Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Celebrity Moms & Weight Loss


I was featured in an article last year and I figured it's worth sharing again now that the warm weather is (hopefully) approaching and bathing suit season is approaching.

Celebrity moms lose baby weight fast, but slow and steady wins the race for most women
By Scott GarganUpdated 5:26 pm, Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Call it the mystery of the vanishing baby bulk.

This month, Internet gossip sites gushed over Beyonce's rapid weight loss after giving birth to her baby daughter, Blue Ivy, revealing photos of the slender "Single Ladies" star in form-fitting dresses and sexy swimsuits.

It is a trick that Carly Kirsch, who delivered two children in three years, wished she could have pulled off. "The weight didn't come off as quickly as I hoped," the Cheshire resident said. "I tried low calorie diets, exercising more -- everything under the sun."

A lot of celebrity moms magically morph into their pre-baby shape within weeks of leaving the hospital, she added, "but for most women, it's not realistic."

Indeed, it takes most women six to nine months to shed the excess poundage put on during their pregnancies -- a fact they need to keep in mind, even as they're bombarded by images of strikingly svelte, postpartum stars, experts said.

Kirsch, owner of Newly Nested, a Connecticut-based baby planning and consulting service, said celebrities such as Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Bethenny Frankel enjoy a "support system" -- a team of nannies, trainers and personal chefs -- that isn't available to the average child bearer.

"You have to take that into perspective," she said, adding that "it's more practical to lose the weight a little bit at a time."

New moms pack on an average of 25 to 30 extra pounds during their pregnancy, said Barbara Schmidt, nutrition and lifestyle specialist at Norwalk Hospital who heads the organization's Transformations weight-loss program. If they stick to a diet and exercise plan, they can safely lose 1.5 pounds per week.

But that's often easier said than done, Schmidt said. After all, new moms have enough to think about. So they must make it a point to treat themselves right, Schmidt said. She urged them to avoid "empty calories" from juice, soda, cookies and candy and stick to "healthy choices" such as skim milk, water, lean meats and vegetables.

"You want to make sure to eat a well-balanced diet and, over time, you'll start to see the difference," she added.

Another important weight loss tactic will come a little more naturally. According to Kari Gravitz, a registered dietitian at Albany (N.Y.) Memorial Hospital, pregnant women store fat during their last trimester that is "meant specifically for the purpose of breast-feeding."

"While you breast-feed, you lose this fat," she said, adding that the activity burns about 500 calories a day.

Lactating women should drink plenty of fluids to maintain milk production and remember that "a healthy diet equals healthy milk," Gravitz added.
Of course, dieting and breast-feeding aren't enough to get back into those pre-pregnancy jeans -- new moms need exercise, too. And though they might not have a team of personal trainers backing them up, there are plenty of ways to stay active, said Linda Antignani, owner of Mother's Embrace Yoga Studio in Shelton.

At her studio, Antignani offers Postnatal Pilates Workshop, Zumba for New Moms and Mommy's Time Infant Support Group -- classes designed to "burn calories and get the metabolism working," she said. If they don't have the time to take a class, new moms can always push a stroller or strap on a baby carrier and go for a walk.

"I encourage everybody to be as active as they possibly can," said Antignani, a mother of three. "It can be frustrating trying to lose the baby weight, but once you start exercising, it will make you feel a lot better."

New moms also will feel better when they keep their weight loss expectations in check, experts said. Depending on their weight, activity level and rate of metabolism, it can take six to nine months for the scale to go back to the way it was. The average woman packs on 25 to 30 extra pounds -- sometimes more -- during gestation.

"We usually say that if it took nine months to put the weight on, it's going to take nine months to take it off," Gravitz said.

Moreover, jumping into a strict diet or demanding exercise plan post-pregnancy isn't usually the best way -- after all, new moms need time to heal and adjust to their new role as parents.

So, when images of postpartum personalities pop up on television with their bikini bodies weeks after giving birth, new moms needn't agonize over how they did it. Perhaps, it's best left a mystery. 

