The Water Challenge and the Giveaway Winner Announcement!

glass_with_water_311647

Something wonderful has happened to me lately, as a result of working with Coach Justin Cox, of coachcox.com.  No, I haven’t lost any weight yet. It’s only been three weeks. Actually, I’ve gained 3 pounds, so let’s not focus on that…

What I’m actually referring to is this:

beautiful, normal looking nails on my right hand

almost pretty, normal looking nails on my left hand!! Now I just need to fix that broken nail.

Some of you may remember that I have terrible psoriasis of the fingernails, and it has hit an all time high level of UGLY this year. I didn’t even know it was possible for nails to crack on top, until this year. If you look closely at my right pinky or my left pointer finger, you can see a little of the pitting that is still there. Each day it’s clearing up a little bit more though, which is so exciting!!

Do you know why it’s exciting? It’s not just vanity. This stuff HURTS. Thanks to my nails, I can barely open bottles, use screwdrivers, or work buttons. Buttons are the worst.

Let me tell you about this Coach Cox program. If you visit his website here, you can read his full story. He is a  Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach. His website offers both a free 4-day course and video interview as well as premium one-on-one coaching with personalized work-out videos. It’s an awesome service. There’s even an app to track your progress. I’m a big fan of the app.

Step 1 is the interview. Coach Cox and I discussed my goals and physical fitness needs. Then he works with you to build LASTING habits to affect true change. We decided to first focus on my water consumption.

Here’s the rule of thumb: Take your body weight, in pounds, half that number, and drink that number of ounces of water per day. That equals 70 ounces of water for me.

My results, in the first three weeks:

1. Right away, I had more energy. Who knew being dehydrated was sapping my energy!?

2. After 3 weeks, I noticed the nail change, and I can’t tell you how excited I was about that. Of course, part of the nail problem was dryness, so it does make sense that water would help.. Right now my nails don’t have a single crack, and you should have seen them two months ago. They were like monster nails.

Here’s a REALLY scary picture of what my nails used to look like:

fingernail psoriasis

GRRRRoss, right?

I’ll also give you a preview of one of the workout videos from Coach Cox. I’m supposed to be exercising 2 days per week and doing one longer cardio session on the weekend, like running. So far I keep only getting around to one exercise day and one cardio day.

BUT, with Coach Cox, you’re still a success as long as you’re focusing on your one goal at a time, and for me that’s drinking my 70 ounces of water.

Here’s one of Coach Cox’s videos that I found very helpful:

When you sign up as a client, he actually puts together a string of videos for you to follow each work-out session. Best of all, every work-out is not the same. So if you’re like me, and enjoy variety, that’s built right in.

If I can stick with it, I’m hoping to lose a couple of inches off of my waist. So far, I’ve managed to gain 3 pounds, but my inches are unchanged, as far as I can tell. But as I’ve written before, when it comes to weight loss, overnight results don’t last. That’s what stomach viruses do, not lifestyle changes.

Exercise was a regular part of my life when I lived in Virginia, but taking on a new job this year, and losing my support system of workout friends took its toll, so I’m gradually easing back in.

For more info on my personal trainer, visit coachcox.com. If you want to get the one-on-one coaching, or even blog about it, you can contact him here.

The boys were super excited because today I took them all four to the pool by myself. OY! I was worried about that task. My friend Kristen gave me the idea of putting swimmies on the two little ones so we could all just swim in the big pool. Kristen has a set of twins, so she knows what she’s talking about. I figured I’d give it a try. Dan has his frog float that goes around his chest and arms, so he was all set, but I couldn’t find JD’s swimmies anywhere. However, I did find him a toddler-sized life jacket, left over from our boating days. Life preservers in place, pool day was actually FUN for everyone. 🙂 I was pleased as punch, and my thighs are sore now because swimming with a toddler on your hip is great exercise!

