How To Get Back Into Shape After Birth

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During pregnancy, you can crave all kinds of foods, sometimes in odd combinations. There are other changes too, all because of a significant surge in hormones.

Women can feel pressured to snap back into shape as soon after birth as possible. We see pictures of post-partum celebrities who within days of giving birth seem to have lost every ounce of ‘baby weight’ they gained.

Articles on celebrity diets and tips on post-pregnancy weight loss litter the pages of women’s magazines.

Start when you are pregnant

It is perfectly natural to gain weight during pregnancy. And we all do it differently. Some women seem to blossom and balloon, whilst other pregnant ladies maintain their lithe shape and enjoy a pert bump.

Some of us gain weight right at the start, others gain it in the final trimester… we could go on but the point is this, just as you probably wouldn’t eat a family sized chocolate cake for breakfast when you are not pregnant, throwing caution to the wind and eating what you want when pregnant is not a wise choice.

Maintain the healthy lifestyle you followed pre-pregnancy but enjoy the odd treat or two.

A helping hand from nature

Once the baby is born, you can drop between 11 and 13lbs of weight instantly. Breastfeeding also helps with the calorie control as feeding your baby uses up over 800 calories a day.

Rest and recuperation is essential but once you have the all clear from the midwife, get back to walking or your gym routine, or whatever exercise you did pre-pregnancy – and start gently.

Rest and sleep

Babies don’t have a set sleep pattern, although others may boast that their little one is sleeping through the night. The point is, their sleep cycle changes and as mum, when baby sleeps, you need to be resting or sleeping too.

Odd sleep patterns cause chaos with the metabolism, making shifting baby weight a little tough. Rest and sleep when you can.

Look at Exercise – enlist a personal trainer

A personal trainer used to be the confines of the rich, but these days most gyms allow you to work one to one with a trainer in order to establish an exercise plan that is perfect for you and your body needs. A personal exercise plan can work within your limitations, can address your personal needs, and can help you to lose weight and get in shape in your own time.

Make sure your personal trainer has the best personal trainer certification that will ensure you are getting the correct, safe advice when it comes to exercise plans – you do not want to be putting your body into any harm as you are getting fit and active again.

Nature’s weight loss remedies

Nature, as you would expect, has many helping hands when it comes to helping your body recuperate post-birth. Many of these remedies, however, are not suitable during pregnancy but once baby is here, why not try;

  • A dash of lime or lemon juice in water, sweetened with honey a couple of times a day can help to lose weight, especially if you have water retention
  • Green tea has excellent weight loss properties
  • Munch of negative calorie snacks such as celery, tomatoes and cucumbers

If you are breastfeeding, remember what you eat passes on to baby so don’t go overboard otherwise you will be battling colic!

Join other mums

Having a baby is an exciting, thrilling time but when reality sets in, you need the support and encouragement, as well as company of other mums. Getting out and about, being part of a group is excellent for focusing on other things other than your weight.

Calorie counting is the answer

You can sup as much green tea as you like but, if your calorie intake is way ahead of your calorie expenditure, shifting the extra lbs you have gained is not going to happen.

Calorie counting is boring, no doubt about it but, with all kinds of calorie counting and fitness apps available, it can be slightly more fun and easier to manage.

Changing attitude to food

You’ve enjoyed pregnancy and your little bundle of joy is here – and you need to get back into a healthy eating routine – and this not only means the food and drink you consume, but when you consume it.

During pregnancy, attitude to food does change. In late pregnancy, portion sizes would have been smaller because you felt ‘full’ and cumbersome with a full-term baby. Now that you can eat normally again, portion sizes increase. It is amazing how many not-so-good habits stay with us.

Eat well at breakfast, get back to eating fish three times a week and opt for lean cuts of meat again. Space your meals over the day so that your calorie intake is evenly spread.

In summary

Your post-pregnancy body can feel very different, certainly for the first few weeks or even months after giving birth. You need to give it chance to heal but you also need to be mindful of making changes that will help you get back into shape both physically and mentally so that you can look forward to the challenges of parenthood.

 

Who is the Smartest Woman You know?

A few years ago there was a pretty fab campaign for  Clinique Smart Custom Serum.  It Starred one of my fave Beauty experts Caroline Hirons (whom I discovered on Twitter, and who is as funny as she is smart), and it  celebrated smart women and their qualities. For Caroline Hirons, the smartest woman she knows happens to be her mom, something I can totally relate to.

If you have read the Sam Haskell memoir ‘Promises I Made My Mother’ you will probably find yourself agreeing that although you meet many people in the course of your life, it is your Mother you still turn to in times of need, in times of stress, even when you are way past 40, but still need someone to put their arms around you and tell you it is going to be OK. Sam Haskell rose to the top of a very successful career at the world famous William Morris agency, and felt he did this by holding onto the values and life lessons that his mother instilled in him during childhood. These helped him to retain his pride and dignity, even when working in the often morale free world that is Hollywood.

