Friday, January 13, 2012

Keeping it real: Sometimes I just like to post pictures of my kid


Oh, and just for funsies - here's a video of him letting me know he's had enough of his cereal:

Yeah, I'm pretty sure he's saying "mamamamama."

Keeping it real: My famous recipe

I was supposed to make turkey burgers for dinner.

But I had no lettuce. No tomatoes. No onions. And I'm pretty sure there were no buns, too.

I might be able to handle a patty on spinach with cheese and Dijon mustard but I'm pretty sure Mark would have thrown it in my face and made me sleep outside in the snow.

So I turned to a tried and true family favorite that is perfect in situations like these.

Grilled chicken with spinach and coleslaw. 

It's super easy to prepare. In fact, it only takes a few steps.

Drive past your house and head to the nearest KFC. While the grocery store, with its healthy rotisserie chickens, is also nearby, the KFC is preferrable because you don't have to get out of the car.

Purchase a four-piece meal for you and your significant other. White meat for her, dark meat for him. Pick one side for each person - mac and cheese for him and cole slaw for her - because you know you have frozen vegetables in the freezer.

Go home.

Greet your husband and baby while making a bee line to the kitchen. Microwave your frozen veggies (in a microcooker from Pampered Chef, ideally) while you plate your meal.

And, ta-da! Dinner on the TV tray in 5 minutes! Courtesy of the first "celebrity" chef.

What do you "make" in a dinner emergency?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Keeping it real: Bottles up

This post has nothing to do with running, healthy eating or weight loss. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

I had rehearsed my answer for days. Over and over again in my head I said the word "no" but all the preparation in the world could not take away the shame I felt when it came "show" time.

At Miles' 6-month well-child appointment, I had to tell the doctor that I was no longer breast feeding.

I tried to place no expectations on myself or Miles when I made the decision to breast feed. I would tell those close to me that if it worked, it worked. If it didn't, it didn't.

Early on, it was clear that though breast feeding might have been "working," Miles and I weren't working well together. He was nursing every hour to 90 minutes during the day, with maybe 2 hours between feedings at night. It was nothing like the every 2 to 3 hours I had read about when I was pregnant. I was exhausted and discouraged, feeling like I could do nothing more than sit on the couch with my top off.

I reached out to the La Leche League and lactation nurses at the hospital where I delivered for help, almost wishing that they would tell me that it would be OK to stop. Instead, I was told everything was OK because Miles was gaining weight. He just might need to eat more because he started out so small.

Days and then weeks passed, and we were still eating at least every 90 minutes. I tried to stay strong, continually assured by lactation nurses, and prayed that there would be a time when we just magically clicked. At Miles' six-week appointment, we still hadn't gotten there. Our pediatrician, whom I adore, turned out to be the person who offered me some help. She told me to start supplementing with formula. I should try offer him a bottle of 2 ounces after he had nursed, three times a day.

I might have said I had no expectations for breast feeding when I was pregnant but I secretly hoped that I'd be a superwoman, nursing him to a year and managing to have a freezer full of milk. I felt like a failure, that my body should be able to provide for my son. I cried making that first bottle, with Miles screaming in my arms, but I had to do it. The well being of Miles and myself was not worth my pride.

Miles got about 6 ounces of formula a day when I was on leave from then on. When I went back to work, I was able to pump enough to keep him in breast milk at daycare but Mark gave him 4 ounces in the afternoon and we "topped" him off with 2 more before bed. About a month or so ago, I was no longer able to keep up and our daycare provider started a half breast milk-half formula regimen.

On the weekends, I tried to "power nurse" as the lactation consultants suggested but it did nothing to boost my supply. It didn't help that Miles became increasingly difficult to nurse. I'm not sure whether it was a growing awareness and desire to observe or just a preference for the bottle but he was just not having it. I had such trouble in Florida that I spent a chunk of the trip in the guest room, by myself. The family thought I was "different" but I was just fighting for a way to get Miles to eat.

But you can only fight so much and so hard.

After a lot of discussion with Mark, soul searching, tears and reaching the 24-week mark, I decided that it was best for my family - the entire family - to wean Miles. I started skipping feedings, pumping less at work and then I stopped entirely on Saturday.

I currently look like I had a botched boob job but Miles seems no worse for the wear, gladly taking a bottle when it's offered. (Now, solids - that's another story.)

