What IS the “mom bod” anyway?

Can we talk about the “mom body” for a hot second, please?

How do you define it? Do you think pregnancy changes your body and as a mom, you are too busy with “more important things” to worry about that ooor do you wish you COULD get your body back but you’re scared of being judged as being self-centered for putting yourself first?

Growing up and on into my 20’s, I had the picture of a “mom bod” in my head as a moderately overweight woman wearing high waisted mom-jeans, granny-panties, and other relatively unattractive clothing to cover up. She was a mom and looks and fashion were none of her business. She just didn’t get to care about that stuff. She only got to care about being a mom.

I think this was mainly instilled in me by a mix of the media and a child’s skewed view of adults. These days, as a mom myself, I have a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT view and I find it super frustrating to read social media and blog posts from actual moms and other women that push the idea that it’s a perfectly good and even preferable thing for moms to not put themselves first at all in their lives because then you’re not prioritizing your family.

Don’t get me wrong, I do agree that there should be no pressure on a mom to look any certain way or to even worry about losing baby weight with a newborn. I mean that wasn’t on my mind at all as I tried to figure out life with my new babies. Still though, there should also be no guilt placed on a mom’s shoulders for WANTING to be healthy and to care about her body and feel amazing, in whatever way she personally defines that to be, at any point after having babies.

13244228_1702026293394441_4767821473241889401_oAnd honestly, I think sometimes we hide behind this idea that since we gave birth and we take care of our kids, it’s ok to not take care of ourselves when really, it’s not our kids that are the true reason we choose not to exercise or eat healthy. I mean, if you truly look deep inside, does being a mom actually prevent you from saying no to the pizza and donuts or from finding 30 min to exercise?

In fact, I feel women putting themselves first ultimately benefits their families more than letting themselves go. When I finally began my health and fitness journey after having my youngest, the confidence and energy I gained through regular exercise, healthier eating, and the simple empowerment of conquering my goals has made me a better mom, wife, business woman, and overall human being in general.

Feeling good in my own skin was life changing for me. I went from being a mom that was too tired to play with her kids and too self-conscious to get in a bathing suit for the pool or beach with her kids to being a mom that could hang with her babies in ALL the fun activities. transformation
I’m not saying I’m a bathing suit model now, but I’m at a place where I personally am happy with my body and I feel strong and proud of myself regardless of what anyone else thinks. I did NOT feel like that when I wasn’t taking care of myself. Instead of worrying about how I look (regardless of whether I should care) like I used to, I’m now having a good time making memories with my family.

If you are a woman who feels amazing with no exercise and going to McDonalds every other day, then great, go out there and mom hard and happy like that! I was not that person. I was the mom that didn’t exercise, ate terribly, gained lots of weight in pregnancy and hated how I felt all the time. I used that “this is just my mom-bod and I’m too busy caring for my family” excuse for almost 2 years before finally deciding it didn’t have to be that way. My “mom-bod” could be so much more and I took action to make that happen.

I don’t regret it for a second. I’ve never been stronger, fitter, healthier or happier. And I’m a mom of 2 who had 2 c-sections and gained over 50 lbs in pregnancy. I got my body back and my health too. Its possible and there’s no shame in it. You have enough love in there for yourself and your family too.


How to use a Foam Roller

Have you ever felt so sore after a workout that you thought you’d never walk again?

Has anyone ever said, “Oh you should get a foam roller for that!”

And were you like, “what the heck is a foam roller?”

Haha been there!

But I recently learned what these babies are and how to use them! So I thought I’d share the wealth!


What Religion?

26231532_1981174742146260_4700132352478337244_nFaith.

That’s a word that speaks to people on a lot of different levels, right?

For a lot of people, it’s faith in a religious sense but for me, it’s not.

That’s hard for me to talk about because I’m always scared of judgement when it comes to this.

Though, isn’t that strange because I thought religion taught people they shouldn’t judge? And who knows, maybe they won’t. It just seems like I run into lots of judgement with this so I still let it make me feel anxious.

I mean, like so scared that I stared at this for an hour before I actually hit post (true story – I added this at the end of that hour lol).

I am from a small, southern and very religious town.

Many of my family and friends are religious, like post-bible-versus-on-Facebook e’rrrry day kind of religious.

I love them and I admire their faith.

Because I think faith is beautiful and an incredibly valuable thing.

