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    6 years ago

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sunshine and Rainbows

This week was a mix of finishing up my trip to New Orleans, heading to North Carolina, then driving back to Connecticut!   What a week.   

The best part was going to NC and being reunited with my little buddy, a week is a long time to be without him.

On one of our first days together we went outside and saw the most beautiful rainbow, no doubt a gift from Thomas, who is thought of daily and never forgotten.

I usually crave my alone time, I work out with Ben once a week, but the rest of the week want to be alone with my thoughts.  But after nearly a week apart, I welcomed him in my fitness routine, doing workouts together for the entire time we were in North Carolina.  

...which meant he did a combination of jumping around, climbing on me, and reading.

This photo is a very important one, I took it realizing that for the first time in nearly 4 months I was able to do not just one, but five unassisted push ups.   I may not have gone as low, or as fast, or as long, but this is a huge personal victory for me.

Amidst all the fun, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that I also had many struggles, more struggles than I have in weeks, while on this trip.

Between the travel, and also seeing people I hadn't seen in a while, being in social settings with women, pregnant women, babies.  It all compounded several times, leaving lingering tears for close to a week.

This is a part of my grief journey and likely a part of my entire future, so I'm learning to embrace it as it comes.

Here I wanted to show some progress photos, they are not as drastic as I anticipated when I was pregnant and planning my 'post baby' comeback, but they are still important.

While I'm grieving daily, I'm also using fitness and nutrition to give me a healthy outlet.

These photos represent my first few weeks, still round from 8 months of pregnancy, then 2 weeks later with my 'round' belly starting to drop and hang with a hollow inside.   Now 8 weeks postpartum, I am feeling more able to engage my core and work towards strength in new ways.

...for me, and for my buddy, we continue to workout and focus on our nutrition each day.  Not for a six pack, but for happiness.

It seems like a funny time to start a new nutrition plan, but while I was traveling I committed to a new 3 week plan, that totally maps out your nutrition for the 3 weeks which is what I need at a time when even small choices cause me extreme anxiety.

Here is one of the things I packed for the airport!

And my first dinner!

And of course this, my favorite smoothie full of nutrients that help clear my  mind.

This is a favorite as well, chickpea mash with eggs, spinach and cheese!

I also discovered this while in New Orleans, a chicken salad made out of chickpeas! So easy, I have no idea why it never occurred to me in the past.

And at a high level, here is a full day of me on my new plan!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

New Orleans or Bust

This week we headed to our annual business conference for coaching, it's the most 'overweight' I've been since I attended one of these conferences the last 3 years, but it's also been the most cathartic trip so far.

How can a business trip be cathartic?   Simple, when you do something that gets at every fiber of your heart, a business trip is a trip with your closest friends and not a group of colleagues. 

We started every morning on the rooftop doing our workouts and starting the day with positive intentions.  What other job makes this a non negotiable?  None that I can think of.  And that is why I love what I do.

Recently my sister posted this, and it really sat with every fiber of me.   We all have terrible things that happen, no one has a perfect life.  No one goes through their life without pain and tragedy.  What matter is what you DO with it.

At one of the larger halls, there was a speaker that said you are great because of your challenges, not the other way around.   Challenges are the same as fitness.  Fitness tears at our muscles.  Leaving them worn and tattered and as they rebuild, they get stronger.

Worn and tattered, I am working to rebuild each day and as a result I get stronger.

This photo is hard to see, but this photo was up on the big screen in the New Orleans Superdome in front of 20,000 others.   This is a before photo of me at 240lbs after my 'hardest hard' getting through having a newborn and losing myself.   And on the right is me 18 months later, a new stronger person. A new more confident person. A happier person.

Both photos were taken before my miscarriage, before the death of my son Thomas.   Both photos are before I hit two new levels of 'hardest hard' - but the woman in the photo on the left, is the reason I am strong enough to keep getting up, keep living life, never give up. 

