Postpartum Depression is a Bitch

post partum depression weight loss transformation

Don’t let that girl on the left fool you for one second… she may look happy, but she is not. That is me 1 month after Molly was born, in the depths of postpartum depression but not yet realizing it. I just knew I felt sad a lot and lonely even when surrounded by my family. I would sit alone in the middle of the night nursing with tears streaming down my face and not even know why. Shouldn’t I be happy with my new baby? But I wasn’t. I was full of anxiety and fear and doubts.

I pushed away my friends. I pushed away my family. I became a recluse of sorts. And I was NOT nice to Ben at.all. Once I finally got help a few months later things got a little better {until I was laid off, but that is another story for another post. ha!}. That is something that they don’t tell you about PPD. It’s hormone related so although I was on medication, I still wasn’t myself. I didn’t want to work out or take care of myself. And then I got pregnant again {on purpose this time} and I had antepartum depression my first trimester. Never heard of it? Google it. Welcome back hormones. :::sigh::::

I stayed fairly active through my second pregnancy but I was already overweight starting out so I had a long road ahead of me after delivery. THANKFULLY I did not have PPD with Burke. I was SO SO scared that I would have it again. Because even though Ben and I mentally prepared ourselves for me having it again, there really is nothing you can do to prepare… you just have to ride the wave. And it’s a wave that wants to take you under and drown you.

Most of you followed my journey here so you know it was not an easy road. It was day after day of making decisions that I knew would get me to where I wanted to be. However, I still struggle! I always will! There are temptations and excuses at every turn. I fall off the wagon constantly… in fact, I’m 10lbs heavier right now than I was in June!! {and it’s not muscle. lol} But that’s what life is… a constant learning and growing experience. I have all the tools I need to get where I want to be. It’s telling myself I AM good enough. I DO deserve to be happy, to reach my goals, to feel confident. And so do YOU.

I’ve come a long way from where I was in that photo on the left. That is why I am passionate about helping moms find themselves again after children — That is why I will not stop. Because I’ve been there and I know how it feels.

If you are a PPD sufferer past or present, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

 

Guest Post: How to Get Started with Aqua Aerobics

Guest post alert!! It’s been a hot minute since I had a guest post, but because I LOVE Kaitlin Gardner’s site, AnApplePerDay.com, I wanted to share her with you all! I don’t know anything about aqua aerobics, but she is a huge fan, so she is here to enlighten us!

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To put it simply, the best way to get started with aqua aerobics is to just jump in! In fact, boiled down to its simplest definition, aqua aerobics simply means moving around in the water. For maximum results and/or effect, the best practice includes consistency (over time), an organized routine, and basic equipment. Whether you are just looking for a moderate exercise routine that breaks up land-based workouts, rehabilitating from an injury that prevents impact to joints, or want to burn calories and lose weight, getting started with aqua aerobics may be a perfect fit for you. In fact, a 140–160-pound person will burn between 300–400 calories per hour in the water! For even more tips and information how aqua aerobics can improve overall health, follow the links below.

aqua aerobics

Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

Before You Get in the Water

For most people, especially beginners, aqua aerobics is a mainly low- to moderate-intensity exercise, but like with any new exercise regimen, you should check with your doctor before you begin. Barring any physical restrictions, the only other preparation you will need to do before taking the plunge includes gathering a few pieces of equipment. Below are a list items and descriptions of some basic supplies to help you get started.

Water gloves: These handy items actually give your hands a webbed effect, which increases resistance as your hands move through the water. And of course, increased resistance means that the muscles of your arms, shoulder and chest are working a little harder, which means they’ll get stronger, faster. Remember, the goal is to get your heart pumping; when your heart is pumping and your muscles are working, you’ll burn fat and improve muscle tone.

Ankle and/or wrist weights: Weights strapped around your wrists or ankles also make your muscles work harder and get toned faster. Even as little as 3–5 pound weights will make a big difference. Spend time moving around the shallow end of the pool when wearing ankle weights for the first time, in order to get used to how they feel and how they affect your balance. The great thing about wrist weights, as opposed to hand-held water dumbbells, is that you can strap on wrist weights and also use your webbed water gloves, for a combined effect!

Buoyancy belt: This piece of equipment might make the difference if you plan to form a regular, high-intensity exercise regimen in the water. They come in several forms, from basic to more high-tech, but what they all have in common is the addition of support and balance to your deep-water workout, especially running. Most buoyancy belts are contoured to fit comfortably just below the rib cage, but above the hips, providing lumbar support for the spine. Land-based runners will appreciate the balance that a buoyancy belt gives them, allowing for an almost identical land-running form in the water.