I’m so with Sam! My mom is my heroine in so many ways. She was a teenage mom who proved to be the best mom any young girl could wish for – clever, funny and most certainly smart. She was a stay-at-home mom until I was 12, and then went back to work and rose to the top of her career path. Now she is almost 64, still working in management and is as great a grandmother to her three grandchildren as she is a mom. My son Joe just adores her.

Life lessons from my mom, I have them in abundance and they certainly still guide the way I live my life. She taught me that you can do anything if you try, that you can be opinionated, intelligent, funny and outspoken without needing to be brash, rude, egotistical or offensive. She taught me that if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing in heels (although she does wear them slightly lower these days) and that you only have one skin, so you most definitely need to look after it, she certainly never sleeps in make up.

I get my love of fashion, of animal print, of Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe, of T Rex  and The Beatles all from her. She is inspirational, and most definitely deserving of the title smart woman. My love of reading, of old movies, of animals and travel, all come from my mother, but she also taught me that manners cost nothing and that if you can’t say or do something good, then maybe you should say nothing at all.

You can have lots of friends in your life, but you only get one mom, and I totally struck lucky with mine.

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On holiday in Menorca.

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my mom and me!

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At Marco Pierre White’s in Birmingham.

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Mother’s Day with my mom and sister.

 

Finding A Healthier You

Becoming a mom is one of the most physically gruelling things you can do to your body, though sadly without the end result of washboard abs or a pert booty. When you have a young family, it’s so easy to let fitness fall on your list of priorities but this only leads to low self-esteem and even lower energy levels.. You can make the decision to prioritise your fitness regime, and one that works for you by making smart choices, and working out for a small period of time, every day. Here are some ways you can do so quickly, and effectively, even with a busy lifestyle.

Image by Sangudo used under the Creative Commons license.

Power walk to victory

Walking is the best thing you can do for your body to slowly build strength and fitness without putting unnecessary stress on it. If you can’t neglect your everyday chores to make time for a stroll, then build walking into your day’s routine. Park a few blocks away from the supermarket and make up the distance on foot. Walk the kids to school if it’s in the local neighbourhood, vow to take the dog on a brisk walk every morning, and make play dates with other moms for a stroll rather than a sedentary hour in the park. At the weekend, a hike is the perfect way for your family to get healthy together. Make sure everyone is well-equipped with good quality walking socks and boots, and work together to navigate to make it engaging.

Add a Multivitamin Complex

Our body does not always get all that it needs from our diets and lifestyle, so we sometimes need to give it a helping hand. Adding a multi vitamin from Epsilon Life could be the answer if we feel we need to give our immune and digestive system a boost. Epsilon’s Multivitamin and Mineral complex is Vegan certified, and  has, among other ingredients Iron, B-complex, Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng. It will give you all the vitamins you need in one tablet, and not only will you feel better, but you will look better too, with healthier looking hair and skin.

Resolve to eat well

Your fitness is about 30% exercise and 70% diet, so the importance of what foods you choose to put in your body cannot be overstated. If you have a busy lifestyle, aim to eat small meals, often, to sustain energy and concentration. Ditch sugary, processed food, and anything you have been using as a crutch to get you through the day, whether it’s that third cup of coffee, cans of diet soda or chocolate bars. Exercise and a positive attitude will eventually replace these. Snack on fruit, veg, boiled eggs, nuts and cottage cheese, and whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast.

Many people are now turning to a plant based diet in order to improve their health and well being. Veganism is now seen as a way to not only improve all of their general health, but also to help save the planet too. If you are thinking of changing to a plant based diet, or want to see what effect certain meat products may have on your body and what they can be substituted for you could have a nutritional health test.

HealthLabs.com has been offering customers affordable lab testing online since 2015. These can help to identify which meat or animal products are causing body irritation or what nutrients are lacking which may be addressed by adopting a plant based diet,  nutritional panel tests can also identify other common deficiencies in a broader diet. These tests are far cheaper than if you try to organise through a doctor and can really help you to achieve greater well being.

If you are based in the US and would like to organise a test, you can save 15% by booking through this link.

Make some time for you

You can power walk and chow down on granola bars all day long, but if you’re mentally frazzled, it probably won’t help much. Allocate a set time every day (or every few days) which is just for you. This might be an hour in which you go for a massage. You may want to indulge in an evening yoga class, or spend the morning painting. It could be a creative writing class, or a book group. Whatever it is that helps you reconnect with yourself, make time for it. Your sense of personal well-being depends on it.