Transformation Tuesday: A P90X3 Story

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Meet Caitlin!!!

She joined my Challenge group in May of this year, and dove right into the fitness and nutrition plan for P90X3.  I met Caitlin in high school back in Maryland (her brother was in my class), and she was always active and fit.  However, as many of us women know, having a baby can take a toll on our bodies. She has a beautiful baby boy to show for it, but Caitlin was eager to get her post-baby body back. Plus, working as a pastry chef, it was hard for her to keep her hand out of the cookie jar if you will. I don’t blame her! I was so happy to have her join my group. She worked so hard, and has incredible results to show for us and has adopted a healthy lifestyle for herself and for her family.

Okay enough chatter from me…let me introduce you to Caitlin and let her tell you about her journey herself!

P+P: Tell us about yourself (where you live, family, hobbies, interests, anything else that you would like to include about yourself)

Caitlin: I live in Baltimore, MD with my husband, Matt, 9 1/2 month old son, Max, and dog, Buck! I went to the Ohio State University and studied Athletic Training. I did that for a few years but burned out quickly and decided to pursue my passion in baking and pastries! I went to culinary school and I am a pastry chef – which makes it hard to resist my sweet tooth since I am surrounded by goodies all day!
P+P: What is your fitness background?
Caitlin: I was always an athlete and have always loved to workout. I played softball, ice hockey, and when I was younger did everything from basketball to soccer to ballet! I love sports and have never had a problem working out (well sometimes the motivation isn’t always there but once I get going i’m good!). During my pregnancy I tried to stay active though I did not have a set workout routine. I stuck to mostly walking but made sure I did it daily! I still gained weight, as you are supposed to during pregnancy, but it was hard to lose after!
P+P: Why did you decide to try P90X3?
I decided on P90X3 for several reasons. One, I had already done P90X and loved the routines, but they were quite long. Since I liked them, Gina recommend P90X3! I wanted something that was high intensity and had a lot of variety which is exactly what P90X3 offers. Lastly, I needed something that was short and sweet. I do not have enough time between work and being home with my very active son, to fit in a long gym sesh. Having 30 minute workouts that I could do at home was clutch (and honestly the only way I could workout and stay sane!)
P+P: What about the program worked for you? What did you like about it? 
I loved that the DVDs were only 30 minutes long. Like I said I have very little time and working out during my son’s nap is not an option. I nap when he does because I go in to work at 3 am in order to stay home with him. He is great at self play but gets bored quickly, so 30 minutes is the perfect time for me to get in a good sweat. I also loved the variety. There was a bit of lifting, some cardio, and my favorite – MMX (a mixed martial arts DVD Tony Horton style!)
P+P: What was tough or challenging for you? (Particular workouts? Sticking to nutrition? Anything else?)
The toughest part for me was nutrition. The workouts were no brainers, and it was easy to press play everyday. I think mostly because I have always loved to work out and also because the DVDs got me excited (gotta love those endorphins!) The nutrition part was a struggle because I am such a sweet tooth and am surrounded by all the bad (but oh so good!) stuff every day. I found however the more I worked out, the less I craved the sweets (well the more I thought about what I ate because I didn’t want to ruin the hard work I put in that day!)
P+P: 17 lbs and 3 pants sizes is an incredible accomplishment! How did you stay motivated for those 90 days?
My motivation came from several places. One – my support group and coach! It was awesome to see and hear from other ladies going through the same struggles and accomplishments that I went through! It also held me accountable knowing I was going to check in with them later and couldn’t lie! Also seeing the results motivated me big time! It wasn’t even what I saw on the scale – it was seeing little changes – my arms toning up – my legs slimming out – my tummy getting tighter. It started with small differences. Then I took the picture at 60 days and compared it to day 1. I could not believe what I saw! When it comes off slowly you almost forget where you started! I was so glad I took that before picture because it really put things into perspective! That then gave me the courage to try on an old pair of shorts that I had from HIGH SCHOOL! I could not believe they fit! Now 90+ days out those shorts are getting BIG! Yea I still can’t believe it! I also was very highly motivated by my son. I did not want to be self conscious and pass that on! I wanted to be fit and active and have better eating habits for him to learn! I wanted to be able to go to the beach and be happy swimming in the water and playing in the sand with him without any thoughts of “oh I bet people are looking at my belly” Plus just waking up and seeing his cute smile was all the motivation I needed to be healthy and be there for him!
P+P: How do you feel today and what are your goals moving forward?
Today I feel amazing and almost in disbelief. I know everyone says they want to lose weight, or tone up, or run that marathon – but there is always that self doubt. will I actually be able to do it? Can I do it? Now I do not even consider those questions! Yes, I CAN do it and I WILL do it! I am happier, healthier, thinner, more toned, can keep up with my son, and feel fantastic in anything I wear! My goals moving forward are to continue to create healthy habits. I feel like I am addicted to working out now so I want to try new things! I want to start lifting heavier and get more definition! I want this to be my lifestyle, a habit, something I don’t have to think about – just something I do, everyday, no questions asked!
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Caitlin (continued):

