Get Motivated With Cute Fitness Wear

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Is there anything more motivating than cute workout wear?? I seriously feel so excited to workout when I have something that is cute, comfortable, and flattering to put on. Feeling confident makes ALL the difference!

I asked you guys on Instagram if you would like to see some of the cute workout clothing that I've found recently, and I think all but ONE person said 'yes', haha. So, below you'll find some adorable workout wear that I am LOVING for the new year!

Click on each picture below to shop each item. Each picture is a link to the product page. Happy shopping! If you end up snagging any of these pieces, be sure to tag me in a photo of you wearing them on Instagram so I can see!! IG: @annamcohenblog

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Shine Organics: My Favorite Healthy On-the-go Snack!

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***Thank you to Shine Organics for sponsoring this post!***

Today, I wanted to share one of my new FAVORITE things: a healthy snack that's EASY to take on-the-go! Shine Organics Pouches (click here for a coupon!) are a convenient blend of real, organic fruits and vegetables, chia seeds, and superfoods.

They are perfect for throwing in your gym bag or purse, or just for when you need a quick snack around the house. Basically, as an active and busy mom of a toddler, these pouches are PERFECT for me! Whether James and I are running errands, heading to music class, or just hanging out at home, I can always have a HEALTHY snack on hand. No fuss, no mess, and no prep time. I just grab a pouch and instantly have a YUMMY snack to enjoy and to satisfy my hunger! These pouches fit into my lifestyle EFFORTLESSLY.

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Finding healthy snack food that actually tastes good, as well as being good for you is tricky. That's why I'm really really glad that I've found Shine Organics!

You can find Shine Organics Pouches at Target in the apple sauce section. Click here to get a coupon for $1 off of a four pack!

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What are your favorite healthy on-the-go snacks?? Please share! I love getting new ideas!

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Recipe Box: Healthy Baby Bars

Happy Monday!

James is turning one year old on Sunday (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??) and we are having a little Birthday party for him. Well...it was going to be little, but somehow we have over twenty people coming now! It will be fun to celebrate our sweet boy with our friends and family!

I am going to be baking James a cake from scratch, and I'm going to be using this recipe. It's all healthy ingredients and has no sugar in it. I make this a lot for James, but usually I cut it into bars for him to have as breakfast or as a snack. For his birthday I will leave it as a cake and I'm going to make a home made icing for it.

Anyways, here is the recipe I use for these healthy baby bars!

Here's What You Need:

  • 5 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup of sugar-free applesauce
  • 3 tbsp of melted coconut oil
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Here's What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, add all of the dry ingredients. Then, add in the mashed bananas, apple sauce, melted coconut oil, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Mix well.

Coat a cake pan with cooking oil. Pour the batter into the pan, and place the pan into the oven. Bake for around 20 minutes. Check to see if the cake is done with a toothpick (should come out clean).

Let the cake cool.

Slice into bars, if you'd like, or leave as a cake!

Enjoy!

5 Easy Beauty Hacks

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Hi everyone!

How is your week going? What's new? Have any fun plans that you're looking forward to in the coming weeks? Fill me in! I love hearing from you guys!!

I hope you had a great Fourth of July! Mine was super low-key. Ben, James, and I went to the cabin in Montana over the weekend, which was really fun. We came back Monday night, and Ben had to work on the 4th. James and I spent the day lounging around the house and recovering from the long car ride the day before. James was in bed by 6:30pm, and then Ben and I watched a movie and went to bed early. #parentlife :)

Anyways, I've been wanting to share some easy beauty hacks with you guys. These are things that you can incorporate into your day that will help you to look and FEEL glowing and healthy!

  1. Collagen I have recently started adding a scoop of this collagen into my morning cup of coffee, and also into my afternoon cup of tea. Collagen has SO many benefits, and I'll be doing a whole blog post about it soon, so check back for that, probably next week! Collagen helps to reduce wrinkles, it helps to heal your gut, it helps with joint pain, it's good for your hair, skin, and nails...it's so good. It's such an easy thing to incorporate into your daily routine, and I have seen a major difference since I started using it. I love this one - you can get it here.

  2. Apple Cider Vinegar I love taking an apple cider vinegar shot every morning to help wake up my digestive system. Apple cider vinegar helps with weight loss, it's a mood enhancer, it helps give you energy, it has natural antibiotic properties, it can assist in controlling high blood sugar levels...the list goes on and on! I like this brand (get it here) but any Apple Cider Vinegar WITH THE MOTHER (VERY IMPORTANT TO GET ONE THAT SAYS 'WITH THE MOTHER') will do. I mix about a tablespoon of ACV with about half a cup of pure, natural pineapple juice and a little honey. So good!!

  3. Probiotic Probiotics are good for a NUMBER of reasons. They help with digestive and urinary health, gut health, allergies, stress, immunity...just to name a few things! Taking a probiotic can be ESPECIALLY important for us postpartum mamas. I'll do a blog post about this as well, if you guys would like more information! Let me know. Anyways, definitely talk to your doctor before starting to take any supplements, including a probiotic. I take this one.

