Getting Healthy the Right Way (Taking Baby Steps)


Being overweight has always been an issue for me.  When I was kid and preteen, I was really fit and trim but too dumb to realize it.  I hid my body behind a poor self esteem and really big clothes. When I hit high school my weight exploded, the trend continuing into college and way into my twenties.  At first I was in denial about how big I was, despite the fact I was teetering around 240.  I mean I always saw myself as a big girl even as a kid so I just accepted it, not changing my unhealthy lifestyle.  Once out of college and into my first post-grad job I realized I wasn’t happy with weight, especially when I started dating my now husband.  So I did a major crash diet (i.e South Beach), getting down to 185.  I looked great and I felt great, getting rid of long-term unhealthy habits like eating out almost every day of the week and drinking tons of soda.  It worked for awhile but didn’t last and my weight crept back up.  I joined the gym, going hard and strong for awhile but it didn’t last.  I tried South Beach again .  It didn’t stick.  Long story short, all the way up until my pregnancy almost two years ago I was still very much overweight.

What did it take for me to truly get serious about getting healthy again?  A major health scare.

About three days after I came home from the hospital with my baby girl I was rushed to the hospital. I retained so much water between the pregnancy and the emergency C-section, it was backing up into my lungs and I couldn’t breathe.  My blood pressure was also through the roof so I ended up staying in the hospital three more days before going home again.  That scary experience taught me not to take my health for granted.  It can go downhill in the blink of the eye.  But how in the world can I do that?  I just started working at home and I have a new baby. Fast forward to this past August and I realized what I had to do to make these healthy changes I wanted to make stick.

I had to change my way of thinking.

In the past, I thought I had to go all in, going from not exercising at all to exercising every single day for hours.  I felt like I had to cut out all of my favorite unhealthy foods cold turkey, eating nothing but salad and lean meat forever. Sure that works for a little while but then there’s going to be a day you can’t make it to the gym or you cave in and have pizza.  Then you feel like a total failure and you give up.  This time around I couldn’t afford to give up.  Not only did I have a little girl I have to be here for (and keep up with!) but to this day I’m still taking blood pressure meds that I want to get off of safely.

Now I’m extremely happy to say that I’m down almost 10 pounds and feel stronger than ever.  That’s because I took a different approach to health.  Like I do with blogging, I gave myself smaller, more achievable goals each week.  I found an awesome group of moms to work out with and when I started, my goal was just to show up at least once a week. When I did, I patted myself on the back. After that, I upped those worke out dates to twice a week.  Then my goal was to keep up with my work out crew (these ladies go hard! LOL) and once I had that down, I promised to work out at home at least once a week. That meant anything from the normal, hard core workouts to power walking my neighborhood for at least 30 minutes.  As for diet, I’m a big advocate of moderation.  If I want pizza one day, I make sure the rest of my meals are light and healthy. I also don’t eat out two days in a row or keep my favorite junk food in the house.

The key is to take baby steps. If you haven’t worked out in awhile, do little 10 or 15 minute exercises to start once or twice a week (my Fitness Board has a lot of great ideas!).  Get your sneakers on and take a 20 minute walk before or after work.  Focus on adding one or two healthy foods at a time instead of taking away all the bad ones.

After trying to get healthy unsuccessfully for so long, last week was the first week since August that I haven’t worked out at all, taking a break to get over a cold.  And you know what?  I’m ready to get back on it!

How are you getting healthy?



Turning 32

My dad and I on my fifth birthday

My dad and I on my fifth birthday

Birthdays are a funny thing.  When you’re a kid, it was the next best thing to Christmas.  As a teenager, it marked one step closer to being an adult. Remember when  you couldn’t wait to turn 18?  Yeah, so overrated!

My 15th birthday

My 15th birthday

In your early twenties it was a reason to party.  And boy did I party!By the time you hit your mid-twenties, it was a time to panic.  When I turned 25, I was mortified.  My life was not what I pictured it to be at 18.  My life wasn’t even almost together!  I wasn’t in the career I studied for, I still living at home, and not even close to being married.  I thought my life would be over and that it would be all downhill.

My 25th birthday

My 25th birthday

Until I turned 30.

