Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Body After Baby...Step 1

I have been blessed with two beautiful girls. 
Photo Credit to Portraits by Crystal - She's AMAZING!!
Although I love them more than words can express and wouldn't trade them for the world,  don't so much love what pregnancy did to my body.  While I was pregnant with my little peanut, we went through a good amount of change in our family.  We moved, my oldest started a new school...and another new school and I started two new jobs, one as a personal chef and the other working a few days in a new bakery in Raleigh.  To say I was busy and constantly tired was an understatement.  I tried my best to eat well, but working out?  That fell by the wayside real fast.  In the end, I didn't gain as much weight this time around as I did the first time around, but I started at a slightly heavier weight so it feels like I have more to loose.

Yesterday was my official post partum checkup and doc cleared me to work out again.  This, for me, is a blessing and a curse.  In the past when I've wanted to "get back in shape" I put up these impossible goals for myself, basically setting myself up for failure.  I pretend that I'm actually going to go from my day to day hecticness to being able to fit in a full workout everyday.  And COMPLETELY change my diet to go along with it.  I decided this time I would try VERY HARD not to put those expectations on myself.  Which, if you met me, you know how almost impossible that is.  Still, when I stand back and look at the big picture, I know that baby steps is the only way I'm going to get to where I want to go.  So...

STEP 1 - Think about my diet.

Before my little peanut was born, I made a freezer full of food to get us through dinner time.  After all, I knew from experience that I wasn't going to have the fore thought to think about dinner during the day.  I've been increasingly thankful that we can still rely on these meals since she is an eating machine...especially at dinner time...which keeps me pretty preoccupied.  Although I tried to keep things as healthy as possible, reheating frozen meals limits the amounts of fresh fruits and veggies you can get.  So instead of trying to revamp my entire diet like I would have in the past, I decided to work with what I got...let myself off the hook for dinner...and focus on the rest of the day.

I had been noticing that I had not been eating the way I really should during the day.  Between trying to catch a little extra sleep during peanut's morning nap, feeding on demand, being conscious to drink enough water and trying to accomplish anything else during the day, I was finding that I wasn't really eating.  So I came up with a food calendar for breakfast, a snack and lunch.  Then, I sat aside some time to pre make everything!  There was the key.  Even if a snack was super easy, like hummus and vegetables, I knew if I left cutting the actual vegetables to when I was ready to eat them...well...I may not eat them.  Preparation really is key. 

I printed off a calendar and keep it by the coffee pot with a highlight, because...who are we kidding...I NEVER forget my coffee.  Every time I go to eat something, I highlight it.  That way if I wake up in the morning and I'm not feeling my baked oatmeal like the calendar says I'm supposed to have, I can pick from another day I know is waiting in the refrigerator while still keeping track of what I have left.  Here are my choices for this week:

     1 - Waffle with Peanut Butter and Smoothie
     2 - Egg Sandwich
     3 - Baked Oatmeal
     1 - Hummus with Vegetables
     2 - Greek Yogurt and Cashews
     3 - Sliced Cheese and Fruit
     1 - Salmon with Quinoa
     2 -Pasta with Zucchini, Yellow Pepper and Kielbasa
     3 - Sandwich Wrap with Raw Vegetables

My personal favorite so far?  The baked oatmeal, hands down!  When I was pregnant, I mad oatmeal almost every morning.  It really helped me get going in the morning.  Still, it took time to make every morning...time I didn't have anymore with a baby attached to me in the morning.  This was a perfect solution.  Bake one day, portion, wrap individually in plastic wrap, 60 seconds in the microwave the next morning and it's ready to go.  And still soft and wonderful!  You must try!

Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal (adapted from Food Done Light)

2 c quick cooking oats; uncooked
1/4 c oat bran
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c strawberries; quartered
2 bananas; cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 c cashew milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 T butter; melted
1 egg
1/4 c agave

1 - In a large bowl, combine oats through cinnamon. 

2 - In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients. 

3 - Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. 

4 - Pour into a well greased 9x9 glass baking dish and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until just set in the middle.  This will leave the oatmeal still slightly wet so it keeps more of an oatmeal texture.

5 - Cool completely.  Cut into 9 squares, wrap individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
6 - Reheat in the microwave for 60 seconds.

I'm looking forward to trying this recipe with different berries or fruits.  Stay tuned to see how I'm getting some exercise in!

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