  4. Oils I've been battling postpartum hormonal acne for awhile now, and one of the things that has really helped has been using facial oils. I love this one so much! I was sent it complimentary for testing purposes, and I seriously LOVE IT. Get it here. I cleanse my face (morning and night) and then spray it with my Mother Dirt mist (see number 5 below!) and then massage my face with this oil before applying my moisturizer (I use this one). My skin is so much more moisturized and dewy and clear since I've started this regimen. Definitely recommend oils!!

  5. Mother Dirt AO Mist This is a spray that you mist all over your face (and body, if you'd like) that has live bacteria in it (the good kind). The thought is that with all of the cleansers and scrubs that we use in our daily lives, we eliminate the good bacteria from our skin. This spray puts it back. It is said to reduce the need for moisturizers and deodorants, and is made with family-friendly, simple ingredients. I definitely have noticed a difference in my skin since using this. Highly recommend it! Get the Mist here.

What are your ride-or-die beauty hacks? Please share - always looking for new ideas and things to try! :)

Wild Eats: Green Muffin Recipe

These green muffins may look a little scary, but trust me - they taste AMAZING!! They are healthy, easy to make, and a great way to sneak in some greens. ;)

Here's What You Need:

  • 3/4 cup of almond flour
  • 3/4 cup of protein powder (I like Perfect Fit Protein)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • sprinkle of chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup of kale
  • 1 tbs of melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk

Here's What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Combine all wet ingredients plus the kale in a blender, and blend until well blended. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Spray a muffin tin with cooking oil spray, and then pour the batter in. Bake for 20 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Enjoy!

Life Lately: Lots of updates!

Hello friends!

Sorry I've been MIA for the past few weeks! So much is going on, and I have been so busy! But things are calming down a bit and I'm back and ready to hit the blogosphere full-force!

I have a lot of super exciting content planned for the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned...here are some topics you can expect to see covered:

  • What I Eat In A Day
  • Workout-Wear Lust List
  • Five Favorites
  • Father's Day Gift Guide
  • Mommy Monday: 10 Month Update
  • Summer Reading List
  • Swim Lust List
  • Green Muffin Recipe

And a lot more! Get excited!! And as always, let me know if there are any topics that you'd like me to cover!

Ok, so ... life! What's been going on in my life. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I've been asking for prayers, positive thoughts, and good vibes the past couple of weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a lump in one of my boobies. Needless to say, I instantly was worried and got in to see my doctor right away. He referred me to get a mammogram/ultrasound/biopsy, so I had to wait for that.

But today, I found out that all is well - it turned out to be nothing! Woohoo, praise the Lord! Thank you all for your prayers and sweet messages!! You all are seriously the best and I am so grateful that I can always count on you for encouragement and support when I need it most!

I found another lump a few years ago, which also turned out to be nothing. But let me tell you, now that I am a mom...things are just so completely different. I was SO MUCH more afraid this time, not of being sick or dying or anything, but of not being there for James. The thought of it made/makes me sick. Motherhood brings with it a slew of anxieties and new fears, all based around your child. The thought of something happening to me that would cause sweet little James to not have his mommy there for him...to not have someone care for him in the exact and special way that only I can... it just was devastating to even begin to consider. And at this age...he wouldn't even remember me. Ugh. BUT I'M OK!! haha Thank you, God!!

So, needless to say, that was a bit consuming and I haven't had the head space or drive to do much writing. But, now that that worry is behind me, I'm ready to dive back in! I feel rejuvenated and motivated and excited to write again!!

In other news...we bought a house! It's being built as we speak, and Ben and I are SO SO SO excited!! This is a huge step for us, and we are really looking forward to this next chapter in our lives! I'll be sure to keep you all updated!

Would you guys like to see posts about the home building/buying process?? Let me know!!

I have so many fun projects and collaborations that I'm working on that I can't share with you YET, but I am really excited about what is to come and as always, thank you for following along on the journey!!

Core Rehab, Part 2

"Is the Core Rehab Program worth the money?"

I get asked this A LOT.

I have shared a lot on the blog and on Instagram about how I had diastasis recti postpartum, as well as my ELATION over finding the Core Rehab Program. You can read about my experience during the first few phases of the program in my Core Rehab, Part 1 post - click here to read it.

To refresh, diastasis recti (abdominal separation) is a SUUUUUUUUPPPPERR common thing that so many women have after pregnancy. The scary thing is that there is a shocking lack of information and awareness about it, and often times it goes un-diagnosed and therefore, untreated. Here is a video you can watch that shows you how to check yourself for diastasis recti postpartum. Additionally, many women who ARE informed that they have it are told that surgery is the only way to repair it, which is NOT TRUE!! The Core Rehab Program helped me to heal my abdominal separation, and it can help you too.

