Author Archives: Jeanie Stasko

How to Lose the Baby Weight

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics. This is the third installment in her blog series about exercise and new moms. This summer, Jeanie wrote about Exercise for Moms-to-Be, and earlier this winter she wrote about Before You Lose the Baby Weight.

Now that you’ve settled into a great routine with your baby, you are probably itching to get back to your old self. Keep in mind that it took 9 months for your baby belly to grow, so start by setting realistic expectations and give yourself the time you need to achieve your post-partum goals. Some women have a much easier time kicking their pregnancy weight to the curb while others have to go the extra mile to make progress.


All weight loss, post-partum or not, is really a matter of calories in and calories out. If you want to lose weight you’ve got to decrease your calorie consumption, increase your calorie output through exercise, or both!

Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. If you’re like me, you’re probably racing to the coffee pot in the morning but it takes extra discipline to make and enjoy a balanced breakfast while juggling young children and trying to get ready for the day. A breakfast that includes lean protein and some whole grains will really help get you going in the right direction. If it’s 10 AM before your eating anything, this is your first habit to alter.

Take notice of any bad habits that might be left over from those seemingly innocent pregnancy cravings. Make sure you’re eating for one! If you’re breastfeeding add an additional 300-500 calories; a diet less than 1500-1800 calories per day may put your milk supply at risk.

030614_babyweight3Fill your plate with veggies and fruits to help keep you feeling nourished and satisfied. Often times we mistake thirst for hunger so keeping well hydrated will help curb cravings too. Spreading your calories out throughout the day rather than sitting down for one big meal will also help keep your energy up.

Finding time for exercise is challenging but certainly not impossible. One of my favorite things to do is take my little ones for a stroll. The afternoon doldrums hit my house around 4 o’clock and everyone benefits from a change of scenery. Strapping the kiddos into the stroller is a great way for Mom to get some exercise while the kiddos enjoy the sights and sounds of the neighborhood. You can also check out the Mommy and Me Yoga classes at Rex Wellness Center of Raleigh.

030614_babyweight4If you want your exercise time to be your “me time” make an appointment for your child to enjoy the Child Activity Center at Rex Wellness. You can exercise in confidence knowing your child is engaged in play and safe under the supervision of our caring staff. Remember that exercise is cumulative and any exercise is more than none at all.

If you’ve got a good handle on your diet and exercise program and still seem to be struggling to get the weight off, it’s time to call in a professional. Make an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitians and Personal Trainers. They are ready to help you with a personalized approach and will employ tried and true methods to get you where you want to be on the timeline that’s  right for you.


Jeanie’s daughter (3) and twin sons (7 months) out for a walk in the exercise stroller


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Before you lose the baby weight

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics. This summer, Jeanie wrote about Exercise for Moms-to-Be. Now she fills us in on how to take care of yourself after giving birth.

010714_babyEveryone wants to know how to quickly lose their baby weight. In my opinion, there is just an unnecessary pressure on moms to regain their pre-pregnancy shape immediately after birth. I’d like to slow down a bit and talk about a few things to focus on the first couple months that will help set you up for baby weight loss success in the future.

First, forget about losing the baby weight for the first six weeks. Forget. About. It. Yep, here’s a six week pass. Don’t weigh yourself, don’t even think about it. Your body is going through a tremendous amount of recovery and the focus should be on your baby and resting as much as possible.


Pay attention to your posture to help your body re-adjust post-birth.

As your belly expanded, your hips probably shifted forward as your shoulders shifted back to maintain your balance. It was okay when you were expecting, but now that your bundle has arrived it’s time to fix your posture! Bring your hips back underneath your shoulders and pull in your abdominal muscles to help support your back.

As you are caring for your baby your upper body assumes a very rounded posture. Cuddling and changing diapers and breastfeeding all round your head, neck, and shoulders forward. To save yourself from some aches and pains later, make yourself aware of your upper body when you aren’t caring for baby and focus on bringing them back into alignment.

