This Mom Was Shamed for Doing CrossFit While Pregnant, Now She’s Trying to Break the Stigma

 

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For weeks after I peed my “positive” urine on The Stick, I was convinced my regular exercise regime would probably cause my fertilized egg to slip down and out of me — a pretty scientific assumption, right?

When my temporary lapse in sweat sessions rendered me mean (like, really mean) my partner asked me to start moving again. I conferred with my care provider who told me that as long as my exercise routines didn’t involve free climbing a cliff or wrestling I was good to continue exercising, at my pre-pregnancy intensity level, without worry. But, I was still super paranoid and cut out my runs in favor of awful pregnancy workout DVDs.

But not Lauren Ferris, mother to 2-year-old son, Connor, and one on the way. She participated in CrossFit workouts before becoming pregnant and continued up until the last week of her first pregnancy. So it’s no surprise that she is still going strong at 38 weeks gestation with her second. And she has the photos to prove it.

Read (and see!) more on Babble!

The Journey of The Great Song Cycle: Interview with Joanna Wallfisch

Playful and poetic British vocalist and composer Joanna Wallfisch shirked the bus aspect of her latest West Coast tour in favor of a bike. The tour was aptly named The Great Song Cycle.

Joanna pushed through challenge and triumph while traversing the coast with only her body and two thin wheels propelling her forward; what transpired was a tour full of music made richer by the beautiful struggle Joanna intentionally created.

As you’ll discover in the following interview with this unique songstress, her journey was not passed through without contemplation and growth; it birthed it.

Why did you decide to pass on “traditional transport” in favor of a bike for this portion of your tour?

J: The main reason was freedom. Life on a bicycle is to be completely self-reliant and self-sufficient. I carried all that I needed for my multi-faceted month; my instruments, my home, my clothes, food, water, and myself. When traveling by car, train or plane one can easily forget that you have to carry yourself with you wherever you go. On a bike, you become so attuned to the body you live in and how mind, spirit and flesh can actually exist simultaneously together and also as separate entities. It was a complete thrill to know that the only way I was going to get from A to B was by the strength of my own body and mind…. Read more on Huff Post!

My Fast Food Addiction Almost Ruined My Life

I gave up fast food because it was killing my spirit, and probably my body too.

Fast food used to be my crutch. Each time I’d receive disappointing news, get into the headspace of not being “good enough,” feel fat (ironic much?), or have a hangover, I would buy fast food. It was so easy.

When I was younger, I had become idle in pursuing my passions, I was addicted to harmful romantic relationships, and completely detached from my body. I used to have a ritual of starting each Sunday like this: Brunch with my girlfriends, which would turn into mimosas on the beach, followed by a movie, so we could take a nap.

On my route home, feeling tired, hungry, and sad, I would pass a McDonald’s, a Taco Bell and a Wendy’s, side by side. For a while my pattern was to go to Taco Bell and order a few different options. If I was in the mood for sugar I would also stop at McDonalds or Wendy’s for a shake.

I would then drive home and eat all the stuff, half of it in the car.

I ended each week laying in bed hating myself.

Read more on Delish!

Michelle Obama Reveals Her Family Used to Eat Takeout Every Night

IMG_7647Did you know that the First Family used to eat takeout every night?

They were just like us, a busy family with 48 hours worth of to-dos to accomplish in 24 hours, children that needed to be fed, and a preference for couch sitting versus taking walks at the end of a long day — oh, and no private chef.

I received this used-to-eat-a-ton-of-takeout tidbit when I went to the White House for a Let’s Move event hosted by Michelle Obama. Let’s Move is an initiative Michelle started in 2010 to end childhood obesity by introducing healthier foods into schools, incorporating exercise into lesson plans, and supporting families in continuing these healthy habits at home.

The idea was birthed when Michelle took her daughters to their family physician (before they lived in the big White House) and was told they needed to make some changes to their diet.

Read more at Babble!

Smiling at Strangers: Learning to Connect

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My child has ceased being cool with me doing anything without him. I go to the bathroom, he follows, I walk two feet to pick up the phone, he follows, I walk to the changing table…. He runs the other way. I guess there is an exception to every rule.

Because I have a 2.5 foot shadow my ‘solo exercise’ sessions have become a thing of the past. My weights have become dusty and my ‘too shabby for public display’ comfortable workout garb have grown lonely stuck in the back of their drawer. My shadow and I have taken to the streets. The only way for mama to get her sweat on, without risking stepping on sneaky baby, is to strap baby into a moving harness, that is not located in a moving vehicle, he’s not into that.

Just kidding. Not our stroller.

Just kidding. Not our stroller.

