Postpartum Core Workouts: How I’m Improving My Abs After Baby


So it’s been a minute! …. Or two.

Life with Baby Boy J is sweet. He is a very mellow baby, and his sister, E, loves him! I’m now getting back into shape after baby and doing a lot of cardio and postpartum core workouts. Because as sweet as the little fellow is, carrying him was not gentle on my abs…

He was born after 8.5 hours of natural labor. It was intense, but equally rewarding. No judgment if you don’t want an unmedicated birth… I would probably not do the unmedicated part again.

While my pregnancy was easier in some ways this time around, it wasn’t as easy on my abs, especially taking diastasis recti into account.

It was a lovely day around week twenty-four… or something like that. I was in my midwifery appointment, when I decided to lift my head up to watch the doppler, I heard an “oh, no.” You have coning. I need to check your fascia…. And so it began. I suspected that I might have a small separation after Erin’s birth, but this separation had worsened. “What am I going to do? This is awful.”

The good news is you can fix this. We can prevent it from worsening, and after birth, you can either do physical therapy or there are some at-home resourcesI can recommend for you.”

By the time I gave birth, I had a four finger-width separation in the connective tissue of my Rectus Abdominus. This condition happens in 1/3 of all pregnancies to some degree, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Pregnancy is not the only cause, however. Hernias, obesity, and poor posture and body mechanics can also make a person more susceptible. I am very short-waisted, so there was nowhere for Baby J to go but out. This pressure on my already weakened core did the trick.

Causes of pregnancy-related diastasis recti are:

  • Short torso structure, pushing the baby out/a torpedo effect (This was one of my causes.)
  • Gaining too much weight during pregnancy
  • Close together pregnancies (My children are only 15 months apart.)
  • Heavy lifting in the late 2nd and third trimesters, causing strain on the core muscles. (We moved one month before Joshua was born, and had been packing up things since May.)

Some effects of diastasis recti are:

  • Connective tissue separation of the RA. Also known as “mummy tummy”.
  • Incontinence.
  • Poor muscle activation in the abs and glutes.
  • Back pain
  • Pelvic dysfunction (which may carry over into marital intimacy).
  • Hip instability.

I already knew that ab vacuums are good and crunches are bad, but I never realized how little of my abs I was using on a daily basis until I met Lori, my physical therapist. Granted, with my years as a fitness instructor, I knew a lot of this, but I didn’t KNOW this, if you get my drift.

You see, in order to close your ab gap, you need to learn to activate the muscles of the pelvic floor. Traditional core training doesn’t do this. It typically only trains the superficial muscles of the Rectus abdominus, and occasionally, the Transverse Abdominus.


Photo from

The core muscles have three layers, and the foundation is your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that sit and encircle the bottom of your pelvis like a bowl. This web of muscle runs from your pubic bone to your sacrum and is responsible for supporting your organs and boosting your ab and glute strength.

When this area is weak, your other muscles kick in, but they don’t do the job as well, leading to problems like diastasis recti and pelvic prolapse, and umbilical hernias… I had a hernia by the way… Not fun. But it is almost completely closed up.

Well, once your pelvic floor is properly activated, you can then better strengthen your TA, which wraps around your waist like a belt and your RA or six pack muscle.

How did I start? By doing kegels… that’s how. I know, it’s not the most glamorous exercise you’ll ever do, but girl, it makes those ab vacuums burn. There’s a great tutorial and study on how this helps.

Do properly do a kegel, you need to draw those muscles between your sitz bones… aka… where you pushed that baby out – up and in, as if you’re drawing a string up through your body. Do this slowly and with control. Repeat.

Next, try adding an ab vacuum. Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor, and repeat step one. Now, draw your belly button up and in while kegeling… hold.. then release.

After this, I did slightly more glamorous exercises. Yay for pelvic tilts, glute bridges and toe taps and knee marches. All while doing kegels at the point of exertion. It is hard work to do this slowly and correctly… and I teach boot camps, so I’m no slouch.

Postpartum Core Workouts

So here’s the list of my foundation exercises:


Ab Vacuums:

Ab Vacuums: Do a kegel. Exhale while keeping the contraction and exhaling to draw your abs together and into your back.

Pelvic Tilts:

You can barely see this movement, but it involves doing a kegel while tilting your hipbones up and back towards your ribcage.


This two-part movement involves a kegel, TA activation and then squeezing your glutes to lift your hips up and back off the floor. See how we’re starting by focusing on one muscle, then using others? After pausing at the top, slowly bring your hips back down to the mat and inhale.

Knee marches:

The formula for this move is simple: kegel+TA+exhale and draw knee to chest, exhaling through your back into the mat. Slowly inhale and return your knee to start.

