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Charlotte and Ella: Two moms who met on the Internet and love design, simplicity, and sustainability.




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Entries in small steps (5)


Why I Hated Running | Getting Fit

A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook the other day, and while I'm a fitness nut, I understood the sentiment.

The gym is boring.

It is never changing. Always the same. Gyms are always so gray inside. You can smell everyone's sweat. People can see you from strange angles in all the mirrors.

No, there is nothing inspiring about working out in a gym.

But work out we must. So what is one to do? 

Answer: Get out of the gym.

A few years ago I found myself at a point where I needed to lose about 7-10 pounds. You may scoff at that and say, "7 pounds, ha, that is nothing!" but seven pounds on a petite 5'4" frame really does make a difference. Regardless, I was unhappy with my body and I knew it was time to get back to being serious about fitness. I joined a group of women at the marina who were walking each morning. We walked five days a week for forty five minutes a day. 

That's it. We just walked. We didn't drive somewhere to walk some special path. We didn't walk fast like those crazy mall walkers I saw in the 90s. We just walked. Okay, we walked purposefully. And we talked and we encouraged each other on days when one of us didn't feel like going.

In three months I had lost the seven pounds. 

Now remember, that losing weight is a matter of math. So just because I was now 'working out' more didn't mean that I started eating more because I 'earned it.' I kept my calories where they were or sometimes reduced them, and the increased exercise then did the math for me.

I kept up the habit of walking throughout my entire pregnancy, and seven months postpartum I was ready to do something, anything besides WALK. I needed to run. So we got a running stroller, and I started, slowly running.

I'm not a hardcore runner.

I can't talk to you about special running shoes. I buy my jog bras at Target, but I get out there and run. I used to tell my husband Eric that I hated running. It hurt my lungs. It was lonely.

And then I got a jogging stroller and suddenly I wasn't alone anymore. Cora was my little jogging partner. She liked it when I ran fast. If I needed to take a break, she was there happily pointing to doggies or asking for Cheerios. We'd run to the park, she'd play, and then we'd run home.

Somewhere inbetween loving to walk and hating to run, things switched and now I want to run all the time. I crave it. If I go for more than three days without running I start to get b*tchy.

My friend Jim, me, and my husband Eric just before the Camp Pendleton Mud Run 2011

Part of this series on Getting Fit is to take small steps and so I encourage you, even if you 'hate running,' to take a small step, and start walking. Keep walking until you feel like running.

Oh, and go run outside, because gyms really are boring.  


Ready, Set, Go! | Getting Fit

Are you joining us on Monday? Several FinchFound readers will be counting their calories for a week over at

{ Connect } 

Friend me at:

Join our group:

{ Prepare }

Before Monday, take a moment to review the tools available on the site. You will need to be honest. Don't try and change your regular eating habits this week. Your goal is to track your regular caloric intake for a week. After that, you can make some decisions about what you may want to change.

This won't be easy. You'll need to be religious about recording what you eat. A handful of peanuts counts. Sodas, juices, and alcoholic beverages also count. Look up every little thing that you eat and add it to your count. MyFitnessPal has a great app for allowing you to upload homemade recipes so you can easily find out the portion you ate. Check it out here.

Don't do everything at once. While MyFitnessPal also gives you the opportunity to track your physical excercise during the day, you may want to consider just focusing on calorie counting for this week. It can take a lot of time out of your day to track everything accurately. I vote for keeping things simple and focusing on one thing at a time.

Ask questions in our FinchFound group. We're here to help. Good luck and keep us posted on how it is going. Go you!


You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.


How to Count Calories | Getting Fit

Can eating Twinkies help you look more like that model?


On a very basic level, losing weight is a matter of math. It is done one of three ways. By: 

  1. Reducing the amount of calories you eat each day.
  2. By increasing the amount of activity (exercise) you do each day.
  3. Or by doing both.

In fact, a professor at Kansas State University recently proved this equation by going on a Twinkie diet. He lost 27lbs in two months by eating a diet of Twinkies, Nutty Bars, Little Debbies, Doritos, and powdered donuts. He did this by identifying the amount of calories he was consuming each day as an overweight man, and then reduced the amount of calories he ate each day (going from 2,600 to 1,800 during the diet.) His point was that even if you eat junk food, you will lose weight if you reduce your total daily caloric intake. A fascinating little study and one that should make you stop and think if you are attempting to lose weight.

Am I advocating eating only Twinkies to lose weight? Nope, but what a delicious idea. I am saying though, that you have to understand how many calories you are eating a day. Most people have no idea how many calories are in the foods they eat. In fact, many nutritionists have criticised the recent law requiring major restaurants and fast food chains to post the calorie counts of their meals because it wouldn't mean anything to people. And they are right. 

Have you seen any of the images from the state of Georgia's new anti-obesity campaign? It is targeting childhood obesity. Georgia found that 75% of parents with obese children didn't recognize it as a problem. Their 'Stop Sugarcoating It' campaign is aggressive and meant to make people take notice of the obesity epidemic in their state.