First of all, let me say that this post is not an ad...I just genuinely am so passionate about this program because it seriously helped me to feel SO MUCH BETTER. I also get SO MANY QUESTIONS about my experience with the program, so I KNOW that there are other mamas out there who are interested in learning more and in finding a solution to their postpartum aches, pains, and misalignments. So, now that that is out of the way, let me update you now that I have finished all six phases of the program.

After completing the Core Rehab Program, I have definition in my abs and core, my diastasis recti has all but completely closed up, and I FEEL like my old self...the way I am SUPPOSED to feel.

While recovering post-baby is NOT all about looks or physical appearance, that is important in its own regard. When you like the way that you look, it's good for your head.

And mental recovery is JUST as big a part of the postpartum journey as is physical recovery!

The Core Rehab Program is slow-moving, which at first you don't necessarily feel like you are doing much at ALL. But that is the beauty of it, because Erica Ziel (the creator of the program) breaks it down slowly, step by step and helps you to re-form those deep connections that are needed to rebuild your core and heal abdominal separation the CORRECT and SAFE way.

After finishing the six phases of the program, my core feels strong, toned, and my whole body feels more aligned and centered. My posture is back to how it SHOULD be - pregnancy does a number on your spine, back muscles, neck, etc... and this program walks you through re-training your body into proper alignment. It teaches you how to pick things up properly and safely, protecting your back and abs while doing so. It teaches you how to do squats and arm work safely, how to lie down safely, and eventually, how to do "crunches" and additional work that uses your core.

It can be SO overwhelming, discouraging, and stressful trying to figure out where to begin to help your body heal and recover postpartum. I felt so un-like myself after giving birth and I was worried about my abdominal separation. I didn't know how to go about trying to fix things and heal my core.

The Core Rehab Program gave me to tools, and walked me step by step through it all. It's like Erica is a good friend, holding my hand, and gently guiding me through the process of healing and feeling like myself again.

So, is the program worth the money? In my opinion YES YES YES.  100% yes. Us mamas deserve to feel good postpartum. You deserve to give healing your diastasis recti without surgery a try. If you don't have abdominal separation, then you STILL deserve to re-learn how to properly stand, sit, walk, move in a way that is comfortable, safe, and right.

If you have any questions at all about the program or about my postpartum journey and my experience with diastasis recti, don't hesitate to ask! I'm here!

You can sign up for the Core Rehab Program and learn more about it here. Enrollment for the program closes on May 22nd so don't miss out on being able to sign up if you're interested!!

How To Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

My Sweater: Nordstrom

This will be James' first Easter and I was SO excited to dye Easter eggs with him! I was interested in finding a way to naturally dye the eggs rather than using the store bought dye kits. I played around with some ingredients, and I am really happy with the results! The eggs turned out beautifully, and James was so intrigued by how colorful they are! :)

Also, his poor little face is chapped in these pictures because he has a cold and his face is so dry from having to wash it and wipe it off so much. Poor baby! But, he is almost all better...it's the tail end of the cold. It is the HARDEST THING EVER when your baby is sick. I just want to make him feel all better. :(

Anyways, here is how to naturally dye easter eggs:

Ingredients

Brown and white hard-boiled eggs - the brown eggs will come out a lot darker and different shades of the colors, so it's fun to do brown AND white! 

For pink:

2 cups of water + 2 cups of chopped up beets + a couple tablespoons of vinegar

For orange:

2 cups of the peels of yellow onions + enough water to fully cover + a few tablespoons of vinegar

For yellow:

2 cups of water + 1 tablespoon of turmeric + a couple tablespoons of vinegar

Here's What You Do:

Bring each set of ingredients (minus the eggs and the vinegar) to a boil, then turn it down and simmer for about a half hour. The longer you let the ingredients simmer, the more concentrated and darker the dye will be.

Remove each set of dye from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Strain the dye and then pour it into bowls or mason jars. Add the vinegar to each bowl of dye.

Add the hard-boiled eggs to the dye and let them soak until they reach the desired color. The longer they soak in the dye, the darker and more vivid the colors will be.

That's it! I hope you have fun trying out these natural ingredients for your Easter eggs! :)

Let's Talk About Stress + Controlling Our Reactions

Stress: Something that is an unavoidable and unpleasant part of life. We all experience it, and we all handle it differently.

I am personally not great at handling stressful situations. I get overwhelmed, emotional, and have major anxiety. I also get stressed out really easily - not great.

I tend to get overly worked up and stressed out over problems and situations that maybe don't merit that type of reaction. I am a people pleaser and hate when I feel that someone is disappointed in me, angry with me, or just plain doesn't like me. I'm also a bit of a neat-freak AND a perfectionist (when it comes to some things). All of this leads to me getting stressed out so easily - and quite often.

Luckily for me, I am married to a level-headed, pragmatic man who is so wonderful in helping me work through my stress and see situations for what they really are. I am so thankful for Ben and his calm, loving perspective and advice.