I have had such amazing results that I am now officially addicted! I jumped right into the 21 Day Fix and have plans on doing another program set to come out in December. I also am going to start training for the Baltimore Half Marathon in October (YIKES!)! I know what exercise, nutrition, and support has done for me, so I want to share that with others. It was pretty much a no brainer when you approached me about the coaching opportunity! I was already doing the workouts and working hard on the nutrition and I LOVED the challenge groups. So the transition into actually helping others do it was so easy! I have always loved to help and inspire others in any way that I can. Becoming a coach just gave me that opportunity.It also help hold me accountable! How can I help others if I am not doing it!? It was all the more reason to become a coach. I also had major support from my husband who knew this was something I wanted and something I would be good at! My son played a major role in my future as well. I want to be able to stay home with him but still provide financially for the family! Becoming a Beachbody Coach has me on the path to that lifestyle – all while keeping me healthy (and my family!) My future is filled with helping others and maintaining this healthy lifestyle – this isn’t a fad, its not a quick fix – it is hard work that I have made in to long lasting habits and I want to help as many people as I can do the same!

Caitlin Family

I am so proud of Caitlin and all the hard work she has put into creating a better life for herself physically, mentally, and financially.  Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I am excited to see what you accomplish for yourself and your family in the next year, and I know you will help and inspire so many others along the way!

Hope you are all having a great week so far. I am on Day 2 of being on my own with my two boys. So far, it’s going pretty well! I am surprised I have actually been productive. I was able to get out of the house two days in a row, get Nico down for his naps, get 2-3 hours of work done each day, and not have the house be a complete disaster upon Zack’s return home. #winning! Beginner’s luck? We shall see how long it lasts 😉

XO,

Gina

#20 Have Children

You may have been wondering why I suddenly fell off the blogosphere these past two weeks…or maybe you have already guessed.  Much to everyone’s surprise, our Little Monkey decided to grace us with his presence two weeks early!  Now this Great Freakin’ Adventure bucket list item is probably the most significant one I will ever check off.

Please welcome Nico Alfredo Notes to the world!  Born Thursday August 29, 2013 at 10:53pm at 5 lbs. 1.6 oz. and 19 inches.

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Ever since I was a child myself, I dreamed about what it would be like to have a child of my own.  As kids, my sister and I played house, school, doctor, and other role-playing games where we would play the “mom” taking care of our babies.  I guess that is just something that little girls do…or maybe that was just us, I don’t know.  As we grew older, the idea of having kids was something we tried to avoid, especially during our teenage and college years.  Finish school, get a job, get married, then have babies, right?  Of course, that doesn’t always ring true in the real world, but that’s what I was aiming for, and luckily, my life played out according to plan in that way.