"People don't know how to talk about it or where to begin, and the media doesn't help," Kirsch said of the pressure put on women to reclaim their pre-pregnancy bodies. "It's better to be honest with yourself and just as important, realistic."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Product Review & Giveaway!


I'm really excited about this product review & giveaway from PRK Products, Inc.!

I also had the opportunity to review their Baby Food Organizer last year which fortunately I still have to make this review and giveaway double the fun!  Now, you have the opportunity to own BOTH to keep yourself organized!


Last week, I received the Universal Bottle and Sippy Cup product from PRK Products, Inc. and I was so excited that first and foremost, it's an organizing product - and secondly, it's compatible with almost every brand of bottle and sippy cups that are widely available today. You can go here to view the full list of bottles and sippy cups it works with.

With two young kids now, I feel like my cabinets (and the house in general) are a sippy cup disaster area!  Something is forever falling out of the cabinets determined to kill me (death by sippy cup parts!) or lids go missing and straws or tops get misplaced.

Yeah - you know what I'm talking about.

Well, this product completely takes care of that!  It will take you from the bottle phase of babyhood right through the toddler years for organizing your cups and parts.

Image courtesy of PRK Products 
From PRK PRoducts, Inc. web site, the features of the organizer are as follows:

  • Stores up to 12 bottles or sippy cups
  • Loads horizontally and uses gravity to dispense bottles one at a time
  • Takes up less of a footprint in your kitchen cabinet
  • Compatible with over 30 brands of bottles and sippy cups 
  • Adjustable, so you won’t have to buy a new product when your baby outgrows a bottle
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • Can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer
  • Comes with basket to hold accessories

The organizer with some cups
on my kitchen table
I had a lot of fun fitting the different brands of cups I own currently - Playtex, Munchkin and Gerber.

However, I totally missed the part of the box which CLEARLY states that it's adjustable.  So, at first none of my cups fit.  (I blame mommy-brain!)

Doesn't Elmo look so happy sitting on the BPA-free plastic :)  I also love the PRK logo of the happy baby face smiling back at me.

Okay, okay - On to the fun part!

Again, you can win these two amazing products!  Just follow the easy steps below.  Good luck!

Remember, see my review here of the baby food organizer.

To enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 11, 2012

Can't We All Just..?

image via Time web site
...get along?

...agree to disagree?

...not go backwards in thinking?

...not hinder progress?

...avoid "mommy wars" if and when possible?

...truly try not to judge others?

...not over-expose our kids if possible?

...protect our right to free speech and free parenting?

...not make up debate-creating magazine covers?

...see that just feeding and loving your baby is first and foremost?

...not ask people if they are "mom enough"?

The list could truly go on as you know, but I won't.  There are plenty of other web sites, blogs and chat boards where debates can and will ensue.  I'd like to say the copy behind the image is what truly bothers me the most about this whole thing.

The AAP recommends breastfeeding for at least 6 months - then the rest is up to the mother and family.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

EWG's Cleaning Product Hall of Shame - sneak peek!

I love Environmental Working Group. They are a fantastic resource for researching the harmful contents of what is in tons of products, skin care, shampoos, baby products and so much more.

I use their Skin Deep Cosmetics Database quite often.  If you haven't done so yet, I would do so immediately!

I received word last night that they are creating a new database of household cleaners this coming fall but are offering a sneak peek - I'm quite excited for this!  I've made a huge effort over the past five years to go very green in our home.  You can view my simple and easy tips here.  I use non-toxic cleaners and I've greened products that come in direct contact with our bodies - all the way to the sunscreen we use - click here for that post!

Okay - back to EWG.

According to their email:

"Environmental Working Group is giving you a tool to help you figure out which cleaning products don't belong in your house. The EWG Cleaners Hall of Shame provides you with the names of some of the worst offenders out there, so you can begin the process of purging your home of these harmful cleaners."

Not only is their goal to help educate about harmful chemicals found in everyday cleaners - but they are making it easy to help avoid them all together by naming names and brands.

