The Knife Edge of Motivation

Okay, here’s a quick update! The summer got busy – again! But that’s all good, business is growing and I absolutely love it but it does mean my time is spread pretty thinly. Juggling motherhood, housewife duties, the business, a second job and a new school routine can be quite tough.

I started getting up before 6am to get ready for the day before the tribe surfaced but by 11:30pm having finished work I was exhausted and burnt out, especially as I was up 3-4 times during the night also. I had three visits to the GP in two weeks. I had a constant sore throat, body aches, worrying glands constantly up and I had a mini meltdown. I just wasn’t taking care of myself and I was exhausted and scared. My health was not good, mentally and physically.

The docs talked about medication. But I felt there was a better way. Me and hubby went on a weekend spa break and it helped put a lot in perspective. It was good to talk as I’d bottled everything up. I thought to myself – at what point though do we start listening to ourselves and acting to put things right – long term – as opposed to putting up with the problems and reaching rock bottom?

Before, my attempts to be healthier were mainly focussed on the way I look and losing the baby weight I still carry but this time was different. I wanted to feel happy and energised!

I really struggle with motivation and find myself, within a matter of minutes literally, going from super driven to oh I want cake! I’m not sure what the solution is yet – willpower maybe?! Let me know if you’ve found the answer please!

So let’s see – it’s the 1st November. The season of over indulgence is pretty much here but can I avoid it? I’ve been pretty inspired by Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) again recently as his plans fit well into modern busy life so I’ve written my shopping list for this week, planned my exercise sessions and caught up with reading his books. Just gotta take those selfie before photos now (urgh!) and see how it compares next month! Wish me luck!

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Chia Pudding Breakfast

My whole life I’ve eaten cereal out of a box for breakfast. Always. I’m not even a toast girl really but museli, chocolate cereal? Yes I’m there.

So when I started eating healthier a few weeks ago I decided to reduce the amount of hidden refined sugars and grains in my diet – and the major one was breakfast cereal. But it left me with a problem – what should I be eating instead? I avoid bread where possible anyway as it makes me tired and bloated and through each period of breastfeeding my children oddly I’ve become intolerant to egg, which is something that still hasn’t sorted itself out yet even three months after weaning.

I did some research and found there are lots of other breakfasts that are super simple to make, even before the school run or in advance the night before that taste great and fill you up. My favourite so far has been chia pudding and lots of you have asked me to share the recipe so I popped it below at the bottom of the post!

I’ve taken inspiration from Jamie Oliver and Hemsley + Hemsley mainly but there isnt really one way to do this – experiment and see what you can come up with!

If you don’t know much about the superfood chia seeds here are a few facts (there are masses more!):

  1. They are small (mainly black) seeds that contain loads of fibre, vitamins and minerals
  2. They are low in calories
  3. They are naturally gluten free
  4. Full of anti oxidants
  5. They absorb water – up to 10 times their weight so help you feel full
  6. They contain a good amount of protein and Omega 3 fatty acids

These little guys are so versatile, can be bought in the supermarket and I often sprinkle the kids’ food with them for a little added boost.

Chia Pudding Recipe

Ingredients: banana, 400ml coconut milk (full fat), 1 tbsp honey, 6 tbsp chia seeds, 200g fresh of frozen fruit (my favourite is mango), 1tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Fill four bowls with the mixture and place in the fridge to set (I do this the night before).

So simple, so tasty! When you’re ready to eat, you can top the pudding with fresh berries, cinnamon, yoghurt, seeds, whatever you fancy really. If the recipe above is too sweet, maybe reduce or remove the vanilla extract and see how you get on.

I’d love to know your results!

Week 3 Diary of a Motivated Mum

Last week I managed to injure my hip whilst running, which was a real motivational sap. It’s funny how quickly you can go from being so dedicated one minute, eating well etc, to really off track. I’ve been stretching and have given myself a week off running to try and help as I really don’t want a set back – this would never have happened ten years ago – I’m feeling my age!

I’ve been getting the kids involved in cooking healthy family meals and they really surprised me how much they enjoyed them. Foods we never usually eat went down a treat! My three year old is a famously fussy eater so I was a little worried and it’s taken some serious persuasion but we’re getting there and he’s now prepared to try a little, which last year he would have absolutely refused.

Today I managed a 15 minute HIIT cardio workout (from Joe Wicks’s book Lean In 15) with the kids ‘helping me’. I think it’s important they see me exercise, I really want to be a role model for them.

We’ve also been baking some vegan, gluten and grain free chocolate chip cookies using almonds (Hemsley + Hemsley) which have just come out of the oven so I’ll let you know how they go down!

