5 Essential ways to take care of your physical health

Every since becoming a mom things have gotten quite hectic to say the least, and sometimes it’s really hard to find enough time in the day to get all my chores and tasks done. It has become easy to let my physical health slip. It’s not always easy to find time for the gym or make healthy meals from scratch let alone with a baby to take care of. However, taking good care of your body is just as important as taking good care of your mind. Here are five ways you can take better care of your body and feel great about yourself.

Exercise regularly

Exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy, with multiple benefits. It can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers. It can also help reduce stress and improve your mood. Exercise can take many forms, so you don’t have to join a gym. Instead, you can go for a walk, swim, ride a bike or do gardening or housework. If you are new to exercise, start slowly and build up. You don’t want to injure yourself. If you have health issues, check with your doctor about the best types of exercise for you.

 

Make your own meals and eat together as a family

Healthy eating is an easy way to stay healthy. Make your meals from scratch, rather than buying processed or junk food. You will know exactly what’s in your food and what’s not. If you have children, make mealtimes a family affair. It’s a great way to bring your family together and get everyone talking. If your children are old enough, get them involved in making their own meals. This will help them learn about healthy eating, which is essential, as teaching your child about healthy eating from a young age will help instill good eating habits in them. It is also vital to make your own meals, as you know exactly what is going into your food and what isn’t. You can use organic produce, free-range eggs, and low-fat, low-sodium ingredients.

 

Use alternative healing therapies

Sometimes we get so busy that we don’t even notice how stressed we are. Stress is terrible for our health and happiness, so it is essential to find ways to manage it better. There are many different alternative healing therapies you can use to reduce stress, including yoga, meditation, massage, and even going to physio for specific injuries and ailments. These are all forms of self-care and will make you feel calmer and happier. They are also great for your physical health, easing pain, reducing blood pressure and boosting your immune system.

Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. It helps us manage stress and improves our mood. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. If you are struggling to get enough sleep, try a herbal sleep remedy. Make sure you have a peaceful, dark environment and switch off your phone an hour before bed.

Don’t forget to breathe and have some mindfulness time.

This was one that really helped me throughout my pregnancy and now I am working on continuing my breathing practice postpartum. Breathing exercises can help you cope with stress and anxiety. They are great for your physical and mental health. They can lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your mental health. Try having some mindfulness time every day. Use this time to meditate, do yoga or just be still. Use this time to reflect on what you have achieved and what you would like to achieve the next day.

Taking care of your physical health can be just as important as taking care of your mental health. Luckily, it’s easy to do all of these things, even when you’re busy. From going for walks to making your own meals, there are many ways to improve your health. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do everything at once. Start with one thing, and over time you’ll build a health routine that works for you.

xo

Mia

Top stroller friendly walks in the Sea to Sky

There is nothing I love more than getting outside and enjoying nature with my dog and new baby, but here is the thing, that new baby happens to be in the 96th percentile. At 4 months, he already weighs 17 pounds and so walks have become a bit more challenging. Thankfully we purchased a Thule Urban Glide stroller, which is great for trails – and so I made it a mission to find some stroller friendly trails along the Sea to Sky that you can enjoy.

Whistler Train Wreck

It’s a short 2.3km in and out walk to a really cool train wreck that happened back 1956. The trail to the train wreck is quite mellow and wide enough for a stroller. You pass by the beautiful Cheakamus river before arriving at the graffiti painted train cars. The trail is also dog friendly. The only downside is the mosquitos can get quite bad, so bring a cover for the baby

 Shannon Falls Lookout

This is a 1km loop trail that is fairly easy and will only take you about 20 minutes to complete. In the winter the snow can make it a little tough to access, but in the summer the mostly gravel path is perfect for a stroller – and the reward of the beautiful view of Shannon Falls is worth the walk. Also a dog friendly trail.

 Mamquam River Trails

One of my favourite walks in Squamish is through the river trails, particularly through the forest that then loops back to the Squamish Golf Course. I just love being in the trees and I recently discovered that this trail is wide enough and easy to navigate with a stroller. Also if you go all the way to the golf course it is quite a nice walk, about 10km total.

 Mamquam Dyke Trail

It is about 4km in length (but you can keep going all the way to the once was Spit). The trail is gravel and easy to navigate with a stroller. You have beautiful mountain and river views for the entire walk.

Stawamus Dyke Trail

Another dyke trail that is perfect for the whole family including a stroller is the Stawamus Trail. It’s a 3km walk alongside the river with gorgeous views of the Stawamus Chief.

