How Anxiety Inspired Me To Start Running And Begin A Two-Week Challenge

A few weeks ago, I was anxious. I could audibly hear every breath exiting and entering my body. Every task, including putting my kids’ shoes on for them, was a struggle. I had a lot on my mind that included worrying about one of my kids, who was struggling, and some tough work-based decisions that I had to make.

anxiety and parenting

I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders and I would be crushed at any moment. I wasn’t able to answer my kids’ questions without hearing a quiver in my voice. I was shattering.

One day, as I finally hit send on an email that had been weighing heavily on me, something told me that I needed to run. Physically run away from my problems and gain some perspective. Luckily, my husband Mike was just walking in the door from work at that moment and I was able to leave him with the kids and head out the door.

As I rounded the corner from the streets lined with houses and entered the path through the forest near my house, my feet began to move faster. I was running… fast. My muscles ached as my body tried to comprehend this new feeling.


You see, despite working out and getting my (new) body back after babies, I wasn’t doing any cardio, only resistance training. Up until this point, I didn’t see the need to do cardio. I was getting the results I wanted to see from portion control, resistance training and making healthy dietary choices. Why bother with sweaty, time-consuming cardio? Little did I know that my mind and body had been craving cardio the entire time.


As I continued to run along that path, something incredible began to happen. I stopped worrying. For the first time in a week, I didn’t feel like I was going to shatter. My mind was gaining perspective and new ideas and solutions were bubbling to the surface. My entire being was strengthening and I was flying.


Throughout the next week, I flew out the door each day as Mike came home from work. I was smiling again, and going through my day with ease and confidence. My anxiety disappeared and I was able to tackle each problem that came my way with a clear mind. I even began to feel my body strengthen. But as life with kids goes, illness decided to pay a visit to our home and my runs were put on pause.

Now that everyone is healthy again, I am ready to jump back into my running routine. I am beginning a two-week challenge to be #evenbetter. I will be running each day while maintaining my resistance training and healthy dietary choices. I will also start including my family in my cardio journey, including going on family bike rides and nature hikes.


Because I struggle at times to get enough water, Ocean Spray® will be keeping me hydrated with their Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Waters so I can dial up on all the healthy benefits.

Ocean Spray PACt

So, what are my goals during this two-week challenge? There are three main ones that stand out to me:

  1. To incorporate daily fitness into my routine and help strengthen my body.
  2. To use running as a stress-release and to control my anxiety.
  3. To not only set a good example for both my kids and my husband, but to include them in my cardio journey as well.

Keeping myself (and my family) hydrated with Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water flavours – including Cranberry Pomegranate, Cranberry Raspberry and Cranberry Mango Passionfruit – will make the entire challenge a little more fun and sweet!

Ocean Spray PACt

The last time I was really into running, I either found that I would get bored of drinking so much water, or not drink enough and end up dehydrated. Ocean Spray® has created the perfect low-calorie drink that is full of ingredients I can feel good about putting into my body.

Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water delivers unique cranberry benefits. It contains PACs, or proanthocyanidins – unique, powerful elements found deep inside cranberries – to help protect against certain harmful bacteria from sticking in the urinary tract.

Made from purified water, each bottle is only 10 calories, is naturally sweetened, and contains no GMOs or artificial colours – the colour comes straight from the red cranberries.

I am really excited to start this journey with my family and see what kind of benefits each of us gain from adding more cardio to our daily lives. Make sure to check in in two weeks to see how we did!

Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water is a tasty and low-calorie way to hydrate in a more meaningful way. Packed with the power of 50 cranberries, PACt® cranberry extract water delivers unique cranberry health benefits. Visit to learn more and find out where to buy PACt® water at a store near you.


Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Ocean Spray® via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Ocean Spray®.

What I Do To Reduce My Daily Stress

IMG_3378I never truly knew what stress felt like until I became a mother. Some days it’s the little things that get to me, like the stress of getting everyone out the door. Other days its the bigger things like health issues with my kids.

Over the years I have learned that I needed to work a few stress-reducing routines into my day, everyday, to keep myself happy and healthy.

Here are some ways I reduce my stress each day…

I work out. Rarely a day goes by that I miss my mini workout. I find taking those twenty minutes each morning to stretch and resistance-train sets the tone for the day. I know I have done something for myself, and feel stronger throughout the day.IMG_3335

I have a beauty regime. For a long time I would throw sweats, a sports bra and t-shirt on, maybe wash my face, brush my teeth and put my hair in a ponytail and get on with my day. First it was when I was doing the SAHM thing, then it was when I was working from home. I finally realized that doing this was not only making me unhappy, but I was gaining a little weight too.

