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 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 8 – 21 day fat loss challenge

Sorry for lack of post yesterday. I had a mummy’s day out for some work stuff, had lunch with some friends and then had my nails done – so the rest of my evening was playing with Lacie and spending some quality time with her. I still feel guilty leaving her for a few hours, even though I know she’s having fun with Nanny. That said, my day wasn’t great yesterday. I tend to have a cheat meal every 7 days and yesterday was that day. It’s ok though, I enjoyed it and got straight back on the wagon today. It’s easy to beat yourself up if you’ve had a few treats, but I say enjoy them and move on. It really is all about balance.

So how did day 8 go? Well. I went to the gym yesterday morning and did Tababa circuits, so today was my rest day. No gym. I did however walk into town and get a few bits from the shops before breakfast, so I did a good hour of fasted cardio.

I then came home and had my low carb bread toasted with mashed avocado and melted goats cheese with some scrambled eggs for breakfast. Good fats and protein, always help balance my blood sugar levels after a cheat meal. I then had a client, followed by some homemade tomato soup and a handful of almonds for lunch, followed by another client at 3pm. Me and Lacie then shared a pear and some CO YO before having a homemade chilli made with organic mince beef and some quinoa and spinach.
It was then off with another client – who I took out for a 5k run. It was freezing outside but so nice to get some fresh air and move my legs after feeling so sleepy after my 3pm client.

Today I’ve stuck to 1400 calories. I’ve had quite a bit of fat (all good fats though) so need to keep an eye on that tomorrow. Fat is still fat at the end of the day, good or not. I did also measure myself and after four weeks of keeping an eye on my nutrition and changing my training I’ve lost 5 and a half inches all over. It just shows that the scale lies. I’ve lost hardly nothing on the scales but I’m blatantly smaller all over – meaning my clothes feel nice again. I even wore some old size 8 trousers yesterday that I struggled to get into even before I was pregnant!

My 21 day diet & fitness challenge – Day 4

Want to know how to get a flat tum quick? Then wear a Fit Britches Skinny top. It’s a nightmare to get on (they are very snug!) but jeez when you do…it pulls everything in and makes you really remember your core when training. It feels nice to be pulled in so I’ll be wearing this top as much as I can, especially as its made from a special yarn and knit that has been created to emit heat when it comes into contact with the skin, which according to Farnaz Khan, the founder of Fit Britches can help boost your metabolism, blood flow, while also stimulating lymphatic drainage. Layering here I come!

I wore the top in the gym today with my Nike red leggings – I haven’t worn these for ages as I tend to store fat around my legs & bum  and since being pregnant & having Lacie have felt too yuk in them, but today I rocked them. It’s amazing how your confidence levels can rise when you are eating well and exercising regularly. I suppose you know that you’re doing everything you can to work towards your goals so feel positive & proactive about stuff.

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Food wise, I’ve eaten really well again. Gym this morning consisted of a 5k bike ride to warm up, then barbell complexes which always get my heart racing, whilst building muscle, then some yoga type ab exercises to make up the hour.
I then had a protein bar whilst giving Lacie her porridge, then after my shower three scrambled eggs with 1/2 avocado, grated goats cheese and spinach.
We then walked into town to start our xmas shopping (I know!) which is a good 20 minute walk each way.
For lunch I had a prawn salad, followed by a pear and some nuts & seeds, then an afternoon snack of sourdough bread with almond butter.
For dinner I had a chicken salad with butternut squash and pomegranate seeds followed by a new find…USN Protein Dessert (£34.99;usn.co.uk).
I have such a sweet tooth so this really is amazing. It’s chocolate brownie flavour and mixes like a mousse or if you pop it in the freezer for half hour or so like an ice cream. It’s high in protein and also contains high levels of calcium, which is known to contribute to normal muscle function, energy-yielding metabolism and the normal function of digestive enzymes. I added half a blended banana on top just to get my calories up to 1400 today – you don’t want to go too low as your body will store weight and go into starvation mode.

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How to get a flat tummy after giving birth

The fifty dollar question after being pregnant for nine months is ‘Will I ever have a flat stomach again?’
I questioned it more then once, especially in the later states of my pregnancy, it just felt so out of reach. But by the way, it’s not!

Just 12 weeks after giving birth to my beautiful baby girl, I’m back to flat and although I don’t have a raging six pack (not that I want one), I can see some muscle tone shining through. I’m happy with that, as it still looks feminine but also looks like you work out and look after yourself too.

postbaby 1 week – one week after birth

 post baby – 11 weeks later.

So how did I achieve this? Well for one I certainly haven’t been in the gym for hours on end. In fact I’ve been to the gym once since Lacie. I’ve been doing home workouts and lots of walking instead. This means I don’t have to leave Lacie and we still spend quality time together.

I’ve also be wearing a corset and compression gear a few hours a day to help my tummy muscles knit back together and help gently push my uterus back in. I started with the Gowri wrap, which I wore just a few days after the birth, then tightened as my stomach shrunk and I also wore MACOM, compression gear that is designed to provide the comfort and support needed to restore the abdomen’s natural shape. Basically by compressing the stomach, your muscles will  join together more easily, allowing for your natural shape to be regained at much faster than without it.