And I do have it.

I just don’t have it in the same way.

I’m not religious but…

I have faith in my family and friends.

I have faith in kindness and goodness.

I have faith in hard work.

I have faith in loyalty, integrity, and honesty.

I have faith in myself.

I have faith in love.

And I can tell you for sure that if it wasn’t for many, many leaps of faith onto staircases that I had no idea where they’d lead…

I wouldn’t be a mom.

I wouldn’t be a wife.

I wouldn’t have gotten in the best shape of my life.

And I wouldn’t have found this crazy awesome but totally unexpected job that I love! (Heck, I’d probably still be sitting in an office working for someone else’s dreams instead! #closecall)

Faith, however it manifests in you, is EVERYTHING. Whatever you believe in, believe in it haaaard, y’all, and let it carry you through those stinkin’ doubts, aaaallllll the way to the TOP of those stairs.


The #1 thing that helped me get healthy

All my life, I have swayed back and forth between various levels of healthy, but it wasn’t until my 30’s that I realized what it truly meant to be healthy and I finally got pretty close. I won’t say I’m perfect, far from it actually. However, I’m waaaay closer than I ever was before.

As a kid, I ate whatever I wanted and didn’t exercise intentionally at all. I played outside a lot and got that type of exercise but I was in no sports and pretty much embraced any chance to get out of P.E. at school that came by. Throughout high school, except my freshman year, I was what someone later told me could be described as”thick.” Now, in my freshman year, I joined the marching band as a flag twirler AND I got really sick over the summer so I lost all sorts of weight. However, when I quit the band my sophomore year, I gained it all back pretty quickly. In college, my friends exercised so I sporadically did too. I also took diet pills of various sorts. I did get pretty skinny but I was far from healthy. I still ate terribly and drank a lot and well, I was in college.

After college, I drank less and exercised more regularly because my fiance was a runner. I didn’t gain weight really until I got pregnant. I gained 50 lbs. It was AWFUL! I ate everything in sight pretty much and didn’t exercise and I was MISERABLE. I lost a little by trying things like slimfast, nutrisystem, etc etc. You name it, I tried it! None of it was long-term though. I got pregnant again and gained it all back. I tried exercising but couldn’t make a dent in the new size that I had become.

13680947_10154304382315102_5151140289346525235_nThen came Beachbody. With Beachbody came not just awesome exercise, but also recipes
for healthy food that was actually good. Even more than that though, came support. To be honest, I thought it was going to be LAME. My friend invited me to her “online challenge group” and said we’d all do Beachbody workouts and eat healthy. I was like, “um, ok, sounds dumb but I’m desperate.” Well, when my first challenge group kicked off, I immediately fell in love. I had so much fun, I learned a lot, AND I lost weight. Like a LOT of weight. I dropped 3 pant sizes in 2 months. To this day, this is the best shape I’ve ever been in and have not gained an oz of it back in almost 2 years.

I can honestly say I learned how to change my lifestyle because of this program. I can honestly say I would have quit when it got hard if it wasn’t for  those ladies in my first challenge group cheering me on. I can honestly say I still owe my continued success to the ladies in the groups that I now host every month on my own. That support and constant accountability is and always will be my gamechanger.


Exercise for not-so-sporty kids

20160817_154900 (1)Not every kid is an athlete. Not every kid enjoys competition. Not every kid wants to play team sports. However, EVERY kid does need daily exercise. But what do you do when your kid would rather play video games and stay inside all day? In the case of my oldest daughter, I realized she was not going to naturally be drawn to exercise or sports pretty early on. So, we basically went for the “put her in everything and see what sticks” method and eventually discovered physical activities that she LOVES, from the swim team to regular recess, visits to the park, and family walks on the beach.

As early as two years old, we put her in dance, then gymnastics, and then soccer, and finally swim team. The theme here is that we kept trying. She didn’t fall in love with dance, wasn’t very interested in gymnastics, and would only go on the soccer field if she was holding hands with the coach. None of them worked, but we didn’t give up. We paid attention to the things she really enjoyed and finally, we realized that her love for the pool could mean she may enjoy the swim team. We asked if she was interested, she said yes, tried out and made the team the very next day! As a no-contact sport that involves doing something she loves already – being in the pool, it is a perfect match! Plus, swimming is one of the BEST forms of exercise! Whether or not she will be excited about the races remains to be seen, but all in all, as long as she participates in the weekly practices, I’m a happy momma!

