We don’t have to enroll our kids in every sport around because it sure can be costly, time consuming and energy draining in so many ways. I know it gives you a break from them, makes them accountable to other good authority and helps their character development, but I routinely watch the health of parents decline whence they become the athletic chauffeur, logistics support and super fans of their children. I think there’s a better way out there where we can instead raise fit kids from anywhere we are and include ourselves to benefit all.
I have done a lot of moving around, my real insiders at Fit Catholic Mom know to what extent, and part of what that has meant for us is being athletes no matter where we are. The reality of this hit a few short years ago when I got really tired of driving my child to the same field, at the same time, to play with the same kids and kick the same ball. I also had to load up all my kids to do the same crazy routine routinely! Argh...I am not taking a dig at team sports, I love them, but go with my endurance athlete's mindset for a minute here. I actually burnt out on the travel to and from the place for practice and the drop off, pick up, drop off, pick up, etc. I just needed to be able to motivate and challenge myself and my family all at the same time without conforming to another’s schedule and demands.
My husband and I decided we would encourage our kids to develop as athletes right from our door wherever that door was. This meant installing a zip line, slack line and trampoline right outside our house. We made sure everyone had adequate running shoes, a good functioning bicycle, a ball mitt and a tennis racquet. When we're on the go we made sure to also bring a stocked traveling gym with bungees, weight bar, med balls, free weights and other props as well as swim stuff and tennis racquets. You might think you can’t play tennis as a family, but if your employ your 6 year old to be the ball boy for part of the time, he’ll run his legs off to do it! The baby will crawl, the littles will run or play to the side and the big kids can rotate in and out. It doesn’t function perfectly, but it is perfectly functional for a family.
The other angle worth taking here is the real need to bring other families together and play even bigger games, pool even better ideas and watch your kids rise out of their attitudes to perform for the group. Anyone who’s been through the public school system or played sports at any level can use what they’ve learned about sports and modify them for the size and skill of the group. Who doesn’t love a game of kick ball, wall ball, pickle, tag, kick the can, sardines etc? If you don’t know what to play, listen to your kids who’ll probably have ideas.
If you’re looking to get your kids and yourself active and out of doors, look no further than what you can have on hand at home. If they struggle to get into it, just invite others to join you at home, at a park or on the trails. It’s amazing to watch our kids develop a sense of physical discipline.
Don’t over complicate this. Get creative! Be resourceful! Integrate others!
Make fitness happen and have some fun unto the health and sanctification of your body and soul.
Endure and enjoy,
I am asked periodically what I think of yoga and specifically of Catholics participating in its practice. Here is my response of limited scope:
In 2003 the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Interreligious Dialogue created a working document on the New Age called Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life. Its purpose was to put New Age challenges in context, and to help teachers of the faith in particular to dialog with those in the New Age movement while teaching the truth without compromise.
“Even if it can be admitted that New Age religiosity in some way responds to the legitimate spiritual longing of human nature, it must be acknowledged that its attempts to do so run counter to Christian revelation.” (1.4)
The need to involve the senses in interior prayer corresponds to a requirement of our human nature. We are body and spirit, and we experience the need to translate our feelings externally. We must pray with our whole being to give all power possible to our supplication. (Catechism of the Catholic Church p. 2702)
With Yoga having known Hindu roots and being undeniably of the Hindu religion in expression and experience, it is in no way safe for a Christian to participate in. Yoga is made up of poses for the 330 million Hindu gods. Sometimes in America we get a watered down version and it may even be called Piyo or other (Pilates/Yoga combined), but it is nonetheless, not of Christian orientation at all. Wether you make your coffee strong or weak, it is nonetheless, still coffee!! Get my drift?
We should all love to strengthen, stretch, meditate and relax just as much as the next, but we must choose an expressly Christian, better yet, Catholic approach to it and they're out there.
Furthermore, when we practice yoga, and claim as yet to be faithful Catholics, we give scandal to our fellow Catholics, and ones of especially weaker faith, who may fall away after having followed our example and partaken of the New Age. We cannot risk it and if you pay for attending then you really condone it. Can you imagine a total non-Catholic tithing into our collection basket at Mass? That would be saying something!
