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

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Walking Away My Baby Weight

At three weeks postpartum, there isn’t a lot I can do exercise wise apart from walk and eat clean and lean.

As you know from my birth story, I had a bit of a traumatic birth with Lacie, so I am still recovering with lots of stitches and a few pains ‘down stairs’, so I’ve really rested up so far but now itching to get outdoors.

All this week I’ve made a conscious effort to get outdoors with my pram and walk for at least 45 minutes. Not only does this help my mood and energy levels but its giving me confidence with getting outdoors in the morning. With a new-born its easy to stay indoors and before you know it the day has gone.

With 4kg to go until I reach my pre-baby weight I’m determined to get rid of it slowly and sensibly without putting myself under pressure, so to start things off, I will start with daily walks.

A few products I have found really helpful when walking – especially around busy roads is my BuggyTug. You simply attach it to the pram them put it around your wrist to stop your pram from rolling away. It just makes me feel more secure and confident with my precious baby. I would hate my pram to roll away in this horrendous weather…

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Before my walk, I’ve also had to make sure I eat a decent pre-walk breakfast. I hate going out on a full stomach but what with breast-feeding I need to make sure I keep my energy levels up and calories high. To make sure I have something in me, I’ve been having Protein World Slender Blend shakes with fresh berries and 1/2 a frozen banana and a pinch of cinnamon. The protein based shake is just 130 calories but really filling thanks to its unique blend of vitamins, fibre and nutrients. I’m still having my lemon water and Lucy-Bee coconut water too. Both are easy to make and take no time at all.

SLENDER-BLEND

Lastly – a good sports bra is a must – even when walking. My boobs feel very full and heavy from the breast-feeding so its vital they are well supported. Therefore I was ecstatic to come across the Freya Active sports bra that has been  specifically designed to support the fuller bust and is available for larger cup sizes going up to a H cup. The bra features microfibre fabrics for moisture control, whilst also featuring a centre front extension for extra support. I love the padded straps  too, which stop any chaffing on my shoulders.

Results

There really isn’t anything stopping from walking now – if only the weather was better…..it’s nearly Spring time I suppose. Now Where’s my waterproofs?

To Breast Feed, or Not? That is the question….

For most women it would be a no brainer – but I’m going to be entirely honest with you I’m slightly nervous about it!

Yes,

  • Breastmilk contains all your baby needs: proteins, fats, lactose, vitamins, iron, minerals, water and enzymes in the exact amounts required for the optimal growth and development.
  • Breastfed babies are healthier. Breastmilk contains substances which prevent harmful bacteria from growing in intestines and causing gastrointestinal and diarrhoeal infections.
  • Breastfed babies have fewer middle ear infections, fewer respiratory infections and a decreased risk of developing allergies, cancer, childhood diabetes and obesity.
  • Breastfed babies have a decreased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Breastfeeding a premature baby decreases his risk to develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
  • Breastmilk is clean, free from bacteria and has anti-infective properties.
  • Breastmilk has the right temperature and needs no preparation. It is readily available whenever your baby needs it.
  • Breastfed babies are less prone to develop diabetes, heart diseases, eczema, asthma and other allergic disorders later in life.
  • Breastfeeding enhances brain development. Research shows there is better visual development and visual acuity in breastfed children.

But what about me? I will find it awkward if my baby needs feeding when out and about with friends and family and what if it hurts? According to breast-feeding experts, Medela breast-feeding is not meant to hurt, although some nipple tenderness in the early days of breast-feeding is rather common.

After spending hours reading up on the Medela website (there’s so much information on there, which is great!), I’m adamant I’m going to give it a go. So to set myself up, I have got some breast-feeding essentials. In my mind, breast-feeding needs to be as comfortable as possible for me as well as my baby, as it’s too easy to give up when formula is so available and easy to get hold of.

