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taking care of yourself

Taking Care of Me is Taking Care of My Family

Do you find it hard to make time for taking care of yourself? Lately, I’ve resolved to get my health back on track, which means working out, portion control and making healthier choices in the foods I eat. Sounds easy, right? It’s harder than you think, especially for a busy mom of two little girls on the go.

It’s been going pretty well. Like anything in life, it’s hard to break bad habits like mindless eating and not moving. I’ve had to make conscious decisions to get up and work out and to measure out my portions but it’s getting easier. I’ve done this by finding a workout that I love because it’s dancing and using containers and a scale to measure my foods before I portion them.

The one thing I am having trouble with is eating when I am hungry. I get so busy that I either forget to eat until I need to be someplace or I simply don’t have the time to find something nutritious so I grab whatever happens to be in front of me and honestly, it’s not usually anything that I should be putting in my mouth at such a quantity of with such fervor. So, I’ve decided to start keeping fresh fruits (washed, dried and ready to eat), fresh veggies (washed, cut up and in baggies) and high protein bars at my disposal.

The thing that is proving the hardest is satisfying my sweet tooth because even though my mind knows that’s a slippery slope, my cravings still crave it. It’s getting easier and I’m not shoveling all the carbs into my mouth without consideration like I was before but I still have those times of the month when I just need something sweet or people could get hurt. You know what I mean.

I’ve found two ways to satisfy these cravings that is a much healthier choice than reaching for a brownie or cookies. I’ve started making smoothies using fresh or frozen fruits and vanilla almond milk with protein powder. My favorite is 1 banana, ½ cup of mixed frozen berries, ½ cup of vanilla almond milk and about 3 oz. of vanilla protein powder. I throw it all in my individual smoothie blender and satisfy my sweet tooth guilt free.

Now, that’s taking care of yourself!

FIber One, health, healthy snacks on the go, taking care of yourself

My other favorite treat is Fiber One’s new Cheesecake bars. My family has always been a fan of the Fiber One bars. The girls love the brownies and I love the lemon bars but I have a new favorite, the new Fiber One Cheesecake bar in Salted Caramel. My little one prefers the Fiber One Cheesecake bar in strawberry. Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong.

The best part is aside from grabbing them on the go for myself, I can give them to my girls with a piece of fresh fruit and a glass of milk for a fast, healthy breakfast. It’s perfect on those days when we are running late for school, as a light afternoon snack between cheer and ballet or gymnastics or even for dessert, when you just need a little something sweet.

It works for me. It’s made changing my eating habits and developing a healthier lifestyle a lot easier because I don’t feel deprived. I don’t feel like I’m being punished. I feel like I’m just learning to making better choices and in the long run, I think that will mean the difference between succeeding at getting healthy and failure. When it comes to my health, failure just isn’t an option anymore.

FIber One, health, healthy snacks on the go, taking care of yourself

What’s your favorite healthy snack you eat when taking care of yourself?

 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Fiber One through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Fiber One’s Cheesecake Bars, all opinions about taking care of yourself  and Fiber One’s Cheesecake Bars are my own.

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colgate, dental health, dental hygiene, Colgate total daily repair

*Disclosure: I received product and compensation for this post from Colgate Total Repair but all opinions are my own.

My teeth are very important to me. They always have been. Having nice teeth is a virtue that I put a lot of stock in. I’ve always had a healthy fear of periodontal disease, since it runs in my family and I’ve seen what it can do. 25-years-old and having to replace all of your actual teeth with dentures has always been my biggest fear so I brush my teeth like these are the only teeth I’ll ever have because, well, they are.

Imagine my horror when I went to the dentist this summer, after a year and a half of giving my appointments away to my children for checking brackets, checking oddities and etc. when my hygienist said that she thought she noticed some early stage periodontal disease. WHAT? I felt all the blood rush out of my head and I was sure that I would faint.

I couldn’t even hear anything after she said the word because the blood swooshing around in my veins was deafening. The icing on the cake, “We could have caught this earlier had you not given your appointments away to your daughters.” Those girls are on their own from now on. They still have some baby teeth. My teeth are forever teeth and I can’t chance being toothless because their bracket felt “not right”. Tough stuff, kiddo, Mommy needs her teeth for chewing.

I started using the new Colgate Total Daily Repair Toothpaste to help me get stronger gums and teeth. What makes Colgate Total Daily Repair so much better than the toothpaste that I used before? It not only helps repair early teeth damage by remineralizing weakened enamel but it helps repair early gum damage by fighting plaque and helping prevent gingivitis.

Colgate, dental hygiene, dental health

Colgate Total Daily Repair helps to prevent plaque, gingivitis, tartar build-up, cavities and bad breath. Truly, it leaves me feeling more confident that I am doing what’s best for my teeth and that I will have my own beautiful smile for years to come. They say that the proof is in the “pudding”, well, I went back to my dentist after a few weeks of brushing with Colgate Total Daily Repair and flossing twice daily and they said that the condition is improving. That might sound funny to some but to me, it means everything so I’ll be over here brushing with my Colgate Total Daily Repair and flossing, if you need me.

