How To Lower Your Expectations When Having A Newborn

Every day, I have a list of stuff that needs to get done.

Marketing for my business. Creating blog posts + Instagram content . Laundry. Cleaning. Running errands. And, the list goes on.

But, most days, I can get only 1 thing done.

When we first brought my daughter home, I seriously thought it was going to be a breeze. I figured I would be able to FINALLY work on my business items while she slept.

Now looking back, I had no idea and how could I? I’ve never had a child before, so how would I know?

In the early days, my husband worked a lot and I cared for my daughter basically the whole day until he stepped in and could take her while I showered. I couldn’t make dinner, do laundry, clean, create blogs, nothing and I’d cry because nothing was done! My husband had to come home after a long day and make dinner, clean and do all the stuff I wasn’t able to and I felt lazy. I felt guilty because he was working AND picking up after me.

Add that to the fact that I was still recovering, so I could only do bare minimum anyway.

So, after 2 months, I have FINALLY learned that I cannot set my expectations so high because I often feel guilty when I don’t get to do the things I need to. I’ve learned that if I can get just 1 thing done, I’ll feel accomplished. If I can do more than that, that’s even better! But, feeling satisfied with 1 task is something that I had to learn.

It’s all about taking baby steps. And, since we don’t have family here, it’s even harder. But, I’m proud of myself! I’m proud that we finally found a routine. I know it will always change because with a newborn, nothing is ever consistent. So, if you have a newborn and nothing is getting done, be patient, be kind to yourself and your baby. Your baby is learning just like you are and not stressing about what you could have done is the best thing I can recommend!

Why I Chose to Quit My Full-time Job to Be A Stay at Home Mom

I’m lucky.

I’m lucky because I have the option to be a stay at home mom. I mean, I still have my holistic health coaching business and will be working a part-time job (so would that not make me a stay at home mom then?). I’m choosing not to work full-time because daycare is too expensive. Trust me, I looked and I just didn’t feel comfortable handing her off at just 6 weeks old and going back to work.

And, I know there are those of you who have NO CHOICE and I respect you for that wholeheartedly! But, my husband and I made the decision together.

First off, I don’t feel comfortable with them giving her whatever they have in their pantry, using products that contain toxins and being told what to believe. Now, before you jump all over me and get offended, please know these are MY opinions and they aren’t meant to offend anyone. I just prefer what I prefer and that’s it! I’m stating this in the hopes that it won’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

While a daycare would allow exposure to other kids, the world and illnesses, at the same time, my child might be more opt to caught a cold more times than I’d like, whatever I earn at my job would be going to the daycare and I’d miss her way too much (which I know isn’t really a good reason, but it’s how I feel). I also feel like I’d miss milestones due to working an 8-4 job, so I might regret putting her in daycare.

Bottom line, here’s what I think: if you are financially stable and don’t have to put your child in daycare than don’t do it!

Is it hard staying home at day with her? Absolutely.

Are there some days I literally don’t get anything done? Yes, but that was something I accepted when I decided to become a stay at home mom.

People think stay at home moms just sit around all day and watch TV and don’t do anything. WRONG! With a newborn, you are caring for them most of the day, so your time is limited to do anything else.

Some moms prefer to work and get away from their children or simply have no choice due to financial reasons and that’s fine! Everyone is different and this is the path my husband and I chose to take. Honestly, financially, it would have cost more to put her in daycare than to stay home with her.

Is it just as hard as working a job? Yes! Plus, when you’re a mom, there are NO days off. You can’t just “call in sick,” you have to deal with it and sit take care of your little one. And, that’s fine! I love spending time with her. I love getting to know her personality and what she likes and doesn’t like.

I feel as if I’m happier now than I was working full-time. I was miserable sitting at a desk all day. I longed for the days where I’d send time with my daughter and we’d do activities together and now that it’s here, I’m so happy!

Talking About My Expectations As A Mother

As soon as I got pregnant, I knew I wanted to raise our child organically! I wanted her to start her first few months out with just breastmilk. I was skeptical about nursing her directly from my boob, so I figured I could just pump and I’d be good to go! Boy were my expectations HIGH!

There’s no way I’m not going to be able to breastfeed because of the size of my boobs, I kept telling my husband over and over again.

But, then, she was born with a lip and tongue tie and my dreams of just breastfeeding were SHATTERED. Not only did I have to resort to formula, I used Similiac, which to me has so many questionable ingredients in it. But, I knew I needed to feed my baby.

In the hospital. everytime she would latch, it was PAINFUL. I mean, she left white dots on my nipples, but I just dealt with the pain because I thought maybe it’s supposed to feel this way. But, I also had a feeling I could be wrong. I was not able to deal with the pain, so unfortunately, I asked for formula.

The next morning in the hospital, tears streamed down my face as I thought of the formula we were giving her. I hate crying in front of anyone, so I turned my head so my husband wouldn’t see. I just felt like an unfit mother who couldn’t feed her baby. Maybe I should have continued even though it was painful. In my heart, I knew I was making the right decision because I could have really damaged my nipples.

The following Monday, we scheduled an appointment to have her tongue tie removed. In the meantime, I was too scared to re-latch her, so we went to the store and bought her organic formula. I knew that if she wasn’t able to drink my milk, she was at least getting something organic. But, that didn’t work out because she seemed to get extra fussy when she was given that formula.

Fuck.

So, we switched back to Similac and I was also pumping, but not much. It was honestly a disaster in the beginning because my expectations were SO HIGH. I was not following my original plan and I was devastated. I was feeling so many different emotions and then, my parents left. I felt defeated and like I was FAILING her.

She’d be whaling and I’d try to comfort her with tears streaming down my face. WTF? I thought this was supposed to be easy, I said to myself.

After meeting with the lactation consultant, she made me feel better by helping re-latch her with a nipple shield. She said she wanted to start off with it and then gradually wean off of it.

