Somehow we have already experienced an entire month with our precious Levi. In one sense, I can’t believe it’s been a whole month, and in another, it feels like I gave birth a lifetime ago. Any parent of young children understands that paradox. The days are never-ending but the months and years fly by. As exhausting as these newborn days are, I know how fleeting, how brief, they really are. I know that I’ll be looking back in 20 years—which will feel like 20 minutes—and they will have been the best years of my life. I miss them already.

I’m thankful to be able to say that Levi’s birth was much less eventful (is traumatic too strong a word here?) than James’s was, but even still, labor and delivery are wild. They’re transformative, magical, brutal events. So, without a moment more preamble, here is the story of how I gave birth to the newest love of my life.

In the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I was beyond uncomfortable, so I was really hoping to deliver by my due date. But both of my boys seem to like hanging out in mom’s tummy for as long as possible. They’re comfy cozy in there, and given the state of the world, I can’t blame them. I had an ultrasound appointment at my doctor’s office when I was 40 weeks and 5 days. Ultrasounds have been really tough on my anxiety ever since my miscarriage and I had a cyst on my placenta this time around so when the doctor said my amniotic fluid appeared low, I started to worry. It was low but not critical so she said we would schedule the induction for the following day. But as I drove away from the office, she called and told me to head straight to the hospital.

First, I was supposed to get a Covid test at a site near the doctor’s office so I called Daniel on my way there. He scrambled to arrange child care for James. His sister was on standby but lives over an hour away and we were supposed to be at the hospital within an hour. He called my step dad, who was working from home, and he was kind enough to come over right away. But then my mom found out what was going on and left work immediately to fly over.

We got to the hospital a few minutes late but I was so hungry so we stopped in the cafeteria first. I had a chicken caesar wrap and then we went right upstairs to check in. It was my first time going “out to eat” in over six months.

We started with a pitocin test to see if the baby would handle the induction. One of my least favorite aspects of being induced is being strapped to all the monitors. When I’m pregnant I have to pee every 30-45 minutes and always get so embarrassed asking the nurse to help me remove all the cords. I’m just slightly uncomfortable the whole time. The baby was handling it well so we started cytotec at 6:30 pm when I was 1.5cm dilated.

My first night of induction (yes there was more than one sadly) went ok. I had a chicken pot pie for dinner from the hospital room service which my mom found hilarious when I told her on the phone. She couldn’t believe I wanted a heavy meal like that but having something hearty sounded good. Daniel and I watched some pregnancy themed movies on his laptop. We started with Baby Mama which held up and was really fun and then we watched Due Date which wasn’t nearly as good. I tried to get some rest but Daniel only had a chair because we weren’t in a delivery room yet, just an observation room so he was up most of the night.

We were moved to a delivery room the next morning and continued with the cytotec. Not much was happening so they suggested a foley balloon. I think I’m someone who handles pain pretty well but I found it really difficult. About an hour later when I was peeing for the hundredth time, the foley balloon fell out which suggested I was coming along. At my next cervical check the doctor stripped my membranes, which was just a horrific experience. I found it so excruciatingly painful and she just kept going even though I wanted it to stop. I was only 3cm dilated at this point.

I started to get really scared. My experience with James was such a difficult ordeal that left me with some trauma about delivery. I began to wish I just was having a C section than going through everything again. Our nurse was really reassuring and we decided to start pitocin in the afternoon. That afternoon we watched Friends and some Darcey and Stacey on TV. The pitocin was gradually increasing but I didn’t feel much yet. Just mild discomfort. They started to increase in intensity in the evening.

Anyone who has given birth knows that your experience depends heavily on your nurse. The doctors pop in every few hours but the nurse is who you mostly see. I didn’t really feel like I had a good vibe with our nurse on the night shift the night before. She wasn’t as warm as I’d like. So I was disappointed when I had the same nurse when my labor started to really kick in. But I realized something important. During labor, being warm isn’t as important as being competent and reassuring. She turned out to be the perfect nurse for labor, while my other nurse was perfect for pre labor.

I was in a lot of pain by 9pm. I didn’t want the epidural too early because I was worried it would slow things down too much. I asked my nurse about the right timing and she told me I’d know when the time is right. If I wasn’t sure, it probably wasn’t the right time. I found that answer really annoying at first but again, it turned out she was right.

I decided I would try to make it 10 more minutes then decide, at the end of the 10 minutes I’d see if I could last ten more. I made it 30 minutes and then decided to cut the time limit to 5. After 35 minutes, I knew it was time. The anesthesiologist came in and like everything with me and labor, it didn’t go smoothly but ended up ok. He had some trouble placing it and had to call for help. My lower back is always sensitive and it was hard for me to hold in the right position especially because he was giving confusing instructions. He kept telling me to “fold my back like an accordion” then I’d try it and he’d say louder “No, like an ACCORDION.” Daniel tells me to move my back like an accordion about once a day now. My wonderful nurse told me all about her life and kids while they were trying to put it in to take my mind off it. And Daniel’s attention was mostly focused on the Celtics playoff game but I did catch a glimpse of his horrified face when he was looking at what they were doing. He promptly followed with a big smile and thumbs up. After the epidural I went to sleep.