Toe taps:

This is probably the toughest of all the exercises. Repeat the formula: kegel and TA, then lower your heel towards the floor. If both feet in the air is too tough, then keep one heel pressed into the mat, and repeat for reps on one side, then do the other. This makes my lower abs so sore!

But, believe it or not, it worked! Remember that four-finger separation, it is now only one finger width. In less than 12 weeks. Please don’t think that is typical though.

It has taken me lots of patience, consistency, and hundreds of reps a day… I sneak in my exercises when I can. And now I’ve progressed to more advanced functional exercises. There’s some great research on the subject out there.

A Little Trick from College

While studying voice in college, I learned how to activate all the muscles by saying, “Ha”. It works. Try one of the first couple of exercises and say, “ha, ha, ha”. You will feel your abs start to turn on again.

A Little Extra Support

Doing exercises is great, but sometimes even the most consistent of us needs a little reminder to activate those core muscles. I’ve used this maternity belt through pregnancy and am using a postpartum belt now at the recommendation of my physical therapist. It has really helped, not to compensate for muscle that I don’t have yet, but to remind me to use the muscle that I do have.

A Word on Hernias

If you have a hernia, you need to consult with your OB and/or physical therapist immediately if you experience the following:

  • Swelling
  • Constipation
  • Increased tenderness
  • Redness and puffiness

It’s important to remember that this isn’t the end of the world. You can rehab your abs, it just takes patience, consistency, and thinking about the muscles your working.

You can do it! I’m cheering for you!



How We Plan Healthy Meals on a Tight Budget

Hey there! It is hoooot here in NC, and I’m pregnant, so in reality it feels like 105 instead of 95 degrees. Icky…

There’s always a lot of buzz about good nutrition, and I’m not a nutritionist, but I can tell you that I can always tell a difference between how my body feels when I eat healthy meals and when I don’t. The difference is like night and day. I’m less moody, have more energy, and there’s a tremendous difference in my metabolism.

To be honest, most my family members and friends don’t subscribe to my healthy menu planning… and I’ve been asked, “How can you afford to eat healthy?”

My response is “How can I afford to not eat healthy food?” I think what we need to remember is that healthy food is nutrient-rich, minimally-processed food.


And while we do buy some organic produce when it goes on sale, our family doesn’t subscribe to the “you must buy everything organic” rule. We just don’t… not trying to pick a fight with any of my other blogging friends, but there’s sometimes that it’s just not necessary. (More on this in a later post.) That’s what Aldi is for … and Trader Joe’s.

So hopefully, you’re now anxiously awaiting the unveiling of our frugal healthy eating success. There are actually several secrets. And here they are in no particular order.

1. We buy in-season produce.

This is cheaper. And I plan our meals for the week based on what is available. If you’re not sure what’s in-season, then google it. Hint: Strawberries probably aren’t going to be in season in December…

2. We buy certain ingredients in larger packaging for use in multiple meals.

The reason we do this is because the price per ounce/pound/unit is much cheaper for bulk items, such as pureed tomatoes or rotisserie chicken, that can be used in soups and other recipes.

It has saved us lots of money and time.

3. We buy canned goods and frozen veggies and fruits

There are lots of lower sodium and organic and non-GMO options for canned goods now. So just relax already.

4. We write out our menu for the week.

This is something that I’ve been doing for years, and it helps me grocery shop with a plan and stay on budget. This is how I know what I’m going to cook, the ingredients I need , and how much I’m going to spend that week on groceries. Don’t forget to include a few healthy snack options.

This will help you plan and prep for the whole week, so you’re not as easily tempted to run through the drive-thru.

If you need a little help getting organized in this area, I’ve
created a really cute and easy-to-use menu planning printable set. You know, those cute and really practical printables that you can download and print and stick on your refrigerator?

Just 10 minutes of preparation can impact your eating habits.

5. We plan our meals based on what’s on sale.

Buy produce and meats that are on sale. Yes. You can take this classic grocery shopping tip and apply it to healthy meal planning. It’s so easy to do.

6. We don’t buy junk.

You wouldn’t go out have a shopping spree on clothes without making sure your mortgage was paid, would you? Any financially responsible person would make sure their essential expense categories were taken care of before making discretionary purchases.

The same concept applies to your meal planning and grocery shopping. Purchase your nutritious food items first, then if there’s money left over in your budget, buy a “treat” food.

Your wallet and your budget will thank you!

What has helped you eat healthy meals on a tight budget? Comment below! I’d love to hear your story!

To see more of my healthy living printables, you can check them out here!

Buy now
Bon appetit!




How to Use Bodyweight Exercises to Improve Your Fitness

Hi there!