However, the plan itself does not always go the way you would imagine.  Life is just not that way, and ours was no different.  It was not without struggle and some hard times.  We were fortunate to get pregnant pretty quickly, but then our world crashed down when we lost our little Peanut.  It was tough to move on, but the news of our Little Monkey on the way helped with the process.  Although we were scared of something terrible happening again, there was still that glimmer of hope which increased with every week of my pregnancy.

There were both ups and downs with the pregnancy, but all in all I would say I had a very healthy, wonderful pregnancy experience.  Toward the end, I loved feeling him jump around in my belly and we imagined every day what he would look like.  It still feels weird to not have him in my belly anymore, and I half expect to feel a kick every now and again.  I am glad to have this blog which documents most of this experience, and I look forward to showing it to Nico one day.

Now let’s look back to right before Labor Day Weekend.  What I thought would be a routine 38 week check up on that Wednesday morning at 9am turned into me being admitted to the Labor and Delivery unit that morning and staying there for quite some time.  My husband and I got called back for my routine ultrasound, and baby was not exactly cooperating that morning.  He passed all of the tests with flying colors, except he wasn’t making any sharp movements.  Now, I have my theories on this…we typically had 1pm appointments…maybe baby was just sleeping at 9am?  However, he also fell down quite significantly in the growth percentile.  He had been measuring small the entire time, but the docs said he was growing every time, so they were not really too concerned.  They kept a close eye, and at this 38 week appointment, the percentile dropped to where they started to be concerned.  My regular doc was on vacation that week, so they had someone filling in.  Because of the lack of movement and drop in growth percentile, and the fact that I was full term at 38 weeks, the fill-in doc recommended that I be induced that very day.  I’m sorry, WHAT DID YOU SAY???  Induced…today??? As in, RIGHT NOW???  Where is my normal doctor?  Who is this lady??  Does she even know what she is talking about?  She doesn’t even know our story!  Would Dr. Stein say the same thing?  These are some of the thoughts that ran through my head.  My husband and I were clearly in utter shock.  We had nothing with us.  Our hospital bag was all packed, but it was all the way at home.  I told myself beforehand that my “birthing plan” was more of a go-with-the-flow mentality, because it’s impossible to predict what will happen…but this is NOT what I was thinking, and I was not feeling like going-with-the-flow right now.  We went down to the Labor and Delivery unit at the hospital and I spoke with the midwife on call.  We did a series of extra tests, which the baby passed with flying colors, and I really second guessed this decision to be induced two weeks early.  It was ultimately our decision, but we had a strong rec from the doctors, and really, what was our alternative?  Go home, be stressed 24/7 about whether or not we made the right decision, or wondering if my placenta was somehow failing and baby was not getting nutrition the whole time?  Or get the baby out now safely while he’s still healthy, no matter what it took.  The choice for us was obvious.

Luckily, the hospital staff was wonderful, and because baby was still doing really well, they told me they would not rush the process, and make sure to take as much time as needed for as long as we could to make this induction happen and to try to avoid a C-section.  They let me have my “last meal” before being admitted, and Zack went home to pick up all of our stuff for the hospital, including our car.  The next time we would be going home, we would be going home with a baby.  This reality was finally creeping in on us, and it brought a whole new meaning to Labor Day Weekend.

Once the induction process started, it was a long road.  It finally got started around 6:30pm (after being in the hospital since 9 am).  12 hours and another day later things finally seemed like maybe they were moving along.  Unfortunately, after the midwife examined me…it turned out that things were not really moving along all too well.  Rather, than drug me up with more and more pitocin (which they did not think would work for a natural delivery), she suggested that we start the process over.  WHAT?  Again?  12 more hours of this?  And what if it doesn’t work again?  I am doomed for a C-section.  I wasn’t feeling too optimistic at this point, but I trusted that the midwife was recommending the best thing for me and what what we wanted for this delivery.  So, they let me take a shower, have another “last meal”, and we tried again.

