Don’t let your Opinion of your Appearance Affect your Physical Capabilities

I’ve spent countless hours critiquing myself in the past; picking out the things that were wrong with me or not good enough! Looking in the mirror and seeing my flaws instead of my strengths.

How many times have you done this yourself? I don’t think I’m alone with these negative lenses I look through. For some reason we live in a society that has a general level of superficial focus…..Do you have a nice big house? A fancy car? Are you thin? Are you attractive?  It’s sad, but true. I feel over the past few years there has been a bit of a change, focusing more on strength over being thin; but it still feels like a competition out there about LOOKS and SUCCESS and not about just being your best you.

After I had my children like many new moms I felt as though my best years (from a physical standpoint) had passed. After 3 c-sections, and complications with recovery on my third, I did feel as though maybe my body was just ruined in ways that could never be repaired. But I decided I wasn’t going to succumb to those feelings and I changed my focus to strengthening and challenging myself. I wanted to get back to a place where I felt comfortable in my own skin. I started taking pictures about 8 weeks postpartum and began training for a half marathon; which was just 5 months to the day after I had delivered my youngest!

I’ve written previously in Respecting my postpartum body about the physical and mental challenges and changes that training and accomplishment had on me. And recently, after completing two half marathons this year, I looked up those old postpartum pictures I took to see what progress I’d made.

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Here is a comparison showing my progress. It’s humbling to see myself in the left pictures. I was 5 months postpartum and had just completed that half marathon I was training for. I used that training as my motivation to help me get back into shape. I had lost weight and was feeling good about the progress I was making. Looking at them now it’s interesting to see what perspective and self-appreciation will do to those lenses we critique ourselves with!! That body still needed some work, and the one I have now still needs some work! But I didn’t let my negative opinion hold me back because I started focusing on new motivations. It was no longer a motivation to be thin or look my best, it was a motivation to challenge myself and appreciate what I could do regardless of how I looked. This change in focus has helped me get 10 pounds UNDER my pre-pregnancy weight and has helped me have confidence in how I look for the first time in, well, I can’t tell you how long.

The best take away I can share from my experience is to stop setting weight loss goals, and start setting physical goals that challenge you in a way that seems impossible! Follow through with those goals and the weight will come off, you will appreciate your reflection, but most importantly you will find a real, true sense of self-appreciation and respect. And THAT is the best gift you can give yourself!

Until next time……Thea 🙂

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Progress not Perfection- 21 Day Fix/Clean Eating Reviews

Since the start of this blog I have been working on and shared my many fitness and weight loss goals. I thought I would share some of the success I have had so far with the Clean Eating and 21 Day Fix fitness programs I have been following.

They have a saying in the beach body world (Beachbody offers the 21 day fix and various workout/fitness programs like P90X, Insanity, Piyo and more), that you should focus on progress, and not perfection! This is so true as I am still 5 pounds from my weight goal but here is a before and current picture showing the progress I have made so far this year!

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I’ve been able to make these changes doing mainly 30 minute workouts from the 21 day fix program, roughly 5 times a week. Yes, I trained for, and ran a half marathon during that time, but my long runs were only once a week. I’m glad I listened and took these pictures. My weight difference is only 10 pounds! To me it looks like more, or maybe I just seen the difference in body composition. My upper body and waist have really shown the most noticeable change. Working on strength more verses just cardio makes a big difference!! Lift weight people, it is GOOD!

I have also made a big change in my diet cutting out most, but not all, processed foods and sugar. Small changes make a difference on the scale and measurements, but also with how I FEEL! I’ve always been a huge salad fan using healthy dressings but during these 6 months I have discovered how simple and delicious homemade salad dressings are! Also, I finally went for the shakeology protein shake option. Even though it is more than some store-bought shakes, I was very surprised at how much I LOVED the taste and it kept me full longer. It includes tons of vitamins and probiotics, and using the chocolate flavor helps me fulfillment my daily sweet tooth cravings!

I’m still working on my goal of hitting the 145 mark, but in the meantime I’m feeling GREAT! I’m more than just content; I’m happy with the changes I’m seeing and feeling with my body. If you’re interested in trying one of these programs check out my Beachbody website; www.beachbodycoach.com/theasinclair. My dream has always been to be a personal trainer, or to be involved with fitness, and this company is a great way for me to offer multiple options to people looking to improve their health and fitness. I would love to be your supporter and coach!!

