Friday, October 24, 2014

How I Survive Without Coffee

Ceremonie tea

I have made it through high school, college, architecture school, and now having 4 children all without having coffee. I wish there was a good reason, some moral outrage against the coffee industry, or a health reason, but honestly, I just never liked the taste and by the time I realized that I "should" drink it, it was too late.

I do love the ritual of coffee, so to duplicate that calm feeling (and give me a *little* caffeine boost), I drink tea instead.

My new favorite, is the Earl Grey Lavender from Ceremonie Tea. It's my go-to morning tea, perfect with a splash of milk.

A good friend of mine now works for Ceremonie, and when he asked if I'd like a free box to sample, I jumped at the chance. Here are my favorite things:

  • The packaging is elegant and pretty enough to be left out
  • They have a bento-box-esque display tray that makes offering company tea an elegant experience
  • I adore the minicubes. Each person can have their own touching all the other bags.
  • The flavors are inventive and yummy, Ginger peach? Lemongrass & Verbena?
  • They come in pretty pyramid sachets which just makes me feel fancy:)

I'm also using tea as a key part of my weight loss strategy. (You can read about how I lost almost 50 pounds of baby weight in less than three months here). After dinner, instead of putting the kids to bed, pouring a glass of wine, and then giving in to food cravings that only exist because of said glass of wine, I drink tea instead. I've even gotten my 7 year old on the tea-after-dinner wagon, and we make a few cups, sit on the couch, read, talk and actually connect, all without me having random cravings for a bowl of chocolate chips, almonds, ice cream... you get the idea. At night, I go for the non-caffeinated tea, so Moroccan Mint is my fave.

Ceremonie tea

If you are local, you can find it at Oakland Kosher. Friends farther afield can find Ceremonie Tea online at Abe's Market or more info at

Ceremonie tea

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How I lost the baby weight in 10.5 weeks

Questioning whether I should even write this post, but in the spirit of the blog being for me (and for you only in as much as you enjoy it and chose to read it), here goes. This is how, after having baby #4 (!!!), I lost the 49.5 pounds of pregnancy weight that I gained, and I lost it in only 10.5 weeks.

It is very important to be precise here, since weight gain and loss can feel very precise. 49.5 pounds sounds a heck of a lot better in my head than 50 pounds, and 10.5 weeks sounds better than 11 weeks:)

The three main things I did were:

1. Weight Watchers

2. Exercising 5-6 days a week

3. Reading books, magazines and blogs about fitness and weight loss to keep me motivated.

Before: 3 days before giving birth... After: 10.5 weeks later...(sorry I don't have one of only me)

Weight Watchers-

I have used Weight Watchers before, so I know that the system works for me. I need to write down everything that I eat, and have no food "off limits" in order to see results. Of course, as I get more fit, I wind up making better food choices anyway, since it feels better, but coming right off having a baby, I needed to know that I could eat anything, but I had to track it (write it down online or in the app).

I did the online version of the plan, since I knew the basics, and who can get to a meeting with a newborn? Not I. I read the blogs on the site, used the app to track my food but also my water intake, and overall just shifted the amount that I was eating. Plus, no more nausea really helps me chose to eat veggies, rather than anything that I think won't hurt coming back up:)


I started a few days after giving birth with simple breathing exercises to strengthen my abs. I used a video from Fit2B (not an affiliate link) and just worked my way up. My husband and I started walking each day, first for 5 minutes, then for 10, then 15. Maybe I was up to 30 minutes of slow walking by 2 weeks postpartum, so nothing crazy, just moving my body outside. Sometimes I would walk on our treadmill at home too.

The real game changer was starting doing Jillian Michaels (you know her from the Biggest Loser) DVDs at home. I started with 30 Day Shred, Level 1, and I couldn't even get through the whole thing for a few weeks! I just kept at it, doing a few more reps each day, resting less, then adding in Level 2 once I felt stronger. By the 11 week mark when I had lost all of the weight, I was doing all 3 levels of 30 Day Shred, plus level 1 of 6 Week 6 Pack. (It took another 2 months before I could do level 2 of 6 Week 6 Pack without stopping)!

The DVD's were perfect for after having a baby since they are short (22 minutes to 40 minutes), and I could pause to go nurse/change a diaper etc then come back to them and pick up where I left off. The stress of getting to a class at a specific time was just too much for me in that newborn stage, you never know when the baby will be hungry or have a diaper blowout...

Staying Motivated-

I read the following books (usually while nursing)!

Slim By Design, by Brian Wansink Ph.D.
The End of Overeating, by David A Kessler, M.D.
The Everygirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness, by Maria Menounos
Thin Side Out, by Josie Spinaldi
Skinny Thinking, by Laura Katleman-Prue
Mindless Eating, by Brian Wansink Ph.D.

Each one gave me a little push to make positive changes. from reorganizing my refrigerator so the fruits and veggies are at eye level and the junk is in the crisper, to always leaving a bite on my plate, each one helped me to make tiny changes, usually 1 change per week.

I also rewarded myself whenever I went to the grocery store and *didn't* buy a donut (my pregnancy craving this round). I would buy as many health and fitness magazines as I wanted. Whether or not I did the workouts or cooked the food, I was motivated to keep on track, keep going, and just the act of tearing out an ab workout served to motivate me a little bit each day.

Oh- and I kept losing weight! That might be the craziest part of this. Instead of just stopping or plateauing at my pre-baby weight, I kept losing, another 23 pounds, getting back to my wedding weight (technically 2 pounds less)! I'll write another post with those tips to stay motivated (and pics!) soon.


Here's a link to the workout I did. You can find lots for free if you are an Amazon Prime member, or I bought this one for less than $10. (affiliate link, but I bought it and love it, so you know it's good)

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