Here is what I have got so far!
Medela Swing Breast Pump
According to experts at Medela, 82% of mothers use a breast pump, whether it is because of going back to work or to help overcome a temporary separation or problem. I’ve decided to get one to help with those awkward moments when I know I’m going to be out for a few hours and won’t feel comfortable to feed in public. It also means my husband can get involved with the feeding too, as I think this is important for father and daughter bonding time.
This award-winning pump is meant to be very quiet and boosts 2-Phase Expression Technology the breast pump simulates the natural infant sucking behaviour at the mother’s breast.
£129; from Mothercare

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Bravado Essential Nursing Tank
This tank not only has a built-in bra but is also long in length and unclips at the shoulder to give your baby full access to your breast, without you having to expose your tummy or too much flesh. As it will be winter when I have my baby, I will wear this under a jumper or poncho which will allow me to feed her discretely and comfortably. The fabric is also really soft and stretchy and comes in a range of colours to match any outfit.
£36; Bravadodesigns.co.uk
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Aleva Naturals™ Nursing balm
According to Medela, 73% of mothers get outside help for breastfeeding problems, which includes sore nipples, which is why a good organic nursing balm is essential to help moisturise nipples  and soothe painfully cracked nipples.
What I like about Aleva Naturals is that their cream is specially formulated with Plant based Edible Oils, which is safe for both Mom and Baby – the balm absorbs in within a few minutes after application.  Aleva Naturals recommended that you apply the cream after breastfeeding and because there is usually a couple of hours between feeds there shouldn’t be anything left over to be wiped off. It’s also not necessary to wipe off any trace amounts as they are edible oils!
£9.99; www.vitalbaby.co.uk 

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This is my essentials to start with. I am on the hunt though to find more, so when I do, I will of course share these with you, as I think every women should be confident to try breast feeding as the benefits are huge. I think like everything new, it will feel weird to start with BUT practice makes perfect and I’m not one to give up, especially as I know the benefits for my baby and MYSELF are so good.

Good luck ladies – please feel free to share your stories !

Pregnancy countdown – 39 days to go and I’ve done myself…

A new eating plan….

Now I’m nearing my last month of pregnancy I’m conscious that I need to feed my growing baby loads of healthy nutrients – despite the fact that I constantly feel bloated and to be honest a bit sick. It’s hard to over-eat but I don’t want to under eat either (not much chance of that!)

So I’ve written myself a plan of action of what I will be eating over the next few weeks. I’ve decided that little and often works best for us….here is the plan.

7am Green juice BEFORE gym

9:30am Spinach Omelette with grated hard goats cheese

12:30 Homemade soup or salad with lean protein and 1/2 avocado

3:30pm Sunwarrior protein shake with coconut milk and banana and cinnamon

7pm  Protein like salmon, chicken, turkey etc with salad or roasted veggies

7:30pm Chopped apple with cinnamon and almond butter.

8pm – Herbal tea.

I really love the Sunwarrior protein as it tastes like chocolate and sorts out my cravings, which always tend to pop up in the afternoon. It’s really tasty with the banana too and the coconut milk makes it really creamy.

Some other great snacks to keep me satisfied until dinner are;
* LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bar. They come in various flavours – my fav being Rosehip and Lemon. It’s really tangy and has no added sugar, grains or dairy.
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* UpRaw Bars – they are high protein and are made with wide array of wholesome ingredients such as walnuts, whey protein powder, desiccated coconut, honey and cocoa powder. Again these are wheat, dairy and sugar-free and really chocolatey.
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* CO YO – a coconut milk yogurt that is vegan, sugar-free, dairy free and soy-free. It’s super creamy and tastes wonderful with raspberries and banana with a few sliced nuts on top.
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Grenade® Reload Protein Flapjacks – again a protein rich snack that is satisfies my sweet tooth with any nasty refined sugars. I find this really dense and filling – so sometimes I can only have half – depending on how hungry I actually am.
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You may have noticed that all of these snacks are high in protein. This is because foods rich in protein take longer to digest and do not cause a high spike in your blood glucose levels like carbs can.
The amino acids that make up protein are also the building blocks of your body’s cells – and of your baby’s body as well.
It’s vital that we get enough protein throughout pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters, when your baby is growing the fastest and your breasts and organs are getting bigger to accommodate the needs of your growing baby.

 

 

 

Pregnancy countdown – 40 days to go and I’m loving my…

NordicTrack E11.6 elliptical.

I’m now 34 1/2 weeks pregnant and seem to have popped somewhat! My belly feels bloody huge and it makes me a little self-conscious in the gym. I know to shouldn’t be you do get some funny looks! Like ‘what are you doing here?”

