Blog

Health & Wellness, New Mom

How to Have as Much Energy as a Toddler (and then some)

Want enough energy to keep up with your toddler all day and still get your grown up shit done after bedtime?

One of the biggest complaints I hear from new moms when it comes to their health is this: They. Are. Exhausted.

Yeah, we all expected to be a little sleep deprived with a newborn in the house. But as the days drag on and your baby isn’t much of a newborn anymore, that exhaustion doesn’t seem to quit.

In fact, it gets worse.

It seeps into your bones, into every fiber of your being.

You begin to dream of a week in a hotel room, where you can sleep to your heart’s content, get room service, and a nice long shower. (And then the #momguilt sets in because of course you don’t want to escape your kids!)

And your baby is getting older, sleeping better. But you still feel like there aren’t enough pots of coffee to get through the day.

Waking up in the morning feeling like you could sleep another 8 hours sucks. Going through life as a #mombie sucks. And this level of exhaustion feeds into Post Baby Burnout, which also sucks.

So let’s fix that, shall we?

There can be several surprising reasons why you’re dragging ass every day.

Here are the most common (and what you can do about them).

Stress is Wearing You Out

When we are in the thick of birthing and raising babies, it is really easy for chronic stress to kick in. I describe Post Baby Burnout in detail here and here, but you probably already know what it is. 

Once we are chronically stressed, exhaustion easily sets in. Our bodies are constantly pumping out the hormones cortisol (which is the one that wakes us up in the mornings) and adrenaline (the one that makes our heart pump fast). Raising your heart rate, increasing your breathing, and pumping extra blood into your muscles. And all this constant biological activity uses up a lot of energy. Which in turn, makes you feel tired.

Finding a way to permanently lower your stress levels is the best answer here. But we know that can take a lot of habit and lifestyle changes. So in the meantime, you can lower your stress levels by taking a 15 minute walk outside, taking 2 minutes to deep breathe like this, or spending 5 minutes meditating.

You’re Overfed and Undernourished

We live in a society where food is abounding, but the actual nutrients in most of that food are limited. This means that unless we are intentional with what we eat, we often consume too many calories but not enough nutrients.

This combo makes us tired (and messes with our waistline). We use energy to store the extra calories, while we don’t have enough nutrients to fuel our biology. Our bodies respond by trying to adapt, which can mean lowering our overall energy output to match the nutrition that is coming in. It also further increases our stress levels! 

So how do we fix this? Begin to look at food as something you need to function well throughout the day. Look for foods that pack in as many vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients per bite as you can. When we switch to measuring food by the amount of nutrition each bit contains (rather than some other calorie measurement), we begin to give ourselves the gas we need to get through our high demand days.

Don’t fill your tank with the cheap dirty gas girl. You were built for premium.

Your Sleep Quality is Crappy

There are only so many hours in a day, and with a newborn or even a toddler around, it can be hard to get a lot of sleep. But when the few hours of shut-eye that you do get are not restorative, then it’s a double whammy for exhaustion.

Yes, the quality of your sleep matters as much as the quantity. 

Most people don’t realize they are not getting good quality sleep. We assume that if we don’t wake up or have nightmares, we’re fine. But there is plenty of evidence that shows we can have poor sleep cycles even without waking up a lot. Things like the light from our phones, the temperature of the room, and how much wine we had all can cause us to sleep poorly.

So what can you do? The simplest is to avoid any screens after sunset (or at least an hour before bed). And yes, that includes not scrolling on your phone if you have to wake up to feed the baby in the middle of the night. The light emitted by screens causes our “wake up” hormones to surge and our sleep hormones to drop off, which means you won’t get the deep sleep you need to feel rested.

You’re on a Diet

We already talked about why the quality of your food matters so much, but the quantity also has an effect on your energy levels. If you’ve been on a restrictive diet for a while, this may be the cause of your exhaustion.

When we restrict calories, our bodies think we are living in a time of famine and respond in a way to keep us alive for as long as possible. Our brain and thyroid work together to lower the energy output of our biological functions.

What’s that mean in everyday speak? Our hormones make us tired, so we expend less energy.  

And if you’ve been on a low carb diet for a while, the effect can be amplified (especially if you are still breastfeeding). 