Lost Lake Loop

This is a very popular hike in the Whistler area and the main path is a wide gravel path through the forest and opens up to some amazing mountain views.

Loggers Creek Trail

I am spoiled because this one is right outside my house. You can walk with the stroller either on a paved bike and walk lane or through the forest which has been smoothed out by a group of volunteers to make it more accessible for all.

Happy hiking my friends,

xo

Mia

 

 

My experience with Lovevery play kits

Being a new mom is extremely challenging. You have to get into a good feeding routine, and sleep training, and then there are those milestones that even though everyone tells you not to worry about them too much, you still worry way too much. Because of this I did a lot of reading and research into toys that could help my baby’s development and hopefully help him reach those milestones – although again I try to tell myself daily that every baby is different and will develop in their own time.

In my endless google searches I came across Lovevery. On the website it states that the play products are designed by child development experts to help children get what they need at every stage of development. If you read further, the website has more information on exactly who those experts are. Different doctors that specialize in neuroscience, experts in Montessori learning, and psychologists to name a few. And so I ended up connecting with Lovevery after Max was born to see if I could give their products a try.

The first kit that we got was the 3-4 month play kit. When the kit arrived it came with instructions on how to use each toy that was included and at what stage to introduce them into playtime. In the box we found contrast cards, a soft book, a mirror card, a rubber teether, crinckle bag, silicone teether, wooden rattle, framed mirror, rolling bell, and hand to hand disk. I was surprised at just how much came in the kit.

The instruction book came with talking points for 3 and then 4 months. Different things to expect from your baby and things your baby may like at this point in their lives and then went into detail about each play thing. Why it is useful at this given age and how to use it. It really took the guess work out of how to help my baby develop with these items and as a new mom made the hours and hours of play time each day (which don’t get me wrong I love but sometimes don’t know what to do) make more sense.

And as soon as Max hit three months he  started to thrive with these toys. He loved looking at the mirror for tummy time, grabbing the soft book, and rolling the bell. It was amazing to see the wonder and enjoyment in his eyes but also see developmental leaps start to happen. Grabbing with both hands at just three months, rolling onto his side around that time too. I was impressed to see his progress in such little time.

Takeaways from working with Lovevery:

  • It takes the guesswork out of play time 

I never had to take time to do my own research when it came to toys. They sent them straight to my door each month with a guide on how to play with them and when.

  • There is a variety of toys 

You don’t just get one or two toys each month, you get a handful that all have different uses which I really loved. We had rattles to work on our hearing senses, teethers for touch, and mutli-coloured toys for sight.

  • They are child safe and sustainable 

If you watch my work on the Weather Network you know how important sustainable products are to me. I love that these toys are built to last and made with sustainably harvested wood and nontoxic paint.

I am a big fan of Lovevery and cannot wait to watch max continue to grow with these toys.

Happy play time mommas,

xo

Mia

 

Why gestational diabetes was a blessing in disguise

I remember hearing from friends how awful the diabetes test was. You would have to drink this disgusting sugary drink and then have your blood taken to see if you had developed gestational diabetes during your pregnancy. I didn’t know much about gestational diabetes, and honestly didn’t think much of it because I didn’t have any of the predispositions. I am extremely active and a normal weight, there is no diabetes in my family, I was under 35 and this was my first child. I thought I would go into the test and be told everything was normal. I was wrong. Soon after my first test I got the call from my doctor saying the first test was inconclusive and I would have to go back for a longer and more intense test.

Then I got the phone call I really didn’t want to hear, I tested positive for gestational diabetes. I was in a store and I just broke down in tears. Fear came over me, what did this mean for the pregnancy? What did this mean for the baby?

My doctor told me the next steps would be meeting with a dietitian to come up with a game plan. I would also have to start monitoring my blood sugar levels.

On the call, there were several other women who were also in the same boat as me. The dietician went over how we wold monitor our sugar levels and gave us some tips on how to eat properly, as well as some GD friendly snacks we could try.

The next week was brutal. I had to test me levels six times a day, poking my finger before and after every meal. Writing down everything that I ate, and making sure I was going on at least a 15 minute walk after every meal. Despite my best efforts, sometimes my sugars would spike and I would feel extremely discouraged. I felt pity, guilt, and overall sadness that what should be one of the happiest times in my life was becoming a time of constant monitoring, worrying, and fear.

