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How Brooke Griffin lost 70 pounds of baby weight + started a wellness empire

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Brooke Griffin is one inspiring mama.

She grew up in a tiny Kentucky town, where her tight-knit family taught her the value of gathering around the dinner table for supper and the importance of sharing a tasty meal.

Her fitness journey took her from NFL cheerleader for the Cincinnati Bengals to Fitness Universe Champion. But her dedication to healthy living became even stronger in 2011, when she lost her marriage, her job and ultimately who she was.

Brooke was heartbroken and had 70 pounds of baby weight she wanted to shed. She had a newborn to care for and puzzle pieces to put back together. She needed a plan.


Brooke wanted to lose the weight while connecting with other moms who were looking to do the same, but couldn’t find what she was looking for online. So she created it. That’s how her healthy living website Skinny Mom was born in 2011. Brooke sold Skinny Mom in 2016 and now publishes blogs, recipes and more on her website.

With her book Skinny Suppers: 125 Lightened-Up, Healthier Meals for Your Family, Brooke shares 125 amazing, healthy recipes for our families like Southern shrimp and grits and Caribbean jerk chicken with mango salsa (YUM!)

Skinny Suppers is not just a regular cookbook—it’s an everyday tool to use in your kitchen. It gives you meal-planning tips, pantry staple ideas, useful kitchen utensil recommendations and family dinnertime conversation starters.

We got to chat with Brooke about how you can get your toddler to try new foods, tips for taking your little ones to the grocery store with you (without going crazy!) and how to lose the baby weight.

Motherly: How do you overcome that hurdle of feeling like losing the baby weight is hopeless and you’re never going to be able to do it? What advice do you have for moms who feel this way?

Brooke Griffin: I think actually working up the courage and strength to accept that you’ve got work to do and commit to making the necessary changes to your lifestyle is probably the most difficult part.

You don’t gain a large amount of weight like that overnight, so being able to step back and see what’s happened over time and say, “Okay, I have to take control of what’s happening to my body,” is a scary but huge step.

Whether your baby is 6 months or 3 years old, you just have to make a promise to yourself that you’re ready to work, and back up that promise!

Start small by cooking at least one healthy meal a week for your family.

Set aside five to 10 minutes a day to walk, jog or jump rope. These small changes start becoming part of your new healthy habits, and then one healthy meal a week becomes two, a five-minute walk becomes a 15-minute jog and so on. It’s important to not look at the end goal, and know that every step along the healthy journey is a victory!

In today’s busy world, we’re all moving in 100 different directions. Do you think sitting down at the table for dinner together as a family is doable? Beneficial?

Oh, I wholeheartedly believe that both of these are true.

Families today are insanely busy, but sitting down for supper—even a few nights a week—is doable with some planning. My key to making this happen is what I call “Power Planning Sunday.” Every Sunday afternoon I set aside some time to plan my family’s meals for the week, do my grocery shopping and prep as much as I can.

This makes supper so much easier every night. I’d also say a key for busy families would be utilizing your slow cooker so your meals cook for you; all you have to do is sit down and eat!

Suppertime is so beneficial because it allows you to reconnect and learn new things about the members of your family. My cookbook has “Suppertime Chat” ideas to help get your family talking during meals! I’d also say that sitting down for nutritious meals together helps your children develop a healthier relationship with food. They know what fuel is best for their bodies when you openly discuss what you’re eating together.

What advice do you have for busy mamas who need to go to the grocery store with little ones? It can be a daunting task!

As a single mama, I get that! When my son was a toddler, I’d bring a snack and a toy or two to keep him occupied while I shopped. Now that he’s a little older, he loves to grab one of the mini carts or baskets and help out! I make a small list of some of the foods he enjoys so that he can do some of his own shopping throughout the store (with me by his side, of course!). We love spending this time together and it makes shopping less of a chore and he doesn’t get bored or cranky.

No matter your children’s ages, never go to the grocery without a list! One of my favorite sayings is, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” and that couldn’t be more true than when you’re heading to the store with kids... especially when everyone is hungry.

