Post Pregnancy Plan of Action

We’re STILL waiting! This little man is either very lazy or is just far to warm and snug to come and meet us just yet. Whilst it is getting incredibly frustrating and uncomfortable, I know that as long as we are both fit and well then there’s no better place for him until he’s ready to show face.

All being said, I am desperate to get back to some sort of physical activity, even if it’s just getting out for a proper walk! As some of you will know I have suffered with sciatica, SPD and PGP for the majority of this pregnancy meaning that I had to cut hours in clinic, control and limit my exercise and complete physio exercises to try and ease the issues as much as I could. It hasn’t been great but I know there are people that have suffered much worse so I can’t really complain.

So, I have been thinking a lot again about getting active and regaining my strength following the arrival of this little dude, whenever that might be.

First off, I have no intention of doing anything other than rest, recover and enjoy at least the first week with my new, complete family. There will more than likely be frequent take-aways, quick and easy to make meals, and plenty of snacks. I will also be looking to get in plenty of vitamins and minerals through my food intake via fruit and veg, and some good quality whole foods. I have no plan to get straight out there and start any physical activity immediately as 1) I have no idea how delivery is going to go and 2) whichever way our boy arrives the body needs time to settle and recover.

When I do feel up to it I will be getting out in the fresh air, walking with baby, Isla and Rocket (our little chihuahua) and maybe dan too if he’s not already back at work at that point. If recovery is good and the midwives are happy with me that’s when I will look at getting something more structured back in place. Maybe some pilates for the core and I will write my own gym plan – starting back at basics to see how I move and where my weaknesses really lie.

In terms of diet, once the initial week of adjustment to a new way of life has set in I will get back to the plan that I share with you all over January – caloric deficit with the 80/20 rule and getting myself back on at least 10,000 steps per day. I have every intention of breastfeeding if I can which will mean that I will need a few more hundred calories that I would usually be on but I will monitor it and see how weight loss goes over firsts few weeks and months. What’s most important is that I get adequate nutrition to look after me and baby. Water is key to this too so that water bottle will be by my side at all times!

I’ll be continuing on a daily multi-vit, just to make sure that I am getting all the daily essentials, and I am currently looking at probiotics to improve my gut health – I’ll go into these more on another post once I have chosen what I am going to try.

For ease, I’ll probably be going back to Asda for my food shops for a while as, although they are more expensive than Aldi, the click and collect locker service that they do is AWESOME. Such and easy way to shop. I can sit at home and order online – from my weekly meal plan – select a time slot and then I get a confirmation and code sent to me which is used to collect it all. The best part being, I can give the code to someone else to collect for me if I can’t make it, no need for a bank card or proof of ID etc, just take the code, pop it in at the lockers and follow the doors round as they open. IDEAL!

So, not the most exciting post my loves but it gives you an idea of where I am and what I am thinking about. This sitting on my ass, not working, not exercising malarkey is no good for anyone!

January- Day 23/31

One for the morning pit stoppers or just the days you cba! Quick fix supermarket lunches and snacks…

Base your meal/snack on your protein:

  1. Cooked meat – demi is great as you can ask for a specific amount but pre-cooked package stuff like mini fillets, beef or seafood are just as good (I love a pack of king prawns).
  2. Tinned/no drain tuna – ring pull tin or plastic pot, just don’t forget to recycle.
  3. Boiled eggs – the big lads such as Asda do a pot with a couple of pre-cooked and peeled boiled eggs in. Usually located by the sandwiches.
  4. Greek yogurt – single serving rather than family tub ensure portion control on the go and limits waste.
  5. Protein bars – not the breakfast bars that claim to have protein unless you’re happy to truly read the labels and see if there is decent amount in there. I mean a Grenade bar or a warrior bar
  6. Beef jerky – lasts a while and totally satisfying.