Lastly, you might think you can just "take Jesus in there with you" like I used to think, but you have no idea what god the person next to you is praying to or what spirit they might be channeling. I'm totally serious here! We had better acknowledge the unseen amongst us and not pretend it isn't influential.
...so pick up your Rosary beads and strengthen and stretch while you "FIT" in that daily Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy or both!
Note: I produce videos for my clients which address the human need to stretch, strengthen, relax and be at prayer. (Try this one with me https://vimeo.com/205714592.) They are easy to follow and are always faithful to the Church's teachings. I enjoy Pilates which doesn't seem to be of any religious bent and is therefore presumed to be safe to practice. There are others doing good in this arena too. Check out www.soulcore.com as another possibility.
For a much fuller explanation please read this 2 part article below:
PraiseMoves Christian Alternative to Yoga:
Be fit and FAITHFUL always!
“Good Catholic women don’t feel like this. Surely I’m the only one.”
As a mama of four and a three-time overcomer of postpartum depression and anxiety, these words have echoed through my mind countless times. Postpartum depression is so very isolating and deceiving.
I’m happy to know the truth now — that 1 in 7 mothers will develop postpartum depression within the first year after their baby’s birth, that PPD can happen to anyone, and most importantly, that hope and healing are possible.
Whether you're a new mama or a veteran, the first year postpartum can be one of the most beautiful and most difficult of your life.
Real life with a newborn isn't the highlight reel that we see on so many social media feeds. The sweet snuggles, tiny toes, and milky smiles go hand-in-hand with sleepless nights, crazy hormones, and a big dose of "How am I going to do this?!"
Throw in a postpartum mood disorder -- like postpartum depression or anxiety -- and you can feel like you're drowning.
So how do you know if you're experiencing the “baby blues,” or something more? What are the hallmark signs of postpartum depression? And how do you begin to heal?
If you find yourself asking these questions right now, you’re not alone. Here are three facts every mama should know about PPD, and two things you can do to begin to feel better right now.
PPD is not the “baby blues.”
The “baby blues” are a common experience after childbirth, affecting up to 80% of new moms. Symptoms include mood swings, tearfulness, irritability, and anxiousness that usually begin 3-4 days after childbirth. They resolve on their own within 2 weeks postpartum.
While PPD and the baby blues share some of the same symptoms, they are very different. Because it’s an actual mood disorder, PPD is much more serious.
Symptoms of PPD have a wide range and don’t always match our idea of what depression should look like.
PPD can actually begin anytime within the first year after childbirth, and symptoms will last for more than two weeks.
Many women experience depressed mood, drastic changes in appetite, or a loss of interest in their normal activities. Others will also have symptoms of increased anger, feeling “out of control,” or a deep sense of guilt or worthlessness. Often, a mama with PPD has difficulty bonding with her new baby, or will excessively worry about her baby’s safety. And some mamas will also suffer recurring thoughts of death or suicide. (For a detailed symptom list, go HERE.)
The bottom line: if you’re consistently just not feeling like yourself postpartum, then PPD may be an issue. It won't hurt to bring your concerns to your doctor or loved ones.
PPD is not your fault.
It’s so easy for a mama with PPD to beat herself up with the lie that if she just loves her kids more, or if she just prays harder, or if she were just a better mother, then she wouldn’t feel this way.
No! Sweet mama, this is not your fault. There are a myriad of factors that can contribute to a postpartum mood disorder — hormonal changes, life stressors, lack of social support, thyroid problems, and sleepless nights can all wreak havoc on a postpartum mom’s mind and body.
So don’t blame yourself. Instead, ask the Lord to help you to find healing.
Because there’s good news! PPD is treatable.
When I was at my darkest after the birth of my second baby, I was sure that I would be depressed forever. It seemed impossible that I would ever be happy again. If you feel this way, too, take courage!
There are many effective ways to combat PPD. Among them are counseling, medications, targeted supplements (such as with progesterone), consistent exercise, and excellent nutrition — and often, the best treatment is a combination of some or all of these.
It does take time and effort to discover the best ways to treat PPD in each woman. But if you’re suffering now, there are two things you can do to begin to feel better right away.
First, open your heart to your spouse or a trusted friend.