I've gotten a lot better about keeping my stress levels down. You can check out some of my tips for managing stress here.

I've learned that you have control over your reactions to situations - and that's it. You can't always control situations, or problems that arise. You can't control how people feel about you (nor does it matter). You can't control what someone says to you or what deadlines you have or what unexpected event happens.

But you CAN control how you allow yourself to feel about all of it...how you choose to react. A situation is only stressful if stress is how you react to it. A person's words are only hurtful if you allow yourself to feel hurt by them. A problem that comes up unexpectedly is only overwhelming and devastating if that is how you let yourself react to it.

Your reaction to something gives it it's value.

You can choose to react in a level-headed, unemotional, and practical way. You can look a problem square in the eye and choose to stay calm and tackle it in a methodical and efficient way. You can make the choice to not allow what others think or say of you elicit an emotional response.

You can choose how you react to every single situation that you encounter.

Ok, so, this mindset is a bit extreme. Obviously, we can't always have that much control over our natural responses and emotional reactions. But the point is that this is a good thing to strive for... to look at problems, interactions, and potential stresses with a clear, unemotional, and solution-driven mindset.

Easier said than done, but still an admirable aspiration, don't you think?

I've been reading 'The Daily Stoic' this year, and I highly recommend it. It talks a lot about choosing how to react to situations and not letting your emotions get in the way. It talks about staying in the moment and being aware of yourself and how you interpret things. It's good. You can get it here.

How do you handle stress? What are your tips for controlling your reactions? Please share in the comments below!

And be sure to subscribe to my blog, if you haven't already, to be notified whenever a new post goes up!

Mommy Monday: Balancing Exercise, Health, and Motherhood

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Ok, let's be really really honest here for a second: making time for exercise and health as a mom is hard. It takes work and it takes a lot of mind power. Being a mom is such a rewarding and challenging task in and of itself, that sometimes the thought of doing a workout when I could instead be taking a few minutes to relax seems crazy.

But, then I remember how much BETTER I feel - both physically and mentally - when I get in a workout. When I break a sweat, it makes me feel proud and strong and like I am doing something to further my progress towards my physical goals.

It's far too easy to let a day slip by without squeezing in a workout. From there, it is a slippery slope. One day turns into one week...then one month... The next thing you know, it has been months since your last real workout, and your body feels weak and you don't know how to dive back in. Where to start? How to get that strength back? You are so much further from your goals.

Believe me, I get it. I get how it can happen. I've certainly gone a week or two without getting my exercise in, and man, is it hard to get back into a routine. You know what I've found to be the ONLY way to start working towards your goals again? To just simply start. Even if that means a short walk the first day, squeezing in a 30 second plank when you can, powering through 50 squats while your child plays, and then turning on a Yoga or workout video on YouTube during nap time.

Slowly but surely, squeezing in what you can each day, you will start to build up your strength - physical AND mental, because half of it...no, even MORE than half of it is mental.

As mothers, it is so important for us to be healthy...to not only take care of our bodies, but of our minds.

Our little ones see what we do to better ourselves. They watch as we make healthy food choices, and as we meal prep and prepare nutritious food for the week ahead. They see when we spend our free minutes doing lunges or jumping jacks or burpees. They see a woman, strong and proud and conscious of her physical condition and doing something to further her progress towards a goal and towards a healthy life.

I remind myself that it is not just for me that I make the (sometimes very difficult) decision to do a workout rather than sit down and put my feet up. It's for my son. It's for my husband. It's for my mind. It's for what I want to look like and feel like. It's for wanting to be healthy and strong and able to do all the activities that I love to do.

So, one step at a time, little by little, day by day, as mothers, we make the choice. We choose to be healthy. We choose to be an example. We choose to be strong. We choose to eat healthily. We choose to do what it takes. Is it easy? Nope. Important? Very. Worth it? Yes Yes Yes.

What are your tricks for staying fit, strong, and healthy as a mama? How do YOU make time for a workout and for healthy food choices? Be sure to share in the comments below!

What topics do you want to see on the blog? Send any ideas, questions, or comments to info@annamcohen.com! And be sure to subscribe below to be notified whenever there is a new post up!

 

Acupressure Mat

If you've followed me on Instagram (@tiugirlanna) or have been following my blog for awhile, you are probably aware of the fact that I have ongoing back issues...although, I mean, don't we all? I feel like everyone says that - "I have a bad back", etc... But in my case, I have scoliosis. So my back is sore and tight pretty much all of the time. After giving birth to James, my back was waaaayyy out of whack. Pregnancy and childbirth did a number on my already screwed up spine, and I was just a tight little ball of pain and tension. 