Somehow, someway, the process worked this time and I started progressing.  That was a ridiculously happy moment for us, and I started to feel hopeful.  The rest of that afternoon, I felt contractions, but I wasn’t in a terrible amount of pain.  My mom, sister, and mother-in-law were able to make it up to NY in time to be there before the delivery.  I had very lucid conversations with them through my contractions, and I was generally pleasant for a lot of the time.

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I kept progressing, they eventually broke my water, and it was then that everything kicked into high gear.  My contractions started getting more difficult to handle, and thank God for those birthing classes my husband and I took as he was so helpful in getting me through a lot of them.  Eventually it got to a point where I said, “I don’t have to be supermom right?  I need an epidural.”  It didn’t kick in right away, but let me tell you…I was so happy when it did.  Before we knew it, the midwife was telling me it was time to push.  Already?  For such a slow start, this birth certainly was moving quickly now!  We didn’t even have time to tell our family that it was go time.  We just had to go.  A small army of medical professionals surrounded us and my nether region, but at this point, I was so over feeling awkward…I mean I had to pee in a bedpan for the past 24 hours, because they couldn’t unhook me from the machines…my humility had already gone out the window.  I pushed like a rock star for only 20 minutes, and our baby boy finally arrived!  Right before he came out, his heart rate started to drop, and there were talks of possibly using a vacuum to get him out.  I guess that was all I needed to hear to get him out as soon as possible.  Turns out, the culprit was the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice that had tightened up as he was coming down the birth canal.  Thank God for those last quick pushes.  They placed him on my chest, and I was so overwhelmed with emotion and shock, and I don’t even know what else.  It was so surreal that this little “alien” jumping around in my belly for nine months was finally here and a teeny tiny human in the real world.  My Little Monkey.  My Nico.

It was a magical experience, that I don’t think you can even accurately describe or understand the feeling unless you have gone through it yourself.  We stayed at the hospital for about a day and a half after Nico’s birth, trying to recover and pick up all the tricks of the trade from the nurses.  My husband even videotaped a nurse doing a swaddle.  Trust me, it has definitely helped out at home!  It was pretty unreal taking our baby home and realizing that we were now officially parents who had a new job of raising this child.

My mother-in-law stayed with us for a few days to help out with cooking, cleaning, giving us time to catch up on sleep, etc.  We are extremely grateful to have such a wonderful support system.  Once she left, we missed her and the help, but it was nice to try and figure out this parenting thing on our own, and get into as much of a routine as we possibly could.

I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since our little Nico arrived.  I already feel like we have been through so much emotionally, mentally, physically, and more.  As soon as we think we have things figured out, something changes.  Everyone says this, and I thought I would be different, but breastfeeding is not easy.  Sleep is so important for your sanity and well-being.  And it’s integral to get out of the house every now and then.

Nico is doing well and gaining back his birth weight.  He has been a pretty awesome baby so far, and he sleeps a lot for which we are very appreciative.  As crazy and exhausting and hard as motherhood can be, I am loving every minute of it so far.  Just seeing that little face every day, the little smiles he gives, and knowing that my husband and I created such an innocent, wonderful little being makes everything worth it.  I already feel like time is moving by so fast, and before I know it, he will be going off to prom or getting married.  I am so excited for the journey that is to come and ready to take on all of the challenges that come with being a mommy.

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Heading home from the hospital

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Like father like son

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Nico with his Nana (my Grandma)

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He smiles!

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Silly Monkey

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First trip to Prospect Park

Since this major life change, I can’t promise to keep up with my blog as often as I once did, and I can’t promise I will take a shower every day.  But I can promise to give this baby the world, my best, and everything I’ve got.