This is where my little beauty, my NordicTrack E11.6 elliptical comes in. I had it delivered last week and it’s in my cabin out in the back garden, which I have made into a gym. It’s really cool in there and perfect for days when me and bump just want to hide away yet still get some exercise in.

This morning I was on it for about 40 minutes and did a little routine, which looked like this.

I warmed up for 5 minutes, then did 4 minutes on level 3 going forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 4 minute interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
I then did 3 minutes in level 5  forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 3 minute interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
I then did 2 minutes in level 7  forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 2 minute interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
I then did 1 minutes in level 9  forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 1 minute interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
I then did 30 seconds in level 11  forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 30 second interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
To finish off I just carried on at level 5 at one speed until I had completed my 40 minute stint.

To finish the session I did a 30 second plank with a knee dip (static holds tend to push my blood pressure up), then 30 seconds side plank with my arm going from my hip to over my head – again just to keep something moving so I wasn’t in a static position.
I did this three times through.

Although I do love the gym environment, I really enjoyed my session today and will defiantly be doing this once bubba is born and I’ve had my six-week check up. It’s going to be great to dive down into the gym when I can, knowing that she will be safely in the house with my husband whilst I work towards shifting some of my baby weight!

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Pregnancy countdown – 41 days and I indulge in….

.a Neom Feel Amazing Treat box – For New & Soon To Be Mums

Wow – I’m now over 34 weeks pregnant and feeling the effects – especially at night time. The day is fine. I’m still active, writing features from my desk, sitting on my Wellness Ball and still training one or two clients (I had my last one today – boo!) but the night is painful. My hips go numb from where I lie on my side – all I want is to lay on my belly. No chance!

They say that at night its best to sleep on your left hand side as this position helps blood and nutrients to flow to your baby and uterus (womb) and helps your kidneys get rid of waste and fluid. You should also avoid laying on your back because the weight of your uterus lies on the spine, back muscles, intestines, and major blood vessels, which can lead to muscle aches and pains, and impaired circulation, which is uncomfortable for you and can reduce circulation to your baby.
Don’t worry I often find myself on my back at night. I just move straight back to my left. You’re body will soon let you know when it’s time to move, just try and get out of the habit of it!

So to help me sleep, this Neom box of goodies, has been a saviour!

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The Cocooning Bath Oil ( 50ml ) is soothing and relaxing. Great for unwinding before bed and helping you to get nice and sleepy so you doze of quicker and easier.

The Cocooning Travel Candle is perfect for having on as you dry yourself off and rub yourself down in the Cocooning Body Oil which will help keep your skin soft and supple, whilst avoiding stretch marks. It’s smells divine too – light and fruity with a hint of Ylang Ylang, Chamomile and Jasmine. Delicious!

It’s so important to really look after yourself at this time of pregnancy as you do tend to forget about yourself and sometimes feel a bit fed up of all the effort of everyday life. Enjoy these last few weeks – I am. Because before I know it I know I will have my little bubba in my arms and missing these long relaxing baths and pampering sessions!

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33 Weeks Pregnant; My Third Trimester Pregnancy Essentials

Today marks the day that I’m 33 weeks and four days pregnant. Yes I feel HUGE, and yes I’m still working out. Granted there are days where I would rather say in bed (usually after a rubbish nights sleep with sore hips!) but nine days out of 10, I’m up, dressed and out the door by 8am for an hour’s workout.

My workouts have definitely relaxed a little. I’m mainly doing low impact cardio on the cross-trainer or bike and bodyweight exercises, after all with all the extra weight I’m carrying, I’m still placing a huge demand on my muscles so they’re ultimately getting stronger without the need for dumbbells.

I’ve also had to cut out things like lunges and one legged exercises as my pelvis was getting sore, and I was worried I’d get Pubis Dysfunction or Pelvic Girdle Pain, which is pain in the front or the back of the pelvis, buttocks, groin and/or radiating into the thighs, and caused by the extra pressure on the pelvis, due to additional weight of growing baby and of course the dramatic changes in posture. I can still do lots of squats though so I’m ok with that 🙂

Now with all these workouts, there are a few fitness essentials that I just COULDN’T live with out at the moment, so here they are. I hope they help you too!