I woke up at about 6am with the most INTENSE pressure. My first thought was that my bladder was about to explode (at our hospital they don’t give you a catheter that stays in; they insert a catheter and empty your bladder every 3 or so hours). I didn’t know what to do. My nurse came in, emptied my bladder, but the pressure didn’t let up. She checked my cervix and sure enough, I was at 10cm, ready to go. I was surprised by how uncomfortable the urge to push was. It’s a sensation of I NEED TO PUSH NOOOOWWW and I can’t wait a second longer but also this thing is way too big to push out of my body. She immediately called for the doctor but he wasn’t available so a resident came in. He was a young ER doctor doing a delivery rotation that night. He had never delivered a baby, great. I couldn’t wait. I was about to disobey the orders and just start pushing on my own when I looked over and saw Daniel brushing his teeth. At the time it seemed pretty crazy but he assures me his breath was really bad.

I pushed once and saw that the doctor looked more scared than me. I think my nurse noticed and she called for some reinforcements. The charge nurse came running in for my second push. And then the OB came in. He put on one glove as he was getting in position, and as he was putting on his second glove I pushed with all my might and WHOOSH he was out. I heard a big, hearty cry as my perfect little Levi came rushing out onto the bed. The doctor quickly scooped him up, placed him on my chest, and the whole world changed. My body tingled from my head to my toes, my heart was in my throat. I looked at Daniel, with tears in his eyes. Oh Levi, here you are, I thought. The newest, freshest love of my life. I love youuu, I told him seven hundred thousand times in a row. Eight pounds five ounces of pure, gorgeous love. And then, he pooped all over me.

In the month since, there’s been a lot more poop—and I mean a lot—but there’s been even more love.

I’m so happy he’s mine 🙂

We won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving with all of our extended family and friends this year, but I’m still looking forward to it. We have so much to be thankful for, even in all of the madness of 2020. Daniel and I celebrated a few Thanksgivings with just the two of us when we lived on the other side of the country and those are some of my favorite holiday memories. We’ll be spending this Thanksgiving day with our parents and that’ll be enough 🙂

I wrote a post with some tips on celebrating holidays without family based on my experience. It’s depressing and frustrating that I originally wrote that for Easter and it’s still relevant now.

I hope everyone has a small, safe, and happy holiday!

A few good reads:

There have been a bunch of celebrity sightings in Central Park recently. Barry the Barred Owl has captured everyone’s attention. “He’s a great looking owl.”

There finally seems to be a solution to the foggy glasses problem: putting a bandaid over the mask.

A fascinating look at spider silk, which is stronger than kevlar.

It turns out computers judge women based on their appearance too. The top label from Google’s image recognition service was “official” for men politicians and “smile” for women. A troubling look at bias in AI.

For the first two weeks of Levi’s life, Daniel and I looked at each other, shook our heads in disbelief, and said, “Now THIS is an easy baby.” We remembered how hard it was when James was a newborn. He was perfect in every way and we loved him like crazy…but he never slept. I remember friends and family would visit and ask, “So is he just sleeping ‘round the clock?” No, nooo, I’d say, not even close. James came out of the birth canal wide awake and ready to see the sites of life. But Levi—Levi didn’t even open his eyes for the first two days. He didn’t fuss, didn’t seem to need much at all—he just slept. He didn’t even cry in the car, like James always had. Daniel and I were so surprised, so happily, happily surprised. Relieved even! By the time he was a week and a half, still a sleepy little lamb, we really thought we had it made in the shade. Sure he projectile vomited every day, but his brother spit up all the time, too, and as with any symptom you google, it could be normal (or an immediate medical emergency…but probably normal…). And then.

Right around the two-and-a-half-week mark, it all changed. Levi was awake—and he wasn’t happy about it. It was like he wanted nothing more than to sleep but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. He’d start to drift off and then his body would fight desperately to hold on to alertness. It was like we were witnessing his mind and his body wrestle. Suddenly he could not sleep unless he was in our arms, which wasn’t that out of the norm for us, since James wanted to be held, too. He was a newborn after all. But the holding became more and more of a constant, urgent need. He began crying uncontrollably, inconsolable for most of the day, every day. He’d pull his legs up to his chest and writhe in discomfort. The projectile vomiting continued. Nothing soothed him.

So we changed formulas, to something gentler. It took half a week—maybe more—to take effect, but slowly he stopped throwing up. He seemed to be in less discomfort after he ate. But the crying didn’t stop. We went to the doctor for his one month well visit. We love our pediatrician. She’s been our doctor for the past two years with James. And when Daniel told her all that was happening with Levi she nodded, understanding, and said, “It sounds to me like classic colic.”

Colic.

I can’t tell you how many times I found myself, at 3am, googling, “How to tell if my baby has colic.” In my family, colic is talked about like a living nightmare, like a disease you pray you don’t get. My brother was colicky. My niece, too. This cousin, that cousin, so-and-so’s sister’s son. Colic is what I feared.

And yet, hearing the pediatrician say it was oddly calming. Validating. It relieved me to know that likely nothing more was the matter with our baby. For a week I’d asked Daniel repeatedly, “What if he has something wrong? Like really wrong.” We wondered. And of course, there is always worse. So when the doctor said colic, I was reassured that no, fortunately, it wasn’t worse. It was just a challenge that we’d make it through. She told us it tends to last 3 or 4 months, that it usually peaks at 6 weeks, that there are a lot of things people will recommend trying, but from her experience, sometimes babies just, well, cry for 3…maybe 6…months.

