10 Easy Ways to Fit Exercise into Your Busy Life

Finding time for daily exercise is easier said than done. As women, our days are not just full, they are jam-packed and overflowing with things to accomplish. Often times, exercise falls to the bottom of our To Do List and then eventually off of the list all together. Our jobs, our kids, volunteering, our social lives all demand more than 100% of our attention and energy. Do we have the sweat equity it takes to fit in not just 30 minutes 3 days a week, but now more than 30 minutes five times a week??? (Yep, the recommendations have changed…making it even harder to live up to our body’s healthy lifestyle needs). If the answer is, “NO,” then what consequences might we face? And, what benefits might we be missing? Is it worth making some changes to ensure that exercise always gets a check on our To Do List? Woman Stretching

BENEFITS TO EXERCISE: 

Exercise has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and tension, thanks to the amazing little endorphins that our bodies release with exercise. Running, Pilates, yoga…all amazing ways to let off steam after a stressful day at work, an equally stressful day at home dealing with a challenging toddler, or a day filled with the stress and uncertainty of infertility. Exercise also helps control our weight, decreasing our risk for an ever-expanding waist line…aka muffin top. So, if you want to stay in your skinny jeans, routine exercise is the easiest way to prevent the bulge. If those aren’t reason enough, exercise is a tried and true way to improve heart health. The number one killer of women in the United States is heart disease according to the National Institute of Health. While a lot of that is due to genetics, a lot of it is also due to lifestyle. Poor diet and a lack of exercise are a perfect set up for an unhealthy heart. Routine exercise is what the doctor ordered! Speaking of that…Beautiful Woman Doing Breath Exercises With An Autumn Background

NEW EXERCISE RECOMMENDATIONS: 

The recommendations have changed. For years we heard 30 minutes 3 days a week. Now we know that at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate cardio (for example brisk walking) per week, plus full body strength training with weights, Pilates, TRX etc. at least 2 days a week are needed to stay healthy. If you are an intense exerciser (for example a runner) then you may be able to get away with only 75 minutes a week of intense cardio along with 2 days of strength training. If intervals are more your thing, mixing moderate and intense cardio along with strength training, you can get away with 2 days a week. Check out the updated CDC guidelines for more details.

The good news is that instead of needing a 30 minute stretch to make cardio count, the CDC is now pushing for a good 10 minute workout. It’s okay to break things up into small time chunks during the day as long as you are making them count with moderate to intense activity. Run the stairs. Take a brisk walk around your office or through the mall. Dance in the kitchen with your little one. It all adds up!

10 WAYS TO MAKE EXERCISE FIT INTO OUR BUSY LIVES: 

1. Make it #1 on your to do list

If you don’t put it at the top…it isn’t going to happen. Making exercise one of your top daily priorities automatically increases the likelihood that you are going to fit it into your day. When you create your “TO DO LIST” always give exercise first place.

2. Book it and keep the date-make it about you

Make a date with yourself and the gym! If you don’t value exercise, you won’t exercise. Think of exercise as a well deserved reward for your overworked mind and body instead of seeing it as an annoyance. Think of it as YOU TIME! It is a time when you can clear your mind, listen to music, meet other people, glisten with sweat and be proud of it, feel healthier, wear tight clothes and get away with it, and even get away from the kids! Mark your weekly schedule with your exercise time. It is an appointment. You don’t get to cancel. You don’t get to move it. You work around it just like you would other important events on the calendar.Woman Boxing At The Gym

3. Let yourself have a preference.

It’s okay to dislike some forms of exercise. I am the first to admit that I hate running! I don’t just dislike it. I actually hate it. I’ve tried to change my opinion…but, I still hate running. Do I hate exercise? Absolutely not. A brisk walk, Zumba, circuits, Pilates, and TRX are all my thing. It’s okay to have a preference. If I set a running date each week, it’s the first thing I’m gonna cancel. If I book a Pilates class, I’m much more likely not just to keep the appointment, I’m going to look forward to it. Try new things out and see what you enjoy. Liking what you are doing is half the battle.