But, my supply was STILL NOT up to par and my daughter was so fussy, so again, I had to continue using formula.

I was so frustrated. Every time after she’d eat, it took SO LONG to calm her down. She would squirm and go completely crazy! As a mom, I knew something was wrong. Sure, I’ve never taken care of a baby before, but I also knew it wasn’t normal. She could NOT be that fussy. She’s never been happy either, so I scheduled another appointment.

Acid reflux.

I had a feeling she had it, but I guess the doctor wanted to make sure before putting her on medicine. And, another thing we had to resort to was gas relief drops. After reading that ingredient list, I cringed again, but I also knew that I had to do what’s best for her and this shit hopefully wouldn’t stay in her system forever.

So, now we have her on Zantac for babies.

And, I thought she’d be flawless. I didn’t see ANY of this stuff coming. Here my husband and I are (never taken care of a baby) and we have a complicated child. I have to say that as frustrating as it’s been, we’ve learned so much! And, I would never trade her because I love her! I sit and stare at her in awe of how beautiful she is!

I made her! She grew inside of her and I cannot believe I birthed a 7-pound baby. Holy shit!

I’m proud of myself and how far I’ve come since we took her home from the hospital.

There’s still so much to learn, but I’m getting there day by day. If you;d like to chat about your journey as a new mom or motherhood in general, let’s chat! I’m here for you.

I Have No Family Here, But I'm Not Alone!

When my daughter was born, my parents came for a week.

I knew when they left, I would be devastated because I would no longer have the help I needed. My husband has his own business, so he makes his own hours, which is good and bad. He was working every day the first week we brought her home because he knew my parents would be around to help me with stuff around the house and my daughter.

You see, I was never a baby person, so I stepped into this role with sort of a blind eye. While pregnant, I googled and learned a ton, but not enough to prepare me fully for what was ahead.

Shit, guys, I’m not going to sugarcoat it, when my parents left, I sat in the bathroom and cried for 10 solid minutes. My hormones were (and still are) raging, so I was feeling all kinds of different emotions and I still am! But, I knew once they left, I would be a mess.

Despite being sad, I picked my sorry ass off the ground and pressed on because 1) I wanted to move here, so there was always a possibility that I would have kids and not have family around 2) I needed to learn. My whole life has been spent relying on my parents and I needed to break that cycle. I needed to do this on my own and feel confident in my abilities as a mother.

Was I scared? Hell yeah, but I’m not the only person who doesn’t have family around. I’m not the only person who doesn’t know much about babies. I’m not the only person who is learning because my daughter is learning just the same.

So, making it seem like I’m alone is ridiculous because I do have a group of moms that I reach out to for questions. It could be worse! I could have absolutely NO ONE to go to or seek help from, so I need to stop being so damn negative, which is what I’ve been telling myself. My lack of confidence is showing and I must say it’s quite ugly. No one WANTS to hear you talk about the same damn insecurities over and over again. No one WANTS to hear you pose the same question over and over again. This is something that’s been happening to me lately.

Sure, I can talk about my lack of experience and being transparent about how I’m feeling, but I also need to remember to put a positive spin on it because it could be SO MUCH WORSE.

So, if you have no family around and are feeling vulnerable, I’m here to say you’re NOT alone! You can even reach out to me if you’d like because I get it!

This is the reality after giving birth....

I walked to the bathroom 1 hour after giving birth to pee. Boy did it hurt.

After that, I needed to take a shower while blood poured everywhere. Honestly, it looked like a murder scene. I put one leg and then the other into big white underwear that I needed to wear 2 pads with. Then, there’s the ice pack for your hoo-ha.

I laid in a hospital bed while my husband sat there with the baby because I was in pain after giving birth. But, at the same time, I was SO HAPPY that it’s over and I finally get to hold my baby. I carried her for 9 months. This baby that I carried was finally in my arms and all I could do was to keep kissing her on the head over and over.

Did I connect with her right away?

No, but sometimes, that’s normal. Honestly, I was in a shit ton of pain and was EXHAUSTED, so I guess the reality hadn’t hit me yet that I was a mom.

Giving birth is NO JOKE. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, it’s really hard. Thank goodness for epidurals. If they didn’t exist, I don’t think that people would be giving birth because pushing the child out is CRAZY. For the ladies who have had a natural birth, I commend you because I couldn’t even get past the part where they check to see if you’re dilated without needing one. I won’t go into detail because it’s a personal matter, but all I know is that notion also went out the window after I felt a few contractions.

It seems the epidural wore off and I was left feeling contraction after contraction. Tears rolled down my face as I told my husband, who went and informed the nurse. I was given a higher dosage, but it scared the shit out of me because I was unable to feel my legs. When I was asked to push, the nurse needed to help move my legs. I felt paralyzed. I pushed for 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Holy shit, let me clue you in: you need to concentrate and think about how badly you want to hold your baby. As long as you stay positive and stay focused, you will be DETERMINED to just keep pushing despite PURE EXHAUSTION.

“Push like you’re taking a shit.” That’s all I remember my nurse telling me. Yes, she used those exact words and I complied because I wanted her out and happy and healthy. As I got closer and closer, nurse after nurse after nurse flooded in ready to take their positions.

Then, boom, there she was. She was handed to me and all I remember was wiping her off. They got her to cry, I held her for a moment and then, they took her over to the scale to weigh her and to make sure she was okay.

Did I cry?

No, but I was so happy to hold her and finally kiss her over and over..

Now, when it comes to AFTER giving birth, no one tells you:

  • your baby might have problems latching re: they could have a lip or tongue tie

  • the big underwear you have to put on

  • the amount of bleeding that occurs

  • how much PAIN you’re in just walking around

  • don’t forget to eat!

Add that to the fact that I was trying to bond with my daughter and try to get some sleep. There were also a million thoughts running through my head as I entered this new season of life called motherhood.

Fuck is it hard.

While peeing the first few days, it burns and I didn’t want any water because then I’d have to pee, but at the same time, I had to stay hydrated.

