Dad Bod: It’s Time To Go Part II

On 23 January 2017, someone decided to write a post called ‘Dad Bod: It’s time to go!’

That someone was me.

My post went something a little like this:

“Blah blah blah I’m not going to beat around the bush… I have officially (by my own admittance) reached fat bastard status! I got to that point where I realised I had two options available moving forward regarding my diet and my weight. Either stop eating… or buy a whole new wardrobe full of clothes. And let’s face it, to stop eating is definitely the cheaper way to go!”

“Blah blah blah I mean, it’s pretty bad. Like so bad that the t-shirts I own look like they’re about 2 sizes to small when I wear them. If I start to raise my arms it looks like I’m wearing a midriff! Plus none of my pants fit! We went to the Redcliffe Lagoon just before New Years and I couldn’t do them up. I have buttons popping open on shorts and I even had to use a hair tie on the top button of a pair of jeans because I couldn’t get it done up! Yes, a hack I learned from my pregnant wife.”

“Blah blah blah I’ve embraced the Dad Bod for long enough. All the delicious food and the cold beers and the tasty burgers and the amazing chocolate and the delightful doughnuts and the… IT’S TIME TO STOP!!!”

Pretty convincing stuff right. Well, I must have thought so at the time, because I was clearly fired up enough to put down in writing that I was going to lose the dad bod and gain a six pack that would give Zac Efron a run for his money! I was making claims like I was going to be the next inspirational body transformation story to go viral around the world and have everyone asking me “How did you do it?” I was talking like I was going to be the next Instagram male fitness model with abs of steel, calves that could cut through glass, biceps that would make The Rock jealous and an ego to match.

Fast forward to the end of June and I’m now peaking at 90kg in weight, I haven’t given up any of the bad foods I said I was going to give up, I’m drinking more beer than I did at Christmas and New Years, I’ve had to buy the next size up in underwear, and I’ve had to buy half a wardrobes worth of clothes that actually fit me.

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I think I’ve practically just given up trying to lose weight and get back to my peak fitness level. It’s like I’ve just thrown up the middle finger with a “f*** it… I’m having cake and beer!” I mean, cake and beer is freaking delicious!!! Who doesn’t want cake and beer! Just throw in some mac and cheese, dark chocolate, a full family bag of cheese supreme Doritos and some ice cream and you have a bloody good night in at home on the couch watching some Netflix!

Losing weight is just so damn hard these days. I mean, I never really thought that being in my early thirties would have that much of an impact on my health and fitness but f***… it’s like my body just turns whatever I eat to fat and stores it there for an eternity.

So bugger it… I’m just going to keep enjoying myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still exercise and sh**… but I think I’m going to give up on the dream of being the next Arnold Schwarzenegger!

With that said, I’ve got to go… I’ve got a 7/11 Slurpee and king size Mars bar calling my name!

My Pregnancy ‘Survival’ Kit

I am now well into the third trimester of pregnancy number two so I thought I would share some of my favorite things to use, do and have during pregnancy.

So, in no particular order here are some of my tips, tricks and favorite things for ‘surviving’ pregnancy.


Supplements

Now, it can be hard in those early days to just keep your breakfast down let alone a truck load of pills and potions, but optimum health is super important throughout pregnancy. Especially in those early days. I am a fairly avid vitamin taker anyway but I do switch it up slightly when pregnant.

I chose to take Nutriway. They are completely organic and actually contain food, plant and minerals; nothing synthetic which I love. Double X is my base daily habit to which I add Omega 3, Cal Mag (great for managing cramps and restless legs), Tri-Iron and Folic, Vitamin C (helps to absorb the iron and keep away nasty colds), Fruit & Veg (to supplement all the carbs and chocolate I’m inhaling) and Vitamin B if I need some extra energy. Admittedly, I haven’t taken Omega 3 since my first trimester because it was making me vomit… boo!

A Pregnancy Pillow

This is an absolute must! Now there are some super amazing, mega expensive options when it comes to maternity pillows. Mine however, is a humble body pillow that has seen three women through two pregnancies each so it is on its last legs. But it gets the job done. Perfect for supporting my belly as it grows and supporting my top leg to help keep hips aligned. It is a bit of an intimacy killer and takes up a fair bit of room in the bed, especially with husband, toddler and belly all fighting for space. But totally necessary for a good night sleep.

Exercise

I like to keep as fit as possible during pregnancy. I’m not a fitness junkie or anything but there are a few things I do to try to keep active (after all, it is all labour preparation!).

Obviously, being a post natal fitness instructor, Kangatraining is a regular part of my routine with two classes per week. I also do high intensity weight training (once a week is all I need) and I’ve done a bit of prenatal yoga which I’ll talk about a bit more later. When all else fails you can’t go wrong with walking, even if it’s at a snails’ pace and more like a waddle. I sometimes get cramps or braxton hicks when walking so I just take it easy.

Maternity Clothes

There are so many great brands out there now with gorgeous clothes for pregnant and nursing mothers. But some can be quite expensive. There are however, a few key pieces I rely on to get me through.

It has been a super hot summer here in Brisbane so my denim maternity shorts (one a cheapie pair from Kmart and the other slightly fancier pair from Jeans West) have been a definite wardrobe staple. I love a good maternity body con dress for when you need to dress up a little or just feel like showing off your bump. I have a casual one from Kmart and two from ASOS that are more fancy.

But I have to say what I have been living in the most is my Cadenshae active wear. The smoothie crop is so comfortable and perfect to double as a bikini top. And the bamboo casual tanks are the bees knees. Roomy enough to still fit my 33 week bump and easy to breastfeed in once bub arrives with extra large arm holes.

When it comes to active wear I also highly recommend the Enji maternity activewear pants and 2XU pregnancy compression tights.

Raspberry Leaf Tea

If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably heard about red raspberry leaf tea and it’s benefits as a uterine tonic. It is said that when taken during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester, it can strengthen the mother’s immune system, ease morning sickness and help circulation. It’s believed to also help strengthen uterine muscles and tone the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth.

Now, I don’t know if any of that is true but I drank it in my first pregnancy and it served me well with a relatively ‘easy’ birth and no pelvic floor or prolapse issues so I’m doing it again. Mama Body Tea has a great range of pregnancy and nursing teas, or I’ve also used brands from a health food store as well.

Me Time

During my first pregnancy with Jesse I had the luxury of time and had regular massages and monthly visits to the chiropractor. While that hasn’t happened this time I still think it is really important to give yourself permission to take time out for yourself to relax and bond with baby.

I especially love prenatal yoga and listening to guided meditations or hypnobirthing audios (you can find them on Apple music). They are both beautiful ways to slow down and connect with the baby while learning techniques for encouraging a calm and positive birth experience.

A relaxing bath, going for a walk or just laying down and enjoying the feeling of baby move are great too. I also love Bowen Therapy and am looking forward to trying a float tank very soon. Sounds like the perfect way to ease the strain of a growing belly on tired, achy muscles.

All the food

After my pregnancy with Jesse I promised I would have a better diet the second time around. Not that I was super bad with Jesse but I did indulge pretty much my every whim towards the end. I think because food was such a turn off in the first 3 months that I was making up for it in the last!

Well, it would seem that I have broken my promise and chocolate has become a food group unto itself lately. But you know what, I don’t care. I’m still eating plenty of healthy stuff too and exercising. So bugger it! I will eat all the food and if that means chocolate on the daily then so be it.

So there you have it. A few things that help me enjoy pregnancy as much as possible and start to prepare for birth.

What are your pregnancy must-haves?? I’d love to hear what you couldn’t live without during pregnancy.

 

Dealing with the Realities of Aging

Let’s talk about getting old for a minute. Or more specifically, caring for our loved ones as they get old.