XO,

Gina

Women Should Talk About It

Now, my blog is usually a place of happiness, fun, fashion, & adventure…and I don’t intend on changing that.  But my blog is also about life.  And life is not always rainbows and butterflies.  As much as I would like it to be sometimes, that is just not the case.  So if I sat here and only talked about happy things all the time, then this blog would just not be real.  And I think sometimes we need a dose of reality.  It may be tough for some of you to read this.  It has been a struggle for me to sit down and write this and go back to this place.  But this is a topic that most women don’t openly talk about, and I honestly think that they should.  There is no reason to hide it.  It happens more often than we think.  We just don’t realize it, because no one talks about it.  You’re probably now thinking “just go ahead and say what you are talking about!”  So here we go…

At this point, most of you now know that we have a Little Monkey on the way.  And we are SOOOOO incredibly excited!  What you may not know is that before there was a Little Monkey…there was a Peanut.  My sweet, sweet little Peanut.  My husband and I found out in September that we were expecting a child.  I had a feeling that maybe I should take a pregnancy test.  And let me tell you, I am not one of those people that freaks out and takes pregnancy tests often.  I actually had NEVER taken one in my entire life until that day…when we got those two lines.  It was actually quite surprising, because it pretty much happened “right away.”  We were shocked and ecstatic at the same time.  We said we wouldn’t tell anyone for awhile since it was so early…but then the next day, we just got too excited and told everyone.  Well, not everyone.  But all of our family, close friends, etc.  Let’s just say it was quite a few people.

The day after we found out, we were on Cloud 9.  We went to lay out in Prospect Park, pretty much skipping the whole way there.  We hung out on a blanket under the sunshine and just daydreamed of what our life would be like when our little Peanut arrived in May.  Right in time for our 2 year wedding anniversary.  We daydreamed about Peanut coming to his/her first Outer Banks vacation with the family, the 1st Christmas, taking the stroller around the city in the summertime.  It was pretty much the best day ever.  To think that we would be bringing this beautiful little life into the world.  We named the baby Peanut, because “it” just sounded awful, and we didn’t know the sex of the baby yet to say “he” or “she.”  My husband and I are both kind of small, so we figured Peanut was a perfect name for our little one.

I immediately went into “Mom” mode.  The smell of cigarette smoke at a party made me flee the scene immediately.  Alcohol was not even missed on a Saturday night.  I started reading up on all the websites and blogs for the right things to eat/not eat, pregnancy tips, etc.  I was completely protective of my little Peanut, and felt like I was already a Mom.  Although it had only been a short time, it felt like I had been carrying Peanut for much longer.

A week and a half or so after we got the good news of being pregnant, I started to have some complications.  I wasn’t sure if anything was really wrong at first, because sometimes these symptoms can happen, and everything can be just fine.  I called my mother-in-law (a midwife herself) constantly asking questions.  But as the week progressed, my complications started to get worse, and I started to get worried.  I didn’t have a doctor in NY yet, since prior to getting pregnant, I only needed to go to my OB/GYN once a year.  I had just scheduled my appointments to go when I was in Maryland during the holidays or family vacation.  Luckily, I had done some research in the NY area, and found two options that I was going to try out.  When the complications started happening, I called them both immediately.  Because, I was not already a patient, the first office I called pretty much told me there was “nothing they could do.”  If I was going to miscarry, I was going to miscarry.  That if things started to get “really bad,” then I should go to the ER.  I was kind of shocked, but I didn’t accept that for answer.  I called the other office, and luckily they brought me in for a sonogram the following day.

That day was very promising.  We saw our little Peanut on the monitor.  And there was a heartbeat!  It was the most amazing feeling, and it was extremely encouraging.  We left that day feeling very optimistic into the weekend, and overall happy that someone cared enough to help us and make us feel comfortable during this scary and terrifying time.

Unfortunately, my complications didn’t get any better, and they started to get worse throughout the weekend.  I had severe pains that weekend, and I started to get extremely worried.  I cried.  And cried.  I thought the worst.  My husband consoled me.  He was still optimistic.  We scheduled an appointment for another sonogram that Monday.