As the week went on though I was able to start to make sense of what worked for my body and what didn’t. I was surprised at how small changes made a huge difference: substituting white bread for whole wheat and tropical fruits for local berries. I was luckily able to control my sugar levels through diet.

On top of eating healthier – protein and veggies at every meal with some complex carbs – I was also forcing myself to move daily. On days that I was super tired it would be something as easy as a walk after my meals. But as I started to eat healthier (and I even lost some weight) I had more energy. I continued doing spin and pregnancy safe HITT classes – and to be honest the aches and pains I thought I would have during my pregnancy never came, nor did the third trimester fatigue.

On top of feeling healthy and energized during my pregnancy I also felt like my birth and recovery was a lot easier thanks to all the exercise I was doing ahead of time. When it came to pushing during labour I felt strong and in control. Post birth my body felt really good. I wasn’t in pain and was able to get back to walking and exercise fairly quickly. I was also back to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty quickly because of how active I was ahead of time.

Yes, being diagnosed with gestational diabetes was scary and yes it was hard to cut out sweets when I was dealing with endless pregnancy cravings, and yes it was hard to keep moving when I couldn’t even put socks on due to my giant belly, but overall I actually think there were some positive takeaways. So mommas if you get diagnosed with GD, keep your head high, you got this! And here are some tips that I found really helped me navigate GD.

Ways to cope with gestational diabetes 

1. Find alternatives for your favourite food items

I love toast, so it was easy to substitute white bread for whole wheat. Same goes for pasta. I was also enjoying eating yogurt, granola and bananas. So I started buying greek yogurt instead of vanilla and would add berries instead of bananas. Even switching milk for dark chocolate can make a big difference. Oh and I satisfied my ice cream cravings with halo ice cream (a low sugar option but still lots of different and delicious flavours to chose from.)

2. Find some exciting low sugar recipes

Sure it took a little more effort to come up with dinner ideas, but trust me there are some delicious options out there. I am a big fan of the cooking blog pinchofyum and the great thing is they have a whole section dedicated to low sugar meals and snacks. It made dinner time fun.

3. Stay active while also listening to your body

I am a very active person, but when you have been growing a human for 9 months there are days where you don’t even want to get out of bed. So I would try and find activities that fit my energy level for that day, but I would always make time for me to move. 9 months pregnant I would be doing anything from an intense spin class to just a 15 minute walk around the block. To be honest though on the days I didn’t want to do anything, just getting out for some fresh air made me feel more energized.

4. Don’t forget the snacks

Like I said I am quite active and so there were days that I would go out for hour long hikes and my sugar levels would actually drop too low  and so it was really important for me to find some easy GD friendly snacks that I could bring on hikes. Nuts was a great option and hard boiled eggs was another go to.

5. Eat a well balanced meal

When you have gestational diabetes is it is important to still eat carbs, but just make sure they are complex carbs. During your pregnancy it is also important to eat lots of protein (with GD lean protein should be your go to) and iron levels can suffer so you want to make sure you also have some greens.

6. Drink lots of water

I was so surprised one day when I had a high sugar level before a meal and so I went for a walk first and drank some water. The walk was only 10 minutes but the combination of walking and water made my levels go way down. Water helps dilute sugar and bring down your levels. I would mix it up by adding lemon or a glass of sparkling water, but just avoid adding anything too sugary for taste.

7. Treat yourself every once in a while

This is supposed to be the most exciting time in your life – but pregnancy is also hard and you are working very hard to make this little human, so if you are craving a cupcake every once in a while go for it. Safe splurges kept me sane during my pregnancy (like a little piece of cake at my baby shower).

8. Remember you are not alone

Meghan Trainor, Selma Hayek, and even Angelina Jolie are all human and all had gestational diabetes so try not to get too down on yourself (or feel guilty like I sure did). I found that reaching out to other mommas who were diagnosed with GD made me feel a bit better and sharing tips and tricks with them was always helpful. It was also great to share a glass of wine and a sugary treat once our babies arrived.

Good luck mommas you got this!

xo

Mia

 

 

My positive birth experience and what helped me along the way

 

Anxious, scared, nervous – all words I would use to describe how I felt when I was pregnant and knowing that as I was counting down to meeting my little man I was also counting down to giving birth. I didn’t have any close friends that had given birth before and so I had only heard second count stories – a lot of them rather frightening IMO.

“Contractions are a pain I can’t describe.”