Mama Mio’s 9 Month Stretch Kit by Tracy Anderson
Now I’m not usually a fan of Tracy BUT she has had two children and looks fantastic. There aren’t many fitness experts that have documented their pregnancy for others to see and follow, so for that reason I actually like this DVD – she’s obviously been there and done it. There is a DVD and workout for each Trimester plus the Boob Tube 
Bust firming cream and Tummy Rub Butter 
are two of my fav products! The bust firming cream made such a difference in a matter of days – they definitely felt smoother and firmer! A great package to see you through your pregnancy.
£102.50; http://www.mamamio.com/uk/the-9-month-stretch-kit.html

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REEBOK ZR10 Cross Trainer
As my body is changing by the day, there are days where I’ve just felt far too body conscious to go to the gym and wanted to hide away (I know!)
Although I usually love the gym environment, my REEBOK ZR10 Cross Trainer has come to the rescue for those days where I’ve just wanted to stay at home but still work up a sweat. It has 32 levels of electronic resistance, which means you can modify the intensity of your workout to suit your needs, plus their are 12 pre-set programmes, a distance and heart rate monitor.
I know this is an expensive piece of kit but there was a method to my madness. I thought it would be ideal for when the baby is here and for when I am able to exercise again after my 6-week checkup. When she is sleeping, then I have no excuse not to get a mini workout in. I can jump on it without leaving the house plus pop the TV on whilst doing it and catch up with Sky+ to distract me.
£599; REEBOK ZR10 Cross Trainer

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Shock Absorber Sports Bra
Need I say more? Your breast shape changes dramatically when pregnancy so it’s vital you support them to avoid back pain and sagging! What’s more, recent research from Shock Absorber has found that over a third of exercisers (35%) are still not wearing a sports bra despite two thirds (65%) admitting they frequently experience breast bounce when exercising. Pregnant or not. if you are exercising then you should be wearing a sports bra!
£31; shockabsorber.co.uk

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FittaMamma High Support Top
I
t’s tempting to live in black when you’re pregnant which is why I love my Hot Pink FittaMamma high support sports top. 
It boosts an unique back panel spreads the weight of your baby onto your back and shoulders (like a quality sports bra!) whilst strong elastane content hugs your bump to help you feel lighter and more comfortable. It also has a built in sports bra and a firm waistband that feels super-secure around your hips. When I wear mine, I feel well and truly held in!
£49.99; www.fittamamma.com

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32 weeks pregnant and counting…

I thought I would give you a quick update as to how I’m feeling.

I’m now 32 weeks and yes still working out five to six days a week but starting to wake up more tired and also feel the effects of working out with a little person inside of me. It’s not a case of sitting down on the mat for tricep dips and then just getting back up again. Everything is taking that little bit longer. I feel like a granny 🙂

Saying that – my energy during the day is still good and I’m setting my alarm on my phone to remind me to eat every three hours. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a slap up meal every time my alarm sounds but I will head to the kitchen and have a big glass of water and a healthy snack like some avocado on rye bread or hummus or veggie sticks.

Sleep – it’s ok. I have one of these amazing pregnancy pillows from Mothercare – which I recommend to EVERYONE! (I even got my husband one because it kept stealing mine!) Sleep is so important for recovery an growth and there is tons of research out there also that says it can help stablise your blood sugar levels and stop you reaching for sugary snacks. There is alot to be said for 8 hours a night – if you can get it!

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My pregnancy pillow from Mothercare is definitely my new best friend! http://www.mothercare.com

Top pregnancy supplements to help look after your bump

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Eating a healthy diet is always a good idea, especially during pregnancy, but since falling pregnant 32 weeks ago, I’ve taken a pregnancy supplement every day without fail to help cover any nutritional gaps in my diet.

Even with the most solid diet, it’s extremely difficult to make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients for both you and baby. While I don’t recommend going crazy with the supplements, there are a handful that have been shown to help with pregnancy and your baby’s health.

Here’s a round up of what I’ve found to be effective:

Solgar Prenatal Nutrients Tablets

Solgar is a brand I’ve always trusted and I took these for a good few months before I fell pregnant.