Additionally, we found a school that values activities like daily recess, daily P.E., and even has a voluntary Morning Mile program that we can all do as a family! We also take family walks on the beach, go to the park, and swim in the community pool where we live. We limit electronics time to weekends only and make sure we spend at least 30 minutes a day doing something active, even if I have to rope the girls into doing a home workout with me in our living room. They love the dancing workouts like CIZE or Country Heat!

All children are different and their strengths should be appreciated. If the things they enjoy doing are tended, they will grow and flourish.


How to make meal prep more FUN!

Don’t dread meal prep! It doesn’t have to be all “sweatin’ in the kitchen” for 5 hours of awful! I went from being like “UGH! Do I have to?” when it was meal prep day to  “alright, let’s do this thing!

What’s different? Weeeeell I came up with some things to make it more FUN!

  1. First, plan smart – think meals that will make enough for multiple days, non-cook snacks that are quick to prep, and things that have ingredients in common. This will keep your prep time to a minimum.
  2. Next, make sure you have your meal plan and recipes easily accessible. I hang my weekly meal plan right on the cabinet where I can see it not only when meal prepping but every day when packing my lunches too!
  3. Have a lot of cute, matching Tupperware on hand so you’ll know it will look really pretty when you’re done! (this could be more for those type A personalities but I do look forward to that finished product with each day laid out in a nice matching row like I always see in pics from people who are way more talented than me on social media LOL)
  4. Crack open a bottle of wine and pour a glass! It’s 21 Day Fix approved, I swear!
  5. Turn on some tunes! I like to turn on Pandora on my TV. My station is a crazy fun mix of 90’s alternative and Brittany Spears stuff LOL
  6. Ask your significant other and/or kids to join in and cook together! (now, I admit this one could backfire, in which case, I say plan your prep time when they’ll be out of the house!)
  7. Just relax! Don’t think about anything else you have to do. Enjoy this process and remember that when you’re done, you’ll be set up for success the rest of the week!

 


Top Tips for Morning Workouts

Everyone who knows me has heard me say “morning workouts are where consistency is made!”
 
20160716_070540A lot of my challengers HATE the idea of morning workouts but see the value of it as they begin their fitness journeys. There is just too much that can go wrong during a day and end up causing you not to do it. I myself will come up with 24987 reasons not to do it by the end of the day if I wait. When you get it done first thing in the morning, you won’t have any excuses to knock you off track.
 
Plus, you’ll feel more awake, more energized, and more ready for your day after getting your blood flowing!
 
1. Plan ahead: Know what workout you’ll do, lay out your workout clothes or even wear them to bed the night before (that’s what I do!), have your workout space set up, have any equipment ready;
 
2. Go to bed earlier. Do I need to explain that one? Getting enough sleep is crucial not just to having energy to workout in the morning but also for having energy all day. If you’re getting up earlier, you’ll be losing sleep if you don’t counteract that by going to bed earlier. Simple math!
 
3. Have a friend or group for accountability, whether it’s in person or virtual. It’s no surprise that being accountable to other people is helpful in staying on track. Studies show better results in those who aren’t alone on their journey. I host monthly virtual accountability groups and you’re always welcome to join if you don’t have one of your own. Simply message me in the comments below if you’d like details!

How to go out to eat and stay on track

“Wait, does being “healthy” mean I can’t go out to eat? I really like going out to eat!”

“I’m going out tonight. How do I not ruin all my progress?”

These are some of the common questions I get from my newest members of my monthly health and fitness challenge groups. I used to wonder the same thing but over time have amassed a fool-proof plan for going out to eat without throwing your goals to the curb.

  1. 13483158_10154219735510102_3083876128096263551_o

    Egg White Omelet with Spinach and Feta and a Side of Fruit

    Choose a restaurant with healthy options.

