A lot has changed in my life over the past 4 months. My husband and I went from a party of 2 to a party of 3. I remember when I was pregnant, people kept telling me that EVERYTHING was about to change. Comments like, “Get your sleep now,” “Just wait till you have a baby,” and “You’ll never be able to _______ (insert verb and eye rolling here) again!” were frequent and sometimes a little unsettling. Yes, I knew our life would change. We would have a little bundle of love to take care of everyday!
So when little Gianna came into our world, we knew it would be wonderful and exhausting and funny and all of those emotions, and we were ready. We had planned ahead before we got pregnant to make sure that we were as ready as we could be when baby came. Those plans included money set aside for when I was on maternity leave, dinners stored in the freezer for the nights we didn’t want to cook, and HELP on the line for times when we needed a break.
After the first 6 weeks postpartum went by and our sleep started returning to normal, we started to settle back into our “normal life.” I started to get back in the gym several times a week. My family helped babysit, specifically my mom and my in-laws, who were all such a great help to me during that time. At first it was a little difficult to leave the baby, but I always reminded myself that she was in great hands and that I needed to do this for me – to get out of the house – to clear my head – to be on my own! As the weeks went by it got easier to balance motherhood, being a wife, cooking dinner, teaching 4 spin classes a week, and doing all of those little things everyday that moms and wives do that go unnoticed (like cleaning out the refrigerator or the splatter in the microwave). At 12 weeks postpartum, I went back to work full-time. I work out of my house, so the transition was easier for me than it would have been if I had to commute to an office. I found a wonderful nanny, who loves G and gives her undivided attention, and I can continue to help financially support our family – while sneaking out of my office from time to time for snuggles.
Now that I am busier than ever, I have to be more organized than ever. I have to be a time efficiency master in order to balance all of my responsibilities – also known as blessings! I have an awesome Erin Condren planner that I live by. It has everything in there from my scheduled workouts to my meal plans for the week. Plus it’s just fun to write in because it’s so pretty. On Sunday mornings, I sit down with my cup of coffee and plan the week. What we are eating, when I am working out, when I can squeeze a personal appointment, all juggling that around my work schedule and my nanny’s schedule. On weeks when I can stick to the schedule I am relaxed, present, happy. On weeks when I am off, I AM OFF. I am more irritable, annoyed, and not as good of a mom or a wife.
I also have 9 pounds to go to get back to my prenatal weight of 132, and I am determined to get there. So I can’t “wing” lunch or dinner if I want to stay on track in a healthy way. On Sundays I meal prep and make sure we know what is on the menu for lunch and dinner during the week, making my health and my husband’s health a priority.
Another part of making me a priority is making sure I don’t over schedule myself. If I look at my calendar and it’s packed with commitments, it makes me feel unsettled. Will I be too tired to handle all of this? When will I have time to just sit and relax? Are all of these appointment necessary, or can something be cancelled? We are in the thick of an awesome football season. My husband is at work between 5:30-6:30am most days and is home close to 7pm at night. He also works Friday nights and all day on Saturday. Our time together is precious and very limited, so we make time for date nights every other week where it’s just us – focusing on us!
And then there is the little peanut whom we love so much. The more downtime I have, the more I can focus on her. So when I feed her, I don’t watch TV or look at my phone, I just look at her. Time has already gone by too fast, and before I know it, she won’t want me to hold her anymore. On that note, I am signing off because I am tearing up, and I need to get back to my schedule, so I can hold her later.
Make yourself a priority. It’s not selfish. It’s self-love.
I have a love-hate relationship with traveling.
Sure, 5-nights at a 5-star resort and spa in the Bahamas, is WONDERFUL, don’t get me wrong. But, when I travel my brain typically likes to trick me and say, “Mary, this is your time to indulge.”
So, I have to fight my natural instinct to have dessert after breakfast, lunch AND dinner when I am on vacation and try just to limit it to just dinner. Sometimes I am successful. Sometimes I am not. I am not a drinker (that’s a virgin pina colada shown in the photo), so the thought of a tropical drink does not entice me at all. I am a structured, type-A, routine loving person, so when I am traveling, and all of that structure and routine gets jumbled up, I tend to relax in other areas as well. Like, pile on the carbs and sugar with a heaping bowl of dairy. The result is always the same. I am relaxed after vacation, and I am really glad I don’t have to get back in a bathing suit for a little while.
Why I am I telling you this?!
Because I don’t want you to think that I have everything in a nice little organized box, and staying fit is EASY for me. It’s not. I have to plan ahead to stay ahead for myself, because I can easily get off track just like you.
I have found through a lot of trial and error and major missteps that I have to prepare for vacation in order not to go completely off the wagon! Here are a few guidelines that I try to follow when I am planning a vacation:
1) START the vacation off right. That means, don’t pull into the airport and immediately grab an Auntie Annie’s pretzel for the plane ride. (Okay, I have done it. They ARE good). I usually empty my fridge before I leave for vacation, and throw all of the leftover protein and veggies into a Tupperware (or one of those plastic bins that the pre-washed lettuce/kale/spinach comes in) as my plane ride snack. Then I buy dressing once I pass through security or just make do with hummus and lemon juice. You save money, don’t waste all of your food at home, AND start your vacation off making healthy choices.
2) Plan vacations that are 4-nights or less. Any longer than 4 nights, and I am ready to roll home to my routine, my kitchen, my fitness classes, and our normal life. Justin and I lead a pretty simple life. We believe that less is more, and we enjoy life at home just as much as life on vacation, so we usually don’t plan vacations to “escape” from anything (except the laundry and emptying the dishwasher). We like to relax in the sun, turn off our cell phones, and enjoy each other’s company. We can usually accomplish that and recharge in 3 or 4 nights.
3) Stay in resorts with access to quality food and fitness facilities. I am a foodie. That is no secret. I love to eat. I need to balance that out with a sweaty workout when I am on vacation, because we do a lot more eating out when we are traveling, and I don’t count my macros. For instance, I am writing this post from Atlanta, GA. I came here on a business vacation (my job allows me to work from anywhere), but I also came here because my favorite workout, Flywheel is in this area. So I can take a crazy spin class every morning and eat in some amazing restaurants in Buckhead for dinner. It’s the best of both words.
4) Pack a sh*t ton of food. My husband usually gives me a big eye roll when he sees what I have packed for our vacations, but he is always happy when we land at our destination, and we don’t have to spend $30 each on a breakfast buffet every morning or be subject to whatever food is available at our resort in the overpriced gift shop. I pack A LOT of food. Some items that are always with me on vacation include: Vega One Bars, RX Bars, protein powder, brown rice cakes, my homemade protein bread, nuts, individual packets of nut butter (you cannot bring a whole container of nut butter through security. It is considered a gel, and they will take it. I learned this $12 lesson the hard way). Sometimes I load up on other snacks as well. It really depends on how long we will be gone and where we are going. My motto here is NOT less is more. It’s more is better.
I hope some of these tips help you prepare for your next trip too so you can “plan ahead” and “stay ahead.” Happy traveling!