Keepin’ It Real

One of the main reasons I started blogging was to reach more Mom’s experiencing a similar journey but mostly to be able to share the raw, surreal moments of our journey with Cody.  I was reflecting on our awesome baseball weekend we just had as I was looking through some great photos that were taken when one photo just slapped me in the face on how I have let myself go over the last several weeks. I could not hit delete fast enough on this one particular photo!  It snuck up on me because I am the one always behind the lens capturing Brad and the boys so when you don’t see many photos of yourself it sneaks up on how you have let your self go!

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That’s all it took. I started back walking this morning. The truth is, I have not been sitting around eating Cody’s Cheetos but what I have been doing is setting my own well being to the side.  Had a great kick off to the  New Year and Brad and I both kicked ass on the 21dayfix with a good weight loss, feeling great and Brad even had an outstanding physical with perfect blood pressure and several pant sizes smaller.  But then I got re-routed when my work travel started, my busy work season started, end of school madness started, baseball season started, insurance issues started, increased therapy started,  Brad’s travel started and the list goes on and on….

Let’s keep in real. Shit happens. Things get off balance with all kinds of people. Truth be told, I like to eat when I get stressed.  When things get too much or stress takes over, I prefer Mexican food over a work out any day!  It’s called life but the difference is what you do about it when you do reach the point when you see that photo of yourself or put those favorite jeans shorts on that no longer zip.  I wish I could say, I stay healthy all the time but that would not be the truth.

So, we could talk about all the ways for Mom’s to succeed with a balance family life, work life, and still stay healthy during a crazy busy schedule but let’s keep it real.  Mom’s with children with special needs, we don’t know what an hour from now will bring, we can spend a large amount of time in waiting rooms when your children have a 35-40 hours of therapy per week plus we find ourselves working 30 plus hours a week to pay for the therapy needed for our children.  Then if you add siblings to the mix that have extracurricular activities you spend any where from 5-10 hours uber-ing them around for the summer.  As you can see there becomes very little time to spend a few hours at the gym or preparing meals in advance for yourself and your health.  It’s difficult to find balance and stay healthy during stress. Here’s a few tips I did find interesting in an article where I  added a few tips myself that below that are in bold.

How To Stay Healthy During Stress

 Stop “freak-out” mode and  get organized:

When you are stressed out, it is tempting to go into “freak out” mode. Fight this urge! Don’t be over dramatic about what you have to do because that will only make your work harder to start and complete. Take inventory about what you have to do and write it down. If you are a list person, make a list. If you need to plan a little bigger picture, get a planner and look at what your next couple days/weeks/months actually entail.

Fight the cravings:

When you are stressed out, you may always crave foods that make you feel more comfortable. Maybe you have a major sweet tooth and crave cake and cookies, or maybe you want something fried and salty like fried food. Fight the urge to overeat! Even though ordering takeout food can be easy and tasty, your body and wallet will thank you if you take a few minutes to make healthier food yourself. The bloated feeling you get after eating those unhealthy types of food may make you less productive and you will crave those types of food again in a few hours. Make getting the right vitamins and nutrients during times of stress a priority. You will have more energy, focused and able to get more done!

But don’t deprive yourself too much – Eat ONE taco:

Though you should fight excessive junk food cravings, depriving yourself of your favorite foods usually leads to increased binging. Don’t completely deprive yourself of your favorite foods, but instead try to find healthy ways to eat them. For example, if you crave sweets, reward yourself with a piece of dark chocolate, but don’t binge on a bunch of cookies or brownies. Dark chocolate will satisfy the craving while delivering antioxidants to your body! If you love cheesy things like pizza or mozzarella sticks, add some shredded parmesan or feta to a salad or have a few slices on the side. There are EASY ways to indulge yourself without binging and abandoning your healthy eating routine during times of stress.

Make healthy food—it can be easy and cheap!

Don’t use the excuse “I don’t have time” to avoid making healthy food and so you “have to resort to take-out or fast food.”  Prepare and cook during therapy sessions.  Healthy food can be super cheap to buy and even easier to make. Granted, it may not be quite as immediately satisfying as fast food or a gourmet meal at your favorite restaurant, but getting adequate nutrition can help improve concentration and your ability to work. Inadequate nutrition can lead to a number of health issues, which will only stress you out more. Being stressed is no excuse to not keep tabs on what you are putting into your body. Here a couple of suggestions of easy, yummy healthy food you can make in seconds:

  • Salads: Buy packaged (organic) mixed greens or other lettuce and throw it in with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, and salt and pepper. Other chopped vegetables are wonderful, but optional. If you don’t have time to add them, just eat the greens with dressing, it is yummy!
  • Sweet potatoes: Put a sweet potato in the oven for about an hour and eat it plain or with a little salt and pepper. Sweet potatoes are filling, delicious and full of vitamins and nutrients. If you have leftovers, you can even toss them with a salad! Side note for runners—according to Runner’s World Magazine, sweet potatoes are a runner’s superfood!
  • Steamed veggies: A great number of vegetables can be steamed in minutes. Just buy a steamer insert and put it in a pot with less than an inch of water. The water will boil fast and after 10-15 minutes, you will have a bunch of healthy teamed veggies. Eat as many of these as you want! A large volume of steamed vegetables will not have many calories, but fill your stomach up for a while.
  • Plain Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt is a great protein source. Add a bit of raw honey to it to add some sweetness and some berries for an antioxidant boost! This is a perfect “power breakfast” or “anytime snack” for a busy girl.

Opt for water instead of coffee:

Are you one of those people who constantly have a cup of coffee next to your computer at your desk? If you are, try keeping a bottle of water instead. Caffeine, though it is great for staying alert and awake during times of sleep deprivation, is a diuretic and causes dehydration. Dehydration can contribute to energy loss and a lack of concentration. You might find that a glass of ice-cold water is preferable to a cup of hot coffee because you won’t experience the caffeine crash later.

Drinking water will also help your waistline if you are someone who usually adds a lot of cream and sugar to coffee. Add a teaspoon of local honey!  If you are a black coffee drinker, opting for water instead will help preserve your stomach lining and decrease your risk of certain stomach and digestive issues. Of course, there will be days when you really need the caffeine to get through the day. Just make sure you have a bottle of water next to the cup of coffee.

Don’t stop exercising:

Maintaining your usual routine can really help you stay healthy during stressful times. Often times, exercise is one of the first things to go, but it can help burn off steam that too much work can cause. You will most likely find that after moving your body a bit you are able to concentrate even better than before the workout. It is also important to gage what your current mood/state of stress is before you go out and exercise. Maybe you really just need a relaxing yoga class to burn a few calories and relax your mind, or maybe you need an intense cardio workout to forget your stress for 30 minutes to an hour. Whatever your preferred type of exercise is, don’t abandon it during stressful times!  Great time for a quick walk, is during a therapy session. If you find yourself in a medical district area for your child, there are lots of air conditioned hallways to explore!  Buy a FitBit.  It keeps you honest and you will find dancing while doing laundry helps you hit your step challenge goals.

Try your best to get enough sleep:

The importance of getting enough sleep cannot be emphasized enough. Getting a good night’s sleep can increase memory, concentration, energy and other aspects relating to cognitive function. Lack of sleep can lead to insulin sensitivity, which can lead to even more cravings for that highly caloric sugary and/or fatty food. Ideally we should all get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. While this can be hard to achieve and sometimes even impossible, try to use 8 hours as a goal. Individuals also may vary on the amount of sleep needed, so try keeping a sleep journal to determine what is best for you.  If you find that you have a hard time turning your brain off, I drink “sleepy time tea” from Celestial Seasonings Wellness.  You can find in any grocery and it works!

So note to self:  If you make your health a priority during times of stress, you will not feel the need to stress the next project on your plate: YOUR HEALTH!  I will try like to remember this next time!  Keepin’ it real….

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Published by mamalamaneustupa

Bio My name is Shelley Neustupa. I am a mother of two cool boys and a wife of 22 years to my high school sweetheart. My oldest son attends the University of Oklahoma. Boomer! My youngest is in 2nd grade and was diagnosed with Autism and Mixed Receptive Expressive Disorder at age 2. Since his diagnosis, I promised him I would advocate and educate as hard as he works each day in therapy. I began writing and have been able to touch many parents that may be new to this journey providing them with actual experiences (not candy coated), support and resources through my entries. Writing is my therapy and my hope one day that my nonverbal son will be able to take these diaries and speak about his own journey and how autism relates to his own experiences. Who knows he and his older brother may become National Speaker’s one day? Come along on our journey to better understand our lives through the eyes of a boy with autism, his Skilled Companion dog Jude, his big brother (and best friend) and mom and dad. My raw vulnerability captures the everyday moments of our journey and will bring even more awareness. A week does not go by where we do not learn something new about ourselves and I want to share these chapters with you. My Sons Undeniable Strengths… Extremely smart and figures out things quickly. Has a memory that allows him to remember more things than I could ever hope for. Persuasive by his personality and sheepish looks. Overabundance of stamina and strength. Loves the outdoors. Enjoys life and always has fun with an unforgettable smile. You can find us here: Writer: Autism Through His Eyes Facebook Instagram YouTube Pinterest Canine Companions for Independence News Interview Cody and Skilled Companion Jude - Our Story

One thought on “Keepin’ It Real

  1. The reward is so worth the challenge. Just know I am there for you and yours. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your body. I love you so much. And by the way, it was great to see you in that photo. It was so outdoorsy
    you!

    Liked by 1 person

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