This idea that people don't recognize the problem is linked to the idea that they have no idea how many calories they are eating daily, how many calories they should be eating daily, or how many calories are in the food they eat.


So the point of all of this? Learn how to count calories. Nowadays it is much easier to do than before because there a ton of free websites that will do the math for you. You enter the food you eat each day and POOF a lovely little pie chart shows up that will tell you how much you've eaten and how it breaks down into protein, fats, and carbohydrates. 


Want to try it? Several of my friends will be counting their calories for a week starting this Monday (January 30th.) Join us! You can friend me on MyFitnessPal at  (It's free :)

Invest in yourself for a week and get an idea for where your calories are going. I promise it will be informative and could help you to make the next step in getting and staying fit.


You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.


The Holidays and (not) Working Out | Getting Fit

(Part Two in a Series on Getting and Staying Fit)

With only a week left until Christmas it is possible that most of your holiday parties are over, but there's still the Christmas (or holiday) meal itself, and there will be leftovers and all those chocolates and candies that won't eat themselves.

There are a million articles that you can read on tips to eating healthy for the holidays (including this one from our local NPR station, KPBS' Midday Edition.) So I will not re-write the book on things like eating before you go to a party, filling your plate with veggies, and taking only a small bit of the tempations at the dessert tables this year.

Instead I'll encourage you to keep moving! Keep working out!

Eric recently lead me and a few local moms through some awesome, do-anywhere exercises in a nearby park. I met Rachael and Rochelle through an online mom's group here in San Diego. We had never met in person before showing up to workout together.

We wasted no time in getting to work. The holidays are super busy. Everyone is running around like a chicken with their head cut off, but if you can, keep exercising. 

Get a work out partner! Even if you've never met them before. Online friends can turn into real-life friends. Having someone to work out with means you are much more likely to stay on track.

I'm not going to tell you to abstain completely from all the holiday yumminess out there. Nope. You won't hear that from me!

via Pinterest

BUT. If you are working on losing weight and getting fit, don't set yourself back so badly this season that you fall back to where you were. Don't wait until January 1st to re-start your exercising. Do it now. Go for a walk tomorrow evening after work. 

Even though it's cold and dark and late and you have shopping to do. 20 minutes, you can do it!

And even better? Do it with a friend.

Oh, and while you're at it, why not throw a baby on your back? 

I promise, they'll love it!

(And bonus? It's a great way to teach your kids from an early age that exercising ROCKS.)


New Series: One Step at a Time | Getting Fit 

Preggo at 36 weeks | Hey, there's a Cora in there!

(You can read all the posts in this series here: Getting and Staying Fit)

Here are things I am not:

  • a doctor
  • a registered dietician
  • a physical trainer

However, I have spent most of my life focusing on staying fit in a healthy way. I have found that the easiest way to do this is by incorporating small changes into your life that, when done consistently, add up to BIG CHANGES over time.

I'm bringing this up because now that I'm working full time I can't believe how hard it is to fit in working out, eating healthy, AND being a mom, wife, and friend. If it's hard for me, with just one kid, I can only imagine what it is like for other mamas out there with more than one, or mamas who commute, or work two jobs, or are single-parents!

With that being said, I'd like to introduce a new series to FinchFound that will focus on small steps you can make in your life that will help you and your family live healthier.

I'm hoping Ella will contribute too. (Did you know she was a health coach before she had The Beast?) It's true!

So while I'm not the things I listed above, I do want to spread the love of healthier living and how to incorporate into the lives of busy, working mamas.

via Pinterest

Concrete Examples

Okay, here is the thing, there are a million articles out there on how to live a healthy lifestyle. There really are. Some are better than others, but overall, its the combination of doing small things, consistently that works.

(I'm going to sound like a broken record on the consistency thing.)

So my goal is to look at big picture issues, like getting exercise, reducing calories, increasing fresh veggies & fruits BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, share concrete examples from my life, and the lives of those I admire, that correlate to the "big picture".

Changing all the big picture items at once? That's hard.

Working on small, concrete examples one step at a time? That's do-able.

So let's start with chocolate. My favorite!

Big Picture: Ditch all the processed sweets and snacks in your house. Just throw 'em out.

However doing that, and sticking to it, can be challenging.

Concrete Example: Throw out most, keep dark chocolate bars or semi-sweet chocolate chips. I keep both in my house and when I grab them as a sweet snack, I always mix in raw almonds with the chocolate. So bite of dark chocolate, and then two raw almonds. Repeat. Chew slowly and enjoy.

Believe me, I could eat handfuls of chocolate until the cows come home, but mixing it with something of substance slows me down. Oh, and don't bring the bar or bag of chocolate to where you are sitting. Go to it! Serve yourself some, and then walk away. Having to go back to it is much less likely if you are already sitting down and comfortable. And why raw almonds? Besides that they are very good for you, they take longer to chew then roasted almonds. Sneaky, no?

Would love to hear your thoughts as I get started and any requests for tips you are looking for!