Now, I take the time each day to shower, (I only wash my hair every three days, let’s not get ahead of ourselves), wear nicer clothes (including jeans) and a proper bra, and put some makeup on. This beauty regime not only helps me keep the weight off, but also reduces my stress.


I rest and have a treat each day. Every single day, around 2 p.m., after I’ve had my lunch, I stop working, doing housework, or even playing with my kids and have what I call “mommy’s quiet time.” This is when our twins are napping, so I am able to protect this time each day. On the weekends I send our older kids to their rooms for their own quiet time, and often send my husband out to run errands, or he heads out to the gym.

I make myself a coffee, grab a sweet treat and cozy-up under a blanket on the couch and watch whatever TV show I am currently binging on for about 45 minutes. I will often doze off and take a quick nap. Doing this for myself each day is probably this biggest way I reduce my stress and reset myself. I am very protective of this time, and my entire family knows that I am always more patient and happy afterwards.

I go to bed early. I am very protective of my sleep. I always have been. I am a morning person and need to get to bed by 10 p.m. and be asleep before 11 p.m. to make the most of my early morning wake-up.

Doing this has many benefits. I stay healthy (even when my kids are sick), I fight off stress, I am less likely to eat unhealthy and am generally more happy.

Since April is Stress Awareness Month, Nesting Story has teamed up with Casper, the sleep startup that created the perfect mattress, sheets and pillow for everyone. Here is Casper’s napping guide 101, that shares different types of naps and even some reasons why you might need a nap (as if you really need a reason). Visit to learn more about their mattresses and sheets.Casper Napping101_LRG

This post was sponsored by Casper. All opinions are my own.

I Lost ALL Of The Baby Weight After Having My Twins – This Is My Journey

Home from the hospital after having twins

Note: I have not been sponsored by any diet, fitness or lifestyle program. As always, all opinions are my own. On the day I came home from the hospital, the curiosity was killing me… how much weight had I lost now that two human beings had exited my body? They each weighed 6 pounds, so, I figured, maybe I had lost 12 pounds, or even more because you have to count the amniotic fluid and placentas. I hopped on the scale and was devastated. I had only lost 3 pounds.

Weight = 193 lbs, Height = 5’2″.

I looked down at my massive swollen feet, and the logical side of my brain told me that I was retaining a lot of water and needed to be patient. I had been through this twice before after giving birth to my older kids. But come on, two freaking people, it didn’t seem fair.

I picked myself up and switched my focus to what was most important: caring for my four kids, healing from my C-section and basically surviving.

In-fact, I was able to shove the weight thing out of my mind for the next couple of months. I had more pressing things to focus on.After having four kids

By the two-month point, I was ready to shift a percentage of my daily energy (which was quickly depleted each day), to myself.

“Here we go Joanna, let’s do this.” I thought.

I had lost baby weight before. In fact, after having each my son, and then my daughter, I was able to get my weight down within my happy weight range. But not only had I gained a little more weight than my previous pregnancies, my body had also been through a violent war.

When growing two humans, it is very important to gain the required weight. It is actually a bizarre feeling to be going to the doctors and finding out that your small efforts in weight gain weren’t enough. I needed to head home and focus on consuming MORE calories. So I did it. I gained the necessary weight, stayed off of my feet and ended up carrying my babies to term.

2 Months Postpartum
2 months post partum after twins

When it was time to finally get moving and change my eating habits, I decided that joining a program would help me start my journey on the right foot. In the past, I had always done Weight Watchers to get my portions under control, after being pregnant.

This was the perfect fit for me at the time. My older kids were in school and my babies were little enough that they would happily stay in their stroller while I went to meetings. I was even able to find the time to prepare nutritious meals. I watched the weight roll off for the next three months, while enjoying the social aspect of the Weight Watchers meetings.

By five months, I was ready to take over myself. I ate clean, healthy meals and started to incorporate a lot of exercise into my daily routine. I would wake up before everyone else, and do some strength training, before getting on with my day.

7 Months Postpartum 7 months after having twins

Once I was seven months postpartum, I was thrilled! I was only 10 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. Not only was I feeling stronger, my old clothes were starting to fit again. I was watching my bruised, battered and swollen body come back, and I was really pumped with my progress.

I shared my new point of view with the world and celebrated the amazing things a woman’s body could do.

But little did I know that I was heading into a one-year weight plateau….

I started to play little mind tricks with myself, like, you’ve gotten this far, you can take days (or weeks) off of exercise. Or after an exhausting day of building my business, while giving enough attention to my family, I would “reward” myself by gorging on unhealthy, or ridiculous portions.

Every once and a while I would find my rhythm and work at getting a few more pounds off, but despite making “losing the last ten pounds” my number one goal, I would continue to self-sabotage.