We looked up at the screen for our little Peanut…and there was nothing there.  Blank.  Just an empty uterus.  My husband was in denial.  He thought maybe we needed to do the internal sonogram again, because the baby was just too small and we couldn’t see Peanut.  But they tried that too.  And still blank.  Gone.  Just completely gone.  We both broke down at that point.  It was the first time I ever saw my husband cry in my life.  And we have been together for over 8 years.  It was my turn to console him, yet it was almost impossible as I was pretty inconsolable myself.

It felt like Peanut had just been ripped away from us.  Stolen.  The day before I had been a Mom.  And now I wasn’t.  I had been planning a baby nursery and summer plans…and now I was sitting here empty-wombed and broken.  Like I had never even been pregnant.  Like everything should just go back to normal life.  It was horrible.  I do not wish miscarriage on anyone.  We tried to be optimistic.  We said we would try again.  But we also acknowledged that the next baby would still not be our little Peanut.  We would always feel that we should have had Peanut as our first child.

Fast forward to becoming pregnant with Little Monkey.  Because we had lost Peanut, we really, really, really wanted Little Monkey.  We were lucky it did not take long.  Not that Little Monkey will ever replace Peanut.  There is no way that would ever be possible.  But maybe…just maybe there was a reason for all of this.  If we hadn’t lost Peanut, there would also be no Little Monkey on the way.  Now, I could never choose one child over another.  But maybe something was wrong with Peanut in the womb.  Maybe he/she wasn’t healthy or wasn’t developing properly.  And maybe Peanut took the sacrifice by allowing Little Monkey a shot at this big, bad world instead.  We’ll never really know, but I do hope that one day we can see our little Peanut in Heaven.

I have to say it was difficult to get excited about Little Monkey at first.  I wanted to be.  I felt like a bad Mom because I felt like I was forcing my excitement, and it wasn’t as real as my excitement with Peanut.  “I should be more excited,” I thought.  “Why can’t I be?”  Well, the reason was because I was so damn nervous.  I was terrified actually.  I couldn’t get excited, because I couldn’t deal with the loss if another child was torn away from me.  If I got excited, then it got real.  I might jinx it.  I couldn’t bear being in that dark place of unhappiness and sadness again, and so I just tried to get through day by day as if things were normal.  If I didn’t think about it too much, then the time would pass by, and before I knew it, BOOM I would be in the “safe zone.”

Well, it didn’t exactly zoom past, but it did get easier and easier with time to get excited and be less nervous.  We passed our 7 1/2 week point where we lost Peanut and that was helpful.  Then, every week after that, we got more and more excited and confident that this time things were going to work out for us.  When we went to hear Little Monkey’s heartbeat for the first time, I was extremely nervous.  After it was confirmed that there was a little one inside me, I said “OH THANK GOD,” in the office.  The midwife said, “What, were you nervous?”  And I explained what had happened the first time.  She then told me, “Well, just get ready, because this is the beginning of being nervous for the rest of your life.”

She makes a good point.  I’m sure I won’t stop worrying just a little bit throughout my entire pregnancy.  And I’m sure I will worry the first time Little Monkey gets sick, or something goes wrong, get his/her first injury, grows up and gets his/her drivers license, goes off to college, etc. etc.  That’s just what motherhood is.  Constant worrying and nervousness.

But it’s important to also ENJOY it.  I don’t want to live life saying that I was a nervous wreck and didn’t enjoy my pregnancy at all.  I want to enjoy as much of life as humanly possible.  I accept that we are presented with challenges and complications in life.  Nothing turns out perfectly.  And things don’t always turn out the way you would expect them to.  But I think it’s important to enjoy what you can.

So far my pregnancy with Little Monkey is going really well, and I am determined to relish in these moments while I have them.  So farewell to any negative thoughts.  I am staying positive from here on out.  I am back to my typical self of planning and daydreaming about what lies ahead for our little family.  Zack and I are really excited for the arrival of our Little Monkey, and we are ready to take on whatever challenges we were meant to face.  We are strong and we can overcome, and we hope to teach our Little Monkey these same life lessons come September. 🙂

XO,

Gina

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