It’s been a while since I did a workout post, which is strange because those are my favorite posts to write.

As a wife, mom, and business owner, I have to have a quick workout routine that doesn’t involve a lot of expensive equipment that I can take anywhere.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m an advocate for body weight exercises. They’re easy to learn (most of the time), convenient, and can be modified for just about any fitness level!

I’ve also seen many, many clients through the years achieve phenomenal results with body weight exercises, not only maintaining their fitness levels but advancing their fitness levels by leaps and bounds.

I’ve also had many personal training clients and group fitness participants say to me, “Oh, I just didn’t work out this week because I was out of town and couldn’t get to my gym.” That’s just crazy. Doing something is better than nothing.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love free weights, and resistance  bands and pretty much any kind of resistance you can think of, but at the end of the day, what matters is that you trained.

(Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links to products, the sales from a portion of which help support my blog, which I put a lot of effort into. The opinions of any products I review are my own, and I only recommend products which I believe are exceptional. Thank you for supporting my blog!)

Really, the only equipment you need is you, or a yoga mat or towel. I prefer a yoga towel because they’re sweat absorbent and can easily be folded and placed in a tote bag or suitcase.

So you see, you really can’t go wrong with this type of workout.

With body weight training, your body experiences these benefits:

  • Less chance of injury
  • Ability to focus on your form and technique, rather than the amount of weight you’re lifting
  • A convenient workout you can do just about anywhere
  • A multitude of exercises so you can add endless variety to your workouts

To give you a taste of body weight training, especially if you’re new to exercise, I’ve provided a sample workout for you. You can do this workout as many rounds as you like, but I recommend completing the series, one exercise after the other, with little to no rest in between, anywhere from two to five times. You can use any variations of these exercises that you like, so the possibilities are endless!


They are pretty basic exercises, but if you really do them correctly, you’ll definitely feel them working.

Squats: butt, legs

This classic exercise is one of the best at boosting your metabolism because it uses some of the largest muscle groups in your body. Try basic, plie, single-leg, and jump variations. Try holding still at the bottom of a squat for 30 extra seconds at the end of each set.

Side Planks: abs, obliques, lower back, shoulders    

Side planks can also be done on your elbows and also have lots of variations. The key is to make sure your head is in a straight line from your head to your heels.

Pushups: shoulders, triceps, chest

Another classic exercise, push-ups are a great way to get your heart pumping. They also have numerous modifications. And for those of you who need to build up your upper body strength, they can be done on your knees instead of your toes. Just don’t let your stomach hang to the floor and aim for a straight line from your head to your heels.

Lunges: butt, legs, core

Lunges are another exercise that can really rev up your metabolism. There are lots of ways to to do them too: static, front, rear, side. The options are almost endless. Just remember to put your weight into your front heel to stand. (If you’re a beginner, gradually make your lunges deeper and deeper as you get more fit.)


What’s your favorite body weight exercise?

Tell me in the comments below!


– Julie







Things that Make Life Easier as a New Mom

So, I know… I’ve been doing a lot of blog posts on motherhood lately. But I think that there’s a lot of misconceptions about entering into motherhood.

One such misconception is that you need lots of stuff to be a good mom. From the time a woman gets pregnant, or embarks on the journey to foster or adopt, she is bombarded with ads and offers from companies, all competing to get her time and money.

There are gadgets galore, and the possibilities of things you may or may not need may seem overwhelming.

Let’s be real. What your child needs is a safe place to sleep, eat and lots of love and attention.

When we brought Erin home, I quickly learned that half of those things that are touted as luxury baby items are not necessary for my child’s development nor helpful for me as a mom.

There are a few things that are really simple things that do make my life easier as a mom. And I thought I’d make a list of them for you. Granted, they’re things that help me, but may not necessarily be the things that save your sanity. Every mom is different. But without further ado, here they are.

(The posts on this blog from time to time contain affiliate links, and a portion of the proceeds go to this blog, which takes time, energy, and money to run. However, I only recommend products I really like.  Thank you for reading and supporting this blog.)

1. Comfortable, easy to wear clothing for mommy and baby. I own a few good pairs of leggings. Old Navy has great leggings with a roll-down, yoga waist band. They were essential for me when we brought Erin home from the hospital because I could slide them on quickly with a t-shirt before guests came over. Having a comfortable robe helped too with nursing. No one prepared me for the lack of clothing that having a newborn involved.

Oh and for baby, those frou frou outfits just don’t work for every day. Erin lives in onesies and leggings, and they are easy to change. She also has had several comfy zipper sleepers that were a lifesaver when it came to changing diapers, half asleep in the middle of the night. I will only do zipper sleepers with the new baby.