080713_breastfeeding1Breastfeed your baby/babies if at all possible! I’ll skip talking about the immense benefits for your baby and focus on one of the perks for mom. Breastfeeding can burn a serious number of calories. Your body requires approximately 20 calories to produce an ounce of milk. If your baby eats 20-30 ounces a day, that’s anywhere between 400-600 calories (keep in mind a pound is about 3,500 calories). Plus, it’s designated time to sit down and relax with your precious little one (and it will get you out of doing the dinner dishes!).

051313_foodinfridgeStock your fridge and pantry with healthy foods. Bringing a baby home is a very busy time. Add in a bit of sleep deprivation and you’re really doing yourself a disservice if you eat a crummy diet on top of it. Enlist the help of family and friends to bring you prepared meals or run to the grocery store. Don’t feel bad when asking for assistance. Your baby won’t be a baby forever and soon you’ll be paying it forward.

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Exercise for Moms-to-be

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics.

It can be tough to know what’s safe when it comes to exercising during pregnancy: some women are combining pregnancy and marathon training while others are being put on bed rest. It really comes down to what types of exercise you were participating in prior to pregnancy, while monitoring yourself and adapting as necessary.

First, it’s important to have a conversation with your doctor to make sure it’s okay for you to exercise. Most docs want you to exercise but above all else they want Mom and Baby to be safe. Ask your doctor for some precautionary guidelines regarding contractions and what to look for in the case of pre-term labor.

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes later in your pregnancy, know that it will have an impact on your workout regimen and it’s time to re-open the exercise conversation.

Next up, stay hydrated! During pregnancy, hydration is so very important. It will help you to reduce heat and keep your blood volume at a normal level.

It’s also important to recognize that each pregnancy is different. With my first pregnancy I could do far more than I can with my current pregnancy. And that’s okay! I spend more time in the pool rather than trekking it on a trail with the summer heat and humidity.

If you were exercising before pregnancy, it is generally safe to continue the same exercise program while you are expecting. As your pregnancy progresses you will need to modify your routine to exclude positions like lying face up or down. If you’re feeling a little winded sooner than usual, slow it down. Just remember that your blood volume has significantly increased and it’s important to monitor your intensity.

If you’re feeling over-fatigued, it’s time to decrease your intensity and/or duration, especially in the latter part of your pregnancy – you’ve got to save some energy for your new bundle of joy!

If you weren’t exercising regularly pre-pregnancy, you can still participate in low-impact activities like walking or swimming with the approval of your doctor. I can’t say enough about how wonderful the pool is for the expecting mama. It’s amazing how you can feel weightless at a time when you feel the heaviest! If the pool is not your thing, try Prenatal Yoga. Low-impact activities will allow you to reap the rewards of exercising during pregnancy while avoiding strain or injury.

Research shows that women who exercise recover faster postpartum than those who did not. And who doesn’t want to recover faster? Not to mention moms feel better both physically and emotionally and even sleep better!

For more information on swimming or pre-natal yoga programs, visit one of Rex’s five wellness centers located throughout Wake County. Sign up here for the free Rex Pregnancy Newsletter!

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Stay on Track, Even When You’re Busy

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics.

Make a plan
Set yourself up for success by pre-planning your workouts for the week. Look at your work and personal schedule and identify times for independent or group exercise sessions. Pen them into your daily planner or electronic calendars. These work-outs are now non- negotiable and just as important as any other commitment you’ve got for the week.

Adjust to be successful
When you know the week is slammed with early morning responsibilities and late work meetings you’ve got to achieve balance. Simply balancing the intake of calories with the level of your activity each day will reduce setbacks in achieving your goals. If there’s absolutely no time for exercise, make sure your diet is lean and mean. If you need help determining how many calories you’re eating, schedule an appointment with one of our registered dietitians. You can also check out (also available as an app) to help you balance your food intake and calorie expenditure.

