S.M.A.R.T. GOALS (continued from the Soap Digest Column)

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Thanks to all of you that sent DMs and emails about the Digest article. I love that many of you related to something in the article. I really need all the help I can get, so I love learning from other people! I like the SMART intentions because they simplify my thoughts.  I get easily overwhelmed and overthink things. This model helps keep my mind on track. And I discussed a few things I learned from celebrity trainer Erin Oprea. I didn't say this in the article, but I'd like to lose 5 pounds. It's that little last bit of baby weight. I did mention is putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and outlining some ideas here. Forgive me for going on and on about this stuff!!  

SMART: SMART, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC, TIME-BOUND

SPECIFIC. In the article, I mentioned getting up earlier everyday. 45 minutes to be exact. I want to try to get more done first thing in the day. Preferably, before the kids get up. This proves to be easier said than done because they wake up at slightly different times, especially the baby. But, my goal is to start the coffeemaker, then hit the treadmill or jump on the trampoline. This was one of the main things that Erin Oprea does that inspired me. We'll see how this goes;) So, far, not so good! ha.

MEASURABLE. For me, right now, it is drinking the water. That is a very measurable challenge that I can track throughout the day and feel accomplished no matter what. Even 4 glasses of water is better than one- or none! I do notice the more I drink, the more I seem to need. Anyone ever notice that? I'm actually going to take a break right now to go down a glass. 

My next measurable goal will be a race of some sort. Heather Tom and Katherine Kelly Lang from Bold and Beautiful are inspiring me. They set goals like this constantly. Marathons, races, charitable walks, rides, you name it!

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ATTAINABLE. My disciplined girlfriend Kaley (Cuoco) will text me when she's going to yoga (usually with advance notice for me to arrange a sitter). It's so helpful to have someone hold me accountable. My other girlfriend Amy (Davidson) and I recently took the babies hiking with strollers. It was such a great workout! I was dying afterward, but secretly thrilled Amy encouraged me to do it. (I wanted to just walk flat ground!)

REALISTIC. I'm going through my closet right now giving away clothes that no longer fit me... I've held on to them thinking I might be that size again. But, it's not helpful! It's not realistic. I'd rather set goals that are realistic and feel great about achieving them, instead of constantly being reminded that I'm not where I "want" to be. It's silly, really. In the article, I mentioned being realistic about your workouts, too. I've told myself that if I can't fit in a workout/yoga, I can always do strengthening exercises ANYWHERE ANYTIME. Sit-ups, push-ups, leg lifts, jumping jacks, etc. are always a good idea. I appreciated Mary B. mentioning the Bosu Balance trainer in one of the comment sections here. It inspired me to incorporate that again. If you don't want to attend a class or go running or to the gym, it is a great way to workout at home. A Plan B (or A) that eliminated any reason for an excuse not to workout.

1. Bosu Balance Trainer  2. Personal Trampoline 3. S'well Bottle

TIME BOUND. I work better with a deadline. It's just the way I'm wired. I like to know when something needs to be completed. So, I'm setting a time-frame to achieve that 5 pound goal. Hayden turns 2 on May 24th. I feel like this is a completely realistic goal for me. And I'm putting it out there so you all will help hold me accountable!

FAMILY.

Overall goal- fun activities to keep the kids moving and mentally stimulated. If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen Hayden "playing" soccer on instastory. I enrolled him in a class. Huck was in soccer and karate. He is deciding which one to continue. They both love being outside on their age-appropriate scooters (with helmets) or bikes. For inside, Joel got them this robot that they enjoy chasing around called Think and Learn Teach n Tag Movi

We have a basketball goal in the house that can easily slip in the garage when we don't want it inside. But, if you have the space, it's an affordable, fun way to get the family involved. (Remember playing HORSE as a kid?)

1. Basket Ball Goal 2. Think and Learn Movi 3. Trampoline

4. Bicycoo

Another variation for the "R" part of the SMART goals:

REWARD. Motivation for me to keep going? Something new and cute for workouts!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! I was really inspired by comments you guys left on other posts about fitness goals. Feel free to chime in more here about your own progress, leave tips, etc. 

 

Body After Baby

I have to thank Soap Opera Digest for their latest interview where Mara Levinsky got me talking about body after baby (on stands now- with a blurb on the cover!). I haven't written much about this topic because in no way do I feel like an expert. However, I think it's good to talk about the reality of life and getting in shape after having a baby. Or the reality of what it takes to get in better shape for anyone: discipline and work. The article goes in depth about the things that I didn't expect, the struggles and the joys of postparatum. Let me know what you think!

This photoshoot was two weeks after giving birth, right before I went back to shoot GENERAL HOSPITAL. I was EXHAUSTED and emotional and elated simultaneously. 