2. Lots of books. Nothing calms Erin like reading a book when she’s teething. We’ve been reading to her since birth and now she picks up little stroller books and pretends to read them… it’s so cute! We read her Beginner’s Bible before bed at night. She also has a few other favorites.

3. A big crockpot. So this really makes my life easier. I make at least two meals a week in a crockpot. It’s a lifesaver. Just throw in some chicken, potatoes, green beans, and Italian dressing, and you’re all set!

4. A diaper clutch. Someone had the brilliant idea to give me one of these diaper clutches by Skip Hop, and I love it! I can throw it in my tote bag for a quick trip to the store, and the built in changing pad has saved Erin’s bottom in many an emergency.

5. A good nursing/car seat cover. So for about 8 months, we exclusively breastfed and pumped, and this cover has been amazing! It also works as a car seat cover, and I love the 360 coverage. I just slide it over my head, and I felt like I could nurse Erin anywhere in this cover.

6. Stacking toys and puzzles. So as Erin has gotten older, she’s wanted more of a challenge. I’m so thankful one of my old co-workers got me this puzzle, and my mom and dad gave her a developmental tea set for Christmas. She also has some simple rhythm instruments that keep her entertained for quite awhile.

7. An easy to assemble stroller. Let’s face it. Big bulky strollers are a hassle. I have a stroller I’ve used only once because it was just too difficult to assemble. But I love my Graco stroller. I can unfold it with one hand. Woohoo!

8. A good swing. Oh man, I don’t know how I got any sleep without a baby swing. I didn’t think I needed one, but my oh-so-wise SIL bought me one at Once Upon a child, and it was a lifesaver for the first 6 months!

9. A workout dvd with short workouts. Okay, mommies, you cannot use the excuse that you have to much to do. You are worth your time and attention. Can’t get to the gym? A dvd with a 10 minute workout will help you lower stress levels, reduce the risk and/or duration of postpartum depression, and allow you to feel more like a human being. Here’s my faves:

Pilates Workouts for Busy Moms – Erica Ziel/Knocked Up Fitness

Strength – Mash-up Conditioning

Rev4 – Natalie Jill Fitness

You can also check out some of the short workouts I have on this blog. Just remember, you don’t have to work out for an hour to see, feel or maintain results!

10. Healthy snacks you can eat with one hand. If you are breastfeeding, this is an absolute must. I love cheese cubes, a handful of nuts, veggie slices and hummus, bananas, and protein smoothies in a blender bottle, just to name a few. They’re easy to prep in bulk. I can put them in portion appropriate containers to grab and go later. It’s a win win.


11. A fertility monitor. So this is a personal preference, but your hormones do all sorts of wacky things after childbirth. I wish I’d bought one of these earlier. It tracks your cycles and basal body temperature and even the early stages of pregnancy. I have the Easy@Home fertility monitor that plugs into my smart phone. (I did receive this product for a great discount.) And it is so nice to not have to keep a paper chart. I just sync the thermometer with my smartphone, and voila.

12. A planner. With kids, the appointments seem never ending, and trust me, you shouldn’t try to remember them all. That’s why a planner is so important.

13. A way to relax…. I’ll admit.. I’m a little more of a type A personality, but I’ve learned to have me time each day, even if it’s 5 minutes before bed. I love journaling and crocheting when I’m trying to relax, and I’m always in the mood for a good cup of tea with my manatee tea infuser. I also typically sneak in a 5 or 10 minute workout to lower my stress levels.

14. A cleaning routine. I’ll just be honest, this is one I struggle with, but we do make sure certain things get done daily, like kitchen counters and sweeping, while others, such as bathrooms, get completed once weekly… (or every other week). Assign who does what, and this will save you frustration and heartache.

So here’s my very short list of different things that have made my life easier as a new mom this past year… notice, there were no wipe warmers or baby food makers. (That’s what I use my Ninja blender for!)

Keep it simple, and you’re sure to enjoy spending time with your little one, and less time, thinking about this lavish routine I’d have to maintain.

Stay genuine,


10 Things I Learned in My Last Pregnancy and What I’m Doing Differently


It’s been awhile. Life has been busy: moving prep, running a business, and finding out baby #2 is on the way! Fortunately, this pregnancy has been less stressful, and not nearly as rough physically. In fact, I just entered my second trimester weighing less than when we discovered I was pregnant again, and I have explosive amounts of energy.

Yes, this baby was a big surprise! But we’re also very excited. I learned a lot during my last pregnancy – things that have made my life so much easier this time around. I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

If you’re a new mom or are expecting, hopefully, these tips will help you stay sane on your journey through motherhood.

