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 12 of my 21 day fix

After a busy day yesterday doing a BarreCore Class with the lovely Olivia from Livia’s Crumbles, I ache like mad. I still got up through, despite about 3 hours sleep (Lacie is teething) and did an hour’s workout at 6:30. I was going to post a picture of me in the gym, but I think I would of scared you with my smudged mascara and unbrushed hair. That’s the beauty of having your own gym I suppose! I really didn’t want to get up this morning!

I bite the Bullet and did a back and abs session with a 20 minute Kettlebell met-con circuit to finish off. I then had a juice made from beetroot, apple, cucumber, celery, broccoli, avocado and lemon followed by an apple with some almond butter. Nothing quite hit the spot this morning.

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We then walked to our signing class (I did 13,500 steps today according to my Nike Fuel Band) then came home and had two Gluten free sausages, two poached eggs and some spinach for lunch.
The rest of the afternoon was playing with Lacie and just chilling before making a Spag Bol for dinner. I didn’t have the pasta, and just had spinach instead, knowing that I wanted to leave room for one of my special crumbles that Olivia gave me yesterday. They are amazing – and are wheat, dairy and sugar free. Bonus!

Tonight I usually go for a walk, do a class or go do some more exercise, but do you know what? I just want a nice soak in some bath salts and to read a magazine. So that’s what I’m going to do. Down time is so important, especially with Lacie’s poor sleeping habits at the moment!

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 7 of my 21 Day Fix

Ahhh we are off to Devon tomorrow, which means we had to do a swimming lesson today instead of tomorrow and I had to swap my run with Lacie for a gym session. Not all too bad but I did miss my half hour lay in.

I started my gym sess with a 5k bike ride, and then when straight into my main session which was barbell complexes. Six moves, six times, six times through, followed by a 90 sec cycle and then repeat. I did this six times through and finished with barbell good mornings, cutsey lunges and gym ball planks.

Someone kept me company in the gym today!

Someone kept me company in the gym today!

We then went swimming and Lacie then had a two hour sleep. Amazing! This gave me time to eat and take my time for once.
I had sweet potato fries, a chicken breast and a rocket salad.

For my afternoon snack I had rye bread with almond butter and a mashed banana.

Dinner was a bassa fillet with an avocado salad followed by a chopped apple.

I’m planning an hour’s run tomorrow morning before we hit the road for our four hour road trip. Hate sitting down all day – I get twitchy 🙂

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!

21 day fitness and diet challenge

Ok, I’m now on a MISSION to get down to 58kg. Lacie is 9 months now, and I have my sisters wedding in about 4 weeks. I have a gorgeous dress to wear and I want to feel simply amazing!

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I’ve been hovering around 61kg for the last few months…it’s so annoying, so I’ve written myself a 21 day eating plan that I’m going to stick to and see if I can sort this out once & for all.

I started yesterday and day one went really well.

I did a met-con session in the morning based around 400m sprints & high rep (50 to be exact!) squats, press ups, deadbugs and back pulls and ate well too.

I had a high protein breakfast with a handful of almonds, some soup and chicken pieces for lunch, a Slender Blend protein shake and 1/2 banana with coconut milk  and then salmon and veggies for dinner. My whole day totalled around 1400 calories – not that I’m a big calorie counter but it’s good to check in every now and then as it’s easy to not realise how much you are eating!

Keep checking in to see how I’m getting on. I will be posting every day for 21 days….

This week’s meals….

