Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in GET FIT

I can’t believe it’s already the 2nd week of our New Fitness and Health challenge: GET FIT and GET HEALTHY.  


1. If you haven’t yet, join the challenge here: GET FIT and GET HEALTHY
2. Every Saturday come back to The Art of Making a Baby and ShutterMama to read the tips on how to be fitter, healthier and more confident.
3. Weekly write a post about your progress, following the questionnaire below, take a self-portrait (optional) and link up with us.
4. Don’t forget to grab the GET FIT challenge button on the sidebar and display it proudly on your blog or GET FIT post.
5.  Link your post with
Selfie Saturdays if you took your week’s self-portrait.  

{Shutter}Mama and I are so excited about the turnout last week. We knew that it would take a few weeks to pick up, due to the fact that it’s a pretty ambitious challenge.
However, what we didn’t expect was that a good number of people would join in immediately. That’s very encouraging and uplifting, because what this challenge needs is as many supporters as possible. Great results and motivation  are not possible to sustain without some kind of support, and we were hoping that the virtual support of other bloggers participating in our challenge will serve as just that. I’m expecting that this week we will do even better with new members checking in and reporting on their progress. I cannot wait to hear how you all did and what challenges you had during the week.
Be sure to stop by the other members of the GET FIT challenge for support and motivation. There’s nothing that motivates me better than seeing other people work hard and reach their goals. 

This week I’d like to talk about gym-less exercising.

I have noticed a lot of members and bloggers mentioning that they don’t like going to gyms or have  no time to make the trip. I totally understand that. I’ve never been a “class” person, I like learning things on my own and I tend to be lazy about getting out of the house, so those two things made me a perfect  candidate for working out at home. Believe it or not, there are a lot of choices for that, and they don’t have to be boring push-ups, sit-ups or squats. Two of my all-time favorite exercises for home use are PILATES and STEP-AEROBICS. Those were my buddies when I needed to get into terrific shape for modeling and they still support me to this day. I went through many different pilates DVDs until I found the perfect one that’s good for beginners, yet really tones you and gets your heart rate up and is still challenging 2 years down the road.   

It’s called 10 Minute Solutions: Rapid Results Pilates(with Lara Hudson). First of all, she’s the most pleasant pilates instructor. Secondly, the workouts that she picked really fit together well, make sense and are a true pleasure to do while still being very challenging. 
The DVD is  broken into 5 categories: Buns and Thighs, Abs, Arms and Shoulders, Body Blast ( cardio pilates) and Stretch. For busy moms and working girls ( not that type), it’s perfect. Every exercise takes 10 minutes and you are truly surprised to see how fast they go. Do 3 sections and you’ve already achieved your mandatory 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise.
This work out routine is so good, my husband does it with me ( and follows it up with additional weight lifting). That’s right – he converted to pilates after he felt how much they do to your whole body. No gym targets the kinds of muscles pilates seem to work out. So 30 minutes a day every other day paired with a cardio work out on alternate days will slowly get you to a nice tone without you even noticing that you’re working out.
That’s all it takes. You don’t need to go hardcore if you don’t want to or can’t. All you have to do is 30 minutes a day of something that really works all your muscles.   

I will post a video for you to follow right here. It’s the first section: Buns and Thighs. Do 10 minutes of it and tell me if it’s not easy, yet challenging.   


You can buy the full DVD from Amazon for only $10. Make sure it’s the right DVD ( link below), because there’re quite a few similar titles. What I love about this DVD compared to others, no props required. You could use dumbells, but who doesn’t own them already. Otherwise, no bands, no balls, nothing- just you and Lara Hudson :)  



So those of you out there who are still on the sidelines watching this challenge with a sigh and a “I want to do it, but I’m not sure I am ready”, Join us NOW! I challenge you to add 3 ten  minute a day sessions of pilates. That’s all I am asking for. Type up that blog announcing that you’ll be joining and getting in shape and in your fitness challenge put: “3 ten minute sessions of pilates daily” or “3 ten minutes pilates sessions every other day alternating with a 30 minutes  run/walk/roller blade/bike session”. DO IT!   

Don’t like exercises and need more cardio? Try step-aerobics. It’s one of the best way to get your legs toned and burn calories without leaving your home. All you need is an Aerobic Stepwhich you can buy at the nearest Target or Walmart next time you go food shopping or order on Amazon. It’s a lot of fun because it’s like a dance routine, but it doesn’t require any type of balance or coordination ( at least in the beginning). Any fun step-aerobics DVD will do: Netflix it, buy it, borrow it, rent it- I don’t care! Just try it!  