I had a renewed sense of energy, passion, and drive.  It was like being twenty all over again except a whole lot smarter (and a better planner!).  Boy did I need it because since then, it’s been a crazy ride!  At 31 on was on the last leg of my pregnancy and now at 32 it’s a whole different kind of party.  What did I want for my birthday?  A few hours of alone time, to do some shopping and walk the mall without pushing a stroller.  I wanted to go into a dressing room and actually try on clothes, take my time browsing the racks, and drink a Pumpkin Spice latte in peace.  Thanks to my wonderful husband, that’s exactly what I did yesterday and it was the most amazing 4 hours ever! (Promise to share what I bought in an upcoming post.)   I didn’t need a party, a great dinner, or even a cake.  I spend so much time taking care of other things that for once, I just wanted to take care of myself.


So what’s on tap for my actual birthday today?  Sitting home in my favorite Mickey Mouse pajamas taking care of my sick baby. She’s had a bad head cold since Saturday so there’s going to be plenty of tissue, fluids, and cuddles.  I don’t mind though!  I couldn’t imagine spending this monumental day with anyone else. 🙂

The Best Birthday Present Ever!

The Best Birthday Present Ever:)

Have a great Monday everybody!

Life, Dreams, and The Unknown


In a word Crazy.

Crazy Good.  Crazy exhausting.  Just cray cray!

Making the transition from a working woman to a freelancer/stay-at-home mom was not as easy or seamless as I thought.  The actual transition wasn’t too stressful.  My husband is super supportive (he still cooks! Yay!) and my little girl always manages to keep me smiling even at 2 am when she’s up and wants to play instead of sleep!  It was the mental transition that was a little challenging.

I wasn’t ready for the mish mosh of feelings I was going to experience.  I didn’t prepare to be a stay at home and pursue the freelance writing career I always wanted.  The whole time I was pregnant I had every intention of going back to work.  But then the princess came and I made the decsision to step into unknown territory. Being a mom for the first time is hard enough but then to strike out on your own at the same time – my Type A self had a heart attack!  I didn’t plan for months on end.  I didn’t research until I felt better about the decision.  Some days I was totally confident in what I was doing and I could clearly see where I wanted to be,  knowing I could get there.  Other days I was doubting everything I did, too scared to do anything for fear of failure. I would feel like I wasn’t cut out for this and unsure  of which path to take.  I didn’t feel I was good enough.  When things don’t go according to plan, I don’t get that project I applied for, or my daughter sends my perfectly planned day into a tailspin, those thoughts rear it’s head very fast. Then I remembered something I heard on a Oprah show awhile back:

If you’re not afraid, you’re not dreaming big enough.

When I worked my office job I used to talk about my dream job all the time – being a full time writer.  Being able to do it from home was just icing on the cake.  The opportunity to do it is in here in my face and it’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time.  But why am I scared?  This is what I wanted, right?

Something I learned through all of this is that it’s so easy to dream and not so easy to make that dream a reality.  I know I went on in last week’s post about bloggers and how many new ones want that super stardom overnight.  Let’s just say for argument’s sake it does happen – can you handle it? Will you be so overwhelmed you’ll want to turn and run?  Are you willing to put in the work to maintain your status?  That’s why it takes hard work to get what you want so when you do get there, you can confidently answer those questions and then get back to the grind.  It’s okay to be scared.

It’s how you react to that fear that makes the difference.

You can’t let that fear hold you back from what you want.  You gotta push through, keep doing what you’re doing, and lean on your support system.  Then, do those things that scare you to death.  You have to reach higher than you have been to get that dream out of your head and into your reality.  There’s no need for a perfect plan and you will make a few gaffes along the way, but it’s all part of the journey.

As for me, I have my superwoman days and I take advantage of them getting as much done as I can. On those days when I’m not feeling so confident I give myself a pass to work through them  I look to my daughter (her smiles always makes me feel better!), my husband, and my family for the support I need to keep going.  I know I’m going to make some mistakes and I’m going to have some bad days but it’s okay.  It’s a thing called life.


Taking the Time to Show My Gratitude


This Thanksgiving is extra special for me.  I get to share it with the newest love of my life.  It’s amazing how a child can really make you appreciate life and the process of having one makes you really appreciate your body and health.  As I come up from the fog of the crazy twists and turns my life has taken in these past few months,  I give thanks every day for what and who I have around me.