So, imagine my joy when I discovered acupressure mats! Oh my goodness, these things are so strange and incredible. Here's what it is, as described on Amazon:

The Acupressure mat and pillow use tiny little sharp plastic acupoints to stimulate the body's pressure points similar to acupuncture but without the use of skin piercing needles. When the pressure points of the body are stimulated, tension in the muscle is released while an increase in blood flow and circulation in the area slowly aids in healing and promotes complete relaxation and well being. In essence, acupressure point stimulation causes the body to heal itself so that it can function optimally.

You basically lay out this mat and the neck pillow that comes with it, and then you lie down on it, shirtless, and let the thing work it's magic for the next 10-45+ minutes. You start out with 10-15 minutes and work your way up to 45+.

How does it feel, one might ask? Well, it hurts. A lot. But only at first! After a few minutes, your back gets warm and tingly and it just relaxes EEEVEEERRYYYTHING. It's amazing. I was on it for over a half hour my first time on it without even realizing how long it had been. If you can make it past the first few minutes (which honestly, the pain isn't THAT bad, more like discomfort) it feels so nice!

I like to lie on the mat while Ben and I watch a show or movie at night. Light a nice candle, pour some kombucha, throw on some eye masks, and get on your mat, and you've got yourself a relaxing evening!

Here is the mat that I have {Click for the mat} and I highly recommend it. But there are A LOT of different brands out there, and they are the same idea, so get whichever you prefer.

Hope your week is going great so far!

Snapchat Q&A

A couple of days ago, I told you all to snap me any and all questions you may have for me. While I didn't get around to answering them live on Snapchat, as promised, here are my answers to ALL your questions! (I consolidated similar questions so that I only have to answer them once. ;))

Let's dive in, shall we?

Q: How do I get started as a blogger?

Commit. Find a platform that is easy for you to use and commit to posting frequently - at least a couple of times a week. Try to have a niche, rather than trying to appeal to everyone, focus on appealing to a targeted and specific audience. And invest in a good camera!

Q: Do you plan on having more babies?

Yes! :)

Q: How often do you get your hair done and what do you get done to it?

I get my hair done every 6 months or so. I usually get a trim and some long layers and then a full foil.

Q: How do you grow your hair so long??

I don't use a hairdryer and rarely curl my hair, so I don't use heat on it very often at all. I use a deep conditioning treatment every couple of weeks.

Q: What kind of bronzer do you recommend?

I don't use bronzer, but I've heard good things about this one and this one.

Q: What places MUST I visit while in Paris?

The catacombs, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame...the usual things. BUT I would honestly just recommend that you walk EVERYWHERE - don't take a taxi. Just walk and see the city by foot. You'll find so many hidden gems. It's magical!

Q: What does Ben do for work?

He is an Area Manager at Amazon.

Q: What is the hardest and best thing about being a mom?

The hardest thing is just adjusting to not having as much free time, and the best thing is watching my little one grow and learn new things!! Being a mom is the BEST thing in the entire world!!

Q: What are your tips for eating healthy while being busy all day with a baby?

Meal prep! Make big portions of healthy meals and save the leftovers to eat throughout the week.

Q: Do you have a sunless tanner that you use/recommend?

I use this one. It's the best!

Q: What exactly do you do for work?

I am a social media consultant, a blogger, and a writer. But honestly, none of these things feel like work because I LOVE what I do so much!!

Q: Do you still write outdoor articles for magazines?

I do! Since being put on bedrest and then giving birth and then now it being winter and all...I haven't done much outdoor adventuring lately. But come Summer, I'm heading to the mountains, so you can expect a lot more outdoor content and a lot more articles from me!

Q: Tips for not going crazy on bedrest?

Pray, meditate, read, color, write. :)

Q: Do you have any tips on how to be more confident?

Take some time to really get to know yourself - what you love, what you dislike, what you believe in, what you enjoy, what makes you happy, what makes you angry, what makes you sad, what makes you fired up...and then OWN that and manifest that knowledge in your daily life. Be true to yourself.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to?

I listen to all different kinds of music. Blue grass is probably my favorite, but there is hardly any kind of music that I don't enjoy to some extent.

Q: How long have you been married?

Ben and I will have been married for nine years this July, and together for ten!

Q: How did you know that your husband was "the one"?

I just knew. He made me feel safe and loved and whole and precious and understood ... and he still does. <3

It was so fun hearing your questions! Feel free to leave any additional questions that you have for me in the comments below! I do want to do a live Snapchat Q&A sometime soon, so any questions that you guys send my way in the next few weeks, I'll try to answer on Snap. :) Have a great week!

Mommy Monday: Core Rehab, Part 1

If you've been following me for awhile on my blog and on Instagram, you know that I have diastasis recti (abdominal separation) since being pregnant with my son.

Diagram of diastasis recti - mine wasn't this severe at all, but this shows kind of what happens with abdominal separation!

Abdominal separation is very common postpartum. However, there is a shocking lack of information out there for mamas who have this. In fact, many women have abdominal separation and aren't even aware that they have it (learn how to check for it here), OR they have been told that the only way to FIX it is by having surgery. Which is NOT TRUE!!

