There are so many parts to being a mom.
The obvious parts deal with the children. Responsibilities that include caring for your children from the moment of conception. Pregnancy, child birth, rearing, sending our kids to school, and making sure they are well fed, and attend a school that fits how they learn. Attending to the kids physically, emotionally, and spiritually, giving them the strong footing they will need to navigate life even after I’m long gone is probably the most important facet to all of these responsibilities combined.
Couple this with my responsibilities as a wife. A partner to my husband Nino. Making time for him. Nurturing my relationship with him, and supporting him in his endeavors to care for our family as well. I have an interest in helping him with the business opportunities which present themselves to him. I want to see him succeed because I know he will find happiness in his success and ability to provide for our family.
But, if it’s anything I have learned, it’s that I must also take care of myself.
This means that I, too, have a responsibility to myself. I cannot fulfill all of my responsibilities in my roles as mother, wife, daughter, and even country director for Best Buddies, if I do not take care of myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
I simply cannot Do Well in these jobs, if I do not #GoWell and take care of myself.
Sun Life Canada (Philippines) recently invited me to Boracay to kick start me in taking better care of myself.
Truth be told, I have not been so focused on wellness the past six months. It’s been a bit rough going, but not anything that I can’t handle. I have been able to maintain, just have let a few things fall to the wayside, so this invitation came at the perfect time for me to make some healthy changes on all fronts. I was looking forward to getting away by myself and spending time with my roomie, Karrots for a couple of days in Shangrila Boracay.
Sun Life kicked off this retreat with a healthy dinner where we were introduced to the newest products that they have to offer mindful families like ours. I learned about the new insurance policies that they offer which include health care, check ups, fitness events, discounts, and even coverage for certain types of cancers.
I was surprised to see that this new policy covered ways to bounce back after a health scare, and even bonuses on dividend earnings, with different options for payment periods too. This is a policy that makes sense, simply because it divides your coverage into four important categories:
After learning about this new product, we were introduced to the whole reason why we were all brought together. Jaymie Pizarro, as Head of Marketing for Health and Wellness, has launched the new site for the prevention end of SUN Fit and Well. GO WELL is a site that is chockfull of health and wellness tips for anyone who wants to start making better decisions in their life. With articles and tabs that address holistic wellness in the following categories:
As a member of the GO WELL site, you even have access to discounts on gear, fitness classes, and even testing at Hi-Precision to help make healthier decisions for overall wellness. After taking in all of these new offerings that Sun Life recently launched, we were given the night off so we could rest for the next day, which would be full of workshops and classes that I was sure would be just what the doctor ordered for me to start feeling better about myself.
I normally wake up around 5am. I do this so I can start my morning with a cup of coffee and quiet time before the kids wake up. I catch up on social media, and check in with my family abroad to say hello, after packing lunches and overseeing breakfast for the kids.
When I woke up at 5:30am on this particular day, however, I was ready to see the brave souls off who would be alongside Jaymie for the sunrise run. I gave up running a long time ago when my cartilage was worn down to the ball and socket of my hip joints. Running just is not an option for me anymore. I can cycle. I can swim. I can practice yoga. But I cannot pound the pavement because of all of the damage I had done when I was younger and competing in track and field meets in the tri-state area.
While the boys were out with Jaymie running, I sat down to a healthy breakfast with the #ToughTitas. We were all preparing mentally for the GoWell NT Sweat Session. I had a chance to ask Nikki about the Sweat Session and she explained it to me this way. She loves yoga, boxing, and zumba. After attending various certification programs for different ways to keep fit, she realized that she wanted to put something together for someone who enjoyed all of these classes the same way she did. (OH MY GOSH-It’s like she put this class together for me.)
She broke up the class by song. Each song has different moves to go along with the beat (and even the words) so that I did not fear getting lost with my two left feet. I can shake my booty, but have rarely done well in organized Zumba classes where we need to learn a lot of different steps to keep up.
A video posted by Team Sun Life PH (@sunlifeph) on
AND THE MUSIC…
MY GOSH THE MUSIC….
I had NO time to feel tired because with her choice in R & B, dance, and even Hip Hop jams, I found myself waiting for the next song, the next moves, and the next chance to sweat it out!
Nikki!!!! Please Please Please come teach this class in the south!
After each class and session, we were given a short break to recoup and regroup. Both my roomie and I took the opportunity to shower, freshen up, and get ready for the next workshop.
The next two sessions would require us to attend classes on better nutrition and eating habits. This is an aspect of my life that I became more aware of after Gellibean was born. I tried to make some subtle changes in our household by switching over to red and brown rice. I have been juicing and making smoothies for the kids ever since, but I made more of a conscious effort to include more whole grains, less processed food, and encourage even Nino, to make cleaner choices in his food intake.
@chrisevro gives us three main tips in forming #healthy #habits for #nutrition as the third activity today for the #GoWell @sunlifeph #retreat @shangrilaboracay. • • • GOOD NUTRITION IS ALL ABOUT HABITS! • • • 1) Fruits & Vegetables are where we should get our nutrition from. 2) Water is the source of all LIFE! 3) Mindfulness is of utmost important. Slow Food vs. Fast Food. Chew slowly. Am I full? Tune into your body. Am I satisfied? • • • #healthy #mindful #retreat #healthandwellness #cleaneating #eatclean #sunlifeph #fit #fitness #getfit
Chris Everingham made some pretty good points in his workshop on nutrition. Chris is a nutritionist that works with many of the top athletes in the country. He is what many would call a fitness expert, and someone we can definitely learn from.
My take away points are these:
GOOD NUTRITION INTAKE IS BASED ON THREE MAIN HABITS.
- Nutrition intake should be from your food. This means eat CLEAN. Eat lots of fruits and veggies. No junk. You should be able to get the vitamins, minerals, protein, and (good) fat from what you eat on a daily basis.
- We NEED water. I mean lots of it. Y’all have heard the 8 glasses a day? Well, Chris broke it down even further for a range of water intake that we need.
- Take your weight in kilos
- Multiply that by 35. This is the least amount of water you should be drinking (in liters) per day.
- Take your weight in kilos
- Multiply that by 45. This is the most amount of water you should be drinking (in liters) per day.
- This gives you a healthy range of what your water intake should be.
- MINDFULNESS. I have tried to be more mindful in my decisions through my yoga practice, my parenting, and even my relationships. So what does it be to be mindful when you are eating?
- Take your time chewing.
- Eat slowly.
- Put away the gadgets.
- Eat in moderation.
- Ask yourself, “Am I satisfied?”
Sounds simple right? Well, actually, if you think about it, it really IS simple. I have imposed certain rules on my kids while we are eating that are along the same guidelines as what Chris asked us to adhere to for a healthier lifestyle. Simple rules like no electronics at the table, eating 5 colors (either fruits or veggies) a day, and sitting at the table while we are eating together to be more mindful of our meals are simple ways we are already following Chris’ guide to healthy nutritional habits.
Ok. Some of you might be scratching your head asking yourself what is clean eating?
The next workshop in our retreat gave us concrete ways to eat healthier (and cleaner) with Marie Gonzalez.
One thing that I LOVED which we learned more about during Marie’s workshop?
I’m in the habit of making smoothies for my kids regularly. But I have yet to try (until after our retreat) putting it all in a bowl so that the kids can try and make their own toppings for their breakfast bowls.
Packed with so much fun this strawberry smoothie bowl has granola, cacao nibs, coconut, almonds, chia, mango, and pineapple.
OMG. So delicious. And so GOOD FOR YOU to #GoWell!
Check out my toppings that I prepared for the kids when I made them their smoothie bowls the next Monday for school after the retreat.
Healthy toppings for today’s mango, strawberry, banana #smoothiebowl. Grapes. Walnuts. Dried cranberries. Homemade granola. Chia. Cacao nibs by @thesuperfoodgrocer. And @madebymaxph Cashew Butter. • • • • I have always found that the kids are more likely to have fun while eating if they can make some choices in the process. Today, I ask them to choose 3 toppings while I choose 1 for them. I choose chia. • • • • Thank you to the @sunlifeph team for our #GoWell #retreat last week, and for the @kitchenrevolution #EatWell workshop which inspired me to make some healthier decisions for our family! • • • • #healthy #healthandwellness #chia #madebymax #breakfast #startthedayright #instacool #instagood #instaeat #fit #getfit
A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Michelle Aventajado (@mommanmanila) on
SECRET: Give kids a choice and they will choose healthy too.
After filling up on yummy smoothie bowls, we were given the opportunity to put together our own colorful ARTFUL salads. Marie shared some recipes with us that were vegan. I never thought of putting together a vegan caesar salad dressing, and I’m so glad she did. It was delish!
Winding down our day of workshops AND workouts, we were gifted with a yoga class by Bubble Paraiso, and meditation by Neil Salang.
I don’t think I could have been happier with this action packed day. Attending Bubbles yoga class reminded me of two things:
- Chatarangas are my friend for my flabby arms.
- I miss yoga terribly.
Finishing it off with Neil’s guided meditation was perfect for me to return to center. Perfect for me to remember how wonderful I feel when I make healthier choices. Perfect for me to get back to me.
After this ending to my day that was full of workouts and healthy eating, I was ready for our closing dinner together as a group to finish my day before heading back home.
There is something to be said about surrounding yourself with people who make you better. I have always tried to spend time with people I can learn from, people who inspire me, and people who are generally encouraging.
And for the past few months, admittedly, I haven’t been taking the best care of myself and making the best choices for myself.
In fact, the entire three day retreat was just what I needed to remind myself that I can take care of me and not feel guilty about any of it. Because in taking better care of myself, I am already taking better care of my family.