For the sneak peek - please view it here.

For the complete current hall of shame PDF - please go here.

If you have any questions on how to go green in your home for your family, please contact me anytime.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hot Idea for a Chilly Problem

The kids and I are enjoying this beautiful, summery weather on a mid-April spring day.

I just love being outside - don't you?  I love the beach, hiking, walking, going to parks - anywhere really.  I never really had to make an effort to be outside.  I just naturally gravitated toward being outside.
Probably because when I was a kid, my parents encouraged me to be outside - ride bikes, roller skate, walk, run, swim - just play outside.

And this is something I am encouraging my kids to do and it's working.  Since they were born - they both enjoy being out and about outside. Not because it's forced - because they sincerely enjoy it.  It helps that we have a great back yard and the time to be outside, of course, but it makes me so happy to see them being active and just being kids.

This is why I was so disturbed and saddened when I came across this article last week on Cafe Mom. The article itself is great - 22 ideas for what to do with your kids outside.

The part I found disturbing was a statistic they shared:

"According to the study, highlighted in The New York Times, only 51 percent of parents said they take a child "for a walk or to play in yard, a park, or a playground" once a day. The stats were worse for girls rather than boys (parents of boys were 16 percent more likely to take them outside for play)." 
51%?  Yikes.

I thought again about that article today - ironically it was around 6:30 a.m. when my kiddos were already begging to go outside. Which again, I love - just after I have some coffee. :)

After eating some breakfast, we were outside by 9:00 a.m.  I hopped on a conference call while they played and by just after 10 - the kiddie pool was filled up and ready for play.

There was a slight problem - while it was already nearing 70 degrees out - the water from the hose was really cold.

What's a mom to do?

Well, I "figured" out something last year when I ran into the same issue of early morning fun combined with the fabulous warm weather & too-cold water.

I'm pretty certain I'm not the first person to think of it (nor do I claim to be) but it's a pretty good idea which I'm going to share with you.  Would you expect any less?

So what's the big idea?

Add HOT water so it's not so cold.

So, I went back inside and filled up two huge pots of water and put them on the stove to boil.  You could also simply run the water to get it super hot to get the same effect - but it wastes water and also our water heater is set lower so it never gets that hot (safety first!).

After ten whiny minutes later - ta-da!

A "heated" kiddie pool.  Oooh, now that's a genius idea :)
Until then - this will do.

Happy kiddos = Happy Mama

I hope you're having a beautiful day and getting outside for the  kiddos - and remember - for YOU, too :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

'Tis the season

No - not Christmas!

'Tis the season for Spring! And it sure has sprung here in Connecticut. For me, that means Summer is closer and it's time for Spring cleaning, gardening, fresh fruits and veggies and one of my favorite things - tag sales!

'Tis the season for tag sales!

Since it's a gorgeous day here and we've been on the lookout on Craigslist and some stores for a few things, we came across a few tag sales happening in our area. So, after breakfast, my husband and I loaded the kids into the double stroller, leashed up the pup and off we went for a long walk to the tag sales.

This is where I stumbled upon one of my items I've been wanting for quite some time from the Ballard Designs Catalog - a stair basket.

Image via Google search
I've wanted this for quite sometime. I love the idea since our steps act as a dumping zone at times. I place things on steps that need to go up and down everyday - and I end up making a mess on the stairs which can be a hazard. Since we've been making some changes here at Casa Kirsch, we have been using the stairs much more during the days then before now that the kids are older.  (more on that this week!)

So, one of these would be perfect for me to load up and bring back down - and up and down - or to simply contain my stair mess ;)

I love Ballard, but it's $45 and not something that's at the top of the priority list.

Back to the story of the coveted stair basket. :)

As we approached the house of the tag sale, I did the once over as we got closer to see what I could see - and just as I began to feel a slight sense of disappointment when my eyes fell on nothing that struck me - suddenly, I saw IT.