Disclosure: The opinions in this post are my own. I only endorse products that I have used personally and have found to be beneficial. This blog occasionally contains affiliate links, and a portion of the proceeds when these links are clicked on go to support this blog, which takes time and resources to run. Thanks again for reading!

1. Take time for you each day, even if it’s just 5 minutes. It felt like when I was pregnant with Erin…everyone and everything had a job for me to do, and to be honest, I was afraid of saying “no”. This time, even when my writing business gets hectic, I take the time to relax and do something for myself. It’s not selfish, because if you don’t take time for you, then you can’t take care of your family.

2. Stay active. I’ll admit that it was tough exercising with my first pregnancy. I was very nauseous during my first trimester and had a hectic schedule my second and third trimesters. I’ve learned though that even 5 minutes is better than 0 minutes. Once I get moving, I feel so much better and more relaxed and can give so much more to the people around me. Talk with your ob about what types of physical activity are best for you at this point. I loved using resistance loops and bands because I could take them anywhere with me, and a comfortable yoga mat is a must. I like these bands because they’re made of excellent material and they’re affordable.

3. Be generous, but spend time with those who value you. This was a hard lesson for me to learn. I’m not saying that you should be a snoot, but be mindful that if someone, say a friend is taking you for granted, and seems to think their time is valuable, but somehow yours is less, it might be time to part ways.  For most of my first pregnancy, I felt like I constantly waited on people hand and foot. Did I have friends that would check on me? Yes, but they were few and far between. I’m not saying don’t show kindness to everyone, but there’s sometimes when you need to set boundaries. This time, one of our rules will be that we’re not traveling all over the place to go to everyone else’s houses. They will have to come to us from time to time. It’s just too stressful to load up your family all the time and load them up again to leave. The same rule applies to you… just because you are pregnant or have kids, doesn’t mean the world revolves around you. Let someone know if you’re running behind, life happens. It just does. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

4. Find healthier alternatives for your cravings. I learned this the hard way too. I do not have to eat 24/7 to grow a baby, but I don’t have to eat cardboard either, or feel hungry all the time. We started loosely following Trim Healthy Mama, and it has made a big difference in my energy, and I can have satisfying, healthy food that tastes great. If you want to know more about this doable way to eat healthy for families, you can find out more here.

5. Have open and honest communication with your doctor about stresses you are going through. At one of my jobs, yes, I was working two jobs while pregnant, I was receiving daily intimidation attempts, and no one seemed to care…only one of my friends had the discernment to ask what I was going through at the time. I was so embarrassed and hurt. I would literally cry from the time I got off work until I went to bed at night when no one was around. My husband had to intervene.

My doctor had to send a note, and it caused me to wind up in the hospital overnight 2 months before my due date. To be honest, I was terrified, and after my daughter’s birth. I was told by my medical team and a wise counselor in so many words that “No one has the right to alienate you and make you feel unwanted and unsafe. This is a time for you to be happy.” It took this to make me realize that being a Mom makes me more capable, not less. This empowered me to set healthier boundaries for work and other relationships, and I’m so thankful that Micah was supportive, and I’m happy to say, I’m in a much better place emotionally, if you know me, and you’re reading this, please don’t read into it…it is what it is. I’m just a mom trying to take care of her family. If someone seems to be intentionally trying to intimidate you or make you feel like you never do enough, tell someone you trust, and do not tolerate it. Your family needs you to be emotionally available, and you can’t be if you feel like you’re drowning constantly.

6. Have a getaway. I’m so glad that Micah and I did this… In fact, I wish we’d taken more time. Another boundary. This time, I have no idea how we’ll afford it, but we’ll have a baby moon if I have to sell donuts to pay for it. (And I don’t even eat donuts.)

7. Pamper yourself. Even if it’s an at-home spa night once in awhile. Take that time to feel pretty. Get together with some gal pals and relax and watch sappy chick flicks from the seventh grade. Laugh a little. I wish someone had done this with me when I was about a month from my due date. I was already on maternity leave and felt so shut off from the rest of the world.

8. Make date night a priority. Your marriage needs it. End of discussion. You can forego those $5 coffees twice a week to pay for it. Offer to exchange babysitting with friends to make it happen. Your kids need to see two parents who love each other. Because trust me, you both may have moments where you want to pull each other’s hair out after your baby is born.

9. Find a creative outlet, even if it’s doodling in a journal. I enjoyed crocheting things for Erin, and bought a coloring book with Scripture verse art. Relaxing with a cup of tea also helped me unwind. This is what worked for me. I probably would have pulled my hair out otherwise.

10. Meet with other women in the Word. I don’t care what anyone says, the days of women’s Bible studies are not over. Women need other women in an environment that isn’t comparison based. In a world of social media and selfies, it’s time to learn to build each other up again and refresh our hearts with Scripture. I have a great prayer partner that keeps things just between me her and Jesus, and we PRAY together, not gossip. Be real about your struggles and find a group of women passionate about studying and applying Scripture. This made a difference for me after Erin was born, and I plan to join a study on Romans after Little Bear is born.

What did you learn in your first pregnancy? What have you learned since becoming a mom? Comment below!

Why I Think Twice Before Taking a Selfie

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
So, before you start thinking of me as raining on your parade. Just hear me out.

When I say selfies, I’m talking about a pic of you and you only that pretty much has no other purpose but to show off your lip gloss or eye liner. Not that these pics aren’t fun once in a while, but let’s be honest: what is your purpose in taking those pics? Is it to portray an image? Do you have something to prove?

Let me provide an example:

I’m the owner of this blog, and like all bloggers should, I have an instagram. I’ve recently been leaning out after losing the baby weight, and I also do product reviews from time to time. So I take the occasional selfie, of me using a brand’s product, or make the occasional 30-second workout video. When I do this, I’m hoping to inspire someone to live a healthier lifestyle. The other day, I got a comment from a moderately famous instagram page, basically saying, “We love your page; please follow ours”, so I of course went to their instagram, but I didn’t follow them, and here’s why.

Even thought the title claimed that they were trying to inspire people… instead, I saw post after post of obviously airbrushed “selfies” of women who all looked like Cindy Crawford wannabes, and the camera shots were more suggestive than inspiring. Needless to say, I did not and will not like their page.

So that’s an extreme selfie example, but my point is that their reason for taking these pics was probably more to pressure a certain look or image on young women.

As a mother of an extremely young daughter, I don’t have the time or energy to devote to trying to make sure I look picture perfect all the time. If I took a selfie everyday, most days, it would look like I went ten rounds, and hey, I teach boot camp classes, so that’s probably not too far off.

Use that camera to capture memories with your loved ones and then use it when you’re bored on occasion.

I’m not trying to bash my young mommy friends or gal pals, in fact I LOVE seeing pregnant selfies , and technically, there’s at least two people in that picture. 🙂

Weight loss selfies can be done in a way to encourage others.

I’m just saying that when I see a news feed full of selfies, it implies, that either a person is self-focused or the makeup filters imply that their not happy with who God made them to be. I’m not saying that the occasional selfie is harmful, but I DO think that constantly trying to look perfect or put forth and image is bad for us gals’ mental and spiritual health. When we constantly give into the selfie craze, we feed into the lie that we have to compare… Listen to me, that creates mean girls…and guys But don’t take my word for it, here’s what the American Psychological Association has to say.

You can read the summary of one of the studies related to selfies and narcissism in Psychology Today. The study found that narcissists tended to take certain types of selfies, not to commemorate an event, but simply to try to achieve the perfect look.


What is narcissism? Narcissism is “excessive and obsessive self-interest in oneself and/or one’s physical appearance”. Basically meaning that a narcissist will try to squash or neglect anything that doesn’t put their self-interest first.


What does Scripture say? “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phil. 2:4

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what the will of God is, His good pleasing, perfect will.”


Please don’t take this as condemnation, but know that I’m looking at those who are in my general age group, and the selfish behavior I’m seeing astounds me. I feel like more women are insecure now than ever before, and I don’t think that I personally, should make it a constant pattern to post stuff that comes across at self-glorifying. Confidence is great, but pride comes before a fall.


Most importantly, spend that time taking pics and creating memories with the ones you love. If you’re spending time taking selfies, when you should be paying attention to those around you, there may be a problem. Anyway, that’s my food for thought.


You were fearfully and wonderfully made, and that’s a truth needs no filter.





5 Minute HIIT Ab Workout and Fitness Towel Review


Disclaimer: I received this product at a very discounted rate in exchange for my honest review. However, I only give items positive reviews when I feel it is a trustworthy product.

Hi! So, I'd recently been looking for a fitness/yoga towel to take to classes with me so I wouldn't have to lug around a mat. So, I when Mango Fitness let me try their yoga/fitness towel. I was so excited!

Why would I want to use this towel?

- It's antimicrobial and wicks away moisture, aka, sweat.
- It has non-slip corners that overlap over any standard size mat.
- It adds just a little extra comfort to your mat.
- If you borrow a mat at your facility, this is a great way to give you a barrier between you and a mat.
-If you want a little extra traction, so that you're not slipping in sweat, this yoga towel becomes non-slip when wet!
- It's easy to clean. Just throw it in the wash!

Adam, is the owner at Mango Fitness, and he was very helpful and super courteous. I really loved working with him!

You can order Mango Fitness Hot Yoga Towels on Amazon

Here's a great quick workout that I wanted to share with you!