We’re well and truly into the weaning – and I’m well and truly back into my old jeans. I’m back to 59’ish Kilos (I’ve never been a big fan of weighing) and in the last six weeks have lost 4.5% body fat. I’ve done this by eating lots of lean protein, green veg, good fats and working out 4-5 times a week. I said it before, and will say it again, it’s all about consistency. If you are eating well and exercising regularly, then you will lose fat. It helps that I’m getting more sleep these days as that stops those awful sugar cravings when you just need an instant hit of energy and I’ve really found that stopping eating in the evenings helps. Nowadays I have my dinner, then usually have a few spoonfuls of almond butter and a herbal tea before shutting the kitchen door and leaving it at that. It’s too easy to say ‘The baby is in bed – this is my time’ and eat food for comfort in front of the TV. The thing is I don’t find it comforting the next day when I’m beating myself up! I’d rather wake up full of energy and without a food hangover so I can get my workout in before Lacie wakes. I tend to do all her bottles and food in the evening too, which keeps me busy and organised for the next day….which leads me on to Lacie’s food.

So far, we have only been doing lunch. She has a feed usually around 6am and 9am, and then lunch is served at 12pm.

So far her favourite meal has to be banana, avocado and spinach, she can’t get enough! I’ve also tried other concoctions like sweet potato, butternut squash and carrot. She is also a big fan of pear and apple and tomorrow she has courgette, carrot and apple – just something I threw together. Could be interesting!

She’s also a huge fan of a little pudding after lunch (who isn’t?) I tend to blitz some organic berries with CO YO dairy-free coconut yogurt and chia seeds. This makes it nice and thick and filling, and I love chia seeds because they are full of omega 3 fats, protein, antioxidants and dietary fibre. They also hold water so will help keep Lacie’s tummy fuller for longer. She’s definitely a fan…and so am I!

She then tends to have a nice sleep (with a full belly), then has a bottle at 2:30ish, another feed at 5:30 and then a bottle before bed at 7:30. She’s certainly sleeping better (touch wood) now she’s on food and filling out a bit and even happier than before.

To say I was nervous about weaning is an understatement, but do you know what it’s great fun and I love being creative in the kitchen and giving her the best start I possibly can.

I will let you know how breakfast goes next week. I’m thinking colourful smoothie bowls, porridge with mashed banana and cinnamon and overnight oats, fruit and maybe even some scrambled eggs!

chia

 

Five tips to lose your post-baby weight

Last week I was flattered when MACOM, specialists in post-pregnancy compression wear asked me to provide them with five tips on how to shape up post-baby. 

Lacie is now 13 weeks and although its very rare that I have a minute to myself in the day, I have managed to fit in exercising around her naps and around our daily walks, plus I’ve also managed to get my diet back on track (well most days anyway :)).

So here are my five top tips on how to shape up post-baby. I do run online nutrition classes and I can also design personal training programmes that I can email over to you so please get in touch if you need a helping hand. I know how difficult it is to get motivated when you’re tired and hormonal but please believe me just 30 minutes of walking or exercising can make such a difference to your mood and self-esteem. Enjoy my tips!

Ok my five tips are;
* Plan ahead – when baby is sleeping or your partner is home and having a cuddle, nip out to the kitchen and plan the next days meals. A few boiled eggs and some chopped fruit can be life savers when you’re hungry but haven’ got the time or hands to whip up a decent meal. 
* Always have breakfast. It will set you up for the day and help stabilise your energy and blood sugar levels so you aren’t starting the day hungry and therefore craving instant sugar hits throughout the day. 
* Drink plenty of water. Its easy to confuse hunger for thirst, and you will need extra fluid when you are tired and breast-feeding
* Walk. Don’t stress about getting back to the gym or exercising too soon. Walking with the pram is great exercise and will help get your baby to sleep too. Stand up tall as you walk, pull your abs in to activate your core and let the fresh air re-energise you as you take some time for yourself.
* Have protein with every meal. This will help to keep you fuller for longer and is great for helping to produce quality breast milk if you are breast-feeding. Research shows it can help with weight loss too as you will crave less junk food due to more stabile blood sugar. Think boiled eggs, nuts, beans, chicken, fish, cheese and protein powders like Sunwarrior or Be Skinny Drink Me.
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Burn fat and lose your mummy tummy in your living room

Just last week, I posted a cool workout that I’ve been doing at home around Lacie’s sleeps.

