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Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy Back to School New Year

(Written by Lisa Druxman, CEO & Founder of Stroller Strides)

After two decades in the fitness industry, I have found that September is like a second New Year for moms. After a summer time of crazy schedules with lack of a regular diet or exercise program, back to school seems like the time to get back on track.

Here are my top 5 tips for getting back on track:
1) Plan! You know the saying that those who fail to plan, plan to fail? Well this is definitely true when it comes to your diet. Plan your weekly meals and exercise routine. Be prepared with healthy foods and don’t wait until hunger sets in to grab a bite to eat.

2) Portion! Watch your portion sizes. See how much you would normally choose and then cut it back at each meal. Using smaller plates can make a big difference in your food volume.

3) Write It Down! A food diary may be time consuming but it’s a great way to stay on track. It’s the times you don’t want to write down that you most need to. You may see some surprising trends in your eating when you see it on paper.

4) Weigh In! Now you may be surprised to hear me say that you should weigh in daily or weekly as I am not usually one to be a slave to numbers on the scale. But if your weight is creeping up, it may be the reminder to keep you in check so there are no surprises when you don’t fit in to your jeans.

5) Accountability! Join a workout or group where you are held accountable. Even a workout partner is great! You can’t make up an excuse to skip a workout when someone is waiting for you!

Your exercise and eating behaviors will sway from time to time, season to season. Do your best to avoid drastic extremes on either side as your body truly wants to keep a state of homeostasis. Extreme weight losses or gains are worse for your body than maintaining a higher weight. Be good to yourself and realize that you will feel your best when you are consistent in your health routine!
Original post can be found at

Friday, August 27, 2010

Luna Moms Club Tip of the Week:

Fact: Bottled water is less regulated than tap water and can contain chemicals leached from the plastic.

Bottle your own water and use a stainless steel or aluminum reusable water bottle.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

YOU are a great mom!

We moms can be so hard on ourselves. As a community of moms, we need to remind each other to focus on the good and healthy things that we do for our child(ren), and be proud of them! So in that spirit:

What do you do for your child(ren) that you're proud of?
Go ahead- make a list! And please share what you come up with!

Here are a few that came from our Stroller Strides class warm-up question today:
  1. I read to my son every day
  2. I make sure my son eats vegetables at every meal
  3. I continue to nurse my daughter despite the fact that it's hard and I'm often tempted to stop
  4. I gave up buying nice clothes and things for myself so I could afford to stay home with my daughter
  5. I dress my daughter in cute outfits- even when I don't have time and energy to do the same for myself
  6. I role-model a healthy, active lifestyle to my child by exercising with him
  7. I put my daughter's needs above my own and adapt my schedule around what works for her
  8. I make my own baby food
  9. I snuggle, hug, and kiss my little on every day and tell them I love them
And the list could go on and on! You are a GREAT mom!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Firetruck...

Last Wednesday was a our big event with the WRAL blog for moms, "Go Ask Mom". After a free Stroller Strides class at the North Hills Mall, our Luna Moms Club playgroup was treated to a visit from the North Hills Fire Engine! The firemen were so friendly and welcoming and the Chick Fil-A cow even made an appearance in his fireman uniform! The kids got to sit in and on the engine and each one got a bright red Fire Chief hat to take home. Thank you North Hills Firemen for being so sweet and generous to our families!

Here are some photos of the fun we had with the Fire Engine:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Losing the baby weight

Have you reached a point in your post-partum weight loss where you've stalled out? The weight came off so easily at first and now that number on your scale just won't budge? You aren't alone!

Take a look at how the post-partum weight is typically lost:
  • 10-13 lbs lost at delivery
  • 11-12 lbs lost in the first week after delivery
  • 2-3 lbs lost from 3-6 months
I'm no mathematician but that only adds up to about 28 lbs. What if you (like me) gained a bit more than that? Well, then it takes a little longer and a little more work but it is do-able!

