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.

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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 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 3 of my 21 day diet challenge

Hello day three…it looks like it may be hungry one as I woke up hungry today!

Determined not to venture of track though, I popped Lacie in her running buggy (read my review on the Out ‘n’ About Nipper Sport V4 here) and went out for an hour run before breakfast. There’s a park about 10 minutes from our house, so I walked there as part of my warm up and the set my timer to three minutes running & 30 seconds rest. I did this 10 times before walking back home again. It took about an hour and according to my heart rate monitor I burnt 500 calories.

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When I got home I had a Protein shake with 1/2 a banana followed by some sourdough bread with almond butter. That certainly knocked the hunger pangs on the head and the combination of protein, carbs & good fats helped my recovery too.

For lunch I had Tomato soup followed by a chicken breast with courgette noodles marinated in homemade pesto made from spinach, avocado, basil & pine nuts and then a apple mid afternoon and a sugar free lolly….it was either that or something extra naughty. I always struggle in the afternoons with cravings!

I always go to the gym on Thursday nights too, so as soon as Lacie was in bed I ventured to my local Virgin Active.
I always run there. It takes 8 minutes, which is perfect for my warm up.
I then did 20 glute raises and 20 deadbugs to switch on my core, followed by 20 Kettlebell lunges holding a 12kg Kettlebell to work my lower body. I did this five times, and not only were my legs burning but my heart rate was nice and high too. This is the strength phase of my workout.

To finish off, I did a nasty met-con finisher, where I did 150 Russian Kettlebell swings using a 12kg Kettlebell. I didn’t however just do 150 straight off. I did as many as I could in a minute, then did 10 jumping lunges and did another load of swings until my buzzer went off. Basically on the minute every minute I did my jumping lunges, then carried on doing my Kettlebell swings inbetween.
The whole thing took me 6 1/2 minutes – it was horrible. The first time I did this though it took me 11 minutes so I’m definitely getting fitter!

I then finished off with some tricep dips and side planks and walked home. I usually run but my legs refused!

When I got home I had a nice hot bath with my favourite Liquid Yoga bath soak followed by a pot of CO YO mixed with some lemon juice and lemon zest. It reminds me of lemon meringue pie…and is a perfect post without treat.

So, I’ve had another great day. I’ve eaten around 1500 calories again but burnt 500 during my run and 400 at the gym – leaving me well under my calorie allowance. I think I may be hungry again tomorrow so will plan a nice big breakfast. I’m thinking protein pancakes! Yum!

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

 

New Mum home workouts. How to shape up after a baby

As you all know, I’m a real gym bunny. I worked out throughout my whole pregnancy and was even in my local Virgin Active the very morning I was induced. It’s certainly helped me whip back into shape since having Lacie, although I do still have a lot of work to do. My muscle tone just completely disappeared during pregnancy, despite lifting weights four times a week!

That said, Lacie is now eight weeks and although I’m not ready to leave her in the gym creche just yet, I have been sneaking in some short home workouts whilst she sleeps. Just 30 minutes here and there is enough to get those endorphins flowing and make me feel happy that I’m starting to work towards my goals again.

Here’s just one workout I’ve been doing in my lounge. I always thought I would hate working out at home but actually I’ve been really enjoying it. I simply put on a TV programme that I’ve been itching to watch, grab my dumbbells and resistance band and off I go.
It’s true that your priorities really do change once you have a beautiful baby – it’s no longer about you. However, it is important that you do take some time out and with home workouts that means you still get to spend time with your baby, whilst doing something positive for yourself.

As Chrissi Delapperal, a Personal Training Manager at Virgin Active and mum of one says, “The pressure of being a ‘super mum’ whilst trying to balance various commitments with family life means that exercise can fall way down on our priority list.”

Here’s Chrissi’s top six exercises that could be done at home in the living room, kitchen or bedroom – it’s a great workout and will wake up those muscles again. Enjoy 🙂

1. Tricep dips x 15
“Tricep dips will make you look at your sofa or armchair in a totally new light, as they make the perfect apparatus for tricep dips. Sit on the edge of the seat, with hands resting either side of your hips, fingers forward. Lift up your body and shuffle your feet away from the sofa. Now bend your elbows, gently lowering your hips towards the floor, hold for two seconds, and raise body up again.