Select your side. Aim for a quality side if you’re looking at a main meal or need a more wholesome snack:

  1. Salad box
  2. Wholegrain microwave rice pack
  3. Wholegrain cous cous
  4. Raw veg – carrots, peppers, cucumber, etc
  5. Fruit – apples, banana, berries, etc
  6. Wholegrain cereal – High bran for example, great for fibre content too
  7. Graze box snacks – supermarket own brand are just as good and cheaper.

Need a drink?

Ideally you want water or maybe a teeny bit of dilutey juice but may be you’re hankering for a fizzy drink. Aim for the sugar free options and try to avoid fruit juices.

Want a bit of something sweet?

If the fruit doesn’t cut it and the protein bar just isn’t an option have a look down the sweets aisle. Look at the snack size options, see what you fancy, make sure it fits your calories and your 80:20 rule for the day.

If you’re veggie/vegan then there are some great options available for you too. From refridgerated soups, and tinned bean salads to fresh produce – I won’t pretend to be an expert in this because I’m not but it is something I will be looking into more in future.

I hope this makes your morning or lunch time supermarket dash easier to manage and helps you hit your daily goals.

Small, consistent changes are key.

January – Day 20/31

After our reality check a few days ago, how is everyone doing? Are you feeling better? Feeling more energetic? Lost a few pounds?

If not, what are you doing about it?

If you are struggling and you need help to see where it’s not quite going right, drop me a message and I will do my best to help you out. It’s only by ASKING that we can get the answers that we need, and it’s often only by ASKING that we are able to make the changes we need for the results we want.

Don’t be shy. Just ask.

WE SHOULD NEVER STOP LEARNING – IF YOU THINK YOU KNOW IT ALL THEN YOU NEVER WILL.

January – Day 19/31

Hands up of you’re doing? Dry January?

Hands up if you started but then gave in?

Hands up if you couldn’t give a toss about dry January because you enjoy your glass of ***insert beverage of choice*** after a long week?

Fair play whatever you’re doing. It’s always good to take time out and give your body a rest from alcohol but as long as it’s not a problem then a couple of drinks a week isn’t going to do you any harm.

The thing is – do you track your alcohol intake? Like the macros, protein, carbs and fats, alcohol holds it’s own caloric value: 7 cals per gram and at zero nutritional value.

If you’re serious about your weight loss but don’t want to drop your glass of wine, cider or whatever then you need to factor it in to your daily allowance. You can still enjoy it, it just needs accounted for. As with the 80:20 rule – hit your protein goal with 80% of your diet being nutrient dense, then stick to your calories and you can have whatever else fits in with it all.

Our plan is giving you the tools to have a maintainable LIFESTYLE whilst feeling fitter, healthier and dropping weight, we’re not a restrictive crash diet.

January – Day 16/31

Time for a reality check!

How are you doing with the plan? Are you seeing changes? Are you making changes? Well, if you’re doing it properly, you should be and here’s the hardest fact – if you’re not then you have no one to blame but yourself.

Brutal? Maybe.

Necessary? Absolutely!

The thing is, when it comes to weight loss, I am giving you ALL of the tools here. I have given you the baby steps to put together to create your ideal lifestyle so that you can easily lose weight at the same time as living. If you are not prepared to use these tools properly then you’re not fooling anyone but yourself.

Lets recap the things that you should be doing:

  1. Are you drinking enough water?
  2. Have you worked out your daily calorie allowance?
  3. Are you tracking your daily calorie intake via My Fitness Pal?
  4. Are you tracking your daily calorie intake accurately by measuring all of your food?
  5. Are you hitting your daily step goal?
  6. Are you using the 80:20 rule to avoid binge behaviour?
  7. Are you hitting your daily protein goal?
  8. Are you hitting your daily fibre goal?
  9. Are you planning out your meals in advance?
  10. Are you planning out your exercise sessions in advance?
  11. Are you achieving 5 x 30 minute exercise sessions a week?
  12. Are you doing activities which help you relax?
  13. Are you working on your sleep habits?
  14. Are you being honest with yourself?

