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Why do you exercise?

I read an article in the Metro last week, which said that something like 60-70% of women exercise just so they can eat chocolate and drink wine!

The first thing I want to say is that this used to be me! I used to think that doing regular exercise meant I could eat chocolate, crisps and biscuits and still stay slim. It worked for a while, but when I got past 40 I noticed that some of my clothes were feeling tight and I started to get symptoms of IBS such as bloating and uncomfortable stomach pains. I realised that the exercise wasn’t really working as well as it used to but I still enjoyed it so I kept going to classes and worked out in the gym.

I decided to change my diet and I cut out milk, cheese and yoghurt, which was what I ate on a daily basis and this made a huge difference, not just to my IBS symptoms, but to my weight. The weight I’d put on just dropped off and I could also see the results of what I’d been doing in the gym as my arms and legs were much more toned.

If you are one of those women who are exercising so you can eat treats, that’s good, because at least you are exercising, but bear in mind that staying slim and healthy is a combination of both exercise and healthy eating and it is around 80% diet and 20% exercise.

You can still eat treats, but try to cut down on the amount you eat. I just have chocolate at weekends now.  I believe that everything is OK if eaten in moderation and as long as the majority of your diet is healthy then the odd cake should not do too much damage!

If you have IBS symptoms try replacing milk with alternatives such as almond milk and swap cow’s cheese for goat’s cheese. These small changes may make a big difference.

 

The best way to lose baby weight

If it’s been a few months since you gave birth but the baby weight refuses to budge, don’t stress about it. Stressing about it is the worst thing you can do because stress leads to the body releasing cortisol, which leads to belly fat! So, to avoid this, I would try the following things to get rid of the weight gradually. If you are breastfeeding or you haven’t exercised for a while, check with your GP before you make any changes to your diet or exercise regime.

Don’t eat for two

This may be too late for you, if you have baby weight to shift but I find the most effective way of getting rid of baby weight is not to put on too much weight in the first place. Midwives are good at monitoring this nowadays, so you should be made aware that you don’t have to eat for two, like women were told a few decades ago. Make sure you eat enough, especially in the third trimester when you will need to eat more than usual, but the first 6 months, you should be able to eat like you used to do before you were pregnant (you will still need to cut out some things such as cream cheese and alcohol etc) in terms of portion size.

Take lots of walks

Walking is the best exercise you can do. You can do it with your baby and it gets you both out in the fresh air. Pushing the pram and lifting it up and down off the kerbs can help tone your arm muscles as well.

Eat plenty of these:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Brown bread
  • Wholemeal pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Fish (all types especially oily)
  • Salads
  • Stir fries with fresh or frozen vegetables. (Make sure the sauce doesn’t contain too much sugar)
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Steak or lean mince beef
  • Raw food bars such as NAKD bars

Cut down on these:

  • Biscuits
  • Cakes
  • Chocolate
  • Crisps
  • Salted or roasted nuts
  • Processed and ready meals
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Pies and pastries
  • Chips
  • Takeout

I know the things on the cut down list are the nicest things but if you want to shift the baby weight cutting down or avoiding some of these things, will make a huge difference. I would wait until you’ve finished breast feeding, but once you have finished, cutting out dairy and sugar will make the biggest difference. Especially if you do more walking and then gradually add in some HITT workout routines.

You need to remember that your body has been through a lot the past couple of years and your baby is the most important thing to focus on. Having said this, I know how horrible I feel when I’m carrying a few extra pounds so, as soon as you feel ready, try taking some of the advice in this post, making sure you’ve consulted your GP first and you should start to see some gradual changes.

If you want a little extra help with those pesky cravings, check out my crave curber program here (currently only 99 cents!)

Ten tips to help you lose weight this summer

Does the sight of your bikini feel you with dread or delight? If it’s the former, this is for you – Enjoy!

  • Try drinking Green tea. A few cups per day will help speed up your metabolism and provide you with beneficial antioxidants in the process.
  • Drink some caffeine an hour before exercising. Research has shown that this helps the body start using up stored fat immediately. Usually, during exercise, the body uses its glucose stores first.
  • If you like to snack between meals, try filling up on celery, carrot and cucumber sticks dipped in low-fat salad cream or cottage cheese.
  • Try doing some cross-fit or HITT exercise. I swear by these short, high-intensity workouts. They halve your exercise time and deliver twice the benefits. Just make sure you have a medical check first – you need to be fit to do these kinds of workouts.
  • Try having some soup before your main course. Research has shown people tend to eat less when they start with soup. Just make sure it isn’t one of the creamed varieties!
  • Drink lots of water. As well as keeping you hydrated in the heat, it can reduce your appetite. Sometimes when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty.
  • If you enjoy savoury snacks, you can save calories by eating some of the low calorie crisps we have in the UK, such as quavers or Wotsits. If you live in America, I know how hard it is to find a small bag of crisps! Try scooping a handful of cheesy puffs into a freezer bag and eat these instead. Treat yourself, but keep the portions small.
  • Keep portion sizes of meals small. Use a smaller plate so it looks like you have a full plate. Make sure the biggest item on your plate is your portion of vegetables. A portion of meat is the size of your outstretched hand and your carbs should be the size of your clenched fist, as a guide.
  • Walk more. If you take the bus, get off two stops earlier or, if you use your car to drive somewhere local, walk instead. It’s a great fat-burning exercise if you pick up your pace.
  • Get enough sleep. It’s been proven that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. It could be for a variety of reasons, from metabolic changes to stress; either way, try to take as much time as you can to relax and make sure you get your eight hours sleep most nights.