I wanted to share this because very few people will tell a mom that it's OK to stop breast feeding - or to not breast feed at all. I was made to feel like I just had to tough it out, that my feelings and well being didn't matter and that I had to do it. Period. But I do matter. And if I realize that, I will be a better mom.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Keeping it real: Can it, would you

This one is for you, Megan ...

We wake up together. We've gone to bed together. We go to dinners, parties, sporting events. We've even been on vacation together.

It's a torrid love affair we have. And it's still going strong after 10 years.

Don't worry. Mark knows about it. In fact, he fully supports the relationship. He doesn't really have a choice, of course, as he knows full well that I'd be a mess without it.

It being Diet Coke. It being a chemical-laden, artificially sweetened, full of caffeine beverage. It being the beverage the authors of "Skinny Bitch" might have likened it to drinking formaldehyde.

It being the beverage that makes me feel normal.

And you know what? I don't feel bad about it.

Coca Cola Light on my honeymoon in 2008. It tasted like doody and I was about 40 pounds heavier.
Many of those in the healthy living world demonize diet soda because of the chemicals and sweeteners, and they would tell me to drink sparkling water or, if I had to have soda, Zevia. I'm not going to lie - those would be better options.

But here's the thing: I rarely drink, I don't smoke, I think gambling is boring and recreational drugs are just too darn expensive ... and illegal. Diet Coke is my one and only vice.

I'm also not drinking a 450-calorie iced latte or throwing back energy drinks at my desk (though that is something to think about ...). Nor do I imbibe the 3+ 20-ounce Mountain Dews I used to drink in my college days when I began to seriously gain weight. I merely have one or two diet sodas to break up the monotony of tap water and peppermint tea.

If Diet Coke is the worst thing I do, I think I'll survive.

Where do you stand on diet sodas?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Keeping it real: Push it, push it real good

Dirty diapers, dog vomit, nasal aspirators, ripe morning breath. It's nothing but real in our house. And to spread some of that love, I'm dubbing this week "Keeping it real" week on Healthy Strides. I'll share some stories that might not otherwise make it on the blog.

No worries, though. I promise not to share with you the contents of Miles' diaper.


I'm a lazy mother runner. Really. I am.

About 1.5 of my runs each week are with my boys - Denali, Miles and BOB. BOB, of course, being my jogging stroller and not some random guy I hang out with while Mark is at work. The runs offer me a chance to wear out Denali, get Miles to take a nap and grow as a runner and gain strength.

But I only do two of those things. Wanna guess which two?

Running with the BOB is no easy feat, and I'm sure even the greatest of athletes would notice a difference in form, pace and endurance when running with a stroller and a nearly 15-pound behb. Instead of embracing the challenge, I use it as an excuse to avoid pushing myself ... because I am pushing Miles. I allow myself to skimp on mileage, often running less than my training plan dictates, and to keep the pace as easy as possible. The run is all about going through the motions and getting it done rather than the joy of running or feeling of accomplishment.

I embraced an "every run is a victory" attitude when I was pregnant but I have since adopted an "as long as I don't flake out" mantra, which is preventing me from making any significant gains in my pace since I returned to running nearly five months ago.

It's something that has got to change and, on Friday, I took my first step to doing that.

I had missed a 3.5-mile interval workout on the treadmill earlier in the week because of sleep deprivation and illness, and I wanted to make it up. I also needed to wear out Denali. My running partner doesn't win much these days (poor guy!) but he did Friday morning. I got everyone (Denali, Miles and BOB) ready to go and set out with a loosely based plan. I would do a half-mile warmup and do a series of pickups to cover 3.5 miles. Basically, I ran to x point (stop sign, parked car, etc.) as fast as I could then jogged to x point to recover; rinse, repeat.

It was hard. Really hard. It was the type of out-of-breath hard that I had been trying to avoid when I went out with the BOB. And you know what it got me? A blistering 9:26 pace - the fastest ever with the BOB and faster than any run I had done outside of a race since my postpartum return.

I still hope to do my interval workouts on the treadmill - if only to have one run for myself each week - but I learned something. Well, I was reminded of something. To run better, you have to run. To run faster, you have to run faster. To be the person you want to be, you have to act like that person.

How are you keeping it real today?