Nancy O’Dell on Motherhood and Wellness

Nancy O’Dell is a busy mom just like many of you. She works full time and is a wife and mother of three. And like our readers, she had the same—sometimes startling—surprises during pregnancy and difficulty losing the baby weight. The unexpected changes during pregnancy prompted her to write the book, Full of Life: Mom to Mom Tips I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Pregnant.  For example, she got red spots all over her chest, “I thought do I have the measles the mumps?” Turns out it was just extra blood that gave the appearance and was nothing to freak out about. Things didn’t get easier after her daughter, Ashby, was born, “I thought breast feeding was going to be a piece of cake and come to me naturally. There’s a whole technique behind it and I was sore the whole time,” she said.

Celebrities seem to lose the baby weight in days while real moms look down and wonder How did they do that? Lucky for us, O’Dell didn’t have a miracle diet or military exercise regime. She doesn’t believe in cutting anything out, but rather doing everything in moderation. Recently she teamed with the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition and Moderation Nation, which provides expert advice and practical solutions for achieving balance in nutrition and physical activity. So what does O’Dell do? Although she ran a lot after giving birth, the weight didn’t completely come off until she joined Dancing with the Stars. Dancing didn’t feel like exercise. So nowadays she does Batuka, a South American dance. Instead of carving out any hour every day for the gym, she encourages moms to get involved with kids with simple exercises found on The Moderation Nation Web site such as setting the table and chasing bubbles. O’Dell also knows moms snack on what their kids eat. But munching on candy and cookies isn’t good. Ashby loves Cheez-It’s so O’Dell gives them a nutritional punch with avocado on top. She stresses when children make the meal, they’re more apt to eat it.

Were the shocking pregnancy symptoms, setbacks with nursing, and working out worth it in the end?  Absolutely! None of it compared to the joy her daughter brings her. “You cannot imagine the immense amount of you love you feel until it happens. You think you can guess but you don’t know,” O’Dell gushed.

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