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I think breast feeding also helps a great deal when it comes to losing your mummy tummy. In the early days I could feel my uterus contracting as I fed Lacie. It was a really weird sensation and according to experts breast feeding can burns anything from 200 to 500 additional calories a day. Last year, an epidemiological study of 36,000 Danish women also found that the more a mother breast-feeds, the less weight she retains six months after birth.

There’s a few key exercises I’ve been doing too.

The first one is the cat/cow, which releases back tension, whilst helping to suck the abs back in.

And the other is superman, which gently works your core and helps restore your balance and help work your abs again but very gently.

As I’ve got stronger, I’ve also started doing the plank but on an incline or on knees to stop putting so much pressure on my abs. When doing a plank I’m really conscious of really pulling my belly Button up towards my spine as I do it, which helps activate your TVA and core whilst sucking all the muscles up rather than letting them all hang down.

If you need a hand with your Mummy Tummy, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. I have a list of goods that can help flatten your tum, whilst making you feel good and I can design personal workout programmes that you can fit in around the baby and do in your living room. My email address is miller82uk@yahoo.co.uk.

http://www.macom-medical.com/post-natal/post-natal

 

Due date! How to get back in shape after a baby

Yup 40 weeks of pregnancy is fast approaching – I have days until my due date is here and amongst all the rest and apprehension I am planning my post baby shape up. I know I shouldn’t put myself under pressure to get back in my skinny jeans but I don’t see it that way. I see it as a challenge and can’t wait to get my figure back.

As you know I have worked out throughout my whole pregnancy (and still going) so I’m hoping this will help me on my way anyway. Here are a few things that I will be relying on once the bubs is her to get me back on the straight and narrow and get my flat tum back. Bring it on!

Be Skinny Drink Me drink
I love starting the day with a tasty protein shake but since being pregnant I’ve cut these out and turned to eggs, which are more satisfying for my growing baby. I’ve also had the time to get up and cook eggs every morning. Will I be able to do this with a new born? I’m guessing not so much!

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This appealing Pea protein shake is made using Green tea, Inulin, which is a form of soluble fibre to keep you feeling fuller for longer and Glucomannan, which can hold up to 100 times its own weight in water so you again feel fuller for longer and your blood sugar levels stay stable for hours after your have drunk it. What I like best about this shake is that it comes in banana and butterscotch flavour which will defiantly help satisfy my sweet tooth and stop me reaching for anything naughty. I will defiantly be starting my day with one of these – it’s sugar free too and uses stevia, which is low in calories, low-carbohydrate and is a low-sugar food alternative.
£17.50; http://collagen-shots.com/shopping-cart

Freya Active Sports Bra
During pregnancy and after pregnancy is a key time to get a supportive sports bra that is the RIGHT size. Your breasts will most certainly change shape and size during pregnancy so it’s vital that you give them the support they need.

ImageI have a selection of nursing bras for after as well as this uber supportive Freya Active Sports Bra that I will wear when I’m on my daily walks. No walking may not seem high impact but you will still need to support your breasts – especially as they may feel slightly sore after birth and feeding. Think of all those hormones circulating your body! What I like about this bra is that it’s been scientifically proven to reduce breast strain, pain as well as movement and studies show that 92% of participants who tested Freya Active’s new sports bra felt there was reduced independent breast movement (breast movement within the bra) and it was more effective at reducing forwards and backwards movement in the upper section of the breast than the other sports bra styles tested. Participants also said that the bra was 20% more supportive than other sports bra styles in this study and liked the sleek, sporty shape and high coverage of the bra. £29; http://www.freyalingerie.com

Salter MiBaby Mother and Baby Scales

ImageI’m not a huge fan of weighing scales BUT I think in this instance it’s good for me to know how much I weigh post-baby and work at getting down to what I think it my pre-baby weight. I haven’t weighed myself since my wedding but have a rough idea of what I used to be so I will be working towards this. I think scales can be good to start you off on any weight loss journey as you know that you are going in the right direction and it can give you a bit of a boost. I’m never going to be one of these people who obsess over the odd pound but I will be using these at first to keep me accountable and on the straight and narrow. Once I get near my pre-baby weight I will then rely on how my clothes feel and just use these scales to monitor my baby’s growth and development using the baby weight mode.
£49.99; http://www.uk.salterhousewares.com/salter-mibaby-mother-baby-electronic-scale.html 

H&M Lightweight Jacket

ImageI’m absolutely itching to get to the shops and buy some brand new workout kit. It feels like I’ve lived in baggy tops for the last few months and I just haven’t felt trendy what so ever – which is what I love when going to the gym. If I feel good, then I’m so much more confident and want to work that bit harder to make the clothes look even better! H&M recently launched some amazing sportswear, which is colourful, technical, cute and above all, affordable! The new fitness line includes everything from neon sports bras to sweat-wicking jackets, all priced to be friendly to your wallet. I can’t wait to layer this lightweight jacket with a neon hooded fleece top and tight-fitted leggings. Perfect for all these long walks that I have planned once she arrives.

£34.99; http://www.hm.com