Tuesday, January 29, 2019

My Lowest Low Point as a Mother

I’ve partnered with the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) to bring you this blog post. Read on to learn more about a new resource that was just launched to help women navigate IBD and pregnancy.

At the end of my pregnancy, I started to have a few flare symptoms related to my ulcerative colitis diagnosis. They were fairly minor to start, but got worse and worse as the weeks progressed. My GI doctor put me on a steroid treatment, which my OB/GYN assured me was safe for my unborn baby. Of course, I was a little uneasy about this decision, but the last thing I wanted was a situation where I was battling a full-on flare during labor and delivery. I was only a few weeks from my due date, so I just hoped the both of us would be okay.

In the end, everything worked out just fine. I made it to my due date (+ 7 days) with only minor flare symptoms. Besides pushing for nearly 4 hours (I’m so glad that I wasn’t in a flare!), labor and delivery were pretty “uneventful” and our sweet baby boy, Quinn, was born without any issues. Looking back, the final weeks of my pregnancy couldn’t have gone any better.

But then things took a turn for the worse…

Following Quinn’s arrival, my minor flare symptoms turned into a full-on flare. It started as frequent trips to the bathroom (about a dozen a day) with cramping and diarrhea mixed with mucus and blood. I immediately contacted my GI doctor, who increased my dose of steroids. Unfortunately, the higher dose only slightly improved my symptoms. And, truthfully, their side effects made the sleepless nights with a newborn even worse. (A common side effect of steroids is restlessness, which made “sleeping when the baby sleeps” even more impossible.) I struggled through the next several weeks as a new mom and sick IBD patient.

My lowest low point as a mother happened during this time period. I was home alone with Quinn and he was having an epic crying fit like babies often do. I was holding him and doing my best to console him, but then I was hit with the urge to use the bathroom. I tried to fight it, but I just couldn’t wait any longer, so I was forced to put Quinn down in his bassinet.

I made it to the bathroom, but as soon as I was finished, I was right back on the toilet. Quinn continued to cry, but there was nothing I could do about it. I felt so helpless and like a huge failure as a mom. I couldn’t even take care of myself – let along a tiny baby. I ended up pulling Quinn’s bassinet into the bathroom with me, so I could at least be near him as he cried. It was truly heartbreaking for me, and easily the saddest moment of my motherhood to date.

I honestly believe that this whole experience could have been avoided if I had know more about my treatment options while breastfeeding. 

A big question for me – and many women with IBD – is whether or not their medications are safe to take during pregnancy and whether or not they can breastfeed while on them. My GI doctor (even before I got pregnant) encouraged me to start a biologic medication to manage my symptoms. I was really hesitant about starting an intravenous drug back then, so now that I was breastfeeding, I was even more resistant.

My flare wasn’t getting any better (if anything, the symptoms were getting worse), so I consulted my doctors, lactation consultants, and (*sigh*) Dr. Google. And, of course, the answers that I found were all over the place, and I didn’t know what to think. I wanted to be healthy enough to care for my son, but I wasn’t sure if I was risking his well-being by continuing to breastfeed him. At the time, there wasn’t a trusted resource to answer my questions and put my mind at ease. Thankfully, now there’s a place.

The IBD Parenthood Project is an incredible resource for women with IBD. Its goal is to address misperceptions and fears related to IBD throughout all phases of family planning – from conception to pregnancy and after delivery, including breastfeeding.



I learned more about this project at the launch event that I attended on January 17 in New York City. This initiative was truly a collaborative effort – among gastroenterologists, maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) subspecialists and patients – to ensure everyone’s concerns have been addressed – from not only the clinical side, but the patient side, too. On the site, you’ll find:

  • medical facts about IBD and pregnancy
  • a visual guide with illustrations, facts, and figures to help you through each stage of your pregnancy journey
  • downloadable patient toolkit
  • a list of key questions to ask your doctor if you’re thinking of becoming pregnant
  • a guide to postnatal care
  • and so much more!

I’m really excited about my partnership with AGA’s IBD Parenthood Project, and I know these resources will help so many women with IBD throughout all stages of family planning. I hope you decide to check it out, and please share with anyone who might benefit from the IBD Parenthood Project!

