other flavored drinks.
  4. Add variety to your toddler’s lunch boxes. I try not to pack the same items every day. I want Emma to try a variety of foods and drinks. She’s not a picky eater at all, and I think part of her willingness to try food items is because we’ve always presented her with a variety of healthy items in her lunches.
  5. Keep your kiddos hydrated by providing fun, healthy drinks. With the amount of running and playing Emma does at the baby sitter’s house while I’m working at the gym with clients, she needs a lot of hydration! It’s sometimes hard to get her to drink water, but Fruit Shoot is tasty and fun to drink! See what Emma thinks in the video below.

I am so glad Emma and I were introduced to Fruit Shoot. Fruit Shoot is available at a lot of retailers in Dayton including: Walmart, KMart, Kroger, and Dollar General. The vibrant fun colored Fruit Shoot bottles come in tasty flavors of Orange, Apple, Berry Burst, and Strawberry/Raspberry.

Watch Emma’s Fruit Shoot review.

For more information about Fruit Shoot, visit their Facebook Page.

Not only is Fruit Shoot a great alternative to other sugary fruit drinks, but with a purchase of Fruit Shoot, there is the option for a free download of an Angry Birds game — perfect for parents to play with their kids. Download the Angry Birds game and enter the code on the back of your Fruit Shoot bottle to play!

Healthy Lunches Fruitshoot

Fruit Shoot has a no-spill cap that makes the drink perfect for Emma’s lunches.

What healthy items do you pack in your kiddo’s lunch boxes? I would love to hear your ideas. Also, be sure to let me know if you try Fruit Shoot too!

Thule Chariot Chinook: Multifunctional Child Carrier and Double Jogging Stroller

Thule Chariot Chinook 2 Double Jogging Stroller

Baby Cole is absolutely loving the Thule Chariot Chinook.

Are you looking for a phenomenal jogging stroller? Or perhaps you’re expecting baby number two and hoping to purchase a multifunctional double child carrier. Well — look no further. I’ve had the privilege of working with Thule to test and review the Thule Chariot Chinook 2. WOW — what an amazing product.

The Thule Chariot Chinook 2 is unlike any multifunctional child carrier or jogging stroller I have used. The stroller is extremely smooth, safe, attractive, lightweight, and adaptable.

Prior to owning the Thule Chariot Chinook 2, we were unable to go on a fit walk or jog as a family of 4. What a treat to be able to workout together now that the weather is nice in Ohio.

Thule Chariot Chinook 2 Double Jogging Stroller

Miss Emma held Cole’s hand on our first trip with the double jogger so he would feel safe. Too cute.

Emma and Baby Cole are thoroughly enjoying their rides in the Thule jogging stroller. Cole was a little hesitant the first time we went out for a run, but Emma held his hand to be sure he felt confident traveling at high speeds with me behind the wheel. Too cute.

Thule Chariot Chinook 2 Double Jogging Stroller

The kiddos are very safe in the carrier.

One of my favorite aspects of the carrier is the safety of the seat features and adjustments.  We keep the neck support in the carrier on Baby Cole’s seat, and Emma is strapped in securely on her side as well. I certainly feel confident taking the kiddos out on a variety of grades and terrains. We have traveled to the park and even done a little off-roading with the Chariot. Even on grass and sand, the stroller is smooth and easy to maneuver.

Let’s talk about adaptability. The Chariot Chinook 2 is not only a double jogging stroller. It is a carrier to use behind a bike or even skis. How cool! Thule sent me the bike attachment to test out, and it’s very easy to attach and utilize for a transition to bike rides.

Thule Chariot Chinook 2 Double Jogging Stroller

We’ve even done a little off-roading with the multifunctional carrier.

One other huge advantage to the Thule Chariot Chinook 2 is its all-weather versatility. The carrier comes with two covers — a screen and a rain guard. If you have any experience with Ohio, you know our weather can change at any moment. It’s great to have the covers available in the storage areas of the stroller just in case we come upon a rain storm.

We are headed out for a run!

We are headed out for a run!