If you want to see a difference, like really, truly, honestly want to see a change in yourself the you will already be doing all of the above and have taken responsibility for your actions. If you haven’t made the changes then you need to either accept that you want to be unfit, unhealthy and unhappy OR decide that enough is enough and now is time to put the effort in.

No one can do this for you.

No one will do it for you.

People will question what you are doing.

But once you hit your goal – PEOPLE WILL WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU DID IT!

January – Day 15/31

Good morning, how are we all doing with the plan? If you’re following the rules that you should be starting to notice a difference!

Today I want to touch on eating out. I know, I know, it’s the middle of the longest pay month of the year and it’s not really something you’re thinking about but chances are you’ll be out for a meal somewhere in the not too distant future. Here’s a few hints and tips to see you through these occasions without ransacking all of your efforts towards eating better and losing weight:

  1. Plan Ahead – Know where you’re going? Check out their menu ahead of time and choose what you are going to order. This can help in one of two ways – first off, you can then plan the rest of that day’s meals and activities around what you have chosen for your meal out making sure that you hit your calorie and protein goals for the day. Other than this great planning technique it can also help you make a better food choice to look at the menu prior to going out for the meal and selecting what you’re going to have based on WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM THIS PROGRAM SO FAR:
  2. Choose the higher protein content meals and have them with salad or vegetables instead of chips. This is a great example of how to make the most of eating out AND eating well. It also means a sneaky starter or dessert could be included in there to work with that 80:20 rule!
  3. Be aware of what you are drinking. Choose diet soft drinks or water if you can. Going for alcohol? Check the calorie content out and make sensible choices, again go for a diet mixer for your spirits. Limit the amount of alcohol you consume.
  4. Bypass the bread basket. It’s not necessary, it’s just [white] bread.
  5. Don’t over eat just because you are eating out. Feeling satisfied? Stop eating. It takes your brain a good 15 minutes to establish that the stomach is full. Eat slowly and mindfully and stop before you feel uncomfortable.
  6. Be prepared to see a little increase on the scales the following day. You know you’ve eaten more carbs, more processed items or more sodium (salt) than you’re used to so you should also know that your body will be clinging on to more water; the scales may well show this.
  7. Prepare for your meal out (and follow up). Make sure to drink additional water through the day before you go to eat out and when you get home afterwards. More hydration means less retention. Make sure you’ve done your steps and a 30 minute exercise session.
  8. Enjoy eating out. most importantly, enjoy your meal, enjoy that someone else is cooking for you and doing the dishes. Savour your choices and DO NOT FEEL GUILTY for anything that you have. Just make sure you’re accountable.

The 80:20 rule can be your best friend in an eating out situation and, as much as I don’t really condone it, if you are looking at a big evening out (meal and drinks for example) that’s going to cost you a lot in calories, make sure to have some damage limitation – save some calories from the days running up to your night out. Say you’re on 1700 calories a day, drop it to 1500 calories a day for the 3 days prior to going out (saving 600 calories which you can then use) and then use minimal calories through the day before you go out.

There we go, a quick set of tips for eating out without ruining all your hard work!

January – Day 14/31

The difference between nutrient dense and nutrient “empty” foods.

I’m pretty sure you will have heard somewhere down the line someone say something along the lines of “You’re just eating empty calories” but do you know what they actually meant by it? Did they know what they meant?

All foods contain marco-nutrients which we spoke about in Day 6 – proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, in varying proportions. Not all foods contain micro-nutrients.

A micro-nutrient is a chemical element or substance required in trace amounts for the normal growth and development of living organisms. Think vitamins and minerals.

Generally speaking we, as humans, cannot produce vitamins and minerals and so we must obtain them from plant and animal sources. When you eat you consume the vitamins that plants and animals have created and minerals they have absorbed. The micro-nutrient content of each food is different. By eating a variety of foods you are increasing the number of different micro-nutrients available to your body.

So, this should give you a good idea of where we are going with what is considered nutrient dense and what is not….