4. Make it count

With our busy lives, we don’t have time to waste. We need our workouts to be efficient. One of the best ways to get our bang for our buck is to find full body workouts. Interval training is a great way to incorporate both cardio and strength training. Running is a great way to get intense cardio, decreasing the amount of time that we need to exercise each week. Pilates is a full body strength training option that efficiently tones muscles even when done in short segments. Give your full attention to whatever exercise you choose. 10 intense Pilates style push ups done slowly and correctly are always going to be more effective and efficient than 100 sloppy ones.Young woman practicing yoga in a urban background

5. Be competitive

It’s okay to let your competitive side out. Collaboration is a great thing, but when it comes to exercise, competing against yourself and others can push you to the next level. Joining a team sport may be a fun way to feed your competitive side while getting fit. While I’m not one for comparisons, eyeing the super fit lady next to you on the treadmill may keep you on there for an extra 5 minutes. Every minute counts!

6. Make it Social

Making exercise part of your social life is a great way to fit your workout in and look forward to it! Meet up with a friend for an afternoon walk or join a fitness class together. You can chat while you down dog, squat or stroll. If you have a little one, you can take them along if you have to. Secure them in the stroller with some music to keep them occupied while you and your friend catch up on the week. Walking play dates are a great way to get out of the house! Consider joining a gym that offers classes for you and child care or programs for your kids. Find one that a friend already goes to so that you can meet up during the day or after work.

7. Make it intentional…no excuses allowed

If you don’t decide that exercise deserves a #1 on your priority list…you are going to find every excuse in the book to get out of it. Instead, make intentional decisions that won’t set you up for failure. Keep a pair of gym shoes, work out clothes, and a towel in your car at all times as a back up. Having this stash will keep you on track if you “forget” your stuff one day and decide to head straight home instead of stopping at the gym. Set alerts on your phone to remind you of your exercise appointment. Mark it out on the family calendar as a mandatory responsibility. If you absolutely need to cancel your workout, figure out a way to fit it in on another day. The solution may be as simple as parking at the back of the parking lot or taking the stairs. Be willing to pay for a babysitter if you have to. It is money well spent.

Beautiful young woman making Yoga exercises on the beach

8. Make it recreational

You don’t have to go to the gym to get fit and you don’t have to walk on a home treadmill either! You can exercise without even feeling like you are exercising! For example, schedule a date with your partner to go ice skating. Take the kids to the pool with another adult and tread water while they play. Pick a fun event like, The Color Run, and sign up as a family or with a group of friends. Grab a bike and pedal along the shoreline (wishful thinking as I look out my snowy window!) Exercise is really just activity! Creating an active lifestyle is a much easier way to stay fit and healthy than trying to fit exercise into your life. Not only can it be fun, it instills the value of physical activity in your kids when they see you moving.

9. Make it easy

Don’t make it hard on yourself! If you can’t get to the gym, run the stairs in your house or apartment building. If it is freezing outside, don’t try to go for a run if you are totally out of shape! Head to the mall and do some brisk laps while window speed shopping. If you can’t get a baby sitter, put the baby in a stroller or carrier and go for a walk. If you spend half of your day standing in lines, take the time to do calf raises and butt squeezes. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get fit. You just have to get smart with the little opportunities that you do have. Stairs are free. Sidewalks are free. Mall Entry is free of charge. If you feel like exercise takes away from quality time with your kids…get active with them. Pull out a soccer ball or basketball and play a game with them. Grab your bikes and plan one evening each week as family bike riding time. Even if your little one is a toddler you can get a seat or pull behind option for them. You don’t have to get up a 4 am to fit exercise into your day. That will only leave you feeling irritable instead of recharged. Instead, use 10 minute windows to get your heart rate up. New recommendations show that even these short bursts of time are incredibly heart healthy!