Miss Emma informed me the other day that she was “going out for a run.” I went outside with her and she immediately wheeled the stroller out of the garage and climbed inside for me to push her along on a run. Too funny. The carrier is so comfortable for the kiddos. There is a seat recline option, and adjustable suspension as well.

If you are looking for the very best multifunctional carrier and double jogging stroller option for your active family — I highly recommend the Thule Chariot Chinook 2. Visit their site and let me know if you have any questions about features. I look forward to utilizing our Thule jogger for years to come.

Have a wonderful day — we are headed out for a run :)

Happy Spring! Register Now for My Online Virtual Boot Camp

 

Participants in the Virtual Boot Camp will receive my Body After Baby Boot Camp DVD for FREE.

Participants in the Virtual Boot Camp will receive my Body After Baby Boot Camp DVD for FREE.

Happy Spring! Thanks again for your interest in my next Online Virtual Boot Camp! The Online Boot Camp will start on Monday, March 31, and finish on Sunday, May 11.

Have you been working to get into shape, but are lacking the motivation and/or needing accountability? Do you have specific fitness or nutrition goals that you just can’t seem to reach on your own? Are you looking to shed excess fat, and aren’t sure what workouts are most effective? I am excited to bring you the best Boot Camp possible and help you reach your fitness and nutrition goals.

What can you expect from my Boot Camp?

  • FREE copy of my Body After Baby Boot Camp DVD
  • Convenient multi-week, Boot Camp program that fits your busy schedule
  • Accountability and a supportive approach that keeps you on track to accomplish your goal
  • Affordable package option that is among the lowest cost option you’ll find
  • The focus, quality, intensity, and commitment you’d expect from me, a trainer with 9+ years of success!

Here’s how it works:

  • Six week Boot Camp from March 31- May 11.
  • Boot Campers will be expected to follow a 5 day per week workout plan that includes written workouts and hyperlinked videos.
  • Exercises will be appropriate for all levels with modified options for beginners. The workout will include plyometrics, running drills, and pilates.
  • Participants will be required to pay in advance and fill out all health forms, waivers, and liability forms before the Boot Camp begins
  • Participants will be required to log their food and do daily checkin’s with me via text or email.

The Boot Camp will be only $20 per week payable via cash, check, or PayPal. If you participated in Amanda’s Boot Camp program earlier this year, you will receive a $20 discount.

Please register for the Virtual Boot Camp below. After you register, I will send you an invoice via PayPal and contact you to touch base via phone or video chat re: goals and expectations. You may pay via PayPal, check, or cash. I will also send you the health forms, waiver and liability forms. Payment (in full) and all forms are due prior to the start of Boot Camp. Please let me know if you have any questions at all!

 

Work from Home – Tips to Being a Highly Productive Mama

work from home

I love to take these two crazies out for a jog mid-day. One of the many benefits of a work from home scenario.

So you want to work from home. But, how will you “balance it all” and still be highly productive as a work from home mom? I get this question on a daily basis from my business mentorship clients. Many of them are hoping to transition from a full or part-time position outside of the home, to a work from home scenario in order to spend more time with their babies. I totally get it, and last April, I was there too. After 5 years in a phenomenal (and flexible) position as a web marketing specialist, I quit my full-time job to be 100% self-employed and work from home with the babies.

Now that I am self-employed, I have plenty of client projects to keep me busy, but I’m also far more productive than when I was working full-time for a company due to some important processes I have put into place. I feel a sense of balance that I was not able to attain previously. Here are a few of my tips and how to be highly productive as a work from home mom.

