Tag Archives: women’s wellness

Pregnancy and Exercise – Infographic

As WellnessWinz readers know, I’m a big fan of exercising while pregnant and wrote on the subject already: The Inside Scoop on Exercise During Pregnancy. Today, I’m thrilled that my friends from the UK’s MyFitnessBoutique have weighed in on the topic with the following article and infographic contribution. Thanks, guys!!! Gals – get your exercise on whether pregnant or not!

Pregnancy & Exercise 

For women who enjoy being active but are also expecting a child, exercising becomes a dilemma. Do they try and remain active for their own benefit and wellbeing, or is exercise a bad idea while pregnant?

This infographic from My Fitness Boutique (www.myfitnessboutique.co.uk) shows that pregnant women can still obtain regular exercise without doing any harm. In fact, it is rather important for pregnant women to try and get at least 30 minutes exercise a day for a minimum of five days a week. Exercises such as Pilates, squats, wall push-ups, cycling and lunges all serve to improve the stamina of women during pregnancy, making pains less difficult to bear. It also helps them sleep better at night and provides a self-esteem boost.

If you’re expecting a baby and you still want to keep active, that’s magnificent – just remember not to overdo it. All exercises should be done with caution and if you feel any strain or discomfort, stop the exercise. Even something as simple as a 30-minute walk still counts as exercise and certainly beats doing nothing. Don’t believe that if you haven’t exercised before, now is not the time to start. Do what you can and you will thank yourself for it.

Pregnancy Fitness

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

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Gratitude: Why I Love My Thick Thighs

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m asking readers to reflect on the following two questions: “What is your favorite part of your body?” and “What is your least favorite part of your body?” Now, let’s assess our answers and what they mean to us, starting with a little bit of my personal story. Today, I will share what has been my greatest insecurity through the years…

If I had to answer the first question myself, I would probably say my hair. I love that I’ve never dyed it and that it falls straight no matter what I do to it (even though that’s annoying when I want it curled…ahem, wedding day hair disaster…it was one thick, knotted and stringy mess by the end of the night). I love that my hair is the exact same as my mother’s and father’s and that the combination of my espresso locks and deep brown eyes has caused strangers to ask if I’m related to one of my older brothers (who yes, could very well be my twin if not for the five-year age difference).

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If I had to answer the second question…well…that one’s even easier. Since I was little, I’ve always had thick thighs. Other little girls’ shorts would hang loosely around their spindly legs while mine would sometimes cling awkwardly or bunch up at the crotch. My inner thighs are no strangers to chafing.

I vividly remember sitting beside a friend in elementary school one day. She looked from her lap to mine and said “look how much bigger your legs are than mine.” I blushed. Another time, I was in a swimming pool during the evening. The underwater lights cast shadows to the pool’s floor. A friend commented that she was told she has “perfect legs” because there were several diamond-shaped gaps between them when pressed against one another. I looked to see if my legs had the same gaps….nope. No gaps. Thigh to thigh, I had Just one single inverted triangle shape from hips to toes.

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As I got older, I noticed that I didn’t feel comfortable wearing skirts as short as my peers. If anything hit above mid-thigh, I felt I looked bulky. I craved the long, lean look that so many other girls seemed to have. I wondered how come I couldn’t get that same look, no matter how hard I tried especially since I wasn’t overweight. I was athletic. It seemed my days in high school playing field hockey didn’t help my cause. Even my dad would comment at how my legs transformed during pre-season (in field hockey you’re basically in a squat position for the majority of the game…go figure). Dance team practice would kick off right after hockey season ended. I would pull tight black spandex pants up my legs and groan.

In spite of my insecurities, I never let my legs get me down for too long. I have always been proud of my athleticism and there is little I can do to change the fact that genetically, my body prefers to store fat down south rather than in my stomach. The thickness of my thighs has threatened to be my undoing, but I have been quite decisive that I will never let them make me too self-conscious. In fact, my husband even likes them. 🙂

Who cares if I’ve had a few stretch marks on my inner thighs since middle school? So what if I have a tad bit of cellulite at the very tops of them (even at my very leanest body fat levels)? My body is healthy and strong. For THAT, I give thanks. For THAT, I applaud my legs. They have carried me through several marathons, the deserts of Arizona, the ocean depths of the Bahamas, and nine different sports. How on earth could I despise them? They have given me everything. They have given me freedom and energy to engage with the world around me. Their strength may even be what cushioned and protected me from more severe injury during a potentially life-threatening accident.

Shamrock Marathon! 030

In moments when insecurities have crept in, I’ve noticed that I’m not as caring and considerate of others as I want to be. The times in life when I let myself get hung up about my appearance were also the times that I wasn’t very selfless or giving. I don’t know about you, but that’s the opposite of how I want to live. I want to strive to always love others with openness and unbridled affection.

Can you take something you DON’T love about yourself and see it as a benefit? How do you take your “deficit” and see the positives in it? Ultimately, our greatest strength can also leave blind spots and what we perceive as our greatest weakness can also be viewed from a different, more positive light.

During this upcoming holiday season, I challenge you to adopt an attitude of gratitude. If you do this, then you will be more prepared to give to others. By loving ourselves first, we are primed and ready to have a giving heart. Isn’t that what the holiday season – and life at large – is all about?

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

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Real Inspiration: A reader’s struggles lead her down the path of wellness

WellnessWinz is thrilled to introduce you to Lucy Taylor! Lucy is one of our readers who is a devoted wife and mother of two rambunctious little girls (oh yea – and with another bun in the oven!). She used to be a full-time wedding and portrait photographer before realizing that she needed more work/life balance for her growing family. Now, Lucy has followed her passion for health wellness and has begun representing a brand that means the world to her. I encourage you to read on and learn about how Lucy has managed her journey through challenges with weight loss, body image, depression and eating. Insights galore! 

Lucy's favorite shirt

Lucy posted the above picture to Instagram:

“That day when your favorite shirt fits again and you can breathe.”

Q & A with Lucy: 

1) Lucy, can you fill readers in on the ups and/or downs of your personal health journey? 

For most of my life, weight and body image has always been a struggle. I started running in college and fell in love with it but I still wasn’t eating well. Fast forward to 2011, my husband and I had gotten married and we were pregnant with our first, Edith. I gained 55 pounds with that pregnancy and had a lot of trouble losing the weight. I wasn’t eating well and I wasn’t active.

In April of 2013, a year after Edith was born, my husband and I decided to do a Whole30. I lost 12 pounds and numerous inches! I also gained energy and the desire to be active again. Around that time, I also started working out with an amazing group of moms once a week. After our whole30 though, we went back to our old eating habits…

Info on what the Whole30 challenge is all about:

“Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.”

Later that year, we happily got pregnant with our second, Ruby. During that winter, I struggled with very bad depression. It was one of the darkest times of my life. When the second trimester finally came, I went completely gluten and sugar free. It made an immense difference in my mood and energy levels. I also started walking daily and vowed to not gain the 55 pounds I did with Edith. When our second little lady came into the world, I had only gained 24 pounds. I attribute this to my clean eating.

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Left Image: 24 lbs. gained in pregnancy #2 thanks to clean eating.

Right Image: 55 lbs. gained in pregnancy #1 before adopting a healthier lifestyle. 

Arbonne, an inner and outer health and beauty product line, came into my life around the time I had Edith. I started using their clean nutritional supplements and I saw amazing results while getting back into shape after having the baby. My husband and I did our first Arbonne “30 days to Healthy Living” in 2014 and it totally changed our lives. The program has drastically changed my relationship with food. It has truly freed me to know how to give food the proper place in my life.  It was easy to eliminate the foods that didn’t serve us because we were given the tools we needed to succeed.

facebook lucy food

I can now happily say that most of the time, our whole family eats gluten free, sugar free, and mostly processed food free. We do like to celebrate though so we strive to find a healthy balance. We have started to enjoy gluten-free baking so that our girls can still enjoy things like a delicious chocolate cake or a warm chocolate chip cookie from time to time. Clean eating does take immense discipline, but, once I realized how good my body was created to feel, I didn’t want those other foods anymore. You start to crave the foods your body was made to be fueled by.

 

2) What has been the hardest thing for you to manage in terms of your health, exercise and/or diet? 

I would have to say that depression is definitely the hardest thing that I’ve had to manage in terms of my health. My desire to exercise, get out of bed, and eat well is greatly affected by my mood. I am grateful for an amazing support network, (my husband and dear friends) who encourage and lift me up during those hard times. I also am grateful to my faith and the Lord who gives me hope for healing.

Lucy's First Whole 30

Before & After Lucy’s first Whole30

 

3) What solutions have you found that other women may be able to apply to their lives too? 

I truly believe that my diet has drastically changed my mood. I love that our Arbonne “30 days to Healthy Living” program also makes it possible for someone who is busy and may not have ever eaten this way to have great success with a clean eating program. I do also take a daily anti-depressant which has also helped immensely. (I don’t believe this is needed for everyone but for some it is completely necessary.)

I also cannot imagine life without daily exercise. The best solution I’ve found is to make exercise a habit. Do it every single day. Even if it’s just a walk around the block. In our family, we’ve made it a goal to walk places where we would normally drive. Yes, it takes a bit more time, especially with two little movers, but I love that we can encourage our children to be active and healthy.

Lastly, women with children often need to have the proper gear to get active (it is already hard enough to leave the house– can I get an Amen?!?). I walk/run daily with our Double Bob. I couldn’t live without it. We found ours on craigslist and it was SO worth the investment so that I could exercise daily.

Lucy's First Whole 30

Before & After Lucy’s first Whole30

 

4) How do you describe wellness?

I think wellness is all about finding balance. It’s becoming the best and healthiest version of yourself in all areas of life – social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, occupational, and physical.

Ahem, Maggie with WellnessWinz chiming in here! 5 GOLD STARS go to Lucy for recognizing the complex nature of wellness and having such an incredible understanding of what it’s all about! BRAVO!

 

5) How does your definition of wellness play into your many roles in life as a mother, a professional, and a woman of faith? 

I’m currently reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and in the book she talks about self-love; that we can’t love our spouses and our children the way we are truly called to do unless we love ourselves. I think women, especially mothers, neglect themselves because they believe they need to always do more and be more for the people in their lives. I do feel called to lay down my life for those who have been entrusted to my care, but I feel that you can do that without sacrificing the body God has given you to be a good steward of.  If you aren’t taking good care of yourself, how can you be the best wife, mother, friend and professional that you are truly called to be?

Lucy's First Whole 30

Before & After Lucy’s first Whole30

 

6) What made you interested in representing Arbonne

I love that I work for a company that is truly changing lives. We offer the gift of a healthy product that could potentially change someone’s skin, help them to lose weight, and feel confident about who they are. I also love that I can give to others the gift of a life changing business that can allow them to be at home with their families, gain financial freedom, pursue a dream job, or assist a spouse who may be drowning at work. The list goes on and on.

The best part of my work is getting to partner with others on their journey towards clean eating and achieving a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Arbonne creates an incredible culture of empowerment. It’s truly unique. I also love that I have a product that I can stand behind. I truly don’t have to sell anything in Arbonne; I just have the amazing opportunity to share and educate people on why a healthy product could better serve them and their families.

Lucy's family

 

7) Do you have any additional health advice you’d like to impart on readers? 

Wellness is just like our lives – it’s a journey. It’s meant to be a progression. Good health, just like weight loss, doesn’t happen overnight. I believe that we’re meant to find joy in the journey. So, be merciful with yourself and the process (albeit that’s not an excuse to give up!) 🙂

 

Clap – Clap – Clap!!!!

Lucy, thank you SO much for sharing your story with us all. You have been the epitome of vulnerable and open in this Q&A, with the intention of helping others. I hope that other women can embrace this quality, too! 

 

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

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