Let them know that you’re feeling badly, that you’re scared, and that you need their support. Just saying the words out loud will bring some peace. There is no shame in needing help, and no sense in carrying your burden alone.
Second, ask a loved one to assist you in seeing a professional.
Something as serious as PPD can be resolved best when under the careful and gentle watch of a doctor, midwife, psychiatrist, or other provider. The sooner you make the call, the sooner you will be on the road to getting the help you deserve. But you shouldn’t have to figure it out by yourself. Tell your loved ones that you need their support in finding and calling a doctor; they can even go with you to the appointment. Ask them to help you today!
Dear beautiful mama, PPD is not forever, and you do not have to go it alone. I’ve been there three times, and from the other side I can say, there is hope — you will be well again!
For more information on postpartum depression and other postpartum mood disorders, see Flourish in Hope or Postpartum Support International.
I make a lot of EXCUSES when it comes to exercising:
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!
Most people make excuses for why they can't get fit: lack of money, time, motivation, encouragement, resources, neat venues, the right companions, healthy joints, disastasis recti, lack of a gym, the fullness of each day, the past in which they weren't an athlete or the future in which they don't know how to be one...
I'm here to point out to you and I that non of these are truly valid, not now, nor at any future time we want to try and use them as an excuse! Even I pull out some of these and I know better!
We live in the age of the internet where you can watch workout videos and DO THEM from the comfort of your own home. It's like having a private training session for free! Granted the operative words are DO THEM! You can watch them all day and not loose an once or an inch. If you carefully weed through the trashy ones you can find the most decent of trainers to come in and take over your screen while you get to sweating and working toward better health. I do this for my clients and I do this for myself.
Can you spot the mess making monkeys?
Excuse me if I clean that up later!
While you're at it you might even think to play a video leading your family in the mysteries of the Holy Rosary in the month of May in which we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary more acutely. She is the awesome mother given to us from the cross in one last and painful act in which our Blessed Lord even gave his mother away stripping himself void of everything.
Let's use the good tools we have for the transformation of body and soul. The internet and the t.v. are worth their weight in gold if they bring us into a place of better health, happiness and holiness. Will you use them this way too?
I love my new workout tank from www.pioprints.com. They have incredible sayings printed on them.
Leave it to St. Catherine of Siena to hit us hard with her motivation as the words on my tank remind me.
Now let's go and translate it into our lives. Still today, yes! Somehow, someway. Tomorrow is too late!
If you missed my 6 Week Lenten Challenge, I hope you'll join me for the next one! If you joined me, congratulations, and get hungry for more!
Telling one of my clients this weekend that I was suffering from a plugged duct she said how she feels sometime she gets spiritually plugged ducts. I thought that was a great analogy!
We seem to formulate a concrete plan of how to conquer a physical plugged duct, so here's a few steps to conquer the spiritual:
1. Get some alone time with God before the Blessed Sacrament and formulate your Confession while doing so.
2. Confess your sins and the open up the Word.
3. Read the Word and write down opposing terms / themes. Example:
-When I am WEAK: he is STRONG
-When I feel UNPRODUCTIVE: he will produce the fruit of RIGHTEOUSNESS
(real productivity unto the glory of God)
-When I am EMPTY: he will FILL me.
Grab a theme for convincing yourself of his nearness and goodness and let him get you up and rolling toward holiness. It's all in HIM!
A little motivation goes a long way!
I have never regretted getting a workout in that I can remember. I have, on the other hand, regretted not getting one in...purposely.
Seems we sometimes forget how powerful a school of virtue sport is. It's not easy to curb our will, but the more often we do it, the better we become at it. Our human default setting doesn't naturally gravitate to things which are laborious, painful or foreign. Sport can throw all that at us at once.
So continue joyfully to work on your workout, to see more than just temporal benefit. When correctly applied, the lessons gained through our training will help transform us from the outside in.
Likewise, what we do for the training of our soul will transform us from the inside out.
Be mindful and intentional of applying your training investment correctly!
Do not be conformed to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Romans 12:2
Transformed for freedom in Him!
Dear Fit Catholic Moms,
If you’re like me, you’ve got a pile of unread books on your nightstand - about raising faithful children, finding time for prayer, or being a better wife.