  • Get rid of cable. Let’s face it — there’s nothing good on TV anyway, so why bother letting it suck precious time away from your work or family? We’ve actually never had cable, and I am so happy that TV shows don’t take time away from my productive hours. We have a few shows that we like to watch on Hulu during a slow weekend, but I never ever have the TV on during the day — read books with your kids, do an at-home workout, and plan fun activities outside to energize you for the rest of the workday.
  • Keep a to-do list, a tickler file, and a “someday maybe” file. I learned this process from David Allen’s “Getting Things Done.” I try to keep my inbox fairly clear, and if an item requires more than two minutes of focused time, I add it to my to-do list. If it’s an item I need to address in a week’s time — I’ll move it to the tickler file. And a “someday maybe” folder is perfect for items that I would like to work on weeks or months from now. When I move emails into my to-do list, I am able to stay focused on my immediate task at hand and take other miscellaneous tasks out of my mental space. As moms, we’re tempted to thing about 5 things at all times — so a good process like this really helps!
  • Use Google Apps. Oh my goodness — I would be completely lost without Google Apps. I block out almost every hour of my day on Google Calendar, send my clients appointment requests, schedule my workouts and “me-time,” and even keep track of my husband’s miscellaneous commitments so I am sure not to double book. I utilize Gmail and/or Google Drive documents and spreadsheets for all of my client communique and tracking.
  • Check social media pages 2 times per day — max. This one is HUGE! I meet with mentorship clients all the time who aren’t sure why they can’t seem to be productive as a work from home mom, but yet I witness TONNSSSS of posts from them via social media each day. Hello — I’m a digital marketing specialist, but even I stay off of Facebook as much as possible. It’s a time sucker!
  • Set your phone on silent or “do not disturb.” I discovered the “do not disturb” feature on my iPhone a few months ago. Honestly, I will never go back to keeping my phone on during the day. It’s amazing how many little interruptions were sabotaging my productivity during the day (text messages, social media notifications, miscellaneous phone calls). During my office hours at home, I keep my phone on this setting so that I can focus on projects. I check my notifications and voicemails after an hour or two, and then can respond accordingly. This is also great in the evening when we are enjoying family time.
  • It takes a village. Frankly, I’m not going to try to convince you that I can maintain “balance” without a LOT of help from others. I have two phenomenal girls to watch the kiddos which is an enormous help. I take the kids to my friend’s house on Tuesday and Thursday mornings so I can get a few hours of work done. I also have someone come to the house on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings so I can work and/or conduct video conference calls with clients. Even a few hours of focused working hours in my at-home office is a significant way to boost my productivity and cut-back on hours spent working in the evening. I also have a gal who helps clean once or twice a week. AND … we can’t forget my wonderful hubs who is the main cook in addition to an amazing co-parent supporting my career aspirations and goals.
work from home

Baby Cole likes to help me edit client websites in my home office.

So, there you have it! Work from home, and enjoy the balance and wonderful scenario that I am privileged to experience every day. Feel free to email me with questions about my business mentorship program if you are interested in starting your own business from home. My one-time consults are well worth the small fee, and the ladies who transition to my full mentorship program are excelling. It’s very exciting to see a fellow mom be able to quit her full-time job away from the home and work from home with her baby by her side.

Postpartum Workouts

This week was quite a whirl-wind, but fabulous overall. I love going on vacation (as you can tell from my frequent trips), but it’s always a bit hard to catch up upon return. However, I had a great work-week, and am feeling quite excited about several items in the works.

What are the best postpartum workouts? I have been asking myself this question ever since I had Emma. You see, my workouts have changed quite a bit now that I’m a mom. I no-longer have hours of freedom to go on long runs, listen to my music and enjoy a long stint on cardio machines before dinking around in the free weight room. My postpartum workouts are much faster, intense, and more efficient than my pre-baby workouts.

To stay fit and toned, my postpartum workouts now focus on HIIT (high intensity interval training), and sprint workouts or lifting. For those who have my Body After Baby DVD, you know I like to maximize and hour (or less) for my postpartum workouts. And here’s the honest truth — I am MORE fit, and STRONGER now, than I was pre-baby.

It is absolutely not necessary to be in the gym for hours upon end to be fit and healthy. Recently, I’ve received several “before and after” progress pics from moms who have purchased and tried my Body After Baby Boot Camp DVD consistently.  Wow, it is SO AMAZING to rejoice with these women who are feeling fit and healthy just a few short weeks after beginning my DVD (even after years of spinning their wheels [literally] with cardio in the gym).

Ashley

Ashley A says, “The picture on the right was … [last year]… The pic on the left was this morning! I wanted to show you the difference! It feels great! … I feel amazing and I love your DVD! Thanks again!”

I’ve gotten so many great emails and social media messages from ladies who are getting fit and healthy, and who are much happier moms as a result. Woot, woot! I LOVE it.

