App Love: MyFitnessPal 

We just love the My Fitness Pal app! It is similar to the other calorie counter apps but the beauty is that it can sync with other apps.

We have this synced up to our Fitbits. Not only does it give you a gauge of where you’re at with your intake/outtake, but it also updates you on how many calories you have left to eat based on your exercise levels. Fitbit when synced with My Fitness Pal has great graphs to show you if you’re on track or overeating – so you can self correct!

2

While Emily has been following her modified 21 Day Fix, she’s also been logging her calories in MyFitnessPal. Here’s why: you can eat any carb and have it count in 21 Dat Fif, but caloricaly speaking not all carbs are the same. It helps to be able to track what was different based on what she ate so that she could make the smartest choices possible. While this is certainly an added step in the process, Emily thinks it has made all the difference in her success.

Another great feature is that you can either manually add ingredients from a favorite recipe and it will calculate the calorie and nutritional information based on the number or servings, or if you’re using an online recipe (like from Pinterest) you can just enter the URL and it will calculate all of that for you! This feature makes keeping track really, really easy.  Many popular restaurants also have their information in the systems, so no excuses for not keeping track!

1

Just like a social network, you can add friends (in fact it syncs with your Facebook account) and keeps track of your friends activity in a news feed like style.  This way you can cheer on your friends in their health journey, and they can cheer on you! Or, in my case, keep me accountable.  It even sends you a notification if you don’t log in for a few days (yes, I’ve gotten one) to help keep you on track! I need someone to push me like that, so I love this feature!

Do you have a favorite app or way to keep track of your intake and output? We want to know about it! Tell us in the comments!

Emily signature

App Love: Fitbit

 Sherrie and I both own Fitbits and just love them!  Actually, Sherrie is the reason I switched from an Up fitness tracker to the Fitbit, so we could utilize the challenges and push each other to reach our goals!

If you don’t know what a Fitbit is – it’s an activity tracker that you wear on your wrist. It can count how many steps you take in a day, as well as active minutes judging by your heart rate thereby giving an accurate reading of how many calories you’ve burned. It also tracks your sleep and can tell you how many times you woke up,  how often you were restless and how long you were asleep for. You can also track your food and water intake and other exercise you do like riding a bike, playing soccer, etc.

1

Fitbits can be a great source of motivation and accountability. You can add other friends who also have Fitbits and challenge them to see who can get the most steps. I know that when I have challenged Sherrie to see who can get the most steps in a week I find myself deliberately getting up and walking more just to see if I can get those extra few steps in! You can write to them supportive messages and cheer their progress. In addition, when you win challenges, like hitting a milestone in numbers of steps or a milestone in weight loss, you earn badges and trophies. I’m always psyched to earn more!

We truly believe that our Fitbits are helping us to lead healthier and more active lifestyles. So much so we’ve convinced our hubbys to get them too! What are some ways you try to stay active and healthy?

Emily signature

Losing the Baby Weight: Chatting with Beth!

We’re going to do something a little different on the blog today – a guest post! By now, you’re starting to get a pretty good feel for Sherrie and I and how we parent, but as the saying goes, it takes a village.  We are very blessed to have many mommy friends surrounding us.

Today we’re chatting with my best friend, Beth.  Beth and I have known each other since seventh grade (that’s a lot of years, so we’ll just leave it at that).

Her son, Roy, just turned one! How cute is he?!

12916351_10102991796138508_6385736678149912001_o

Beth is also a Registered Dietitian and Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist.  It’s her job to counsel patients everyday on proper nutrition and eating habits based on the different conditions that they have.  I thought what a better way to tackle the idea of losing baby weight than to talk to a professional!

I sat down with Beth to have her answer some of the questions I had when it came to losing baby weight, here’s how it went:

You had your baby! Congratulations!  Since you are reading this article, you are probably looking to lose that extra baby weight you gained during pregnancy.