When we first commenced our tandem jogs, I was fascinated by the colorful cast of characters we would pass on the way; fellow runners, pairs of chatty Cathys, recreational bicyclists, ‘I’m going to work’ bicyclists, ‘move out of my way’ bicyclists, solo-talkers, and other ladies with babies.

When you pass someone on foot you have to do something, even if that something is ‘awkwardly look away,’ you do something. In the beginning, I would base my something on the other person’s something. If it looked like they were going to smile, I would smile, if it looked like they were going to avoid eye contact, I would avoid eye contact, if it looked like they were trying to work out a toot, I would start working on my own toot.

He just tooted.

He just tooted.

As our daily (or almost daily) jog-walks continued, my courage to be the leader in the something grew. At first, my something was to smile at the passing people, pets, and critters. Some people returned the smile, some people ignored us, and one day someone actually said something! Now they were courageous, they were actually talking to strangers! I needed to get me some of that stranger-talking courage.

The next morning, equipped with my baby, and experimental courage, I headed to the bike path that was sure to be flush with stranger-talking opportunities. As we neared the first pair of ‘ladies who walk’ I mentally conjured up the novel greeting I would use, ‘Good morning.’ As they passed I smiled and said….’Morning.’ Morning? What happened to the ‘good?’ My morning blessing had transformed into a ‘hey look it’s morning’ statement. The women smiled and mumbled back their own ‘morning.’ Where have all the ‘goods’ gone? I needed to stave off the laziness of my greeting and add some serious blessing in there. My chance was approaching, an older gentleman walking some poodle mix; labri-doodle, mini-doodle, oodle-poodle, something like that. As he neared, I prepped the smile, and willed the ‘good’ to precede the ‘morning.’ Here he comes; (smile) ‘goooood morning!’ Yes, my first ‘good morning’ was a bit exaggerated, but I did it! He was so shocked by the full morning blessing he stopped and talked to us! The adorable toddler, who was likely delivering his full-lipped irresistible smile, may have had something to do with it as well. This kind man and his oodle-doodle stopped and asked how our morning was going. We inquired as to how his morning was shaping up and we learned that he was on his way to his toddler-grandson’s house. We happened to have a few extra toys in our overloaded stroller and were able to impart one on him for his grandson. This exchange took less than 60 seconds but when we were once again on our way, our way was much merrier. Wow! It feels grrrreat to make connections with strangers.

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After that I was a bike trail smiling-talking-greeting-blessing machine. We’ve also given away a few more toys (much to Hudson’s chagrin.) I would return from our runs feeling full, full of love, joy, and usually pee. I also noticed that Hudson had ceased to get pissed off half way through our jogs, it seems that the excitement of the varying interactions had worked to distract him from the fact that he was not able to sit and dig in the mud bordering the trail.

My resolve to be ‘little miss chipper lady with baby’ was occasionally tested when we would pass an ‘ignorer,’ but hey, maybe they were having a bad day. Although my ego would take a little bruising every time someone looked away as I would let out my over annunciated ‘Hi, good morning,’ I finally realized that it wasn’t personal. Or was it? No, I don’t think it was. Even if that person was, for some reason, peeved at me for smiling and speaking to them, knew that I was just sending them some love, and I feel good about that.

One of our first runs! Breastfeeding break.

One of our first runs! Breastfeeding break.

These morning outings became my mediation on the goodness of humankind. I felt so much more connected to myself, my baby, and everyone else after getting over my shy ego, and becoming a connected being. This simple act of acknowledging other people on our runs spilled over into other parts of my life; it now takes me three hours to go grocery shopping because I stop smile, chat, and listen to my fellow shoppers (even if they’re not talking to me, eavesdropping can be highly entertaining.)

My Get Over Myself Checklist (Because every blog post needs a checklist right?)

-Meditate. Set a timer and meditate for 5 minutes every morning, clearing out any gunk of negativity that may prevent me from sending a bit more love out there.

-Smile. Smile at everyone, even that person that gave me the stink eye, smile even bigger at them. Smile at myself in the mirror, smile at my baby, even when he’s griping at me about my inability to properly toast toast (it’s always too crispy!)

-Let it go. If I’m thrown some negative energy, not so nice words, or a non-smile, I need to let it go. I’m still working on this one, but the times I am able to let negativity wick off me, I feel so much lighter. Why take on the weight of the negativity of others? That doesn’t serve them and it most certainly does not serve me. Let it go, because what’s the point of holding on to it?

-Listen. I’ve felt so much more connected to everyone and everything since I’ve begun to practice active listening. I never realized how vocal the crows outside out bedroom window were! I was never really listening. I never realized how interesting my friends and family are. I was always thinking about what was going to say. I never realized how close my little 17-month-old love bug was to being a full-blown ‘talker.’ I was always talking back to him. Until now, I’m listening! Come and talk to me.

