Day 21 of my 21 day fat loss challenge

Ahhh – sorry for the silence. I’ve been manic writing various features, being a mum etc that I haven’t had time to blog about the rest of my challenge. I’ve had a great 21 days though and the last week I’ve been doing a 7-day protein challenge with Upbeat protein drinks, which are high in protein but low in fat, with half the sugar of most fruit smoothies. They have been my saving grace come the afternoon and my favourite has to be the strawberry flavour. The last few days I’ve popped it in the blender with some chia seeds and some CO YO just to thicken it up a bit. I’ve been hungry so this stopped any cravings straight away and it tasted like a thick and fluffy strawberry milkshake. Yum!

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So what have I been eating on my challenge?

Breakfast has either been CO YO or natural yogurt with berries, seeds and a handful of toasted flaked almonds or scrambled eggs with chorizo, spinach and 1/2 avocado.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 12.40.19 For lunch I made a quinoa and lentil & feta salad, which I managed to have over a few days and tend to stick to salads at lunch with either chicken , halluomi or salmon. My afternoon snack has been a yummy Upbeat drink and if I’m extra hungry I have this with some fruit, a handful of nuts or make it into a really thick smoothie and then dinner I try to stick with protein and veg with no carbs and have been having things like salmon with papaya salsa, turkey meatballs with roasted vegetables or last night I made I pork stronganoff with creme-fresh and lots of onions and mushrooms.

So why do I make sure I have protein with every meal? There’s so many reasons!

1. Protein is found in every one of the trillion cells in our bodies – making up around 15% of the human body.
2. It helps you feel fuller for longer
3. It slows down any sugar release into the body and lowers the GI value of a meal
4. It plays a key role in our immune system
5. And most importantly it’s great for weight loss. There are so many studies saying that protein is the key to losing body fat whilst maintaining muscle mass!

If you want to do your own challenge then here are a few tips to get you started;
* don’t skip meals
* prepare your meals either the night before or first thing every morning
* go shopping!
* drink lots of water
* avoid soft drinks
* Ignore your cravings for the first week and find alternatives to give you a sweet fix like Upbeat drinks, fruit, a handful of nuts and homemade smoothies using coconut yogurt or natural yogurt
* don’t expect to be perfect. If you fall off track don’t think you’ve blown it, then make it 10 times worse than eating everything in sight. Except it, move on and use the next meal to get back on track.

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The Diary of a Breast Feeding Mum

Breast-feeding can be pretty demanding. It can be so rewarding too, and I’m so glad I’ve done it and stuck it out for over eight weeks now.

During the first few weeks my nipples were so sore, which is pretty common and I had mastitis, which thankfully I managed to cure with warm flannels, ibuprofen & self-massage. It was a really painful time but the best thing to do is carry on feeding through it. It helps block the inflamed milk ducts.

Anyway I came out fighting and still feeding. It definitely gets easier, so this is how my day usually goes.

Wake at 5pm.
Lacie now goes from 10pm – 5am, which gives me 7 hours sleep. I always feed her in bed with me, and doze off. It’s so much easier than having to get up and make up a bottle.
Night-time feeding is definitely easier thanks to my Anita breast-feeding PJs, which are comfy and really easy to feed with. No fiddley straps or buttons, they have a chest opening for feeding. Great for ease and cold nights too, when you just really don’t want to strip off.

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Back to sleep until 8am
This feed is always followed by smiles and a bit of playtime. Our favorite story book at the moment is Wilson the Whistling Tree Frog, which is part of her Babycademy set. We read the book whilst doing the actions with Wilson the Frog. It’s great fun for both of us.

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Up at 9am
This is when I do my exercise. I pop Lacie straight in her pram and off we go. I either walk for an hour or jog around the park with her pram, stopping en-route at the children’s playground for some toning work with my resistance band and dumbbells. I will post one of my workouts soon.

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Back by 10:30am
Breakfast. This is usually a Be Skinny Me shake or a Slender Blend shake with Maca powder, a banana and some cinnamon. I also have a bowl of home-made granola, made by soaking oats overnight in apple juice and then mixing with seeds, nuts and dried apricots. I then bake it until golden brown. I love Maca powder because it helps balance out your hormones and help reduce the stress hormones caused by sleepless nights and being a new mum. 