The thoughts never truly go away. Will I be a good mom? I can’t even walk up and down the stairs without pain. I’m so fucking exhausted. Will I ever sleep again? Shit, she’s crying again, what do I do?

But, really, when they say your mom instincts kick in and you LEARN and figure it out, they’re right. You learn how to take care of her, you learn how to lean on other people and ask for help when necessary.

Oh, you’re also at risk for POSTPARTUM, which NO ONE really talks about. You feel sad one minute and then the next you’re happy. It’s the happiest and most confusing time in your life and I just feel like it’s not discussed enough.

So, in retrospect, you have to balance the potential for postpartum, lack of sleep, waking up every few hours to either bottle feed or breastfeed your child, learning how to breastfeed, eating enough, not doing too much physical activity, yet not sitting around like a blob because god forbid you don’t lose the weight immediately. It’s a shit ton of pressure and no one wants to admit it. But, it’s real.

But, this is reality. This is the real stuff no one LIKES to talk about, but the discussion needs to happen. If you’d like to talk more about what really happens after having your baby, let’s chat!

2 Days Before Due Date & Shit Just Got Real

Holy shit.

I am so close to my due date that I can taste it.

And, it’s finally hitting me that it will no longer be my husband and I. I have to admit that it does make me a tad sad, but I’m also really excited that the next chapter in our lives is happening (very soon).

I’m disappointed that this weekend I only felt Braxton Hicks (pretty intensely). I didn’t picture myself going into labor at work, but it’s looking like that might happen, unless I’m lucky enough to go into labor on July 4th, which I have off for.

I have to admit. my pregnancy has gone pretty smoothly and I feel really lucky that I never got dangerously sick or vomitted my brains out. I mean, I might not be so lucky the next time around,but for the first one, it hasn’t been bad. And, I’m saying that BEFORE I go into labor, so I might be changing my mind.

My birth plan is to labor in the tub, see how long I can take the pain and if I’m unable to handle it., I’m getting an epidural. I know every woman’s pain and pain intolerance is different, but that’s what I want. If I could go all natural, that would be fantastic, but I’m also being realistic.

I mean, I spent 20 minutes today watching unmedicated tub births and I have to say that it was painful to watch. Those women are freaking warriors and should be commended for not using ANY medication for birth. Like, they’re strong women and I would love to follow their lead, but let’s see how it goes.

When I was younger, I always wondered how I’d look pregnant or whether I’d be able to get pregnant or the gender of my child. And, I’m happy to report that I’m glad to be having a girl first because I get to dress her up, like my mom did with me and have mommy-daughter dates. What I’m not looking forward to are the teenage years, but that’s so far away that there’s no use thinking about it.

What will she look like?

Will she take more after her daddy or mommy personality-wise?

What will she want to be when she grows up?

All these questions have surfaced in the last 24 hours as I approach my due date. Gosh, it’s been a LONG ASS 9 MONTHS! Seriously, I’ve felt like I’ve been pregnant FOREVER. Dramatic? Duh, but it’s true!

I am NOT looking forward to the going-into-labor part because it looks painful and scary AF, but obviously, we have to get her out of my belly and bring her into this world.

I just feel like my husband and I have been talking about the same damn things these past few days.

When will she come? Do we have everything ready? How are you feeling? Are you having any contractions? I want her now.

What’s your prediction? When do you think she’ll come? What was your birth experience like? What was your birth plan?

Dear Daughter A Week & 2 Days Before Your Due Date

Dear daughter,

I just wanted to let you know your daddy and I feel like we’ve been waiting FOREVER for you to come and now, it’s a matter of a week before you’re here.

Holy shit.

Don’t repeat that language please until you’re older! I’ve always wanted a daughter and I’m so blessed and happy that our first child is in fact a GIRL! We’ve been preparing the last few months by buying you cute clothes, plenty of diapers, decorating your room, & buying you toys and games to play with.

We don’t know much about babies, but we’ve been watching videos in order to prepare ourselves. We pretty much know the dos and don’ts, so please don’t worry! It will be a huge adjustment for everyone, but your dad and I are SO ready to bring you into this world.

Am I nervous?

Hell yeah, but like I said, we’re ready.

I remember back in November when I found out I was pregnant. I was so scared, but I know I can do this. I know we will be great parents, but we just need some practice.

So sorry, but you’re going to be raised on plant-based and organic foods, unlike other kids. You’ll have to get used to that, but we’ll prepare you so you can explain WHY you eat this way. Sure, you’ll be stared at, but I swear this is BEST for you because the world is filled with processed food, which you won’t be eating. Most kids are developing diabetes and all kinds of diseases due to the fact that they’re fed TV dinners and junk food.

We love you so much already and cannot wait to meet you soon!

Love,

Your Parents

Don't Forget To Feel Grateful For Him

You have a rough day at work, so you bring it home with you and take it out on your husband. When you get home, your husband is watching TV and dinner is not sitting on the table waiting for you. The dogs have to go out and your husband is sprawled out on the couch watching a movie when you arrive home. Your husband consumes half the bag of french onion chips you've been craving.

These scenarios have played out at least twice and every time it takes everything in my power not to lose my cool. It takes everything for me not to yell and scream.  Side note: I'm trying to work on not coming off as a complete b****!

Instead of getting mad, I need to re-evaluate the situation.

Having a crappy day has nothing to do with him, so why should I blame him?
Maybe he's had a hard day and just wanted to watch a few minutes of TV to get his mind off of it?
Is he not feeling well? Aw, let me take care of him.
I guess he was hungry? He probably hasn't eaten much today, so I'll let it pass and just buy another bag of chips.

It's often hard for us to re-evaluate the situation before letting lose. The first thing you should do is STOP.  You have no idea what's going on in his head or how his day played out, so be kind.

Listen to him talk and if he doesn't want to talk about it, let it go. I'd say letting it go and not fixing it is definitely something I'm bad at. Instead, I prob and push him over the edge ruining the whole day or night.

Respect your partner and his feelings.

The worst thing you can do is get mad. I know your blood is boiling, but keep calm. Just relax!

We often forget to be kind and grateful for our partner. On the days he wants to be a bit lazy, just let him be!

What Are BuckWHAT Super Snacks??

While browsing through Instagram one day, I came across BuckWHAT snacks. Not knowing what they were, I started to do some research to find out more about them.

I found that the snacks had minimal ingredients (which is something I look for in a snack), you can easily eat them on the go because of their resealable package and they had 4 different flavors, which are Crunchy Peanut, Cocoa, Oatmeal Raisin, and Simply Sunflower.

I decided to reach out to the owner, Leeann Rybakov to see if she wanted to do a giveaway + an interview. When she replied yes, I sent her questions regarding BuckWHAT Super Snacks.

I was born in Kiev, Ukraine, where buckwheat is a staple pantry ingredient, appreciated for its hearty taste and nutritional benefits. Despite its name, buckwheat is actually gluten free. BuckWHAT!? It is also a complete plant-based protein, a good source of fiber and loaded with nutrients. 

A few years back, I found myself struggling to find a clean healthy snack with only real food ingredients and no added sugar.  Everything I picked up either had a super long list of ingredients that I could not pronounce or some form of added sugar. I had just graduated from culinary school, and decided to put my new skills to use. I combined my passions for fitness, health, and buckwheat to create the perfect on the go snack-BuckWHAT Noshes. 

Now a mom of two, and busier than ever, my BuckWHAT Noshes are always in my bag. They give me the boost of energy when I need it the most. And my kids think they are cookies! BuckWHAT Noshes will go with you wherever the day may take you. 

What separates BuckWHAT Noshes from other healthy snacks? There are no snacks out there made with this super food buckwheat, and very few with no added sugar. We strive to keep the ingredients simple and wholesome, providing a nutrient rich snack.

What other information would you like people to know about buckwhat snacks?  BuckWHAT Noshes are great to throw in your every day bag, your gym bag, or keep stashed at your desk. With the carefully selected ingredients, they are the ideal snack for fueling up for a workout, refueling after one, or tapping into when you hit that mid morning or mid afternoon hunger. They will keep you feeling great!

If you’re interested in trying their products, be sure to visit their website to order them!

All The Feels Right Before Giving Birth

Two weeks today is my due date.

Holy shit!

July 2nd.

She’s moving and jabbing me most of the day and I just want to remember moments like this in my last two weeks of my pregnancy. I’m hoping she comes on my due date (not any later) because I am exhausted, can’t sit still, need to constantly pee, am hungry most days (especially today, ugh) and having Braxton hicks.

I swear, no matter what I ate today, it would NOT satisfy me. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring enough for lunch, so I had to succumb to a bag of chips that the office had. Did I want to eat them? Yes, they looked good, but they had a shit ton of bad ingredients, but I was STARVING, so I just ate the darn bag. Luckily, it was one of those bags you generally put in your child’s snack. Not my child, but you get the picture.

The chip ingredients have zero to do with how I’m feeling, but I just felt compelled to discuss that information.

In terms of labor, I’m nervous. I’ve been watching plenty of birthing videos to get prepared and I just need to get into the birth mindset. I know it will be temporary pain, so having that mindset will help me stop thinking negative thoughts.

I just want to hold her. One day I always envisioned myself being a mom, but to think it’s only a matter of time before it comes true is absolutely NUTS!

These are the last few weeks that my husband and I will be able to just go out and not worry about a babysitter. We won’t worry about figuring out when to go out between her feeding. It’s the last time we can be selfish and just cuddle or go on a spontaneous trip. I mean, you could do some of this stuff with a newborn, but you definitely need to put her first.

Some days I feel a tad emotional and then others I’m exhausted and then I’m just downright frustrated because I get out of breath so easily. It’s like a rollercoaster of emotions that I’m going to have to get used to and I know it.

So, here’s to the last two weeks of being pregnant! If you have any tips for me in terms of getting through these last two weeks, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

Why I Won't Be Feeding My Daughter "The Standard American Diet"

I was raised on processed food. I don’t blame my parents because they didn’t know better. No one taught them to read food labels, what processed food does to you and how overtime, it can mess up your whole body. See, we’re not taught this stuff in school. Instead, subjects like calculus is stuffed down our throats when in reality, we’ll never use that shit - unless we plan to be a mathematician, engineer or professor. But, for the normal person like me, I didn’t need it in order to succeed in life.

Now that I’m having a child of my own and I understand the potential harm processed foods can play in our daily lives, I will NOT be feeding my daughter the standard american diet. It sounds harsh, but she won’t get to taste candy - unless it’s organic, I make it or someone gives it to her behind my back, TV dinners, conventional meat, and other things that will make her sick.

And, maybe you don’t agree with me and will argue that I’m doing a disservice for my daughter, but she’s my child and she will not be raised on the same foods as myself and my husband. I’ve watched plenty of documentaries and learned plenty of things that would make you cringe regarding the food industry. It’s absolutely disgusting to know that the food we put in our bodies every single day is slowly killing us. All the ingredients you cannot pronounce are chemicals and toxins that could potentially give you a disease. Now, some people get lucky and don’t get sick, but then, there are others who are constantly sick and aren’t as lucky.

Will she be looked at like she’s odd? Probably, but it’s for the best.

I’ll sit down and explain to her WHY I’m feeding her these foods instead of what her other classmates are eating. I’ll also teach her how to be strong and not listen to people or care what people think because more and more kids these days are developing diabetes, ADD, ADHD, cancer and parents wonder why. It’s unfortunate, but in part it’s the food industry and then the other part is environmental, which is something we cannot help. But, what we can do IS educate our child about the potential danger these foods possess.

My plan is to breastfeed and then when she’s 6 months ago, I’ll start by giving her veggies such as sweet potatoes, avocado, beans and see how she reacts. Now, I know many parents will NOT agree with that, but I’m going to do everything in my power to prevent her from getting sick later on in life.

I know my own mom told me I NEED to give her “some processed food.” But, why? How will that help her digestion system? How will that help her later on in life?

I think I had several digestion issues because I was fed processed food and I refuse to watch my own child go through that stuff. All the doctors needed to suggest was changing my diet and I would have been fine, but instead, I was put on medication.

I will do my best to provide her with natural remedies instead of relying on medicine. I’ve thought about this for a while and my husband is on the same page. We both agree that she will be taught about health + wellness at an early age.

If you have any questions or would like to do something similar with your child, let’s chat! Send me an email: adashofhopee@gmail.com

Third Trimester and All The Feels

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a personal blog post and so I felt like it was time to talk about my pregnancy. Before I was pregnant, I’ve always said once I was carrying, I wasn’t going to make it a big deal. Was I thankful to be carry a baby? Hell yes, but that didn’t take away the fact that I wasn’t going to be talking about it non-stop because I’m not that person.

Throughout this pregnancy, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I got lucky. Have I felt nauseous off and on, heartburn, exhausted? Hell yeah, but those symptoms are common. I tested negative to gestational diabetes, haven’t gained weight in any other spots - besides my belly and still don’t look almost 35 weeks pregnant. Some days I just look bloated, but not really pregnant. Honestly, I look like I was pregnant before and am now trying to lose the weight.

I cannot believe how quickly May has flown by! According to the app Ovia, I have 5 weeks, 2 days left until our baby girl arrives. Like, holy shit! The realism has started to sink in that I’m going to be a mom. It feels like I’ve been pregnant forever though.

Thinking back to the night I took the test and found out I was in fact pregnant is CRAZY. I was so emotional, sad and wasn’t sure if I was ready for all of this, but ready or not, she’s coming soon! I feel different now, but my first initial thought was, can I really do this? Can I really bring a baby into this world? Am I ready for my body to completely change?

I’m sure there are many women who go through similar emotions, but no one ever talks about them. I mean, I’ve always been VERY self-conscious about my body and gaining weight, but I’ve had to set that aside because, well, I’m growing a human being, so I cannot be so concerned. I just watch what I eat and try to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In terms of her room, it’s all ready for her arrival, I’m preparing my hospital bag within the next few weeks, and then we’ll assemble the car seat.

I also wanted to just give you a breakdown of my symptoms each trimester:

First Trimester:

Nauseous
EXHAUSTED
Hungry all the time

Second Trimester:

More energized
Nauseous
Heartburn
Headaches

Third Trimester (up until now):

Feeling bloated all the time
Constantly having to pee
Nauseous (yeah, I wish I could say that went away)
Hungry most of the time

Again, all the symptoms I’ve named above are common and most women experience them, but for someone who has never had children, it was all new to me. At this point, I cannot sleep through the night because I wake up peeing at least 3-4 times (despite not having water) and often cannot get comfortable. My biggest issue is I’m a bad sleeper and they say NOT to sleep on your back because the weight of my uterus can compress a major blood vessel, called the vena cava. I don’t do it on purpose, but in the morning, I somehow end up waking up on my back. And, I don’t know how to prevent that from happening. If you have any tips, let me know!

So, I’m happy to report I’m almost at full-term (which will be on June 4th) = 36 weeks! HOLY. SHIT.

Are you depriving yourself?

Deprivation: depriving oneself of something or someone

One cookie will not make you gain weight nor will one donut. It would take many cookies + many donuts that would make you pack on the pounds. You need to stop believing everything you hear + read on Google. You need to sift through the truth and “marketing tactics” these companies continue to convince their consumers about.

Is it hard? Yes because all our lives we're taught different things when it comes to nutrition. Forget what you learned! All you need to know is this:

  • eat less processed foods re: TV dinners, pre-packaged salads with “chicken,” or frozen chicken tenders

  • Less sugar

  • More grains (unless you have celiac disease)

  • More veggies

And, bam, that is IT! There’s no special formula, trick or tactic that you need to follow. You wouldn’t be depriving yourself and you can still lose weight.

We need to reminder food is fuel, food is medicine and stop thinking about it as our enemy. It’s hard to change your mindset around food. I know because I’m still trying to view food as fuel. But, it can happen.

That is IF you’re ready to change your mindset and be open to trying new foods. Are you willing to substitute plant-based food for animal products a few times a week in order to lose weight? Are you willing to start listening to your body? I mean REALLY listening. No, you cannot have a conversation with your body, but can determine if you’re hungry or thirsty.

It takes time and effort. You could put this energy into changing your mindset instead of “dieting” because let’s face it…. dieting SUCKS.

Most likely all you plan on consuming are salads, smoothies. But, you’re unable to eat fries, burgers, cookies or even cupcakes? Not even 1? Eating SALAD every single day as “punishment” is not a way to live. It just sounds horrifying! It doesn’t have to be that way - I promise.

If you’re ready to change your mindset + stop the dieting mentality, let’s chat! If you want to learn about balancing nutrition + healthy relationships and so much more, why not schedule a FREE health consultation? I promise it will be worthwhile if you’re ready + willing to change your ways. Let’s get you on the road to feeling healthier + happier.

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

Are You Really Hungry? How Do You Know?

You’re out at a restaurant and order an appetizer & entree + you feel full to the max. I mean, bloated full, yet when the waitress asks you for a dessert menu, you say “yes.” You start reading all the desserts: ice cream with a chocolate brownie, molted lava cake, strawberry shortcake and the list goes on.

Are you hungry?

Nope, but you order dessert anyway.