Take time to organize the simple things

  • Make sure your favorite exercise clothes are clean, packed in your gym bag, and that your sneakers are in your car.
  • Have something healthy like a nutritional bar available for on-the-go snacking. If your day runs long or you miss a meal, “I’m starving” shouldn’t be an excuse for missing a workout.
  • Remember to pack your headphones and have an updated play list handy. No one wants to listen to the same 20 songs for months on end.
  • Pre-plan at least 2/3 of your family’s meals and you’ll have far fewer excuses for poor nutrition.
  • Pack your fridge and pantry with healthful foods and you won’t have the opportunity to maim your diet during the week. It certainly is a lot easier to avoid a giant bag of potato chips if they simply aren’t available.
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Happy Healthy Easter Tips

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics.

  1. You should actually eat those hard-boiled eggs (if they have been refrigerated). They are an eggcellent source of protein!
  2. Fill your kid’s or grandkid’s Easter basket with non-food items like a new shirt for spring or storybook. Bonus: you won’t have to endure post sugar-high meltdowns.
  3. Offer an arrangement of fruit and veggies for the family to snack on before your main meal. Now they won’t be starving and will be less likely to over indulge at the dinner table. If you’d like to offer an accompanying dip, try a yogurt-based dip for the fruit and hummus for the veggies.
  4. If you’re in charge of the family’s Easter feast try to fill the table with healthier options. Some delicious recipes are far healthier than others e.g. spinach and mushroom frittata instead of cheesy bread bake (my family’s personal favorite).
  5. Save some time and just make one special Easter dessert. It’s time to choose between Carrot Cake, Lemon Pie, and Coconut Cream Tart.
  6. Instead of filling your hunting eggs with candy, fill them with stickers, stamps, or washable tattoos. If it will just be your personal family participating you can add events like “trip to your favorite park” or “extra story at bedtime”.
  7. Make the kiddos really work for those eggs! Spread out the eggs so they get some real exercise running from hiding spot to hiding spot.
  8. Take time for a family stroll. Enjoy this delightful time of year by taking in all the sights of blooming trees and springtime flowers. Plus, you might even get to see the REAL Peter Rabbit!
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Fall is Functional

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics.

Has anyone else noticed this is the year of the acorns? My yard is absolutely littered with acorns! I love the fall season; it’s my absolute favorite time of year to be outside. But it’s like walking on marbles out there!

So my choice is to either rake up the acorns now, or pluck 10,000 little oak trees in the spring. I’m going to go with the rake.

Yard work is a killer workout. Actually, it’s a really functional workout. You’ve probably heard your personal trainer talk about making your exercise program functional. Read more…

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Relax, it’s Just Yoga

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics.

Last weekend I decided to make a commitment to myself that Yoga would become a part of my weekly routine. You’re probably thinking that scheduling another activity is the last thing you need. But in reality, it is scheduling a time for relaxation.

I can think of over a million things I need to do every day but in terms of benefiting my health, I should really make my yoga class a priority (and make it one for the rest of my family too). Read more…

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Posture Police

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics.

See this photo?

Yup. We’re going back in time.

The average person spends 8 hours in front of a screen, most of which is a computer screen. Think arms stretched forward, shoulders rounded, and usually head and neck follow. Add in the fact that most people forget to adequately stretch their upper body and WHAMO, you’ve got poor posture.

The effects of bad posture go far beyond just looking awkward. Read more…

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Running Buddy

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics.

I’ll admit I took a serious break from running the past two years. Let me tell you, if you haven’t gone running for a couple years it’s not easy getting started again. If I’m being completely honest, a few months ago even a short run seemed quite miserable. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

In the past I really enjoyed running. It just feels good to get outside and take in the beautiful scenery while getting an amazing cardio work-out. I really wanted to get back to that time where running was fun. But these days it just seems I need extra motivation to keep my running schedule on track. Read more…

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Sprint Triathlon Training

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics.

Triathlon participation is at an all time high and everyday more people pursue this multisport event as a way to encourage and maintain fitness. So swim, bike, run right? Not so fast. There is a little more to it than that. Check out this video of Tracy Doherty and Team practicing their race transitions & techniques and don’t be surprised if you want to start training for a Triathlon too!

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