Next week I will try to post some tips about how to fit work outs into a busy day schedule.   

My week 2 entry 

1.  Height: 5’11″, weight: 133 lb

2. Your  fitness challenge(s) for this week:  30 minutes of pilates every other day + 30 minutes of cardio ( rollerblading, running, swimming or treadmill) every other day. Special exercises designed for pregnancy to increase flexibility (daily) + Kegels (twice daily). A total of about an hour of physical activity a day.

3. Your health challenge(s) for this week: My eating habits are close to perfect,  however I could improve on my water intake. My goal will be 8 glasses of water daily + continue eating the way I do now.

4. How well did it go: I couldn’t do much Saturday since I was gone all day (8 am to 3am) on a yacht trip, however I did eat like I usually do and definitely got my 8 glasses of water, since it was all I was drinking.
The rest of the week went well fitness wise. I almost skipped my rollerblading run on Tuesday because it was cold (-er), but the thought of having to disclose  on my blog that I chicken out because of some cold Florida night made me get on the stepper at home while watching an Argentinian soap opera in Spanish and do my mandatory 30 minutes. Pilates days were good because I had recruited my neighbor to come and do them with me. This challenge is Definitely making me approach the work outs more seriously. As far as Kegels and pre-pregnancy exercises, I did them every time I remembered, since they haven’t not been a part of my routine. I think I might have forgotten to do those once or so.  Will do better next week.
Food challenge went without a hitch. I did have 3 little cookies after dinner once instead of 1, but considering how well I eat otherwise, i’m not too worried about it. Plus I’m out of cookies.  lol.
8 glasses of water has been a lot more difficult than I thought. It’s a LOT OF water! I got up to 6 glasses daily , but never to actualy 8. Will keep working on it.

5. Failures and slip-ups: Sweets after dinner: once. Forgot kegels: once, 6 glasses of water instead of 8.

6. Weekly challenge wisdom:  It’s really a lot easier to be motivated if you do it with a buddy. When you don’t feel like it, they’re there to pump you up and when they try to skip the work out, you have the will power to make them do it. Schedule a work out with someone and it’ll be harder to cancel on it. Blog buddies work the same way. Pair up with someone and give each other support and motivation. Check in with each other daily to make sure the goals are fulfilled. 
7. Advice to fellow GET FIT members: Make a reminder! It’s easier to feel motivated if we have something to remind us constantly of the goal and the challenge. I had failures only when I simply forgot about the challenges. Print the 2 challenges on a piece of paper ( make it pretty if you want) and tape it to the place you frequent most: refrigerator, vanity mirror, baby’s room. This constant reminder will propel you to get it over with  
  8. Your self-portrait ( optional but strongly encouraged) : Ok, so I feel very very weird about the self-portrait I am about to post. The purpose of it for me was to have a record of what I looked like going into that challenge. I am hoping to tone a few parts of my body more and post a similar selfie in a few months to see the difference. I have to say I feel a bit self conscious about this image. Not because I think I look bad, but because …well.. I’m in my undies :) I picked out the least sexy underwear set I had, because the point of this is not to look sexy, but to look real. I don’t expect many of you to post a similar portrait, however that IS the point of our first full body shot.

I know this is going to be a tough one for most women, but it’s important to have a full body shot of where you started in order to see ( and show) progress when we do another full body shot in a few months. Again, there’s no motivation unless you see results, right? And the scale doesn’t always show results, because muscle weighs more than fat, therefore your scale won’t show the progress if you’re working out and building muscle. The only way to see progress is to compare the before and after. And since we see ourselves every day, our naked eye can’t pick up on changes that well. A full body photo will be the best way of judging your progress. Now it’s up to you how “honest” you want to be. If you’re not “there” yet, then take one fully clothed full body photo following my tips at last week’s Selfie Magic and post it with your blog post, but also one that will show your true shape and keep it for you records.   

Now, don’t forget to head over to ShutterMama and check out this week’s tips on exercise and nutrition from her, and link up with your self portrait at Selfie Saturdays

It’s also important to visit our participants. They need your support and isn’t it fun to see how other people did on their challenge, read about the lessons they learned and take in their advice to fellow members. Keeping up with other GET FIT participants and encouraging each other is a big part of the GET FIT challenge.   Can’t wait to see how you all did this week!