A few reasons why could be:

  • Because it sounded good

  • You had a bad day

  • You’re craving ice cream

  • You’re an emotional eater

Food can serve as many purposes such as a stress reliever, entertainment, a reward, pleasure or even a punishment. Sometimes your relationship with food isn’t always straightforward. But, when it comes to food, it’s so much more than just “tasting” good.. Sometimes, we have emotional ties with food that we didn’t even know about. We use it to soothe ourselves when times are rough and don’t see it as fuel.

When it comes to food, I am not perfect. Sometimes, I eat when I’m not hungry because it looks good. But, it’s rare that that sort of thing occurs because I’ve learned to listen to my body and ask myself if I’m hungry or just thirsty. I mean, if I just ate a big meal and I feel hungry, I know that my body is begging for water. But, many people mistake that cue for more food and instead of stopping while they’re ahead, they keep eating. In turn, this could turn into a habit.

So, how can YOU tell when your hungry? Do you typically listen to your body? Do you follow a strict diet or schedule when it comes to eating?

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Eating healthy does not need to cost you an arm + a leg! Most people believe that they're unable to buy healthy food because they simply cannot afford it + that's far from the truth.

There are plenty of ways to eat healthy on a budget + I'm going to provide you with those ways:

1) Buy canned or frozen veggies. Frozen fruit + canned veggies last longer than fresh produce. I suggest doing half and half. If you have certain foods that you know you’ll make the week of, I’d opt for fresh fruit. For foods you’ll make later on, just buy them in a can.

2) Buy 1-2 animal-based protein. Animal products are a bit expensive. So, I'd suggest buying only one or two animal-based protein whenever you go shopping. If you do buy chicken or beef, try to opt for organic grass-fed beef or pasture-raised chicken. I know they can be decently expensive, but it’s better than buying conventional meat because the animal is coped up and doesn’t have room to roam around and in turn they most likely contracted a disease, which in turn could be passed onto YOU.

3) Always read food labels. Before buying any food, be sure to check the ingredients. I cannot stress this enough. The rule of thumb is if you’re unable to understand ALL of the ingredients, you probably should not be putting said food in your body. Need help with understanding ingredients? I’m doing a Facebook live next Wednesday, May 8.. Click here to join my tribe!

4) Buy less junk food. It’s okay to splurge on chips once in a while, but try not to make it a habit. Chips are nothing but empty calories and they do nothing for you nutritionally. Instead, buy a bag of potatoes and make them yourself! Not only are they healthier, they might be cheaper.

5) Replace animal protein with plant-based protein. Chickpeas, black beans, legumes, lentils are a few options you can buy instead of chicken or beef. They’re way cheaper and you feel full aftward. You might be either skeptical or thinking you’ll still be hungry, but I can assure you if you eat the right amount of plant-based protein, you won’t! If you need suggestions, let’s chat!

6) Make a grocery list before you shop. Hunger + no grocery list makes for a bad combo. This might be something you do anyway, but for me, growing up, my mom wouldn’t make a grocery list and would end up going over budget. If you’re trying to stick to a certain amount of money, I’d suggest choosing recipes and only buying the ingredients for each one.

7) Buy in bulk. I didn’t think it was cheaper to buy in bulk, but really it is! Overtime, it will save you money. I buy healthy foods from Costco, which I personally like better than BJ’s & Sam’s Club. I think they have more organic & healthy foods.

8) Cook large portions. It’s awesome when you make a meal big enough to eat for lunch to next day! So, make foods that you know will be sure to yield leftovers. How about pasta with veggies? Homemade pizza? Rice with veggies?

9) Buy generic brands. Usually name brands are more expensive than generic brands. If you find that they have the same exact ingredients and the generic brand is cheaper, opt for generic. It will save you so much money in the long run!

10) Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry. Be sure to eat lunch, dinner or a snack before food shopping because you’re more likely to pick up whatever looks good, which is usually junk food.

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10 Ways to Stay Happy + Healthy

I used to think just by eating clean and healthy foods, it would equal to a guaranteed happy + healthy life and boy was I wrong!

Here’s the truth: eating all the salad & kale will not automatically make you happy + healthy because there are so many other components.

Sure - these foods WILL make you feel good, but they will not be the all end all because as humans, we crave companionship and if you’re not getting that in your life, in turn you might end up with an eating disorder, binge eating, etc. And, I’m NOT saying that just because you don’t have a boyfriend, you’re destined to be unhappy! All I’m saying is relationships of any kind are extremely important for your overall well-being along with a few other components.

Here are ways to stay healthy:

1) Eating healthy. Okay, again, this one is obvious. Eating bags of cheetos every night will not make you feel good. In fact, your stomach will probably HATE you. Eating those types of foods once in a while is fine, but not all the time. I always stick to the 80/20 rule. Most of the time, I’m eating salad, sweet potatoes, kale, etc and foods that will benefit my body instead of hurt it and then the other 20%, I eat chips or something considered “unhealthy.” Remember: we only get 1 body, so why punish it day in and day out?

2) Building relationships. Whether it’s a significant other, family or friends, surround yourself with loved ones. We all crave human interaction and making memories with people is SO good for your health. So, plan a girls night, a date night, or go out to dinner with your family ASAP!

3) Enjoying your job. Do you like your job? There are so many people who have stayed in their jobs because of the pay or they cannot find another job and it’s sad. If you’re finding you’re miserable with your job, it might be time to re-evaluate your job situation. Being miserable at a job will only bring on negative emotions, which could lead to depression. Try to make sure you’re happy at your job and if you’re not, sometimes happiness overpowers money!

4) Being financially stable. Do you feel as if you’re financially stable? This is a hard question for most because we always want more! The amount of money we earn isn’t always enough, but there’s a difference between living to work or working to live. When you’re financially stable, you’re less likely to feel stressed. I get that sometimes you feel like you don’t earn enough, and you’re looking for a way to earn more, consider taking on something you enjoy on the side! If you’ve always wanted to be a dog walker, baby sitter, blogger, vlogger, health coach, etc, why not go for it? But, if you’re happy with your situation, more power to you!

