I’ll be honest with you. I am 7 months pregnant and I have yet to buy a single piece of maternity wear. While it’s been a little challenging, I have managed to get through the past wintery months wearing big sweaters and leggings practically (uh, literally) every day. It has been winter here since I started showing, and now that it’s finally getting really warm, I am just going to transition into flowy dresses (Zara, etc….) and sandals. Beyond clothes, I really haven’t needed to buy much either, but what I did purchase has saved me. From books to beauty to better sleep strategy, these are my mama-to-be necessities that have gotten me through months 0-7.

Compression Leggings 

Doctors in Switzerland can write you a prescription for two pairs of compression socks that are meant to last you through your entire pregnancy. Here is what goes down. I told my Dr. that I feel like my legs are retaining water, so he wrote me a prescription for these tight fitting medical leggings. I went the pharmacy, stripped down, and the pharmacists measured my legs (as if this is something they do every day). A few days later, my custom pair was ready for pickup. I opted for the thigh-high toeless version and MAN! they are tight. But surprisingly comfortable. I legit wear them from the moment I hop out of bed to when I take my evening half-bath. Why? Well, they help with just about everything from swelling to water retention to helping to prevent varicose veins.

Beauty oils

I’ve already done a whole post on this, but basically I have never been so into lathering, or I guess I should say lubing, my entire body in oils and creams until now. I swear by Pai, Tata Harper and Susanne Kaufmann.

Pregnancy Pillow

My husband bought this for me because he couldn’t help but notice that once I’d hit 20 weeks and was told to start sleeping on my side I had become a restless sleeper. The u-shaped pillow is everything and makes the uncomfortable process of going to sleep with a growing belly so much better.

Lulu Lemon Wunder Under Leggings / Belly Bandit Bump Support Leggings

I have lived in these two leggings for the past few months, so I had to get multiple pairs. Lulu’s don’t cover my whole belly, but they really suck everything in from the butt down. I use these for yoga and generally all day long. I actually ordered Lulu’s in a size larger than my normal size and they fit perfectly. Belly Bandit’s bump support pair are ultra-comfortable, smooth out my stomach and keep everything in its place. I wear these at night or when I am wearing something tighter on top. I wear both pairs on top of my compression leggings.

Wild Nutrition Plant Based Vitamins

Whether you are pregnant or not, vitamins are your friend. While I had to drop all the excess vitamins I was taking pre-pregnancy, I order exactly what I need on a monthly subscription so I never have to worry about running out. I love Wild Nutrition because they are completely natural, plant based and not filled with unknown chemical ingredients. The also have vitamins specifically for fertility (both for the man and the women) and for pregnancy. Not a lot of brands can say the same. This is what my monthly order looks like: 1 Food Grown Folic Acid, 1 Food Grown Pregnancy and 2 Omega 3 (Henry takes these two).

Vitamix

I wouldn’t say that my diet has changed that much since getting pregnant – I actually just eat even healthier. I am really psycho about what I put in my body, always thinking to myself first, “how will this effect the baby?” Not including the first 3 months, which was a weird time for me diet-wise (nothing appealed to me), I have observed the following food cravings: cottage cheese, smoothies, avocado, pureed soups, gluten-free bread, raw protein balls and chocolate. I’m making a lot more of my meals, so I end up using my Vitamix a few times a day. This helps me know exactly what is going into my food and in to my body.

Books I love

I have ordered and cruised through more books over the past six months than I have in as long as I can remember, covering a wide spectrum of topics, from pregnancy diets, natural childbirth, breast-feeding, postpartum nourishment, vaccines, managing stress and emotions…the list goes on and on. If someone I trusted recommended something, I bought it. These were my favorites: Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman, Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina, Pregnancy and Childbirth Magical Beginnings Enchanted Lives by Deepak Chapra, M.D., Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood – and Trusting Yourself and Your Body by Erica Chidi Cohen, The First 40 Days by Heng Ou and lastly, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.

What were your favorite books? Please send me your mama-to-be recommendations.

Image, Emily Blunt photographed by Norman Jean Roy, Vogue, April 2014.

Working for myself from home has been absolutely amazing.  But, there is one drawback that was kinda unexpected.  If I’m not careful, I can easily pack on pounds that seemingly come out of nowhere. 

To get to the root cause of the issue, I did an experiment where I logged all of my calories and tracked my daily activity. Over time, I noticed patterns forming that served as information that I could use later on.  Once I discovered the pattern, I realized that I could eat pretty much anything I wanted without the fear of putting on too much weight. But this strategy only worked if I applied it strategically.

