03 December 2011

4 Months Difference

yesterday I put this up on facebook.

I truly did not expect the overwhelming response to it!  I was so hesitant to put it up, but I wanted people to know that I did not achieve this just sitting still.  It has been a lot of hard work.  It hasn't been easy, but it has been worth it.

So many of my friends asked me to share my secrets to success, so here they are!

My Tips and Techniques

#1: Running. Year before last I discovered running and I fell in love. I was not a runner by any means, nor did it come easy to me. The first time I went out for a run (and attempted to follow Couch to 5K) I couldn’t even make it half a block. I stuck with it (the running... I quickly modified C25K and ended up ditching it after week 2), and quickly fell in love. There is strength and power in running. Even after the worse run possible you walk through the door feeling like you can take on the world, or in my case… 2 toddler boys. By the time I got pregnant with Milee, 7 months later, I could easily run 5 miles. I will never be able to shut-up about my love of running. Now with 3 kids it’s harder to find time to get out and run, but my goal is 1 run outside a week (which right now is more like 1x a month). I do now have an elliptical, and I am running on that 4-5x a week. (Miles is going to read this and be like “what?!”… OK, I’ve only had the elliptical together for a week. I WILL be running on that 4-5 times a week during the winter.)

#2: Insanity. A week after my 6 week check-up I started Insanity (www.beachbodycoach.com/nodakhotmama).  And it was truly insane. No person in their right mind (especially one that physically can.not exercise beyond yoga while pregnant) should do Insanity at 7 weeks postpartum. But, I once again stuck with it… well, at least until week 6. After rest week at week 5, it was hard for me to get back into it.  Workouts had to be pushed until after the kids were in bed and I had finished up everything else that had been neglected during the day. Not to mention that was when it decided to be ridiculously hot here. At 10pm the last thing I had the mental energy to do was make myself sweat and cry for 60+ minutes depending on the night. No lie, Insanity is brutal. You will cry (actual tears), you will curse, and you will hate your life. But oh, the sweet results! Even though I didn’t finish the program I saw so much progress and change in those 5 weeks. I highly recommend it to anyone that has it in them.

#3: Tabata. A few months ago, after being completely unsatisfied with the lack of runs I’d been able to squeeze in, I discovered tabatas at fithealthymoms.com. And my life was made complete. Tabatas are a high intensity interval workout. The short of it… you push yourself as hard as you can for 20 seconds, you rest for 10 seconds, and repeat for 4 minutes. You can either just do 1 tabata (4 minutes), or take a minute break and repeat. The most I’ve accomplished at a time is 3 tabatas (15 minutes). These are the BEST workouts for me. I can always find the mental energy to force myself to do a 4 minute workout. This usually leads to 2, and then 3. After 15 minutes though, I am most times completely drained, muscles shaking, nothing left to give. Favorite part of tabatas, I found a HIIT app for my phone. So I can do my work out with the timer set on my phone and watch whatever TV show is on, that I don’t admit to people I watch :D I do these on average 5-6 times a week. I found I like them better if I do 2 different moves per tabata, for example I’ll do 20 sec. Mountain climbers, 10 secs rest, 20 secs jump squats, 10 secs rest, and repeat. Different exercise moves I’ve done include mountain climbers, jumping jacks, jump squats, heismans, pretend jump rope, sprinting, flutter kicks, high knees… a lot of things I learned while doing Insanity have been put to VERY good use with these.

#4: Core Firing System. Shortly before I had Milee I found momsintofitness.com, and quickly fell in love with her approach and style of exercise. I had originally intended on buying her 60-day slim down after Milee was born, but since someone offered to let me borrow their copy of Insanity I ended up doing that instead. BUT, I discovered her Core Firing System. As a woman that has had a twin pregnancy and a singleton pregnancy in just over 2 ½ years, my abs (and skin) are/were shot. Her CFS method teaches you how to work your abs from the inside (and also has tips for if you have diastasis recti, or separated ab muscles). I am a person that HATES exercise DVDs with a passion. So I bought her download. It seems so much better using my computer. And, another favorite, its only 8 minutes long. I try to do this 3x a week, though lately it’s only been about once a week.