So…to the important part…and I’m writing it here so I keep at it-no secrets! I started three weeks ago on my mission weighing in at 10st 2lb and unfortunately couldn’t find my tape measure so have started the measuring today! This week I’ve weighed in at 9st 12lb so I’m losing a pound a week which is fab and exactly what I hoped to achieve. This isn’t all about weight loss, it’s also about body confidence and health for all my family.

Today’s measurements have been waist 78cm, hips 96cm, chest 79cm, thigh 57cm. There, no hiding from it now!

My aims for the next week? To add in resistance HIIT 15 minute workouts, get up early to get them done before the day (no talking myself out of it then!), aim to do these 4 days a week and watch the food intake. I’m a secret eater and finishing off the kids’ meals is my worst habit.

Now, I must get back to trying those cookies….

Finding The Motivation

So I’ve been away for 6 months, focussed on my business (which has been great and was very much needed) and spectacularly fell off the healthy bandwagon!

Summer is now kind of here, Love Island is on the telly and my need for my healthy lifestyle I achieved and worked so hard for last year is back with a bang!

But how do you find the motivation and the time when you’re busy, you run a business, you’re a mum, wife, friend?

I battle with this daily and I find it incredibly easy to talk myself out of exercise or resisting that biscuit. But I simplified things in my mind – instead of focussing on the fact that I find exercise boring and a mental battle to keep going when I’m doing it, I instead focussed on how much better I’d feel afterwards. How I’d sleep better, feel better, look better, be happier and more energised. And I basically didn’t give myself a choice – this has to be done and I keep my eye on the goal ahead.

What is my goal? As every mum may empathise I’d like to lose the baby weight (1 stone left of the three I gained with each pregnancy) tone up (I have a large split (diastasis rectii) in my abdominal muscles from my twin pregnancy, which has left me looking 15 weeks pregnant at all times and I’d love to get this a bit flatter. I’m also really conscious that I want to be around for a long time for my kids so I want to be as healthy as possible and be a good inspiration for them to lead their own healthy lives.

So baby steps first! I’ve been running 2 miles twice a week, been adding in some sit ups, I’ve cleared our fridge of processed food, such as ham etc as much as possible (BBQ sausages have stayed though!) and cut down on the food that makes me feel tired and bloated such as cereal and bread. I’ve also been less hard on myself with regards to restricting gluten and dairy as I found this so hard to maintain last year. Wish me luck!

So what things do you find keep you motivated to stay healthy?

The Supermarket Sugar Take Over

As you all know I’ve been eliminating refined sugar from my diet for a while now and it seems Jamie Oliver has been inspired too so it was great to see his Sugar Rush programme on Channel 4 last week about the dangers of hidden sugar. I’m at high risk of getting type 2 diabetes and was on the verge of gestational diabetes throughout both my pregnancies which is one of the main reasons I’ve decided to ditch bad sugars for the main part of my diet.

I personally don’t usually do the weekly food shop as the trolleys just aren’t big enough for my brood and the food but this week we only needed a few bits so me and the small ones decided to take it on.

My husband has a normal kind of pack up for lunch at work so I thought I’d see if I could get some healthier cereal bar type snacks and yoghurts which had a bit less sugar and weren’t classed as ‘low fat’. There were hardly any! In the ‘grown up’ yoghurt section all the six packs were low fat and unfortunately I don’t have the biggest budget to splurge on the premium brands so this week he has Munch Bunch (which reports to have 30% less sugar)! I have full fat greek style or whole milk yoghurt generally on my cereal but I don’t think he’d appreciate taking an enormous pot to work every day! (And I’m not sure it’d survive the backpack!)

The same goes for cereal bars – the so called diet ranges are ridiculously high in sugar. It seems you can’t avoid it if you want the ease of pre-made bars. I guess the key is to make your own so at least you know what’s in them. All comes back to time and the lack of it as a busy mum! I’ll let you know if I find a good recipe though.

As promised I said I’d go through some of the books I’ve been reading. Here’s a few things to keep in mind about sugar …

  1. Can make you overweight
  2. Can affect the nutrient absorption of other food and masks the taste
  3. Upsets your hormones, especially insulin
  4. Empty calories – there’s really no point in eating it from a nutritional point of view
  5. Even healthy forms of sugar such as honey and fruit are simply registered as ‘sugar’ by our bodies so it’ll still be processed the same way – any excess is stored around your organs and waist (argh!)
  6. So really low fat options which are high in sugar (to give it flavour) will still cause weight gain

What can you do?