Summer is off to a SMASHING start. 🙂 And now without further ado………

THE GIVEAWAY WINNER!!!

brought to you by Cer Maz and Polmedia Polish Pottery and Stoneware

The winner is………Congratulations, Amy!!!!!

I will be emailing you your coupon code!

Thanks to all who entered!

Let the weekend begin!!!

fun with markers

As you can see, JD is having a fun weekend already! 😉

How I Lose the Pregnancy Weight

 

BEFORE

BEFORE

What I look like, every single time, right after giving birth:  This was a few days after I had Caleb. I weighed about 170 pounds in this photo.

And this is what I normally look like:

cryingJDArlington

That’s a 35 pound difference.  (After all, a few pounds actually DO belong to the baby.)

  This is not my favorite topic:  weight loss.  I don’t like discussing it because it often makes us feel bad. Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m going through a heavy phase, hearing skinny people talking about their weight really gets on my nerves.  It can be a sensitive issue, and I like to make people happy, not sad, so I’m going to address this just this one time.  After this, you’ll read no more weight loss posts from me.

Being the vain person that I am, I do eventually always buckle down and get the baby weight OFF.  That may be easy and happen naturally for some of you.  If you gain 20 pounds, then what work do you have to do?  This post is for the women like me:  the ones that gain 40+ pounds no matter how hard we try to eat right and exercise.

I always feel like people come and visit me right after I’ve given birth, expecting to see me looking thin already.  Instead, they meet a chubbier version of April, that still looks pregnant, but the fact is that WEIGHT LOSS TAKES MONTHS, NOT DAYS.

When I’m pregnant, my body handles food and exercise completely differently.  It clings on to every bite I eat.  I have gained 55 pounds every single time, save this last time.  This time I gained 40ish.

By the time the baby is 9 months old, I almost always have it whittled off.  I can’t tell you how to get stick-skinny because I’m not stick-skinny, but I can definitely tell you how I lost 40-55 pounds.  ; )

Oh!  And you have to give the tummy circumference extra time.  After giving birth more than once, it may take you up to two years to get your middle shrunk back all the way, and you may always have a little extra skin.

APRIL’S RULES FOR WEIGHT LOSS:

1.  Breastfeeding.  If you can, at least give it a try.  It takes a while to see results, but eventually you should.  I have friends that didn’t have to do anything more than breastfeed.  I have other friends that breastfeeding did not help at all with the weight loss.  It definitely helps me lose the weight faster because it burns so many calories.

2.  DO NOT SIGN UP FOR A DIET PLAN.  Boooooooooo diets!!!  Don’t do it.  Crash diets do not work, and any weight you lose from the one month you’re able to stick to your crazy diet plan will just come back when you wake up and realize that that Nutrisystem food tastes disgusting.  (It does.  I’ve tasted it.)

3.  DO make permanent changes in what you buy at the grocery store, and try to get your husband on board.  (That’s the tricky part.)  One year after having Daniel, I realized that I had actually gained a bunch of weight while my husband was in Afghanistan for 6 months.  This was not pregnancy weight.  This was sedentary lifestyle weight.  I knew I had to get it back in gear.  First I read this book:

  She will drill into your head great fundamentals of eating right.  For me, it was a great reminder that I do not have to have dessert every day.

Then I made these dietary changes:

a. I cut out soda.  (except for a treat once every couple of weeks)

b. I stopped buying any junk food at all.  Not even Oreos.  Since that time, Alan has added back in buying ice cream (ugh).  I guess I need to get back on his case.  If it’s not in your kitchen, you can’t eat it.  It’s really that simple.

c.  I replaced the junk food with these snacks:

-greek yogurt

-yogurt covered raisins

-popcorn  (Read the label.  It’s not bad.)

-almonds

-100 calorie granola bars

-blackberries

-cheese

-cheese and crackers

-cereal

Pssssst!  You know all those articles that tell you not to drink juice, etc.  Well, okay, fine, it’s worse than water, but it has HALF the sugar of soda.  Also, coffee is extremely beneficial to your health, and it fills you up too!