Kickboard: If you have kids and you have a pool, chances are you have a kickboard lying around. If not, this inexpensive item can be found at almost any major “big box” store. Kickboards are ideal for a great, all-around leg workout. Simply hold onto the board close to your chest and kick your way around the pool, following the perimeter, or do end-to-end laps. To challenge the upper-body workout at the same time, extend your arms and hold the kickboard further out in front of you; this position will also provide a workout for your core (abdominal and lower back muscles).

Don’t forget: Even without the equipment listed above, getting into the water, moving around and doing basic repetitive movements such as walking, running and jumping will get you into the aqua aerobics game.

 

Kaitlin_HeadshotKaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes and being outdoors. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life

 

FREE Holiday Survival 101

Toying around with the idea of starting a FREE Holiday Survival 10 Day Facebook group on Monday leading up to Christmas — some fun workouts, recipes, tips on surviving parties, ways to de-stress, etc. If you would be interested in something like that comment below or reach out to me on Facebook: Nikki.Hill.Johnson. We have to be FB friends in order for me to add you to the group!

The group is open to anyone in the country! {non coaches only}

 

holiday survival 101

Santa HQ Tyson’s Corner

Each year, parents everywhere flock to local malls with their kids to visit Santa Claus. This is nothing new, right? And right now, I’m sure your Facebook newsfeed is filled with hilarious photos of children crying while sitting on his lap. I’m loving them all! However, since I have now become one of those parents, I almost dread the process. The long lines, the bored kids, the tears (that changes with age) and the stressssss of it all. So, when HGTV contacted me about their NEW Santa HQ experience at Tyson’s Corner I jumped on the chance to check it out.

First of all, the NUMBER ONE reason I was immediately on board is because you can make a reservation online!! YES! You can pick your time slot and then just show up. We waited less than 5 minutes with a few other 10:45am parents to move through Santa’s HQ.

The first stop was the Naughty or Nice O’meter! Molly stood in front of the meter and pressed a button to find out if she was naughty or nice this year. Phew, she was nice! I would have to agree… for the most part! Ha!

SantaHQTysons1

 

Next we moved on to Santa’s workshop where you have the chance to take Elfie Selfies and create a digital dance video — similar to the Elf Yourself videos. I snapped a quick photo, but a family was really enjoying their time making their video and the kids were anxious to see Santa so we didn’t create one ourselves. The workshop was very realistic.. a nice leather couch where you could sit to rest, a tree, a tv that I’m sure Santa likes to watch when he relaxes. ;)

santahqtysons2

 

The next stop was the North Pole Observatory! Here you could use a provided tablet (or a downloaded app on your phone) to view the night sky, the secret inner-workings of clocks and gears and to meet a playful pair of elves all through the 3D Elf Ray Vision! It was pretty neat and Molly thought it was magic! It was really cute to watch her this year… each year visiting Santa gets more and more fun! This was the first year that Burke knew who Santa was… but he was still apprehensive! Here his is with his first look at jolly ole St. Nick!

santahqtysons3

 

The final stop before visiting with the big man himself was a family photo opp against a cute backdrop. I won’t share that photo here because we are going to use it as our Christmas card! Finally, we got to meet SANTA!! YAY! Ben and I stayed in the photo with the kids to spare the tears and it worked! Molly was very quiet, but I helped her tell Santa want she wants for Christmas: paper for her projects, a dollhouse, My Little Pony stuff and everything in the American Doll store (ha!).

Santa Tysons

 

All in all it was a great experience!! The only complaint I had was that after we met Santa we had to stand in a long line to get our photos situated. Luckily, Santa HQ is in proximity to a toy store, so Ben took the kids there while I waited. All-in-all the total process from start to finish took an hour. It would have probably only been 30 minutes had we not had to wait in that final line, but it was so much fun!!

HGTV’s Santa HQ Experience can be visited in the following locations:

Danbury Fair Mall in Danbury, Conn.

Deptford Mall in Deptford Township, N.J.

Vintage Faire in Modesto, Calif.

Los Cerritos Center in Cerritos, Calif.

FlatIron Crossing in Broomfield, Colo.

Washington Square in Portland, Ore.

Lakewood Center in Lakewood, Calif.

Tysons Corner Center near Washington, D.C.