There are many factors responsible for our weight gain during pregnancy – the baby, our milk supply, the placenta, the fluid around the baby, and an overall increased blood supply.  Not to mention any fluid retention you might be having (that’s those puffy feet and ankles).  Upon delivery, you immediately lose the weight of the baby, placenta, and fluid.  This is likely the only time you will ever drop 10-15 pounds in a day.  You will lose another 4 pounds as your uterus shrinks and your belly bump goes back down.  Everyone’s uterus contracts back to its original size at a slightly different pace and breastfeeding speeds up the process.  An overview of pregnancy weight gain can be found here.

Even when your uterus has returned to its normal size (about the size of your fist), your body will be … different. Remember, your pelvis had to shift to carry the baby and then, if you had a vaginal delivery, it separated to allow the baby through.  Your hips are going to be wider, and sometimes it’s a permanent change.  Your ribcage also expanded while you were pregnant to allow more room for baby.  That change can also be permanent, but it varies from person to person.  Then there are your milk-filled breasts.  Chances are your old bras are now laughably small compared to the cup size needed to hold your breasts while your milk supply regulates.  My suggestion, buy some new clothes.  You need to feel good in your post-pregnancy body!  Eventually, if you put in the work, you will return to pre-pregnancy status but it’s important to feel good along the way.

Once you are cleared to exercise, usually 6 weeks for a vaginal delivery and 8 weeks for a cesarean, walking is the best way to get started.  It’s low impact and works a large variety of muscle groups, you get out in the fresh air, and you can bring baby along.  If you are really looking to get into an exercise routine, I suggest having at least one session with a personal trainer to develop a plan that is right for your skill level and goals.

For breastfeeding mamas, you need to be cautious and be sure to maintain your milk supply while losing weight but you also have the advantage of burning additional calories by breastfeeding!  The general recommendation is to stay above 1800 calories/day while breastfeeding.

First, some basics on weight loss… basic weight loss theory says that if the calories you eat are less than the calories you burn, you will lose weight.  To maintain your health we need to look beyond calories and into where your calories are coming from.  Calories come from three sources: carbohydrates, protein, and fat.  The human body needs all three of these, in appropriate amounts.  A typical “zone” diet will direct the dieter to consume 50% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20-30% from protein, and 20-30% from fat.  Great, but what does this mean in terms of choosing food?  Let’s look at a 2000 calorie diet: to have the correct balance of macro-nutrients (carbs, protein, and fat)  your daily requirements are 2 servings of fruit, 2-3 servings of vegetables, 6 servings of grains, 5-6 ounces of protein, and 3 servings of low fat dairy.  Now that brings us to that pesky serving size.  Not only is eating the correct food important, but so is how much of it you eat.  A great portion guide can be found here.

Unfortunately, there are no specific foods to “burn fat”, make you lose weight faster, or specifically target your belly.   Your best solution to healthy, sustainable weight loss is good old fashioned diet and exercise.  The up-side is that they are scientifically proven to create a lasting change.

Do you have more questions for Beth? Ask them here and she’ll answer! And follow along with her on Twitter. She also has an instagram for the yummy and healthy foods she makes for Roy, it’s called Toddler Gourmet – you can check it out here.

Emily signature (and Beth!)

21 day fix breakfast

Losing the Baby Weight: 21 Day Fix

Have you heard of the 21 day fix by Beachbody? It is the latest all the rage diet but actually has its roots in clean eating and getting healthy.

The idea is that you eat a limited number of servings of each type of food groups;  vegetables, fruits, proteins, carbs, healthy fats, oils, etc. based on your weight and your goal (weight loss or maintenance). There are different colors that signify each food group and the allotted amounts for each. Typically it is recommended in conjunction with specific workouts and shakeology protein shakes, but just following the plan for weight loss is a great way to train your body to eat what is good for you and eat clean as well as practice portion control. There is a list of approved foods, you can eat pretty much anything that’s not processed and you can have very little dairy.

After Madeline was born, I lost the baby weight fast thanks to breastfeeding and the fact that I was really careful about weight gain during my pregnancy. So while I was down to below my pre-pregnancy weight, I still wasn’t at a weight I was happy with. I was overweight when I got pregnant and am hoping to lose another 35-40 lbs. before Mike returns from bootcamp which is 14 weeks long. This will gave me enough time to do three rounds of the 21 Day Fix!