Order my Body After Baby DVD this week, and receive a FREE workout plan to use with the DVD. The postpartum workout plan is a combination of my DVD workout, other HIIT circuits hyperlinked from my private YouTube channel, and written instructions on an outdoor workout. I would love to correspond with you via email should you have any questions as well.

Body After Baby Boot Camp DVD Workout

Are you hoping to get your pre-baby body back? Do you want to feel fit, healthy, sexy, and confident? Are you unsure of how to develop a 6 pack after baby? Purchase my “Body After Baby Boot Camp Workout” DVD today. Please contact me for details on international shipping.

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Fit Mom Guest Post: Postpartum depression and how to heal

Michele 3I hope you enjoy this amazing guest post from Michelle about postpartum depression. Michelle Tucker is a stay at home mom to an amazing 5-year-old son. She has been married to her best friend for nearly 7 years. She can often be found outdoors running! Since starting on her journey to a healthy lifestyle she has lost 70 pounds and ran many races including half marathons and her first marathon this past November. You can find her at www.babybluestorunningshoes.blogspot.com as well as @michelle_tucker79 on Instagram and @s_michelle_t on twitter.

I had postpartum depression. I didn’t have the baby blues. I had a very dark period of my life and it was very hard to find my way out. When my son was born I remember being overwhelmed with a sense of needing everything to be perfect. I struggled to breast feed him in the beginning and I think that triggered a lot of my stress. I was determined to be a perfect mother and for me breast-feeding was a big factor in that. So after that didn’t work out I became very focused on making sure I made the right choices and did the right things. So obviously that made things a little stressed! I talked to my OB and was prescribed some medicine.

I took my medicine and felt better. By the time Colton was around two months old I figured that the “postpartum” time should be over and I shouldn’t continue to need medication. It was not my smartest move! That was when my depression really took hold. For the next year I didn’t care about anything except Colton. I didn’t care about my husband or myself.

Michele 2I got really good at pretending. I would pretend to care that I was very overweight and I would pretend to try to follow Weight Watchers. Then every week I would pretend to be upset that I just wasn’t losing any weight and I would have every excuse for why I was steadily gaining. I would pretend to care when my husband would say something was wrong with me and please talk to him. The bottom line is I just didn’t care. If it didn’t concern Colton then I just didn’t care.

My husband knew I was miserable but he couldn’t help or fix it for me. So when one day he suggested I try running to help me lose weight I said sure. I figured I could pretend to try it and then in a month or so have an excuse for why it wasn’t working and I could quit. But something happened on that first run. I didn’t hate it. Sure I felt awful and I couldn’t run more than 50 feet but when I was done I felt in control for the first time in many months. Between the tears and frustration of not being able to run I was able to see what I had been missing. I was missing out on life. My postpartum depression had made me willing to quit participating in my own life. I was just sitting on the sidelines and not caring what happened to myself.

So I got back out the next day and tried running again. In my head very few things mattered to me anymore but while I was running I was able to see more and more the life I desperately wanted to regain. With every run I felt like I was literally chasing the depression away. Maybe it was the exercise endorphins or maybe it was me finally taking a step to better myself but something changed inside me. So I kept going. I started losing weight but more importantly I found myself again. I cared about me and if I was happy.

MIchele 1

Postpartum depression looks different for each person that goes through it. For me it took away my desire to care about myself. I am so thankful each time I get to run that I was able to find something that gave me back myself. It sounds crazy to some people but I know for me running saved me. I don’t know if I would have ever been able to get out of that dark place if I hadn’t taken that first run. Through my journey I learned some very valuable lessons:

1. As moms we need to give ourselves some grace. We can be so hard on ourselves and feel the need to be that “perfect” mom. For me this triggered a lot of stress and created a very hard image to maintain. At the end of the day if you are happy, your baby is happy, and you have a happy family, then you are doing an amazing job.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If I had been willing to talk to someone or admit that I was struggling I could have saved myself so much heartache. There are people in our lives who are more than willing to help. We just have to ask.

3. The power of exercise is an amazing thing. I truly believe that running saved me. Just the act of getting out each day and doing something for myself, no matter how small or how short, felt empowering.

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