Chandler Fashion Center in Chandler, Ariz.,

Scottsdale Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Great American Bulb Swap Comes to Washington DC

So those CFL light bulbs we all have to get now… to save energy? How scared of them are you? I am SO scared of them because they are filled with mercury!! Do you know how to properly clean them up? Most people don’t. And whatever you do, DO NOT vacuum up the pieces if one breaks. They are super dangerous and I am constantly worried that my children are going to knock over a lamp. But I need not worry anymore!!

A wonderful email appeared in my inbox about the New Cree® LED Bulb!! The New Cree LED Bulb is up to 85 percent more energy efficient compared to energy-hogging incandescent bulbs – and it pays for itself in a year or less! They last 22 years and are also mercury-free and provide superior light quality, unlike those squiggly compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.

Haven’t switched to LED bulbs? Washingtonians can participate in the Cree Great American Bulb Swap this weekend. Just bring in any CFL or incandescent bulb and trade it for a New Cree® LED Bulb for free!! How cool is that? Here are the details:

 

WHERE:    Eastern Market

                          225 7th Street SE

                            Washington, D.C. 20003

 

WHEN:      11:00 AM- 2:00 PM, Friday, December 5th

                      9:00 AM- 5:00 PM, Saturday-Sunday, December 6th and December 7th

cree light bulbs

How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

It’s the most wonderful time of the year right? Cookies, candies and pies, oh my! The delicious goodies at every turn and recipes passed down from generations plus all the boozy fun holiday parties can spell disaster for your health and fitness goals. But just because you are trying to keep the pounds off doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun! It’s all about PLANNING ahead! If you plan, you will succeed. If you go blindly through the holidays, January 1 will roll around and you’ll step on that scale and wonder what happened!

The average American gains 5-8lbs over the course of the holiday season! WHAT?!? And often, those pounds stay there year after year. But it doesn’t have to happen to YOU! Here’s how to avoid those pesky LBs.

  1. If you are going out to a restaurant check out the menu ahead of time. Decide on what you are going eat before you even get there. That way when you sit down at the restaurant you won’t have to fight against temptation and you won’t even have to open the menu! SKIP THE BREAD – in fact, tell the waiter to not bring it to the table – most bread served at restaurants has no nutritional value and many calories!
  1. For parties, pre-eat! Have a shake on your way to the party. Offer to bring a clean appetizer or snack. Then make every social gathering about socializing with others and not about the food. Stay away from the food table. Maybe help set up, get the kids food, and help clean up so you are never forced to have to just sit and stare at everyone else shoving food into their mouths. If you do want to partake in the goodies, make sure to keep your breakfast, lunch and snacks LIGHT.
  1. Drink lots of water!!! Just remember that you’re not depriving yourself of life, you are giving yourself life! When everyone is feeling full, sluggish and miserable, you are going to be looking fabulous, feeling confident and have more energy!!
  1. Alcohol!! YUM! Who doesn’t love a good cocktail or three at a fun party? I don’t think you should miss all the fun because you are becoming healthy. My tips are to stick with healthier drinking options like red wine or light liquor and water/lemon. And COUNT these calories!!! If you can, try to alternate your drinks with water — it will keep your hands busy and keep you from being over served ;) which can lead to you consuming all the pumpkin pie. Try a club soda with a lime instead of an alcoholic drink – it’s quite tasty.  I promise you will feel so much better in the morning! Tell yourself, you must get up to do your workout so NO HANGOVER and NO LATE NIGHT SNACKING. McDonald’s is out!!! :)
  1. Plan it out! If you are traveling or out all day shopping, pack a cooler of clean snacks. Even throw in an extra snack so that you are not caught in a situation where you are out longer than expected and have nothing to eat. It’s easy to throw in a packet of Shakeology, shaker cup and a bottle of water! I always keep a packet & extra shaker cup in my car! (or if you have a big bag of Shakeology, throw a scoop in a baggie and keep that in your car!)
  1. Don’t skip your workouts!! Make them a priority and even double up if you need too! Not only will you feel better, but those extra burned calories will allow you to give in to some extra indulgences without feeling all the guilt!

If you need extra help or motivation during this busy time of year don’t hesitate to reach out!! I have big plans in the works for all of you working on your New Year’s Resolutions! Let’s ring in 2015 feeling GOOD and staying healthy!

holiday weight gain

Insanity MAX 30 is HERE!

I am the first to admit that Insanity Max 30 scares the beejeezus out of me. I don’t know why because I’ve done Insanity: Asylum and loved it. But the more I listen to the creator, Shaun T, talk about it the more I think it’s going to be AMAZING! There is a modifier you can watch the entire time on the screen and it’s only a 30 minute workout. As a BUSY mom that is crucial. I don’t have time to work out longer than 30 mins! It launches TODAY!! So what can you expect?

insanity max 30

 

What is INSANITY MAX:30?