And maybe you’ve got an inbox and Facebook feed full of wonderful insightful blogs that you just can’t keep up with.
You’re often overwhelmed, tired, stressed, and you feel like you’re alone on this journey of motherhood.
In my quest for support, connection, and guidance, I’ve signed up for webinars, e-courses, and other programs but it’s so hard to find the time to sift through what’s good - not to mention what is in line with my Christian values!
That’s why I’ve decided to act and help other mothers discover practical, to-the-point, concrete solutions to our biggest challenges and concerns.
The Inspired Mom Summit launches live, January 2nd through January 14th and will be your lifeline in these crazy times.
And the best part about all this is that…
…It’s FREE for you to attend!
Click Here to Claim Your Free Pass
This event is going to be game changing! I know you’ve probably heard that before…right?
The difference this time is…we’ve done all the heavy lifting by assembling a world-class group of experts for you that truly understands us and our needs, all in one place…
…all you need do is show up!
You’re going to learn exactly how to…
-Slash Your Grocery Budget
-Be Free from Perfectionism
-Handle Technology with Children
-Find Peace and Joy in the Trenches of Motherhood
-Deal with Toxic Overload
-Raise Faithful and Virtuous Children
-Overcome the Unthinkable
-Handle Your Wardrobe
-Achieve Your Fitness Goals (This is where I speak!)
-Deal with Postpartum Depression
-Dream new dreams for Special Needs Children
-Make Working from Home Possible
And a whole lot more…
Now, all that’s left to do is to claim your Free Ticket.
You only need to reserve your digital seat once to attend each day of the online summit. Registration is free from now until the end of the event.
This is going to be an awesome eye opening experience!
Simply Click Here to Reserve Your Seat before life gets in the way and you forget…
Also, put the dates in your calendar so you're reminded of it!
Your free pass will give you access to listen to these 24 amazing guest speaker presentations over a full two weeks of the event, and you will get to listen each day for free!
Just for you momma,
P.S. We’re trying to get the word out about the event and you’re one of the first to know! If you wouldn’t mind sharing the free registration link with a few others you may know who would want to also claim a free pass… I’d really appreciate it! (Plus you’ll look like a super hero for being the first to share!)
Here’s the link again that you can share:
Click Here to Claim Your Free Pass
When the going gets tough...will you fall back toward that old self or standup and charge forward in a new and more perfect way?
I am facing the music on this rignt now while I write. The words, much less the reality of 5:30 a.m. and I, have not historically been written into the same sentences. We just don't do things together!
Seriously! How completely enticing to remain under the wraps and warm weight of covers snuggled against the soft body of my breastfed son sleeping peacefully in the early morning darkness. How intoxicating to smell his precious head and sink a little deeper into the pillow top mattress and claim again to God that, "I'll lay here and pray effectively and go to the depths with you Lord. I will." I enter into stillness and prayerfulness...for but a second...zzzzzz...zzzzzz...
Rise oh frail flesh! Rise and face the discomfort of the wintry morning floor. Feel the chill of the unheated room. Confront the teapot and bland herbs as you fast from delicacies. No coffee with homemade raw peppermint whipped cream for you...not yet.
I have set my alarm early to set my sights high. I will fast, watch and pray. The Lord is nigh. Will one more hour of sleep really benefit me more than one hour of prayer? I think I'll opt for prayer and rest with my littles later if I must.
The night is now long spent. The Savior who is Christ the Lord is calling and coming. I await with wonder his virginal birth and Incarnation. I enter in with him in this moment looking with anticipation and readiness as to where he will be born.
My early rising as an act of penitence allows me a chance to tidy the manger of my heart, rearrange the hay of over activity, quiet the animals of negativity and disbelief, dim the light of the flashy fake world and prepare a place appropriate for a lowly birth into what ought to become a lowly heart.
That God should incarnate as a man (a beautiful newborn boy no less!) is profound mystery!
That God should depart back to his relms and leave himself for consumption by humankind in the Eucharist is profound mystery.
That God should reside in the human heart and point us to our true north and that we should be magnatized by him is profound mystery.
What we are really watching and waiting for will be revealed in his Second and Most Glorious Coming! That is what we watch and wait for. That is what we long for. That is why I am verticle at this hour of the morning!