You mentioned meal planning. How important is meal planning for busy families?

Meal planning is the ONLY way you’ll be able to cook healthy meals every night and keep your sanity. This is something I feel strongly about, so Skinny Suppers includes tips for meal planning and has a 30-day calendar to help you get started. Again, start small and have a goal to cook your family one healthy meal a week. Then work up to two and then three. Cook meals and freeze them ahead of time on days you have more time than others. Put those leftovers to work into healthy lunches, or serve them a touch differently for a new twist on the next night’s dinner.

You’re never going to have more time, so just get smarter with the time you do have.

Any advice on how to get your toddler to try new foods?

There are a couple of ways I did this. First, I sneak it in! If you plop a serving of greens on your kid’s plate, they probably won’t touch it; it’s just too boring for them! Incorporate a vegetable into a meal you know your little one enjoys so that green becomes less intimidating to them. For example, my little guy loves mac ‘n’ cheese, so I serve him my Creamy Mac and Alfredo recipe so he enjoys a meal he likes and devours a serving of spinach!

Also, try getting your toddler involved in the cooking process. You might think they’re a little too young to have responsibilities in the kitchen, but think about it: If they can work an iPad, they can sprinkle some cheese!

If you let your little one help out in the kitchen, they’ll feel connected to that dish and will be more willing to give it a try.

How do you build up a well-stocked pantry + spice rack? What are your staples?

I am all about cooking from pantry staples, which you will quickly notice in Skinny Suppers. I never use hard-to-pronounce ingredients, or items you have to find in a specialty store. So, start building your well-stocked pantry and spice rack little by little by adding a few items every time you hit the grocery store. I always have produce on hand to bulk up a meal and for healthy snack options: onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, carrots, apples, grapefruit. A few of my pantry staples are brown rice, bread crumbs, quinoa, canned vegetables, canned beans, low-sodium broth and extra virgin olive oil.

I included a full section of how to include build your pantry aisle by aisle in Skinny Suppers, which is a fantastic resource if you’re just getting started.

You took a lot of classic recipes + made them healthier. How did you do that? What are some substitutes you used that might be able to apply to a variety of recipes?

You’re able to make most classic dishes healthier by using what I like to call “skinny swaps.” These swaps could be as simple as rolling your chicken in corn flakes and Panko before baking it rather than frying it! I also swap out heavy cream with nonfat milk and use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayo.

There are so many small swaps or actions you can take in the kitchen that drastically cut calories, fat and carbs.

I wanted to make sure that Skinny Suppers wasn’t just a book of recipes; I wanted it to be a useful tool that women could use and learn from. These skinny swaps are one of the easiest, most important ways you can serve up healthier meals to your family and once you learn what those are, you’ll be able to apply these swaps to nearly all your favorite recipes!

How can you incorporate little ones into the cooking process?

It’s so true—especially for busy families—that time spent in the kitchen cooking can be the best quality time you get with your kids all day. My son is now 5 years old and he’s definitely gotten more interested in cooking with me. One of the simplest ways to get kids involved is to let them help choose the menu! I always ask Easton what he’d like to have for dinner, and then when he says pizza and chicken nuggets, I find ways to lighten up those foods. He always helps me with at least one action step in the recipe.

You’ve just got to remember that all kids are curious. They want to help you in the kitchen, so let them!

Even if you’re in a rush or don’t think you have the patience to cook with your little ones, just give it a try and they’ll quickly become your trusty little sous chefs.

Skinny Suppers is available online and wherever books are sold. Follow Brooke on Facebook and Instagram!

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.

Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat


From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)


Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda


When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)


Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia


Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)


Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat


This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)


Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat


Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)


Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat


We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)


Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat


With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)


Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat


Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)


Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat


With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)


This article was sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"


Eva Mendes Admits Parenting Two Girls With Ryan Gosling Is 'Fun, Beautiful And Maddening' www.youtube.com

And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.


When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."



She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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