When I was first pregnant with James, I was searching the internet for some exercises that I could do while pregnant. That's when I first came across Erica Ziel. Erica Ziel is the founder of Knocked Up Fitness and Core Athletica Inc.. She is an EXPERT in helping women to strengthen their deep core muscles in order to have a safer and easier pregnancy, delivery, and recovery. 

Erica Ziel

Now, Erica has developed the Core Rehab Program for postpartum mamas! The Core Rehab Program is designed for mamas who are interested in "rehabbing" their cores after all that they have been through with pregnancy and delivery. This includes working on posture, techniques for safely picking things up, and how to properly engage your deep core muscles to strengthen your core and help to repair abdominal separation.

Pregnancy can do a number on a woman's body, especially her core. Muscles and connective tissues are weakened, stretched, etc... It is important to strengthen your deep core and connective tissues postpartum in order to properly heal and to feel better. But, if you're like me, it can be overwhelming and even a little scary because

...where do you even BEGIN??

Erica was kind enough to let me do the Core Rehab Program in exchange for reviewing it. And I certainly hope you all know that I will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be honest in my reviews. I would never recommend something that I wasn't totally excited about or impressed by or that I didn't genuinely believe in. So, with that said, let me dive right in:

THE CORE REHAB PROGRAM HAS BEEN THE MOST LIFE-CHANGING, GREATEST THING FOR ME. And I truly mean that. 

The program consists of six phases, each broken up into two weeks. I am through the first two phases, and oh my goodness, the changes are so incredible. And I'm not just talking about physical changes, although I've certainly seen some. I'm talking about changes in the way that I feel.

After giving birth to James, my back KILLED me. I have scoliosis, so my back has always hurt me. But pregnancy and delivery just really really messed it up. Plus, being on bedrest didn't help because I basically lost all of the muscle tone that was helping to support my back. Add in the abdominal separation and weakened core, and I was basically a hot-postpartum-mess of pain, discomfort, and consequently - stress

My abdominal separation was minor: just about a finger tip and a half wide, and not very deep (only about to my first knuckle). My doctor told me to just take it easy and refrain from doing core exercises or anything other than cardio for two months or so and it should close up. Well, two months came and went and if anything, when I re-checked, it seemed like my separation had not closed up at all. (Granted, I probably hadn't been taking it as easy as I should have been...) In fact, I think my separation had even gotten a little worse. I was very stressed about this and just wanted my body to be fully healed so that I could get back into my regular exercise routine (exercise is SUCH a huge part of my life!!) and so that I could start building up my back muscles again to help with my scoliosis and pain management. 

I had seen some buzz about Erica's Core Rehab Program floating around the internet and social media and I was really curious about it. Then, I saw one of my friends on Instagram, Kristen Suppa (@well.balanced.home) post something about the program. I messaged her about it, and she connected me with Erica, and the next thing I knew, I was diving into the program with so much excitement and hope. (You can read Kristen's story at the bottom of this post!)

Within the first week of the program, I noticed a difference in how I felt. I was standing taller. I was feeling more supported through my core. I was making changes in the ways that I held my baby and in the way that I picked him and other things up from the floor. I was moving and standing and sitting differently. Even breathing differently!

I finally was being given the tools that I needed to begin to heal myself and FEEL BETTER. 

Now, I've finished phase two and I am so excited to say that when I re-checked my abdominal separation yesterday, I can no longer stick ANY of my finger in AND my separation is less than a finger tip wide, which is normal!! I am blown away with how quickly the program has helped me to heal, and I know that these quick results probably aren't the norm. I also know that I still have a long way to go. I'm going to be continuing to work through all of the phases, and I'll be writing a follow-up blog post once I've completed phase six so that I can update you all, so check back for that in a few months! I can't even imagine how amazing I'll feel once I've finished all of the phases!! 

Again, these are my honest opinions. I am not being paid to say any of this, I just genuinely am so excited about the Core Rehab Program and I want to tell all of you about it in case you are suffering from discomfort, or abdominal separation, or the stress of not knowing where to begin healing your core postpartum like I was. Whether you are three months postpartum or twenty years...Erica shows that it is possible to repair your diastasis recti, strengthen your core, and MOST IMPORTANTLY...feel better. 

The Core Rehab Program opens for enrollment tomorrow, on January 3rd. You can sign up here to receive more information and to be notified when enrollment is open. I don't get anything out of your signing up, other than the joy of knowing that you are going to receive the same loving guidance from Erica that I have. 

If you are a postpartum mama who has abdominal separation, OR even if you DON'T have abdominal separation but just feel like you need some help in strengthening your core, please consider this program, because it has seriously made such a difference for me. I could cry I am so thankful for the Core Rehab Program and Erica Ziel. I want you to feel better too. 

If you have questions, feel free to ask! And follow me (@annamcohenblog), @well.balanced.home and @knockedupfitness on Instagram for more daily updates! 