Let’s start with nutrient dense foods – non-processed plant and animal products/food stuffs in their more natural state. Think organic fruit and veg, fresh butchered meats, fresh fish, whole grains, pulses and legumes and so on.

The “empty” calorie, low nutrient density foods are things that are highly processed and very refined. Think white sugar and bread, highly processed foods, long-life foods etc. Fast food, junk food and so on. They are generally high calorie foods.

Why is this important?

Your body needs a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in order to function properly, here’s a list of just some of them and what they do:

By eating a wide variety of nutrient dense foods (like the ones listed above) you create satiety – feeling well fed, not lacking in anything. IF you are eating a whole load of empty food you are taking in all the calories without giving the body what it actually needs, you get hungry again because the body is trying to get what it needs and then you are over-eating and putting on weight, not to mention the risks of feeling wick because your body hasn’t got the fuel it needs to function correctly.

This is why we have the 80:20 rule. By eating well 80% of the time you will more than likely be hitting all of the macro and micro-nutrient needs of your body. Giving you 20% of you calories to the stuff you like; the “empty” calories, or the shit that we all enjoy basically.

January – Day 8/31

Make a plan to make life easier.

If you know what you’re going to be eating for breakfast. lunch and dinner then it makes it a whole lot easier to stick to better way of eating. If you can aim to get the majority of your protein quota in with your main meals then the rest of the calories can be used up with the thing you like.

You have a list of high protein foods on the Day 6 about macro-nutrients – you can use this to plan how much of which protein source you would like and what you would like to make with it. For example, you might want a spag bol for tea – it’s family friendly and easy to add extra veggies (fibre, vitamins and minerals) to. You can chose to either make it with lean beef mince (5% fat) or turkey mince.

You can add the recipes you make to MyFitnessPal and how many portions it makes so that each serving is exactly the same – remember we’re weighing everything as we make it.

What you can also do once you have made a weekly meal plan is make a weekly shopping list. By having a list of the things that you need you won’t be tempted to buy extras just because they are on special, you should find that your shopping trip is cheaper in the long run, and less wasteful as you’re only getting what you know you need and are going to eat.

And guess what – you can put those things that you WANT to eat into your meal planning too. Whether you know that you fancy a pasta bake one night, or you think a ready meal might be the easiest option for lunch one day, or you know you are going to want a chocolate bar during the week, fine, just make sure that it fits in with your plan.

Your meal plan MUST:

1 – Fit your daily protein goal as this is what we need to hit to maintain your muscle mass (give you that sexy “toned” appearance)

and

2 – Fit your calorie goal – we’re aiming to hit the same calorie goal every day, once your protein target has been hit you can make the rest of your calories up however you like from the carbs and fats. Be mindful that you will have less food in front of you if you choose to eat more fats. If you opt for a lot of carbs instead, choose whole-grains and vegetables – you can eat a whole load of vegetables making sure you feel full and don’t want to “pick” between meals and snacks.

Example of a weekly meal plan, including planned take away, Sunday lunch, bacon sandwich, chocolate and wine. Of course there are no set amounts provided on here as it will be specific to every person – as will the meals of your weekly plan. Over time you will learn how to make meals yourself and make the best choices of the ingredients for these meals, suiting your lifestyle, family and sustainability.

Don’t get me wrong, this takes time and practice to get to the exact goals. Just know that every time you make a change for the better in your food consumption, you are making a change for the better for your health.

We are working on the long term, not the quick fix.

January – Day 7/31

We’re on to day 7 and I want to know one thing; ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH?

Enough fibre that is! Today is all about why fibre is important and making sure that you get your daily quota!

Dietary fibre has a number of benefits when consumed in sufficient quantities including the prevention or relief of constipation, helping maintain a healthy weight, and lowering risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

You’ve probably heard of dietary fibre being referred to as roughage. It includes the parts of plant foods which the body can’t digest or absorb – fibre isn’t digested by the body, instead it passes pretty much intact through the digestive system and out of the body.