“I had such bad separation and tearing, I am not sure my body will ever be the same again.”

A few of the things I heard during my journey – these quotes accompanied with horror stories of episiotomies, emergency c sections, 24 hours of labour.

As I moved further along  in my pregnancy, I started to deal with some issues. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I was experiencing high blood pressure at times. Needless to say the fear of birth crept into my mind on a daily basis and I was having trouble actually enjoying the pregnancy.

But then it occurred to me that this is an experience I may never get to go through again and so instead of being afraid of what was to come I should try my best to enjoy every kick, every movement, every ultrasound photo. I should do my best to connect with the little bean that was growing by the day, that I was creating.

So instead of letting fear take over, I decided to take matters into my own hands and started to do certain things that made me embrace the experience instead.

I started doing daily meditation and breathing techniques which helped with my blood pressure. I made sure that I moved every day to keep my blood sugars low and to keep my body strong. I started doing prenatal yoga (which if you know me, you know I am not a big yoga person) to help with my flexibility. I started listening to hypno-birthing podcasts, particularly ones that focused on positive birth stories for all different kinds of birth (large babies, home births, c-sections) so that I could realize that no matter what happened with our birth, it could be a positive story.

On top of mentally and physically preparing as much as possible, I also wanted to have as much knowledge as possible. I know for some ignorance is bliss, but for this I wanted to understand all of the possibilities. I came up with a birth plan, did research on c-sections and how to make them a positive experience as well, came with a list of questions for my doctor for each checkup, asked if I could visit the birthing room when I visited the hospital. Having as much information as possible made me realize this wasn’t going to be a glamorous experience but I was feeling prepared and confident that my body wouldn’t let me down and I would be able to deliver a healthy baby boy.

Then came those unexplainably painful contractions at 12:30 on Christmas morning. The stories I had heard were right, this was a full body pain that I had never experienced before. There is no way to describe it – I won’t lie it is bad. I just had to keep reminding myself that it would only last a minute and then I would get a break, be it a short break but a welcomed one.

We made it to the hospital about an hour later and about 2 hours from when the contractions started I had an epidural put in and finally the pain subsided. By the time we made it to the hospital I was already 6cm dilated, we were in active labour.

Baby boy was sitting pretty high for quite some time and so the nurses told my husband and I to relax, we were in for a bit of a wait. I was actually able to get some sleep during this time (thank you modern medicine). Once in a while a nurse would come in to check baby and my vitals to make sure we were good. The team at the Squamish hospital  was so incredible, making sure I was as comfortable as can be, and keeping me as calm as possible – even when the doctor told me that if the baby didn’t move further down we might have to do a c-section.

They started me on some oxytocin to try and move babe down and the incredible nurses helped me move into different positions. Since I had an epidural I couldn’t really use my legs so they worked with me to get me on hands and knees and on my side. They also helped me walk around a little bit.

12 hours after we arrived at the hospital the nurse casually checked me. I was 10 cm and after checking with the Dr. she came over and told me, ‘it’s time to push.’ The anxiety came over my body but it was quickly calmed when she started telling me how I was going to do it. I knew I had an incredible team with me that was going to make sure me and baby were safe.

I didn’t have the sensation that I needed to push now – maybe because of the epidural, but we started on my side. Deep breath in and then pushing as hard as I could for 10 seconds – and repeat. We then moved to my back and as soon as I got into this position (even though I had read all the terrible things about it) the baby’s head was starting to make it’s way out. The doctors and nurses were so positive – affirming me on every push that I was one step closer to meeting my baby boy while my husband lifted my leg to help out with every contraction.

“He has a lot of hair”, is the one thing I remember the doctor saying. The next thing I know she is passing this purple human to my husband who then placed our little man on my chest. 53 minutes after I started pushing our sweet Max was here.

Most of the labour was a blur. I do remember the relief of pushing out the placenta and a bit of pain being stitched up (I had two category 1 tears and one category 2). But I finally had my perfect little human in my arms.

He was weighed and because of my gestational diabetes his blood was checked. 9 pounds 9.5 ounces and 53 cm was the final outcome ( I knew he would be large but I didn’t think I would have the strength to birth a baby that large.) When everything was done we made our way to the postpartum room where we were going to spend our first night together as a family, which also happened to be our first Christmas together.

Every few hours a wonderful nurse would come by to help us with latching and feeding. We were struggling a little with this, but thankfully I had collected some colostrum and we could feed him that in the meantime. Any questions we had were answered, any bell we rang a kind nurse would be there right away to help. I was bleeding, and in pain, and starting to realize my whole life had changed forever – but I felt at peace knowing that we had help.