I took long walks several times a week and kept as active as my energy level allowed during the pregnancy, trying not to gain unnecessary weight. Hayden got fairly big toward the end (I wrote this post after the baby shower, and this post was three days before I gave birth). I admit, I was lucky I initially lost some of the pounds I gained, but it started to creep back. I had to eat more to keep breastfeeding and wasn't working out enough. The struggle to get back in the same shape I was in pre-pregnancy has been real for me. I haven't done it yet, as I discuss in the article. My body looks different. One of the biggest struggles has been learning to accept myself for where I am in life today. A reader (thank you Cara Sue!) left a comment in another post about resolutions for 2017. She simply said she wanted to have "more self care." I love this because it encompasses more than just vanity; it's a whole lifestyle practice mentally, emotionally and physically. My priority now is my baby and my family. This used to sound like an excuse to me when other people said it, and it is to an extent, but it's simply the truth. Do you feel like you have time to workout? I don't want to be that person with excuses! My husband reminds me it's all about prioritizing the day, making smart choices.

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So, I am trying to look at this as an opportunity to adjust to a new lifestyle! I strap the baby on and go hiking or walking. I use my Joovy jogger to jog if I'm not too tired. I have grand plans to escape to yoga, but my membership doesn't get as much use as it used to. So, I go when I can. Some days I feel like I'm running around in circles not being as productive as I'd like. I have to let my preconceived expectations of the day go as I step over full laundry baskets and Huck's toys. I have a feeling some of you can relate?  

I try to stay well so I have energy by implementing super simple tips I learned from Dr. Oz! I have to say, my whole household has been sick, but I have not! I still take Proglucamune, the immunity supplement from Usana.  I promised myself I would drink two glasses of water with my supplements every morning. I'm proud I have made that a habit. My mom recently reminded me of a tip we both learned from Ronn Moss (from BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL) years ago... hot water with lemon first thing every morning to detoxify the body. I remember him drinking it during the day on set, too. He swears by this habit. Healthy (and free) habits are the best! 

In order to make progress for tomorrow, I have to do something different today. Doing the same thing every day and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. So, I am making a list of easy, healthy habits to incorporate change in my life as part of my new year's resolutions. I'm going to force myself to try them--- wanna do it with me? Leave a comment of things you'd like to try. Drink more water? Vitamins? Less soda? Less sugar. Take more steps (literally walk more)? I'm thinking I'd like to start one habit at a time and build from there. 

In the meantime, in honor of the Golden Globes tonight, I'm sharing my favorite tricks I've learned over the years from wardrobe, makeup and hair that have helped me during this transition period of body after baby.  Read them HERE! 

NO MORE CRYING OVER SPILLED MILK! What items are saving me (and my milk)!

AshleyAJones.com

First of all, I'm grateful I can breastfeed at all. I know it's a privilege.  With that said, it's been an incredibly trying, challenging, emotional roller coaster. For me and my husband! Sleep deprivation is a real thing! Although it hasn't even been a month, there are a few key materials I wish SO MUCH I had utilized from day one in the hospital. I'm back to work today!!  And these products have helped me save extra milk for Hayden. This is simply my experience... I'm obviously not a doctor (even though I play on one on B&B- ha!), so do your own research and find what is best for you. 

First off, I've had issues. I'll write more in another post for those that are curious of my experience, but to spare you the morbid details, I'll just say my nipples got so raw, I couldn't breastfeed.  I was still pumping, but it hurt. Badly. Finally, I listened to my mother and bought breast shields. Immediately, I was able to go back to breast feeding with Hayden.  It doesn't take away all the pain, but it lessens it by about 75%.  (***Please note: before you use these, do your own research. I believe they can help temporarily, but over time, could lessen your supply of milk.)

                           Medela Breast Shield

                        Medela Breast Shield

Secondly, my husband did his own research and ordered me Milk Savers.  After seeing how desperate I was to produce and save milk, it crushed us to see wasted milk in breast pads or dripping down my clothes.  When I would nurse on one breast, the other one would leak quite a bit.  It would've saved me  a ton of grief, pain and spilled milk!  You know the saying... no sense crying over spilled milk? Well, let me tell you. I've shed a few tears over wasting this precious liquid gold.  Every girlfriend (nursing or about to try nursing) I have told about this product wants it!

While the Milk Savers are great while I'm nursing or even around the house, I am using breast shells inside my nursing bra occasionally between feedings. They collect excess milk and it can really add up. (TIP: if you use the lids with ventilation at the top, be careful when you lean over--- it will spill out!!). This is an easy way to collect milk when you aren't feeding or pumping. Plus, at least for my situation, it protects the nipples while they are healing.  I really used them mainly for that. I didn't love collecting milk in them.

Below, I rounded up the products that have helped me the most with breastfeeding.  I added my favorite nursing bras, too.  They are priced low to high (some, in my opinion, high).  But, so far, the ones I've chosen are worth the money.  (ps- click on each picture if you're interested because some items on sale are not reflected in this post, but will show up when you click).  I'm still in shock how quickly they get messed up and need washing... one minute we're good and the next... oops! We're leaking! Anyhow, check it out... and please--- this takes a village, if there are products you highly recommend, PLEASE leave a comment.  

Check out the nursing tops I have used the most. To read more about nursing, or see where I was wearing some of these, type NURSING in the search box at the top right. You'll see more posts!