The post My Lowest Low Point as a Mother appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

from Carrots 'N' Cake http://bit.ly/2B9ilnE

Keto Masterclass Success Story: Strong Like Mommy

Testimonial by Julie C. @ketojulez 

About 7 years ago, I learned about Paleo when I started CrossFit at my brother’s gym, Vagabond CrossFit. I was overweight and I needed to get back into doing something. I have always been very athletic but my weight would tend to go up and down.

I started CrossFit slowly and my brother, Kevin O’Malley, introduced me to Paleo through Robb Wolf’s book, Paleo Solution. I got myself on track and was doing well in CrossFit and I really was trying to embrace the Paleo life. I figured out what worked for my body—discovering that just because something was “Paleo” it didn’t necessarily agree with me. 

Life happened and I got married and we were ready to start a family. That started my two year journey to try to get pregnant and with that came fertility treatments, depression, anxiety, and about 40 lbs of weight gain. I was not in a great place in my life as I was just so focused on wanting to be a mom.

Long story short, I lost about 20 lbs and then found out I was pregnant with my first daughter. I had a stressful pregnancy due to some issues with my daughter but in the end we made it through and I have a beautiful little girl!

So after pregnancy, I really had a hard time with hormone balance, sleep, stress, etc. I was a mess. I did not lose my baby weight and I was having a hard time finding time for myself.

I felt so ashamed of myself and I felt trapped in my own body.

Then I found out I was pregnant with my second daughter! I tried to stay active but I was already still carrying extra weight so my goal was just to not gain too much through my pregnancies and I kept thinking man this is going to be tough to lose all this weight after I have my daughter.

After the birth of my second daughter, I was really gaining weight. I was always picking at the kids snacks (which I now realize was just an insane amount of carbs) but never feeling satisfied. Honestly, I felt like I was never actually eating a meal! I was tired and not sleeping well. I hated the feeling of waking up and feeling exhausted. I was at an all time low in my life. I felt so ashamed of myself and I felt trapped in my own body.

I really love nutrition and fitness and I really love helping others on their journey but the irony is that I could not help myself! I was living with this daily anxiety of not being here for my girls. I work in a hospital and I think that setting didn’t help my anxiety, but my fear of not being around for my girls was taking up a lot of mental space in my head. I knew that I needed to make a major change in my life.

When I began, I was 75 lbs from my goal weight. I started by telling myself you can do anything for 20 minutes. We had the set up for a little gym in our one car garage so I started small. I would do some metabolic workouts and my mindset was “just keep moving.” I would row, push myself through burpees, push presses, box jumps, jump rope.

If I was going to learn about the keto diet I needed to learn from the best

I’d heard about this “keto” thing and started researching it. I wanted to understand the diet first. One day on my instagram feed I see Robb Wolf’s Instagram page and he had a post about keto and macros.

I couldn’t believe it! I knew if I was going to learn about the keto diet I needed to learn from the best and that Robb would break it down into a science that I understand what I was doing and why it would work. I didn’t want to just save pins on Pinterest on “what is keto”. I really wanted to understand the basis of the plan.

I was about 2 weeks into keto when I stumbled on Keto Masterclass—it was great because I had lots of questions and was hopeful that my questions would be answered in this program.

The Keto Masterclass was amazing. It helped me to fine tune some things and it gave me the knowledge I needed to continue on my journey. I also signed up for the Ketogains Bootcamp after I completed the class.

I love the non-scale victories

Currently, I’m down 50 lbs and I have never felt better! I love the non-scale victories that I have achieved on keto—fitting into clothes that have not fit in over 5 years, not hiding in baggy clothes, the energy I feel when I wake up each morning and that powers me through the day, the restful sleep at night, and the decreased anxiety.

I feel like I am taking more time for myself on this journey because in order to be the best version of me I need the time to prep my food or to even workout for 30 minutes a day. We only have one life and I don’t want to live it feeling bad about myself and worried about my health.

“Strong like mommy”

I want to be the best mom that I can be and show my girls how strong I am and that taking care of yourself, physically and mentally, is very important. I love that I have the energy to be on the go with them or to have a dance party in our living room.

They are my reason for everything and on this journey I have realized that I am the best version of me when I feel good and when I feel healthy. 

I love that my girls say “strong like mommy”. If that doesn’t make this all worth it then I don’t know what else would!  