  1. Eat one or two portions of fruit a day, the rest should be veg
  2. Use coconut sugar, honey, dates or stevia if you need an alternative to the refined stuff
  3. Make meals from scratch
  4. Increase your protein intake (will help with the sugar cravings)
  5. Keep an eye out for hidden sugars, such as in breakfast cereals, bread, diet/low fat foods, drinks and of course the obvious biscuits, etc! My kids now have porridge instead of the Weetabix type cereals for this reason.

All this info has been taken from Madeleine Shaw’s book Get The Glow and Amelia Freer’s book Eat. Nourish. Glow. if you feel inspired to read up on it! I don’t get much time to read but I have a little look every morning at breakfast to inspire me for the day! And I’ve managed to lose 5 lb of excess baby weight too – great motivation!

 

Getting Back On Track

I’ve officially been useless lately. For the last couple of months we’ve been through teething and multiple colds which has pretty much sapped all my will power and energy. All this means maybe 2-3 hours sleep each night so my immune system is suffering and my head hasn’t had the fight.

I’m now recovering from my third cold in as many months, which is totally unlike me. I’m not one to take days off sick as thankfully bugs aren’t something I pick up often. As I mentioned in my previous posts my quick fix solve everything is food. I have an emotional attachment to it – it makes me happy, I look forward to it and I see it as a treat for working hard. However this relationship with food means I choose the most ‘rewarding’ and fast options, such as toast, biscuits and ice cream, etc, especially in the evenings. I’ve found I have a mindless snacking attitude as well – if I see food I eat it without even thinking about what it is or whether I need it, all day long, especially if the kids don’t finish their meal.

So with September around the corner and back to school germs coming into the house for the first time I’ve sorted myself out! I’ve been reading some really good books when I can find 5 minutes – usually at breakfast when the little people are napping, and they’ve encouraged me to ditch the junk. In case you’d like to read them too, which I definitely recommend, they are Get The Glow by Madeleine Shaw and the second is Eat. Nourish. Glow. by Amelia Freer. I purchased both from my local supermarket (one of the few places I can get to easily with the brood!)

I thought a good way to keep me going and to maybe motivate you is to go through the books and fill you in on what I think is really handy information and tips so if you’re keen to get your diet and lifestyle in general back on track then hopefully it may inspire you!

The one point I really want to make though is although I need to lose my baby weight (there’s a lingering stone and a very round tummy there!) this is not about dieting. It’s about having a better relationship with food so I can feel healthier, have more energy and see food as nourishment rather than continually ‘rewarding’ it with junk food which in turn does me no favours!

Everyone has different areas that need looking at and my first place to start has been to get rid of refined sugar from my diet. I honestly feel better already but more on that later.

I’m also about to set up a Facebook group for support and inspiration where anyone can share recipes and ask questions to other members so hopefully see you there!

Energy Please!

These past few weeks being Mummy has been tiring. The twins have decided that sleep is an unnecessary part of life, especially during the night and they require feeding at least hourly. Growth spurt? Teething? Perhaps.

And to top it all off I’m now full of cold. Bleurgh.

My diet has been rubbish too, I’ve succumbed to the fast sugar fixes of chocolate and biscuits so today it needs to change. I need to feel better!

The fridge and pantry has been filled with good stuff so the best way to get going today has been with a smoothie. This is a pretty gentle one but I’ll be adding some more unusual ingredients in the coming weeks, which I’ll share with you!

There’s some pretty amazing super foods in here, most found in the majority of weekly food shops, others you made need to buy specially.

Ingredients:

  • Berries – one cup (high nutritional value and antioxidants, low in calories. I like frozen mixed berries for smoothies as I save my fresh berries to go on top of cereal. Mine includes red currants, blueberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and strawberries)
  • Avocado – half (healthy fat, high in fibre and potassium)
  • Banana – one whole (high in fibre, great for energy)
  • Chia seeds – one tablespoon (high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fibre)
  • Oats – 1/2 cup (high in fibre and antioxidants, keeps hunger at bay)
  • Fruit juice – 200ml (I like orange usually but today I’ve used Innocent Apple and Elderflower juice)

I hate being exact with measurements so feel free to change it up as you like. This is a really thick and filling smoothie so is also great for breakfast. Chia seeds will also soak up a lot of fluid so drink it fresh! Enjoy!

The Start Of The Weaning Journey

My twins are nearly six months now and so it’s time to think about starting solids. With Thomas, a couple of years ago now, we started off on the traditional parent led route – purees and baby rice, selecting individual fruit and veg at first then combining, keeping a special watch out for intolerances and then introducing meat, fish and textures.