What I learned along that 83lb weight loss journey was more about inner strength than the physical changes.  And I learned it because of community. 

...this community.   My closest friends I didn't know before I started my journey 3 years ago.   But they are the ones who keep me going even on the days I want to give up.

Together we are stronger, physically and emotionally and mentally.    These lovely ladies and I spent every morning during this trip working out together, getting up and not giving up together.

Because of this group of people, and countless others not in the photo...I am a stronger person.

They comforted me when I cried.   

They laughed with me when I didn't.

This this trip was hard in many ways.   The first night as I waited to walk across the stage to be recognized for my business accomplishments, I saw several mothers walk across the stage holding their newborns.

That was hard.

I was supposed to be holding MY newborn.  I was supposed to be doing the group mommy & me workout with Thomas.   

This was supposed to be a special trip with my baby, the same little guy who worked out with me for 9 months straight.

The tears came and went over the week, but they were mixed with many joyous times as well.

Having a career that's built on personal development has been huge.   Sharing struggles, whether it's divorce, stillbirth, sexual abuse, mental illness, or any struggle in between, has given me the ability to feel less alone.

Having friends to workout with even when my body is similar to my 'starting point' 3 years ago reinforces that my mind is very much different.

And beyond the friends I've met, the trainers I've worked with are a big part of this.   This man in particular is one of my favorites.   I have had the chance to hug him and talk to him on several occasions.    I don't know him personally, but I have thanked him and cried with him.

He is a trainer for thousands of others, but when he trains me in my home, he speaks directly TO me.   

He knows what I need, when I need it and it's not just about pushing through a workout.  He pushes me through my emotions. 

And as always, I will finish this blog post up with some food tips.   This is some of my food from a week on the go with only 1 mini fridge between 4 adults.

Most of the week I made wraps with veggie burgers, lettuce, tomato, red pepper, hummus and avocado.  Today I will eat the same thing on lettuce (my new plan calls for much cleaner sources of carbohydrates, beans/legumes/potatoes) 

We also had this daily snack - a staple at home, a banana on half a wrap with PB....portable and filling!

My newest newfound snack is a new children's smoothie that has a mix of fruits veggies and healthy snacks.   Just like shakeology it's formulated to give us a lot of the nutrients we are missing, but it's got a simpler array of ingredients specific to growing children.

Another favorite on this trip was these quinoa cups (also something you could easily make at home to save the prepackaging).   Quinoa plus roasted red peppers, and we topped it with fresh avocado from a local market!

And while most of our meals we had packed from home/going grocery shopping, we did find an amazing local vegan restaurant called Seed (I highly recommend if you are ever in New Orleans!).   We actually went back 3 times to try different things.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


This photo is from the day we got back from vacation but I thought it was a fun way to start the blog this week.  I am noticing more and more that I am having more fun with my workouts (especially now that I don't have to modify!).  And the best part is that now that I'm not modifying, my son wants to participate again.  I think something about my demeanor affected him, because the second I got back to my 'normal' workout self he was all in!

Here he is helping me with my workout on vacation, he is very attentive to the trainers and makes sure that my form is on point.  It's actually pretty comical, but he does a great job of reminding me to keep pushing!

This week closed out our vacation, we had more fun than I was actually anticipating. I think going away and being somewhere I hadn't been pregnant was a big part of it.   We have been going to NH every Summer of my life since I was a kid, but I hadn't made it there pregnant this time so it was a nice disconnection from all the reminders I feel at home.

I definitely had some hard moments, which is why these sunglasses come in handy.   I refuse to miss out on this summer even with the grief, not for me or for my son.    I am working hard to learn to walk hand in hand with the sadness and as a result it requires I get up and get moving even on the hardest days.  

Here we are at Story Land.   I won't say it was totally fun for me, there were pregnant women everywhere, but  what I will say is that my son had a blast.   And watching him have fun has been very important to me.   While I couldn't save Thomas, I still have Ben and it's taught me to truly appreciate every moment because we don't know what will happen in life.