Inchworm Walk-outs
Boat Situps

Perform 8 reps of each exercise then, move immediately to the next ab exercise, without any rest. During the next round, perform 7 of each exercise, then 6 of each exercise, and so on until you reach one rep of each exercise. This is a great way to break a sweat and strengthen your core at the same time.

I loved using Mango Fitness' towel, because it made me feel like I had a great grip on the mat with no slipping.

To see demonstrations of both exercises, check out my instagram!


How To Babyproof Your Home: A Product Review


Hey there! It’s been quite a Monday! Little Erin is almost 6 weeks old, and getting more mobile all the time. Over the past week, I’ve been looking into products that will help me effectively baby proof my home. We have a lot of cabinets and drawers and with all this storage comes great responsibility. (I’m getting nervous already and so is Micah.)

So, when I was asked to review these products by pepbaby, I was overjoyed. I was also not disappointed. Here’s my review of three of their awesome products!


Disclaimer: I received these products from pepbaby at discount in exchange for my honest opinion. That being said, I only publish positive reviews based on my personal experience of products that I believe to be effective. I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. 



Corner Protectors

We have a lot of corners in our house. Just in our living room, we have two desks an entertainment center, and other miscellaneous pieces of furniture, that little Cutie Pie can hit her head on. I was so excited when I received these corner protectors. They have a rubbery texture, and the adhesive was easy to apply to the three inside surfaces of the corner protector. I was then able to apply to thoroughly cleaned surfaces without a problem. Now typically, anything with 3M adhesive makes me nervouse, because I have seen the finishes of many pieces of wood furniture ruined by corner protectors, but when I tested a corner after the adhesive dried, I was pleased to find that the finish wasn’t ruined! Yay! Our entertainment center now sports these awesome corner protectors. It was so easy to apply that I even filmed a youtube video while applying them one-handed. They also came with little adhesive disks, which made their application super easy.


Magnetic Locks

Unfortunately for us, we don’t have knobs on our cabinets, so we can’t use the el cheapo rubber band trick to baby proof our cabinet doors. And most magnetic locks are expensive. I was pleased to see that even without the discount, these pepbaby magnetic locks were just as good as the fancy ones I’d seen at Babies R Us for about half the price.  They were easy to apply: just firmly press the lock on the door, and the latch piece on the cabinet above and let dry for 24 hours, and voila! Our cleaning supply cabinet locks are now baby proofed, with no additional tools. The locks also came with adhesive already attached, which saved me a lot of time and effort.


Car Seat/Nursing Cover

Okay, so this isn’t exactly baby proofing…but it will save you from a wardrobe malfunction. I’ll confess, I’d been looking for a carseat/nursing cover like this one for months. I like my traditional nursing covers for when we have guests at home, but this is perfect for when we’re out in public! I will never buy another nursing cover! Really though, I love this one! The fabric is so soft and breathable, and It easily gives me 360 coverage while I’m nursing my little Cutie. No wrestling with the cover, and no having to tie a cover over my Car Seat. And no more have to use two separate accessories. It’s my new favorite accessory for running errands. It also came with a laundry bag, which will definitely be used.


I really enjoyed baby proofing with these products. Applying all of them maybe took 10 minutes, tops. Please check out pepbaby’s other products on amazon.



How to Reach Your New Year’s Health Goals

How to Reach Your New Year’s Health Goals

Wow, it’s been to long since I’ve written. There’s been a lot going on, but I thought this would be a great first post for the new year. By the way, one of my goals is to blog more this year. But anyway, let’s talk about your health for a moment.

I see a lot of my friends and family members make New Year’s resolutions year after year, and year after year I watch people fall off the wagon so to speak.

Well, there’s a reason this happens to almost anyone. In this post, I’ll be sharing some of the most effective tips that I’ve personally used to stay on track with reaching and surpassing my health goals each year.

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

This type of goal setting gets people results every time!

Specific –  What will you accomplish? Examples: Do 50 pushups by the end of the month. Lose 20 pounds in 4 months time.

Measurable – How will you track your progress? Use a food and exercise journal. There are even lots of printables and apps you can use!

Assignable – Who will take on this task (you)? Remember, no one else can decide to be health for you, not your trainer, not your spouse, not your friends. You decide to make healthy choices for you!

Realistic – What can you do today to work towards your goal? If you can’t do that 100-squat challenge, then don’t throw in the towel, just figure out what a reasonable goal is that will eventually get you to your goal. Maybe 10 squats today is a great start?

Time-oriented – How long will it take you to reach a goal which contains the other four characteristics? If you want to lose 10 pounds, and you have a lot of weight to lose, as in over 50 pounds, it might only take you a month. But if you’re just trying to lose the last 10 pounds, that might take 2 months. You know your body. You know your strengths and weaknesses.