Then, at around 17-months postpartum, I made the conscious decision to relax. I embraced my body again, and be proud at how far I had come. It was this amazing machine that had created my children, and if I wanted to wear a bikini, (or whatever outfit), I would, and feel good too!JGIU5754

While away on vacation, and taking some time off of worrying about my weight, it struck me, I was TOO focused on losing the weight. Losing those last ten pounds was completely mental.

It was from that point on that I made the decision to start focusing on other aspects of my life, and for once, NOT make losing weight my New Years resolution.

A month ago, I was chugging along, doing the mom thing, as well as constantly switching to my entrepreneur hat, when I realized that I was a little too relaxed. I was eating whatever I could grab out of convenience and watching the weight pile on.

I didn’t have time at the moment, with everything on my plate, to put extra effort into my meals, so my husband, Mike, suggested I go on Jenny Craig. His co-worker was having lots of success from the program, and he thought it would be the perfect fit.

So, I did! It was the perfect answer to my problem. I was still able to get on with my day, without obsessing about my weight, or worrying about cooking meals, (you purchase their frozen meals)  other than making salads.

I found myself effortlessly losing weight, while still focusing on my kids and my work. It has been so great, in fact, that Mike is doing jenny Craig too!

Current weight 129 lbs, total weight lost = 64 lbs.

Weight loss journey after four kids (including twins)

Looking back on my journey, I wouldn’t say there there was one specific thing that helped me drop the baby weight after my twins. I needed all of those different chapters to get to where I am. I especially needed those lulls, and breaks to get my head in the right space for the final stretch.

Weight loss after four kids Nesting Story

My journey is not over. I cannot wait to gain back the strength I lost, while creating my four children. I have to find a new sweet spot, that is my body after kids and I am sure that I will always be having to work against that little voice in my head that says go ahead, you deserve it after those particularly stressful days.

Fitness Nesting Story

This is my last week on Jenny Craig, and I am actually really excited about cooking my own meals, and applying what I have learned to everyday life. Don’t worry, I will be sharing all of that with you.

In the video below I am not only talking about my exciting weight loss, but I am also getting very real, showing you a close-up of my “twin skin” left over from my twin pregnancy.

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My Word Of The Year Is FINISH, And Here’s Why…

Photo 1 - This is they year I finish what I started

Recently, I had a big realization: I could hit every work deadline thrown at me, but when it came to anything that was for me, I would self-sabotage. Why?

Why don’t I feel worthy enough to complete home projects, or loose those pesky last ten pounds?

I think it can be summed up with three words… boredom, laziness and fear.

This year, I plan to pick up where I left off and take those daunting tasks across the finish line and then reap the benefits. I will tell myself that I am worthy and get rid of all of the noise in my life. I will FINISH my weight loss goals, FINISH my home projects and FINISH those random DIY’s I have cluttering my space.

To read more, head to Yummy Mummy Club, to read my post: This is the year I finish what I started.

The New Way I Am Approaching Weight Loss And Loving My Body

My new approach to weightloss2015 was a year I not only got to know my body after four kids (including twins), but love and appreciate it’s new curves and past accomplishments. I knew that I wasn’t completely done my weight loss and strengthening journey, and always kept my weight at the top of my to-do list.

I would tend to deprive myself of foods I really loved, or activities I wanted to participate in because I hadn’t “hit my goal yet.”

But, while away on vacation, something within me shifted. I thought, “screw it, I am going to treat myself occasionally, strut around the beach in a bikini and LIVE.”

Body after babyI had fun with my kids and enjoyed an occasional dessert. At one point I did have to reel it in, and I ditched my Florida vice: cereal.

American cerealFact: Did you know that American Corn Pops are completely different than Canadian (where I live) Corn Pops? I have to give the U.S. this one, because your Corn Pops are WAY better. Also, Cracklin’ Oat Bran is not sold in Canada… the more you know!

But something really interesting happened. I stopped stress eating. I was feeling happy and satisfied, and not feeling like I wanted to binge eat and watch T.V. while my kids napped.

When I got home I decided to weigh myself, preparing for a five pound weight gain. I hadn’t kept up with my 20 minute workouts during my three-week vacation, so I knew I had done some damage.

My jaw dropped when I realized I had only gained one pound!

This has completely changed my way of thinking about my weight, and how I am going to approach my lifestyle this year. Instead of making losing weight my number one goal for 2016, like it is EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. What if I make happiness, living, thriving and laughing at the top of my list?

I will be resuming my 20 minute workouts this week, but I will make sure they are fun, and enjoyable. I will carve out more time for things I enjoy and moments of relaxation, so I don’t burn myself out and end up comfort-eating.

Maybe having “lose those last ten pounds” as my New Year’s resolution, does more damage than good? Maybe that’s too much pressure, and it is setting myself up to fail?

Okay 2016, I am ready to LIVE!

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