This week’s Lucy Loves…

Hello, Hello! Happy Friday!

Is anyone else excited for the weekend? I am, and I’m not. We’re in the process of moving house and this weekend, it’s all about packing up. I’m feeling super emotional about it all. It’s our first family home. The home where we brought Lacie home too when she was just a day old. The home where we have lived for 8 years. It’s really pulling on my heart strings! But onwards and upwards I guess!  Anyway, moving forward lets look at the things I’ve discovered and LOVED this week. Enjoy!  

Mothercare’s new spring range
I’m a sucker when it comes to buying new clothes for Lacie. I just can’t help myself. I love this pretty ra-ta skirt. Such beautiful colours and it looks super cute with her white boots and a plain white Tee. Check out the new range here. Hide your purse though. It’s lethal!
http://www.mothercare.com/

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The ideal home show
Me, Lacie & mark went on the opening day and had great fun getting new ideas for our new home. See I’m excited really! The exhibition is on until April 6th, and is well worth a visit.
http://www.idealhomeshow.co.uk/

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The Garden
Lacie has discovered the back door – and that there’s a whole new world outside the house. She loves her little swing, chasing ants with her finger and sitting on the wall chatting away with me. At the moment, she’s into perching on everything. It’s so cute!
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Very British Baby
The design of these smellies are lovely, and the products themselves are great too. They retail from around £2.50 and the quality is just fab. The are Very British Baby formulations are all dermatologically tested with a no tears and made from a paraben-free formula, which ticks all the boxes as far as I’m concerned. Try the Bedtime Bath, which is great for bubbles but also for winding Lacie down for a good nights kip (hopefully!)
http://www.verybritishbaby.com/

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Raw Chocolate Pie
As you know – I like to eat healthily. I like my treats too, so I was well happy when I discovered Raw Chocolate Pie chocolate. It’s all dairy free, gluten free, sugar free and guilt free. Basically it’s made with raw cacao, agave nectar, coconut butter, lucuma, carob flour and nuts. That’s it! It’s the perfect treat for when I NEED chocolate. It’s certainly a goodbye to Dairy Milk from me. This stuff is rich and tasty and so chocolately, that one little bar (sometimes half, SOMETIMES!) is more than enough to satisfy a graving. It’s pure gold. I will be buying more that is for sure!
https://www.rawchocpie.co.uk

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How my diet has changed since being a mum 

Since being a mum, life feels like it’s going 1000 miles an hour. When Lacie was first born, my diet was so important. My milk needed to be as high quality as possible, so I was very strict about eating plenty of good protein, good fats and vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still strict about eating these good foods but my Sunday night food prep sessions are all about making Lacie the best food possible for the week ahead. Think sweet potato muffins, chicken and avocado wraps, banana, avocado, spinach and chia seed porridge and quinoa concoctions. It’s all about getting the right nutrients into Lacie so she’s happy, healthy and benefiting from stable blood sugar levels. 

Sweet potato, strawberries and spinach with coconut. Sounds yuk - but boy, she likes it!

Sweet potato, strawberries and spinach with coconut. Sounds yuk – but boy, she likes it!

So how about me? I’m all for convenience. Protein bars or shakes tend to be my staple breakfast right now (which still ends up being 10:30ish no matter how organised I am!!) pre-cooked and marinated chicken with ready prepared salad bowls for lunch and some CO YO and Paleo Granola or chopped fruit for my afternoon pick me up. I always cook a dinner though, which I eat with Lacie. That tends to be some sort of protein dish with vegetables and salad. Last night for example was salmon with pesto and roasted vegetables. She’ll sit in the kitchen with me whilst I prepare it and we chat and sing. It’s one of my favourite times of day! It doesn’t take long to prepare but I let her try things like pepper sticks and cucumber slices as I chop. 