Please don’t forget to VOTE daily!





EATING OUT – GET FIT Challenge, Week 1

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in GET FIT, HEALTH

I’m very excited to start WEEK 1 of the GET FIT/GET HEALTHY challenge. For those not familiar with it, please go here to read how it works and to join.

This week’s goal is to determine your fitness and nutritional challenges ( use this list for ideas), publish a post listing them along with your weight/height (optional) and a (self-)portrait of what you wish to look like when you’re done with the challenge. Don’t forget to enter it into the SELFIE SATURDAYS photo linky.  After you’re done reading my tips for this week, go ahead and move over to Shutter Mama’s part of the challenge and read up about what you can do on the fitness part. 


What I’d like to talk about this week is eating out versus cooking at home.  

Oneof the best way to lose some weight, cut down on calories and eat healthier is to resolve to not go out to restaurants and eat all your meals exclusively at home. Now I know it might not be realistic for some who aren’t self employed or stay-at-home moms, however you too can make an effort. If one only knew precisely what restaurantsput into each and every meals, noone would ever want to eat out again. I suggest that whenever you have an urge to go eat out, jump online and find a caloriebreakdown of that restaurant’s dishes. I guarantee that this alone will deter you from dining at that restaurant forever. Or at least until the next urge.  

Even seemingly healthy options have tons of fat and calories. And the cheaper the chain is, the worse their food tends to be. Remember, to maintain their weight most women need 1800-2000 calories, however in reality I find that the majority of girls in their 30s have a metabolism that is much slower than that, making 1800-2000 calories a day a sure way to slowly gain weight ( a pound or two over a few months). So don’t over estimate how fast you burn calories and always go for less than you think you can have. 

I also realize sometimes you’re in a situation where you have to eat out, then  you have to do what I do: pick the smallest ( size-wise) meal on the menu that has the most veggies and ask for dressing on the side if it’s a salad. Or ord er fish with a side dish of vegetables and request no oil to be used. You will be surprised that most chefs are willing to cater to your “silly” requests. Another tricky way of making sure you eat healthy and low in calories at the restaurants is to order anything vegan. Just ask for about vegan options on the menu and you’ll be almost guaranteed a healthier lower calorie dinner by cutting out our diet’s biggest offenders: cheese, sauces and meat.   

If you happen to own a smart phone, jump online and search for a calorie breakdown of that restaurant ( most restaurants have it published). If it’s a small shop, ask the server for a nutritional breakdown of the menu. I think every place is supposed to have one by law ( I might be mistaken, but every place I’ve asked has brought me a big book with a caloric breakdown). Then pick a meal with a reasonable amount of calories, the least fat and the most fiber.  

Another option that some restaurants have is ordering whole grain instead of refined grains, like CPK. California Pizza Kitchen has some of the best low calorie and healthy options if you know how to pick.  

Now, if you are able to avoid restaurants all together, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor. Cooking meals at home, and not just snacking on whatever is available, is one of the easiest way of controlling your portions and calories.  The key to cooking at home is making sure you follow the USDA guidelines: 6-11 servings of whole grains, 2-4 servings of fruits, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-3 servings of proteins, 2-3 servings of non-fat diary.  

 Keep in mind that you need to reduce the amount slightly if you’re trying to lose weight, while still keeping the  balance of the food groups.  

Another trick I discovered on my journey to healthy living was cutting down on any kind of fats and oils while cooking at home. When a  recipe calls for 1/4 cup of olive oil, I cut that in half or more. If i have to use butter, I either skip it completely ( if possible) or add just 1 tbs of it. It does the trick and doesn’t ruin the meal. I’d even suggest that you cook on water or canola spray while you’re trying to lose weight. There are also plenty of low calorie dressings available with only 35 calories per 2 tbs that taste amazing!

Make your own dressing too. Store bought Caesar doesn’t even come close to the Ceasar dressing I make at home using 1/3 of the amount of oil and it has half the amount of calories to boot.  

Hope you find this helpful and will attempt to incorporate some of it into your life.  

So Here’s my Week 1 entry:

My goal for this challenge is to maintain my weight and gain more muscle tone and strength, as well as continue eating healthy. I cannot be losing weight right now, since my BMI is on the border of being underweight and normal ( and that’s after I gained 3 lb on purpose). So I need to stay where I am and prepare my body for the physically demanding aspects of pregnancy and childbirth.    