-Love. When it doubt, spread the love. When not in doubt, spread the love.

Here’s to making connections! (Even with grumpy people.)

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Traveling to Costa Rica with a Baby (Part 456, just kidding, Part 6) : Toucans, Tree Frogs, Giant Ants, Oh My!

We “should have” turned back when I almost walked into the spider who was so big he told me we should turn back, but there’s no adventure in turning back.

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We were back at The Hill, or ‘The Slippery Hill of Doom.’ But today, instead of traveling up The Hill we were going to travel up the creek that lay at the base of it, without a paddle.

With my stocky offspring securely strapped to my chest, I began to gingerly wade my way up the creek, attempting to keep up with my fellow creek waders (who weren’t wearing a diaper wearing accessory on their chest.)

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As we meandered our way through the water, up, in, out and through the jungle banks, and across deceivingly slippery boulders, items from my mental bucket list began to slough away:

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  • Earn the ‘I’ve gone on an off-the-beaten-path Costa Rican waterfall hike’ bragging right.
  • Carry twenty-two pounds of boob sucking baby through the jungle, without serious injury to my back, or boobs.

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  • Take 4,567 “artsy” nature photos without dropping my new and case-less flimsy iPhone in the water.

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  • Witness the flight of Toucan Sam, free from the constrains of the cereal box.
  • And five, swim in a Costa Rican waterfall, and explore the surrounding banks without being poisoned by a deceivingly cute frog.

Before I reached number five on the bucket list, number one on my ‘Anti-Bucket-List’ occurred:

  • Lose mom, dad, and aunt in the Costa Rican jungle.

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As our group of travelers trickled into the waterfall oasis, it soon became apparent that the oldest, wisest, and best smelling members of our group were not in the trickle. Oh (not so) great.

After a worrisome amount of hours (just kidding, ‘minutes’) ticked by, I rallied the young strapping men in our group to go back and retrieve the lost travelers. The next sluggish twenty or so minutes I spent developing the nervous habit of nail biting, and perfecting my nervous habit of ‘worst case scenario’ obsessing.

As the search and rescue team returned, their faces showed signs of stress, but not of dread, all was good; our three stray travelers were alive and well, albeit understandably irked that we had accidentally left them behind.

Although ‘The Three’ did not encounter any jaguars, rabid monkeys, or cute frogs, they did have a taste (or should I say ‘give a taste’) of the local flesh-eating ants. As my mom had sat contemplating her state of potential peril, a curious ant had traveled up her leg; when she felt the little prick give her a prick, she reached down to remove said prick and witnessed the little flesh eater latched on to her leg. More effort than would be expected was exerted and the ant was removed, leaving a trail of blood, and a tiny chunk of missing skin in his wake. To my mother this was the epitome of ‘adding insult to injury,’ and she was “over it.” Luckily, the knights in dirty board shorts arrived shortly thereafter, and guided the bloody travelers back to our nomadic tribe.

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As the band of heroic dirty board short wearers returned, they turned their attention back to the waterfall, and commenced determining the most reckless waterfall related activity they could partake in. It didn’t take much time for them to decide that the “best idea” would be to climb up the wet cliff face, and jump off the top of the slippery cliff into the murky waters below. Usually, this activity wouldn’t alarm me, because I usually have cliff jumping ignorance on my side, but this time, we had an experienced guide with us. He looked on nervously as they ascended the cliff and verbally noted the fact that in twenty years of living in this particular region of Costa Rican he had never seen anyone jump off this waterfall. Never. Not even the locals. Never ever. Oh great.

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Besides fretting about the physical safety of the jumpers, I also grew concerned of our group’s ability to cart the injured soldiers the mile back down the creek if/when someone cracked a head open. I could barely handle twenty-two pounds of baby, 160 pounds of sweaty teenager was not going to happen.

The jumpy countenance of our guide was not doing much to mollify my fears.

True to form, ‘father of my child’ Eric decided he would be the first to jump off, “to make sure it was safe.” I held my breathe, closed my eyes, and pleaded with the universe to allow his giddy-with-exhilaration face to pop out of the water, preferably without a gaping head wound. My pleading was answered and pop up he did. The moment he was out of the water and re-scaling the cliff, my brother made the leap. This reckless rotation continued for another thirty minutes or so before I had to put a stop the foolhardiness, in fear that my heart might explode with anxiety. They were not as inclined as the universe was to honor my pleading, but my persistence persisted and they ceased to leap.

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As our group, now high on adrenaline, journeyed back to our vehicles, Mr. Big Spider let out a smug, ‘I told you so.’ Jokes on you spider, we just had an adventure worthy of a blog post.