I always thought it would be tough working out with a baby, but it’s actually not too bad. You just have to be über flexible with your time and fit them when baby is sleeping. Some days I won’t get a chance to do my circuit but I don’t stress too much, baby comes first and there’s always tomorrow. If I haven’t had a chance then there’s going to be a genuine reason. I don’t like not sticking to my plans!

When planning my workouts I’ve found these top tips from Chrissi Delapperal, Virgin Active Personal Training Manager and Mum of One very useful. It certainly helps me to fit exercise in when I can around Lacie.

1. Treat your house as your multi-level gym, and combine everyday tasks with a workout. For example, when you’re vacuum cleaning you could lunge instead of walk, and when wiping coving you could incorporate squats

2. Be imaginative and turn your favourite TV program into a workout. For example, every time a favourite character appears or a certain word is said, challenge yourself to do ten tricep dips on the sofa

3. Train your core muscles by balancing on one foot, or on a swiss ball, whilst teeth brushing, ironing, cooking or on the phone

I’ve also found that walking with a baby carrier is a great workout. Lacie loves being this close to me and carrying all her weight really gets your heart rate up, and I also have to really use my core muscles to help with my balance and posture. The only thing is, that having all that weight at the front of your body can make you feel like you are leaning forwards, so make sure you suck your belly button in as you walk and stand up straight like you have a piece of string attached to the top of your head and someone is pulling you up.

One of my favourite carriers so far is the Baby Bjorn One. I can use it for Lacie as a newborn (at least 3.5kg and 53cm) and until she is approximately 3 years old (max. 15kg or 100cm). When she is older I can carry her on my back too, which is perfect for weekend walks with my husband, one of our favourite past-times.

This is me on Mother’s Day, we walked for around two hours and Lacie slept the whole way. She really does love being in the fresh air. She definitely takes after me!

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http://www.babybjorn.co.uk/products/baby-carriers/one/baby-carrier-one/; RRP: £119.99

 

Finding My Feet

Now Lacie is five weeks old I’m definitely starting to think about my post-pregnancy shape up plan and actioning it.

It’s hard coming from such a hectic, active life to being very busy with almost not a lot.
Yes I have a perfect new born baby girl but who would of thought all my time would be taken up with her. I’m not working, I’m not exercising, not doing the housework but still the days seem to fly by. It’s crazy! Breast feeding and changing nappies takes up a lot of my day and I feel ready to start adding in some me time – although it makes me feel incredibly guilty that I’m thinking if leaving her for an hour here and there to get to the gym.

To ease myself in I’m going to start with power-walking every morning with the pram. Just 40 minutes a day will be enough to start with and help wake up my muscles and cardiovascular system again. I’ll also be with Lacie throughout the entire walk so I guess I have no reason to be guilty.

Depending on how I feel, I may even find myself a good hill and power up it as fast as I safely can, then stroll back down. Have you ever tried walking up a hill with a pram? It’s hard work!

I’ll also take my Gym Boss and perhaps set it so I do one minute powerwalk, one minute recovery with a slow walk. I’ll see how I get on. I get bored very easily!

I obviously have to be very careful to start with. If my bleeding increases then I’ll know I’m doing too much and take a few rest days. I also need to be careful not to do to much so it affects my breast milk, so I’ll make sure I have a good breakfast before I head outside of a smoothie or some eggs. Water is important too, so I’ll pop my water bottle in the basket underneath the pram to keep me hydrated.

As for diet, I need to work that out. As I said I am breast feeding so I need to keep my nutrients and calories high for my little one, so when I have some time this week I’ll sit down and write a plan that allowed me to feel good and shed some baby weight without compromising my milk supply.

I’m also going to look into what supplements I need to support my activity and my milk.

So that’s one positive step taken. A daily morning walk before anything can get in my way. We’ll get up and head out straight after feeding so then we have the rest of the day to do whatever it is we get up to.

me & mum