Keto Masterclass

The keto diet is one of the most effective ways to shed fat and improve your health. Keto Masterclass helps you start keto right, step-by-step, so that you can be successful long-term.


from The Paleo Diet http://bit.ly/2MDagfy

Dear Mark: Iron Followup

Postpartum Nutrition + Weight Loss

For the first six weeks after Birch was born I knew I needed to give myself grace in all ways. I put no pressure on myself to work on the blog, no pressure to exercise unless I felt the urge, and certainly no pressure to lose weight. My goal was just to do what felt good movement wise, to care for my baby, and to eat whatever and whenever I desired in the moment.

Exercise has always come easy to me. I crave a good sweat, and I found myself walking with other new mom friends and eventually doing some light workouts and jogging by the end of the six weeks. I couldn’t wait to do more when I was cleared by my doctor.

On the other hand, eating mindfully has always been a bigger challenge. As I have said before, it’s easier to add than subtract, so adding exercise was easier to me than subtracting delicious food. During those first six weeks, I wasn’t trying to subtract food. I ate 100% intuitively. I ate by my heart’s desires and by my hunger cues. Our sweet friends brought us meals that were very much appreciated. With those meals came whole pans of brownies, not one but TWO pies during one week, home-baked cookies, and more. Because my hunger levels were super high from sleep deprivation and breastfeeding, I enjoyed them all. Thomas and I finished BOTH of those pies within the week! I ate pie for breakfast dessert, lunch dessert, and dinner dessert 🙂

Eventually, though, I got a little tired of eating so many sweets (because they really don’t make you feel that great, amiright?) and started to crave nutrient-dense meals again – soups, salads, all the Roots bowls. I told myself after the six week mark, which coincided with Thanksgiving, that I’d cut back on the sugar and settle into a normal healthy eating pattern again.

I want to get back to the healthiest version of my body which does involve losing weight. I obviously don’t have any grand plans for a diet, cutting out food groups (even sugar), or extreme weight loss. That has never been me – life needs to be enjoyed! But I do want to get back to the place where I feel confident in my clothes and I think it’s important to acknowledge that. I love my body now, and I loved my body at 9+ months pregnant. Wanting to lose some weight doesn’t mean I don’t love my body. It also doesn’t mean I’m throwing intuitive or mindful eating out the window. It simply means I have intention to change my habits and tweak my diet in the direction towards a healthier me, more squiggle downs than ups.

I feel like it’s hard to talk about weight loss online now without people thinking you aren’t accepting your body as it is. But the truth is, it’s OK to want to change your body composition as long as you are doing it in a healthy, slow and steady, still-enjoying-your-life and respecting your body kinda way.

There isn’t one right way to parent, to manage your work flow, or to fold laundry. Nor is there a one-size-fits-all exercise regime. Everyone has to ‘know thyself’ and do what feels best for them. Similarly, there isn’t one formula for losing weight. The free spirits and the data nerds aren’t going to be happy with the same techniques. For some counting calories or food journaling sounds like an exhausting, restricting chore, and for others it’s a fun way to organize the day and the mind.

I know that I need some form of accountability. It seems that there is now a stigma against using any kind of tool other than intuitive eating to lose weight. I believe you can use a combination of intuitive eating and food journaling and/or calorie/point/macro counting and lose weight in an emotionally healthy way.

I am almost afraid to tell you that I’ve been tracking my meals in My Fitness Pal for a few weeks. But in the spirit of transparency and vulnerability, I want to share. I have been keeping a log to encourage that connection between what I’m putting in my mouth and its nutrient and energy density. For me and my personality, this technique really helps me be mindful of mindless snacking and consumption of empty calories. As I said above, I’m not on some hard-limit diet, and while I’ve been loosely journaling I’ve eaten donuts and pizza and wine and french fries plus lots of kale salads and veggies and oatmeal and superfoods. As much as I know about nutrition, it is really eye opening to reflect on the composition of food. It is that pause, that reflection, that is ultimately why food journaling is always a successful tool for me.

The post Postpartum Nutrition + Weight Loss appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

from Kath Eats Real Food http://bit.ly/2WraoDn

Clean Eating Kale Salad Recipe

This clean eating kale salad is quick, simple and delicious!

Have you ever wondered what people are talking about when they say they “massage” their kale? Sounds like they bust out a whole massage… Read more →

from The Gracious Pantry http://bit.ly/2B8zZYK