5) Going to trips. I find that traveling is good for the mind, body + spirit. Getting away from life for a few days clears your mind and makes you feel less stressed. And, besides, who doesn’t like to try new restaurants, explore different cities and decompress? It doesn’t have to be a long trip or that far, rather, you could go somewhere local and still feel the same way.

6) Get off social media. I say comparison might just be the death of Americans. Our whole lives are spent looking at other people’s lives, bodies, etc and feeling depressed. So…. stop scrolling for a few days and you might find yourself feeling happier + healthier.

7) Have sex. Okay, okay, no one wants to talk about sex + I get it, but it is healthy to have sex. It puts you in a good mood and the sensation is like nothing else, so as long as you’re safe, have all the sex you want!

8) Listen to music. Maybe this is a personal preference, but I find that listening to music definitely makes me happier!

9) Enjoy food. Try not to let food rule your entire life. If you’re craving a donut, have the damn donut. Don’t restrict yourself because you’ll end up binge eating. Please try not to punish yourself for listening to your body. Just enjoy every single bite of that donut and eat healthy the rest of the day. It DOES not have to be a recipe for disaster. Rather, think of it as a treat!

10) Spend time with your animals. I find that taking my dogs for a walk or simply cuddling with them puts me in a better mood. Whether you have a dog. cat, rabbit, etc, make sure they know how much you love them!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

How To Have A Healthy Pregnancy

Honestly, my pregnancy has been pretty flawless. I mean, sure I’m exhausted, nauseous, have heartburn, can’t sleep, cannot stand to sit at a desk like I used to and feel like a blimp, but I’m lucky that I’ve had a good pregnancy. And, I’ve always been health-conscious and knew that would still remain true during pregnancy. I promised myself that I’d give in to my cravings, but wouldn’t go too overboard.

I’ve gained about 25 pounds and I’m 30 weeks & a few days, but the weight has been in my breasts and my growing bump, but nowhere else, so again, I say I’m lucky. Every woman is different and I get that, but there are ways to can have a healthy pregnancy.

1) Exercise. You’re probably thinking two things: duh or I’m way too tired! Okay, okay, I get it. BUT, even if you go for a 10-15 minute walk, that still counts as exercise. You won’t want to do it every day because gosh, that fatigue is intense, but try to do it when you can! Or, hop on the elliptical, treadmill, walk around your office. ANY form of exercise is GREAT during pregnancy.

2) Listen to your body. I CANNOT stress this enough. Are you really hungry or are you thirsty? Do you really want to eat 3 cheeseburgers? Why not have 1 and then some fruit or veggies with it? I get it, we all have cravings. I know I do, but you should NOT go overboard. In my opinion, it doesn’t give you permission to overeat because then you’ll end up feeling like shit afterward. Eat the damn burger and fries, but try not continue on the greasy foods pattern the rest of the day.

3) Drink water. WATER, WATER, WATER! Is water boring? Put citrus in it to spice it up. Lemons, oranges, limes, cucumbers, whatever floats your boat. I promise, it won’t taste as bad. Plus, it will help cleanse and flush out the toxins.

4) Meal prep. This makes things soooo much easier on the days you’re exhausted. Lately, when I bake, I usually make more so I can freeze it eat later on. Most nights I come home and simply do not feel like cooking!

5) Spend time with family & friends. We all crave connecting with other human beings and there’s nothing healthier than spending an evening or afternoon surrounded by your loved ones. Go out to dinner, go shopping, do something that makes you happy.

6) Don’t obsess over your weight. Gosh, you have to practice what you preach, right? This is more like a reminder for myself more than anything! It might be hard to watch the scale go up and up, but just remember that you’re growing a human being! Your body is doing AMAZING things!

7) Don’t stress! Stressing about things you cannot control or work-related situations isn’t always preventable, but also isn’t good for the baby, so when you feel like you’re stressing, either walk away from the situation, meditate or do something that relaxes you!

8) Sit outside. I’ve found sitting outside not only gives me Vitamin D, but also makes me happy. Getting the fresh air does wonders for me. Just feeling the breeze will make you feel more content.

9) Sit down! So, you’ve been running around all day. You need to give your body rest and please reminder that it’s okay to sit down. When I sit for a long period of time, I feel guilty and lazy, but really I need to remember that growing a human being is HARD. It’s exhausting and not easy, so taking that time is extremely important.

10) Take a nap. Feeling tired? Well, I pretty much feel tired every single day and when I get a chance, I try to take a nap. I remind myself that it’s okay, just like sitting down and watching TV once in a while. So, if you’re tired, do it! You deserve it because you’re amazing!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

Why I Made The Switch to Stainless Steel Products

Last week, I watched a documentary on Netflix called The Devil We Know.

This documentary seriously pissed me off. And, I don’t get angry that often. I’ll tell you why. Because I’m finding that big corporations can get away with murder when it comes to their products, ingredients and how they advertise. Just because they have money, it automatically means they can get away with messing with consumers’ health.

The Devil We Know is the story of how one synthetic chemical, used to make Teflon products, contaminated a West Virginia community. But new research hints at a much broader problem: nearly all Americans are affected by exposure to non-stick chemicals in food, drinking water, and consumer products. With very little oversight on the chemical industry in this country, we invite you to learn more about the problem and how you can protect yourself and your family, according to their website.

This is why we decided to make the switch to stainless steel products. After watching that documentary, I seriously started thinking about how C-8 is now in my blood along with my daughter and so many other Americans and I just don’t want to keep using these products only to increase my risk of detrimental diseases. I mean, I know already that this chemical is linked to thyroid disorders, chronic kidney disease, liver disease and testicular cancer.

So, a few days later, our pots and pans arrived. We bought them on Amazon, which was the cheaper option. Then, we went through our pantry to find a brownie pan, 3 baking pans, bread pan as well as utensils, so one by one, we’re getting rid of them. So, we went ahead and also bought stainless steel utensils and 3 baking sheets. We’re just going to cover the other pans with aluminum foil or parchment paper. I know people won’t be able to just go out and spend money on new pans, but this is something that I felt was extremely important because of the future dangers of being continuously exposed to this chemical.