I do love the kitchen, and I do miss the kitchen. I have so many recipes (check this sugar-free banana bread out!!) stored on my phone that i would love to bake – but these will have to wait until I have a few hours to play around in the kitchen, which doesn’t happen that often. Right now, it’s all about building good habits for Lacie and giving her a taste of all the good foods out there whilst she doesn’t know any different. I’m hoping she’ll get a taste for these foods and they will be her go to foods for the rest of her life. We’ll see. I’m fully aware that there will be parties to go too, and day trips out with Nannies and Nannas!  

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As for me. I’ll carry on eating my meals with either one hand or really quickly (I’m always in demand!) It’s not forever and as long as I have the right fuel inside me to keep doing a good job as a mother then that’s a that matters. It makes me really appreciate food when I do go out for a nice meal or manage to cook something special. 

What do other mums do when it comes to eating around their little ones? I would love to know! I’m off to go and enjoy a chilli with some cauliflower rice. 

10 REASONS YOU’RE NOT LOSING BELLY FAT

Last week  I was asked to help out with a feature for one of my favourite websites ‘Get The Gloss.‘ It’s a must read for everything health, wellness and women related!

The feature I helped with was called “10 REASONS YOU’RE NOT LOSING BELLY FAT,” something that many women can relate too. Here it is! Enjoy…..

Working hard but stomach still not resembling a washboard? It’s time to bring in the experts…

Never mind ‘does my bum look big in this?’, stubborn fat around the tummy is probably the most common bodily bugbear, for both men and women. Shifting it becomes even more of a priority when you consider that, according to NHS Choices, fat collecting around your middle poses more health risks than fat that sits elsewhere:

“We store spare body fat under the skin and also around the vital organs in our abdomen. Fat around the abdomen causes more health problems than, say, fat carried around the bottom or on the thighs. Having a large amount of tummy fat (when compared to having fat around the bottom or thighs) makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and heart problems.”

Hardly joyful news if you have a few pounds to lose, but don’t panic if you’re developing a paunch- the following could explain why you’re accumulating belly fat, and tips from nutritionist and yoga teacher Libby Limon and fitness specialist Lucy Miller could help you to whittle down your waist once and for all.

STRESS
Number one rule for conquering abdominal fat? Don’t stress (in fact, make that a rule for life). Libby explains why anxiety can thwart your weight loss efforts:

Number one rule for conquering abdominal fat? Don’t stress (in fact, make that a rule for life). Libby explains why anxiety can thwart your weight loss efforts:

“Cortisol, the stress hormone, plays a part in laying down central adipose tissue (belly fat), so if you are in a stressed state then it will be very hard to shift. Stress can come from many sources- emotional strain, conflict at work or relationship trouble. Destress by building in yoga practice and mindfulness to your daily routine.”

If you suspect that stress is sabotaging your slimming goals, learn how to master meditation, swot up on calming yoga poses and halt negative thought patterns in their tracks.

SUGAR
It’s currently public enemy number one, and the link between muffin tops and actual muffins is, unfortunately, stronger than ever. Libby lays down the law:

“Cortisol is also implemented, alongside insulin, in blood sugar control, so a high sugar diet can cause belly fat to stick fast even if you’re restricting calories and trying to lose weight (excessive calorie restriction isn’t something I would recommend anyway.”

Personal trainer and obesity campaigner Lucy has some advice for addressing the issue, without going hungry:

“Try to cut down on sugar, saturated fats and white refined foods such as white bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, as they metabolise quickly, resulting in soaring blood sugar levels, which promotes fat storage. Base your diet around lean meats, vegetables and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as those found in nuts and avocados.”

SLEEP DEPRIVATION
It’s the c-word again- Libby underlines that ‘a lack of sleep can have a negative effect on cortisol balance’. If you’re struggling to get some shut eye, get to the root of what’s causing your insomnia and learn how to help yourself nod off using expert wellbeing techniques. If you’re in the following situation, however, you’ll be in no doubt as to what’s causing your sleeplessness…

YOU’RE A NEW MOTHER
First things first, never put pressure on yourself to spring back into shape, and definitely don’t rush things (that goes for weight loss full stop). Your belly has just housed new life and brought a wonder into the world; cut it, and more importantly, yourself, some slack. Up your activity levels slowly– Lucy advocates patience and TLC:

“If you’re a new mum then losing weight from around the tummy can be very hard- hormones take time to settle down and stretched muscles won’t knit back together instantly after pregnancy. it will take time, so give yourself as long as it takes.”