You can lose your baby weight (and more) with consistently healthy eating habits and regular exercise! Need some company in your baby-weight loss journey? Join us for a Stroller Strides class- your first class is always free!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Luna Moms Club Tip of the Week:

Fact: In a recent warning about lead exposure, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifically recommends that shoes remain outside the house. According to a report called the Door Mat Study, lead-contaminated soil from the outside causes almost all the lead dust inside homes, and it notes that wiping shoes on a mat and removing them at the door cuts lead dust by 60 percent.

Action: Leave the dirt at the door. Wiping our shoes off and leaving them at the door reduces the amount of contaminated dirt tracked in. Think about this, your babies and kids are the ones who spend the most time on the ground in your home – crawling and playing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photo Tips for Busy Moms

Last Thursday our Luna Moms Club playgroup took a field trip to the Raleigh Rose Garden. Deb Wright, a local photographer, met us there among the lush late-summer blooms. She schooled us in some basic photography tips and sent us out into the garden to put them into action with our sweet kiddos as subjects. Now I need to mention here that it was HOT... SO INCREDIBLY HOT that morning. Therefore it was a brief picture-taking session for us all. But we managed to snap a few good ones. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see some of my attempts at photographing Monty!

Here are a few tips, courtesy of Deb Wright Photography, that we'd like to share with you! Thanks Deb!

Photo Tips for Busy Moms

1. Read your manual... you may find that your camera does a lot more than you think, and it tells you how.
2. Get down on your child's level... put baby in a chair, on the couch, or be prepared to lie down and roll around with the kids (much more fun)!
3. Use a flash! Outside in the sunshine a flash will reduce dark faces and shadows under eyes. Also use it inside when the subject is backlit by a lamp or sunny window.
4. Don't wait for the perfect sunny day... cloudy day lighting is beautiful and much better for portraits.
5. Don't insist on "cheese". Some of the most memorable photos are those that tell a story- a giggle, a pout, a sleeping angel.
6. Stay away from a busy background to allow for more focus on the subject.
7. Play with your camera's modes- portrait, macro, and sports modes.
8. Shoot lots of photos... and print the ones you love and delete the ones you don't.
9. Stay out of the middle... place your subject off center. Focus on their face, press the shutter button halfway down and move the camera slightly, and press it the rest of the way down to take the shot.
10. Keep your camera close by and carry extra batteries and memory cards. Frequently recharge your rechargeable batteries so they are ready for action when you are!
11. Have fun!

If you'd like to schedule a photo shoot with Deb or reach out to her with comments or questions you can find her through her website: or visit her Facebook fan page through this link.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Luna Moms Club Tip of the Week:

Personal care product companies are not required to test their products for safety prior to selling them and can put in virtually anything they want. Not surprisingly, there are many ingredients that have been found to be harmful.

Action: To reduce exposure to carcinogens, neurotoxicants, and reproductive toxicants, purchase products that do not contain:

* Parabens
* Formaldehyde
* Triethanolamine and cocamide DEA
* PEGs
* Isopropanol
* 2-phenoxyethanol
* Benzethonium chloride
* Talc
* Phthalates
* Fragrance

Skin Deep safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products (brought to you by researchers at the Environmental Working Group) is a great resource for what type of chemicals are in over 25,000 products – you can search by product type, by brand etc. Find out more at

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Feeding the Family: Salmon Veggie Patties

In July our Luna Moms Club group met for a Moms Night Out at Kitchen & Bath Galleries at the North Hills Mall. There were beautiful kitchens to ogle, munchies, wine, and lots of fun new mom-friends to hang out with- and no kids! And we were treated to a brief lesson and informative Q&A session on feeding our children courtesy of our local Happy Baby rep.

One of the Happy Baby products caught our eye and yet no one could find them in a store near us... Salmon Stix. Why salmon? Two words- brain food. So I stumbled upon a recipe in Parenting magazine and added more veggies... Monty had it for dinner tonight and here it is for your toddler's enjoyment! Let me know if you try it- and what your little one thinks!