Until next time… Thea

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10 Way Not to “Lose Yourself” in Motherhood

It’s so common to lose yourself once you become a Mom. You spend a majority of your time caring for your children, caring for your spouse, cooking; cleaning….the list goes on! So it makes sense that during that time you can start to lose yourself a little when you’re rarely putting yourself or your needs first. So here are a few things I do to hold on to the person I once was, the person I am and the person I want to continue to be.

1) Keep your Hobbies– Before I had my first many people told me I was going to need to quit my hobby of playing sports. I was playing on 2-4 recreational soccer leagues a week and softball in the summers. Clearly, I was going to need to cut back but why would I need to stop playing all together? I felt like I got flack from people when I was insistent I was going to go back after the baby arrived. It’s something I LOVE to do! It keeps me active, I see my friends, and play with my sisters. Oh and it’s a great stress reliever as well. I’ve continued to play, usually only once a week for soccer and I’ve kept summer softball, which I play with my husband on a co-ed league. It’s been great to get out 1-2 times a week and it’s helped me to continue to feel like the same person I have always been! Whatever your hobby is, reading, writing, gardening, scrapbooking or exercise; I encourage you to keep making just a little bit of time to do those things

2) Curse– I used to have a bit of a potty mouth. I am now reformed since I am with my children basically 24/7. But when I’m out with adults sometimes it feels good not to have to worry about what I say! Tossing out an F bomb or a Holy S***, somehow becomes relaxing and refreshing!

3) Lean on your Spouse– If there is anyone that truly knows you, it’s your spouse. They’ve known you before, during and after children. They are your partner in everything; your supporter, confidante, champion, and your love. Talk to them about anything and everything. Lean on them and it will help you keep centered.

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4) Stop Worrying About what Other People Think! I used to want for people to like me. I still do in some ways because I try to be a kind and thoughtful person; and I genuinely care. But spending time trying to please others just ends up making you try to be someone you’re not. So stop worrying about others and focus on you! You’re got enough to worry about supporting your children and husband.

5) Be Ridiculous! In the summer I like to roll the windows down, with the wind blowing in my hair, sunglasses on, jamming to some tune that is now considered “Classic Rock,” and sing my heart out! Sometimes, I try to convince myself that I am super cool while doing this! It takes me back to a time when I was young and carefree; a version of myself that I think of fondly. Bring that girl of the past out sometimes, even if you’re alone and there’s no one to see her. Keep her present!

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6) Keep having Sex! Yes, I went there! I tell people being a mom is the most amazing and exhausting thing I have ever experienced. Well, the exhaustion part for parents can really put a damper on the lovin! I can’t tell you how many couples I know who are rarely having sex. Remember before you had kids when sex didn’t take the effort? Well, those days are likely gone, but the effort is worth it! Make the effort, make the time. The connection with your spouse, the stress relief, the link to that once carefree sexual person; it will keep you feeling like YOU!

7) Have a Cocktail– As a mom you are always “on.” At any age there are little eyes always watching, observing and learning from you. Give yourself a break and have a drink everyone once in a while. Hell, make plans to go out a couple of times a year to really let loose. Going out on the town with some girlfriends to drink and dance the night away…. that keeps me in touch with my love to have fun self!

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8) Take Time for Yourself- This is the HARDEST thing for any mom to do; working, SAHM, it doesn’t matter. We ALL love our kids and want the best for them and taking time away from them is hard. Go for a massage, take a bath, or even a 30 minute drive to Dunkin Donuts to sip coffee alone and check Facebook. That little bit of time can be rejuvenating and all you need to recharge.

9) Exercise– Who are we kidding ladies, our bodies change after children in many way. Even if you have never been someone who exercised, working on your body will help you keep respect and appreciation for it. Your body may never be the same again but loving and accepting it will make you feel comfortable and confident. The added perk with this is setting a good example for your children. When I run on the weekends my oldest always wants to run with me. After I get back we always go on our own little run just the two of us!

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10) Never Give up and Keep Dreaming! The reality is that as the years go on our children will need us less and less. Someday they will be grown with families of their own. I know that I’ll always need my parents love and support. I need it now still as an adult, but I don’t depend on them like I did when I was a young child. We are living our lives now! So don’t give up on some of the things you love to do, want to do or dream of doing. Keep a notebook, make a bucket list! Just never give up and keep on dreaming!