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2. Push ups x 10
“Use your sofa to perfect the art of the push up. Start with incline pushups, with your hands on the seat and feet on the floor. This makes pushups easier and is a great way to get used to this type of exercise. Once you feel you have mastered the move, you can graduate to decline pushups with your feet on the seat and hands on the floor. Be careful to keep your back straight, and don’t let your hips sag.

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3. Bicep curls  x 15
“You can grab any piece of kitchen equipment to do some quick and easy bicep curls. Use a tin can, bottle or saucepan – whatever feels the right weight for you. Standing with legs shoulder-width apart, hold your chosen weight by your side with your palm facing away from you. Bend your arm at the elbow and bring the weight up to your shoulder.
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4. Squats x 15
“Squats are a brilliant exercise to master, they work your bum, legs and core. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and slowly bend your knees, lowering your body. Squat down as low as you can, keeping your head and chest high and shoulders relaxed. Hold for a second and then straighten legs to stand up.”

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5. Stomach crunches x 10
“Doing stomach crunches on your mattress will actually force those abs to work harder to stabilise yourself. Lying on your back, bend your knees and put your hands behind your head. Use your abs (NOT your neck muscles) to lift your torso off the bed, and release.

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6. Star jumps x 15
“Jump out of bed and start your day with some star jumps. This childhood throwback will not only put a smile on your face, it will also work A LOT of muscles, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, gluts, abs, biceps, triceps, and obliques. Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees into a squat position and jump vertically as high as you can. While jumping, extend legs and arms out to your sides, into a star shape. Land with arms by your sides and knees bent.

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I tend to do these moves as a circuit, starting with the first move and then doing the second move as soon as I can after I’ve finished all 15 reps. I’ll then work through the 6 moves, rest for two to three minutes and repeat the circuit again. If Lacie sleeps long enough I’ll do three circuits before having a quick stretch and a recovery snack of an apple with almond butter or a Slender Blend Protein smoothie with a banana. I’ll aim to do this every other day and walk on the other days.

As always, please check with your doctor before exercising. I had to wait eight weeks until I was physically and mentally ready to exercise again. I really didn’t want to sabotage my recovery so make sure you listen to your body.

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Sports Bra’s for New Mums. Perfect for Breast Feeding & Running

Sports Bras are absolutely essential for all exercising women, breast-feeding or not – and now I’m back exercising gently I was eager to find a breast-feeding sports bra.

Thanks to my job, I’ve come across some great bras in the past but none that allow you to run and breast feed (not at the same time :)).

They are usually so fiddley to get on and off and so secure (quite rightly) that when you have a hungry baby it can be quite stressful to get off meaning you have a stressy baby wanting food NOW – while your boobs are all over the place as you try to get them out as quick and as ladylike as possible.

So when I came across this Cake Lingerie Orange Zest Sports Bra. I had to get it. It means I can get ready for the gym in the morning, and not worry about having the right bra on to feed her and then have to get changed again when I eventually manage to get my workout in. I literally have to get my workouts in when I can at the moment – and it’s usually when Lacie is asleep. I don’t want to be wasting my precious workout time having to change in to my sports bra – I need to be ready for action!

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So after a few road tests I’m glad to say that this bra is a breast-feeding mothers dream. It’s supportive, sporty, has drop down cups for easy feeding. mesh panels for breathability and a racer back conversion clip, which fits perfectly under your sports tops and I find gives me more support.

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I literally put it on first thing and wear it under my sports top (which I wear with leggings) so I’m ready for feeding, ready for working out and still feeling comfortable and stylish.

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The bra comes with boxer style briefs too, which are also moisture-wicking, supportive and comfortable. You can’t beat a matching knicker and bra set.

Who said new mums can’t be stylish?

http://www.cakelingerie.com/nursing-bras/underwire/orange-zest-sports-bra

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