Monthly Archives: January 2012

Beauty Short Cuts for Hot (Sweaty) Mamas

Do we ever outgrow playing dress up?

When it comes to putting myself together each day I usually find myself choosing between hair or make-up. Rarely is it hair and make-up.

Fit moms are always slicing and dicing their day to squeeze in a workout, so it goes to reason we’d skip on the beautification process. Still, I want to look like I tried. Over the 8+ years of being a fit mom, I’ve accumulated my top ten beauty shorts cuts:

Daily showers are non-optional, so make them quick. Sure, like most postpartum moms–crusty with a mix of bodily fluids that were mine and the babies–the days blurred together and I lost track of my mornings and nights and personal hygiene, too. But once the fog lifted I realized that not only did having human beings change me profoundly, they profoundly changed my body odor. The miasma of motherhood.

Only wash hair if you have to. Typically my rule is to wash my hair either after a good sweaty workout or after two days, whichever comes first. The fun in this is to try to coincide the sweaty workout on the second day. Still, there are times when the washing and drying and styling eludes you. And that’s when you…

Hide dirty hair with a hat. Hats are all the rage. Most definitely capitalize on style trends and hide your sweaty hair under a stylish hat. Fashion with purpose!

Grow a high-tolerance for body hair. Here’s where I luck out. The hair on my legs is light and fine, grows in relatively soft–and bonus! The longer it gets the softer it is! Even the underarm hair is understated. So, yeah, I take advantage of this physiological windfall and shave twice a week, picking up a third day in the summer. Still there are times when I should but don’t and that’s when you have to camouflage. Hirsute moms, can use this option when they need to to take a break from the razor, too. Cover the legs, skip the tank, and use the extra insulation to sweat a little bit more in your workout.

Keep nails short and unpolished. I file when necessary and every now and again buff them for shine. For me, having long painted nails is a major time suck. My toes are a different story. I really like pedicures. That’s my summer-time treat.

Don’t fall prey to the anti-aging industry. This one is a “do as I say, not as I do” tip. Now that I’m in my 40s I’ll admit I’ve succumbed. A few years ago I used a single jar of face cream from the drug store. That was all. Now, I own two different kinds of cleansers (one exfoliates!), a moisturizer for day and one for night, and–here’s where they can really suck you in–an eye cream. Once you start I don’t know if you can ever go back, so hold off as long as possible!

Prioritize make-up application. You and only you know what you need to feel good when you walk out the door. The lucky ones can get away with nothing at all. I go with a slathering of tinted moisturizer and mascara as my bare-bones basics. If time permits my cheeks get color and my nose gets a dusting of powder. On rare occasions I break out eye-liner. I think I wear eye shadow five times a year. I carry Burts Bees lip tint in every bag I own and keep some in the car.

Accessorize light. Bling. It’s important. I have a drawer full of goodies. However, on a day-to-day basis I stick with the basics so I’m always adorned: Wedding ring and the diamond studs my husband gave me 15 years ago. They never come off so I’m always accessorized. If an occasion calls for a different look, then I can switch out, if time allows. But if it doesn’t, I still have my sparkle.

Take time to eat nutritiously. A healthy meal takes effort, but eating healthy food is important for your inward and outward appearance. Taking the time to treat yourself to good nutrition is more effective than face creams or make up.

Redirect with self-confidence! There are days when I leave the house ready to be featured in a fashion magazine “Don’t!” Here’s when you let your inner-beauty shine. Especially if you’ve successfully finished a workout, let your sweaty glow ooze that inner-confidence and own it sister!

I’m sure you have your own fit mom beauty short-cuts to share. Let’s hear them!



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Does Being Skinny Make You Happy?

I’ve been thin my whole life. It’s not some genetics thing; I was a mover even before my brothers used me for football tackle practice, had me run the bases, and positioned me in goal for hockey drills. Lucky for me I still love moving—both the hardcore sweaty stuff, and the more relaxed play that fills a mom’s day.

Being active has helped spare me excess worry about heart disease, high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure that run in my family. It’s also helped me control anxiety and depression, two of my other little DNA-powered gifts.

I know I’m not alone. In a survey we conducted while writing Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom (Andrews McMeel, 2011), almost all of the fit moms who responded realized some mental health benefits from their fitness pursuits.  It wasn’t being skinny that made them happier; in fact most of them probably wouldn’t even consider themselves skinny by societal standards. So it must be something else.

And yet we see the message that getting skinny means getting happy, don’t we? I saw it at the gym last weekend. Thirteen flat screen televisions on the wall in front of me and over half of them were playing advertisements (dressed as television shows) showing amazing product-related transformations—women who went from obese and unhappy to skinny and smiling.

If only it were that simple. We all have our struggles, whether it’s depression with a capital “D” or an occasional sadness that leaves us looking for more in life. Exercise is great medicine for mental health; it’s a proven physiological and psychological supplement.

But simply getting skinny doesn’t make you happier. As with most things, it’s all in the process. It’s what you’re doing to get there that’s really helping. It’s setting and reaching goals, developing a new (healthier) identity, connecting with a community of likeminded people, feeling cared about and caring for others as mentee and mentor.

In short:

Being skinny won’t make you happy.

Wearing $100 workout pants won’t make you happy (a post for another day!)

Breathing, sweating, and moving with intention—even just a little bit every day—will.

So, whether you’re on your way to being fit, or been there for a while now… keep your eyes focused on the process. Cause that’s what living a fit lifestyle is: a process, a (for lack of a better, less overused word) journey. It’s okay to enjoy the way your body looks, a nice side effect of the underlying increase in overall health. But if you’re looking for happiness, step away from the mirror. You won’t find it there.



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Family Fitness is Not Sitting Out Storytime Yoga

This pose is called "There are days when I still need a nap."

Last week I took The Boy to a special story time yoga at our local library. He’s already been exposed to yoga at our house in various ways: Watching Mom do sun salutations out of the corner of his eye while he watches Thomas the Train; Knowing I’m going to a class while he plays in the child center at the gym; or together, as we read one of our favorite books, My Daddy is a Pretzel. The Boy knows Tree Pose, Triangle Pose, Downward Dog.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say he’s an above-average nearly 3-year-old yogi, but he likes yoga. That’s enough.

Story time and yoga? Yes! In fact, I’ve stopped going to the regular storytime events because he won’t sit still for them. He lasts all of 30 seconds before I get a look that says, “Let’s cut out and play with the train set.”

Quite honestly I don’t want to just sit there either. I get it!

So there we were eager for our yoga session (me especially so after running hills early that morning) among a room full of tots and their caregivers: moms, dads, grandparents. Who all took a seat. Or stood there. Not moving. For the whole. stinking. storytime.

Except me. But, of course.

I was the only adult besides the yoga instructor making monkey sounds, roaring like a tiger, hopping like a frog, stomping like an elephant, barking like a dog.

I tried real hard to focus on having fun with The Boy. And we did. Yet I felt–and you are not supposed to feel this way in yoga–pissed off at all those parents and grandparents. Sure I get it. I’ve been that mom who just wants to sit there with her coffee. Zone out. Score 20 minutes of someone else entertaining the kids.  Still I had to work at not passing judgment while I was making monkey sounds, roaring like a tiger, hopping like a frog, stomping like an elephant, barking like a dog.

Because, come on!, I was the only grown up involved. Apparently no one looked at me and said, “Well, she doesn’t look that stupid, I’ll go ahead and do this too.” Nope. Just sat there.

Talk about a missed opportunity–not just for the chance to move and stretch for themselves, but the chance to show their children that fitness is a family affair, for the pleasure–the privilege, really–of being active together.

I’m judging.

And I know what that means. I will never again be able to sit in storytime with my coffee and zone out.


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