This post is sponsored by EverlyWell & SweatPink. All opinions are my own.
I’ve been blessed with two amazing breastfeeding journeys. Besides some killer bites lately (ouch!) I really have nothing to complain about. I realize that this isn’t always the case for everyone, so I applaud each and every one of you who has figured out the best way for YOU to feed your little love bugs. Personally, I love knowing that breastmilk is the near perfect mix of vitamins, fats, protein and nutrients - and it's ridiculously convenient for a stay-at-home mom like myself. I ended up breastfeeding Miss Mak longer than I had expected to (17 months!) and am well on my way to hit the 1 year mark with Little Hallie. Time will tell how long we continue with her!
In both of my pregnancies and while I'm nursing, I try to pay extra attention to what I’m putting in my body. A variety of healthy foods, lots of water and a high quality daily supplement. What goes into my body goes into my girls’ bodies, so that definitely makes me want to make good choices. Plus, it’s important for me to be fueling my body well so I can continue “mommin’” the best I can! But how do we REALLY know if we are providing them all of the nutrients they need? Not everything has glaring signs of deficiency.
When I had an opportunity from EverlyWell to do a DHA test on my breastmilk, I jumped at the chance! I had never heard of breastmilk testing so I was definitely intrigued. First, I had to remind myself of what DHA was. I know I learned about it in College Nutrition 101 but I was still a little shaky on it. So, according to the awesome resources I received from EverlyWell, “DHA is a vital Omega 3 Fatty Acid for a baby’s health as they grow during their first 2 years.DHA is crucial in a child’s early development, in particular for their visual acuity and cognitive development.”
Well cool! I was definitely hoping to hear some positive results. But here’s the thing – it’s estimated that about 75% of American’s are actually deficient in DHA, so I wasn't holding my breath!
So here’s how it all works.
I was worried that I’d have to go into a lab somewhere (which was SO not happening with my 2 little ones in tow), so I was PUMPED (haha see… what I did there?!) to see that I could collect my sample at home, and actually, without even using a pump! I only needed a few drops of my first morning milk (no food or supplements yet) onto a little card. They actually mailed me everything I needed ahead of time, with really easy to follow instructions.
I collected my sample, dropped it on the card, placed it in the the provided bag, put everything back in the box and shipped it off with the free shipping label. All of the shipping was free! Then I just had to wait a week or so to receive my results via email.
Dun da dun….my levels came in at Optimal! I was actually a little surprised considering the statistics, but really overjoyed! I’m so glad my girlie is getting lots of DHA for that little brain to grow!
One thing I LOVE about EverlyWell, is that they are great at empowering you to be even healthier, rather than making you feel bad about less than optimal results. They included ideas of how to increase DHA levels like eating fatty fish, liver, eggs and microalgae. I rarely eat these things except for eggs, so I’m chalking my good levels up to high quality eggs and great DHA supplements!
Another awesome thing about this test is that my results were reviewed by a physician IN MY STATE, and can be easily shared with my own physician. FSA accounts often cover the cost of this as well. There is literally no easier “lab work” I’ve EVER done.
For those of you who are dying to try this – I’d love to share a 15% discount on this test for you! Just enter HFF15 at checkout HERE!
"Comparison is the thief of joy"
We hear this a lot these days - in a world of perfect Instagram pics, and only the highlights posted on Facebook...we KNOW it's not worth it to compare ourselves to others.
What I think is EVEN WORSE - is when I start comparing me to ME.
Since "coming back" to running after having baby #2 I have really struggled, especially mentally. I knew I was being healthy, I was happy being active every day, I was teaching my fitness class, doing yoga and running occasionally. I would have days where I felt like all of these things were great. I felt good about myself. And then I would think back to where I was at that point post-pregnancy with my first baby and all those good feelings would go right down the drain.
"Last time I had lost all of the weight by now"
"When M was this age I was the fastest I had ever been"
"Last time I had already placed in a 10K"
"At this point last time I PR'd a half a marathon"
All of these thoughts would flash through my head as I struggled with my 100lb load in the BOB stroller through our cul-de-sacs in the heat and humidity and I would just feel like crap. Like I wasn't doing enough. Like I should be waking up earlier, like I should be working harder. But then I would go and make myself feel better again by saying things like:
"It's hotter here"
"You have twice the load"
"You don't have help with the kids like you did last time"
"Every post-partum journey is different"
And that would help for a little while until the whole vicious cycle would start again.
I even actually believed myself for a few weeks when I said "I really don't care how much I'm running these days".
I did want to run. I DO want to run. This horrible comparison game was taking away all of the joy I ever found in running.
When I decided to organize a 5K for my Moms in Motion class in April I was really excited to finally have a running goal in sight. I'm always much more motivated when I have a race ahead of me, so this was perfect. Until the comparisons started again.
"H is 8 months old. When M was 8 months old you were running a half marathon"
"You did a 5K 3 months post-partum last time. This shouldn't be that big of a deal"
"You shouldn't have to train for this as hard as you are"
"Can you SERIOUSLY still only run 2 miles?"
Instead of being excited about a really fun event with my friends, I was shaming myself for not being better. It wasn't until a few days before our 5K that I decided my mindset had to change.
I decided to GET EXCITED for the 5K.
I decided to own my own race.
I decided to bring the JOY back to running.
And guess what guys, it worked. The mind is a POWERFUL tool. I showed up to that race and I didn't think about my last race. I thought about the one ahead of me. I smiled with my friends and ran to the best of my ability. We had a blast! And here is the funny thing that happened. Not only did I have the most fun running than I have had in a long time - I was FIRED UP afterwards.
I came home that day with a whole new outlook. I felt strong. I was ready to run longer. I was ready to quit listening to the voices in my head. I actually felt like a runner again. I felt like ME again,
I'm excited to see where the rest of this year takes me. I have a 10K at the end of May and a half marathon in the fall. Who knows if I'll do anything else in between but here's what I do know - I'm not going to let myself tell me that I'm not good enough.
If you can relate to ANY of this, here is my message to you: Don't compare yourself. Not to me, not to your neighbor, not to that girl you follow on Instagram and definitely not to your old self. Be YOU now. And be a really awesome version of her. And...sign up for a race. Even if it's way shorter than you think should should be doing. Just do it. Get yourself in the game again. The endorphins will fly and hopefully a little piece of that JOY you once found in running will return.
It's great to see you! I'm Alyssa and I blog about all the things I've found "essential" in my life as a fit mama and football coach's wife. You'll find all kinds of fun stuff here like workouts, oily info, football stories and more!
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I am not a licensed medical professional. All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program.
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