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11:30 Feed then playtime
My feeding app ‘Nursing Time’ really is my bible. It times between feeds, times how long she feeds for, from what side she’s fed and also records all her feeds for the day. Great to look back on. Especially when baby brain kicks in and you can’t remember which side you fed from last.

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11:30 is also playtime
Lacie either goes on her playmat, in her Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker, which comes with comes bright and colourful fabrics to stimulate her little brain and a vibration unit to calm and soothe your baby or simply on her blanket on the floor. She loves having a kick around.
Whilst this is keeping her entertained, I’ll have a snack of sliced chicken pieces, 1/2 avocado and cucumber. Protein is essential for maximising your milk flow, whilst the good fats in the avocado will help improve her  growth and development. I find that I’m really thirsty also when breast-feeding so the cucumber helps keep me hydrated.

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2pm: Lunch
This is usually homemade tomato and lentil soup, which is full of iron and vitamins, followed by some fruit.

2:30: Out and About 
I find this feed the hardest as I’m usually out and about with my NCT friends, mother in law or  mum or sisters, so I need clever clothes that allow me to feed discreetly. I’ve found the Breast Vest to be über helpful, which makes any top a breastfeeding top. It works by  sitting  just under your nursing bra, so when you feed it covers your tummy and doesn’t interfere with your bra straps.  Babes with Babies is another great clothing line, which make stylish clothes especially for nursing mums. I have the Cloud 9 Nursing T-Shirt, which has an elegant scooped neckline and soft draped pleats that flatter a postnatal tum.

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4pm: Juice Time
I’m always tired and hungry in the afternoon so I always have a juice to pick myself up. I love Plenish Juices. They come in handy little bottles, are cold-pressed and full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to help keep my milk quality high. I also love making my own juices. I tend to do a batch on a Sunday night and freeze. My favourite at the moment is one beetroot, one apple, 1/4 inch of cucumber and 1/2 lemon. I add this to 1/2 a litre of water and sip throughout the afternoon.

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5:30: Feed
Feed time again. If I’m out and about still, then I’ll take some expressed milk, which I’d expressed earlier using my Medela Swing Breast Pump. I love it. It’s so quick and easy – and not stressful. I always thought I’d hate expressing but it really isn’t that bad. I like to give Lacie a bottle every three days just so she’s not fussy and I know she will take a bottle, which is especially important for when the grandparents have her and mummy and daddy want to pop out for some dinner or a spot of shopping. My breast pump came with a Calma bottle, which enables Lacie to maintain the natural feeding behaviour that she’s learnt on the breast. I don’t want her getting confused when going from bottle to breast and back again.

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6:15 : Core Workout 
My hubby usually arrives home about now, so I hand her over for daddy time, whilst I head to our home gym and get some core work in. Just 20 mins is enough to help heal my recti diastasis, which is abdominal separation caused by pregnancy. It’s all about consistency, so I do my exercises little and often. I need a strong core again before I start running any sort of distance or start lifting heavy weights.

7pm: Dinner
Protein & vegetables for us. If I’m extra hungry I’ll have a sweet potato too.
Dinner is usually followed by a chopped apple and almond butter.

7:30: Bath time
Bath time. Lacie usually goes in first. Now her skin isn’t so sensitive I love adding some special Cussons Mum & MeSleep Tight Baby Bath‘. It’s infused with lavender to help her sleep and most importantly its hypoallergenic and paediatrician approved. I always finish her bath with a massage. I wrap my hands around her legs, then gently pull my hands down to her feet before tracing circles on the soles of her feet with my thumbs. I use the Sleep Tight Balm for this. She loves it – and it makes her really relaxed and sleepy.
I’ll have a bath after her whilst she sleeps on daddy. My fav products are also from the Mum & Me range. Especially Calm & Soothe Bath Soak and the New Mum Firming Butter, which contains Oat and Marine Algae Extracts, helps to leave skin feeling tighter, firmer and more toned.

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8:30: Feed
Milk time again. This tends to be a long, relaxed feed, to full her tummy for the night. She’ll then sleep again either on daddy or in her crib downstairs with us, which allows is to get a few chores down or spend some quality time together.

10:30: Last feed
I like to give her a little top up before bed. If I’m really tired, I’ll go to bed at 9ish, then set my alarm to give her a quick feed. She’s sleep 7 hours at the moment so I know if I give her a little top up now I won’t have to wake again until 5:30ish.