If you’re not feeling like you’re losing anything, try tracking your progress as you go and join a community of other mothers by using the Healthy Selfie app. It’s a great visual tool to reassure you that you are indeed making headway, and the photographic food diaries help you to monitor what you’re eating without exposing your entire Instagram feed to your daily meals. Co-founder Charlotte is even using the app to track the changes she’s experiencing throughout her pregnancy- we’ll report back on her post-baby plan!

Post-baby or not, overdoing it is never good…

OVER EXERCISING
There’s no doubt that slobbing out won’t do anything to diminish belly fat, but going overboard isn’t the answer either, as Libby affirms:

“Physical stresses such as overexercising and endurance exercise can upset cortisol balance. Switch gruelling cardio workouts for 20-30 minute HIIT sessions instead.”

HIIT the ground running (sorry) with these get fit fast workouts.

BELLY BLOATING
If a protruding tum comes with cramps, wind and bowel trouble, an unhappy digestive system is likely to blame and could be making a less than trim tum situation look and feel a lot worse than it is. Your first step is to beating bloat is to identify the cause of your tummy trouble, and Lucy suggests trying a meal tweak to see if it makes a difference:

“Avoid eating fruit after a meal, as fruit can cause food to ferment in your stomach, leading to bloating and lots of gas.”

CORE CONFUSION
The classic sit up has been sold to us as the best ab honer, but incorrect alignment can make them less effective, not to mention damage your back. A sit up alone also won’t burn fat that sits on the stomach. Get sweaty with a cardio blast and then mix up your core toning exercises by following Lucy’s drill:

“Do minute-long planks, three sets of 20 bicycle crunch exercises, two sets of 30 heel digs, three sets of 20 bird dogs and the mighty Turkish get up. These are all great exercises for working your deep core muscles, ab muscles and postural muscles, which will instantly make you look taller and slimmer.”

DUMBBELL DREAD
Traditionally many women skirt round the weightlifting section in the gym, and while body weight resistance training is highly effective, pumping a little iron pays dividends. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn, even when resting. which is good news for torching tummy fat. if you’re still hesitant, let performance coach and founder of Twenty Two Training Dalton Wong convince you.

FAT FEAR
It seems logical to assume that fat contributes to fat, but nutritionists are keen to point out that since the “low fat” revolution of the 70s, our waistlines have widened dramatically. As personal trainer and nutritionist Keris Marden and fitness expert and health coach Matt Whitmore point out in The Paleo Primer: A Jump-Start Guide to Losing Body Fat and Living Primally:

“Have you ever wondered what takes the place of the removed fat? Answer: heaps of synthetic, non-food chemicals that wreak havoc on our metabolism and digestion. What’s more, most low-fat and fat-free products contain loads of sugar or artificial sweeteners to make up for the lack of taste.”

For a flatter tummy and lower body weight in general, healthy fats such as coconut oil and avocados could well be your weight loss weapon, as Keris and Matt highlight:

“Fat can play a vital role in weight loss[…] the single most important aim of your nutrition should be to balance your blood sugar levels. Dietary fat helps you accomplish that by slowing down the release of nutrients into the bloodstream, so by all means, add a little olive oil or butter to your meals. This will help regulate your appetite and keep your energy levels consistent.”

Fewer sugar spikes, reduced cake cravings and a drip feed of health-giving nutrients into the body will seriously reduce the incidence of belly swelling binges.

SOMETHING MORE SERIOUS…
If you’re diet and fitness regimes are shipshape, but you’re still not losing any weight, it may be a good idea to seek medical advice. Hormonal disruption can affect fat distribution, so consulting a hormone expert such as Dr Marion Gluck and her team could help, but book an appointment with your GP first for a general health check.