Salmon Veggie Patties
*1 can (7.5 oz) boneless, skinless pink or red salmon (drained)
*2 T of finely diced onion/shallot
*1 egg, lightly beaten
*1/4 cup plus 2T panko bread crumbs
*3-4 T finely diced veggies (I used carrot & zucchini)
*salt & pepper sparingly
*2 T canola oil
*Unsweetened applesauce for dipping

1. In a large mixing bowl flake the salmon and combine with the onion, egg, veggies, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper.

2. Using your hands, roll mixture into 6 little balls and flatten slightly.

3. Dust lightly with remaining bread crumbs.

4. In a pan, over medium heat, warm the oil. When hot, add the patties and cook until golden brown on each side (approx 1-2 min/side). Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly.

5. Let them cool, dip them in applesauce and enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Plank You Very Much!

I used to HATE doing planks. I hated planks because they quickly revealed my lack of core strength. Over time I've come to love planks and the more I do them the better form I have and longer I can hold them. Who would have thought?!

But now that I've been working on my planks for a while, and my core has gotten so much stronger, I'm ready for a new challenge! Are you?

We did these (see below) in our Stroller Strides class on Friday morning at the North Hills Mall and I'd like to share them with our virtual community as well... here is Stroller Strides Founder and CEO, Lisa Druxman, demonstrating the "Plank Plus Curl, Twist, and Rock"...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Luna Moms Club Tip of the Week:

Fact: According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, organophosphate pesticides (OP) are now found in the blood of 95% of Americans tested and levels are twice as high in blood samples taken from children than in adults. These pesticides are linked to hyperactivity, behavior disorders, learning disabilities, developmental delays and motor dysfunction.

Action: Use non-toxic methods to manage pests and weeds.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tuning up your stroller...

After class on Wednesday, our Luna Moms Club playgroup activity was a Stroller Tune-Up Clinic courtesy of the folks at the North Hills REI store. The kids were really well-behaved and we were all able to get our strollers tuned up and even catch a few educational pointers too.

I'd like to pass on some of what the Bike & Stroller Technicians shared with our group... Thanks, REI!

* Tire Pressure
Periodically check your tire pressure and re-inflate to keep things rolling smoothly! Tires should be inflated to the pressure recommended on the wheel (if there is one) as opposed to the pressure recommended on the tire.

* Water-Repellent Lube

Don't use the WD-40 in your garage to lube up those squeaks... grab a bottle of water-repellent lube from your local bike shop or hardware store instead. Spray a little on the squeaky parts and enjoy your quieter ride!

* Suspension
Some strollers, like the BOB jogger, have knobs on the side that you can use to adjust the suspension to more evenly distribute the weight of your growing child over the frame of the stroller.

Many bike trailers that convert into strollers, like the Chariot Cougar, also have adjustable suspension that you can adjust for the weight of the occupant. Additionally, if your bike trailer/stroller combo is a two-seater you can adjust it to ride more evenly if your riders are different weights or if you only have a single occupant. Check your stroller/trailer's manual for more specific instructions or pop into your local REI to get some tips!

* Spokes/Pin Tightening
You might notice that over time your front stroller wheel becomes a little wiggly or that your stroller pulls to one side or the other. If your stroller has spokes (like a bike wheel) you can have a bike mechanic tighten your spokes for you and that should help. On the BOB jogger (which does not have spokes) there is a knob on the front wheel that you can tighten (see photos on the left).

The folks at REI also showed us the basics of fixing a flat tire too... but if I ever have one of those I think I'll just take it to the guys at REI!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Placenta Brain and what YOU can do about enhancing your brainpower!

If you’ve ever spent any length of time around a pregnant woman, or been one yourself, you may be familiar with the term placenta brain. A common affliction (not an actual medical term, mind you), placenta brain is characterized by forgetfulness- temporarily being unable to recall your brother’s name, where you put your car keys, or how to get somewhere you’ve been many times before. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to completely subside once you’ve delivered your baby (and therefore also the placenta). I’m sorry to report that you may suffer from a mild form of placenta brain, known after delivery as mommy brain, for the rest of your adult life- or at least until your children are adults themselves!