Changing to a higher nutrient and more balanced diet will do amazing things for your energy levels in this case. And there’s an added bonus: you will often begin to lose weight again once you add better calories back in!

These are the most common reasons why my clients have been feeling more tired than they should, and some of the ways we have worked together to get them their energy back. There can be other reasons behind your exhaustion, of course, so if you want additional help figuring out what steps to take to get your energy back, let me know! I’m happy to chat with you about it.

I know that exhaustion is often a new mom badge of honor. But staying tired is preventing you from functioning at your best. So let’s say screw the badges and use the list above to get ourselves out of the tiredness cycle. Deal?

Health & Wellness, New Mom, nutrition

#momlife Sucks Sometimes and I’m Not Afraid to Say It

Sometimes, #momlife sucks. I said what I said.

You get stuck in a rut. The groundhog day of never ending snack making, butt wiping, mess cleaning, tantrum bearing, fight stopping, UGH

You wake up before you feel rested. Usually by a toddler with so much energy they’re already bouncing off the walls and whining for breakfast. 

So you move like a zombie out of bed and throw on some clothes (nevermind the inner dialogue about nothing fitting your post baby bod and never looking cute). Down to the kitchen to make something for the kiddo. Hopefully you get a bite to eat too, or at least a sip or two of cold coffee?

Then it’s an attempt to wipe the kid’s faces and hands before they track jelly all over the living room. And a frantic 5 minutes of cleaning up the kitchen and putting away food before you’re called to take care of something else.

During the week, we’re packing lunches and backpacks and rushing off to daycare and work. We’ve already gone through a mental workout before we’re even in the car, making sure we didn’t forget one of the 100’s of things needed for school, daycare, or our own jobs. (Pump parts, check. Bottles, check. Bring a stuffed animal to school day, check.)

Then spend the day doing more at work in fewer hours than most. Trying to stay professional and not get mommy-tracked because we have to take pumping breaks. Missing our kids and vowing to be more patient when we get home. Wondering “what happened to the woman who was totally on top of her shit?”. Wondering if there is something really wrong with us, because we know our brain is just not firing on all cylinders like it used to.

By the time we’ve finished underperforming for the day, we rush home to cranky and overtired kids. Rush through the daycare and after school care pickups. Break the vow to be more patient by the fifth time you have to repeat yourself about doing homework or picking up toys. 

Too tired and brain dead to make a “good” dinner, so you throw things together and hope for the best. Kids complain. Great.

Then it’s the rush through the bedtime routine. Hopefully we aren’t too irritated with everyone to enjoy the 5 minutes of storytime and snuggles before the kids get in bed. Hopefully they stay in bed and it doesn’t take an hour+ to get the baby to sleep.

Maybe at this point we are so done we crash in bed ourselves. But more likely, we push through and get to cleaning up the dinner mess, pay some bills, or take care of some more work stuff.

Maybe we actually get a glass of wine and stay up too late scrolling through social media or watching a TV show.

Then we get in bed, full of regrets for how the days go, how we didn’t “enjoy” every moment with our kids, how we are not the mom we want to be and not the employee we want to be. Don’t even start on the friend and spouse we want to be…

Just to do it all over again when we’re woken up too early tomorrow. Groundhog Day, repeats.

Yeah, going through this definitely sucks. And admitting that doesn’t make you a “bad mom.” It doesn’t make you ungrateful. Wondering “is this it? Cause I don’t think I like this life” makes you human, not evil.

You know that things should be less stressful and more joyful than this. But you really can’t seem to get your head above water. You feel guilty for not being able to figure it out.

Here’s the deal. It’s always harder to find your way out when you’re in the thick of it. A mouse has a hard time finding its way out of the maze when the walls are taller than it is. 

But someone who is above the maze can clearly see the way out, and call out directions to the mouse to get it out faster.

I’m going to call out directions for you.

It starts with food.

Yup the food you’re eating. (Probably don’t like that answer, huh.) Your overall nutrition is the key to getting out of the overwhelm and getting control back in your life.

Food. Not pills or supplements.