1.  Height: 5’11”, weight: 133 lb
2. Your  fitness challenge(s) for this week:  30 minutes of intense pilates every other day + 30 minutes of cardio ( rollerblading, running, swimming or treadmill) every other day. Special exercises designed for pregnancy to increase flexibility (daily) + Kegels (twice daily). A total of about an hour of physical activity a day.
3. Your health challenge(s) for this week: My eating habits are close to perfect,  however I could improve on water intake. My goal will be 8 glasses of water daily + continue eating the way I do now.
4. How well did it go: This is week 1, so the question doesn’t apply, but I do have to mention that I’ve been pretty much following the fitness part of this for a while now
5. Failures and slip-ups: I do catch myself forgetting about eating. And while it’s sort of fine right now, I cannot skip meals or go without food when I am pregnant. Therefore I need to work on making sure I eat throughout the day. Also there are days when I eat 2 or 3 cookies after meals, rather than just one.
6. Weekly challenge wisdom: It really feels absolutely amazing to be doing good in both fitness and nutritional part of my life. I feel like a 100% better person, accomplished and guilt free.
7. Advice to fellow GET FIT members: All you need is be determined and be strong! I know some of you think you’ll fail, but with fellow bloggers’ support you might just be strong enough to go on.
8. Your self-portrait ( optional but strongly encouraged)

This selfie was taken about 3 years ago or so, right before I left for New York to model. I had spent the previous month working out 2 hours daily ( pilates and step aerobics ) and dieting, so at that point I had very little body fat ( probably dangerously little) and really nice strong muscles.  I realize that right now, when I am getting ready for a baby, I cannot diet, but I can continue improving my muscle tone and flexibility. This photo will serve as a reminder of what I strive to look like once I have a baby and that working out and eating healthy NOW will help me bounce back easier and faster LATER.  



Now that you’re done reading about this part of the challenge, make sure to check out Shutter Mama’s post, as well as enter in the Selfie Saturday linky ( this week’s theme is “my dream self” photo).
And don’t forget to join and write your own post with your goals ( see questionaire above) and a self portrait of what you’d like to look like. Don’t forget to display the GET FIT GET HEALTHY buttons ( code on the sidebar)!


NEXT WEEK SELFIE SATURDAY THEME: Full Body Shot – Take a full body shot- it will be your starting point in the GET FIT challenge. In a few months we will take another full body shot to view our progress.



Please don’t forget to VOTE daily!

Blog Hopping today with

Saturday Stalk Savings Blog Hop

Surfing Saturdays



Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in GET FIT

I am super duper excited! I am absolutely STOKED! And I think you, guys, are going to LOVE IT!

The beautiful {shutter}mama and I, The Art of Making a Baby, would love to present to you a NEW CHALLENGE that will change your life! It will teach you to LOVE yourself and your body, to be strong mentally and physically, to be confident and to learn how to shoot self-portraits at the same time :) And all you have to do is join the PARTY!

I have not been in the blogging word for long, but one thing I have noticed almost right away is lack of self-confidence in women here. We all take photos, beautiful inspiring photos, and yet most of us complain that they can barely find one or two good pictures of themselves or their families. Virtually every single blogger, to some extent, struggles with weight and EVERYONE wants to eat healthier, be healthier, be FIT and love themselves. A lot of women here are in their postpartum period and need motivation and help in getting over the  hump that “extra 5 pregnancy pounds/diapers/feedings” is.

It’s time to stop complaining and feeling guilty and take matters into our own hands! Let’s be FIT! Let’s be HEALTHY! Let’s be CONFIDENT!


The idea of a GET FIT challenge was pioneered by Sonya from {shutter}mama. When I found out about it, I had to partner up with her. I am way to passionate about health and helping people be a better version of themselves, not to take this on with Sonya.

The goal is to get you to move, to give up bad eating habits and to take more pictures of yourself!

If you want some “girlfriend” help in getting fit, getting healthy and feeling good about your body, then YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE.

So here is how it’s going to work:

1. Go ahead and join in the linky below. Even if you’re hesitant about it, still try it out. I know we’re all busy and we all barely have time to exercise and eat well. But we’re talking about our health! AND our kids’ health, because our kids learn from us. The pace of the challenge will be determined by you and you only! So take the plunge to your new BETTER self!

