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Monday, October 24, 2016

5 Reasons To Workout With Your Spouse

I've heard it said, "Couples who sweat together stay together." I'm not sure if that's totally true—and
honestly I can think of some other factors that may be more important to keep a marriage alive and thriving—BUT I did come up with 5 reasons you should consider working out with your spouse.

Here they are in no particular order

1. Help In The Kitchen

I can tell you from personal experience if you and your spouse aren't on the same eating plan it's tough to stay strong. I do best when I keep my pantry and fridge free of foods I'm not eating as they just become a huge temptation in moments of weakness. In order to do that though you need to have your spouse on board with your eating plan.

Since they say diet is 80% of your results having a partner to help you will greatly increase your results and ability to stick with it, plus it saves time preparing more than one meal. One way to get my hubby on board was to utilize the Fixate cookbook along with the recipes found on Beachbody On Demand. (Think Netflix for workouts). There are lots of yummy desert recipes that we have both enjoyed as a treat including cake with chocolate frosting, peanut butter chocolate balls and peanut butter bars.

2. Checking Your Form

Working out alone at home is great. I love that I don't have to pack up and get to the gym, figure out childcare or what I'm going to wear. One thing I have found difficult though is checking my form without the assistance of mirrored walls like many gyms have. When I learn a new move I have a hard time figuring out if I'm doing it right, which is important in order to protect your back and also maximize your results.

When Jake is around it's easy for me to be able to ask him if my back is straight, if I'm doing it the same way as in the video, and he let's me know when I start sagging towards the end of my plank. In return I can do the same for him.

3. Sticking With It

Do you ever have those days where you just don't feel like it? Where you convince yourself that you've "worked hard this week" and you "deserve a day of rest?" When no one is expecting you to workout at a certain time, meet them at the gym or see you in class it's easy to make excuses.

My first method of remedying that are the online accountability groups that I host, but having Jake to workout with me is an added push. If I'm not feeling up to it I know he'll encourage me to stick with my goals and do it. When he wants to stay in bed and skip out I can drag him to join me ;-)

4. The Next Generation

It's important to me to set a good example to my kiddos of what healthy habits are including working out, eating healthy food to fuel our bodies and making activity a fun part of our life. While doing this alone would probably be a good example, how much better is it for them to see mom AND dad doing this?

Being healthy and fit isn't just about looking good in a swimsuit in the summer or for special occasion, for me it's a lifestyle! Having a partner that also demonstrates this healthy lifestyle will make it the normal thing for kids instead of one option.

5. Together Is Better

Let's face it, life is busy! It's easy to get caught up in the busyness and not make time for your spouse. If one of you is already working out but the other isn't then that's time you have to spend apart. If you choose to workout together you gain more time together.

Working out together means opportunities to encourage and push one another, to remind each other of your goals, to support and help motivate one another on your journey together!

Do you workout with your partner? If not would you like to?

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Monday, October 17, 2016

All You Need To Know About Core De Force!

Be the first to get the newest at home fitness program!

I am super excited to be able to announce a brand new at-home fitness program by Beachbody! The best part is that it's launching in just a couple weeks on October 31!

Core De Force is a 30 day total body transformation program that will help you get the body you've been wanting. One of the things I love about this program is that there is NO equipment. Just YOU! Core De Force is an MMA inspired program which includes 3 minute “rounds” where you will get boxing, kickboxing and Muay Thai, knee-elbow combinations, body weight training and cardio spikes that will help you lose belly fat and get ripped.

If you can focus on hitting it hard for 3 minutes at a time before you know it the workout will be over.

I got a chance to check out a sneak peek of this workout at the beginning of the month and it's so much fun and yet leaves you dripping in sweat. While doing the workout I noticed that it really does focus on your entire core which will help you get your midsection defined, which always seems to be the trouble spot for us ladies especially after recently having a baby!

Keep reading to find out all the details of this program and how you can rock your goals this holiday season. I am going to be hosting a private test group for people who are ready to join me in this 30 day program and I can't wait to see the results we are going to get.

Work Out At Home

First off, what the heck is Core De Force?!?!

Core De Force is your 30 day program that can help you achieve a total body transformation. This workout was created by Joel Freeman and Jericho McMatthews. It is the ultimate mixed martial arts-inspired workout that is going to help you get rid of the belly fat, lean out, build muscle and shred your body from head to toe without any equipment.

I'll be honest that when I tried the sneak peek I was a bit worried. I have NO background in mixed martial arts, boxing or anything like that, so I was super thankful to find out that in every workout there is a “learn it & work it” section that breaks down the moves so that you can learn them before you do the workout. So, if you are new to the MMA style exercises like I was this will give you confidence to go right in and kick some butt.

Another bonus for those of us that struggle with keeping time or a beat is that Core De Force doesn't have a rhythm that you have to keep up! Like all of our workouts there are modifiers in every single workout so if you are a beginner or just new to this type of exercise you won't get left behind. If you are more advanced, have experience, or even as you get familiar with the program, you will be able to challenge yourself more to get the results you are looking for.