Food news will be short this week but I'm going to highlight two 'favorites' that I reincorporated into my days.  

The first is Energize - this helps me with my workouts now that I have no restrictions.  It helps wake me up, and I find I can push significantly harder as well.

The second is my chia water.   Chia seeds have so many benefits, but I find they particularly help me when I'm having a long day and need a pick me up.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The New Normal

I hear this a lot "the new normal" or "the new you" from other loss moms.   It's hard to realize that I've been forever changed by the loss of our son, Thomas.  But I know its true.    I'm working hard to figure out the "new me" - what is temporary and what is permanent.

It's been 6 weeks and we are slowly making our way back to 'normal routines' including teaching Mommy & Me classes (we haven't started to teach yet).  I brought Ben to class this last week because I wasn't sure how I'd react.    Seeing the moms and the babies.  

As I drove there I was really anxious, but it actually ended up being really nice.    The community of moms felt nice, and it was great to see Ben at class.  As you can see in this photo, he 'did class for me' - he knew I was still recovering so he volunteered to do the class instead.

We then headed up from class to our family vacation in NH. I have been doing this vacation for the last 34 years of my life, I cam up for the first time just weeks after I was born.

I was anxious about this as well, but I brought the 'tools' that I knew would help me.  I committed to morning workouts (technology has come a long way, all I needed was an ipad to do them!).

The ultimate goal of vacation was to be able to waterski.  I wasn't originally anticipating being able to do it until August, but I called my doctor on day 1 of the 6th week and he gave me the green light.

Waterskiing is one thing that brings me immense joy, something I have been doing since I was a kid.  Even before we lost Thomas, it was on my radar to have it as a goal to be able to do it before the end of the summer.  Waterskiiing was actually the reason I started on my health and wellness journey 3 years ago, when I realized I was too overweight to do it it was my breaking point to make changes.

I was scared to do it, but hopeful and honestly NEEDED to do it to feel alive.  

On my first try I got up, it wasn't easy and I didn't last as long as I normally do, but I did it.

We had friends up for the first part of the vacation, it felt nice to feel 'normal' with them for the four days they were hear.   Some days the loss doesn't hurt as badly. Some days I actually feel pretty darn normal.  

The problem is, there are then the days that it feels like the world is crashing down on me.  I am grateful every day for Benjamin.   While losing Thomas has broken me in many ways, having Benjamin keeps me going.    After our friends left, we headed to Storyland which we do every year.   I was OK for the first part, I tried not to look too much at the newborns all around.  Thomas was supposed to be with us on this trip.   It hurt to realize that.  

After a few hours at the park, I started to crumble.  

Sunglasses have become my best friend these days, they let me have fun with my family and get out in social settings without having to hold back tears.

After I spent some time crying, I actually bumped into another mom, 250 miles from home, who I knew from prior conversations had had the same loss of an infant.

I am quite certain Thomas sent her to me, he knew I was struggling and knew I needed a hug from someone who 'gets it'.  As much as others want to help, as much as they feel the pain for me, I am finding that the only ones that 100% understand are other mothers who have been through the same loss.

So on a day that I wanted to have fun with my family but was struggling, Thomas sent me a hug from one of the only people that would understand my tears fully.

The rest of the day went much better as a result and we  were able to enjoy some more laughs as we made our way through the park.

I've been enjoying having Ben by my side all vacation, watching him enjoy all the things that brought me so much joy as a child has given me a newfound sense of happiness despite the challenges.

While I don't have photos of Thomas to share from our vacation, he hasn't left our side.   I look for his artwork in the sky every day, and wear reminders of him, like this beautiful foot print pendant to match the hand print one I have.

In food news, I haven't been perfect.  Lots of stress (some anticipated, some not) combined with poor food choices being more readily available has made way for some not so great choices. What I am proud of is that I am continuing to make good choices amidst the not so great ones.