WE HAVE TO KEEP OUR EYES ON THE PRIZE.
We cannot let the world cloud over our hope. We cannot let it lift up his blanket of peace. We cannot get carried off by all the emptiness it offers at every turn.
The same applies to all of us in the face of faith, fitness, food and family.
Do you want it? Recommit!
Do you want it? Reconnect!
Do you want it? Re-consecrate!
It's not easy, but right now we have a choice to gather up today's wasted moments (see them as such) and pull them together for a slot of prayer firstly, then exercise and nutrition. Let us also concentrate on how we can spend ourseves for others in our family.
Free up time for formation, your formation! I will too!
According to our human nature we're supposed to be very active by virtue of life's necessities; kneading bread, line drying laundry, shoveling dirt, holding children, chopping wood, harvesting crops and even transporting ourselves from place to place.
These are very normal human activities and yet, even in a list of only 7 things, most of us are not doing MOST of the items.
It's really a shame that our lives are so very automated, seat heated and ultimately quite stagnant when it gets to the actionable healthy building things. They're also cram packed with 1st world problems...but we'll have to get off on that some other time...
In fact, it blows my mind, that it blows peoples' minds when they find out I'm both a mother of many and a competitive endurance athlete, as if those were mutually exclusive. Yes, I race the clock and chase the kids. They pair well together!
But as a society, we don't even realize the skill sets we're giving up for convenience's sake, and well, that has to change!
Here are a few pretty truthful quotes to lighten the literature:
~I joined a health club last year; spent about 400 bucks. Haven’t lost a pound. Apparently you have to show up.
~If God had wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
~The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier.
~I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing.
~If you want to take up cross-country skiing, start with a small country.
~The trouble with jogging is that, by the time you realize you’re not in shape for it, you're too far to walk back.
Well, those quotes are funny, but they're highly indicative of the real pandemic on our hands. It's time we figure out how to be part of the solution in our households and stop perpetuating the problem of inactivity.
Changing the mindset so one sees the swing set as a gym will help. Looking at a flight of stairs with a desire to conquer them over and over again in a workout is a great place to start. Rising early so that our knees hit the floor for prayer before our back lays on the ground for abdominal exercises, is in itself, a seldom used powerful remedy.
Look no further than your home or those around you. Be cheap! Workout at home or from home and restore your health, happiness and holiness while you do!
No more life at Stagnation Station. It's time for Active Attractive; attracting people towards life fully lived and rooted in the Truth.
This is what we do at Fit Catholic Mom... every. chance. we. get!
After I posted this I received this question : How is this subject catholic? Is it really a proper goal for a catholic wife to be attractive by wordly standards?
God bless You
Good question! Yes! Attractive by a soul attracting others, in as much as how it has informed the best use of the physical body. Does the spirit rule the flesh or do we see the opposite? Does stewardship of the body point to deeper truths which are lived and believed? We cannot desire the soul’s assent and let our bodies lack all discipline and call that truth. The body is a vehicle for an immortal soul conveying the truth of our persons as we use it for his glory alone.
This is a most excellent read in light of what Pope St. JPII has said to athletes:
Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph:
2289 If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for it's sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports. By its selective preference of the strong over the weak, such a conception can lead to the perversion of human relationships.
"...For the Church cannot but encourage everything that serves the harmonious development of the human body, rightly considered the masterpiece of the whole of creation, not only because of its proportion, vigor, and beauty, but also and especially because God has made it his dwelling and the instrument of an immortal soul…”
POPE SAINT JOHN PAUL II
I hope this brings further clarity.
Thank you in Christ,
Be active with body and soul!
Raise the bar on wholeness of health!
Seek more of the Truth which forms us into His image and likeness!
"...the Church “sees in sport a gymnasium of the spirit, a means to exercise moral education; and because of this it admires, approves, and encourages the practice of sport in its various forms, that of (youth) sports whose practice harmonically develops the body in its physical potential, as well as the competitive sport.” The Church’s interest, then, is directed to man and the temporal dimension of his life. Motivated by a genuine care for the person, in both his or her physical and spiritual well-being, the Church also has concern for sport in as much as it is “ordered to the intellectual and moral perfection of the soul.”
Pope St. JPII