2. Every Saturday {shutter}mama and I will be hosting this challenge on both our blogs, with tips on how to exercise, eat better and  help you stay motivated. In addition to that, we’ll be hosting a SELFIE SATURDAY photo challenge on my new photography blog, Selfie Magic, as a part of this effort to help women with their body image. We will go over methods of doing self portraiture and flattering angles while shooting yourself, weekly themes, as well link up with our weekly Self Portrait and a Get Fit posts.

3. Your job is to check in every Saturday with a post about your current weight (if you choose to measure and share it), your progress with food and exercise and a self portrait. They key is to be completely honest about your achivements and failures. We’re all in the same boat here, some better off than other, but we all need support. You are free to modify any part of the challenge to fit your life. Everyone is different and we don’t expect things to work the same for everyone. That is why we’ll be posting a list of fitness and food habits challenges for the first week, that you can pick from or create your own. It’ll be your first step to being a healthier you!

Be sure to check with The Art of Making a Baby and {Shutter}Mama each week since we’ll be doing separate posts every Saturday about both food and exercise,and then head on over to Selfie Magic for a Self Portrait lesson and link up.

Now onto the goals. We realize that everyone is in a different situation and has different strengths and weaknesses and  amounts of time to devote to their own well-being. Therefore you’re encouraged to set your own goals. But to get you started, here are some sample health challenges/goals that you could use.  Afterward you’ve picked a health goal  head over to {Shutter}Mama to view the fitness part of this challenge.

What you could do to improve your eating habits (suggestions):

1.  Eliminate  soft drinks/sodas.
{I am sure I do not need to list the reasons for why soft drinks are bad, but in any case, here we go: empty sugar, extra caffeine dependence, tooth decay, bone weakening ( from an ingredient in sodas) and tons and tons of chemicals.}
2.  Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
{Hydration is one of the most important things that can keep us young and healthy. Helps skin elasticity too, so drop those wrinkle creams and drink up. There’s an iPhone app for that, too.}
3. Eat at least 1 salad a day
{There’s only 8 calories in a cup of romaine lettuce, yet it contains 80% of DV for Vitamin A , 19% Vitamin C, 60% Vitamin K and 16% of Folate.}
4. Cut down fatty and/or processed meat consumption to at most once a week
{How meat is killing you}
6. Make only whole grain meals instead of refined grains
Use less salt.
8.  Start writing down every calorie you eat {recording everything you eat and counting calories helps you realize the nutritional mistakes you make throughout the day and keeps you from pigging out those cookies at 10 pm}
Eat no more than 1 sweet treat a day
10. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
11. Make a home cooked meal using the healthiest ingredients and no oil at least 3 times a week
( mac and cheese or potatoes and steak do not count as a healthy meal)

You can pick just one challenge, or as many as you’d like. If you feel you’re disciplined enough to handle a few challenges, go for it! You can come up with your own challenge that fits your life better and share it with everyone.

Below is the format you can use to track your progress and share with our GET FIT participants in your weekly posts.

1. Your weight and height (optional):
2. Your  fitness challenge(s) for this week:
3. Your food challenge(s) for this week:
4. How well did it go:
5. Failures and slip-ups:
6. Weekly challenge wisdom:
7. Advice to fellow GET FIT members:
8. Your self-portrait
( optional but strongly encouraged)
I realize many of you feel a bit shy and  not-so-confident of how you look, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to break out of that type of thinking. Shooting and posting your self-portraits will not only improve your skills as a photographer but will help fellow members of GET FIT challenge to relate to each other better. Women come in all shapes and sizes, but there’s only one size and shape we care about and that’s FIT and HEALTHY. And it’d help women immensely to see other girls their size working hard to  improve and not being afraid to show off their goodies. This week’s Self Portrait theme is “OUR DREAM SELF“, a past (self-)portrait of yourself  that expresses the form you’d like to get back into.
Sonya and I are very excited about this new project and we hope that you’ll see the good in it and join in and help other  women by letting them know about the GET FIT Challenge.

So for this week, publish a post with your “Fitness and Health Goals, a picture of your “DREAM SELF” and our Challenge buttons below, join up in our linkies {GET FIT Challenge(below) and Selfie Saturday} using the post’s URL, and get ready to GET FIT.
Your initial post and first check-in is due this Saturday, Feb 5th!

Don’t forget to display the GET FIT GET HEALTHY buttons ( code on the sidebar)!

1. All is Bright
3. Darlin' Mommy & Wife
6. Kristin's Notes
7. Kristin's Notes
8. LipstickLoveLetters