We started giving him a probiotic and these colic drops that stain everything I own. I have discovered that everything I own is light colored. I don’t know if either works because he’s still crying, but one thing they do do, is make me feel like I’m trying. And that’s something.

The one thing that seems to help is bouncing him on the exercise ball. He likes to be cradled and bounced vigorously. He still might fuss and cry a little but the screaming usually stops. We have an upstairs ball and a downstairs ball and my vertebrae are smashed to dust, but at least there is something we can do.

Daniel and I are essentially passing him back and forth between us, holding him and bouncing him for almost all of his sleep because if we don’t (and we’ve tried), he will cry to seemingly no end. Daniel takes the first shift of the night, until 3am, and then I get up with him. On a good day, Levi will do one period of sleep of 2-3 hours at the beginning of the night, which is an improvement from a month ago.

Overall he is trending in a better direction. He has less periods of intense crying and more ability to de escalate. But Christmas Eve was a low point. We were at my parents and didn’t have the precious exercise ball, so when he started to get upset, he couldn’t stop. We tried walking, running, jumping, rocking, but nothing could calm him so we had to leave early and the heartbreaking ride home with one son screaming and the other blocking his ears and quietly singing to himself was a low point in this parenting experience.

So as it turns out, colic is a living nightmare. That’s the way it feels. It’s impossible to imagine how stressful it is without experiencing it, and I know that now. The shrieking and crying, the powerless feeling of not being able to soothe your precious tiny baby, the 24 hours a day of it and not knowing if or when it will end…it’s hard. It’s isolating. I’ve talked to other moms who have been diagnosed as having PTSD after going through particularly bad colic, and I can understand why.

It might be a bit easier if we weren’t also trying to care for and engage with a two-year-old, or if we weren’t in a pandemic where no one can really come over and help or just distract us from the crying, but hey, nobody said it would be easy. And really, it’s all going to be OK. All of this is survivable. If nothing else, it brings Daniel and me even closer. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t look at him and think, oh thank God for you.

We’re still hanging in there, living fiercely in the present moment, one moment at a time, and not thinking ahead because that only creates anxiety. We’re tired. Sometimes it feels like my body is pumping out adrenaline and cortisol nonstop. I have had some incredibly low moments where I really feel incapable of being a mom in this situation, at least the kind of mom I want to be. I wish I had endless patience and compassion but there are times where I just can’t take the screaming anymore and hand him off to Daniel and head to the basement and cry. But as bad as it is, I’m not hopeless. I think things are improving. It’s the gift of the second child: knowing that nothing lasts forever. And listen, there’s still a whole lotta joy around here. This is what it is to be a parent. I will do anything—everything—for these tiny, unbelievably lovable beings we made, even if that means I lose sleep and many, many brain cells in the process 🙂

Disease, Wise Nutrition Helpful Advice.

 

Disease, Health Risk Factors.

 

My Activity:

 

Activity is important to maintain a healthy body. When you are not sleeping your body was designed to be almost continually active.

If you immobilize a limb for just three hours, it starts to degenerate. That’s why even during sleep you automatically flex and stretch; turn more than a hundred times in one night. Inactivity is deadly!

You can read this in a report by Dr. Walter Bortz in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1982.

He reviewed over a hundred studies showing that the sedentary lifestyle developed; in the last 50 years in America causes widespread bodily damage.

This damage occurs independently of other health risk factors, like smoking, alcohol, fat, age, and family history of the disease.

 

 

Here follow some of his findings:

 

By itself, simple inactivity causes a chain reaction of cardiovascular decay. First, it reduces vital capacity.

That means, sitting like a slug reduces your ability to take up and use oxygen. As a result, muscles, organs, and the brain become partially oxygen-deprived.

In addition, inactivity reduces cardiac output, that is, the ability of your heart to pump blood around the body.

So, the tissues of couch potatoes become double deprived. They get less oxygen and less blood and the essential nutrients the blood contains.

To make up these deficits, your body constricts arteries, thereby raising blood pressure.

This arterial constriction on top of a weakened heart not only increases the risk of clots and stroke.

But also makes your cardiovascular system less able to respond to sudden movement or changes of position.

Consequently, sedentary folk often suffer dizziness; on standing, because the impaired system cannot instantly increase blood flow to the brain.

Wish any sudden movements they are prone to falls and accidents because the restricted system of blood flow cannot respond efficiently.

 

 

One of the most interesting studies.

 

This shows that more sedentary people than active people are hit and killed in traffic accidents.

Because their weakened cardiovascular systems make them incapable of performing. The nimble moves required to avoid oncoming traffic, without becoming dizzy and staggering or falling in the process.

Inactivity also increases levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Triglycerides are the fats you store, and we know that inactivity makes you fat.

Inactive muscles shrink, compromising your ability to burn fat, to perform even simple tasks, like running upstairs, and even to hold up your skeleton.

Bones also thin and weaken, because your skeleton requires continuous resistance exercise in order to grow a new bone matrix.

 

 

Inactivity:

 

A combination of inactivity and poor bone nutrition is the major cause of the epidemic of osteoporosis. Now burdening America – another man-made entirely preventable disease.

Inactivity also disrupts bowel function and disorders of glucose metabolism, independently of whatever food you eat.

The near epidemics of intestinal disorders and adult-onset diabetes in America bear mute testimony to our slug lifestyle.

Sex hormone levels also decline with inactivity, now linked to the huge increase in impotence in America.