And after one night of recovery, and a test to make sure we could put Max in his car seat properly, we headed home to start our new life together, and to finally open our Christmas presents, even though we already had the best gift of all.

My tips for a positive pregnancy and birth experience 

Let me start off by saying I was pretty open and honest throughout my pregnancy that I didn’t love the experience. I was dealing with really bad indigestion from day 1 (everyone told me this means my baby would have a lot of hair -and he did). I was then diagnosed with gestational diabetes and so was on a pretty strict diet for most of the pregnancy. But as I got closer to the end I tried  to embrace the experience. I reminded myself how lucky I am to be able to experience growing a human inside me. I would find ways to try and connect with my baby through reading or chats. I would gently poke to get a kick back. I realized these were moments for the two of us that no one else would get to experience and that was pretty special.

Secondly as I share my tips and things that helped me throughout my pregnancy and birth I realize that every woman’s experience is different. What worked for me may not work for someone else and that is ok, but these are tips that were either passed down to me or that I did some research to prepare myself for the best labour (and recovery) possible, so here we go.

1. Do your research 

As the old saying goes ‘ignorance is bliss’ – not when it comes to giving birth. I was so anxious and scared that I figured I wanted to have all the information possible so I could know exactly what might happen and how to best prepare for it. I took my first prenatal birthing class when I was only 15 weeks. I took a prepare to push course at 36. I watched different videos and read articles on best birth positions, breathing techniques, how to avoid tearing, how to have a positive c-section – you name it. But I also tried my hardest not to let my anxiety completely take over and when I saw something that made me nervous I would go to my doctors appointments prepared with questions. I realized that giving birth was completely out of my control, and that was ok because I was as mentally prepared for any situation that could come up and that gave me some comfort. I also came up with a birth plan. Thankfully I didn’t have to use it – but I was prepared to ask questions and understand options in case labour didn’t go as planned.

2. Find something that can help keep you calm

I was so afraid every time I went to the doctors office that I would be diagnosed with high blood pressure that I ended up having high blood pressure. I ended up having to go for 2 tests for hypertension. In my third trimester I finally decided to take matters into my own hands. I started listening to the calm podcast and practiced meditating. On top of that I started watching youtube videos for labour breathing techniques that I could use to stay calm but also to help with pushing. The hypno-birthing J breathing technique really helped me focus on pushing down and relaxing my pelvic floor during labour

3. Exercise

Gestational Diabetes proved to be a curse but also a blessing. It forced me to move everyday, even just for a 15 minute walk. This helped keep me in the best shape possible right up until birth – I also did a lot of nature walks, which helped me get out for fresh air. I also credit the working out in helping my post birth recovery go pretty smoothly.

4. Listen to some hypno-birthing and positive birth stories

I only discovered hypno-birthing late in my pregnancy so I never ended up taking a course ( I think I will if we have another baby). But even the podcasts were a huge help for me. I remember the first podcast focused around how your body is creating the right baby for you – and that your body is preparing for that baby. This was a mantra that I carried with me throughout the pregnancy – even when my baby was measuring over 7 pounds at 32 weeks. On top of that I listened to podcasts of positive birth stories for everything from having a big baby to c-section. This made me realize that no matter what experience I had with child birth, I could make it a positive experience.

5. Change your langage 

Another very helpful podcast that I listened to was on language and the importance of that in having a positive experience. Instead of talking about labour in a negative way I would try focus on the positive. The podcast spoke about not using language like where is your pain, because then you will focus on that. Instead try and find ways to focus on what feels good, or what steps you can take to feel better. I wasn’t so concerned about contractions, but I have heard of some people calling them waves or surges to make them more positive.

6. End the day with daily affirmation 

Every morning when I woke up I would come up with a daily affirmation or mantra. Something along the lines of ‘Every day (or every push) brings me closer to meeting my baby’ or ‘I am growing the right baby for my body’. I found some others online that helped me throughout my pregnancy and that I even had in my head as I was in labour to help me get through.

These again are just a few things that helped me during my pregnancy and childbirth. Every women’s experience is different and what helped me might not help you but I was able to (mostly) change the narrative from negative to positive. Sure I was still scared of childbirth, but these steps helped me believe in my ability to get through it – and guess what? We did.

Good luck mommas you got this

xo

Mia