Doing these things has helped me keep myself during these early, demanding years or motherhood. Well, mostly anyway! And that in turn is helping me be the best Mom I can be to my three beautiful children!

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Until next time….Thea 🙂

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Respecting my Postpartum Body

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This is me! Full term, 205 pounds of swollen, ready to pop, hot pregnant mess! This wasn’t even my first time where I let myself go a little thinking the weight would all melt off after. This was my THIRD! Despite trying to eat healthy and stay active I still gained 50 pounds. I was working as a waitress a couple of days a week and I was a full-time stay at home mom so I wasn’t sitting around. I was always on the move and exhausted before Miss T even arrived. Sigh! Luckily, I had done this pregnancy thing twice before and I’d managed to lose most of the weight after.

Recently I heard a Mom say, “My body is ruined. Having kids ruined my body!” I could relate. After having my first I’d gained 50 pounds and had acquired stretch marked from my ribs to my hip bones. I felt as if I was “ruined” physically. I mean, it’s not like I ever filled out a bikini very nicely, but my two piece days were over and I was pissed off about it! One thing that men don’t understand is that during pregnancy you grow and grow, and regardless of whether you enjoy the process or not, it’s gradual.  Then many of us get home we look in the mirror and wonder what the hell we are looking at. I mean, over night we go from excited to meet our beautiful creation, to a deflated stomach, engorged throbbing boobs and typically swelling from all the fluids that were pumped into us. It’s like….

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I felt uncomfortable in my body most of that first year after having my first Miss Piece’s. I worked out, went back to playing soccer, and started running more. But it was never really the same as before. My husband and I decided to try for our second after our daughter turned one and two months later I was pregnant! Fast forward to Mr. Man’s arrival and I knew what to expect. I didn’t gain as much so I felt a little better after, but my body changed again. Someone told me before I had him that your body changes after every pregnancy and I was like, “Really!?!? Come on! I had just started getting used to that one!” And it was true. It was different again. Because when your body stretches to support a basketball sized munchkin a couple of times it’s taxing and takes a toll! After I had him I decided to train for a half marathon to get myself back into shape and lose the baby weight. It was during that process that I started to grow a deeper respect for myself and my ever changing body!

I look at the picture of my full term self and see how insane pregnancy is and how amazing the female body is to house and grow a human! As I stated in my post Learning to Run. I never used to like running. I LOATHED it really! So to set the goal to run a half marathon seemed like a fantasy goal. I didn’t know if I would even be able to do it. But in the process of training I was doing something I had never done before and I was fascinated at what my body could do after ballooning to have a child. I was losing the weight and I was definitely looking better physically, but it was the way I was developing an appreciation for my body and its capabilities that changed my perspective on things. It’s pretty amazing how a female body can expand and contract! It morphs into a massive beast (in my case anyway) and then if you work hard, it can turn into something new and strong and impressive again.

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Here I am now. I’m nothing impressive really and I know that. But I actually like this body now much more than my most fit and lean 18-year-old body; I think just because I appreciate it more now. I stopped focusing on the things I didn’t like and started looking at the things that I do. After nursing three children a total of about 25 months, my boobs are never going to be the same! And my stomach which will always have those tracks of faded stretch marks and a bit of a pop; they have changed to make my beautiful children and it was worth it! But now when I look at myself I see my legs again, which have always been thick and full, but also very strong! They are getting more defined than they have been in many years and can run further at 34 than I ever even thought I could run at 18. I’ve tried and will continue to try to look at things in a positive light because that’s the example I want to set for my children. I want my two girls to appreciate their bodies for what they are and can do, and not for how they look.

It’s a constant battle in life to keep positive as I referenced in the importance of a positive inner monologue. We see celebrities out there bouncing back and looking better than ever. Well screw them! We are the ones working hard to power through life without trainers and chefs or nannies to take care of our kids. We are the REAL deal! So be kind to your bodies; mothers and women alike, and give yourself a break! It’s so much easier to be happy in your life when you love instead of criticize; and I think that goes for the appreciation of our bodies as well.

Until next time….. Thea 🙂

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