Another bonus is that there is no workout equipment! I've been doing a program lately that requires a bench press, bands and lots of weights which would be hard to drag all around New England for the month of November, so this program is perfect!

Who should consider doing Core De Force?!?!

EVERYONE of course ;-) Whether you are at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level in your fitness you can do this workout. It may not look pretty at the beginning, but it still burns calories and you will catch on before you know it. Follow the modifier if you need to and work your way up to the advanced moves.

Core De Force has an emphasis of working your core from every angle, which will help you whittle it down, tone it up and maximize your results in one of our biggest trouble spots.

How about an eating plan?

The nutrition plan is simple, filled with clean eating and measurable to make it easy to follow. Your results will either be empowered by your choice to follow this plan and fuel your body or hindered by your lack of commitment. I would challenge you to go all in and follow this plan in order to maximize your results.

For those of you who are familiar with the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan, this plan follows the portion fix too, but you will not receive another set of containers unless you want them! You will get a list of foods for each category, how much to eat of category and it's easy to track. I'll be helping you figure this out and offering tools to set you up for success in my Exclusive Test Group!

Results from MMA, Kickboxing style at home workout
Core De Force Test Group Participant

Results from MMA, Kickboxing style at home workout
Core De Force Test Group Participant

How long are these workouts anyway?

All the workouts in this program range from 30-45ish minutes in length and you workout 6 days a week with a stretch on the 7th. The workout program is only 30 days in length and comes with a calendar to follow for the best results for your effort.

There are 8 workouts included in the program:

MMA Speed: Upper body and core focused boxing influenced workout. (27 minutes)

MMA Shred: Muay Thai inspired elbow and kicks for total body shred. (37 minutes)

MMA Power: Uses explosive and defensive style movements in this fast paced cardio conditioning workout (47 minutes)

MMA Plyo: Core De Force is an MMA style home fitness program that will transform your entire body in 30 days. When you combine boxing, Muay Thai and plyometrics in one workout you get a huge calorie burn and RESULTS. (47 minutes)

Power Sculpt: Total body burner that uses explosive power and interval training to lean and sculpt.  (37 minutes)

Dynamic Strength: Low on impact but high on intensity. (47 minutes)

Active Recovery: Recharge for the week ahead with this rest day that focuses on form and technique to help fight fatigue and sore muscles. (21 minutes)

Core De Force Relief: A quick 5 minutes stretch before bed session. (5 minutes)

Team Beachbody Exclusive MMA Mashup: All the best Core De Force moves in one workout.  (26 minutes) (Only available when you order through a coach like me!)

Core Kinetics: A unique core workout inspired by Mixed Martial Arts movements.

5 minute Core on the Floor: The ultimate core finisher, 5 minute challenging plank movements that gets your abs on fire.

If you want to bump your order to the deluxe version you'll get these 3 additional workouts:

Agility Strength: combines fast footwork drills with body weight resistance to help improve coordination and blast major calories.  (9 rounds- 37 minutes).

Agility Power: Grab your agility ladder and rip through multifunctional training that ignites every muscle and helps shred fat for serious definition (6 rounds-27 minutes).

MMA Kick Butt: This workout is meant to target your legs and butt with nonstop mix of powerful kicks and calorie burning conditioning spikes (9 rounds- 37 minutes).

Get results from the comfort of your home!

Ok, so when can I get this workout?!?!

Core De Force will become available on October 31 to customers of Team Beachbody coaches. If you don't already have a coach you are working with than make sure to sign up with me so you can get a hold of this program right away and receive my help and support throughout the 30 days. Here is your link to create your Free Team Beachbody Account. Make sure to contact me via Facebook or email to be a part of my Exlusive Test Group!

What's this going to cost me?!?!

Core De Force can be purchased in several ways. The one that I always recommend first is the Core De Force Challenge Pack because it comes with everything you need to be successful with this program. You will receive the entire Core De Force workout program, calendar to follow, nutrition guide, program manual, 30 day supply of Shakeology in your choice of flavor(s), discounted price on the program and shipping AND it gives you access into my Exclusive Test Group where I will help you with the nutrition plan, share recipes, motivation, accountability, tips and support on a daily basis so that you complete this program instead of letting it collect dust on the shelf

The Challenge Pack is on SALE for $140 and is available starting October 31 through November 2016.

How will I get the best results?

I'm glad you asked! The most important part of this whole program is joining my group so you aren't going at it alone. I've had too many friends, and sometimes myself at times, fail to finish a program or stay on track because life happens. They don't have anyone checking in on them. They get discouraged or lose motivation. Don't let your good intentions go to waste because you don't set yourself up to succeed!