But first I’ll preface this post by saying that, although we both write openly and honestly about our lives; mostly our parenting experiences, I do admit to censoring what I write about when it involves other family members. In this case though, I feel it’s an important topic to discuss and one that might resonate with others.

My family is relatively young compared to other people my age. My parents are under 50 (just) and one of my Nan’s was a Grandmother at 34! But these past few months we have been hit by the realisation that our loved ones are getting older and the impact that can have on the rest of the family.

One of those times was the passing of Kaine’s granddad a couple of months ago. And although he was 96 and my side of the family is much younger, my family are facing struggles in this arena too.

Recently one of my Grandmother’s was diagnosed with dementia. Due to circumstances within the family I have found myself becoming one of the ‘primary caregivers’ I suppose you could say. I entered the world of all things ‘old people’ and found myself knee-deep in social workers, senior living options, care providers, doctors and having absolutely no idea what I was doing.

I want to help, please don’t misunderstand. I want my Nan to be taken care of, be surrounded by family and enjoy quality of life as she still has a lot of life to live.

But as I sat in a meeting with her newly appointed case manager and we talked about care plans and medical services and what to do if Nan gets lost almost as if she wasn’t even in the room, my eyes filled and my throat closed.

This is too much. It’s too overwhelming. What if I make the wrong decision. What if she gets so sad and lonely and confused she’d rather not live in this world anymore.

I already feel so full with an energetic toddler and a growing belly that will soon become a newborn, sending me back into the haze of cluster feeding and unbelievable exhaustion. I don’t know if I can do it.

But here’s what I do know. My Nan deserves to feel loved, wanted and cared for at a time when she must be so afraid and lonely. I honestly don’t care who’s feelings might have been hurt in the past by different circumstances within the family or who was at fault. She is a mother, a Grandmother, and has survived the passing of two husbands that she loved dearly. She’s a person.

Yes it’s scary and overwhelming. It might even feel like an obligation at times, a hassle. But I know in my heart that doing all I can to help is the only option. I can’t promise that I’ll always make the right choices or that I will be able to be available all the time. But I’ll do what I can.

I love you Nan.

xx

That’s a Wrap!

Today Jesse and I did our final Kangatraining class for 2016. 

We had such a fun last class with all the mums and bubs getting into the Christmas spirit. 

It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a full year since we travelled to Melbourne to do the instructor course. I didn’t really know what to expect; starting my own traditional business, being a ‘fitness instructor’ and juggling that with being a new mum. But I knew how much I loved Kanga and hoped I could bring that joy and sense of community to other mums. 

Well, my expectations have been truly surpassed. I’ve been so privledged to get to know some wonderful women and I have seen them support, encourage and befriend each other. 

I am the first to admit I was so turned off by the ‘mum club’ before and during my pregnancy with Jesse. I just saw so much bitchiness, competiveness and judgement amongst mums that I didn’t want any part of it. 

Thankfully, my personal experience has been much different to that. In a Kanga room there is zero judgement or shaming. Just tonnes of laughter, understanding, sweat and friendship. Totally refreshing!

But now it’s time for a few weeks off while we celebrate Christmas, spend time with our families and, in my case, grow another Kanga joey. 

So until next year….

Photo Friday: Family Mountain Climb

A few weekends ago we headed out to Samford and, as a family, climbed Camp Mountain.

It was a fairly rugged hike, and was made harder by carrying an extra 11kg in the form of a 14 month old… But we really enjoyed it. And the view from the top was great!

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It was also really wonderful to see others at the summit enjoying a warm winters day and having lunch. When you get weather like this during the winter, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of it.

We will definitely be climbing more mountains in the future… And maybe, we might even attempt some trickier ones.

3 Ways for Mums to Beat The Winter Blues

Staying active and motivated is challenging enough for mums with little ones and when winter sets in it is even harder.

