Building those NESTS – NUTRITION

It is week TWO of our current Challenge and this week we are focusing on the first twig of NESTS building: NUTRITION.

NESTS

 

For mothers experiencing postpartum anxiety or depression, or ANYONE struggling with a mental health problem, nutrition can be a confusing world. I remember going through bouts of not wanting to eat, not having time to eat, wanting to eat EVERYTHING, knowing I should eat from all the food groups but instead reaching for a sugary, fast-burning carbohydrate, and struggling to get fluids, like water, in.

“I don’t have enough time to eat or make food for myself! ”

“The baby needs me! I must go to the baby first.”

” I feel too sad/anxious/overwhelmed to eat.”

“I am too sad/anxious/overwhelmed so I will eat EVERYTHING to help me feel better.”

“Did I drink water today? I’m so busy! I don’t even remember!”

Does this sound familiar? The truth is NUTRITION and getting enough of the right kind of food helps to FUEL your body so you can FEEL BETTER and carry on with your daily activities.

For more tips and the rest of the NESTS workbook, vist  Module 3, Part C of the Coping with Depression in Pregnancy and Following the Birth.

Want more tips and daily accountability and motivation? Register for an upcoming Challenge Group! I talk more about nutrition tips, meal planning and of course, give you SUPPORT to keep at it. ❤

Register for my CHALLENGE GROUP

 

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Last Week’s Meal Prep

So this is a week late but better late than never right? 😬
NUTRITION. Oh boy, it’s a tricky one (when you’re just beginning). Because I’m a diabetic, I have fortunately been able to go to diabetic and healthy heart trainings. At these trainings, they go through the basics of how to eat healthy food, count carbohydrates and test your blood sugar to see how it is affecting your body. I have also had the opportunity to learn from and consult with a team of dietitians for many years of my diabetic life. Not everyone has access to these groups and a registered dietitian, which is such a shame. 
So when I opened up my 21 Day Fix eating plan that came with my Challenge Pack and looked through the book and held the containers in my hands, I was pleasantly surprised to find the containers followed what I had been taught by those dietitians, nurses and doctors all those years. The eating plan is based on clean eating principles but taking those to the next level with portion control, which is where I personally have the toughest time.
It has made staying true to my nutrition goals so much easier. And it has made meal planning more fun too!


My meal plan last week.I like colours! I’m also still a pen and paper girl when it comes to planning 😉
This is just a sample of what I eat in a week. I’m the type of person who doesn’t mind eating the same thing everyday. dinner is different everyday because Eric likes his variety for dinner. That’s also the lovely part about the containers, I can easily just portion out whatever we are eating that night. BOOM! It’s a meal that’s ready for me and 21 Day Fix Approved. ❤️


Dinner planning for the week!

Do I ALWAYS follow this plan to a T? No! But it’s always a good thing to have it.

Okay.. Narra will be up from her nap soon so I gotta jet! 😘
Recipe of the Turkey Patties to follow!! 😊

Transforming my Life (Facing Your Fears Part 2 of 2)

My official diagnosis was Postpartum Anxiety with some Depression and Obsessive Compulsive tendencies. Now that’s a mouthful.

 

When people hear about being anxious, they think it’s just being worried all the time. Although that is correct, it can be so much more. There were times that my anxiety would lead me to be on a constant rewind-replay of thoughts. This was why I couldn’t sleep at night. I was constantly worried about Narra, about myself. About getting to appointments with a crying baby without help. About getting to appointments WITH help. Thinking about how much milk I had or didn’t have. Was Narra getting enough food? Was I being a good mom? Why did she KEEP CRYING? Why couldn’t I soothe her? Am I a good mom? I’m not helping out in the house with chores or cooking as much anymore. Am I being a good wife? Is Eric upset with me? I was worried about everything and it was just EXHAUSTING.

 

Getting on my medication was EXTREMELY helpful. So much so, that when the medication finally did kick in, I wondered WHY I hadn’t taken that prescription to the pharmacy sooner. The obsessive compulsive thoughts stopped, the intrusive thinking calmed down quite a bit. I was able to sleep again (when Narra wasn’t on an all night nurse-a-thon) and I could finally leave the house without feeling like I was in danger. The anxiety didn’t totally stop though. I still had feelings of anxiousness, which I had been learning to sort through with my therapist. I had weekly phone sessions with her, as well as following up with the Pacific Postpartum Society and my psychiatrist. I had been collecting a nice set of tools for my anxiety toolkit. It was a nice set, a good set, but I was still having panic attacks several times a week. I was still having a hard time being happy and adjusting to my new life as a mom. I had no time for myself and I was TIRED and had no energy. I was surviving. But I was not thriving.

 

My transformation started with a Music Class. I had met a mom there who opened up to me about suffering from postpartum anxiety herself. She told me about this group she was holding and how exercising, changing her eating habits and something called a “Challenge” had changed her life and helped her manage her anxiety. I was working on my building my NESTs, as they refer to it in self care, for my anxiety management and I was missing two of the main components of self care: Nutrition and Exercise.

NESTS

So I joined thinking, “Hey! I’ll try it for a month and if I don’t get anything out of it, at least I tried.” I bought the 21 Day Fix Challenge pack and away I went. Within the first week of doing my exercises and drinking my Vegan Chocolate Shakeology with a group of PUMPED up excited and SUPPORTIVE people, I WAS CHANGED. All of a sudden I had ENERGY. I was HAPPY again. I was ENJOYING life and for the first time in a long time, I was EXCITED and not scared about my future. I knew I had to keep going, so I did.

 

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After a couple of months of joining my coach Amie’s Challenges, I decided to set out on my own and hold my own Challenge and Accountability group. Leading these groups have not only helped me stay accountable to my goals, but also be consistent with my daily exercises. Thanks to fitness, nutrition and SUPPORT, I am the strongest I have ever been in my life. I have diabetes and hypertension both of which are now controlled and in typical range with minimal medication and my lifestyle change.

 

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Do I still have anxiety? Yes! But I have learned to channel it into projects for good. I have learned to transform my fears and anxiety into energy I use for my workouts. I have used my fear of another panic attack as a reminder to keep exercising. My anxiety helps me remember why I eat clean and healthy for most of the week: it makes me feel GOOD inside and out. My journey in fitness and nutrition, which started from a want to become a healthier ME, has transformed itself into an AMAZING community of friends and family who have decided to join me in making their lives healthier, too!

 

I have to admit, in the early days of my postpartum, there were times I wish I had never decided to start a family because then I wouldn’t have had postpartum anxiety and depression. But now I see how much GREATNESS it has brought me. I have the most amazing, funny, intelligent, strong and compassionate daughter, my strong relationship with my husband, Eric, has only proven to grow stronger and my life has just become so much more FULL because of everything I have gone through.

 

No more fear here. Just a woman ready for ANYTHING life throws in my way.

 

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Including a chance to face my fear of heights. Me just before riding the Hellavator. ❤

 

 

21 Day Fix Baked Chicken Thighs

Today, I have decided to take a break from the storytelling of my life to share the story of our dinner tonight. 
We bought an eight piece flat of chicken thighs on the weekend but hadn’t had time to figure out what to do with them. I was going to make chicken adobo tonight but I thought I better find something a little more 21 Day Fix friendly. 

I looked online and saw a couple of recipes that inspired me to create one of my own! It gluten free and pretty healthy for a shake and bake type recipe. 

So here I give you, EASY 21 Day Fix Baked Chicken Thighs:

Ingredients:

8 chicken thighs, fat removed if you wish (I did for a couple of mine)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 cup almond meal or almond flour

1 tbsp 21 Day Fix Mediterranean seasoning (recipe to follow)
Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375degrees.Line a baking sheet or parchment paper for easy clean up. 

2. Combine nutritional yeast, almond flour/meal and seasoning in a large freezer bag. Shake closed bag to mix the “breading” mix together.

3. Place one chicken thigh into the bag of “breading” one at a time and shake shake shake it up. Make sure each piece is coated evenly. Lay the piece of coated chicken on preparing sheet. Continue with the rest of the pieces of chicken.

4. Bake at 375degrees for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

5. Enjoy! 

For those of you, without the recipe for the Mediterranean seasoning here are the ingredients. I combine them in a jar and shake them up. It’s nice to have this seasoning on hand to use in stir frys or as you please.

21 Day Fix Mediterranean Seasoning
4 Tbsp. dried parsley, crushed

4 tsp. dried onion flakes

2 tsp. dried basil, crushed

1 tsp. ground oregano

1 tsp. ground thyme

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Here’s how I served the meal today:


Corn, steamed baby bok Choy and chicken (1 yellow, 1 green, 1 red)

Both husband and toddler approved and ENJOYED! Will definitely make it again! 😋

Facing Your Fears (Part 1 of 2)

Possible trigger warning: I am going to talk about my Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.
To know how I started my fitness journey, we have to start at the beginning.

In the beginning, there was Anxiety.

I have let it rule me for a LONG TIME. As a child, I was scared of EVERYTHING. I think there’s a picture of me out there in the ether crying on a slide at the age of 4 or 5 because I was too afraid to go down. My mom tells me it took me something like 30 minutes at the top before I decided that I WASN’T going down. Crying and avoiding what I was AFRAID of had become a habit of mine. Unfortunately, the fear didn’t just begin and end at slides, it ended up spilling into other facets of my life.

As time went on, my anxiety and fears began to rule me. With a car accident that happened a couple of years ago, I had severe anxiety around driving and being in cars. This stopped me from driving or even being able to stay calm in a car while being driven. Fortunately, I was able to go through therapy for my driving. The therapy helped a lot but I would still be so cautious and nervous on the road, being the driver or passenger.
During my pregnancy, I tried to be calm. I had a high risk pregnancy because of my diabetes and hypertension, so I tried to remain as anxiety-free as possible. I would hear stories of home births and interventionless deliveries. I knew that wouldn’t happen for me but I was determined to stay as zen as possible. I exercised, ate right, went for massages and took every opportunity to take good care of myself. And it worked! I thought I was in the clear.
But after nearly four days in induced labour that ended in a c-section, I couldn’t imagine the anxiety I was in for. It was unlike anything I had experienced. Severe anxiety with intrusive thoughts that stopped me from eating, sleeping or functioning in my daily life. I was unable to take care of myself, let alone a new born colicky and reflux-y baby.
At my OB appointments, we discussed postpartum depression when I was pregnant and how I was at high risk of getting it given my history.  But I figured, if I just ignored the possibility and continued with my life, it wouldn’t happen. But it did. 

I was in denial. How could I be anxious and depressed when I worked so hard to prevent it? I must be world’s most terrible mother, to have such horrible thoughts and visions of things happening to myself and my baby. I would look down at a crying Narra, who was so tiny and beautiful and be scared to death that something bad was going to happen to her. My family doctor had given me a prescription, just incase, as he knew I was having a hard time. But I held off taking it as long as possible because I was determined to breastfeed and I was afraid taking medication would end my breastfeeding career prematurely.

One day, as I was getting Narra ready for her 2 month shots, I felt my skin started burning. Then I couldn’t breathe. My heart was racing and I couldn’t understand what was happening. You know that feeling when you’re walking down the stairs and you miss a step? That’s what I felt, for what seemed like eternity. I thought I was dying. I was convinced I was about to fall over and my heart would give out but somehow I called my public health nurse who then called 911. I was rushed to the hospital and was put on my medication right away. I was referred to a reproductive psychiatrist, assigned a reproductive mental health therapist and given the number of Pacific Postpartum Society.

My greatest fear had been realized . My dream of being that SUPERMOM that everyone, including myself, had expected of me had been shattered with three letters (PPA) and a prescription for Cipralex.
But it was this FEAR that finally led to the realization of self and making the rest of my life, the BEST of my life.
September 21, 2014 and September 21, 2015
Stay tuned for more.. ❤️