Join my test group via an app where you can log your workout and Shakeology each day - optimal accountability. You will be able to see the other participants post their own workouts and shakes along with questions, support and encouragement. There will be a daily pinned post with a word of encouragement, a tip, recipe or challenge that will help you keep on track. Don't attempt to go it alone and end up missing out on the results you could be getting. Let's do this together! Sound good? OK

Here's a few more details about the qualifications to join my group!

In my Test Group I am going to be requiring that each person commit to participating for the entire 30 days of the program starting on the 7th of November. You also must have ME as your assigned coach. AKA you cannot already be working with another coach or be a coach yourself.

On top of committing to the fitness program you will need to commit to drinking Shakeology in order to join my group. You will get the best results when you utilize this superfood shake to fuel your workouts and recovery!

You will be making a commitment to participate daily in the My Challenge Tracker App. I will have you log your workouts, your daily food activity and provide you with tools, tips and recipes to help you get to your goals.

You must be willing to give this your best! I can't promise it will be easy but I promise it will be worth it in the end when you see the results you can achieve in just 30 days!!

To keep in the know connect with me on my Facebook Page to see even more details on the event and news and announcements: Dani Grant Health, Fitness and Life On Maui

Don't have Facebook or want to go ahead and sign up for the Exclusive Test Group? Fill out this form!

I can't wait to see you crush your goals, achieve amazing results and become a better version of YOU! Let's do this!!

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Best Gift Ever - The Story of Toby

When Jake and I were engaged we discussed when would be a good time to start a family. We both came to the table thinking two years sounded good. So that was the plan. We were both young, had no major health issues, and we didn't think it would take long to conceive.

Unfortunately we were wrong.

Three years after getting married? Still no baby. A friend of mine shared that a doctor had recommended she go on a gluten free and dairy free diet in order to help conceive. I had no reason to think this would work for me, but I wanted to feel like I was doing something to help the process, so it was worth a shot.

My gluten free/dairy free diet lasted two weeks. lol! It was Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory that did me in. We took a tour with some friends and the free ice cream at the end was too much to resist. Oh well. I figured I'd start the gluten/dairy free diet again the next month. Maybe then we'd get pregnant.

Here we were at the end of September, which is the lead-up to Jake's birthday on October 2. In our family we don't celebrate birthDAYs; we celebrate birthWEEKs! The birthday boy or girl gets a week of special attention—little gifts here and there, fun activities, special meals, and such.

Well, this particular year I FAILED! Like big time. On Monday night of his birthday week I apologized for not planning anything. He was a little disappointed.

So that night as I was praying I could only think of one way to make up for his birthday week. One thing that might put me back into my husband's good graces—if I found out we were expecting. So I prayed that I would be pregnant, and that if I was I would remember to take a pregnancy test in the morning.

Keep in mind I had NO reason to believe I would be. I hadn't had any symptoms or anything, it was more of a wish than a real possibility.

The next morning I remembered to take the test. It had two lines. I had never had two lines before. This must be some mistake. So I took another one. And then another. They all had two lines. According to these tests I was pregnant!

Now to figure out how to tell Jake.

I knew it would be a big surprise after having tried for a year, so I spent two days planning it all while keeping the whole thing a secret. Yikes, how did I even do that?

Since we were planning to move to Maui in just a few months I thought I would take him on a trip down memory lane to special places from when we were dating.

  • Our church, where he first asked me out.
  • The local pizza place where we used to share a plate of spaghetti almost every week.
  • The bench where we had a serious conversation about whether we wanted to "get serious" about our relationship.

Our final stop was at Harvey's Lake in Barnet, VT, the place where we first hung out, where he first told me he loved me, and where he proposed.

It only made sense that this be the place where I told him we were pregnant.

I parked in the lot and had him put my scarf over his eyes. He waited in the car while I went out to the lake shore and set up his camera and tripod, along with the pink and blue balloons I had purchased earlier that day. Then I led him out there and, well... the rest is on camera...

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Monday, September 26, 2016

Pumpkin Oatmeal Recipe

I know oatmeal is good for you, especially when you are breastfeeding... But I'll be honest, I don't
care for it very much. However, recently while getting lost on Pinterest I came across a recipe that sounded like it would be yummy! So I tried it out, and this gurl really liked it! So here it is :-)

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Serves 1
Container Equivalents (per serving): 1 Yellow, 1/4 Purple

1 cup water
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup pumpkin puree
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon maple syrup

1. In a small saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add the oats and lower the heat to medium-high, cook covered for about 5-8 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed into the oatmeal.

2. Stir pumpkin into the oatmeal and then add in the maple syrup and spices.

3. Serve immediately

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Friday, September 23, 2016

That Stubborn Baby Weight!

The Lies & Misconceptions.Truth is I'm probably just like you. An average new mom that is trying to balance having a baby to
take care of, a house to keep up, a job, and on top of that trying to get my pre-baby body back.

I thought it would be easier! Losing weight has never been easy though, so I'm not sure why I thought this would be any different... but I did.