4.  Oatmeal makes a great meal, any day, any time.  That wasn’t really a change, as I’ve always eaten oatmeal, but I just wanted to put that out there. ; )  It doesn’t have to be complicated and time consuming to be healthy.  These health magazines make it way too hard with all the complicated recipes with ingredients you’ve never heard of.  Instant oatmeal is just fine.

5.  EXERCISE.  Every day!!!!   I’m not talking P90X or Insanity everyday.  That is not my style.  Who has time for that?  Not a mom of lots of little ones!  You work in exercise wherever you can.  Buy DVDs that are 30 minute programs, or sometimes I just cut the long ones off at 30 minutes.    Just make sure that at least once a week you’re doing some kind of strength training.  I also do stretching at least once/week to keep back pain away.  Ever since my yoga teacher moved, I am a wreck.

WALKING IS GREAT EXERCISE!  Plus, it can give you alone time.  Whenever possible, as many days a week as Alan gets home before dark, I leave all the kids with Alan and hit the sidewalk for a 2 mile walk. Sanity time!  Remember!!  Jesus always went off alone to pray!  We should too!

In addition to that exercise, I walk my children home from school.  That adds in another mile, and when you add in pushing a double stroller, it is a significant work out.

If you really want to torch calories fast, RUN, or attend a strength training class.

My most successful weight loss was not related to pregnancy at all.  It was after that Afghanistan tour, when Daniel, my 3rd son, was a toddler.  I actually got to the point of no chubby middle section because I worked out really, really hard every single day.  I was doing a whole lot of running, and a little bit of weight lifting.

I will have to get my anemia under control before I can work out like that again!  I’m too tired to even think about all that stuff.  Meanwhile, I’ve still lost 45 pounds just breastfeeding, walking, doing yoga, and not buying cookies or soda!

6. DO NOT count calories.  Just eat somewhat healthy, and when you’re starting to feel full, you know, QUIT EATING.

7.  Sleep! Sometimes you might just be getting a late snack to stay awake.  Instead, assert your will power, and go to bed.

8.  EAT EVERY THREE HOURS, and duh, don’t skip breakfast.  Eating every three hours keeps you from getting that starving feeling that makes you pig out.  It also boosts your metabolism. Snacks should be small but nutritionally helpful.

9.  Oh yeah!  If you have a c-section OR even tearing from a natural birth, do NOT exercise until 6 weeks out.  Trust me.  I thought I could be all tough and carry around two babies at once, two weeks after giving birth, and there were busted stitches as a result.  Youch. You don’t want that. ALWAYS wait six weeks.

I wish I had more before/after pics to share, but I’m so vain that I always delete my ‘fat’ pictures…. However, I do not delete pregnancy photos, so here are a few of those:

baby1weight

baby2weight

baby3weight

See, I’m not one of those thin pregnant women….

As you can see, I never really posed for any ‘before’ or ‘after’ pictures, because the weight loss was always so gradual.  That’s the kind of change that lasts.  It doesn’t have to be complicated to live a healthy lifestyle.  Just get moving, and skip the non-nutritive foods at the grocery store!

 

 

It’s not an easy life, but it’s a pretty fun one.

cryingJDArlington

So many things going on in that picture……I feel like I should explain:

1.  the lady behind me:  just another tourist

2. the pink gloves on the baby:  You know, hey, it was either my pink gloves or no gloves at all.  Sometimes I forget things.

3. the crying baby:  It was really cold.  Have no fear.  Nonna took him out into the sun, and then I wore him the rest of the time we were there, and he was very happy.  He even took an Ergo carrier nap.  The next day I went to the chiropractor.  I’m doing okay.

4. When I see this picture, it’s weird to me because in my head I’m much, much bigger than I look in this photo.  After being GIGANTICALLY pregnant 4 times, you never really feel small again.  I look at this and think, “But where’s my baby bump?”  The good news is that I have now lost 45 pounds, and I haven’t been quite this thin since 2008.  Hard work and breastfeeding.

 

DanArlington

“Cheeeese, but I can’t not look out this window!”  Arlington Cemetery is a thing of amazement.


Danmonument DCthree

This is at the Arlington House, overlooking D.C.  I have a similar photo to this of Joshua, Caleb, and me.  Let me see if I can find it!

ArlingtonJoshCalebme

Okay, so not exact same spot, but it’s the same place anyway!

 

We haven’t just been galavanting about town as tourists. We have also been hard at work.  Here’s a sample of Joshua’s latest:

 

dragonmovie

This was a movie pitch, by Joshua.

Now, back to the tourism fun:

happyDAnArlington

My Aunt Ann has always said that my first word was ‘go’.  I believe this applies to Dan as well.  You cannot mention going anywhere without hearing Daniel shout, “Me!!  Me!!  Me go!!!”

 

We all know this is the winter that doesn’t want to go away.  I’m going to be optimistic and say that the snow is over.  It went out with a bang.  Matthew and Joshua created 5 snow men from that last snow storm:

JoshSnowman

Joshua made that one all by himself.

He also made this:

joshuaart

I just love this stuff.

meandlittlesDC zombieattack

 

As you can see, they’ve been learning about story writing in school.  Joshua’s work is so cool to me because I love the way he adds so many details!!

Most of you already know it was a crazy week for us.  We had a lot of fun visiting with Nonna, Ellen, and Matthew.  The littles and I even got to join them for a day at Arlington.  Oh, and I can’t tell you how much I loved getting to go shopping yesterday!!!

Unfortunately, the week also had its trials, especially the nut allergy incident.  Joshua ate three pieces of candy from a trail mix that contained cashews.  It was the definition of anaphylaxis.  Scary stuff.  We had to use the epi pen, and then the hospital had to give him additional steroids, as the epi pen wasn’t even enough to clear up Joshua’s reaction.

This was a serious parenting fail.  I shouldn’t have even had that in the house, much less available to Joshua.  I really dropped the ball.

The thing is, you can’t change the past.  “Just keep moving forward.”  Lesson learned.  Big time.  I’m going to be serious nut free lady from now on.  You can just call me the nut allergy nazi.

There is nothing that is worth sending Joshua to the ER for.  We had not realized how severe his allergy is.  Now we know.

 

Our milder problem for this week:

Sleep deprivation.  I’ve started going to bed by 10, 11 at the latest.  JD went from angel baby that sleeps all night to BAAAAAAAGRRRAAAAAAA baby, up 3 times/night, on average.  It hurts.  It really does.  Something must be done.  Don’t say “let him cry at night.”  It will never happen.  Can’t do it.  I could have 20 babies, and I still will never be that tough.  I just can’t see how that could be the right thing to do.

For three weeks, I couldn’t even put him down for a nap without rocking him, which was also new.  I’ve always just gotten away with laying them down and popping a pacifier in their mouth.  Done!

THANKFULLY, the last couple of days, he is back to going to sleep on his own.  Maybe that’s a good sign.  Despite what people will tell you, that does not guarantee that your baby will sleep through the night, though.  We’ve had four babies to sufficiently disprove that theory.

Oy.

Thanks for all the support and prayers!  Hopefully, this week will be an easier one.

I just try to remind myself, if an easy life was what I was after, I wouldn’t have four children.  Life is more fun lived.  Yes, there are problems, but eh….it’s just life, you know?

5snowmen

You have to look really closely to see all 5 snowmen.  There’s a tiny baby one between the lacrosse snowman and the snowman with a stick.  Then there’s a short one between the one with the stick and the one on the far left.  Matthew and Joshua had a fun time making these.

 

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