Tag Archives: well

How Parenting Changed Everything

Once upon a time, I was busy.  I worked full time, participated in not one, not two, but three team sports.  I walked the dog, I cooked, I cleaned, I did the laundry and grocery shopped, I prepped meals for days in advance, I did it all! I was Superwoman and conquering the world.  And then it happened, I had a kid.

Once my daughter came along, the entire world as I knew it changed.  At the beginning it’s all about the physical world around you.  You’re no longer working and are suddenly up two, three, four times a night to feed this screaming little “bundle of joy”.  You’re tired, you eat anything that’s easy to grab with one hand, and you watch horrible daytime TV without even realizing you’re doing it.  What you may not see immediately is that your emotional world has completely shifted as well.  You’ve put this new tiny person before yourself.  Baby always eats first, sometimes two and three feedings go by before you even have time to drink your cold decaffeinated coffee.  The fur-baby that was rapidly demoted to dog waits to go outside as patiently as she can, and when you stop long enough to notice what smells, you realize you haven’t had a shower in three days.  Myself, I’d stopped working out regularly, ate fast, prepackaged and processed foods, and didn’t sleep nearly enough to get as much cleaning, laundry, etc… done in a day as I could.

Of course it gets better, but the theme stays the same unless you acknowledge and change it.  The kid(s) is always going to be number one now, but part of making sure that you’re being the best parent you can be is to take care of yourself.  That looks different in each of our individual lives.  I chose to return to work on a part-time basis and I’m lucky that this was an option with my employer.  Of course there are days where I’d do anything to be in a quiet office with a Starbucks, but overall I feel like I have found my balance.

My balance looks like this: I’m a full time parent with a little bit of help.  We don’t have family living close by for assistance, so YMCA Child Minding sees my daughter twice a week.  This allows me to get in two solid gym workouts a week, all my other workouts happen at home – that’s my “me” time.  She participates in activities twice a week, and I try to schedule those on days where I’m already at the YMCA to give us some free time other days.  We camp, hike, and bike as a family so she sees an active family lifestyle every day.  Although she’s still pretty small (just two), I let her cook with me.  I feel like this teaches her that we cook healthy meals together at home.  I work three to four evenings when my husband gets home from work which allows me to still have time to be me instead of Mommy.  I’m able to utilize my education and to socialize with adults and not have the conversation turn into whatever the heck Curious George got himself into that morning.  I also let perfection go, I no longer live in a pristine house – it’s messy (not dirty!) and cluttered with toys.  Now my home is filled with love and laughter, so that’s a trade off I accept happily.

What do you miss? What is it that you slowly gave up but didn’t even realize until now?  What are you going to take time to do for you and only you?

Whatever your situation is, I’m here to tell you that you need, and I mean NEED to take that time for yourself.  Life is really busy if you let it be, and finding balance is an absolute essential to having your life be a happy one.

Fitness Fundamentals

Fitness isn’t necessarily what it used to be.  Fitness is a word that brings specific images to mind and for a lot of us, that’s a very specific image of the roots of the word fitness: leg warmers, spandex, and more spandex.  Changing the idea of what fitness is has come over time but it looks like we’re going in a good direction, changing that image to one of overall Wellness. That wellness comes from five different aspects:

Cardiovascular Endurance – Conditioning of the cardiovascular system in the body.  The ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues, and take waste materials away for a sustained period of time Example – biking, running, swimming

Muscular Strength – The maximum force that a muscle can deliver force in in one repetition

Muscular Endurance –  The ability of a muscle to deliver force over a sustained period of time

Flexibility – The movement of a muscle around a joint in a full Range of Motion (ROM).  Important to note: flexibility is different from stretching, stretching actually increases flexibility

Body Composition – The body’s make up of lean muscle, bone, fat mass, and tissues/organs.  The ratio of these masses in the body is considered your body composition

So remember that fitness is more than spandex and leg-warmers.  It’s about our overall wellness, including our cardiovascular and muscular systems, lifestyle, sleep and eating patterns.

Let’s be well.


Protecting Your Family From the Flu

Thank goodness for this great article on the iVillage website all about warding off the flu. Perfect for this time of year when it seems everywhere we turn someone is sniffling, sneezing, coughing or aching!