The evidence is overwhelming that the incidence of male impotence in America has doubled since the 1940s.

Activity Can Save Your Life One of the best studies was conducted by renowned exercise guru Dr. Kenneth Cooper at his Aerobics Center in Dallas.

They followed 13,344 men and women for 15 years. This meticulous research, controlled for all major interfering variables; like age, family history, personal health history, smoking, blood pressure, cardiovascular condition, and insulin metabolism.

At the fifteen-year follow-up, reduced risk of death was closely correlated with physical fitness. This included death from cardiovascular diseases, a variety of cancers, and even accidents.

 

 

There is no longer any doubt:

 

Exercise can save your life, while couch potatoes create an existence that is nasty, sick, and short.

Activity Strengthens Heart and Lungs Numerous studies. Show that exercise protects your body by maintaining vital capacity; therefore maintaining adequate oxygenation of tissues.

The average sedentary American male aged 45 has lost half his ability to take up and use oxygen. With one year of the right exercise, he can restore it to the level of a 25-year-old.

Dr. Bortz rightly stated that the health benefits of restoring vital capacity are superior to any drug or medical treatment in existence.

In contrast to the weak cardiac function of sedentary folk, the athlete’s strength, a slow pulse is telling evidence of a healthy heart.

Many have rates in the 40s, and the Colgan Institute; one recorded champion cyclist Howard Doerfling at an incredible 29 beats per minute.

Sedentary folk, however, are likely to show heart rates in the 80s or 90s. When heart rate rises above 84, the risk of coronary heart disease more than doubles.

Activity protects blood pressure most average people show blood pressure of 120/80; which is regarded as normal, but this is not normal at all.

 

 

We know that these people are already on their way to disease.

 

The risk of cardiovascular disease starts to rise as systolic blood pressure goes above 103 mmHg. By 120 mmHg, previously thought to be normal, risk has risen from 51 to 77 per 10.000 people.

That is an increase of 50%. By 135 mmHg, a level that many physicians still regard as marginal, but acceptable, risk has doubled.

Beyond 135 mmHg you are a walking time bomb. The same applies to diastolic blood pressure. Usual levels found on average people are 80-89 mmHg.

Recent research shows that these figures indicate a pre-disease state.

Diastolic pressures below 80 mmHg show an incidence of new cardiovascular disease of 10 cases per 1000 people. But by 90-89 mmHg; it shows an incidence of 40 cases per 1000 people, a risk increase of 300%.

 

 

Don’t fret.

 

It’s easy to reduce blood pressure with the right exercise. Many studies show that exercise works for older people as well, in whom you might think the damage to blood pressure is permanent.

In a typical study sedentary hypertension patients, aged 55 to 78 years were followed. All had elevated blood pressure.

After participating in an exercise program, systolic blood pressure fell by a whopping 20 mmHg. Regular exercise will lower blood pressure in almost anyone.

Activity Lowers Cholesterol Despite media beatings, cholesterol is not the bad guy. Cholesterol is essential to every function of your body.

It forms part of all your organs, including your heart and your brain. Your body makes all your steroid hormones, including adrenalin, estrogen, and testosterone from cholesterol. You cannot live without it.

 

 

Most of your cholesterol is not from food at all.

 

It is manufactured in your body mainly by the liver. When a healthy person eats high cholesterol foods; the liver immediately reduces its own cholesterol production to keep blood cholesterol low and healthy.

Disordered cholesterol metabolism. Is the cause that blood cholesterol rises to dangerous levels; and is a man-made disease, caused mainly by our degraded nutrition and sedentary lifestyle.

As you probably know, we have “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Total cholesterol is mostly LDL, and this is still one of the best predictors of cardiovascular disease. You can measure this total cholesterol with a simple device at home, it is called the “Accumeter”.

What is a healthy cholesterol level? You may ask. The American Heart Association and other US health authorities made in mid-1980 below 200 mg/dl their official recommendation.

Today we know that this is too high. In a comprehensive study by Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, he followed 356,000 men in 28 US cities.

Following his research, death rates from cardiovascular disease start to rise when cholesterol gets above 168 mg/dl.

Total cholesterol in sedentary American men and women rises over 200 mg/dl in their 30s and reaches about 220 mg/dl by age 45.

It’s clear that sitting like a slug exposes oneself to disease. Recent research shows that average cholesterol levels in runners and bodybuilders; ranged between 158 mg/dl and 183 mg/dl. It proves that exercise makes a healthy difference.

 

 

Cardiovascular diseases are far out of our biggest health problem.

 

It kills more than twice as many Americans as all cancers; nine times as many as all other lung and liver diseases together, and 28 times more than all forms of diabetes.

There are good reasons to warn everybody starting an exercise program; to have a thorough medical and physician’s approval before they start.

Sudden exertion in sedentary people. “raises their chances of a heart attack by….100 fold! A health letter from the Mayo Clinic stated. “Most people who have heart attacks during activity are sedentary or have underlying heart disease and overdo it.”

Activity Prevents Cancer Most cancers are slow-growing diseases, eating silently away at your body for years before they show up.

Despite the overblown claims of successful treatment by the National Cancer Institute, once cancer emerges, medicine is usually powerless.

Remember the swift deaths of Michael Landon of pancreatic cancer and Jaqueline Onassis of Lymphoma.

If there was an effective treatment, don’t you think those immensely rich people would have bought it? So, if a little of the right exercise can prevent cancer, it’s worth all the gold in Fort Knox.