#5: Diet. Now, I hate the word diet. What I do is not a “diet”. It is not something that is just temporary. It’s a permanent way of life for me. I ate like this before I had children, and will mostly likely until I die, or am too old to eat solids. On an average day I eat mainly vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. It is once again so second nature to me, that it’s hard to describe it as anything extraordinary, so I’ll try and break it down.

Breakfast: coffee (with fat-free half & half and 1 packet equal); and a handful of almonds.

Lunch: it could be a large salad with a little cheese or meat on it; a plateful of vegetables; or a green smoothie w/protein powder (which I love because I don’t really get to sit down and eat most days)

Snack: mostly always almonds or an apple with natural peanut butter (‘normal’ peanut butter usually has some type of sugar added. And the less sugar I consume the better. For me, sugar is the enemy after having kids.)

Supper: is a wild card. I’ll either have another salad, with what I’ve made for Miles and the kids as a topping (if they have tacos, I’ll have taco salad type of thing). Or, if it’s a meat and potatoes type of meal I’ll fill my plate with 75% vegetables, 15% protein, 10% whatever the side dish is. And if it’s something there is no way to healthy up (we’ve all made those casseroles when we’re in a hurry), I just watch my portions.

I am not a person to truly deprive myself of anything. I think those that have spent time with me know that. I’ll eat that birthday cake. Or enjoy that meal out. But, I don’t prolong it past that. Moderation in everything. Two key factors for me since having kids are cutting out as much sugar and starches as possible. I very, very rarely eat bread or pasta (I don’t believe in whole wheat pasta… gag). But, nor do I miss it. It could be because I’ve cut it out of my everyday diet for so long that I don’t notice that it’s gone, or maybe I’m just not a huge fan of it. Sugar on the other hand, no lie, I’m an addict. I try to keep as much of it out of the house as possible. I can’t say I avoid it 100% (I did 2 years ago for 7 weeks, go me). I just try to limit my intake.

And lastly,

#6: Motivation/Determination. This is the hardest topic to discuss, in my opinion. Each person is driven by something so individually. For me it is to feel like I did before I had the boys. I felt amazing way back when (hard to believe it has been 4 years!). And it has been a driving force since. Now, as for short term motivation… well, my secret is to find something I really, really truly desire for every 10lbs ($25-$50.00 price limit). And when I hit that goal, I buy my reward. Ahh, all the pretty shoes I’ve got this year! It sounds silly, but for me it works. I love shoes. Shoes motivate me (to some extent). I also have a board on pinterest that I pin every motivational picture or saying to. And I don’t just pin it and forget it. I look at that board all the time. Being reminded of what I want consistently helps me to remember that short term satisfaction (whether it be the comfort of a skipped workout or the indulgence of chocolate cake) is not worth the long term goal.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this. A year ago I managed to go from 137 to 122 by cutting out sugar. I've never figured out the workout thing and I'm stuck at 122 (but the good thing is I never gained the weight babck). I can't wait to get below the 120's! But I don't really know what to do next. Thanks for sharing! Your pictures are amazing.

  2. Go Ashley!! I'm interested in that 15 seconds on then off thing. I can push myself for 15 seconds at a time! My prob is I eat what's convienent and in all honestly that will never change and I'm lazy. I admit it. But if I can find something to at least counteract a small part of my laziness... I'm doing a "maintain, don't gain" program at work. Its 8 weeks long and runs thru the holidays.so now I've really been watching the sweets. Been doing pretty good.
    I really would love to find your motivation and determination. After work and getting C fed and bathed and to bed- I've got no energy that why the 15 second tabatas you talked about really piqued my curiousity. I'm going to look at that and see what its all about. Thanks for sharing your hard work. You're looking FABULOUS!

  3. I would love to follow your pintrest inspiration board. Can you send me your link! Your photos have completely inspired me, thanks so much for posting!

  4. I just saw your pics on Get my Body Back and am really impressed! Well done!! I'm still in the slow going throes of it all... Trudging along and really really hoping to get back to where I was before. Thanks for sharing!!