You can learn more about Colgate Total Daily Repair on their Facebook page.

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back to me, taking care of yourself, back-to-school, me time, time for yourself, the cure for mom brain

Summer was insane around here, packed full of traveling and the making of all the fun childhood memories but now it’s time to get back to me. It was awesome for the girls and us too. I love having them home but for me it was a little bit of the summer of Mom Interrupted.

My house looked like a cyclone hit it at all times. Getting work done felt like a covert opp because I was doing it after they went to bed, before they woke up and sneaking away for quiet moments at my keyboard while they were occupied with the Big Guy outside; all the while my heart was longing to be outside with them enjoying it. The mommy guilt was strong with me this summer, even though I was putting most things aside to be in the moment. It just never felt like enough.

I’ve noticed the older they get, the faster the summers go and more and more often I feel myself being torn between being their mom, his wife and my own person. I want to be happy and to be happy; those three components need to coexist in harmony. I need to be there for them but I definitely need to be here for me too. When the balance gets out of whack, my entire universe starts spinning off its axis. The truth is that one thing fuels the other and makes it better.

But how do I be there for them and still get back to me?

Being a good wife means a happy marriage, which means a stable, happy home for my children but none of that is possible if I am not happy with myself. So I have these three balls in the air at all times; my career, my daughters and my husband. Usually it is easy, I mean these are my priorities so 3 priorities are perfect until anything unexpected or extra comes up (which has been happening all summer) and then all the balls start dropping and I am jumping around like a mad woman trying to catch them before they hit the floor and shatter because obviously in my mind my balls are fragile. But my balls are strong; they are made of rubber. Anyways, enough about comparing my family to balls. The point is they are more resilient than I give them credit for and so am I.

But school has started back and I am writing in quiet from the hours of 8-2:30 and our routine is hectic but it’s manageable because we work together as a family to function smoothly. Sure there are hiccups but with everyone being flexible and having our priorities, life is easier. The thing that really keeps all the balls in the air is recognizing when one of us needs a break from the juggling or needs some extra TLC.

Every so often when things at the office get a little too hectic or my husband has a big project due, we all recognize that he might need a little more time to play Call of Duty and kill some zombies to decompress so I ask him to do less around the house during that time. Sometimes the kids get overwhelmed with homework and extracurricular activities, especially when they have performances or big tests coming up and that’s when they get extra cuddles, more understanding and maybe a pass on chores. And sometimes, I really need a day of quiet, to sleep in or just someone else to juggle all the balls for awhile because my arms are exhausted and this is when my family steps in and takes over; back-to-school is one of those times of year.

The girls are excited and anxious about starting a new school year with new teachers and new friends but at the same time, I am juggling all the balls and about 20 more and after a summer with just throwing balls and letting them fall where they may, this is near impossible and very stressful. I am in desperate need of a girl’s weekend in Chicago, a week at the beach or just a spa day.

Who am I kidding, I would settle for a day of no obligations; sleeping through the night without any interruptions and waking up on my own, a hot, relaxing bath, take out, no kids bickering and a back massage by the Big Guy. That sounds just about like perfection to me.

What’s your idea of the perfect back to me day?

 

Disclosure: I am a Wayfair ambassador but all opinions about how I get back to me are my own.

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turning 40. surviving 40

When I was turning 40, I had been warned ad naseum about how my body was going to give me a great big “FUCK YOU” and I took it with a grain of salt because, let’s face it, I am a stubborn broad and you can’t tell me anything and for the love of Pete, please don’t tell me that I CAN’T do something because chances are that I will do it…JUST TO PROVE YOU WRONG. Seriously, it is a disease with me.

Anyways, bossy, stubborn bitch aside that I can be, I really didn’t believe there was a magical age at which your body just shuts down and it’s all down hill. Plus, I refuse to believe that my middle age is 40. Fuck that noise, I am living to 105. So middle age can kiss my ass until I am around 53.

Sometimes, life sneak attacks you, ninja style and that is kind of what has been happening. There was no giant weight gain. Come on, I’ve been gaining weight steadily since the great exodus of eating disorders in 1997 and the introduction of mood stabilizers in 2000. It was a combo for body disaster. Then I got pregnant and started raising babies and my life, in its entirety, became a steady, uncontrollable run away train. It’s just how I was function.

Little to no sleep, everyone’s needs put before my own, eating terribly, exercising seldomly and losing all sense of fashion and self. I essentially got to the place of overloaded, overwhelmed and barely functioning but I thought it was okay because, in the end, I was functioning. I made concessions here and there and lowered my standards. Life essentially beat the crap out of me and left me for dead…in fucking yoga pants, a ponytail and about 75 pounds overweight.

Sure, I tried to bring back the feisty broad that I once was…several times. Clear! I was putting the paddle to the sad little broad’s life but nothing. Sure, there’d be a revelation here and there and I’d start working out or watching what I ate, coloring my hair and actually treating myself like a human and then something would break, funds would get tight and there I went to the wayside again. It’s embarrassing to let yourself go, especially when you used to be proud of who you were; what you were; what you looked like and your tenacity. You begin to feel like you had it all and you let it slip through your fingers and then you feel guilty because look at what you have instead…your children. Sure, you look like a homeless fatty but damn it, you are a good mother. But are you? Really?

How great of a mom can I be if I look defeated at 41? What kind of example am I? Then on top of all of that, I noticed my hair falling out by the handfuls every time I showered (Stress is a cruel bitch), crows feet just waiting to delve even deeper, my skin is a desolate dessert, my hair is not only starting it’s own gray hair club the rest of my hair is taking on a texture that can only be described as witchy; it looks like the curls and the straight parts got into a fight and no one won. Plus, my eyelids and my boobs are a little lower and my skin looks decidedly less smooth. Plus, there is the overweight issue. The issue being that I yo-yo between starving, dieting and eating whatever the hell I want. ALL these are bad for me, especially since apparently, metabolism has taken an early retirement.

So I am doing research. I will not go gently into that good night of middle age. I want to look like I grew old gracefully but there is nothing graceful about the knock-down, drag out fight that mother nature and I are about to have.

Here are some tips that make turning 40 awesome:

Vaseline is a miracle cure for dry feet. I am not joking. Take a shower, wash your feet, get out, pat those feet well and slather them with Petroleum Jelly an then put on plain white cotton socks. Within 2 days I turned my pterodactyl talons into smooth baby feet. But you have to keep it up or the crypt keeper feet will come back.

Wen is a awesome. Yep, I saw all the infomercials but didn’t believe it. I wasn’t sure that I would feel clean without lather but let me tell you my crazy hair is getting prettier and prettier every day and more importantly I am only losing 5-10 hairs per shower versus the handfuls I was losing. Now, Wen won’t do shit for your grays so you’ll have to get a good stylist and colorist. Go on, do it. You are worth it. Make time and take care of those grays.

Moisturize like your face depends on it because it does. Sure, you need to keep your entire body moisturized because if not you’ll eventually get all ashy and itchy and that’s not cute but if you don’t moisturize your face, you will get wrinkles and look like the damn crypt keeper by the time you are 60. If that doesn’t scare you straight, I don’t know what will. Crowsfeet and laugh lines may be natural and some even tolerable but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of Botox.

Get up and move. I don’t care what you do as long as you are moving. I sit on my ass all day working and my ass looks like it. It’s not being 40 that made metabolism take early retirement; it’s sitting on my ass doing nothing physical. My metabolism gave up on me. The good news is that going from sitting on your ass to any movement at all is going to be an improvement.

Get your sleep. You know people say, “I can sleep when I am dead. YOLO!” Well, as a grown woman who has terrible insomnia and a predilection for mania, I can tell you that sleep is way more valuable to your happiness than your YOLO attitude. Not saying not to live outloud but you can be a lot more lively and vivacious if you get at least 7 hours of sleep, plus you will feel better and people will like to be around you. YOLO is for 21 year olds who haven’t lived life yet. They are too stupid to know what they are saying is complete bullshit. Now, go take a fucking nap.

Wiggle it just a little bit…or a lot. Have sex with your husband, as much as you like. Look, I hear that menopause brings with it some vaginal dryness so girl, you better go get your groove on before you have to buy stock in KY lubricants just to do the deed. Besides, I don’t know about you but if I go more than a week without sex, I get grouchy. Seriously, like I want to punch people in the face grouchy. Have fun. It’s not so serious. This man loves you. Sex and giggling go together perfectly, as long as you’re not doing it anywhere near his penis. That’s grounds for divorce.

All things in moderation. Eat healthy and be happy. Look, I have been slowly but surely eating myself into not just obesity but unhealthiness. I have fallen into the terrible habit of eating processed shit and sugar and not near enough fruits and veggies. That’s all changing. I feel miserable and look terrible by my own standards. So, I am stepping out of my comfort zone and I am going to try to supplement my daily food intake with some juicing. Thanks Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead for scaring the shit out of me.  Anyways, I’ll keep you posted on how all this goes. Just remember, turning 40 is not turning dead. You’ve got this. You are fucking awesome. Now, go show those damn 30 year olds what a real woman looks like:) Never you mind her pregnancy glow.

Shit, is this my midlife crisis? When do I get my sports car and start flirting with 25 year olds? Who am I kidding? A 25-year-old has nothing on the Big Guy.

What’s your best advice to anyone turning 40?

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