But keeping up those great habits you worked so hard to create is key to keeping the winter blues at bay. Yes, its a real thing! Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a seasonal depression and most commonly occurs in winter.

So whether you are at risk of SAD or just need a little extra help to get moving in the cold, here are some simple tips especially for mums to beat the winter blues.

1. Write down one thing you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed

As a new mum, some days just having a shower and practicing some basic hygiene feels like an accomplishment! But the simple act of writing down a goal for the next day and then achieving it will help to make you feel productive and good about yourself.

If you are like most mums and have about a dozen things swirling in your head at night, write them all down so that you can stop worrying about them. But don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get them all done. Just move them to the next day’s list.

2. Get dressed and ready for the day by 9am

There will absolutely be times where you find yourself still in your pj’s at 4pm and that’s okay. But as a general rule, try to get dressed (yes, yoga pants and a sloppy joe count!), do your hair (yes, messy mum-bun counts!) and whatever else makes you feel ready for action by 9am.

3. Do something active each day

Finding the time to exercise can be tricky for mums. And just the thought of stripping off your warm and comfy slippers and robe to slide into your active wear and runners has you climbing back into bed. But the key here is to make it fun and be accountable to someone.

Partner up with a mummy friend or involve the whole family including dad as well. Booking into a fun group fitness program like Kangatraining (insert shameless plug here) is a great way to not only get active but to socialise with other like-minded mummies. While there is no shortage of activities to chose from, Kangatraining is a specific post natal workout run by mums, for mums. Kangatrainers are educated in post natal exercise, women’s health issues such as PND and weak pelvic floor, as well as safe baby wearing practices. Not to mention it recently won the award for best pre / post natal activity at the What’s On 4 Australia 2016 Junior Awards. Okay, I may be a little bias given that I am a trainer myself, but seriously, it’s awesome!

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Hopefully these ideas will help to keep your mojo flowing throughout the cool winter months. We all still have crappy days from time to time though, so don’t be too hard on yourself either.
Some days we just need to rock our pj’s, pour ouselves a glass of wine and binge watch an insanely ridiculous but oh-so-addictive tellie show.

Our Biggest Parenting Challenge Yet

In the past, both on this blog and in general conversation with people we know, we have often talked about how Jesse is a really cruisy baby. And about how lucky we have been because he’s such a happy baby.

“Nah, he hardly ever cries”, we would say. “He’s a pretty chilled baby”.

Well, all that has changed. Our once chilled, happy, easy going baby has turned into a restless, upset, cranky, screaming bubba that is often hard to settle. The culprit? Based on all the evidence we have and research we’ve undertaken, the most likely explanation is that he is starting to go through teething.

So with that, I would like to say that this past week of parenting for us, has been hard. Hard because after becoming accustomed to having such a happy, well behaved baby for the better part of the past 6 months, it has been a little difficult coming to terms with and adjusting to a baby that is cranky and unsettled a lot of the time.

But while it has been hard for us both, it has been especially hard for Renee. When you are a stay-at-home mum and have a baby that demands your full attention for so much of the day and night, it can start to take its toll. But Renee has soldiered on. Being a pillar of support for Jesse and also being a rock for me when I get stressed. And for this reason, words can’t even begin to express my gratitude toward Renee for this.

That said, there is one (huge) thing that both Renee and I need to consider and reflect on. And that is that Jesse is not doing this just for the hell of it. He is not putting us through our paces as parents just because he feels like it. Jesse is genuinely upset, unhappy, and in pain.

When he is uncontrollably crying and just won’t settle down no matter what we try. It’s because he is in discomfort and in pain.

When he keeps waking up every couple of hours during the night because he is unsettled. It’s because he just wants a cuddle and to be comforted.

When he won’t settle in my arms no matter what I do, but will stop crying when he gets his mummy. I need to realise that it’s not that he doesn’t like me. It’s just that he wants his mummy at that moment. Mostly I think, because mummy has the boobs.

And when he won’t take his bottle no matter how many different ways we try to give it to him. It’s because his gums are sensitive and hurt. But taking comfort in knowing that he is still getting nourishment through puree’s and mummy’s boobs.

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We know that babies have limited communication skills. So when it comes to communicating with mums and dads, the only thing babies can really do is cry. And for this reason, we do know that for the moment, the constant crying and unsettled nature is just his way of communicating that something is just not quite right.

I will at this point say this. We aren’t naive about the struggles of having a newborn. We are well aware that there will be parents out there that have had unsettled babies since they were born. Babies with colic. Babies with reflux. The fact that we are going through this rough patch isn’t even a blip compared to what some parents go through with their own babies.

And these parents in our eyes, deserve to be commended. We can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to have a baby that cries all the time. You must be super parents to be able to navigate your way through the days with a constantly unsettled bubba.

I hereby dub you ‘Super Mum’ and ‘Super Dad’! High five!

I know that the mere fact we have had such a happy and healthy baby leading up to this dreaded teething period has been an absolute blessing. And really, in the grand scheme of things, we really don’t have anything to complain about. And despite the fact that he is going through an unsettled period, he still does give us glimpses of his usual self (happy go lucky Jesse), he is healthy, and he is still bloody cute.

But it’s still tough… Being first time parents and never experiencing this before, ever, and trying to get a grasp of and work through this rough period with Jesse is tough. But I have absolute faith that together, as a unit, we are strong and will work through it and come out the other side with an even happier baby than we had before.

And to all my fellow mums and dads out there (especially the first timers)… we got this! We can do this! And if there is only one thing that you get from this post, I hope it’s that you are not alone in your struggles! Everyone goes through rough patches.

So let’s support each other and get through this together!

We got this!

12 Week Fitness Challenge – Getting Our Fit On!

Trying to stay fit and healthy can be hard work… but then again, no one has ever said that it’s easy.

At the moment, we are both partaking in a 12 week fat loss competition through our gym. The goal… to get our bodies ready for summer!

It is actually a really good competition to be involved in. It’s a challenge comprising of healthier eating, supplements and stepping up our gym game by going more often and pushing ourselves harder.

So far, I’ve lost 1.5kg of fat (not weight, just fat) which is pretty good for me, considering I don’t really have that much to lose in the first place. My goal for the competition however, is the following:

  1. Drop back to my ideal weight of 75kg
  2. Drop back to 12% body fat

This all seams easy enough, but believe me, like I said, it’s harder than it looks. I am currently sitting at 79kg and 15.9% body fat.

To give us a little advantage in this competition however, we have started doing our home circuits again. We have a bit of exercise equipment lying around the house that we used to use quite regularly, but then got a bit slack with. Things like kettle bells and sandbags and ab wheels.

12 Week Challenge

So what better opportunity than now to get back into our home circuit training to give us a competitive edge in the 12 week challenge.

The last circuit I put together, was the following:

  • 30 push ups
  • 30 weighted squats
  • 30 dips
  • 30 weighted lunges
  • 30 ab crunches
  • 30 secs of planking
  • 30 push ups
  • 30 weighted squats
  • 30 dips
  • 30 weighted lunges
  • 30 ab crunches
  • 30 secs of planking
  • 30 burpees
  • 30 push ups
  • 30 weighted squats
  • 30 dips
  • 30 weighted lunges
  • 30 ab crunches
  • 30 secs of planking
  • 30 burpees

The perfect opportunity for us to get stuck into a good circuit like this one is when Jesse is all fed and watered and in his cot soundly sleeping. Any time before then, is a nightmare trying to do exercise whilst also attending to his needs.

It got me to thinking though…

What are your favourite home exercise circuits to do? What home exercise equipment you like to use? Do you have any suggestions as to circuits or equipment that we could use to really kick up our game and get some good results?

Six pack here I come!!!