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. 

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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.

Day 9 of my 21 day fix

It’s true. I left my abs in Devon, but do you know what? We had the best family weekend so I’m not going to stress. We don’t have another holiday booked until October, plus we’re moving house and got lots on, so a bit of downtime was well needed.

To be honest I didn’t go crazy, and still managed to run or hit the gym every day but I did have pudding both nights, I did have bread when it was served lunch with my family and I did have a scone with some Devon clotted cream. It would be rude not too.

Got to love running in Devon!

Got to love running in Devon!

I do however know that it’s back on track now, so today has been a good one.

I bagged a gym session this morning, then had a protein shake after, followed by a Paleo breakfast of eggs, chorizo, spinach & avocado, a lunch of a multigrain gluten free wrap with goats cheese and avocado and salad, then a handful of macadamia nuts (my fav) and salmon with green veg for dinner. I’ve drunk lots of water too and walked over 12,000 steps.

Any excess weight will be gone in no time!

Day 6 of my 21 day fitness challenge

Ok, so the juicing has finished. I finished all my Purifyne Juices and decided to leave it there and not make my own for the next day or so. I do like the thought of juicing but actually I’m not sure it’s for me unless I’m in a bootcamp or retreat sort of environment. I felt hungry and tired the whole time and for the last few days just wanted to eat everything in sight. That’s just not me. I’m usually very disciplined and enjoy healthy meals and snacks. I felt a bit out of control!

Today I’ve stated the day with an hour’s workout, some lemon in hot water and a protein bar.
I then had chicken with 1/2 avocado, spinach & some pesto for lunch, an apple with a few handfuls of Paleo Granola and then a turkey breast with spiralized courgettes and carrots for dinner. For my snack I had some Sukrin bread with almond butter and 1/2 a mashed banana.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve wanted to eat everything in sight again today but had to be really strict with myself and fuel my body with the right foods and nutrients.

I really do prefer this way of eating. It’s all clean, it’s all tasty and most importantly I’m not going to bed hungry and obsessing about food!
The very way it should be!

Day 4 of my 21 day challenge

Day four already, and I’ve probably had more green stuff than I’ve had for a long time. Someone told me my skin looked amazing today too. An effect of the Purifyne Juices perhaps? I’ve also been sleeping so well, which I can only put down to the juices. God, I love sleep!

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So today, I went to gym first thing and now that I’m feeling better, I got back on my Bearwolf programme. I had an amazing workout, then had a juice straight after, followed by a juice at lunch time, which took me ages to drink. It was literally lemon, lime, kale, celery & cucumber. I found it very ‘green’, almost bitter’ish!

I then had a lettuce, chard, apple, asparagus and lime & ginger juice mid Arvo with my Brazil nut butter (I added a banana and some cinnamon as I find it really hard to swallow, then had another juice for dinner followed by a peppermint tea and a few hours of feature writing for WebMD.

So, that’s another day of juicing under my belt after yesterday’s antics, but I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sure if juicing suits me. I eat pretty well (most of the time) anyway and I’m actually starting to crave things I would never usually have, especially mid afternoon. It gets to 4pm and I just want to eat. Tips anyone?

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Day 2 of my 21 day detox challenge

I’ve woken up not hungry and ready to try a light gym session. It won’t be my usual but it will probably feel like it if my resting heart rate is anything to go by this morning. I’m clearly still fighting something off but sometimes doing something actually makes you feel better!

I started with some side plank rotations & side lunge with a reach before moving onto lunge with Kettlebell press, super-setted with maximum press ups. I managed 13 in each set.
My workout lasted for about an hour all in all, and progressed to thrusters, burpees, 5k bike and abs, which I was pleased with. I didn’t push it though!

I then had my first juice of the day…before walking to the park with Lacie.
My hubby then decided he wanted to lunch, so whilst him and Lacie ate, I drank my juice. I won’t lie. I was tempted to give in and have lunch with them but after a few sips of my juice I didn’t feel too hard done by.
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I then had my Brazil nut milk at 4ish, which I find incredibly sweet. I’m not sure if I like it or not, but it’s filling so that’s enough for me, followed by juice for dinner at 7pm and a hot water with a slice of lemon. All in all, I’ve had 4 juices and lots of water.

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I do feel hungry today and I do feel a little agitated BUT my word, I’ve been productive. I’ve written a feature, sorted all the clothes in my drawers, sorted Lacie’s 1st birthday photos and also wrote & sent all her thank you cards.