Aside from attempting the Sudoku puzzles in the paper and taking detailed notes whenever you make an appointment or meet someone new- is there anything we can do about it? Yes! Recent research has shown that exercise can do great things for toning up your mood, memory, and ability to learn!

In the August 2010 issue of U.S. News & World Report author, Deborah Kotz, identified these 5 things that exercise can do to enhance your brainpower in her article “Exercise Your Body- and Brain”:

1. Reverse the detrimental effects of stress by boosting levels of “soothing” neurotransmitters and reverse the signs of aging at the cellular level.

2. Lift depression! Exercise as effective as an antidepressant? We’re not going there. Please don’t stop taking your medications as a result of reading this post! But it does stimulate the growth of neurons in certain regions of the brain damaged during depression. How much exercise to feel the effects on depression? Burn 350 calories, 3X/week, through sustained, sweat-inducing activity.

3. Enhance learning! Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals that help make new brain cells and establish connections between cells to enhance learning and upgrades the capacity to learn by enhancing attention and concentration skills. It is best achieved by complicated activities such as playing tennis or taking dance class- or combination moves at Stroller Strides class!

4. Build self-esteem and improve body image as you see your fitness successes. This isn’t necessarily a change in your body shape but running a faster mile, lifting a heavier weight or using a more intense resistance band, or holding your plank longer, among others.

5. Leaves you with a feeling of euphoria known as a “runners high” and is best achieved through interval training such as sprint bursts while running, biking, or swimming

Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning. Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.

-John Ratey, Harvard Medical School psychiatrist and author of the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Post-Pregnancy Challenge #10: Baby Blues

I've taken a 2 week hiatus from writing about "Post-Pregnancy Challenges" because I really wanted to do this topic justice and I just couldn't focus on it until now.

I don't have a deep personal story about postpartum depression- and for that I am SO thankful. What I can tell you is that after Monty was born I experienced what is commonly known as the "baby blues" and I'm not alone- it affects up to 80% of new moms within the first 3 weeks of having a baby. I cried for no reason, felt overwhelmed by new motherhood, and worried anxiously about every ounce gained and lost by my new baby, among other things. Sound familiar?

Up to 20% of new moms experience more severe symptoms (than those associated with the baby blues) of depression, anxiety, and worry. And an even smaller percentage may experience an even more serious mood disorder that includes obsessive, panicked behavior and possibly even psychosis. If this is what you're feeling then please get help. If you've entertained thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby- please get help NOW! Call your OB's office and tell them you need to be seen as soon as possible for postpartum depression. If you need even more urgent help call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Unsure if you need to seek help? If your symptoms interfere with your daily activities, disrupting your ability to sleep or eat, or if you are feeling hopeless or helpless then it is time to contact your doctor.
**Please also note the following resources at the end of this post.

More severe forms of postpartum depression require medication and therapy. But what can you do if you got a case of the relatively mild and very common baby blues? Here are some tips from Stroller Strides Founder, Lisa Druxman:

1. Chronic sleep deprivation and sheer exhaustion don't help- so nap when your baby naps and ask a family member or friend to take over the childcare for a few hours so you can get some uninterrupted rest.

2. Exercise! It has natural mood-boosting effects!

3. Get out of the house and socialize with other moms and babies. Find a moms group near you and get involved- try a Luna Moms Club playgroup, MOPS, or search for moms groups on Even better when you can get your socializing and your exercising in at the same time at a Stroller Strides class!

4. Make nutritious food choices- fruits, veggies, and lean proteins!

*Your doctor's office, call 911, or go to your nearest emergency room
*In Raleigh: contact the Moms Supporting Moms group
*Elsewhere in the US: use the website at Postpartum Support International to search for a contact near you

If you have a story to share about your experience with this topic please feel free to comment- your experience may provide the glimmer of hope another reader desperately needs today!