Truth be told I ate a few too many Ben & Jerry's pints during my pregnancy and ended up gaining about 15 pounds more than I had planned to. Oops!

Yes, I worked out consistently, ate clean 75% of the time (that might be stretching it a bit) and drank Shakeology every single day, but that didn't guaranty a quick bounce back. What it did though was prepare me for 26 hours of labor including 4 hours of pushing my little guy out and feeling every bit of the pain. I don't think I would've been able to handle that if I hadn't kept up on my exercise as much as I did.

But here I am almost 4 months later and I still have inches to lose and about 10 pounds to go before I get to my pre-baby weight. Honestly, it can get discouraging. I hop on Pinterest and see these women who had their pre-baby body back within just a few weeks. Heck they look better 3 weeks postpartum than I did before I got pregnant.

As I took my week 3 measurements this morning it was hard to not be disappointed. I've done all the workouts. I've used heavier weights than I ever have before. I've eaten clean 80% of the time and I have not missed a day of my superfood shake. And yet the scale didn't budge in the last week. I lost inches in some places and gained in others.

I was discouraged.

So what should I do? Should I throw in the towel and decide this program isn't worth doing? (I'm doing Hammer and Chisel, by the way, if you've missed my daily Facebook live post at Dani Grant Maui). Do I go back to my days of eating poorly, as in not enough, in hopes of starving off the last 10 pounds?

Other moms told me this would be easy. Lots of them said if I breastfed it would fall off and I wouldn't even have to try. They looked at me and said it was all baby weight. They thought I was crazy for all the workouts I did.

But the reality is it hasn't fallen off—and yes I do exclusively breastfeed. I have had to work my butt off for every pound and inch lost. I'm not there, but by golly I won't quit! It may take longer than I had planned or wanted. It may be the hardest thing I've physically done. But I will not give up on myself!

In those moments when I want to quit I remind myself of a few things:

  • I am more than a number on the scale. The tape measurements don't define me.
  • I am stronger than I knew I was. If I can birth a Toby I can do pretty much anything! ;-)
  • I feel my best when I fuel my body and exercise it!
  • Everyone's body responds differently. Some take longer than others!

This is why I host monthly, and sometimes bimonthly, accountability groups. It's as much to support another woman as it is to keep myself going.

If you are like me and have found that this baby weight isn't falling off, or any other weight you may have gained due to health issues, poor eating habits or a sedentary life, let's join forces! Though the process may take longer for me than for you, or vice versa, I trust in this process. I know that if I never give up I will get to my destination!

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hearty Chicken Rice and Veggie Soup Recipe

www.fatgurlinside.comIt was a chilly day here on Maui, and there haven't been many days I could say that! ;-) Soup just seemed to fit the bill. I haven't had soup in a while so I threw together some ingredients and made us a super yummy lunch!

How do I know it was super yummy? The husband went back for seconds and then two hours later was still talking about how good the soup was!


Hearty Chicken Rice and Veggie Soup


32 oz. Chicken Stock
Garlic Seasoning
Parsley Flakes
Oregano Seasoning
Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Brown Rice
1 Small Zucchini
1 Cup Carrots
4 Small Red Skin Potatoes
1 Chicken Breast


  1. Pour chicken stock and rice into a large pot and add seasonings to taste (garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper), set on medium high heat.
  2. Chop zucchini, carrots and potatoes into small chunks along with the chicken and add to pot.
  3. Cook on medium high heat for approximately 30-45 minutes or until veggies and chicken are cooked through.

I paired mine with some Groaning Muffins I had in the freezer.


Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Healthier Banana Oat Muffins & Cafe Mocha Shakeology

I've gotten in the habit of utilizing google to find my healthy recipes, but then sometimes I can't remember which one I loved and so I thought if I share them in here I would have them for later!

This morning it's a drizzly day, as hurricane Madeline is making her way towards Hawaii. So, that means it's the perfect day for baking and I had a hankering for some banana oat muffins and here's what I found!

Healthier Banana Oat Muffins


1/2 cup melted coconut oil (if you life in HI it's always melted ;-) )
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 and best if overripe!)
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (can use milk of choice)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup old fashioned oats plus some extra to sprinkle on top
1 teaspoon granulated sugar for sprinkling on top


Preheat the oven to 325 and prepare muffin tins (grease, cupcake liners or nothing if a non-stick pan).

In a large bowl, whisk together coconut oil and maple syrup or honey. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in mashed bananas and milk and then add baking soda, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon.

Add the flour and oats to mixture and stir with a large spoon, just until combined.

Divide the batter evenly, filling each cup about two-thirds full - for me that was 15 cups. Sprinkle the tops of muffins with a few oats and some sugar. Bake from 23-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

Allow to cool on wire rack and then enjoy!

I paired my muffin with my Shakeology for a mid-morning snack - here is the recipe I used!

Cafe Mocha Shakeology


5 ice cubes
8 oz. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 scoop chocolate Shakeology
1/2 scoop cafe latte Shakeology

1 scoop Focused Energy for a morning pick me up!


Place all ingredients in blender, blend on high (or a setting for ice) until smooth. Enjoy!

Hope you enjoy one or both of these recipe! If you are interested in getting Shakeology to try my Cafe Mocha Shakeology please comment below or use the contact me button at the top of the page!

Happy mid-morning snacking!

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Monday, June 13, 2016

Toby's Birth Story

Toby's Home Birth Story
A birth story. Where does one even begin?

My due date was June 1, and to my dismay it came and went without any baby. Early meetings with our midwife suggested I was further along than doctors originally thought, so her first guess was that I might have him a couple weeks early.


A couple days into June I began to experience lower back pain, off and on cramping—AKA contractions—but being a first time mom I had no idea if what I was feeling was the beginning of labor or not. There were, however, some other physical signs that indicated labor was getting closer.

Labor Begins

On Sunday, June 5, around 1am, at the same time I was trying to fall asleep, I began to have contractions that felt like the real deal. They were inconsistent though, happening 10-15 minutes apart, then 8-10 minutes, and then up to 20-30 minutes. Though they weren't intense they were just noticeable enough and close enough together that I never was able to fall asleep.

I was a nice wife though and let Jake sleep until 8am. Then I told him what was going on.

We decided to go for a walk around 9am to see if that progressed or stopped the contractions. Initially the contractions got closer and closer together, but only lasted a short time. However, when we got home they went back to being 15-20 minutes apart, and they slowly got closer together throughout the afternoon.

At 3:30 I decided to contact my midwife, Merrily, to let her know what was going on. We decided I should go see her to determined if I had dilated any more.

When we arrived at Merrily's the contractions were about 8-10 minutes apart lasting anywhere from 30-90 seconds. I was really hopeful they were pushing my labor along. It would've been discouraging for my body to have kept me up all night doing all of that "work" only to accomplish nothing. Thankfully it looked as though I had dilated to between 3-4cm, and I was completely effaced.

Toby's Home Birth Story
Some early labor pains.

Toby's Home Birth Story

Oh, Wait... NOW Labor Begins

Merrily said that when contractions start mild and far apart it usually means a long labor is in store. So she worked my cervix a little bit to stretch it out to 5cm, which hurt, but helped speed things along.

She sent us home with all the equipment she would need for the delivery and some different herbs and things to help kick labor into full gear.

On the drive home the contractions started coming every 3-4 minutes and lasting 30-45 seconds.

Jake noticed my focused breathing and asked if I was just practicing or if the midwife's "stretching" actually worked.

"Oh yeah," I said. "It worked."

Breaking My Bag of Water

Initially I was planning on a water birth, and so I thought now was a great time to get in the tub and see how I liked it. I didn't. Not at all! It probably didn't help that I was experiencing back labor and I felt very confined and preferred moving around to just sitting in water, so out I came and I never got back in.

By 8pm my contractions seemed to be fairly regular. They were also painful enough that I really needed to focus on my breathing to get through them.

Merrily arrived at 10:30. She asked how I was doing. Honestly, I thought I was rocking the whole labor thing! I mean, it was uncomfortable, but I was handling it great. I figured I was probably around 8cm. To my unfortunate surprise I was only 6cm dilated which meant after 5 hours of more intense contractions I had only dilated 1cm.

The reason I wasn't dilating more quickly was because my bag of water was somewhat in the way, so poor baby couldn't drop down. He was still in station 1. We opted for the midwife to break my bag of water in the hopes that would speed things up.

And ooh boy did it ever!

Within five minutes of having my water broken I began to have constant back-to-back contractions with only seconds to recover in between. The hardest thing for me was that because my contractions were coming one right after the other I had no time to experiment with different positions to find a comfortable place to sit, lie, or rest.

Hanging On My Hubby

For two-plus hours all I could do was hang onto Jake. I'd hug his neck and hang from him, swaying my hips, and breathing through my contractions. He was my rock at that point, the only thing that kept me grounded as he whispered prayers and words of affirmation to me, trying to sooth me in any way he could. I remember a few times he walked over to the kitchen to help our midwife with something and that's when it would get to be too much for me. I just needed him present with me and as long as he was there I knew I could get through it.

At about 1am Merrily checked me again and I was fully dilated. I went from 6cm to 10cm in two hours! Little man was still hanging up high though which meant it wasn't going to be easy to get him out as he needed to drop first. And because NO position felt comfortable for me I couldn't find a way to push. My contractions were so close with no break in between it was impossible to catch my breath and push.

Jan, our assistant midwife, had arrived by this time. She and Merrily suggested I stand with my back to Jake so he could hold me up. This way every time a contraction hit I could squat, open up my hips, and push. The baby finally started to drop and I began to feel like I was working with my body's contractions to make progress and it wasn't nearly as painful.

Toby's Home Birth Story
Jake massages my back during labor.

A Passing Blur

Honestly the next 4-plus hours were kind of a blur. The pain intensified. The contractions became stronger. We utilized many different positions from laying down to squatting to sitting on the toilet, anything to get him to come down.

My back pain was incredible! Jake massaged me. Merrily and Jan massaged me. They all took turns pressing on my lower back with each contraction, but the pain was excruciating.

At one point the midwives encouraged me to lie on my back, grab my feet and pull them towards my chest. This sounded like a horrible position and I didn't want to try it at first, but it ended up taking the pressure off my back and proving to be a lot more comfortable than I thought it would be. I did a lot of work in this position. I rotated from one hip to the other, holding up one leg at a time, trying to use gravity and my contractions to get baby through my pelvis. I was on and off oxygen during this time as baby's heart-rate wasn't consistently staying up, and there were times I was told not to push in order to give him a break. NOT-pushing? That was torture!

Toby's Home Birth Story
Our midwives, Merrily (left) and Jan.

Dehydration and Exhaustion

By this time I had been having contractions for over 24 hours, with the last 7 hours being active labor and the last 4-plus hours being the most painful thing I've ever experienced. My body was exhausted. I hadn't slept in two days. Because I was so dehydrated my contractions had shortened to about 30 seconds, not enough time to get in the ideal three strong pushes that the midwives wanted me to get.

Merrily hooked me up to an IV to get my body hydrated in order to lengthen my contractions. It took about 45 minutes to an hour, but finally I was having long enough contractions to get in three good pushes.

My eyes hemorrhaged from the exertion and almost swelled shut. Jake made frequent trips to the freezer to grab cold wet washcloths to put over my eyes to control the swelling, and also to place on my neck to help keep me cool.

Baby Emerges Tangled Up

Once baby made it around my pelvic bone it wasn't too long before he starting crowing. The midwives used a mirror to show me his head, but my eyes were so swollen I could hardly see. I did get to reach down and touch him though, which was hugely motivating.

Toby emerged posterior (face up), which is not the ideal position. Furthermore, his right hand was trapped behind his head by his umbilical cord which was also wrapped around his neck. A trifecta of problems! Yeesh, kid. The midwives said STOP, which was extremely painful and difficult to do when my contractions wanted me to push. All I could do was breathe with it, which was one of the hardest parts of the whole ordeal.

After a few moments they got him untangled and then I heard, "Push, push, push, push!" I remember thinking my body shouldn't have anything left to give, but I knew how close to the end I was. I found strength to keep pushing and before I knew it he was finally out!

"He's Not Breathing."

Those words are every parent's fear, and as soon as Toby was out that's what I heard, "He's not breathing," Merrily said. "I think I need to give him a couple of breaths."

I don't remember what I said, but Jake told me later that I started praying out loud, "Dear Jesus, help Toby breathe."

The midwives said, “Talk to your baby. Let him hear your voice.”

“Breath Toby. Come on, Toby.”

Then Jake leaned down real close to him and said, “Hey Toby. This is your daddy. You need to breathe, buddy.” And at the sound of his voice Toby inclined his head to daddy and squeaked for the first time.

Thank you, Lord!

In reality all of this took place in only about 90 seconds, but in the moment it felt like forever. Also, during that time he was never in danger of being oxygen deprived as he was still receiving oxygenated blood from his cord.

The midwives plopped Toby onto my chest :-) Love at first sight!

Toby's Home Birth Story

But It Wasn't Over

Pushing out the placenta was more of a chore than I was expecting. I've heard a lot of women say that after pushing out a baby, the placenta is nothing and that usually it comes right out without them even realizing it. Not in my case! My placenta was huge and it took a couple good pushes to get it out.

At last the midwives were able to see all the damage Toby's crazy arrival brought with him. I don't know how many stitches I ended up having, but it took close to two hours for Merrily to put them all in, partly because there was one stitch deep inside that was not easy to get to.

Merrily said she's never put so many stitches into any other woman. Ugh. Not the award I was hoping to win!

A REAL Vermont Baby

Because I got so dehydrated, I ended up consuming a quart of Recharge for electrolytes to stay hydrated. The problem was that the drink also contained a lot of sugar. So when Toby was born there was a risk of his blood sugar dropping rapidly.

To help him, Jan diluted some maple sugar in water and fed it to him through a vial. Being a true Vermonter, he loved it! His little tongue came out and started lapping at the vial for more.

Toby's Home Birth Story
Toby's first taste of maple sugar just an hour after he's born.
Because that's how Vermont babies roll!

One And Done?

Shortly after giving birth I remember saying to Jake, "Why would anyone do this again?"

Well, as I sit here writing this 72 hours later I'm already saying, "It wasn't so bad. I mean, if that's what you have to do to bring something so precious into the world I think I could do it again."

Currently Jake isn't so sure about that idea ;-)

And that's my story in a nutshell!

It definitely was not the easy, minimal pain, quick delivery I had been praying for, and yet I know God gave me the strength, endurance, and resilience to just keep going, never give up, and to do it with grace. Thankfully I never felt the need to complain or scream, and I never said anything mean to my husband. I just focused on what I had to do to get my baby out. At the end of the day you can't ask for anything else.

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Groaning Muffins Recipe - Perfect For Labor & Breastfeeding

I sit here writing from my rocking chair, just days away from my due date and waiting on my little guy to decide to make his grand appearance.

Waiting isn't easy. When they tell you that the last month of pregnancy is the LONGEST, believe them! It's a whole new game when you get to that point - you don't know when it's going to happen, you are usually the most uncomfortable you've been the entire pregnancy, and if you are especially lucky you may be experiencing "pregnancy insomnia." It's a lovely condition that convinces your brain that even though you were tired at 9pm, you really don't need to fall asleep before 5am.

So, as I sit here rocking away and passing the time I thought I would write a few blog posts sharing some of the things I've done to prepare for labor and delivery.

First off I wanted to share this recipe I found for Groaning Muffins. They say it's a great food to have on hand to give you long lasting energy during labor, a go-to snack while breastfeeding and something you can easily pull out of the freezer. The original recipe can be found at Nourishing Joy, but the recipe below is what I used based on ingredients I had on hand and pregnancy brain ;-)

Labor and Breastfeeding fuel


24 Regular Sized Muffins

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon + cinnamon (I am notorious for adding extra cinnamon to everything!)
1 1/2 cups peeled, grated apple (about 1 very large apple or two small apples)
1/2 cup very finely chopped walnuts
1 large carrot, finely grated
1/4 cup finely chopped craisins (could sub with dates or raisins but I prefer craisins)
4 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled but still liquid (if you live in HI it's always liquid ;-) )
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350° and grease muffin tins.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then stir in the grated apple, nuts, carrots, and craisins. Then add in lightly beaten eggs, pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup and honey. Stir until mixed well.

The batter should be quite stiff and when you put it in the muffin tins it will be lumpy and thick (best done with two spoons). If it’s so stiff it’s unable to be mixed, however, stir in a bit of orange juice or milk. Bake until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Approximately 22-26 minutes for muffins.

I happened to be babysitting when I made them, and the little guy I was looking after FORCED me to share 2 ;-) So these muffins are mommy and toddler approved! The great thing about these muffins is that you can prepare them ahead of time and pop them in the freezer until go time, no worries of them spoiling before you go into labor, OR you can just enjoy them and make more if you've eaten them all before baby arrives!

Let me know if you tried them and how you liked them?

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Monday, March 28, 2016

How To Build An Online Health & Fitness Business While Pregnant

The whole reason I decided to build an online business was because I wanted to stay home with my future kiddos. It has always been my dream to be a stay at home mom, but the reality is it's hard to survive on one income these days, especially if you move to a place like Maui.

Even though I began my business before I was pregnant I have continued to grow and build it throughout my pregnancy. In fact, since getting pregnant I've gotten my biggest paychecks, I've added more coaches to my team, and I've helped more people reach their own health and fitness goals.

Maybe you are already pregnant and are looking for a way to stay home when that little one arrives, or maybe you want to plan ahead for that eventual baby. Here is my advice.

1. Be consistent!

If you want something to grow you have to nurture it regularly. Just like a seedling would need water, weeding, sunlight and maybe some Miracle–Gro, your new business is going to need your time, dedication and willingness to implement what you learn.

2. Do what you can!

Maybe starting out with a program like Insanity isn't the best idea, but there are plenty of programs that you could utilize to market your business, help you keep in shape, and give you an edge on the bounce back after delivery.

3. Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition!

If all else fails you can focus on your nutrition. Maybe your doctor won't clear you for exercise, but I bet he would clear you for eating nutritious foods, drinking Shakeology (both my doctor and midwife approved of drinking it as part of my prenatal supplements), and whipping up some creative nutritious recipes you could share with your customers.

4. Don't limit yourself!

I believe that if you go into this thinking you won't be successful because you won't have an immediate transformation story, you are setting yourself for failure. However, if you go into this with an attitude of helping people and inspiring others with your own personal journey, you are much more likely to find success.

5. Consider the bounce back opportunity!

If people are watching and aware of your healthy pregnancy, you better believe they will be watching when you get back to an exercise routine after your little one arrives. Use that opportunity! Talk about it, invite other mommy friends to join you in it, and expect that when you are consistent with your exercise and nutrition you will get results. When others see those results they will want to get those results too.

So whether you are already pregnant, thinking or trying to get pregnant, or maybe you already have kids, I would love to share this opportunity with you. You can fill out this application to help me see if this business is a good fit for you and your goals! 

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Friday, March 18, 2016

Preparing For Baby Workout & Life On Maui Update
I could begin with an apology for being a FAILURE at blogging! I could tell you all about how "busy" I've been since moving to Maui. I could blame it on my prego brain and hormones.