And above all, like the other best things in life, it’s free! From a study by Dr. Kenneth Cooper.  It showed that the incidence of all forms of cancer was closely correlated with a lack of physical exercise. Unfit men and women were 300% more likely to develop cancer.

But the best finding from this study is that you must move only a smidgen out of couch potato land to prevent cancer big time.

 

 

Activity Against All Diseases.

 

The right exercise is a major strategy for preventing and treating all diseases. Physicians who do not incorporate exercise into their treatment protocols are guilty of malpractice.

The right exercise maintains your heart, lungs, your muscles, your bones, a healthy level of body fat, even your intestinal function.

But what about more subtle functions, such as insulin, and your body’s handling of sugar? We know that couch potatoes lead to glucose intolerance.

However, research has shown not long ago that getting off the couch not only maintains insulin function; to deal with the sugar but also can reverse decades of damage.

In healthy people, the right exercise completely protects glucose tolerance against degenerative; changes in insulin metabolism that lead to adult-onset diabetes.

Research has revealed the major way in which activity protects you against all diseases. It started with evidence that exercise increases overall white blood cells.

Then came more precise findings that moderate exercise. Increases bodily production of lymphocytes, interleukin 2, neutrophils, and other disease-fighting components of the immune system.

There is no longer doubt that the right exercise strengthens your immunity. Hence it strengthens your resistance against all sorts of damage, decay, bacteria, viruses, toxins, even radiation.

 

Finally.

Remember the wise words of Louis Pasteur, the father of modern medicine: “Host resistance is the key”.

 

 

 

Transformation of the Day: Lessie lost 70 pounds. During a visit, her doctor explained that she was at high risk for diabetes. She thought about how that would affect her husband and four children, and something finally clicked. With faith, determination, portion control, and consistent workouts, she has transformed and kept the weight off for a year.

Lessie lost 70 pounds

My journey started in 2018 and is very similar to most: visits to the doctor and warnings of diabetes and its repercussions. I understood the importance, but I lacked the motivation to change. I was depressed and unhappy with all the weight I gained. 

During one specific visit, my doctor told me how severe my situation was. They said I had a high level of risk due to my weight and age. I thought about how that would affect my husband and my four children, and something clicked.

By the end of 2018, I had lost 34 pounds with minimal dietary changes (I used portion control) and minimal exercise. This would be a huge accomplishment for anyone. However, I started noticing a lot of loose skin and worry and discomfort set in. Due to my hectic work schedule and raising a family, I didn’t really have time to work out effectively. 

Things changed in 2019. After losing my job for speaking up, I decided to shift my focus and find my purpose. I turned to my faith, followed God’s lead, and headed to the gym. I focused on my goals, let God lead me, found my purpose, and felt good about it all. Overcoming something that had been hindering my personal life for years gave me newfound confidence and peace.

This life reset gave me a feeling I knew I needed to share with women who struggled the way I did. More importantly, I wanted to reach black women who are struggling the way I did… black women who struggle with the fears of generational health complications. I wanted to encourage them, push them to do better, and help them go through the process without giving up. Thus Melan~aide was born. It’s a movement meant to inspire and uplift women (but now my mission expands to men and children too).

How did you change your eating habits?
I tried extreme diets in the past and was always unsuccessful. This time, I leaned towards eating more protein and using portion control. I ate more veggies, and I drank smoothies and herbal tea! 

What does your workout routine consist of?
I worked out 5 to 6 days a week at the beginning of my journey. I based all my workouts around repetition! No matter what the routine was, I would do full-body workouts. I would target a specific part of my body to focus on each week.

What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
I started at 250 pounds. Now, I weigh 180 pounds, and I’ve been maintaining that weight for a year by building lean muscle! That’s the primary tool that’s helped me maintain a healthy weight and keep the weight off! 

What is your height?
I’m 5’5″.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
The biggest lesson I learned so far is I have to believe in myself no matter how hard it gets. Relying on others to validate what you consider an achievement will only set you back. Self-love is the top priority, and tapping into it will only set you up for success.

Is weight loss surgery part of your journey?
No surgeries and no extreme diets! Coming into this journey with nothing but God and determination have gotten me further than I’ve ever been on my journey with weight loss. 

Instagram: @Coco_lessiefit
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Gina Gordon says her relationship with food was an unhealthy one before she found The Healthy Mummy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.

The Tasmanian-based mum-of-three says, “I wasn’t happy within myself and food was always there by my side, through all the good and bad times in my life.”

But then after seeing a photograph of herself, Gina, 42, decided it was time to make a change. And she was able to lose an incredible 18kg!

Gina lost 18kg and now feels comfortable in her own skin

Gina’s clothes were tight and she felt uncomfortable as her weight had slowly crept on over the years.

“In Nov 2018, at my daughter’s high school leavers celebrations, a random photo was taken of me and when I saw it, it just broke my heart,” she says.

“I knew it was time to make some changes. I had been following The Healthy Mummy for a number of years, with a few half-hearted attempts I did lose weight, but I also regained it as I just didn’t have the right balance of good food, exercise or self-care.

“But I still wasn’t giving up on myself, though.”

NEVER GIVE UP! It took this mum 3 attempts to make a lifestyle overhaul but now she's lost 18kg!

NEVER GIVE UP! It took this mum 3 attempts to make a lifestyle overhaul but now she's lost 18kg!

It took Gina three attempts to kickstart her weight loss

In Jan 2019, Gina says she was at her heaviest non pregnancy weight at 93kg.

“I began my third Healthy Mummy journey. I’m mentioning this numbered attempt because each time I try again, I learn what works and what doesn’t my myself and my family, making each attempt better than the one before,” she says.

“I was determined to get healthy and put in a real effort to make this happen. I set myself a very achievable goal of losing 1kg per month, aiming to fit into a wardrobe of clothes that hadn’t been worn for a long number of years.

“And I lost 18kgs that year and can now comfortably fit into my size 14 wardrobe, even a few unexpected size 12’s (a size I have never been in my adult life).”

Gina’s top tip for losing weight – set yourself small goals each month

The mum-of-three says she was able to achieve these lasting results by setting small goals each month, backed up with a plan to achieve them.

“A complete lifestyle overhaul was not going to work plus I needed to be honest with myself. I didn’t get overweight in a short time, I couldn’t expect the results I wanted to happen quickly,” she says.

“Having support has been so important, I found the support I needed when I became an active member of my local Healthy Mummy’s consultant’s face book page.

“Here, I’m inspired by other mum’s, I can safely share my progress, my achievements and the days that don’t always turn out the way I planned.”

NEVER GIVE UP! It took this mum 3 attempts to make a lifestyle overhaul but now she's lost 18kg!

NEVER GIVE UP! It took this mum 3 attempts to make a lifestyle overhaul but now she's lost 18kg!

Making small changes

Making healthier versions of the food she used to eat

“I now fuel my body with good food and I am confident in trying new recipes from The Healthy Mummy app. I love combining two recipes together, for example the Slow Cooker Asian Chicken also makes a very tasty Two Ingredient Pizza Dough topping!”

Drinking The Healthy Mummy Smoothies

“Some of THM products I enjoy regularly are the Premium Espresso Smoothie and the Apple Pie Snack Bars.”

Getting organised with meal planning and prep

“Meal/Snack planning and prepping helps to me keep myself organised. It helps saves my family money too, bonus!

“Making a double batch of family favourites and keeping some ready-made meals/snacks in the freezer is also very helpful.”

Get moving!

“Exercise is something I now do because I enjoy it, as it makes me feel good. My favourite thing to do is going for a walk and listening to music, this helps take my mind off all the mum duties that need to be done. I also love having a regular weekly PT session with weights.

“My favourite App workouts are HIIT and Tabata, they’re quick and very effective, especially great for days when I’m time poor.”

Putting yourself first from time to time

“Self-care has probably been one of the hardest parts of a healthy lifestyle for me to achieve. I’ve had to learn over some time, that it’s totally okay to put myself first, to spend some time each week doing something I enjoy.”

Treating yourself

“I’ve maintained my weight loss now for the past four months and my goals for 2021 are to do things that out of my comfort zone and to work on my body confidence which is low.

“Which I’m proud to share that I’ve totally done this week, with a boudoir photo shoot. It was such a fun empowering experience and I now feel amazing inside.”

NEVER GIVE UP! It took this mum 3 attempts to make a lifestyle overhaul but now she's lost 18kg!

NEVER GIVE UP! It took this mum 3 attempts to make a lifestyle overhaul but now she's lost 18kg!

Gina’s top tips for long-term success

  1. Set small goals with a plan of how you will achieve them, include some non-weight related goals too.
  2. Find things you enjoy doing, things that make you happy.
  3. Eat foods you enjoy. The App as so many easy and budget friendly meal and snack ideas that you really can eat everything (in moderation, of course).
  4. Be kind to yourself, as each day won’t always go to plan or be awesome. Just learn to accept sometimes things are just out of our control and plan to make the next meal or day a better choice
  5. Join one of the many Healthy Mummy community support pages and be an active member.
  6. Only YOU can change your lifestyle, one day at a time. One day or day one!

Join Gina and regain your health and energy!

If you are wanting to lose weight and improve your energy – not to mention – help improve your overall health and wellbeing – our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is an awesome program to check out.

Our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge includes:

  • 28 days of at home exercise routines (no gym needed) – with video instruction
  • Customisable and breastfeeding friendly meal plans (including 7 Day Cleanse)
  • Time-efficient exercises for busy mums – under 30 mins
  • Challenge combines Pilates exercises with interval and circuit training (HIIT)
  • Suitable for basic to advanced fitness levels
  • Home to thousands of EASY-TO-MAKE recipes!

To learn more about our 28 DAY WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE CLICK HERE or purchase our Smoothies.

Hello Beautiful Ladies,

I am going to tell you few details about good posture to stand. I will tell why it is more important.

When you look at few people, you feel they are very confident and the way they carry themselves will be super bold. Let me ask you, have you ever noticed how they stand. Look at the below actress.

Tips For Good Standing Posture

Look at her,

  1. Shoulders straight
  2. Flat tummy
  3. Straight back
  4. Straight neck.

Whats Slouching ?

To sit, stand, or walk with an awkward, drooping, excessively relaxed posture. Most of us tend to stand walk like this.

slouching indian weight loss

Importance of Good Standing Posture

  1. Slouching will post lot of pressure on your spine and knee. It may result in osteoporosis.
  2. If you want to reduce your tummy. You need to stand straight ba ba.. Slouching will make your tummy appear bigger
  3. One more area where you slouching will critically affected is your neck
  4. You will look exhausted or you will exhibit unwillingness to work

 

bad standing posture

Tips For Good Standing Posture

  1. Stand straight
  2. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet. (as if you are going to run)
  3. Keep your shoulders straight. It may find little un-natural to stand like that. But remember, its a good habit.
  4. Push your butt outwards. (Do not feel shy to show off your assets ;))
  5. Push your head back and look straight.
  6. Practice it when you sit, stand and walk.
  7. Initially correct yourself and practice and finally that you will acquire that posture.

I always get inspired by actress Shreya Saran..Best posture to stand !

shreya saran hot

You may also like reading –

This easy ground turkey stir fry has all the complex, savory-sweet flavor you love in a good Asian stir fry but with minimal effort on your part. The sauce is simple, made with just 5 pantry staples: soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic powder, toasted sesame oil, and cornstarch (optional).

Great flavor aside, the allure of a stir fry recipe is that it comes together quickly. But even the quickest ones require some prep work—chopping veggies, mincing garlic, dicing meat…Not this one. This ground turkey stir fry is as quick as it’s ever gonna get and yet it tastes as good as the best of them. Just pop a pound of ground turkey in a frying pan, cook it through, and stir in a straightforward sauce made with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, garlic powder, and a little cornstarch to aid in thickening.

The two workhorses at creating big flavor with minimal effort on your part are hoisin sauce and toasted sesame oil. If you’re not familiar with hoisin, it’s a thick, salty-sweet sauce that’s commonly used in Chinese cuisine. The great thing about it is that a little goes a long way to provide complex savory flavor without a ton of other ingredients. The toasted sesame oil is just as powerful, infusing the sauce with warm, nutty sesame flavor. Don’t skip it!

stir fry recipe with ground turkey

Serve this turkey stir fry over rice (cauliflower rice is great, too!) with any veggies you like.

Ground Turkey Stir Fry

This easy stir fry made with ground turkey has all the complex, savory-sweet flavor you love in a good Asian stir fry but with minimal effort on your part. The stir fry sauce is simple, made with just 5 pantry staples: soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic powder, toasted sesame oil, and cornstarch (optional).

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time15 mins

Course: Dinner, Main Course

Cuisine: Asian

Keyword: 30 minute meal, easy stir fry, stir fry recipe

Servings: 4

Calories: 188kcal

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (optional, but it helps to thicken the sauce)
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, water, sesame oil, and garlic powder. In a separate small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water until smooth. Set aside.

  • In a large nonstick skillet or wok, brown the ground turkey over medium-high heat, crumbling it with a spatula as it cooks. Once browned and cooked through, stir in the soy sauce mixture. Bring to a simmer and let the mixture cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cornstarch and water mixture and continue stirring until the sauce has thickened. Remove the pan from heat.

  • Serve over rice or cauliflower rice with any veggies you like.

Feel free to swap ground chicken for ground turkey.

Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 942mg | Potassium: 382mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 28IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg

This is essentially a delicious hot spinach artichoke dip with chicken baked right into it. It’s your favorite app turned into dinner—-and it’s easy! Just dice boneless skinless chicken breast, arrange it in a baking dish, and top it with a rich and creamy mixture of softened cream cheese, garlic, Parmesan cheese, a dollop of mayonnaise, spinach, and artichoke hearts. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes and voila! Dinner is served.

The chicken bakes up tender while the spinach and cream cheese mixture melts into a rich cream sauce that would be delicious over rice (or cauliflower rice to keep it low carb), pasta, or potatoes (or mashed cauliflower).

spinach artichoke dip for baked chicken
how to bake chicken

Tips for Spinach Artichoke Baked Chicken

Once baked, the sauce surrounding the chicken will be a little thin. Don’t worry! It will thicken as the dish cools, and regardless, it tastes great! The chicken and other ingredients will naturally release a bit of liquid as they cook, but the best way to prevent the sauce from being too watery is to remove as much liquid as possible from the high-moisture content ingredients: the thawed spinach and the canned artichokes.

To do this, use a kitchen towel or stack a few paper towels on top of one another, wrap them tightly around the spinach, and wring it out, discarding any excess liquid. Do the same thing for the artichoke hearts.

how to make baked chicken with spinach artichoke topping

Make Ahead Baked Chicken

This is one of those baked chicken recipes that’s ideal for a hectic weeknight because you can make it ahead of time! To prep it in advance and bake it later, just follow the recipe instructions for assembling the dish and rather than baking right away, cover and refrigerate for up to a day before cooking.

spinach and artichoke dip on top of chicken

Spinach Artichoke Baked Chicken

This is essentially a delicious hot spinach artichoke dip with chicken baked right into it. It’s your favorite app turned into dinner—-and it’s easy! Just dice boneless skinless chicken breast, arrange it in a baking dish, and top it with a rich and creamy mixture of softened cream cheese, garlic, Parmesan cheese, a dollop of mayonnaise, spinach, and artichoke hearts. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes and voila! Dinner is served.

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time35 mins

Total Time45 mins

Course: Dinner, Main Course

Keyword: baked chicken recipe, chicken recipes, hot spinach artichoke dip, keto chicken recipe, low carb chicken recipe

Servings: 6

Calories: 662kcal

  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 10 ounce package frozen spinach thawed
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 14.5 ounce can artichoke hearts in water drained
  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

  • Squeeze as much moisture out of the thawed spinach and artichokes as you can. Use a kitchen towel or stack a few paper towels on top of one another, wrap them tightly around the spinach, and wring it out, discarding any excess liquid. Do the same thing for the artichoke hearts. Once drained, roughly chop the artichokes.