Then one month later he decided being spoon fed was not what he wanted. So baby led weaning it was! Cue self feeding, finger foods, enormous portions (his choice!) and a huge mess! But you know what, he absolutely loved it! Breakfast was weetabix and toast, lunch and tea was whatever we were having as long as the salt levels were minimal. Thankfully I love cooking so preparing no added salt meals was no trouble and also meant I didn’t have to cook twice. It also meant I could eat my own meal at the same time.

Finding low salt snacks and bread was actually pretty hard, so it was definitely easier to cook from scratch at home.

So, here are my top weaning tips from my own personal experience:

1) Expect mess! And a lot more mess. Babies love the feel of food in their fingers…and also what happens when they throw it on the floor! I remember taking Thomas out for lunch to a local pub with some tasty quinoa and apple bites – the mess we made was ridiculous but I did clean it up myself – I don’t expect the staff to clean that level of food destruction! Note to self-don’t take crumbly food out this time!

2) Keep a wipe clean or machine washable tablecloth on the floor beneath the high chair for easy clean ups

3) Avoid high chairs that have lots of absorbable material or whose covers cannot be machine washed – Ikea do a brilliant Antilop highchair that is easy to clean. I’m personally using Fisher Price Space Saving high chairs for the twins so they can be attached to the dining chairs. They also have high backs and are great for support at the six month period (the covers are wipe clean and machine washable too). I find some highchairs have really wide legs so having two in the kitchen as well as the table would be a bit tight!

4) Bibs with full arms are a godsend, especially if they are machine washable – stock up so you have enough for every mealtime. It will save you washing masses of clothes. Alternatively, remove top layers of clothing prior to eating

5) Putting a tea towel on their lap will also catch a lot of crumbs

6) Keep finger food big enough so they can’t swallow it whole and choke, but is easy to pick up and munch on – think chip or finger sized

7) Don’t worry about plates and bowls with finger food-most will end up in the highchair tray anyway and it’ll save your washing up pile

8) We used to squish harder berries such as blueberries under a finger and slice grapes lengthways so they were less of a choking hazard

9) Remember safety is paramount! Never leave your little one unattended whilst eating, they have a very efficient gag reflex but know your first aid and what to do if the worst should happen. I can recommend some great local Norfolk courses – let me know if you’d like details.

10) Don’t worry about the volume of food consumed – babies will still get the nutrients they need from milk, whether breast or bottle feeding. This stage is all about experimenting with textures and tastes and promoting a varied palate. Some will be ready sooner than others

11) Still offer the same number of milk feeds when starting out, they may not decrease for a while yet

12) Make sure you enjoy it too! It’s a fun time and will hopefully encourage you to keep an eye on your own diet and salt intake if your little people are eating the same meals as you

We’ll be trying each method again this time around – parent and baby led feeding – to hopefully find a way that works for all. Spoons are also great fun as I remember – especially the loaded ones! Babies are all different and will have varying preferences and I’m fully expecting this will happen with the twins too. Having a flexible approach to starting solids is best as the journey will probably change along the way!

What are your experiences of starting solids with your little ones and do you have any tips to add? I’d love to hear all about it to help with my own preparation!

The Healthy Eating Begins!

I admit it…I’m a total sugar monster. If it’s not chocolate I can usually be found snacking on ice-cream, sugary cereals, biscuits or my main nemesis – crisps. They are quick, easy, take no preparation and are pretty enjoyable! However…they make me feel rotten.

At the moment I’m still breastfeeding my twins about three times every night and it’s during these awakenings that I tend to feel the worst. It’s probably because I’ve spent all evening whilst they’ve been blissfully dreaming scoffing my face with whatever the pantry offers – I could class it as an evening hobby.

I’ve recently been inspired by a few people who seem to have changed their lives for the better by radically changing their diet. I was shown a book by a relative called Deliciously Ella, by Ella Woodward. Having been diagnosed with a horrible illness she managed to turn her life around and come off all medication by following a strict vegan gluten free diet. I’ve always been sceptical as to whether or not this diet is as healthy as everyone says (and tasty?!) but my husband, having recovered from testicular cancer had researched and had also found similar stories.  Eat better = feel better it seems.

So, I thought, why not give it a go? And to my relief it’s actually pretty good! At the moment I’ve made small changes here and there towards a healthier lifestyle and I’m quite excited about feeling healthier and being more energetic for my kids’ sake too!

So, for your inspiration and hopefully to tempt those taste buds, here’s our week’s fruit and veg shop above! I don’t know about you but I think that looks pretty delicious! What do you reckon?