Recently, I reintroduced this principle in my life again and I quickly lost a couple of pounds.  Since summer is on its way, I thought I share this simple technique with all of you to help you reach your weight goals. 
It all began when I watched a vlog of some random fitness YouTuber.  While taking us along as she filmed her day, she mentioned that she was going out to dinner later with friends so she would be “saving her calories for dinner.”  I didn’t exactly know what she meant but quickly figured out that she was simply taking a strategic approach to eating.  So instead of eating a high-calorie breakfast and lunch, she ate sensibly throughout the day in preparation for her heaviest meal. Because she proactively ate low calories meals all day, indulging in a high-calorie dinner wouldn’t throw off her weight management efforts.

I quickly realized that this applied to me as well.  Because I’m a short, petite woman, the number of calories I can eat in a day without putting on weight is limited.  One highly indulgent meal at a restaurant could provide all the calories I need for the day. After logging my weight for a while, I figured out a way for me to eat high-calorie foods without putting on weight.  All I had to do was be strategic.

On days when I’m home all day, I’m pretty sedentary. The amount of steps I take a day is pretty embarrassing.  Sometimes, I’m busy at home all day and, instead of making dinner, I pick up take out.  This is a huge mistake if my goal is to maintain or lose weight.  Low activity + high calories is a recipe for weight gain.

Then there are days when I go out for walks or visit the gym.  The additional activity raises my calorie requirements.  On those days, we can afford to take in a few extra calories without packing on the pounds.

 Whenever I watch reality shows where women meet for lunch/dinner.  Almost 100% of the time, they order a salad.  I almost never order a salad at restaurants because I want to try the specialties on the menu.   Once I went out with a couple friends for lunch.  Both of the women were heavier than me. Of the three of us, I ordered the fattiest meal.  Secretly, they may have classified me as one of those people who could eat whatever they wanted and not gain a pound, but this is definitely not the case.

The difference between us was that I recognized that I would be eating a caloric rich lunch that day so I managed how much I ate for breakfast and dinner.  As a matter of fact, I asked the waiter to cut my burger in half so I could split the calories between 2 meals (lunch and dinner).  Of the 3 of us at the table, I was the only one with a to-go box. As we talked during lunch they also discussed where they were going for dinner later that evening.  If I would have ordered yet another heavy meal at dinner, I would have certainly set myself up to gain weight that day.

Eating out more than once a day is not a good idea if you’re being strategic about your eating.  Eating out multiple times a day might be necessary if you live a busy life or if you’re on vacation.  If this is the case, you have to raise your level of daily activity.  So if I’m eating a bunch of junk food, I know I have to get moving, choose healthier options, or risk putting on weight.  When I traveled for work, I fell into the trap of using my meal travel budget to it’s fullest. But I soon found myself carrying an extra 10 pounds.  Most of the time I traveled to attend meetings where I would be sitting in a room all day.  There was no need for me to eat so gluttonously.  I was giving my body all these extra calories (units of energy) that it didn’t require.  Once I realized what was happening, I opted to buy salads or sandwiches on days when I was in all day meetings and ate heavier foods on more active days.  The weight easily came off without much effort.

Once I figured out strategic, activity-based eating, life became so much easier.  I felt like I could still enjoy indulgent foods (in moderation) without being afraid of putting on too much weight.  On my uneventful days with low activity, I scale back and eat reasonably. Or, if I have the choice of eating a high-calorie lunch vs. dinner, I opt for lunch because I have time to burn some of the excess calories during the remainder of the day.  If you want to try this for yourself, I recommend you first understand how many calories you need a day to maintain your weight. Once you have this covered, you can play around with the timing on when you eat more or less than the typical amount calories you need to maintain your weight.  Let’s not eat mindlessly when we can take the strategic approach to help us keep our weight in check.

Last month I wrote an article about how feeling amazing helps you to attract amazing results.  I’m happy to report that since publishing the article, I’ve experienced some wonderful outcomes from my efforts.  Financially, it was my strongest earning month this year and I’ve also manifested two unexpected, random checks.

Not a bad reward, for only having focused on feeling good.

So now that I’m getting a glimpse of the possibilities of maintaining a high level of vibration. I’m ready to ramp up my efforts even more.  This has now become my top priority.  Let’s talk about the multiple ways to I’ll supercharge my manifestation.

But before I plan my next moves, I must first document what worked well in the past.

My strategy was to use “feeling good” as my main manifestation tool.  There are lots of tools available such as visualization, positive affirmations, vision boards, etc.  They say that feeling good is an essential component of manifestation.  It has the ability to accelerate our manifestation more than all of the other law of attraction practices.

Last month, I made sure to execute a ritual that supported a high level of vibration as often as possible.  This is what I did…..