10. Keep tabs on yourself

Everyone needs accountability to succeed. Sometimes all you have is self-accountability…and that’s okay. Check in with yourself each week. Make an intentional effort to write down your exercise activities and the amount of time that you spent doing them. Add it all up and see if you met your heart and lifestyle healthy goal. If not, try again the next week…just a little harder. Don’t beat yourself up. Change takes time. Lifestyle change takes a consistent 30 days to make it stick. If you can find a friend to keep you accountable as well, that’s even better!

While your daily life demands everything from you…your body also has some requirements. By exercising, eating healthy, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep you will be better equipped to keep up with your crazy schedule. Give your body and your health the attention that it needs. An active lifestyle is a great first step!

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Being a Mommy Matters…Most

At times I wrestle with my newly formed identity…MOM. Don’t get me wrong. I cherish my new name. I cherish it when my daughter calls out to me in the middle of the night, or when she bumps her little knee. I cherish it when I hold her tightly and sing to her softly. There is nothing better than being a mom. But…Portrait of a mother with her newborn baby

My husband and I opened a new checking account right after we had my daughter. Since I wasn’t planning on going back to my traditional job of seeing patients in the office for a while, my title options on our application included: 1) unemployed 2) house wife 3) student. I was still working on my Masters of Public Health degree so I gladly latched onto the “student” title. Why did being called a house wife bother me so much? Was my identity really that wrapped up in my degrees and training? Well, I had spent the last 13 years of my life sacrificing everything for them…so, yes.

I didn’t want to give up what I had become as a physician just because I was making the decision to stay home with my daughter for an unforeseeable length of time. I wanted to be a full-time mom for a while. Goodness knows that motherhood has been a degree in and of itself (I still haven’t graduated)! And, while I still love being a full-time mom, I long to use my medical skills and training too. Is it possible to do it all? I’m still not sure:)

I’m finding that many moms struggle with their identity when trying to balance work, career, motherhood, marriage. There isn’t one right answer. I love being with my daughter, and I’ve been blessed with work options that allow me to “stay at home” and work part-time as a writer, public health consultant, and entrepreneur. But, even this set up leaves me feeling guilty and torn on certain days. For some moms, working outside of the house is vital to their sanity or financially necessary. For others, staying home full-time and caring for their kids is most fulfilling. The balance is difficult for all of us…enough self time…enough couple time…enough kid time…enough family time..enough work time.

Pretty, young business woman giving a presentation in a conferen

I’m finding that it all comes down to priorities. Nothing matters more than my love for God, my husband, and my daughter. My career and impact on the lives of others is also incredibly important.  I’m still a doctor, a wife, and a woman with dreams of my own. I don’t have to discard that part of myself. I want my daughter to see me doing great things. I want her doing them with me. So, the struggle continues-how to be the best mom possible while trying to save the world at the same time.

I’ve decided that the world can wait a few minutes longer than my two-year old (yes, we are working on patience). She needs me now. That doesn’t mean that I can’t work or send her to a Mom’s Day Out program one or two mornings a week. It just means that I need to filter my priorities, understanding that I have such a short window of time before she is all grown up. I am responsible for helping shape her into a woman who’s going to change the world for good. I don’t want to miss my opportunity or the calling that I have in my own home. When I’m home I want to be fully present with her. When I’m working I want to be fully focused and efficient so that I won’t be distracted when it’s HER time. I need to hang up the phone, turn off the computer, and look her little face in the eyes.Little girl giving kiss to her mom while working from home

Being a mommy matters. It matters more than most of us realize. Being an amazing mom can help shape our daughters’ character. It can impact generations to come. Being a mom matters as much as any other title. I’m still shying away from the STAY AT HOME MOM title that has made me cringe in the past. I don’t call my husband a GO TO WORK DAD. It’s just a weird title. Instead, I’m renaming my job description DEDICATED MOM and creating my own version of what it means. DEDICATED MOM has a much more inspiring and positive tone! It brings out the best version of me. It’s a role in which I can aspire. I may not have everything figured out yet…but I’m certain that however I choose to divide my time, love, and energy, I’m doing it with her in mind.

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Little Babies Matter Too!

Every woman dreams of a healthy pregnancy. Every woman also dreams of an easy one…one lacking swollen feet, excessive weight gain, countless stretch marks, and negligible energy. But if you were to ask any mother if she had to choose between healthy and easy, I guarantee you that she would choose HEALTHY any and every time.

Yes, we all have a tendency to complain when our waddles get a little to wide (a consequence of water buffalo breadth hips), our bellies block any reasonable effort at shaving, and our swollen feet refuse to fit into anything but granny shoes-all legitimate complaints in my book. But, what would we trade for a healthy baby? What would we give to deliver on-time without any complications? What would we vow if we could keep our infant out of the neonatal intensive care unit, tube and wire free?

Maybe you’ve never thought about it, but lately this has been weighing heavily on my mind. Every year about 450,000 babies are born too early. That’s 1 in 9 babies. Unfortunately, that was my baby! I admit, a premature delivery wasn’t on my “worry list,” and it’s not because my list was short! Santa Clause would have even had trouble keeping up. No, for some reason everything else landed on my irrational, OCD, hypochondriac list; then preeclampsia took me by surprise, and my body and my baby’s life by storm. If I could have done something differently I would have. 3 pounds and two ounces is too tiny for any little one to make a grand entrance into the world. Intubation tubes, heart rate monitor lines, feeding tubes, incubators…these life saving interventions brought both comfort and terror.Care For A Sick Child In The Pediatric Icu

Could my emergent c-section at 32 weeks have been prevented? No one knows. Even in today’s medically advanced world, preeclampsia is still a mystery. My risk for developing sudden and severe onset preeclampsia in future pregnancies is literally the flip of a coin. 50:50. It’s a chance I’m willing to take, but not one that I take lightly. After 9 weeks spent in the NICU with my daughter, I know the fear, exhaustion, and grief that prematurity brings. When the tiny twin next door doesn’t make it, or the micro-preemie down the hall is whispered one last loving farewell from his devastated mommy…it’s all too much to bear.

If I don’t know what to do…what can I do? Of course, there are known contributors to premature deliveries such as tobacco use, alcohol and illicit drug consumption, and a lack of prenatal care; but, none of these apply to me. I don’t drink, smoke, pop pills, or shoot up with anything other than infertility medications. And, since In Vitro Fertilization is our ticket to parenthood, my prenatal care starts at day zero. I take prenatal vitamins, exercise, try to eat healthy, and limit my stress. Yet, none of these have been shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia.Birth

So, in an effort to protect my future pregnancies I’ve decided to look beyond myself. Now, I’m pushing researchers and the health care community for answers by partnering with The March of Dimes. I want to know what causes preeclampsia. I want to know if there is anything that I can do to prevent it; and if not, what can be done to treat it more effectively? If I am destined for another preterm delivery (one that could happen at an even earlier gestation) I want my preemie to have the best chance not just at survival, but at a healthy life free from neurological complications, breathing problems, visual and hearing disturbances, and developmental delays.

My desires may seem unrealistic, but I know them to be possible. Just 60 years ago my grandmother whispered goodbye to her preemie son only moments after he was born. 60 years ago she was told that there was nothing that they could do to save his life. 60 years later, my healthy 2-year-old daughter is living proof of the life saving advancements developed by the medical research community and largely funded by March of Dimes. All I’m asking for are more answers…quickly!Girls Kissing Mom's Belly

I can’t do it on my own. Please join me in making a difference for pregnant mothers, unborn babies (my own included), and preemies by walking with me this May 9th, 2015 in the March for Babies or by sponsoring me. Start your own team. Be a corporate sponsor, or sign up to raise awareness in your community. My dream is that 60 years down the road preeclampsia and preterm deliveries will simply be a thing of the past.

Click this link to donate/sponsor The Mom in Me, MD or to learn more about the March for Babies:

http://www.marchforbabies.org/themominmemd

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Kindred Oak Giveaway from The Mom in Me, MD!!!

Cutting edge fashion trends, killer styling, and accessories fit for Kardashian kiddos…yep, Kindred Oak has all three nailed! We may not be Kardashian around here, but The Mom in Me, MD is pretty style savvy too! I slipped a pair of the fringe ankle cuffs over my daughter’s little feet, and I was smitten. Then I added a floral beanie to her cutie pie head, transforming her into a baby boho fashionista!photo 1 photo 2

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Kindred Oak is all about boy fashion too! Gender neutral pants, t-shirts, beanies, and more rad options are just one click away from making your little man into a stud.d8fbec565ad4cfc86b80b8a47d3aae8c_large

Kindred Oak was cool enough to team up for a Mom in Me, MD giveaway! The winner will get a toddler/child pair of fringe cuffs and a toddler to girl size floral beanie (compliments of Kindred Oak) as shown in the picture above. All you have to do is enter to win HERE. Entry rules require that you follow The Mom in Me, MD on Instagram (@themominmemd) AND that you follow Kindred Oak on the social media site of your choosing (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc.) As you already know, all of my opinions are always my own. I like what I like, and I don’t mind saying so.

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Valentine’s Day Forecast…Cloudy with a Chance of Lovely!

Emma VDay-7

It’s raining hearts and lovies around here!

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Everything is always cuter with little red rain boots!

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Looking for some Valentine’s Day Inspiration????

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Nothing says sweetheart like Tutu Du Monde.

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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY XOXO

Styling Tips:

Look #1:

Janie and Jack Red and White Striped Romper, Baby Gap Red Coat: sold out but similar option available here Little Princess Red Dress Coat,  Hunter Original Kids Gloss Red Boots, Gold Heart Knee Highs: Ry and Rue, Matching Red Hair Bows Sold out but similar at: Girls “Evie” Small Bow , Red Ballet Flats: Mini Melissa

Look #2:

Little Urchin Pink Tutu: Tutu Du Monde, Faux Fur Vest: Target, Feather Headpiece: Tutu Du Monde

Look #3:

Marshmallow Tank Top: Tutu Du Monde, White Whisper Tutu: Tutu Du Monde, Rosette Clip: Tutu Du Monde

All Tutu Du Monde items are available to rent from The Mom in Me, MD! Simply click on any of the Tutu du monde links above and add yourself to the closed Facebook group. A full rental website is coming soon!!!! If you prefer to purchase…head to Shop Belle, this super sweet US-based boutique not only carries Tutu Du Monde, it also has countless other designer goodies for your little ones (and the shop owner is incredibly helpful). Shop Belle was my “go to” for all of the tutu du monde you see above!

Photographs by Hannah Hilliard Photography

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Weary of Waiting…infertile…impatient…in love with the idea of a baby

I’ve been waiting to not be pregnant any more-funny statement from a woman longing for a baby. Since the ultrasound confirmed my miscarriage I’ve been ready to move on. I’ve wanted the bleeding to stop and my hormones to stabilize. My beta-hcg which I had been ecstatically watching trend upward came to a screeching halt and since then has been on the slowest decline ever. It needs to be zero before we can consider restarting another frozen IVF cycle. Since it had been doubling rapidly I assumed that the decline would be just as swift. Silly me to think anything associated with infertility could be swift…other than disappointment.

My b-hcg levels have taunted me for the past several weeks. 600, 500, 320, 215, 120, 64…and finally this past friday…4! Finally a number that means we can move on. I’ve been bleeding for over a month now, just another reminder of our pregnancy failure. The miscarriage bleeding finally slowed last week, but in exchange my period decided to arrive yesterday. Lucky me!Woman With Stomach Ache

I was under the impression that once my b-hcg level zeroed out, I could start right back into another frozen cycle of IVF.  Having achieved a negative number, I urgently scheduled my ultrasound for the next available appointment and pulled out my needles and viles of lupron. Three days felt like two weeks. It was the shortest wait that I’d had thus far, but it still felt like an eternity.Biological clock ticking - woman holding clock in front of stoma

Finally ultrasound day arrived…today! I headed to my OB/GYN office to make sure that my ovaries and uterus were back to normal. If so, I would be injecting myself with lupron by tomorrow. Thankfully, everything looked fine. It took two hours in the doctor’s office this morning to get that news, but I happily dismissed the wait time in exchange for positive results. Now all I needed was the go ahead from my reproductive endocrinologist.

I grabbed the phone on the first ring this afternoon, ecstatic to move forward on our mission to make another baby. The news that I still need to wait another two weeks before I can jump back into infertility treatments has left me feeling disappointed once again. Repeat blood work in two weeks-estrotgen and progesterone this time. Now I’m waiting to ovulate (not that my eggs are contributing to the equation this time around.)Runner Start Runway 2015

Every week that nothing happens feels like a failure. Every week that I’m not pregnant or at least actively working toward that end feels like a disappointment. I’m stuck at the start line. The gun has fired for everyone but me. False start after false start has kept me stuck in the same position with nothing to show for it but more pain and grief. I’m ready to run full speed ahead. I’m ready for infertility to get out of my way. I ready for it to work this time.

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How to Cheat on Your Husband This Valentine’s Day…and not get caught!!!!!

Some men are over the top romantics (you know who you are), but others, well, others need a little coaching. Some are romantic but lack the creativity to make each Valentine’s distinctly memorable, and others just have no clue. My husband, although a romantic at heart, falls into the, “Needs Creative Help” category.

So I’ve decided to cheat on my husband (without getting caught) this Valentines. What? No, it’s not what you’re thinking! I’m going to trick him into making this the best Valentines Day ever by playing a little unfair. If I have to cheat to win a great Valentine’s day…I’m all about it. Game on. Feel free to join in on the fun.

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Subtle Clues 

1. Draw a big heart over Feb 14th on the calendar

2. Make frequent comments about things that you would love to do or have…subliminal suggestions are very effective!

3. Find a coupon for anything you really want and leave it in the bathroom:)

4. Mention that your babysitter may be free Valentine’s weekend.

5. Use his computer to search for what you want. That will generate interest advertisements on his sidebar-things he never would have though of…but you did!tasty heart-shaped valentine cake

Obvious Hints

1. Get a menu for your favorite restaurant and leave it on his computer.

2. Leave a catalogue on the counter open with your desired items circled.

3. Leave your laptop open with a luxury hotel on the screen.

4. Sign him up for the Godiva Chocolate rewards club

5. Buy him a new tie and mention that it would be perfect for Valentine’s.

6. Buy yourself a new dress, lingerie, etc. and leave it out on the bed. Let him know that you’re waiting for a special occasion to wear it…like Valentine’s.

7. Leave a suitcase open in your bedroom packed full of lingerie. When your husband asks what it’s for, calmly reply that it’s for the Valentine’s weekend getaway that you know he’s planning. Hot Cocoa With Snowflake Shaped Whip Cream

Overt Suggestions

1. Go ahead and book a dinner reservation and put it on his calendar along with the confirmation

2. Send him the link to your favorite flower shop. Go ahead and create an account for him and attach his log in information with the link.beautiful woman on a vintage car in Paris

3. Take him with you to run an errand at the mall but instead drop him off at your favorite store. Make sure you’ve made your selections ahead of time and tell him that his options are waiting at the counter under his name.

4. Invite your parents to come in for Valentine’s Day weekend. He will be sure to plan something great to get out of the house for a few hours…or he may even plan a weekend getaway for the two of you!Beauty Young Woman Blowing Hearts from her Hands. St. Valentines

My list could go on and on, but these are just a few fun ways to guarantee your hubby remembers Valentine’s Day this year! Don’t forget about him either! Think of some ways to make his Valentine’s Day memorable. He’s worth the extra effort too.

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