body & soul no. 1

I did take my own advice yesterday.  Once Milo was up from his nap, I loaded our water bottles into the stroller and hit the pavement.  (This is after Milo sat through the last 15 minutes of my prenatal yoga DVD, making some of the most confused and hilarious faces I’ve seen yet.  His head would swivel from me to the new-agey music on the TV, and back, with his eyebrows up around his hairline.  He’s going to be SO sarcastic once he starts speaking English.)  Anyway, I walked, listened to some of my favorite girls podcasting, and thought about my family’s health.

We’re tired.  Ben and I have been working really hard to support each other and find time for each other to steal some sleep ever since Milo was born, but I’m starting to get frustrated that our constant theme is survival.  We still laugh hysterically on the couch at night (we unwind on a media diet suited to college-aged boys- raunchy humor, internet videos, etc.), and we never let our exhaustion stand in the way of family trips on the weekend, but we’re tired.  To our bones.  It’s  starting to get to Ben in the form of serious back pain.  I’m starting to fall back on being snippy…er, mean.  I have so many excuses (I’m finishing my first trimester, mostly speaking to a baby all day, going nuts trying to fill his days with stimulating activities,  wah wah wah) but I’m tired of excuses.  We are sapped of energy, and it’s a shitty way to live.  I have such a will to  thrive.

I have a sinking feeling that our diet has a lot to do with our exhaustion. We’re not strangers to fruits and veggies (thought Ben is pickier than I) and we don’t really use white sugar, bread, pizza dough, rice.  We rarely eat red meat, and have chicken around once a week.  We do like snacks, and one of our favorite ways to connect is over treats on the couch.  This summer, we’ve majorly scaled back on takeout, mostly for monetary purposes, but we don’t order steamed veggies when we do have something delivered.  I think our problem has a lot of do with the right nutritional balance.  I doubt either of us is getting enough lean protein or calcium.  The solution lies in better meal planning.  Which no one wants to do when they’re tired.

This post is called body & soul because I’m just about finished with this sluggish, excuse-filled life.  I want a healthy body to reflect my singing, proud, happy mama soul.  With two young children and two parents working to make ends meet, tiredness and hard times will be on our plate for several years, but I don’t want to phone it in, or let our circumstances be an excuse for poor health.  What I eat creates the baby inside of me.  What both of us eat directly effects the way Milo will feel about food as he grows into a little human in his own right.  So I’m making some changes.  Small ones, and there will be missteps, and I will be relying on a ton of different sources for my info, so a lot of it is going to come down to what feels good in my heart.  More than a scientific plan for the healthiest life, I’m mapping out a series of shortcuts and actions that will boost my family’s energy and make us more able to be our best selves during our busy, lovely lives.

Here are a few resources that have encouraged me to give this a try:

Lesley Graham’s Healthy Pregnancy Series– Lesley is hardcore.  I’m not switching to Tom’s toothpaste quite yet, but my favorite post was the one that explained the science behind cravings, and gave some ideas for healthier swaps.

Forks Over Knives– I watched this one Netflix a few months ago and Tweeted that it fell under the category of “things I don’t want to hear but know I probably should listen to.”  Hard truths about the best diet for healthy living.  Lalalalalalalalala (my fingers are in my ears.  I don’t want to give up meat quite yet).

BabyFit– This is an amazing website that would actually get to the bottom of the nutrients question.  You customize your goals and the information you want to get, then track what you eat.  The tracker lets you know how much of each  nutrient you are getting, whether you are falling into the range that you should be, and even offers meal plans.  For some reason, I cannot commit to tracking more than one meal, no matter how much I try to convince myself that this is good for me and my baby.  It’s hard to admit that.  There are no excuses beyond a mental block.  Thus the body & soul series.

myFitnesspal– This is another calorie/nutrient tracker that comes with a really useful app (I know it exists for iPhones but am not positive if it’s available in the Android market)(EDIT: Android has it!).  I used this with a little more consistency for a few months before I found out I was pregnant again.  This was the first time I checked about the nutrient information, so knowing that I can get that info with the convenience of the app might make this my choice for an action point.  By far the best feature is a scanner that allows you to use the barcode on food packaging to get the nutritional facts put directly into your tracker.  It’s also a social network that allows you to link up with friends for accountability and encouragement.  My username is ashlieelizabeth, if you’d like to be friends!

If you made it this far, I commend you.  I had no idea I had so much to say on the introduction to this topic.  All I know is that I’ve overcome these issues before, I’m smart and strong enough to tackle this problem, and I’m looking forward to getting to a lifestyle that will let me enjoy my time with my family even more than I already can.  I’m going to wrap up with an action goal for the next week, and try to check in every Saturday to let you know how I am doing.

Action Goal: I’m going to use myFitnesspal to track my food and exercise for a least 6 out of the next 7 days.  I will be honest about what I eat and especially check out the nutrient stats, to try and see where I might be able to make some tweaks for a more complete nutritional value in my diet.

It’s a starting point!  Please let me know if you’d like to follow along; I’d love some company and encouragement.  I’ll be back with updates!

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