When we’re in the rat race, stuck in the overwhelm, and always feeling a step behind, we’re in a constant state or reactionary stress. And that low grade, chronic stress does a number on our bodies. We deplete several essential nutrients faster when we are under a chronic stress load.

When you layer a less than nutritious diet on top of that, you end up with a recipe for some serious problems. Leaving your body without the nutrients it needs to function amplifies the exhaustion, the overwhelm, and the inability to think straight.

All of which feed into the overwhelm cycle, keeping you stuck.

So focusing on fruits and veggies may seem like a counterintuitive path out of the overwhelm maze. But it’s the fastest way to the finish. 

Start with food. Focus on as many whole veggies and fruits that you can. Focus on high quality protein sources and whole food carbohydrates. Cut back on the packaged, processed, and sugar foods.

You have to eat. It’s literally the one thing that you can’t not do. So why not make it work for you instead of against you? 

If the thought of changing your diet to something that is more nutrient rich is overwhelming, that’s ok! I have so many moms tell me they just have no idea where to start. 

If you want directions out of the maze, I’m here to call them out to you.

I’m here to help moms figure out how to make this a seamless and effortless part of their lives. Because it actually does take a village, and supporting other women in becoming the badass moms they know they can be is what lets us all live better lives.

I am more than willing to chat with you and get you on the right track. So feel free to contact me and I’ll give you 30 minutes to figure out the right first step for you.

We’re in this together. Let’s make things suck just a little less.

Health & Wellness, New Mom, nutrition

Burned Out as a New Mom? It’s a thing.

New Mom Burnout. 

It’s something that I went through, and it blows. But I wasn’t sure if it was just me.

So I recently asked my friends what they thought it was. 

“It’s when you’ve hit the maximum capacity as a human being caring for everyone but yourself.”

She’s lost herself in becoming a mom and she feels like she is constantly on the back burner. She feels like she doesn’t have time for herself/selfcare/hobbies, she can’t disconnect from her role as a mom or the mental load of carrying the family “admin” and all that comes with it. 

She’s also working full time on top of that. Usually a top performer at work, but has felt “off her game” since coming back from maternity leave and keeps wondering “What is wrong with me? My brain just isn’t working right anymore!!” 

She has so much mom guilt that even if she got a tiny bit of time to herself, she feels like she should be spending it with her kids because “they’re only little for so long” and “babies don’t keep” and “enjoy those times because they go so fast” or whatever other cliche she hears all the time. [It’s like paralysis to do anything she thinks would help make her feel better.]

 

And finally, she feels like a stranger in her own body. She’s exhausted, feeling flabby and bleh “like I’m not pregnant anymore, now I’m just fat.” Hormonal swings are awful and sometimes even scary (“Who WAS that person???”). She dreads having to look in the mirror, is terrified of having to spend a ton of money on a new wardrobe, and just wants a piece of pre pregnancy clothing to fit and look flattering again. 

Any of that sound familiar? I could see myself in all of it. So the good thing is that I wasn’t alone in my experience.

The sad thing is that this is the experience for so many of us. And we are all trying to claw our way out of it. We’re all being told that if we were just a little better at this self care thing, we’d be better everywhere else. 

But then comes the weird paralysis to do anything that we think would make us feel better, because of the time it takes away from everything else.

What if I told you that the ultimate form of self care actually doesn’t require an additional second spent? It doesn’t have to be something that is hard or extra.

I’ve talked about it before on many a podcast or interview: the ultimate form of self care is the food we put into our bodies.

Our biology requires a certain level of nutrition to function correctly. But we live in a society that is overfed and undernourished. So we go through life in a constant state of too many calories and too few nutrients, setting ourselves up for extra pounds, exhaustion, and overwhelm. 

When we take the care to make sure the food we are fueling our days with is packed full of nutrition, we are giving ourselves the ultimate form of self care. 

We already have to eat. Food preparation and eating is time that will always be spent. So let’s make sure we choose food that gives us more than it takes.

When we start to focus on nutritious foods, our bodies begin to replenish nutrients that were depleted in pregnancy, breastfeeding, and via the general stress of life. They begin to function better. And with the better function, we begin to be able to show up in the way we want to in life.