It was harder to follow this plan than I thought. One of the hardest parts is that you’re only allowed to have 2- 8 oz. cups of coffee a day and no creamer! I stuck to the limit but I used coconut milk creamer – I just counted it like a serving of coconut.  So here’s what my day looks like, for weight loss that I can eat: 5 servings of vegetables, 3 servings of fruit, 5 servings of protein, 4 servings of carbs, 1 servings of healthy fat, 1 serving of seeds and dressings, 5 teaspoons of oils and nut butters and 14 cups of water. I find the hardest part is to eat all of my vegetables and not overeat on carbs (I too, like Oprah, LOVE bread). I also have a hard time getting all my protein in. I’m learning to sneak greek yogurt into things like peanut butter to make a yummy fruit dip or salad dressing to bulk up my protein intake.

What I was most concerned about when starting this weight loss routine was my milk supply. I had done some research prior to starting this and found a lot of people who notice a large dip in their supply when they start this plan.  I am pretty sure it’s because of the protein shakes. I am going with a modified plan and following it up by counting calories. I am trying to stay around 1,400 calories a day, at the suggestion of my best friend and nutritionist, Beth, to account for the extra I need to produce milk. Because of this, I am over conscious about eating foods that boost milk supply.  For example, I eat oatmeal for breakfast with strawberries every day – oatmeal is a known milk boosting food. Even though 1 cup of cooked oatmeal is 2 carbs – it’s worth it to ensure I can continue to feed Madeline, especially because she is growing like a weed and certainly seems to have gotten Mommy’s appetite!

IMG_7674

I found as I went through I needed to come up with healthy recipes to try.  There are tons on Pinterest of course, but I also ended up tweaking some and making a few of my own.  One that really made sense to me was a healthy take on nachos.  Now, I LOVE nachos.  I mean seriously, I could eat them everyday, and used to! Here’s my 21 day fix version made with sweet potatoes as chips, refried beans, salsa, cheese, fresh tomato and avocado.  Delicious!! (You could even add greek yogurt instead of sour cream for a serving of protein if you felt so inclined!)

IMG_7615.JPG

21 Day Fix Approved Sweet Potato Nachos

Another thing I discovered is how much I really like spaghetti squash, or really any kind of stuffed vegetable.  We eat a lot of stuffed vegetables in this house, but they’re so easy and versatile.  We’ve done Creamy Chicken and Red Pepper Stuffed Spaghetti Squash, Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, Portobello Mushroom Cap Pizzas, Broccoli and Mushroom Spaghetti Squash Casserole, but my favorite and the easy go to is Turkey Stuffed Peppers.  Instead of just stuffing them with brown rice, turkey meat and tomato mixture, I pack as many veggies in as I can, usually adding mushrooms and spinach.  Spinach is an amazing food because it’s super healthy and cooks down so you barely even notice you’ve added it to your foods! Serve any of these stuffed veggies with a side salad and you have a delicious, filling and veggie packed meal!

IMG_7685

21 Day Fix Approved Turkey and Veggie Stuffed Peppers

When I started the 21 Day Fix I wanted to see what I could lose more than just weight. It’s possible to have off the scale victories as well so I not only stepped on the scale but I also took my measurements. At the beginning of the first round my measurements were:

IMG_7049

After one round here’s where I was at! Even though my total inches went up (I’m not sure how that’s calculated) I was able to not only lose 12.2 lbs in three weeks (which i’m psyched about!) but also 5 inches from my waistline.  I can definitely tell it already makes a huge difference in the size pants I am wearing – I’m out of my maternity jeans and back in regular pants! That’s a big win for me at three months postpartum.

IMG_7664

What I love most about this though is how great I feel.  I can tell that not only am I losing weight and changing my shape, but I’m eating better.  This is forcing me to try new foods and eat vegetables.  It’s making a huge difference not only for me, but for Madeline.  Now my milk is packed with super healthy nutrients that she needs and is helping me be the role model I want and need to be for my daughter to learn healthy eating habits!

Emily signature