New York Times bestselling author, slow cooking expert and mommy blogger next door
  • Subscribe to newsletter
  • Follow me on Pinterest
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Become a fan on Facebook
  • Follow me on Google Plus

Totally Together

Day 14: Remember the WoMom–exercise dvds

January 14, 2010 by · 8 Comments 


Was one of your New Year’s Resolutions to exercise more? Mine certainly was. Although I had good intentions to work out during my pregnancy, I pretty much stopped after about 10 weeks in. I’m not the best pregnant person, and was cranky, nauseaus, and wanted to do not much more than eat ice cream and In and Out Burger daily.

That means that now I’ve got some work to do. I’m only 8 days post-partum, but I’m already planning my exercise strategy. I’ve been walking to and from school with the kids (the baby stays inside cozy with grandma!) and yesterday I actually did a few stomach crunches. It feels good to move again.

I really like exercising at home, and have fallen in love with the QuickFix series (especially the full-body one), and look forward to getting back to them after my 6 week check up.

My absolute favorite DVD workout of all time is the 1 Minute Workout with Minna Lessig, but it looks like it’s been discontinued. I wonder if you could find it through Netflix, EBay, or the library?

I got 15 days through the 30 Day Shred last year before deciding I’d rather have a baby and gave up. I could tell though, that it’s a very good workout. Super hard, but effective.

What are you favorite workout DVDs? I am really drawn to short workouts, and like how I can squeeze them in during an already pretty-packed day.



daily 7

catch up on the shower challenge, weekend recovery, and speed dusting 101

5 Simple Things Moms Can Do to Stay Healthy Now

December 3, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Please welcome Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD, who has written this wonderful guest post for us with fantastic advice on how moms can keep healthy and happy while tending to little ones. –steph

Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen is a registered dietitian, mother of two and creator of, a blog dedicated to providing parents with the most credible nutrition advice. MaryannJacobsen

Motherhood is a vulnerable time for the health and well being of women.  As a practicing dietitian, clients always tell me that each child they’ve had brought a few (stubborn) extra pounds.  Over the course of several years this gradual weight gain adds up.

I now understand how easily this can happen.  The old me had plenty of time to workout, get all the sleep I needed and stay focused on, well, me.  But I’ve learned that I can still make my health a priority even without big chunks of time.  I just have to accept that the way I go about my healthy habits will be new and improved.

So here are simple ways moms can take care of themselves despite having the most intense, all-consuming and rewarding job in the world. 

1.  Focus on the how much of eating: When moms think they have to eat ultra healthy to lose weight, the time barrier always gets in the way.  But the real secret to weight management is learning how to eat just the right amount of food your body needs.  And you do this by getting back in touch with your hunger and fullness signals.

    In order to do this right, you need to eat regular meals so you don’t get overly hungry.  Eat slowly, enjoy every bite and pay attention to when you start to feel full.  This is your body’s way of telling you it’s time to stop.

    2.  Start small with exercise: I had my second child 8 months ago and when my son

      was about 2 months old I went for spontaneous 10-15 minute runs right outside my house.  I also incorporated a 15-minute post-partum DVD on certain days.  My runs gradually increased in duration to 25-40 minutes and the DVD time to 20-25.

      By taking it slow, I’ve watched my exercise routine evolve into something that works for my new life.  This gradual process also helps me know just the right time to step it up a notch.

      3. Try new foods along with your kids: On my blog,

        Raise Healthy Eaters,  I write about feeding strategies that help parents raise healthy and happy eaters.  But my advice always focuses on the whole family.

        That’s because studies show that the best way to get children to eat a variety of foods is repeated exposure and role modeling.  That means children are more likely to eat certain foods (like vegetables) if they see their parent eating them too.

        I recently made zucchini cakes for me and my picky 3-year old daughter’s snack time.  Even though she turned her nose to them, I got the benefit or eating more vegetables (and they were yummy).

        4. Go to bed earlier: Research shows that sleep deprivation is associated with

          excess weight.  Apparently a lack of shut eye makes people hungrier due to appetite hormones getting out of whack.

          A recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that postpartum women getting less than 5 hours sleep lost less weight than those  getting more than 5 hours of sleep.

          So no matter how tempting it is to stay up late and get things done, make sure you get enough rest.  If anyone needs the rejuvenation time, it’s moms.

          5. Seek foods that keep you full: Research shows that protein-rich foods (lean

            meats, poultry, eggs, fish and beans) are the most satiating.  Fiber-rich foods like whole grains, fruits and veggies also do a good job at keeping you full.  Add a little bit of healthy fats to a meal and you’ll be even more satisfied.

            So include protein-rich foods at most meals with a variety of whole grains, fruits and veggies and healthy fats (olive/canola oil, nuts/seeds, avocado).  Moms need the right fuel to do the hardest job on earth.

            All of these steps are easy enough to start doing now.  And who knows?  By this time next year, you could be a lean, mean, mommy machine.  And what kid wouldn’t love that?

            So This is December

            December 1, 2009 by · 9 Comments 

            I failed at National Novel Writing Month.

            I’m okay with it.

            I’m also okay with the word “failed.” I think many times people shy away from the word because it sounds harsh, and it’s much easier to make excuses than to own up to shortcomings. I had/have every excuse in the book: I’m tired, I’ve got too much work to do, the kids need me, I’ve got Thanksgiving to plan, Christmas to plan, the baby’s room needs painting and decorating, the garage needs a playroom makeover, I’ve got to Christmas shop now, I’m having contractions, it hurts my tail bone to sit, I’m helping at the school today, the kids are only this age once, I haven’t been a good friend to so and so and should really have her over for coffee, etc. and etc. again.