Find Your Feel Good Triggers.
One thing I was really careful about doing was starting each day on a vibrational high.  This basically means that I ensured that I felt amazing first thing in the morning.  This doesn’t happen naturally.  I took clear, premeditated steps to create my own feel-good vibes.  Sometimes this meant that I turned on my favorite playlist and lit a wonderfully scented candle first thing in the morning.  Basically, I set out to awaken my senses in a positive way.

Next, I sought out visual stimulation.  When I see an image of something I want to experience, I’m filled with excitement. Every day, I make a quick trip to my Pinterest receive a visual reminder of everything I’d love to attract in my life.  This gives me jolts of exhilaration.  What I love about Pinterest is that they load countless images in your feed that are similar to what you already like.  It’s like a vision board that constantly refreshes itself with new images.

Once I got my dose of visual stimulation, I shifted my focus to listening to audio that reinforced my mission.  Often, while I worked, I played YouTube videos on the topic of LOA and feeling good.  This served as a constant reminder that I should always ask myself “how are you feeling right now?”

The more I practiced my feel good ritual, the easier it became to instantly raise my vibration.  Whenever I struggled with getting in a positive mood, I would simply rattle off a list of everything that was going well with my day or with my life.  That was an instant mood changer.  Just to be clear, I want to emphasize that I didn’t set any specific goals during this time period. My only goal was to maintain a high vibration as often as possible.

That’s the 101 stuff I did to ensure that I was creating a positive vibe.  Now it’s time to raise the stakes a bit so I can attract at a higher level.  I’ll continue to implement everything I did in March but in April, I’ll layer additional activities such as:

Focusing on my internal vibration.
I would love to raise my natural energy levels by eating clean, drinking green juices, and exercising regularly.  Along with that, I also plan on getting a few B vitamin shots.  The shots really give me a boost of energy and raise my productivity levels sky high.

I think I’ll also bring back regular massages.  My husband gave me a quick massage the other day and I immediately felt all the areas where I have stored up tension.  I don’t want to carry any of that around.  One massage here and there isn’t enough to fully remove all of the hidden tension. That’s why I am a huge fan of regular massages.

Feel Good Experiences
From there, I wish to place my attention on experiential-based feel good practices.
So far, I’m doing a good job of raising my vibe without doing much of anything.  Now I want to explore how to supercharge the process through experiences.  Getting a massage is an example of a feel good experience.  Other examples include taking a relaxing bath, going out of town, spending time with loved ones, doing things you genuinely enjoy.  Feel good experiences are extremely powerful.

While the feel good experience is occurring, you have to become intentional. You mustn’t rush through it.  Instead, you should relish it as a wine connoisseur enjoying a glass of fine wine.  The expert of wine engages every one of his senses with every sip of wine.  We must do the same. Let’s turn every experience into an opportunity to raise our vibration.

For example, my husband and I went out for lunch at one of our favorite places.  We dined there a couple of times before. But during my vibration experiment, I made sure to take in the experience fully by engaging all of my senses.  As I sat at the outdoor patio, I felt the sensation of the warm sun touching my skin.  I could feel a slight breeze and picked up the scent of our fragrances mixing together in the air.  I savored the flavor of every bite of my meal.  Not once did I reach for my phone. I was completely in the moment and I felt amazing the entire time.

  I didn’t expect to manifest anything specific from this experiment. But, much to my surprise, I did!  The most obvious of the manifestations were financial rewards.  My business performed very well in March and, on top of that, I received a couple unexpected cash payouts that seemed to come out of nowhere. Throughout all of this, I didn’t visualize, recite affirmations, write down my goals, or none of that.  I just focused on my feelings.  In doing so, I attracted outcomes in my life that aligned with how I felt.  The better I felt, the more I attracted things that made me feel even better.

What made this work for me was how consistent I was.  Our default method of operation is the opposite of feeling good. By nature, we’re judgemental individuals who often label our observations in a negative way.  Focusing on feeling good took a lot work. I had to be reminded to feel good ALL THE TIME.  If I didn’t watch those daily videos, I would have lost my focus. If you want to try this experiment for yourself, you must be diligent about reminding yourself to shift your mood (for the better).

If you ever find yourself in a bad place (emotionally), you don’t have to start feeling great. All you have to do is to try to diffuse the emotion.  Try to diffuse or neutralize some of that emotion as much as possible.  Once the negative emotion is diffused, you can then work toward creating a feel good energy again.

The other, very important area that I need to focus on to further raise my vibration is to match how good I feel on the inside with how good I look on the outside.  I’ve been doing a lot of mental feel good work, now I need to get focused on maintaining my out appearance.  I’ve got an entire strategy built out around this that I’ll share very soon. But in the mean time, get serious about using this feel good experiment in your every day life.