“The flu spreads like wave at a baseball game. Coughs and sneezes send the virus particles into the air, ready for you or your kids to catch it and in turn cough and splutter on the next unassuming victim. The copious nasal secretions that have you bankrolling a facial tissue company are easily transmitted, even via shared surfaces. Be vigilant washing your hands and work areas, as this is the first line of defense of flu fighting.”

Read the full article entitled Miraculous Chicken Soup and Other Ways to Protect Your Family From the ‘Flu on the iVillage website.

Want more Energy?

Click image to enlarge

There are many ways to generate more energy. Exercise is likely one of the most obvious and commonly used methods.  The body is an energy production factory. When we exercise, we create flow. Flow results in the movement of particles throughout the body. When these particles are flowing they bump into one another resulting in a number of chemical reactions. These reactions result in the creation of energy. It’s that easy. Better digestion, muscle contraction, alertness or faster running all result from chemical movement in the form of exercise.

The Coach Approach Program offers a window to your energy levels. The Coach Approach is a program that we offer free to our YMCA members. It supports people, who are not exercising 2-3 times per week or have not been doing so consistently for the last 6 months, to build the habit of exercise.

As a part of the program, you complete the Personal Feelings Inventory before and after exercise at each visit. This inventory is an easy questionaire. Your answers result in a graph that indicates your stress, fatigue and energy levels before and after exercise. The questionaire consistently shows that engaging in exercise lowers stress and fatigue while increasing energy. You will find this outcome occuring within a single 1 hour appointment!

This effect is compounded by how long you are engaged in the program. The full program is approximately 6 months. Each time you come to an appointment you immediately feel better – less stress and fatigue and more energy. This pattern is escalating each and every day as you progress through the 6 months. The benefits don’t end there. The benefits keep on-going and getting stronger as you continue with your lifelong habit of exercise.

So exercise is a critical way that you can naturally increase your energy. Yes, naturally, no sugar, caffeine, cigarettes – nothing added. To compound the effects of exercise, consider nutrition. Nutrition can give a big boost to your energy levels.

Remember, the body is an energy producer. Flow creates the interaction of chemicals within the body. These interactions result in energy. Nutrition effects these interactions in that it is one of the most powerful factors in determining what kind of chemicals are interacting.

“You are what you eat.” You hear this all the time. It’s true. True right down to the molecular level. Every food item is made of different kinds of building blocks. Your body takes the food in and mixes it with different digestive chemicals to break the food down into those simple building blocks. From there, the body arranges the blocks into new patterns to build what the body needs – muscle, bone or fingernails.

How does eating a lot of potato chips make you feel? What about drinking tonnes of alcohol or a big hunk of red meat? These things make you feel lethargic, slow and less alert. This is because of the building blocks that make up these types of foods and drinks.

You are what you eat. When you take these things into your body, they move slowly within you gumming up your system and not creating lively interactions. Imagine a party where everyone has ate and drank way to much. All the people are lying around on the couch or passed out on the floor. There is no dancing happening. Dancing is the equivalent of the lively, good quality, chemical interactions in the body that result in energy production.

To get those quality chemicals that interact well with your internal chemistry to produce energy, you must drink water and eat fruits and vegetables. The building blocks of water and these types of foods are full of life and easily dissassembled and reassembled to fulfill the growing needs of your body. Now your internal party is like having a whole bunch of healthy, fit people dancing within you. The night never ends. The dancing just goes on and on and on…

Want to learn more? Want to learn for FREE? Alberta Health Services is sending a Registered Dietitian to the Saddletowne YMCA this Monday, February 4 to discuss Eating for Energy. The presentation takes place from 7-9pm in Multi-purpose Room 1. You can register for your free space by calling 403-237-2393 or dropping by our Member Services desk. Quote course code number 78604. Space is limited. Sign up now if you are interested in creating an internal dance party!

Be Your Best (AHS Speaker series) – Menopause

The Be Your Best Speaker Series is put on by Alberta Health Services.

Please join us at the Shawnessy YMCA on November 28th from 7-9pm for our Be Your Best talk on Menopause.

Menopause can occur anytime from age 40 to 60.  Learn what you need to know to help you understand and manage this normal stage in your life.

Registration is $25, please ask for code 78606