My tag sale score - cleaned and happily awaiting
to be filled with stuff!
All of a sudden,  I gasped and squealed all at once and said quietly to my husband "They have a stair basket!" so that no one else would spot my treasure.

I snatched it and frantically looked for a price.
No price.

So I walked over to the woman who was busy with another tag sale attendee and waited patiently to find out the asking price on my fab find.

After waiting for what seemed like a small eternity, I calmly asked "How much?" and she thought for a second and I started guessing what she might say.  I figured at least $10-15.

"Um, a $1.50?" she replied in a questioning tone as if it was too much to ask.  I think the look of delight on my face may have been making her question it.  Quickly, I called back to my husband and the kids and said "Give me two bucks!" and then happily handed both dollars to the woman. She went to reach for change to give me back and I shook my head.  I already felt like I was stealing this away from her despite the fact she clearly didn't want it.

It's true - one person's trash is totally my treasure!

The only downside was we then had to walk around the rest of our long walk with the stair basket clearly on display across the canopies of the double stroller - but I didn't care.  I was super excited.

It's the little things, remember?

While my tag sale find lacks the front slot to easily grab it and some of the other organizational features the Ballard basket has, I couldn't care one bit! It did come with two built in hook eye holes that I could easily tie some string or attach a strap to if need be.

But after lugging around two kids - what's the hassle of my pretty little step basket? Pshhhh.

Do you love tag sales?  What's been some of your biggest finds?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Babies, toddlers and TV - finally, a solution!

Ahh, yes.  It's one of those hot topics in the parenting world.

The age-old question:

"How much TV is okay to let my baby/toddler/child/teenager watch?"

And the answer you hear from every parent will vary.  Some say "none".  Some will say "too much".

But the TV/No TV debate is not the point of this post.

Whether you choose to let your babies/toddlers/kids watch TV is YOUR choice and WHAT you let them watch is also up to you.  I'm Pro-Mom, remember :)

Anywhoooo - as a side note I will share with you that both of my children have been watching TV - meaning DVDs and age-appropriate shows on toddler-friendly channels - since they were young.  My now 2 year old son was exposed to it earlier than my 3.5 year old daughter was at the same age, but that's just a result of being in the same room with the older sibling and being a work at home parent.

On to the point - the solution!

One day, when we were a one kid household, my daughter was asking for "Da-Da"- she was around 13 months old.  As he works out of the home, there was really no way for this to happen (obviously before FaceTime on iPhones).  And, since I work from home, something came up where I really needed to do something work-related that was time sensitive and needed my daughter to be entertained so I could just get something accomplished.

As I searched through the selection and debated which DVD to put on for her that would really captivate her attention for longer than the usual 5 possibly 10 minutes. Then, just as I cringed at idea of her watching more TV that day than had already been "allowed"- I came across a "genius" idea.

Genius I tell you!

It was our wedding DVD.  It was perfect for a few reasons:

  • It was something she had never seen before 
  • It had music, motion and people in it
  • She could watch our wedding DVD and therefore see her Da-Da
  • It exposed her to a new language (Hebrew) from the Rabbi who married us

With fingers crossed, I popped in the DVD and hopped on my conference call and she was mesmerized!

Aside from screaming Da-da at the TV every few minutes, I was able to get done what I had needed to do while she was entertained by the TV but with something that was family-related and a part of our family history.

Of course, now I'm even more glad we paid a bazillion dollars for the wedding videographer :)

Now, when I need to get something accomplished my kiddos are now older so it is easier to avoid using the TV as a distraction - but there are days when I need to do something urgent or cannot be interrupted every five seconds.

This is now one of my four go-to DVDs.  Since our wedding DVD worked so well, it prompted my husband to create three additional DVDs of our kids and they are a compilation of everything from us in the hospital with each of them to themselves as babies playing with toys, taking their first steps, eating their first foods and enjoying cake on their first birthdays and beyond.

So, yes, it's watching TV.  But they are watching and experiencing our family moments.

Also, watching their faces light up while watching themselves is just adorable, too.