Here's to taking care of ourselves and to feeling GOOD postpartum!! :)

Kristen's Story:

I'm Kristen, and I'm a Mama of 2 little guys in New Jersey. My oldest is almost 2.5 and my youngest is 10 months. I got pregnant the second time around when my oldest was just 9 months old, and unfortunately I still had some ab separation from that first pregnancy. I was nervous that it would get a lot worse the second time around, and I actually reached out to Erica Ziel to ask about her Prenatal Workouts. She was super encouraging and suggested her Prenatal Sculpt Workout DVD and I was consistent with that (especially the core routine- which is gentle and safe for those with ab separation) throughout my pregnancy. I am thankful for those workouts because I had a very quick labor (3 hours from the first contraction to holding my baby!) and a smooth, easy recovery. As expected, I still had some ab separation postpartum, but I believe it would have been a lot worse (and my labor not as easy) had I not been proactive during my pregnancy and committed to those workouts. 

I ended up having a 2 finger gap from a few inches above my belly button, all the way down to my pubic bone, also the depth of my gap showed that my fascia was weak (something I learned about from Erica's tutorials)- the depth was almost to my second knuckle. I jumped on the opportunity to participate in Erica's newly released Core Rehab Program, and I just finished Phase 4. I am thrilled with how my body is feeling. I am a firm believer in doing what you can when you can and practicing patience with yourself during this season of motherhood where the babies are little and you don't get much time for yourself. Easier said than done (and I'm forever working on maintaining that mindset!), but that being said, it has taken me about 6 months to complete the 4 phases, and I am ok with that! The workouts are all under 20 minutes, and usually there are 1 or 2 videos to do each day, so you can split them throughout your day when you find a pocket of time. You stream them from your phone, iPad, etc. or follow PDF printouts, which is helpful as a busy Mama! I'll be starting the New Year with Phase 5, and I can't wait to see how I feel after I complete the final 2 phases! 

This program did more for me than almost closing my ab separation- it has given me more awareness in my everyday movements and posture than I ever had before, and I'm so thankful for that. My gap is now just localized to about 1 inch above my belly button and right at my belly button, and it is about 1 finger or less in width. Under my belly button, my gap is closed! The depth has improved significantly as well- it is about as deep as my first knuckle at this point and just localized to right around that small belly button area, so I am proof that the program can help to strengthen your fascia as well! Erica gives us so much valuable information in all of her videos and her excellent cueing during the workouts and tutorials that I can now truly connect to my core during activities in everyday life, and I just feel stronger and more intentional with my movements throughout my busy days. Of course, the bonus is how much flatter my tummy is and how much better my posture is. My husband even noticed my posture, so that's a win too! 

My advice to other Mamas and Mamas-to-be is that it is so important to practice self care and find some time for yourselves. Erica's programs are designed in such a way that they're very manageable and they will give you that time for yourself, while giving you your body confidence back! 

I love connecting with other Moms on Instagram (you can find me @well.balanced.home)- we all have SO much in common and can and should lean on each other for support when we need it! I'm so thankful to have connected with Anna through this community of Mamas- her Instagram account and blog always brighten my day! Looking forward to seeing her progress with this awesome program, and hope to connect with some of you as well! Happy New Year! 

 

Social Media Detox

This year, I'm making it a goal to take some frequent breaks from social media. As a blogger and social media manager, this is no easy task. Social media is a huge - I mean HUGE - part of my daily life. It's not only what I do for work, but it's also something that I really really enjoy. 

But, even though a lot of what I do on social media is for work and for my blog, I definitely end up wasting a lot of time on it as well. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter...the list goes on and on. If there's a social media channel, I'm on it. My days are consumed by these sites and apps, and while creating content and managing all of my accounts and my clients' accounts brings me so much joy, sometimes I find myself scrolling aimlessly through feeds when I could be doing something a lot more productive. Basically, there's more to life than what goes on on social media, and I'd like to try to re-capture some of that.

That's why, in an effort to manage my time better, I'm committing to taking frequent social media breaks - a social media detox, if you will. 

Once a month, I'm going to go a full twenty-four hours without checking social media. Now, twenty-four hours may not seem like a very long time for a social media detox, BUT keep in mind that on an average day, I am checking all of my different accounts multiple times every HOUR. So, twenty-four hours off is kind of a big deal, and will actually be somewhat of a challenge for me. 

What am I hoping to get out of this? Clarity. I hope that taking time away will help me manage my stress, will give me time to re-center, connect face to face with loved ones, and work on other projects that I just never seem to have time for. I've heard so many good things about taking time away from social media, so I'm willing to give it a try. 

Have you done a social media detox before? What was your experience? If you'd like to join me in this challenge, comment below. It would be great to discuss!! 

Five Weeks To Fit: Total Body

This is it!! The final week of the Five Weeks To Fit challenge, and we are finishing up with a TOTAL BODY ROUTINE! That's right, let's work that beautiful body from head to toe! This is the time to give your all and finish up the year strong!

Complete the following routine every day this week. Throw in any of the previous four routines for some extra BURN! Comment below if you are IN!! Let's do this!

Follow me on Instagram (@tiugirlanna) so that we can finish this week STRONG together! I'm virtually cheering you on! You GOT this!!

*I am NOT a fitness professional or a doctor. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness journey. Complete the workout routines in the Five Weeks To Fit challenge at your own risk. Anna M. Cohen and www.annamcohen.com are not liable for any injuries that may occur from participation in the challenge.*

Five Weeks To Fit: Lower Body

Week four, here we GO! This week we are working that lower body and toning it aaaalllll up! Complete the following routine every day this week. Five bucks says you see and FEEL a difference in your body.

Want more?? Throw in the abs, arms, and/or booty routine from the previous three weeks!

Are you following me on Instagram yet? Come find me: @tiugirlanna - we can root each other on!

Be sure to check back next Monday for the FINAL routine! 2016 is nearly over...here's to making 2017 the very best yet and starting the year off STRONG!

*I am NOT a fitness professional or a doctor. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness journey. Complete the workout routines in the Five Weeks To Fit challenge at your own risk. Anna M. Cohen and www.annamcohen.com are not liable for any injuries that may occur from participation in the challenge.*

Five Weeks To Fit: Abs

Welcome to the third week in the Five Weeks To Fit series! How's it going? Are you feeling sore yet??

This week, we are targeting those much coveted abs. Work your core every day this week! Throw in the booty and arm routines a few days this week too, if you're up for an extra challenge!

Check back next Monday for the next routine! Be sure to follow me on Instagram for some extra motivation: @tiugirlanna

*I am NOT a fitness professional or a doctor. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness journey. Complete the workout routines in the Five Weeks To Fit challenge at your own risk. Anna M. Cohen and www.annamcohen.com are not liable for any injuries that may occur from participation in the challenge.*

Five Weeks To Fit: Booty

Hi there, and welcome to a new series! There are five weeks left in the year, and every Monday I'm going to be posting a new workout right here on Wild Writes Blog! Every week will target a different area of the body. I challenge you to complete the routine every single day of the week. You can do it!! I'll be doing it right along with you, and come New Year's day we are going to be in tip top shape!

You in? Great!

We're starting off with a Booty routine!

Alright, let's do this! Complete the Booty routine every day this week. Then, check back here because I'll be posting the next routine next Monday! For some motivation, follow me on IG: @tiugirlanna

You GOT this! Let's finish the year strong!

*I am NOT a fitness professional or a doctor. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness journey. Complete the workout routines in the Five Weeks To Fit challenge at your own risk. Anna M. Cohen and www.annamcohen.com are not liable for any injuries that may occur from participation in the challenge.*

Five Weeks To Fit: Let's Get Bikini-Ready TOGETHER!

ARE YOU READY?

Ready for what, you may ask. Well, to get fit, strong, and motivated!! 2016 is quickly coming to a close. Now is the perfect time to kick-start a healthy, fit 2017!

Starting on Monday, November 28th I'll be posting a new fitness routine every week! Each Monday, I'll post a workout for you to complete every day of that week. Then, the next Monday I'll post the next workout! We will target booty, arms, abs, lower body, and total body.

THIS is your chance to kick your health and fitness goals into high gear as we close out 2016 with a bang! Let's start 2017 feeling fit, toned, and well on our way to being bikini ready! :)

Follow me on Instagram for motivation - we can cheer each other on! (I'm @tiugirlanna ) I'd love to see pictures of you doing the workouts each week! Tag me and use the hashtag #FIVEWEEKSTOFIT :) Yay!

And share the following picture on IG, Twitter, and/or Facebook to hold yourself accountable and let everyone know that you are committing to finishing 2016 healthy and STRONG!

Are you in??? Let's do this!! Check back on the blog on November 28th for your first routine and get ready to sweat!

*I am NOT a fitness professional or a doctor. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness journey. Complete the workout routines in the Five Weeks To Fit challenge at your own risk. Anna M. Cohen and www.annamcohen.com are not liable for any injuries that may occur from participation in the challenge.*

Wild Eats: Patriotic Smoothie Bowl!

Happy Fourth of July weekend! Feeling patriotic? Start your morning off with a little red white and blue and blend up this healthy, tasty breakfast bowl!

Here's What You Need:

  1. 1/2 avocado
  2. 1 banana
  3. 1/2 cup of blueberries
  4. 1/2 cup of strawberries
  5. 1/2 cup of milk
  6. 4-5 ice cubes
  7. 1 tsp cacao powder
  8. 2 tbs chocolate protein powder (I use
  9. Toppings: sliced banana, sliced strawberries, coconut flakes, chia seeds, 60% cacao chips, blueberries

Here's What You Do:

Blend all ingredients in a blender. Pour into a bowl, add toppings, and enjoy!

xo, Anna