            But it all boils down to conscious choice, and I consciously made the choice each and every time I decided to not sit down and write.

            and I’m okay with it.

            The fantastic news is that we’re now completely ready for this baby, and that feels wonderful. I’ve got about 4 weeks to go, and the room is painted and done, the garage is set up as a play space with the toy kitchen and a separate art area, and the Christmas lights are up. The shopping is practically done, including gift wrap and stocking stuff, and I never left the house to do it. I LOVE THE INTERNET.

            I’ve also caught up on way too many hours of The Baby Story, and am weighing the cord blood thing. I didn’t do it with the other girls, and since this will probably be the last baby, maybe I should just go for it. But it’s expensive.

            I’m excited about the upcoming New Year. I’m looking forward to exercising again, and getting my brain cells back (boy I hope they come back…). I’m also looking forward to wine and coffee (that’s okay to say out loud, right?) I’ve got a few writing projects lined up, and I’ve got to figure out what to do with this site, since I totally suck at keeping it updated. :-)

            I’ve got a guest post lined up in the next few days from a reader who is also nutritionist, so if you have any questions about nutrition, get them ready.

            have an absolutely wonderful day.

            The State of Our House

            July 10, 2009 by · 23 Comments 

            Strange things happen when you’re pregnant. Although you know it’s completely irrational, you suddenly feel as if there has been no one, no one, in the history of the universe who has felt the way you do.  Even if you’ve been pregnant before, you realize that you weren’t really tired or sick or cranky in previous pregnancies—that was all just practice for the way you feel now.

            And nobody understands. Nobody. Not even your former self when you read past journal entries chronicling past pregnancies. Oh people commiserate, and they share their own stories, but they’re wrong. It’s just not possible for anyone else who has ever walked the face of the earth to feel the way you do.

            Nope. Save it. It’s not possible.

            So you sit. And you wait. Because at some point you will begin to start to feel a bit better, and begin to get just a teeny tiny shred of your former energy level back. And that teeny tiny burst of energy will feel so amazingly good, that you decide you can take the kids swimming, scrub the kitchen floor on your hands and knees, and make a 4-course dinner.

            But then you’ll crash. Because you overdid it. So you’ll sit some more, and wait some more for another burst.

            This cycle lasts for months and months and months and you can’t even fabricate these bursts of insane energy with triple mochas or a shot of tequilla.

            and that there sucks.

            The kids have been great at amusing themselves these past weeks. They’re home from school for the summer, and I love having them around. I also love not having to get dressed to drop them off and pick them up from anything. They have been playing elaborate games involving cardboard boxes, bits of string, and rolls and rolls of Scotch Tape (note to self: buy stock in 3M). There are a few squabbles here and there, but mostly the days are just filled with them asking “can we?” and me answering “knock your socks off.”

            We now have an invisible dog, Walter. Walter comes on errands with us. Walter sometimes accidentally gets sat upon, although he really shouldn’t be up on the couch. Walter needs afternoon naps and needs to be read stories. Walter is the perfect pet.

            The only problem with Walter is his food and water, which lives outside of the kitchen entry, where it gets knocked over a few times a day. Walter’s food has been outside the kitchen entry for 16 days. 16 days may seem like a not very long time, but when you’re pregnant, things that would normally be endearing seem to become quite annoying, and all you can think while you lie on the couch scared to move so you won’t vomit all over the carpet is about the stale yogurt covered raisins which seem to just be an open invitation to an ant infestation.

            Other things that bother you is that you are the only one. THE ONLY ONE who seems to notice the pile of crap in the front entry. The problem with this pile of crap i It's okay to take time off when you're pregnant s that you actually made the mess. It’s your crap. You decided to vacuum 4 1/2 days ago, but only made it half way through the house, so now the vacuum sits, still plugged in, waiting for someone to finish the job or to put it away. And the sad fact is that the person you are waiting for is you. Because you’re the only one who cares. And then there are the purged items from the playroom that need to be stored on the shelves in the garage. The shelves that live way over on the other side of the garage, which seem entirely too far away. So you try to ignore the pile of Christmas books and outgrown baby toys.

            You try very. very. hard.

            oh, and the empty cardboard box? That’s yours, too. You need that box to mail something back, and since you’re going to eventually mail it back, why shouldn’t it just live there for another week or so until you muster up the courage to brave the line at the post office.

            There’s also the kids’ sweatshirts which you told them to put there because they can’t reach the hangers in the hall closet, and while they could hang them in their room, or on the neat jacket thingy in the garage, you were feeling nice and said not to worry about them, and to just go play. The front entry also has the pile of dvds that need to be returned to the library, because you decided to cancel the cable for the summer so the kids don’t rot their brains, and have somehow justified that cartoon DVDs from the library are a whole lot better.

            The past few days the song from Veggie Tales, “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything,” has been playing in an endless loop in my head. I drift off to a nap, and imagine someone walking in our house, seeing the disaray, and me asleep on the couch. When questioned “what’s going on here?” The kids shrug and answer, “oh, that’s just our mom. She don’t do anything.”

            14 weeks. Beginning to feel human again.