There are two types of fibre:

Soluble – dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. Soluble fibre can assist in lowering blood cholesterol and glucose levels and is found in oats, peas, beans, carrots, citrus fruits, apples, barley and psyllium.

Insoluble – promotes the movement of material through the digestive system and increase stool bulk. Insoluble fibre can be beneficial to those who struggle with irregular stools or constipation. Good sources of insoluble fibre are whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables.such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes.

To ensure you receive the greatest health benefits, you should aim to eat a wide variety of high-fibre foods.

How much fibre do you need?

How much fibre we need varies depending on age and gender:

Men age 50 years or younger require 38 grams of fibre per day whereas those aged 51 or older are advised to consume 30 grams per day.

For women, it’s 25 grams for those aged 50 years or under, and for those aged 51 and over the recommended amount of fibre is 21 grams per day.

How can you get the required amount of fibre each day?

  • Start your day right – grab a bowl of high-fibre cereal (5 grams + per serving). Look for those with “whole grain”, “bran”, or “fibre” in the name. Alternatively you can add two or three table spoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your favourite cereal.
  • Chose whole grains – Look for breads that list whole wheat, whole-wheat flour or another grain as the first ingredient and have at least 2g of dietary fibre per serving. Try things like brown rice, wild rice, whole-wheat pasta and bulgar wheat.
  • Get in the beans – legumes – beans, peas and lentils, are great sources of fibre. Add mixed beans to salads, kidney beans to mince meals etc.
  • Snack on fruit and veg – aim for five or more serving of fruit and vegetables per day, eating the skin too where possible. Not only will you bump up your fibre intake but you’ll get a load of vitamins and minerals in too.

Note: Though high-fibre foods are great for your health, adding too much too quickly can produce some negative effects including intestinal gas, bloating and cramping. To avoid this, increase fibre gradually over a few weeks.

And to round it all off and take us back to day one – make sure you are drinking plenty water. Fibre works best when it absorbs water, making your poo soft and bulky. Oh, and you can track your fibre on MyFitnessPal too without having to add it all up yourself!

So there you go, a whole post on how to poo better. You’re welcome!

January – Day 5/31

Just a short one today – It’s the 80:20 rule!

The 80:20 rule is designed so that your eating habits are maintainable and avoid any binge behaviours. Basically, 80% of your daily food intake should be nutrient dense foods – whole foods that are unprocessed and are high in nutritional value (they provide you with all of the essential macro-nutrients – protein, fat and carbohydrates, as well as a multitude of vitamins and minerals) then the other 20% can be made up of what you like, as long as you stick to your calories – think a chocolate bar or a glass of wine, those types of things.

Notice how I refer to the foods; only by nutritional value – foods which are either high or low in nutrition. I don’t refer to foods as “clean” or not, or as “good” or “bad”, or even as “treats” – these terms affect how we feel about foods and how we feel after consuming them. There should be no guilt involved when it comes to eating – only understanding of what you are consuming.

There is more to tracking food than just the above which I will go into in tomorrow’s post but I am just trying to ease you in gently, making it small steps rather than overwhelming you from right away! By allowing yourself to have the thing that you like and enjoy in small servings you avoid the yoyo process of a strict diet. You aren’t restricting yourself to any extreme and so avoid that “fall off the wagon” moment, if you want a glass of wine with your evening meal you can have it, you just have to make sure it fits in with the rest of your day (in terms of calorie and macro consumption).

If you’ve been in the habit of eating ready made meals and this is a huge change for you then start out small. Say for example you start with breakfast; instead of Coco Pops try some porridge with milk and fruit, or maybe toast and a boiled egg. Just making small changes like this on a consistent basis quickly add up and you will see and feel improvements.

And remember, we’re weighing what we eat – example: even if the packaging say one slice of bread equals 100 calories, weigh it – all slices of bread in a loaf are not the same size and weight. Weigh it, log it in MyFitnessPal with the correct weight and you will be accurately recording your calorie intake.