Your Questions Answered – Volume I

Okay, first things first. As everyone keeps asking me (because you obviously aren’t following me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram), here is my half sleeve. It is three-quarters of the way done and my (hopefully) last appointment is on June 21st. Very excited to see this baby done. I am so in love with the details and the shading and the colour and well, I love it. I can’t stop staring at my own arm. Is that weird? Well no one else can stop staring either and in fact, I sometimes feel like a pregnant women again. People stare, poke, prod and otherwise manhandle my arm to get the best view. So weird.

On a completely different note, I’d like to take a time every week to have a little question and answer period. I get a lot of tweets, posts, comments and emails with questions from you guys about all sorts of things about my life and what I have done to change it or how I handle it, so I’m going to take the time each week to answer those. They will be completely anonymous (unless you ask me to use your name) and none of your personal information will ever be given out .

I don’t claim to be perfect, I don’t claim to know everything and I sure as hell don’t claim to know the answers to all your questions, but I can surely try. If I can’t answer your question, I will be offering this space up to guest posters who can professionally answer it for us! So send me your questions people, I love to hear them. Comments, critiques and discussions are also welcome!

So let’s get started with a  fairly simple one:

Hi Elizabeth,

Just want to say I love your blog and think you are an amazing inspiration! I have a quick question for you…I also have two young kids (7 months and 3 years) and would love to start working out or just getting out for a run. However I’m still breastfeeding and my kids don’t sleep very well (I haven’t had a full nights sleep in 3 years!) so at the moment my exhaustion is a big excuse for not exercising. Just wondering how much sleep you manage to get and whether or not that affects your ability to work out? Also where do you find the time to exercise and cook nutritious meals and shop for food when you’ve got the kids???

Cheers, and thanks for the motivation!

Working out. It’s tough stuff. It requires time and dedication. Something not all of us were blessed with. Throw two dogs, two young kids, an urban garden, backyard chickens, two part time jobs and a full time working husband into the mix and it becomes almost overwhelming (truth: I often feel overwhelmed and take a step back to really look at what’s important that day. Laundry can wait, kids are only cute once).

There are many ideas out there about what “working out” really means though and everyone will be different. For me, I crave a good sweat every day. We work out 5 days a week (sometimes six) and do yoga or running at least once a week on top of that. This can be difficult. It took us a long time to finally figure out what worked for both of us. On weekdays we have our regular routine, Saturdays are rest days or we head out for hikes or runs sans kids (my in-laws are EXTREMELY generous with the kidsitting for us during these much needed getaways). I have to work out in the morning or at the latest, the early afternoon. I just can’t do evenings, that’s time for me to sit on my butt and watch Game of Thrones with my hubs. It’s our only kid free time and it’s vitally precious to me.

So we get up early, god awfully early really. Sometimes 5:30am but no later then 6am. We get up, get ready, strap on our HRMs, chug a glass of Magnum Opus (a non stimulant energy drink) and get our sweat on. The kids always wake up when we do so we get them their toast, a drink and we turn on Netflix. Yup, TV. I know some parents don’t agree with the evil boob tube, but I have no shame in admitting we let it babysit our kids for us. We are all in the same room together though (a great room with enough space for both of us to workout and the kids to watch TV). This is for about an hour or a little bit more.

After I have a shake and a shower and do my hair and all that obnoxious time suck of a daily routine, we head out for our daily activity. Sometimes that’s going to the free preschool open house (above), kindergym, the park, the aquarium, grocery shopping or anything else I feel like doing that day. After a couple hours out (about all I can stand with two young kids and a low tolerance for stress), we return home where I make lunch and send the kids off for quiet time and naps. This is when I get the majority of my work done. Like this post, or my photography assignments for the local magazine I work for, or the social media marketing I do for another local business. I only get about two hours at the most to do anything without the kids. Sometimes I mow the lawn, or bake bread, or the do the laundry or sweep up all the dog hair from my two uber-shedder dogs. Sometimes I paint my toenails and the oldest kid’s too. Sometimes I bake muffins or do the banking. Whatever is at the top of my priority list gets done.

Dinners these days are simple and not fussy (hence the severe lack of any meal type recipes around here lately). Whatever I can make in 30 mins or less is dinner. Often this is salad or just a plate with veggies, protein and a complex carb. Dinners are savoured and often eaten separately from the kids. Because our kids have never slept past 6am in their lives, they go to bed early. Like 6:30pm. We feed them dinner first (we sit with them and talk), get them ready for bed, and off they go. Then we get our own dinner ready. Something against what I always wanted, which was dinners as a family, but until they are a little older, this is much better. We eat dinner late (around 7pm usually) and mostly in front of the TV watching whatever show we are obsessed with at the time. Some people hate this, I love it. We sit on our couch together, we eat together, we talk, we spend quality, quiet, kid free time together. And we don’t have to think about anything. After 12 hours of constant brain exercise, I’m done. I need this time to decompress.

After dinner, we have protein smoothie desserts and sometimes dark chocolate. We have a dark chocolate obsession. It’s our only treat these days and it’s a damn fine one if you ask me. Then about an hour or an hour and a half after that we go to bed. This is usually 9:30 or 10pm. I NEED my eight hours of sleepy rehab, without it I would surely have gone off the deep end by now. I sometimes take Melatonin to ensure I get the best quality of sleep imaginable, but I try not to take it too often.

Although I could probably write an entire post on the sleeping habits (or lack thereof) of children, their behaviour varies wildly and I don’t pretend to have done anything special with mine. They slept through at their own time, no sleep training involved. They just get up at freakishly early hours.

So there you have it. Without the minimum of sleep that I get, I would never have enough energy each day to do the things that I do. A workout is hard enough, but running around after two crazy toddlers is another kind of exercise/torture all together. Sleep is a must. That said I did work out on a regular basis when I was getting less then stellar sleep. The key is to go to bed early and wake up early, simple as that. Take melatonin to improve the sleep you do achieve but otherwise take control of your life. There will always be an excuse NOT to workout. You have to be the one that makes it a part of your day, a priority, something you can’t live without. Whatever you do to move your body each day is a great start. Get out there and move!

Elizabeth

4 comments to Your Questions Answered – Volume I

  • I am not going to lie, my husband and I also love our baby is asleep eat dinner in front of the tv time. That’s how we wind down from a crazy day. A little Game of Thrones doesn’t hurt either :) Thank you for a great post!

  • Wow! loved those tattoos!

    I also plan to have one on my complete right arm, whats the name of the design, it looks really terrific, I would love to have something similar on mine too!

  • [...] If you truly enjoy going to the gym, then go to the gym. Working out with machines or free weights and/or taking group classes can be great for your body. If you don’t belong to a gym, though, there are many other things you can do to get fit: walking, running, and hiking require little more than a good pair of shoes to get started. Biking is another great way to exercise outdoors. Swimming is non-impact and great for beginner exercisers. There are many different types of dance classes out there, as well as a variety of martial arts to choose from. Some people enjoy tennis, others skiing, and yet others gravitate toward yoga or pilates. My friend Liz has gotten super fit by working out at home and here’s how she does it. [...]

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