  2. Check out the menu BEFORE going and choose what you’ll have after investigating the nutritional content (avoid fried food, be aware of high sodium content, no creamy sauces).
  3. Have a small snack before leaving so you won’t be starving . This way, you can avoid the pre-meal chips or rolls that some restaurants bring out.
  4. If available, ask for egg whites for omelets or other egg dishes.
  5. Ask  your server for your cooked veggies to be plain, no butter or seasoning (restaurants soak them in butter and salt but they don’t need all that to be good y’all!).
  6. Ask for dressings to be on the side if you order salad.
  7. Don’t clean your plate. Restaurants always give you more than a regular serving size and you won’t need it!
  8. If you order dessert, stick to mini desserts or be sure to share with the whole table.
  9. For drinks, have a glass of wine or ask if there’s a “skinny” version of your favorite cocktail, such as the skinny margarita.

Any more tips that you’ve found that work for you? Share in the comments! I’m always looking for more!


How Moms Can Find Time for fitness

I’m a wife, mom of a seven year old and a three year old, dog mom, webmaster for a school, Beachbody Coach, friend, daughter, sister, etc etc. BUSY is my middle name. Well ok it’s not but it should have been because I am on the go from the moment I open my eyes in the morning until the moment I close them on my pillow at night.

People say to me “I don’t have time to workout.” To that I say, “Yes you do. You choose not to make exercise a priority. There’s a difference.” I don’t say that to be dismissive or judgmental or mean. It’s just that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. What we choose to do with it depends on our priorities. I used to think I didn’t have time either but when I made my health a priority in my life, suddenly I found time for it.

Here are my top 5 tips to make time in your life for your health.

  1. Identify your Why and make it a good one.  Before you can take another step, you have to get your mind right. Identify the reason that you want to make exercise a part of your life. Don’t use a fluff one like “I want to be skinny.” That will last about as long as a Frosty in the Florida heat. Dig deeper. Maybe you want to be a good example for your kids. Maybe you have health issues related to being overweight. Maybe you aren’t feeling great about yourself or your lacking energy and you just want to change that. Whatever your reason, make sure you have thought about it and really care about it.
  2. Choose a fitness program that fits your lifestyle and preferences. In other words, don’t pick a fitness program with hour long workouts if you are having trouble finding time to workout. Go for something with 30 minute or less workouts. Also, don’t choose a program with dance workouts if you hate choreography and don’t choose a weights program if you love dancing. (I’d be happy to help you choose the right program for you – contact me at rachel.ramos1107@gmail.com)
  3. GET UP EARLY AND WORKOUT. Yes, I was yelling there. This is by far the MOST important tip. I know, I know, you probably are like, “I already get up early. I’m not getting up any earlier to exercise” or “I hate getting up early. No way am I going to do that!” If that’s what you’re thinking, go back to number one and reread your Why or come up with a new one because your mind isn’t right yet. Morning workouts are the key to consistency. Also, getting up and working out BEFORE your kids wake up will make life much easier.
  4. If your kids are up and they’re interested, have them join you and workout together. This is a great way to get them active and show them the importance of being healthy. My kids love to get in on the action when I am working out.
  5. If your kids are up and not interested in joining your workout, these ideas work great to keep them entertained for 30 minutes: electronics (iPad, phone games, etc), snack time (give them food, kids love food), set up some kind of craft for them to work on (coloring, creating cards for people, etc), put infants in a bouncy chair/swing with snacks, bribe older kids with a promise of going to the park or some other fun activity if they are quiet for your workout.

Consider this, There are 24 hours in a day, 168 in a week. If you spend 40 working, there are 128 left over. Of those, you’ll spend an average of 56 hours sleeping (8 hrs a day), which leaves you 72 hours to do with what you choose. If you spend 30 min a day working out, that is only 3.5 hours. Can you commit 3.5 hours out of 72 to exercise? Can you give up 30 minutes a day of sleep or 30 minutes a day of tv to reach your goals? YES YOU CAN!

To join my next online fitness and nutrition accountability group, fill out this short form and I’ll get in touch to give you all the details!


Kids Lunch Box Healthy and Fast

Some kids can brag about pinterest worthy heart-shaped sandwiches and clever snacks in their sacks. My kids can brag about the fastest pack time and lowest sugar content. That’s awesome right?

I’m a busy mom and I need to save time where I can. My weird kids prefer boxed mac & cheese and lucky charm marshmallows to homemade anything. Sad, I know. It’s a challenge to come up with healthy lunches/snacks that they like and I don’t have to spend hours making and packing.

Through plain old trial and error, I’ve come up with some pretty good items that meet the essential requirements. Check out my video for some of my most common he lunch box content for the littles: