Archive for November, 2017

Photo: Aaron Burden

If you’re like me, you go crazy sitting around talking and eating all day long, which is tough—especially because that’s what the holidays are all about. But at the same time, fitting in a scheduled workout class when you’re traveling or even feeling motivated to take on tough workouts during Thanksgiving can feel like an impossible feat.

And that’s OK. With our go-go-go mentalities, I often tell my clients that moderation and cutting yourself some slack is usually the best strategy to keep up your stamina. So, no, I don’t want you to feel guilty if you skip your CrossFit or boot camp class over Thanksgiving weekend. In fact, why not go for a restorative, low-key option instead?

Here are four reasons to get moving and exactly how to move to return for your break the happiest version of yourself:

1. Exercise improves mood.

You know that post-awesome-exercise-session feeling when you feel “most like yourself”? Happy, confident, talkative, high on endorphins? Wouldn’t that be great to bring to the Thanksgiving table with you? I’m an introvert, and after I work out, I find conversations and connecting with others come easier to me. Plus, I simply feel better on the inside and can truly soak up the joy of the holidays when I’m in a better mood.

What kind of exercise do you love the most? Do that. What did you love to do as a child? Try that. Dancing, running, tag football, basketball in the driveway, jumping on the trampoline (safely), or playing hide-and-seek with the kiddos are all great ways to find your endorphin high.

2. Walking aids digestion.

Photo: Maxime Gauthier

Ate too much? Don’t beat yourself up—we’ve all been there. Heading out on a gentle walk, anywhere from 10 minutes to even 90 minutes, can help stimulate your digestion and ease your stomach pain.

Try a short walk after your meal to start the digestion process and add in a longer walk the next morning to help avoid constipation and get things going.

3. Stretching makes you more comfortable.

We can get so stuck in our bodies this time of year: feeling bloated, skipping exercise, sitting in traffic, enduring long plane rides, and covering ourselves up with layers of sweaters, sweatshirts, and thick, puffy parkas. These can all disconnect you from your body. A great way to feel more comfortable in your own skin is to stretch and open up.

Try five minutes stretching in the bathroom, a 20-minute YouTube Yoga video on a clean towel next to the bed, foam rolling or hitting up a local yoga class with a family member.

4. Movement burns off excess energy.

Ideally you’ll want to burn through some of your glycogen stores earlier on Thursday so you have “more room” to store the calories from a big meal. So you’re feeling up for it, try getting a tough workout in at least one morning of the weekend. Try lifting some heavy weights in your cousin’s basement or get outside for an hourlong distance run or brisk walk. There’s a reason why turkey trots are so popular!

When you eat more than usual, your body has excess energy. And technically, we should use up our excess calories within 12 to 16 hours after a big meal to avoid storing the energy as body fat. You might want to try an “intermittent fasting window” and wait until you’re genuinely hungry in the morning rather than just eating on autopilot because it’s breakfast time.

Need a little more structure to avoid grabbing a slice of pumpkin pie within half an hour of waking up? Go for an hourlong walk after coffee but before breakfast hits your system. You’ll use up some of the energy from any feasting you’ve done the night before and give your digestion system a boost before you eat next.


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Most of the essays we publish in Modern Love are about 1,500 words, and most of their authors could probably wax on longer if space and time were infinite. We wanted to see how readers would fare with far fewer words — 13, to be precise. Here are their Modern Love stories, in miniature.

Always laugh, especially after learning your husband took Ecstasy on your first date.

Jamie, Dallas

Strictly avoids long walks on the beach. Lets me have all the covers.

Keira Mayock, Charlotte, N.C.

A farmer’s wife is lonely from April to October. But what a view.

Charlotte McMullen, Ashville, Pa.

No-strings-attached sex, except for two kids, a mortgage and a dog.

Rachel Engel, Derby, Kan.

Walmart, car service, she repairs my heart daily. She is my love balance.

Kat Harris, Charlotte N.C.

Smile, though your heart is breaking. Then key his new BMW. It helps.

Sheila, Los Angeles

We both love craft beer and public radio. So we’re insufferable, but together.

Laura Fluty, Saint Peters, Mo.

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Grace Gardner’s parents, Duane and Catherine Gardner, with her brother, Michael Gardner.CreditGrace Gardner

My dad calls my mom Love, almost as if that is her name.

Grace Gardner, Atlanta

Subway commute. Missed connection. Craigslist ad. Reconnection. Could not spell burrito. Lost connection.

Stephanie Costa, Brooklyn, N.Y.

He now splurges on organic mac and cheese. He must seriously love me.

Jade Thurston, Bellingham, Wash.

When you accept his urge to fold both of your clothes after sex.

Luise Yang, London

He picked me up hitchhiking and I married him. It didn’t last long.

Connie Kuhns, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

Friend with benefits eventually becomes ex-husband who pays less arousing, more satisfying benefits.

Sarah McKittrick, Baltimore

Our initial plan to be just friends lasted for less than a week.

Teresa Nield, West Hills, Calif.


Lisa Eng and Kristofer Eng in 1988.CreditLisa Eng

Fate = Joint baby shower at age 0, happily married 27 years later.

Lisa Eng, Menlo Park, Calif.

I regret lending you that book more than I regret the terrible sex.

Maria Martens, Berlin

How to find a partner: Secretly date while your friends are on vacation.

Sarah Ghoshal, East Brunswick, N.J.

I was sad. He sent me dinosaur erotica. I knew it was love.

Meredith Schwartz, Atlanta


Golda and her human, Amy Schreibman Walter.CreditAmy Schreibman Walter

Golda: Gold (Yiddish). Suits her; she’s like a pot of gold (after divorce).

Amy Schreibman Walter, London

Never bring up similarities between your spouse and your mother-in-law during a fight. [Editors’ note: We’re treating “mother-in-law” as one word here, because we couldn’t resist.]

Marlene Fischer, Armonk, N.Y.

She talks fast. She begins stories at their endings. Sorry, What? Sorry. Sorry.

Jack Ortiz, Madison, Wisc.


John Kafka and Leslie Dallas in August.CreditLeslie Dallas

How could you know Trader Joe’s parking lot would be our first kiss?

Leslie Dallas, Santa Monica, Calif.

I’m definitely allergic to this dog. How do you choose, asthma or sex?

Maisie Breit, Agadir, Morocco

Ukrainian village in Peace Corps, he offered me what I couldn’t resist: Wi-Fi.

Mary Offutt-Reagin, Terebovlya, Ukraine

My dog would hide his clothes. Should’ve been my first clue. Dogs know.

Litsa Dremousis, Seattle

I thought I was straight. She thought she was straight. We were wrong.

Rachael Ní Chonchúir, Ireland

Met on Internet. Left my girlfriend for him. He left his. No regrets.

Eve Fritz, France


A photo of Roger and Doris Cochrun, taken in 1947, appeared in the Ionia County Shoppers Guidethis year to mark their wedding anniversary.CreditAngie Cochrun Hamlet

Wartime. She hated writing letters, did it anyway. 70 happy years this October.

Roger Cochrun, Saranac, Mich.

I have two former fiancés. One, sadly, is dead. The other should be.

Sara, New York

Supported my crazy ideas, listened to me ugly-cry, stole my heart forever.

Rachel Waldman, New York

Locked eyes with my baby nephew, he smiled. But maybe it was gas?

Rekha Mishra, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

They said “no dating” in your first year of sobriety. They were right.

Caroline Grand, San Antonio, Tex.

Age 5, when love means naming your pet goldfish after best friend Molly.

Melissa Rodman, New York

Boy meets boy. Sparks fly. Boy kisses boy. Boy, oh boy, oh boy.

Boyd Davis, Kansas City, Mo.

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Photo: Bo Bo


When learning to breastfeed, the whole experience can seem quite foreign. No matter how many books you’ve read or videos you’ve watched, there are probably still a million concerns running through your mind, one of which is “Are my nipples normal?” and “Will I be able to breastfeed if I have (insert your boob concerns here)?”

As a certified lactation educator counselor, these are some of the most common concerns I hear, aside from those about baby’s weight gain and feeding schedules. Women early on begin to question whether or not their body is equipped to actually produce enough milk for the baby. While I know it goes without saying, I try to always remind Mamas that there is a vast variation of what is “normal” when it comes to boobs—specifically nipple size, skin tone, and breast shape. The most important thing to ask yourself is, “Did my breasts grow in size or change in color during pregnancy?”

It may actually be helpful to ask your partner. Oftentimes they are the first to notice your breasts and nipples changes. If your answer is “yes,” then your body is likely on the right track toward breastfeeding success.

Though there is a small percentage of women who experience conditions that cause them not to be able to reach their breastfeeding goals, for example, a diagnosis of insufficient glandular tissue, endocrine irregularities, or medical emergencies during labor that interfere with initiating breastfeeding soon after birth. In these cases it’s best to seek assistance from an IBCLC.

If you haven’t been diagnosed with or experienced any of the more serious examples I mentioned but are still concerned about whether or not you’ll be able to breastfeed, I’ve shared four of the most typical anatomical concerns women have and how to manage them in order to have a more stress-free breastfeeding experience.

1. Are my nipples too large for latching?

With large nipples one of the most important factors to experiencing painless breastfeeding is proper ridging (holding of the breast) and a deep latch for your baby. The primary concern in this case is that the baby won’t open wide enough to receive all of the nipple and most of the areola, and pain will ensue.

The best thing to do is swipe your nipple from baby’s top lip to the bottom to stimulate their rooting reflex and allow baby to open its mouth very wide (like a yawn). Your nipple should rest deep into baby’s mouth and as your baby compresses your breast tissue between their tongue and the roof of their mouth it will also compress and accommodate your nipple.

2. Will my small breasts make enough milk?

To begin, most women will experience significant breast growth during pregnancy. So even if you started your pregnancy with relatively small breasts, they may look much larger by the time you give birth.

Secondly, the ability to make milk for your baby is not related to the fatty tissue that gives breasts their shape but the lactating structures inside, which are the same in women with both “large” and relatively “small” breasts.

3. Will my inverted nipples cause breastfeeding problems?

In many inverted nipple cases, once baby latches on and begins suckling, your nipple will draw out. If you have any trouble getting baby to latch on, you can try pumping for a bit to help your nipple extend out. If this doesn’t work and you’re experiencing pain or nipple trauma, seek assistance from a lactation professional as soon as possible. Continuing to offer the baby your breast for multiple feedings will only cause more damage and make latching more difficult. It’s important to note that nipple shields should only be used under the directions and assistance of a lactation professional.

4. Can breasts be too large to breastfeed?

In this case, finding a comfortable position will help a lot. Laid-back feeding, where you recline back and your baby feeds in a vertical position on your chest, or feeding in the football hold with a rolled-up swaddle underneath your breast to provide a little lift are often very effective positions.

As I always like to say, breastfeeding is a two-person job at a minimum. Reaching out for advice and support before you run into any significant trouble is better than waiting until you feel completely overwhelmed. You can begin by interviewing lactation professionals before you give birth and planning for them to visit you within the first week postpartum.

Finally, if you are still at all concerned about your ability to breastfeed, especially if you’ve previously experienced any breastfeeding trouble, bring your concerns up to your doctor or midwife prenatally.

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