  • In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, mayo, parmesan, garlic powder, and black pepper until combined. Stir in the spinach and artichokes.

  • Arrange the cut up chicken breast in the bottom of a baking dish and spread the cream cheese mixture over the chicken.

  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving over potatoes, rice, or pasta (or cauliflower rice or mashed cauliflower to keep it low carb!).

Calories: 662kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 58g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 2933mg | Potassium: 2262mg | Fiber: 23g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 56104IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 717mg | Iron: 10mg

Blocks, Puzzles & Games

There are tons of benefits that come from playing with blocks and puzzles. They promote imaginative play, creative expression, experimentation, problem solving, building an awareness of space and shapes, improving fine motor skills, etc. All this to say, a good puzzle or set of Legos is as worthwhile a purchase as it gets when it comes to kids’ play.

*This post contains affiliate links

LEGO DUPLO Classic First LEGO Set $25

LEGO DUPLO Mickey Mouse Birthday Parade $17

Melissa and Doug farm puzzle $9.99
Safari animals puzzle
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse puzzle

I Never Forget a Face memory game $16
A fun memory game in which kids can match the smiling faces of 24 children from countries all over the world.

Pretend Play

Melissa & Doug Pet Vet Play Set $23.99

Fisher-Price Food Truck $75
James sees me cooking all the time so naturally he loves having a kitchen of his own. He got this for Christmas last year and has enjoyed it so much that I sent it to my best friend’s daughter on her birthday.

Musical Instruments Set $35
We as parents may regret getting these when we’re on hour ten of tambourine jangling, but the kiddos will be so happy it’ll be worth it.

Paper Doll Friends $25

Art

I firmly believe there’s no such thing as too many art supplies when it comes to kids’ activities (even better if they’re washable and mess-free!). These are some favorites:

Aquadoodle Mat $24.99

Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Coloring Kit $22

Crayola Baby Shark Wonder Pages,​ Mess Free Coloring $5.99

Crayola My First Finger Paint For Toddlers $30

Crayola Kids Wooden Easel, Dry Erase Board & Chalkboard $60

Stuffed Animals

We have a dozen or so Jellycat stuffies for James and Levi and they’re all as soft and cute as can be. In fact, James’ best friend might be this Jellycat bear that he creatively named Teddy Bear.

Jellycat If I were a Puppy Board Book and Bashful Puppy $35

Jellycat espresso cup $14

Jellycat croissant $16

Sports

Hopscotch Play Mat $39.99
I love the idea of bringing the classic playground game inside.

Little Tikes Basketball Hoop $31.99
We have a basketball hoop in our driveway that Daniel and James use all the time, but this mini version is perfect for indoor play (especially during the long months of winter).

Little Tikes Trampoline $56
So many fellow parents recommended this mini trampoline to us—and it has proved to be a fantastic buy. James jumps on it (and gets a little of his neverending energy out) every day.

Books

There are about a million great children’s books that I could recommend, but this year I’m focused on books with stories that center BIPOC and women.

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark
Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—in the first picture book about her life—as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable!

I Am Every Good Thing
The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He’s got big plans, and no doubt he’ll see them through—as he’s creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. And other times he’s afraid, because he’s so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen, when somebody tells you—and shows you—who they are. There are superheroes in our midst!

The Girl and the Wolf
While picking berries with her mother, a little girl wanders too far into the woods. When she realizes she is lost, she begins to panic. A large grey wolf makes a sudden appearance between some distant trees. Using his sense of smell, he determines where she came from and decides to help her. Through a series of questions from the wolf, the little girl realizes she had the knowledge and skill to navigate herself—she just needed to remember that those abilities were there all along.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
This beautifully illustrated board book edition of instant bestseller Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History showcases women who changed the world and is the perfect goodnight book to inspire big dreams.

Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History
Author-illustrator Vashti Harrison shines a bold, joyous light on black men through history in this #1 New York Times bestseller. An important book for readers of all ages.

The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story
Kanzi’s family has moved from Egypt to America, and on her first day in a new school, what she wants more than anything is to fit in. Maybe that’s why she forgets to take the kofta sandwich her mother has made for her lunch, but that backfires when Mama shows up at school with the sandwich. Mama wears a hijab and calls her daughter Habibti (dear one). When she leaves, the teasing starts. That night, Kanzi wraps herself in the beautiful Arabic quilt her teita (grandma) in Cairo gave her and writes a poem in Arabic about the quilt. Next day her teacher sees the poem and gets the entire class excited about creating a “quilt” (a paper collage) of student names in Arabic. In the end, Kanzi’s most treasured reminder of her old home provides a pathway for acceptance in her new one.

Bigger Gifts

Rockabye Plush Rocking Horses $100+
My bff Sabrina gave this unique rocking horse to James on his first birthday and he loves it. It’s soft, cute, and even plays music.

Damhorst Toys name stools $80
These customizable, solid-wood name stools will come in handy and last forever.

Kids Fire Tablet $139
This 8-inch tablet with a built-in parental controls and a kid-proof case can provide your kiddo a mix of entertainment and education, with access to thousands of books, games, shows, apps, and more.