INSANITY MAX:30 is the challenging new 30-minute, in-home workout program from Shaun T, creator of INSANITY and Focus T25. Shaun T has developed 150 new cardio and strength moves that will make you push harder and dig deeper than ever before to get the best body of your life in just 60 days.It’s not about “getting through” all 30 minutes, it’s about going as hard as possible, for as long as possible, until becoming “MAXED OUT” (i.e. until taking the first rest and/or breaking proper form). No equipment needed… just push to the MAX for INSANE results in just 60 days.

purchase max 30

FAQs

  • How many workouts per week? 5
  • What are the workouts like? There are 3 strength or cardio based workouts and then a short break. So it’s similar to HIIT or tabata (which we all know is a great way to get AMAZING results).
  • Is there a modifier? YES! And the best part is that you can choose to watch the modifier the ENTIRE time. I know it was frustrating to some people that they would pan away from Tonia (the modifier) in T25. This time you won’t lose your focus.
  • What about low impact? The modifier will be doing all the low impact moves. Keep those knees safe!
  • Equipment needed? NONE!

I am going to be holding an Insanity MAX 30 test group in January!! If you are interested in joining then please apply here: http://bit.ly/NikkiMax30Test

insanity max 30 modifier

 

Who Is This?

Last night was AMAZING!! Yesterday, I woke up early and hopped on a plane to Florida for Kati Heifner’s Diamond Leadership Retreat. I was immediately pampered upon arrival! Hair, makeup, jewelry, clothes, mimosas — it was SO much fun dressing up and taking photos for my business. When I first started Beachbody coaching I had NO idea about this side of the biz. The side of the biz where you form life long friendships, grow into a sisterhood like none I’ve had since college and learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible.

If you’ve ever been curious as to what this whole Beachbody Coaching thing is all about, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I have a What is Coaching group starting on Monday. No obligation to coach, just strictly come get some fun info!! Would love to share what this wonderful opportunity has done to my life!!

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We are only just getting started on this retreat, but I can’t wait for what the weekend has in store! And I REALLY can’t wait to have a retreat for MY team next spring!! Will YOU be there?!

Special Announcement!

Is this year flying by or what?! I can’t believe we are already approaching Thanksgiving! And just for that reason I have decided to do a very special Challenge Group. Typically I do a 30 day group each month where you can pick your own program, but because Beachbody has an AAAAMAZING deal this month combining two of my FAVORITE programs (3 Day Refresh & PiYo) I decided to add this very special group.

We are going to start on December 1, so I want everyone to really ENJOY their Thanksgiving and then get ready to kick it up a notch on the following Monday. We will all do the 3 Day Refresh together so that we jump start our clean eating and we’ll start PiYo on the same day (the first three days of PiYo are low key… perfect for the Refresh). AND we’ll be incorporating Shakeology throughout the group.

I’ll teach you how to navigate the holiday party circuit with minimal damage to your results and share with you all my tricks to stay motivated. Since this group is going to be 60 days (into the New Year!) and extra special, I’m only opening it up to 10 ladies. I want everyone to get the most out of the group and keeping it small will ensure greater results for everyone.

So who is ready to look hot on New Year’s Eve?!

Reach out to me for more details or click the image below to fill out an application!

3 day refresh piyo shakeology

Do You Want Your Pre-Baby Body Back?

How often do you hear moms say they want their “pre-baby body back?” Like, every other day right? Well, not this mom. My body pre babies (not pictured) was rarely strong, was rarely healthy, was subjected to continual yo-yo diets, was deprived, was hated. I don’t ever want to go back to that body again.

My body now is strong, vibrant, has carried two beautiful babies and is HEALTHIER than it’s ever been. So, yes, I now have stretch marks on my stomach, my thighs, my breasts and hips. Yes, I have stretched out skin from my pregnancies/weight gain that I’m still trying to accept, but damn if I’m not happier with my body now than I ever was before.

I had to learn how to make this a lifestyle and not just another round of the friggin’ South Beach Diet (that was my go-to diet!). It’s hard. It’s an every day decision to keep living this lifestyle and I don’t know where I would be without the support and without the desire to help other people feel the way I do. Because it’s possible to feel better AFTER baby! I’m living proof!
Are you ready to feel that way?

My October accountability group filled up before I even had a chance to post about it and my November group is almost filled so if you are ready to commit apply here >> http://bit.ly/1woh6q7

 

prebaby body