I’m thankful for the people who came through when I needed them the most, without even asking.

I’m thankful for the gift the Man above has given me.  I look at my little girl every day in amazement and wonder how in the world I did I get something as precious as her.

I’m thankful for the overwhelming love I have for my daughter, my husband, and my family.  It gets me through those tough days.  Just when I think I can’t make it, I think about that love, smile, and everything is all right.

I’m thankful for the opportunities this blog has given me.  The chance to do what I love and interact with you guys is soo awesome!  Don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t do this anymore!


I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones!


The Freedom in Loving Your Body

Body image is something we as women often struggle with, some more than others.  It was always a constant battle for me when I was younger and when I got older it got a little easier.  Fashion blogging brought some of those insecurities to the forefront, especially when the most popular bloggers don’t share the same body type as me and sporting the latest clothing and trends can be a challenge.  But awhile back I vented, came to terms with it, and began to accept the fact that my size 16/18 self was what was going to make me stand out of the crowd and not exclude me from it.

So there I was at the beginning of 2012 gearing up to achieve the goals I set for myself as a blogger and I was feeling much more confident in myself than I had in a long time. I was getting things done, having fun with my new camera, and I was going to push my blog even further.

Then everything came to a screeching halt the day I found out I was pregnant.

Having a child wasn’t something that wasn’t in the plan, I just didn’t see it coming.  Not this soon anyway.

What else I didn’t see coming?  Just how much my body was going to change.

A few days later came the morning/any-time-it-felt-like-it sickness.  I was so bloated and swollen that what fit me today wouldn’t fit me tomorrow. I couldn’t even wear my wedding band anymore after week 8.  I had acne on my skin and face that I never experienced before in my entire life (and because of the pregnancy, topical acne treatments are out of the question).  Even my hair was acting crazy, becoming dry all the time and harder to maintain.  Constant fatigue and loss of appetite didn’t help things either.  It seemed that overnight my body was morphing into something I didn’t recognize and every single insecurity I had back in the day came back in full force.  My camera started to collect dust.  I was reading less and less blogs on my reader.  I felt so disconnected from the blogging community I loved for the past three years.  How could I take outfit pictures being so bloated and swollen i could barely get into my clothes? How could I take beauty shots when my face was breaking out like crazy?

Don’t get me wrong.  I am extremely overjoyed and blessed to be able to bring a child into this world (and finding out last week it’s a girl just puts so  more icing on that cake!  Can we say blogger-in-traning?).  However I’m a firm believer that one’s honest feelings are never wrong and shouldn’t be pushed to the side in favor of what the world thinks you should be feeling.  And honestly I felt very unattractive.  All the confidence I had in myself, my writing, my appearance was gone in what seemed like days.

Now that I’m five months along and feeling a whole lot better, my head was clearer and I can look at those inner voices that drove me crazy and made me sad  with a fresh perspective.  Life is forever changing.  Nothing ever stays the same.  At times it gets so much better and others it can seem to go downhill at 100 mph.  But the truth remains that it still changes.  And the same goes with your body.  The figure you had in your twenties will not be the same one you have in your thirties, forties, or fifties.  That doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom!  Whether you have a baby, gain some weight, get wrinkles, or gray hairs, it’s going to change.  That’s why it’s important to remember to cut yourself some slack, don’t hold yourself to wha the media standard of “beautiful” is, and most importantly love yourself.

There’s a freedom that comes with loving yourself.

That’s the best way to describe how I’m feeling now.  I can finally embrace my awesomely changing body that so freakin smart it knows how to make a baby.  How cool is that??  As I sit and type this, I can feel my face starting to break out again and honestly, I could care less!  I went to a pool party over the weekend and me and this baby bump donned a tankini swimsuit and did some swimming. And if you checked me out in Instagram, I went to work sans makeup for the first time in a long time just because I can.

What really helped me get through all this was that it was okay to feel how I felt.  It was okay to have that moment because it was just that – a moment. I would come back around to loving my body again and enjoy the crazy freedom to just be myself that comes with it.

How do you overcome your moments of insecurities about your appearance?

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    The advice and reviews of this blog are solely the opinions and experiences of the writer, MJ, unless otherwise specified. Products being reviewed have been obtained via free samples from featured companies unless otherwise stated.
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