Stepping It Up.

I’ve recently been given some interesting information regarding my health and my pregnancy. Not only am I significantly below the mark that confirms anemia, but I also will be taking my second glucose test next week to confirm whether or not I have gestational diabetes. With diabetes in my family history, this isn’t sitting lightly with me; and being the person I am the first thing I did was research what I need to do to keep myself and my little girl healthy, as well as what I need to do to maintain my health after she is born. The answer is strikingly simple.

Be moreĀ conscious of your own physical health and fitness habits.

Fitness

It’s recommended for any active person to be regularly active. Walking, yoga, hiking, jogging, swimming- there are so many choices. Doing this 3-5 times a week will naturally increase your energy and your focus, making it healthy for your mental wellbeing as well, which if it isn’t apparent, it very important to me.

I’ve always been more active. I was a dancer and a figure skater, I coached, and now I regularly do yoga in addition to consistent use of my Lifetime Fitness membership. If you aren’t currently doing much for activity, go for a walk through your neighborhood every other day, or find a nearby park to walk through. I always bring my phone or my camera in case I find something beautiful along the way. I personally believe a gym membership can be a bit intimidating when a person is getting back into a fitness routine, but that may be my introvert side speaking. Another option is yoga from the comfort of your own home. When I started my yoga practice, I will definitely admit I was not comfortable going through with it in front of others. I felt silly. A little bit of Jillian Michaels yoga meltdown (this one also ties in strength and cardio) as well as this Youtube video (much more aimed at a mind-body focus while introducing you to each part of your body) are literally the two sources that built me up to start going to my first class. Although I love classes, I still often utilize Youtube as well as going through my own sequences using poses that I know will reach the areas of tension that I am aiming for.

So we know that everyone and their mother is pushing us to stay active, but what are the actual benefits? Of course there are the benefits that the majority of the fitness population aims for the in the first place: disease prevention, pain reduction (Yes, really! Once you get past the initial few sessions, you will notice that the burn doesn’t last as long AND a lot of the smaller aches and pains are gradually becoming less and less noticeable), higher energy levels and of course a better figure. Some lesser thought of benefits are my favorites. There is stress reduction, and by no means am I an expert in this, but I can tell you with confidence that you can literally work away a portion of your stress, at least the effects that it has on the body. It also increases happiness, likely linked to the decrease in stress. And lastly, it can help you to find a special mind-body connection. This part is my favorite, your mind connects to every part of your body, you can feel the energy, you become one with your breath. This is probably why yoga is my favorite practice, because these are values of the practice itself, but they can be transferred to something as simple as walking on a treadmill. Focus on the initial burn as your muscles warm up, recognize as the endorphins take over and eliminate that burn, feel the lightness after you pass the first mile and breathing becomes easier again. It can be done in any form of exercise, and it is unbelievable how in sync with yourself you can feel. This is why I love fitness as much as I do.

Healthy Eating

I’ve obviously also had to make changes to my diet, and fast. I already was eating relatively healthy, but I will admit the amount of sugar I allowed into my diet was my biggest weakness. It still is something I will likely continue to struggle with. For the most part I’ve cut out most eating out, because I am more than aware of the added sugars in many foods from restaurants and food chains. At home I still am working on gradually making changes to foods with less sugars, but it’s also important that I don’t just make a sudden stop. As I adventure into the world of healthy eating, I plan to share my favorite creations with you!

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Shake

This recipe is super good for after a good yoga session or workout because of the nutrients it gives back to the body after it has burned so many calories. High in protein from peanut butter and greek yogurt, I also opt to add a scoop of protein powder as well. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and fiber, and for the ladies, are highly recommended as a natural pain reliever for cramps! Not only is this recipe healthy, but it’s also delicious.

You’ll need:

  • 1 Banana
  • 2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 c. Greek Yogurt (I prefer Vanilla Chobani or Greek Gods)
  • 1/4 c. Skim Milk (sub for Almond or Soy if you want to lessen the dairy)
  • 1 Scoop of your favorite protein powder
  • Crushed Ice (I use just a little to chill the drink, but you may use more for a thicker texture)

Just blend it all together and you’re done! It’s so unbelievably delicious and it leaves me feeling so good.

Remember, you don’t need to have your own health shock to start making improvements to your own health. I always thought that the way I treated my body was fine, but I’m learning quickly that there is always an improvement or a change to make. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be able to reach my dream of becoming vegetarian!

Xoxo,

Free Spirit Babe

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