Mothering is an understatement

If someone had told me how hard being a mom was before I was one, I wouldn’t have believed it. As the youngest of three children, I never really had too much of a chance to mother others. My needs were always cared for and I learned from a young age to thrive with independence. Now that I am a mother of three, I have found even my kids are needy, inconvenient, and always demanding- and yet I show up (nearly) every moment as a mom with joy and pride to nurture and play with my kids (who are super-kids by the way). I have often said that mothering ourselves isn’t really all that different than mothering others. It can feel pretty demanding and needy to take time away from work, family, or friends to do something like workout, seek solitude, or simply take a nap. And yet self-care has an incredibly overlooked importance in all of our lives.

Without self-care we don’t have the energy or patience to give to others authentically.

And self-care doesn’t have to take much time, energy, or money.

Here’s a few ideas to get you started, whether you are an altruistic mother, aunt, sister, or friend. It doesn’t matter what your motherly status. Take today and honor yourself for the gifts you generously give to others.

  • Take a walk
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Journal
  • Read a juicy book or blog
  • Call a friend
  • Sip some yummy tea
  • Take a bath
  • Eat some chocolate
  • Take a nap
  • Drink some infused water
  • Look through some old photos with your family
  • Visit a local art museum or botanical garden
  • Meditate
  • Go for a road trip
  • Book a mini-retreat
  • Try a new class (art, yoga, fitness, French, kick-boxing, belly dancing, etc.)

Whatever you choose, choose it for you. As a mom (no matter whether you have birthed or reared kids of your own or not), you are a nurturer and giver who deserves to take a few moments each day to focus on feeling great in your own skin. Sort of like giving yourself a little hug each day.

“Of all the roles I’ve played, none has been as fulfilling as being a mother.” -Annette Funicello

For all of the "mom's" out there who have loved me, nurtured me, believed in me, and supported me.  This post is for you.  I sincerely hope that you can take a few moments today and give yourself a mommy hug that lingers.  I love you all.


Ever feel stuck in your body? 

I worked out for the first time on Tuesday since Clara was born 5 weeks ago and I am incredibly sore.  That kind of soreness that makes you look like you are injured when you try to sit down on the floor or get out of a chair.  Of course, the physical soreness will fade, but it’s the emotional realization of how little it took to make me sore that cripples me. Have you ever been there…where it feels like you have a mountain of changes to make but not enough time, resources, motivation, or energy to do it?  

It can be easy to believe that it’s not worth it, or it’s too hard, or that it won’t work, or that you suck so why even try, or worse yet…that your body is a lost cause so why even bother.

For those who struggle to lose weight or who have a chronic illness that limits what the body can do, it can be maddeningly frustrating to feel stuck in an irreversible state.

It’s like being claustrophobic in your own body.

What can you do to find hope?  I have a few tricks I use that have worked like a charm to recharge my clients.

Find freedom and motivation again by checking them out here…

1)    Silence: There are two steps to this one.  A) literally find a way to get where you can quiet your mind.  Take 5 deep cleansing breaths.  B) visualize a knob that allows you to quiet the voices and beliefs that are saying you are too fat, lazy, broken, sick, etc.

2)    Reframe: Get the images out of your head of big thighs, tight clothes, tired eyes, or injured body parts and reframe what you see to include the most positive things you can think of about your body, your mind, and your heart.

3)    Commit:  Change is typically a slow process. By celebrating every small step- no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, you are generating more positive influence to take another step forward.

There’s a quote I’ve had hanging in my house for over a decade that says,

“Adversity does not build character; it reveals it.”

What kind of character will you let shine when you have a mountain to climb?

Being More than Chronically Ill

I wanted to take a moment and share a piece of my story with you.  I have been working with Nicole for the last 3 years as a fitness coach and we opened Inspired Athletic Movement gym together a little over a year ago. I hope you can either relate or reflect or even gain some insight on your own well-being based on my journey. For the last 7 years I have had an array of health issues. Without going into the details, I can tell you that I definitely spent time in the beginning frequently questioning "WHY ME?!" and feeling pretty angry about my new limitations. Fast forward 7 years and I feel I am exactly where I am supposed to be. "Be where you are. Not where you should be." Where SHOULD we be exactly anyways? Life has many ups and downs that come and go, and what we SHOULD do is take care of ourselves the best we can in each moment and continue to put one intentional foot in front of the other. That's what leads to happiness and successes- the continued and intentional trying and reminding ourselves of the importance of wanting to move forward. Each step forward in the direction we are aiming for is not only liberating but feels so rewarding!

There are days still when I feel sick, overwhelmed, achy or tired but I have made a choice, even on those days, to do and be my best version of me. The best version of me can look different and that's OK too. On the harder days, that may mean brushing my hair and trying my best to smile, while I make sure to hold myself accountable to reaching out for support when I need it. This could look like a walk with my dog, meeting a friend for a low key workout, reading an inspiring book, a phone call with a good friend, or a therapy session. It's these little things, that feel good, that remind me that life (even on the hard days) is incredibly wonderful and feeling my best is worth fighting for... and sometimes it does feel like a very uphill battle but I must choose to face it head on. My happiness is up to me!

The harder times do pass and become better times and even great times, and that cycle continues- that's life! I believe that having a chronic illness or having an ill loved one shines light on the ups and downs even more so. It is our individual duty to take care of ourselves the best we can. That is how we thrive. Support from my doctors, therapist, family and friends plays a big role for me in my self-care. Feeling sick can become a large burden to carry alone and can quickly and easily weigh you down into depression and limited self-care.

I no longer have to make a decision each day to take care of myself. It has over time become my norm and I am grateful for that. Even on the very hard days, I am well aware of how much better I'll feel if I choose self-care (writing in my journal, movement, reaching out to someone in my support network, etc). My passion is to help others in similar situations realize their potential and ability of self-care and the grave importance of it. Your best and your self-care plan are uniquely yours- unique to your body and your needs. It's so special how we can not only create but discover and work towards our best selves; most of us are much greater, stronger and more capable than we believe or even know possible!

There is no reason to feel alone and singled out when chronically ill.

You have many strong hands wanting to help push and lift you up. It may start off feeling impossible, but you can achieve happiness, success and your well-being through one intentional baby step at a time. You, like me, are way more than chronically ill!

All my best, Erica

Navigating Nutrition by Minding Your Mindset

With all of the rain here lately in Colorado I am wondering if any of you, like me, have a little baking bug that kicked in this week?  Mmmmm.  I love to bake.  And although I used to fill up the kitchen with cookies, breads and bars, I am now experimenting with more gluten free and grain free recipes.  I'd love to have you share yours if you have some favorites! I won't be the first person to tell you that sugar and processed flours aren't the best things to eat.  But many of us have such an emotional attachment to our baked goodies, that it's hard not to want to have a great treat from time to time.  Our suggestion is that you plan your food so you are eating 100% on target for your health goals 80% of the time, and then allow a splurge or two the other 20% of the time.  If you eat 4 times per day during the week, that's about 5 splurges per week.

How will you know if you are eating well 80% of the time?  Well, #1) be honest with yourself, and keep track of your meals and food so you know where and when you are getting in your treats. #2) Use our "Nutrition Musts list" below to help you navigate your own nutrition choices in a way that will help you feel more energized and in control. #3) Practice visualization and self-compassion.  See yourself eating well and feeling great, and give your self compassion when you "fall off the wagon".  It won't help you to beat yourself up or punish yourself for not being perfect!

Nutrition Musts:

  • Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water daily. Try adding a pinch of ground pure Celtic or Himalayan sea salt to you water to keep you electrolytes up.  Or consider adding some fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to your water to help with your body's pH.
  • ALWAYS eat breakfast within an hour of when you wake up. Eat as much protein as you can in this meal- ideally somewhere between 15-25 grams.
  • Eat every 4 hours or so, keeping your sugar and flour intake low and your veggies high. Shoot for getting a minimum of 5 servings of vegetables a day.
  • Fat is your friend. Fat helps stabilize blood sugar, it builds our cell walls, assists with hormone production and regulation, and keeps us full and satisfied. Some great fats include avocados, fish, raw nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, and raw nut butters.
  • Many people have food sensitivities to things like gluten, dairy, corn, or soy. Consider keeping these food choices to a minimum. If you are looking for a whole grain choose quinoa or brown rice. If you find that eating dairy helps you get your protein, choose high protein sources like Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • Keep snacks on hand and prepare your lunch every day (or at least have an idea of what you will eat before you get starving).  Do what you can to eat a protein with a vegetable as often as you can.  Some good options are:
    • Sliced carrots, celery or zucchini with egg salad spread
    • Sliced celery with raw nut butter
    • Lettuce wraps of diced chicken and avocado
  • Do not drink your calories (unless it’s a yummy smoothie meal!). This means no soda or juice, and potentially no milk. Herbal tea, water, and occasionally sparkling water sweetened with a little Stevia and lemon is fine.
  • Reserve fruit and dark chocolate as treats or for dessert.

What you do means more than you think

I was asked a week ago, "Nicole, what were you put on this planet to do?"  As an entrepreneur, this question is on my mind all of the time.  It isn't easy mothering a business (or two), and it is even harder when you have a couple of twins running around who are a big distraction!  But when I am asked this sort of deep deep question, I have to pause and consider that I've made some pretty significant decisions based on the answer. "Why am I here", of course begins with me wanting to be a devoted lover (and biggest supporter) of my husband, kids, family, and friends.  One of the major decisions I made outside of my personal life, though, was a very conscious choice to help all women and girls KNOW that they are valuable and beautiful. And I can speak for Erica when I say that she, too, has a deep passion to start a revolution that supports a tidal wave of positive body image to well up in the women of our world.

What drives our purpose and our decision to keep going is that we know that when women and girls don't have a foundation of love for themselves and their bodies, they can lose a lot of precious time and energy.  Negative self-talk can isolate women and girls from having authentic and meaningful relationships and careers, and poor boundaries can cause women and girls to extend themselves beyond human capacity.

It might be easy to brush it off and think, well, it's only really hurting me.  But if that is what goes on in your head, then you need to know the truth....

Everyone has at least 5 to 10 things they excel at. If you can sing, calculate odds, track bird migrations, or know which direction is north better than 100 random people or your high school class -- your gift puts you in the top 1% of the population.

When you start calculating the odds as you add in more of your gifts and talents -- your combination of 5 skills means you are one in ten Billion likely to have that combination. That is more people than are alive on the Earth today. And when you add in the other 25 + ingredients of your work potential, you get numbers that are astronomical. (from Manifest Your Potential.com)

Human DNA consists of more than 3 billion building blocks whose sequences form genes, just like letters spell a word. For any two unrelated people, these letters are 99.9 percent the same. But that leaves millions of single-letter differences, called SNPs (pronounced “snips”) that provide genetic variation between people.  To make this even more complicated, you are the result of the fusion of one particular egg with one particular sperm. Each sperm and each egg is genetically unique because of the process of meiosis. A fertile woman has 100,000 viable eggs on average. A man will produce about 12 trillion sperm over the course of his reproductive lifetime. Let's say a third of those (4 trillion) are relevant to our calculation, since the sperm created after your mom hits menopause don't count. So the probability of that one sperm with half your name on it hitting that one egg with the other half of your name on it is one in 400 quadrillion. (from huffington post)

The problem is, too many of us walk around talking poorly about ourselves and generally dismissing what a unique and amazing gift we have been given simply by being born.  The fact that we get a body for our soul to inhabit is truly a miracle.  So rather than beat ourselves up about not being good enough, or worthy of time to devote to your own well-being, or feeling like you are incapable of living up to expectations, why not start a revolution?  What you say and what you do with the time and the body you have matters, because in all of time and space, there is only one like you.  Let's start speaking to ourselves and our youth from the "I Am A Miracle" Perspective!!

Feeling like you could use some support to raise up your banner and charge ahead?  There are 2 ways to get involved:

1) Check out our Redefining Revolution at Inspired Athletic Movement: a 6 month support series dedicated to redefining how we interact with ourselves and our culture to cultivate positive body image.

2) Register to get more information about "Us Girls": A 1-day workshop for women and girls to come together to learn about loving your bodies with fun movement, a confident voice, and a centered sense of sexuality.  This workshop highlights Nicole Irlbeck, Catherine M. Houston, and Johanna Walker...3 women's health advocates who are dedicated to creating a world of where bold and authentic tweens and teens can thrive.

At the very least, give yourself a little pinch.  You are a living breathing miracle!!! You can be the example for all others to follow in how you act on your behalf to believe it with everything you do.

Why 2013 is going to be your healthiest year yet

If you didn't know it yet, this year is going to be your fittest ever.  Don't believe me?  Well, suit yourself.  No, seriously, we all survived the end of the world, so what have we got to lose?! Honestly, there's no reason you can't make this your year to focus on getting fit and staying that way. Living a healthy lifestyle, after all, is all about setting an intention and preparing the details of your life with the expectation that you will fulfill your intention. There are more fitness trends and weight loss help sites and tools than ever before- which can make you crazy, but in the end can actually  help you stick to your guns when it comes to completing an exercise program and eating more healthful. My top 5 fitness apps and sites right now are: Myfitnesspal


Nike+ Run

Couch to 5k

Gymboss Interval Timer

For a more exhaustive list of growing trends in the fitness tech industry, check out  this article.

According to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Americans spent an estimated $30 billion a year in 1992 on all types of diet programs and products, including diet foods and drinks.

Marketdata, a market research firm that has tracked diet products and programs since 1989 releases its findings in its biennial study: "The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market." which in its 2007 study estimates the size of the U.S. weight loss market at$55 billion. It is now estimated to have reached over $60 Billion. (statistics recovered from the worldometer site for weight loss)  Unfortunately, we are also inundated with tasty food, high stress lifestyles, and mixed media messages that keep us from really developing a healthy way of living longterm.  It's not shocking to anyone that it is getting harder and harder to weed through the information on health while having the energy and motivation to stick with a fitness and nutrition regimen that is actually getting positive results.

Let me weed through the mountains of information and latest fads and give you the low down on what studies show really works if you are going to start a plan that gets results...and stick to it:

1) Eat breakfast.  Pack in the protein for a great way to start the day with leveling your blood sugar.  We suggest no less than 20 grams of protein at this meal.

2) Get accountability.  Whatever you choose, do it often and don't let up.  Get a trainer, join an online forum, hook up with weight watchers, call a friend.

3) Track it.  Not only does having a plan help, but tracking your plan is even better.  Keep a log of your food and workouts so you can track what works and what doesn't.  You'll also be less like,y to have that second or third cookie if you have to write it down!

4) Move.  Sounds obvious, but the little things add up.  Fidget, take the stairs, carry your groceries to the far parking space, and of course get regular workouts.  People who keep weight off walk an average of 11,500 steps a day.  Consider getting a pedometer and see what you can do!  Without exercise, you may lose some weight, but you likely won't keep it off.

5) Monitor your portions and your plate.  Although calorie counting has lost some of its bang, you still need to eat in moderation and get in quality foods that fuel your body for energy, muscle building, and repair.  Choose a ton of veggies, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and fruits.

Some of these tips come from the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks about 6,000 people who have, on average, lost 70 pounds and kept it off for seven years, but mostly it is stuff that we tell our clients all the time...and the stuff that we have seen work too.

Restoration Fitness has a vision to help empower others by giving them a strong body and soul.  We are starting our 2013 Fitness Revival challenge Mondy, January 7th.  Its a 21 day challenge where you will compete with yourself to see how much you improve on 4 fitness measures, completing daily workouts, and tracking your nutrition.  All the stuff that will help you succeed!  Join us, and you could win a free massage or facial too!!