Featured Movin’ Mama: Vanessa

Meet Vanessa!
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Vanessa is a 29-year-old Movin’ Mama of two little boys (4 & 2) living in Boston with her husband. Vanessa is a former college basketball star – turned – FitMom, who now works full-time as a Customer Success Manager at an emerging technology company. We asked how she’s Living Well today, and here’s what she shared…

How do you typically start your day?

Early! During the work week, my alarm goes off at 5 AM. My husband takes care of morning duty with our boys so that I can get into work on time, and then I pick them up at school in the early evening. My mornings are mainly about me…starting with a cup of coffee, a shower, and putting my “face” on, as I like to say! I always feel more put together knowing I have my make up on. By the time 4 PM rolls around, I am in mommy mode, so I enjoy my mornings as that is really the only time I have alone and to get my mind right to tackle the day.

What does your workout regimen consist of today?

I played basketball at a collegiate level and was essentially “paid to play” for four years. I was blessed to have been given the opportunity to receive a full scholarship and walk out of college loan-free, however the level of commitment and dedication was more than I had ever imagined it would be. I had my fun in college, but exercise was taken to a whole other level.

After graduating from college, I got married and had my boys 22 months apart, and can honestly say I did not work out for a good four years while I was having children. Because I was so into exercising most of my life and loved working out with a purpose [to win to basketball games], it was difficult to get myself into a fitness regime to simply lose the weight. As most moms know, whether you have a full-time or part-time career, or you are home with your children everyday, finding time for yourself to go to the bathroom is difficult, let alone leaving the house to go to a gym!

Long story short, when my youngest son turned 9 months, I started a new job and I was extremely overweight…the heaviest I had been outside of pregnancy. I was introduced to a BeachBody workout program that I was able to spend only 25 minutes, 5 days/week in the comfort of my own home. Finding that 25 minutes was difficult but I did it…at 9 PM at night after I put my kids to bed! It was beyond difficult getting back into a consistent regime, but when I finally committed myself, my mind and with the support of my husband cheering me on, I jumped right in.

25 minutes was not difficult and it was just the right cardio and core training I needed to get my body back to where it was pre-kids. In just ten weeks, I lost close to 35 pounds. It was worth every late night! I still commit to this workout regime about 3 times/week and incorporate other programs from BeachBody as well. I also have been recently taking Pilates classes and running more outside.

What do you do when you want to have “Me” time?

I get my hair done. I absolutely love everything about getting my hair done and I love switching it up all the time. I have hair ADD!

Has losing the baby weight been harder or easier this time around than before? Why?

Losing the baby weight after my first son was not that bad, but I had never lost all the weight from my first before I got pregnant with my second. I had around 10 pounds that just lingered after my first. I will say I nursed both my sons for 20 months, and never experienced the weight loss that most mothers do from nursing. It had the reverse effect on me…burning a ton of calories feeding my children made me looking for food after.

Additionally after my second son, I started putting weight on when he was around 7-months-old. It took me from the time he was 7 months to 9 months for me to get my mind right and commit to a change, not just for the weight loss but for my mental and physical health. I have always been a very energetic person and I was slowly losing that as more weight was being put on.

Finish this sentence: Being a Mom has made me…

Question everything; and realize that there isn’t always a right answer, sometimes you have to go with your gut and hope for the best!

What has been your biggest challenge with wellness since the birth of your last child and how are you overcoming it?

My biggest challenge is finding the time to make healthier choices with my diet. Packing snacks, lunches and even planning weekly meals takes time and it is so easy to cave and just grab unhealthy snacks or eat out.

I am now a year into this new healthier lifestyle, and finding the time to make healthy decisions can still be a challenge. But now that I see how I look and I know how I feel, it has just become my new routine. I am more conscious about what I buy and what is in the house.

To the best of my ability, I plan out our meals and cook at home around 4-5 times a week. I have my cheat meals of course, but they are very few and far between!

What are some best wellness tips you can share with other new moms?

  1. Get as much sleep as you can!
  2. Take time to eat well-balanced meals and drink a ton of water!
  3. Move your body every day. Even if you can’t possibly find any time to work out, get creative! Do squats while getting your baby to sleep. Go on plenty of walks while your baby sleeps. Anything helps and beats just sitting around. The goal is to keep releasing those endorphins!

What’s your favorite go-to for a light weeknight dinner?

My husband makes this very yummy 3-herb-chicken. He will marinate cilantro, mint, and parsley in olive oil, lemon and garlic. Grill the chicken and then put the marinade all over it! We typically have couscous on the side with a tomato and cucumber salad…We have this almost every week.

What was your own mother right about?

That my children are not me. They are individual people with their own likes and dislikes and their own ideas. I am here to give them guidance, but in the end I have to allow them to be who they are and accept them no matter what! Just simply love them.

You’re in the store with a full cart and your baby starts crying frantically…what do you do?

Open up a snack and or a Disney Jr app. They both will help you get through some of the hardest cries!

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