Bodies that are nourished can run around after crazy toddlers without feeling slow and winded. Bodies that are nourished can be infinitely more patient with our kids’ emotions, because keeping our own in check isn’t a struggle. Bodies that are nourished can begin to release extra fat stores, because the biological process to burn that off has the right elements to do so.

And none of this has to be hard. Like I said, we have to eat anyway. It’s a myth that nutritious food takes longer to make than pre-packaged crap. You can grab an apple, a cutie, or a banana in the same amount of time it takes to grab a sugary energy bar.

So if you’re there in the trenches of Post Baby Burnout, start with food. It is the fastest way out.

Want to learn exactly how to do it?

Contact me and I’ll show you.

Health & Wellness, Healthy Kids, nutrition

Healthy Shelf Stable Essentials

Alright, let’s talk about nutrition that can stay on a shelf. Healthy shelf stable essentials.

With many grocery stores having empty meat, produce, and dairy sections (and even frozen foods!) it’s easy to think that you have to revert to eating a diet that’s high in refined carbs and low in veggies.

And let’s be real: you know a few weeks without a lot of fiber or micronutrients can leave us feeling shitty. Not to bash mac&cheese, but there’s better options than that and ramen noodles available.

So what can you get that’s both shelf stable and good for you?

Shelf Stable Essentials

Here are a few of my favorites healthy shelf stable essentials.

  1. Brown Rice: This contains carbohydrates (the good ones) for energy and fiber to help your digestion. It’s also packed with essential vitamins: B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and selenium. All are needed for proper biological functioning (meaning, you need this stuff to feel good!)
  2. Black Beans (or your favorite kind): A great source of fiber, they also provide protein and vitamins like folate and vitamin K. Canned beans are fine. But if you find that you are sensitive to them (i.e. gassy), you may want to buy bulk dried beans instead. If you prepare them by soaking and then using a pressure cooker, the lectins in the beans break down, which makes them much easier to digest. Added bonus: dried beans are super affordable!
  3. Sardines: My favorite shelf stable protein option! These little guys are packed with protein, healthy omega 3 fats, calcium, AND they have the lowest mercury content for fish. I highly encourage you to give them a try. They are super similar to canned tuna in flavor. You can prepare them just the same!
  4. Greens Powder: Yes, I’m a strong advocate for eating actual food. Sometimes, that’s not possible and here’s where greens powders like the two pictured here come in. These are packed with phytonutrients that go missing when we aren’t eating a large amount (and variety) of veggies. Get a scoop per day to help offset that.

Honorable mentions for healthy shelf stable foods are: canned and jarred veggies that still taste great like diced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, pumpkin, and corn; olives and olive oils; avocado oil; nuts and seeds like chia, hemp, almonds, walnuts; and coconut.

Let’s not forget about snacks! Check out my list healthy snack suggestions here.

What are some of your favorite pantry items? Comment here to let me know!

nutrition, Uncategorized

Make a Salad that Doesn’t Suck

You ever get a salad to try and be “healthy” and look at it and think to yourself, “Well this sucks…”

That’s probably because it did suck. It was probably a shitty little salad. Some iceberg lettuce, a tomato slice, a cucumber slice, and ranch dressing. Maybe a crouton or two.

Total suckage.

But salads DON’T HAVE TO SUCK. Just look at this masterpiece right here ?

So here are the 3 Steps to Making a Non-Sucky Salad:


Vary your lettuce:

Plain old iceberg or romaine alone is boring. Make your salad base a mixture of different lettuces, baby greens, and maybe even some shredded cabbage, brussels sprouts, or carrots. You want variety and texture here!


Add a ton of fresh veggies:

ANY veggie can go on a salad, so add as much as you can. Love jicama? Salad topper. Bell peppers? Salad topper. Beets? Salad Topper. And if you can, dice the veggies into smaller pieces before adding. This helps you to make sure every bite has a little of everything. Can we say flavor explosion?


Add some weight: 

Salads that include a good protein source or whole grain (chicken, beans, legumes, tofu, quinoa, farro, etc) not only taste better; they keep you full. So pick 1-3 of these “heavier” items and top you salad with those.

Voila! You have a much better salad: tasty and full of nutrients your body needs to function.

You’re welcome ?