The NHS recommend you have 400 microgram of folic acid every day while you are trying to get pregnant and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant, which is why I like this supplement.

Each tablet has the perfect amount of vitamins/minerals, without exceeding 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), except for iron (which is supposed to be higher for pregnant women anyway, to help fight fatigue).

It also had an adequate level of folic acid, which as I said before is extremely important prior to conception as the neural tube develops in the first 30 days of pregnancy (before most women know they are pregnant) and supplementing folic acid can prevent many cases of conditions like spina bifida.

Viridian Pregnancy Complex 

I like this brand because it has a healthy amount of DHA, which is vital for helping your baby’s brain develop. You can get DHA from eating fish such as salmon, sardines and herring but what with my morning and afternoon sickness, the last thing I wanted was fishy fish!

It also contains a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is good for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and is needed to keep bones and teeth healthy.

The NHS recommend you take a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day when you are pregnant and if you breastfeed to provide your baby with enough vitamin D for the first few months of its life.

Zita West Vital Essence 3

I knew of Zita West, since I had read many of her books when planning to conceive, so it was a no brainer to try her  supplements, which are tailored to suit each trimester. You take one, three times a day with food and they will then provide you with everything you need to safeguard your everyday diet, including 400mg of folic acid plus lots of protective ingredients such as Beta Carotene (a safe way to help support your intake of vitamin A), copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc, all of which support normal cell division and help to protect DNA.

I also brought her Vital DHA, which you have twice a day and contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids (necessary for baby’s brain development, and to ward off inflammation), plus a small amount of zinc.

Please speak to your doctor or health adviser before taking any supplements. 

The Perfect Pregnancy Diet

Pregnancy is NOT the time to diet. It’s not the time to eat for three either. Eating for two is fine but your diet needs to be rich in whole foods rich in nutrients to create a healthy balanced plan to nourish you and your baby.

But what should you eat and how much? It’s easy to get it wrong, which is why I signed up for the Doll Curves Perfect Pregnancy Plan, especially as I hit my last trimester – the all important one, when my baby is growing bigger and getting ready to face the big wide world.

Founded by Celebrity Personal Trainers and Fitness Models, Sarah McLean and Lydia Rees, my Doll Curves plan gives me weekly nutrition advice to keep me healthy and well during my last trimester. It also reminds me that I only need to eat an extra 200 calories a day – the equivalent to a large banana!

Here is a round-up of what I’ve been eating over the last week and why it’s so good for me…

Breakfast

Banana Breakfast Smoothie
Blend ¼ gluten free oats, ½ cup of CO YO coconut yogurt, 1 banana, ½ cup Kara coconut milk, 2 teaspoons of honey, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
The benefits; Bananas are great at reducing fluid retention and swollen ankles – a common side effect in pregnancy. ‘They are also rich in potassium and the perfect energy booster,’ says Sarah.

Snack
120g Unsweetened Greek yogurt with blueberries
The benefits; Yogurt is full of ‘good bacteria’, which helps balance the good/bad bacteria within the body. ‘Yogurt is also rich in protein and calcium, which is good for you and baby’s growing bones,’ says Sarah.

Lunch
Annabel Karmel’s Chicken Pitta Pockets 
Chicken, ½ avocado and watercress pitta pockets with chopped tomatoes and a side salad.
The benefits; Avocados are loaded with folic acid, vital for forming your baby’s brain and nervous system, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, which can help your baby’s tissue and brain grow. Watercress can also help aid digestion, while the protein in chicken will help every cell in your baby’s body to grow and develop.

Snack
Hummus on organic unsalted rice cakes with chopped vegetables and 20g unsalted almonds, brazil nuts or walnuts.
The benefits; Raw vegetables will keep your immune system strong and the unsalted rice cakes with hummus are a great source of slow release carbohydrates and protein.

Dinner
50g wild rice with ½ cup streamed green vegetable and Annabel Karmel Salmon with tomato salsa
The benefits; ‘Wild rice is rich in fibre and has an excellent effect on the gut wall,’ says Sarah. News has it that women who eat oily fish, like salmon during pregnancy are also more likely to have brainy and sociable children. Just make sure you don’t have it more than twice a week.

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