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I also had a long soak in the bath with Epsom salts, not only because it’s advised on the Purifyne juice programme but also because my hubby ordered in a pizza and some sweets and I just had to get away. How cruel can you be?
I don’t actually eat pizza – but the whole house smells AMAZING.

I wonder if he saved me any?

Day 1 of my 21 Day Fix

Day one of my Purifyne Juice cleanse went well.
I’m still not 100% so I swapped my usual gym session for a fasted hour’s walk (boo! I love lifting weights!) but at least I managed to do something active and Lacie got a sleep at the same time. I feel utterly flaked though!

I then came home and had my first juice; kale, apple, lemon, cucumber, spinach and ginger. It was amazing. I was worried that it would be watery and ‘green’, but it was the complete opposite. Tangy and tasty!

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 21.33.10 Me & Lacie then went swimming and whilst she ate lunch after her lesson, I sipped another juice.
Mid-afternoon I had a Brazil nut milk which was creamy & lush before finishing the day with one last juice.

Do I feel hungry? No! Do I feel refreshed? No! Do I feel energised? Not yet!
I do feel less bloated though, and proud of myself for sticking to it, despite my hubby eating a chicken Kiev in front of me!

Time to get an early night. Happy Friday!

Day 21 – my last day of the 21 day fat loss challenge

So today is my last day of my 21 day challenge – but I will be keeping it up! I’ve got into a great routine over the last three weeks and really enjoying my workouts too. They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and I think that is correct!

Today I started the day off with a Kettlebell Tabata workout whilst Lacie was in bed, then I had a juice made up of 3 carrots, a whole cucumber, 2 apples and half a lemon before taking her swimming at Virgin Active. I love how many vegetables you can cram into a juice – think of all those nutrients feeding your cells!!

Lacie had a good sleep after her swim so I had a protein bar before answering a few emails and starting a feature for Fertility Road Magazine.

For lunch, Lacie had sweet potato, butternut squash, spinach & pear with Cod, while I had a spinach falafel and hummus salad. I then had some chocolate CO YO mid arvo followed by a spinach, apple, celery, cucumber and avocado smoothie for dinner.

I will weigh myself tomorrow – but I know that all my clothes feel really comfortable and I’m feeling slimmer than before so I’m happy. This challenge has been great for keeping me focus, so if anyone wants to join me on another one, drop me an email and I’ll write a 21 day challenge for you too.

Day 19 – 21 day fat loss challenge

I can honestly say that this 21 day challenge has been brilliant for keeping me on track.
I’ve kept to my calorie allowance nine days out of ten (well 16 out of 19), worked out or walked every day and am really noticing a difference with my physique.

My husband has also been away for three days and usually I would see it as an opportunity to eat whatever I wanted but I’ve been extremely focused and had a small piece of Lindor chocolate when wrapping some Xmas presents on Friday night (day 17).But that’s allowed right?!

Today, I’ve been out for a short and sharp run (4 miles in 30ish minutes) followed by a walk into town with Lacie. That’s my fasted cardio done!
I then had a three egg omelette with cheese and bacon as a late breakfast, followed by some Sukrin low carb bread for lunch with goats cheese and a pot of Morello Cherry CO YO.
For dinner I had a carrot, apple & lemon juice with a handful of spinach. I really fancied a juice, after Watching Jason Vale’s ‘Super Juice Me‘ documentary last night – I’ve been truly inspired by it. I’ve been on one of his retreats and have forgotten just how amazing you feel after having a juice!
I’m definitely going to have one every day and may even do a week long juice detox. We’ll see! I just hate making them and washing the juicer up!

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Tomorrow I have a gym workout planned first thing and then I’ll probably take Lacie out for a walk in the afternoon. USA Pro sent me some of their amazing new workout clothes and I actually can’t wait to put them on in the morning and work out. It’s amazing how new gym clothing can be so motivating!

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Day 13 of 21 day fat loss challenge.

After a good weekend, today has also been great.
Last night I spent an hour preparing all my food for the next few days and made an amazing chicken mix; chicken with pesto, spinach, apple and avocado. I had it for lunch with salad and in a wrap. It was lovely!

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Besides from that I had a fab without this morning before Lacie woke, then had two poached eggs and bacon for breakfast, a homemade CO YO cheesecake made with a flaxseed and almond base, then Bassa and sweet potato and veg for dinner.

I’ve also had a good walk with the pram and drinking lots of peppermint tea and water to keep me hydrated.