Create a Plan

If you don’t know what you need to do to get to your destination, then you will wander aimlessly, become frustrated, and then eventually give up. Use a fitness journal; plan your menu for the week. These are simple things you can do to keep yourself on track. Use the resources available to you. One of the most common phrases I’ve heard is, “But I want to do this by myself.”

Allow me to educate you: you need the support of others. Take it from someone who’s lost 40 pounds in college, and is now successfully losing the baby weight. Ask the professionals. They’ve had to spend countless hours studying research methods on how to reach various types of goals. Swallow that pride and ask questions. Your support network will keep you motivated when you’ve hit a plateau. Trust me, I’ve been there, and I’m a fitness pro, so you just heard from both sides of the story.

Reward Yourself

When you reach a milestone, reward yourself, and also, stop beating yourself up every time you make a mistake. But, let’s avoid food as a reward in most cases, okay?

You’ve got this. You can ace your health goals for the new year, and enjoy life too. I’m here to answer your questions, and know that when you put your mind to something, you can make it happen.



Be on the lookout for my ebook on health and fitness goal setting, available with printable worksheets. Coming to Amazon on January 30!



How Functional Exercise can help Reduce Back Pain

Hi Everyone,
There’s a lot of buzz out there about functional exercise on the fitness scene, but it’s really important to understand this valuable fitness concept. Today, Molly from Proactive Chiropractic was kind enough to share with us what functional exercise is all about. So, without further ado, take it away, Molly!

Chiropractors treat a variety of conditions, from chronic pain to sports rehabilitation therapy. However, many patients initially seek chiropractic care due to a common complaint; back pain. In fact, roughly 31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time, that’s nearly 10% of the population.

What Causes Back Pain?
“Back pain” is a common, though often vague description for a variety of conditions that cause pain or discomfort in the back. The back itself is made up of several bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and muscles. Any of these can become damaged, inflamed, or otherwise compromised to the point of causing distress.

Common causes of back pain include repetitive strain Injuries such as work-related lifting, carrying, or other strenuous actions. Post traumatic injuries such as caused by an accident may also contribute. Further, the current office environment in the workplace, characterized by long hours spent sitting at a computer desk may also contribute to poor posture and circulation which are also contributing factors.

Some additional facts regarding back pain:
It is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
It is the second leading cause of workplace absence, after upper respiratory infections.
50% of working Americans report having back pain each year
Most cases of back pain are mechanical in nature. In other words, the underlying cause is not a serious condition such as infection or disease. These conditions are often the most responsive to treatment
The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality recommends that patients who experience recurring back pain choose the more conservative treatment options before surgery.
Back pain is responsible for at least $50 billion is healthcare costs each year. And that only includes easily identifiable healthcare costs. When factoring in additional expenses such as lost wages from workplace absences or over the counter treatments and therapy devices, the total costs associated with back pain are much higher.

Functional Exercises
Functional exercises differ from what you may think of when you imagine traditional exercise training. Functional exercises are meant to train and develop your muscles for normal, everyday activities such as you might experience at home, work, or school.

Functional exercise programs fit in well with the chiropractic approach to health. The goal of chiropractic adjustment is often aimed at aligning the body and creating a harmonious environment that is ideal for healing, rehabilitation, or continued well-being.
Functional exercise training likewise is intended to train and develop muscles and joints to work in tandem with one another. This is aimed at increasing strength and agility, developing core muscle strength, or improving balance.

The use of functional exercise programs is widespread and includes:
Rehabilitation of sports or traumatic injuries
Strength training for elderly patients
Combating the effects of work-related injuries and conditions
As an effective, low-impact course of exercise for patients who are inexperienced with exercise, or for those with special considerations such as limited mobility, or even pregnant women.

Chiropractic Care and Functional Exercise
Strong support exists for the role of exercise in the treatment of chronic or occupational back pain. In fact, according to the Scientific Commission of the Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Parameters:
Exercise is at least as effective as other non-surgical treatment options for chronic lower back pain.
Occupational back pain has been shown to be alleviated or managed through the use of exercise programs in conjunction with chiropractic evaluation and adjustment.

Your chiropractor can help evaluate your back pain and recommend a course of treatment to manage or alleviate your pain. Functional exercise is not recommended for every patient or every condition, and the underlying cause of the condition will play a large role in the recommended treatment.

If you are experiencing back pain, or are interested in seeing if functional exercises may help you, contact us today to set up an appointment!

Thanks, Molly and Proactive Chiropractic for sharing with us today!
How do you incorporate functional exercise into your fitness routine?

Tell us in the comments below!