For the most part, we try to eat healthy, stay away from processed food, eat wholesome meals, plant-based foods, exercise, but sometimes, even when you put forth all that effort, it could still bite you in the ass. And, this isn’t me telling you it’s not worth it, I’m just saying life is not guaranteed.

But, if you at least TRY then, I’m proud of you for caring enough to do so! If you have any questions about the pans I purchased or feel like you need an accountability coach, please feel free to reach out!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

I'm Overcoming an Undiagnosed Eating Disorder....

**PLEASE NOTE THAT I’M DEALING WITH MY UNDIAGNOSED EATING DISORDER & NOT LETTING IT GET TO A POINT OF NO RETURN. Honestly, some days are worse than others. I wrote this in the hopes that it helps someone else in a similar situation. I’ve always told you I’ve be open & transparent with you, so here goes!

Growing up, I was always self-conscious about the way I looked.

In high school, I got a little heavier and by senior year, I knew I had to make a change. So, I lost weight, but there were days when I just didn’t think I was skinny enough.

I’ve carried that mentality ever since and I didn’t know why I felt this way - until I started attending Institute for Integrative Nutrition and found out I had an undiagnosed eating disorder.

That means I never binged or purged or did any self-conflicting damage, I would just tell myself that I wasn’t good enough and I could only eat a certain amount of calories. If I ate too much, I would NEED to work it off. If I didn’t, I would feel like absolute crap. I tried to change my mindset, but nothing worked.

Then, I got pregnant and KNEW if I did not change, I would be hurting my child.

I was nervous though because I knew my mind would creep in and potentially take over.

The first trimester was hard. Every time I would eat more than I usually do, my mind would say, “no, no, no you’re not allowed to eat that much.” I tried to fight what my mind was saying, but somehow, I couldn’t fight the urge to want to listen. Gosh, I was PETRIFIED of gaining weight. Every time I thought about gaining a pound or so, I would cringe.

“You are growing a freaking person inside of you, Hope, you need to stop,” my husband would remind me. Then, there was my mother who told me the same followed by one of my friends. And, I KNEW I had to listen.

I knew I was blessed because so many women cannot get pregnant and I was privileged enough to get pregnant, so I had to stop wasting my time on such a stupid matter. At the same time, I knew it was psychological and if I needed to seek help, now was the time to do so.

When my 2nd trimester began, my mindset started to change and I felt differently. Instead of constantly worrying about the amount of food I was consuming, I focused on my growing baby. I’m not saying I’m completely “over” it, but I’d definitely feel better about myself and am happy about being pregnant.

** Please note that there was NEVER a time I put my growing baby in danger due to my mind. I ate when I was hungry, but never overdid it.

If you’re struggling with an undiagnosed eating disorder that you had no idea you had, please talk to someone! Do not be afraid to ask for help or pretend that everything is okay.

I knew that if it got to a point where it was affecting my everyday routine and my life in general, I would seek help but at this time, I can handle it on my own and know how to talk myself out of feeling like I need to eat less. I’m NOT going to endanger my growing child just because my mind is telling me not to eat “too much.”

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Pay attention to your triggers. Does eating certain foods make you feel bad about yourself? Does a certain friend or family member make you feel about about yourself? Stay away from them because you DO NOT NEED that negative energy!

  2. You’re binge eating and then throwing up. RED Flag! It’s not normal, so you should probably find someone to talk to about why you’re doing this in the first place.

  3. If the thought of gaining weight concerns you, then you may want to seek help!

There are always people around to talk to. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a therapist YET, feel free to reach out to friends, family or a holistic health coach!

How To Gain Control Of Your Anxiety

I’ve never battled with anxiety as much as I have the past few months. It’s like I’m suffocating and I’m trying to stay afloat. And, then, someone walks by and pushes me back under water.

People think holistic health coaches are supposed to be perfect and “put together” when it reality, we’re just like you. We battle with our own issues and by understanding what’s wrong and trying to fix it, we can be better equip to assist people who are going through the same problem.

There are ways to cope with anxiety and you need to know them and learn your triggers. Do you know what makes your anxiety start? Are there certain people or objects that make it worse?

The first step is learning what makes you tick. From there, you can prevent the downward spiral from happening.

Mine usually starts in the morning.

It’s not like I don’t feel absolutely thankful and overjoyed that I have a little girl on the way, it’s the anxiety of money, job, etc that comes along with the territory. My husband’s business hasn’t been doing as well as last year, so we’re struggling a bit financially.

It’s like when it rains, it pours. First the HVAC system, then the windows and then from there, it’s like there’s almost no money left. So much to pay for. It’s no wonder so many Americans are struggling financially and can’t afford anything!

I mean, it could be so much worse, which is what I remind myself, but that doesn’t always make my anxiety go away. So, after crying when I get home after a long day, I’ve started trying to focus on other things.

Here are a few ways I deal with anxiety:

1) Baking. Recently, I’ve gotten more into baking and I’m finding it relaxes me. I’ve found some great recipes that taste delicious and consist of healthy ingredients. Besides, why buy dessert when you can make it?!

2) Bike riding. I came home today and said to my husband, “I’d like to go on a bike ride.” I figured it was exactly what I needed after a long day and it did the trick!

3) Yoga. Why pay for a class when you can just search on youtube for yoga classes? It’s free and more relaxing because you’re by yourself.

4) Go for a walk. Clear your mind with a walk. Added bonus: listen to your favorite tunes!

5) Journal. Writing down my thoughts and feelings always makes me feel less anxiety and stressed. It’s like I’m vomiting on the page, which in turn makes me feel relieved.

Stop letting anxiety take over! You do have control and you need to find ways to gain it back. Of course, if you need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out!

The question I leave you with this: What makes YOU happy?

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