But that all would be a LIE! Hahaha!

I'm really just bad about taking the time to blog. There you have it. The truth.

I've realized one of the reasons I'm so bad at keeping up with it, even though I have good intentions, is that I know I'm grammatically incorrect and in order to have a nicely written blog I must depend on my husband to edit them for me :-) Which he is super about, but it's one more thing on his plate.

Since I last posted we have been busy with working on our businesses, growing them and creating them into something that can financially support us here on Maui. We have gotten very involved with our new church family, including attending a small group, Bible studies, and serving on ministry teams for social media and kids church. I've also taken on some babysitting, which is a great chance for me to get out and earn some extra money at the same time.

I've gone back and forth with doing great with my eating and exercising. I attempted to do the 21 Day Fix program with minimal modifications, however in the final week I was unable to complete it due to needing to take it easy on my body. Thankfully I was also part of a Bump n' Booty group that had a daily booty workout challenge that helped me stay on top of things.

The workout on the right is similar to some of the moves we did. It's a great low impact workout for anyone, but especially all the mommies out there.

I'm putting this blog on my "to do list" because not only is it a great way for me to keep in contact with so many of you, but also a fun way for me to go back and see what life was like at this point :-)

Until next time, I promise not to let two months go bye!

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why I Went Gluten & Dairy Free For 15 Days
I've said before, both on here and on my Facebook page, that I tend to jump into things, but that thankfully I usually have pretty good judgment, even if I don't do my fact checking.

Well, today I wanted to share an amazing story that I believe played a part in the fact that I am now 22 weeks pregnant.

When Jake and I got married we planned to wait two years before we started having kiddos. We felt that it was important to lay a strong foundation between the two of us before we added to our family. That was a good decision for us because our marriage struggled a lot for the first year and a half or so.

When our two year anniversary had come and gone we decided we were ready to bring on some kiddos. We expected to get pregnant fairly quickly, I mean, we were both young, healthy, and it should be easy, right?!

Well after about six months we learned about some complications that required me to go on medication if we wanted to be successful at starting a family. The medication put my hormones in a tailspin and made me CRAZY! So after going through the initial treatment we decided not to ingest me with any more drugs. The medication was stressing me out too much and putting too much strain on our marriage.

However, by NOT taking the medication we knew we were running the risk of possibly never conceiving at all, which was a hard pill to swallow—no pun intended.

In June I made a sweet new friend. I had known her husband for years, but they lived in Texas and so I had never met her. Over the next couple of months we chatted back and forth and then spoke on the phone. In our conversation she shared how they were also having trouble conceiving and that a doctor had told her to go on a dairy and gluten free diet. This included eating three eggs a day.

The diet sounded better than medication, and though I had no way of knowing whether it would help me in my specific situation, following the eating plan at least made me feel like I was doing something.

So starting September 1 I followed this eating plan strictly for about 15 days, and then we visited the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory and... well, they had ice cream there. Who could resist? I kept up with the diet loosely for the next week or so before deciding I would just start it again the next month.

But I never did start it again, because on September 28 I found out that I was pregnant!

I don't know why some people say this diet can help you conceive other than gluten really seems to affect some people's hormones. All I know is that it worked for me. I 100% believe it was not a coincidence that this girl and I became friends when we did, or that she chose to share this eating plan with me. It was a God thing and I am thankful for it and for her!

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I Have A Blog?? Oops!

www.fatgurlinside.comFour months have passed by since my last post - that is CRAZY!

It's not that I have stopped working out, eating healthy or building my amazing team of coaches so we can help even more people reach their health, fitness and financial goals. It's that other significant life evens happened.

September was a busy month with hosting two sweet girls from Life Action - a ministry that travels the country speaking in churches and helping to ignite revival in the hearts of God's people. Jake and I were personally challenged during that time and grew closer in our relationship with the Lord and each other. We also had lots of fun showing the girls around VT - bringing them to Ben & Jerry's, through the Smuggler's Notch and then over to NH to explore Franconia Notch, Polly's Pancake Parlor, Windy Ridge Orchard and the Brick Store.

At the end of September I found out we were pregnant with our first baby - something we had been trying for over a year to have happen. It was a fun time of sharing the news with Jake, family and then the facebook world.

If you would like to see our announcement video go here: Young Couples Pregnancy Announcement To Families

The next couple of months were busy as we prepared to move to Maui, pack up our things and spend time with family and friends.

On December 31st we found out that this little one is a BOY and we again had fun sharing the news with family and friends.

If you would like to see that announcement go here: Jake 'N' Dani's Gender Reveal

Now I sit here writing from my little apartment on Maui, were we have begun to settle over the past week. It's amazing for me to look back and see what God has done over the last four months and will continue to do as we seek Him on this adventure we call life.

I hope to keep up with this blog more faithfully sharing recipes, my life as a coach and our life here on the beautiful island of Maui.

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside