Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Weight Loss Tips No13: Rewards for losing weight and hitting your goals

 

I was thinking about rewards for losing weight and hitting goals last week.  It’s important to be balanced in life: to give and to receive in equal measure.  So it would be a fair deal to give yourself or your body something in return for doing a good job.  After all, wouldn’t you be upset if you kept giving and giving and putting in some hard work, if you didn’t get a reward?

I think that although initially I had lots of rewards, what with new clothes etc, I might have lapsed into expecting my body to just lose the remaining pounds with little or no thank you’s.  I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I was a bit stalled.  I talked through re-motivating myself,  plus I know I will feel more comfortable when I lose the remaining 6lbs, and I ended up more enthusiastic about the exercise.  But there was something a bit off and I reckon it was the lack of reward

What have you rewarded yourself with for losing weight?  Or what are you planning on rewarding yourself with?  Any ideas are very welcome, so that we can share tips!

So what could I reward my body with and what could I reward myself with for making the effort?  Have you thought about yourself?

  • I have been really good about moisturising; mainly because I didn’t want my tan to fade.
  • But I do like having a bath every now and again, especially in Epsom Salts; and I haven’t done that in ages
  • Generally, I’m sure my body actually likes the running because of the freedom and silence, plus the dancing because I feel sexier.
  • But I could actually Reiki it myself more, and I was having a monthly massage up until the last 4 months or so, which definitely helps it to feel stronger, so I could add that back in.
  • I also stopped taking my supplements, so I’m starting again with the winter coming and added Magnesium as at particular times of the month I am desperate for good quality dark chocolate.
  • OOOOH thought of one.  I could reward myself by paying for a cleaner.  TBH the hubby doesn’t mind paying for a cleaner, it’s just my guilt that sometimes gets in the way because I don’t earn tonnes.  But if we start having a cleaner again it gives me all those extra hours.
  • I’d love a family photo done properly; that would be a good reward and good goal
  • I quite fancy a little detox, not a major one, just 3 days of no tea, no sugar, no biscuits, and no wheat (bread/pasta).  That might give my body a nice kick start.
  • In that time I save by not cleaning, I could earn enough money to pay someone to do the formatting of my book for me; it’s really not inspiring me to have to do it myself.
Aha got it!  My exercise kit is a bit rubbish.  When I got out the bra tops, they were all crackly; they were that old!  If I’m going to keep exercising now that school restarts, I’m probably going to have to turn up at school at drop off or pick up in my exercise kit.  I remember the last time I went to a gym class in the last 6 months (and only time), and I must admit that looking at myself in a mirror didn’t really make me feel bouncy.  But I’m sure there is all sorts of kit that would look a lot better than my ill fitting old stuff.  This will definitely work as a reward.  I’ll let you know the results!

Once I’ve done this, I might need a reward for maintaining the weight for 6 months and then to get me to focus on toning whats left.  But one thing at a time!

Are you stalled and don’t feel like you have rewarded yourself?  Comment here and commit to rewarding yourself for your success.

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Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Weight Loss Tips No12: Stalled in your progress?

It’s really normal to make great progress and then suddenly stall and stop for a while.  If this is where you are and you want a boost, then this is the post for you.

I did really well following my weight loss tips, and went from 12 stone or thereabouts to 10 stone 5lbs within a few months, which is a loss of 23lbs, and back into a healthy weight range.  But 6 months after starting I still have the remaining 5 lbs to lose.

I think it’s actually a good idea to stall for a while, because it feels like your body creates a new ‘top limit’ as to where it went up to.  So if I put on weight again I would expect to come back up to this weight, not the 12 stone.  But now I fancy sorting the final bit out.

Why Stall?

There are 3 likely reasons for my stalling.

  1. I reached my goal of getting fitter and healthier, but when I got my head in the game, I must not have focussed as much on the general sexiness and feeling good about myself.
  2. I’ve been lazy and enjoyed being able to eat biscuits every day.
  3. My program needs a boost.

Setting a New Goal

So, remember I said that it’s important to set SMART goals?  Mine is going to be …

  1. Specific: To focus on losing the remaining weight, which is mainly sitting on my tummy.
  2. Measurable: Lose 5lbs to 10 stone.  It probably won’t mean a change in dress size, although I do have a few size 12 tops, which will probably be too big by then.  I would expect to still be in size 12 trousers, just more comfortable (I’m naturally ‘hippy’ in shape or more nicely put, I’m curvy!).
  3. Achievable: It means cutting back on the daily biscuits, adding in more exercise (I was doing general Mum stuff and 45 mins Zumba) so I’ll add 2×30 minute runs as well, and cutting back to just 1 glass of wine per week (I don’t drink much, but was getting led astray by one of my lovely neighbours recently!).
  4. Realistic: At an average of 1 and a bit pounds per week this should be doable as there is plenty of unnecessary food to cut down on and exercise to add in.  My BMI is healthy now, and at 10stone there is still plenty of lee-way as the bottom limit for my age is 9 stone 3lbs.
  5. Timeable: by Sept 30th which is the finals of the MAD Blog Awards and in 4 weeks time.

Getting My Mindset Right

So, to get my head in the game, I’ve got to work out why it matters to me to be more than just fit and healthy.  This is tougher, as it does feel selfish to want to push it just that little further.  Ok, so I’m going to brainstorm a bit to show you how the ‘getting your head in the game’ exercise works; and if you have any more ideas, that would be really helpful …..

1) Practically 5lbs:

Well it’s amazing that I reckon that with mine and the big hairy northern one losing weight I have at least 1 less load of washing to do per week.  He reckons I’ll be easier to pick up, no idea why he’d be wanting to do that!  But it’s true that life would definitely be a bit easier if I wasn’t walking around with 5 bags of sugar ever day.

2) Change in size:

It’s likely I’d need some more tops.  I like the ones I bought when I first lost weight, but I have got a clearer idea of my ‘style’ now, so maybe a couple of them don’t suit me as much.  I then hit guilt at spending money, but maybe I could find a company that would like to sponsor me?  Realistically speaking the guilt is silly, as it wouldn’t be a total new wardrobe, and I do budget to spend some money per month on myself.  It just means that I know what I’m going to buy and they don’t have to bought all at once.  There’s no doubt that a couple of my size 12 trousers would be more comfortable with a little less drooping over the tops of them, which is something that I could enjoy every day.  Plus with winter coming, losing a few more pounds probably means that I can easily fit in spare layers of clothes and not feel really big or uncomfortable (I’m not a fan of the cold).

3) Psychological effects:

It would be a lovely boost to put my clothes on every day and feel good about them.  I don’t get a full nights sleep, so to have a pick me up in the mornings would really help to start each day with a swing.  I already feel great when I’m walking around after losing so much weight.  But to hit my target would be a HUGE achievement for me.  It would be proof that I’m not willing to settle with what’s OK for me, but am going for what I would really love to have.  Something that is a bit of a dream.  We do need a reminder about how fab we are, especially if you are the kind of person like me who likes a pat on the head.  So this could be my own way of patting myself on the head, which sounds like a good plan.

4) Food change:

Sugar and me don’t mix well as in my twenties I got IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and Hyperglycaemia.  They tend to go hand in hand with PCOS (Poly cystic ovarian syndrome), and I got them in spades.  I didn’t realise how much I automatically handle my diet and sugar levels, until it got taken out of my control with a trip to Cyprus and The Just So Festival.  So to stop the daily biscuit would be a good plan, and I’d be bound to feel better with less sugar ups and downs.

5) Additional exercise:

I’ve really enjoyed doing the Zumba on the Xbox kinect.  But going for a run (I’m a rubbish runner, so it’s my form of ‘cheating’ and giving my system a jolly good kick up the butt) and is lovely because it gives me 30 minutes ALL TO MYSELF; what a luxury.  There’s no doubt that emotionally I’m in a better state to handle the daily arrrghhhhs of being a Mum after a little time to myself, and I love the fact that I’m being efficient by getting fit and getting time to myself.  It also is a great facial, so I’m saving money by not paying for a face mask or facial (not that I do, but heh, it’s still a benefit).

6) The goal date:

As part of the MADsBlog Awards TK Maxx has invited me to London to be styled; How exciting!  They will want to take photos on the evening, so I could get a good photo of myself.  Plus, if I win, then I’ll look fab for my acceptance speech, and if I lose, at least I’ll look fabulous!  A month later I’ll be publishing my book ‘The Mummy Whisperers Six Week Handbook To A Sparkling You’, at which point it would probably be a good plan if I was looking really sparkling heh?

7) Rewards:

Having TK Maxx style me will be a great reward as well.  I can see the difference in photos, but I do feel that I look a little heavy around the middle side on, so I’d be much more likely to actually think the photo is OK.  Talking of which I must update my avatar photos soon, as I must be looking quite a lot different that I was last September.  So all in all the rewards are about feeling good about myself.  Is that self-centred?  Maybe a little, but it’s not like I’m very high maintenance, plus by being even healthier and having that pick me up every day, I should be much more fun for the kids and less grumpy with the big hairy northern one; sounds like winner.

Ok I’m feeling much more up for it now, and have managed a whole day with only 1 biscuit!  Hmmm, might need to do a little more in order to cut them out totally, off for another think!

Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Weight Loss Tips No11: Dress for self-worth

Hopefully by following my 12 months worth of tips, you are now loads fitter and slimmer, but have you broken the pattern of not feeling good about yourself?

Now you know that it wasn’t the weight really that made you unhappy with how you looked don’t you?

It was how you felt about yourself.

If not you need a hair cut, and a shopping trip to give you a boost.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive shopping trip, but if you are on a very fixed budget, then make sure you do a lot of planning first and check out all your favourite shops on the internet.  It’s not that ‘we are what we look like’, so your hair cut and your clothes don’t really matter.  However how we treat ourselves is important and if you are treating yourself like a second class citizen in comparison to the rest of the household, then that is how you will feel.

Go and get some makeup tips and have a free makeover, just don’t take your credit card so that you can’t be encouraged to buy anything!  I bet it’s been ages since you rethought your make up heh?

Oh and bin all the saggy and mis-coloured under wear! Just because you are the only one who sees it, doesn’t mean that it needs to be ‘practical’ or unattractive’.  Pretty lace underwear is not more expensive that the ugly stuff we often buy!

Do all this and you’ll feel like you lost half a stone over night, because your clothes will fit you better, and you’ll feel better about yourself.  Then you’ll stand up properly, and walk tall!

Well done on your progress so far!

For those of you who have got a little stuck, then remember to look back over the rest of the tips, but I will post something soon on how to get over a dip.

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Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Weight Loss Tips No10: A Simple Detox for your health and life

A detox can be a great start to a New Year or Spring when you are feeling a bit stagnant, or Start to a weight loss programme, or boost to a weight loss programme.

I watched Channel 4’s Food Hospital program and they pretty much proved that Detox’s don’t do much.  So whatever they do, it’s probably partially placebo, and partially giving your system a bit of a reboot so that you can go back to a healthier lifestyle.  But I still like doing one 1-4 times a year.

I recommend that if you are going to do it, then don’t just detox your body, detox your life as well and make it a more holistic experience.

A Simple Detox

Here is a simple detox plan for 3 days, maximum of 5 (prepare to be a bit grumpy and maybe have a headache at the beginning):

  1. No Caffiene, sugary or fizzy drinks (OR ALCOHOL!)
  2. No wheat (so no bread, no pasta, no biscuits, no cereal)
  3. No sugar (no biscuits, cake or ready made anything)
  4. No red meat i.e. beef, pork, ham or lamb
  5. No sweeteners, low fat or low sugar meals (ladened with chemicals)
What can you eat ..
  1. Replace all drink with green/fruit tea or water  (how much to drink)
  2. Just eat chicken, turkey or fish for protein
  3. With vegetables or salad
  4. Any Fruit
  5. Corn Thins, Rice Cakes, or Ryvita can be a great alternative to bread, it’s not totally wheat free, but it’s a good option.
  6. Nuts and Raisins make good snacks (a palm full, not a big bowl full!)
  7. Couscous, wild/brown rice, new potatoes (lower sugar) and sweet potatoes are great alternatives to wheat based carbohydrates.
  8. Use herbs, coconut, olive oil and butter for ‘sauce’ and taste instead of mayonnaise, tomato ketchup and jar sauces.

Breakfast for sugar lovers …

If you love your carbs, and seem to struggle with your weight, despite not over eating, then I would recommend a protein only breakfast.  I’m not into no-carb diets, but not having carbs for breakfast helps reset your system so that the insulin is produced correctly during the day.  Options are:

  1. Scrambled egg – stick an egg in a bowl, add a dash of milk and a pinch of himalayan rock salt (or normal sea salt if you don’t have the pink stuff).  Mix it up.  Pop it in the microwave for 1min.  You won’t feel instantaneously full, but it will last you until lunch time.
  2. Haddock – buy some frozen smoked haddock, pop a knob of butter on top, stick it in the microwave for 3-4 mins.  It’s particularly lovely with the scrambled egg!
  3. Porridge – I’m not actually a fan of porridge in the morning, I find it too heavy and although it has protein in it, it’s still carb oriented.
  4. Natural Yogurt – add berries for taste and a dash of manuka honey

Sweat!

Sweating is important to aid the detox process. Many northern countries have embraced the sauna and been shown to have longer lives and stronger hearts. So you have a few options:

  1. If you belong to a gym, do 20-30mins gentle cardio, drink 2-4 glasses of water and then go in a sauna for 10-30mins (unless you have a health condition that would contraindicate it).
  2. Go for a walk/jog for 30mins each day, nothing too extreme, we just want to get you moving and breathing hard.
  3. Have a warm bath with a couple of cups of Epsom salts or Magnesium Flakes each night.
  4. Update: Try a Far Infrared Mat experience like we have at Espiritu – they are great for detoxing without the uncomfortable sweating, and really get the circulation going.

Other Helpful Options

The success of a detox is often helped with a treat to motivate you and help remove that rubbish more quickly:

  1. Massage: A standard swedish massage will help as it massages the muscles, but it’s even better if you add Aromatherapy oils or go to a therapist who can do Lymphatic drainage (see the Purifying pamper at Espiritu).
  2. Dry body brushing: Helps to get the circulation going.  Brush towards the heart for 5 minutes before having a shower.
  3. Go out to a healthy cafe where eating the food will feel like a treat, as they are cooking it for you; it’s easy now a days with so many gluten free options.
  4. Lie down and rest to help your body focus on healing itself and watch a good film to take your mind off your cravings.
  5. Fresh air helps everything, and breathing more deeply will also help the detox process.

Detox Your Life

Now while you are physically detoxing, have a look at the rest of your life.  Start with your kitchen cupboards and have a jolly good clear out; especially of anything that wont be helping with your weight loss.

Now don’t be telling me that you need all those treats for the kids, they don’t have to have treats every day, and what they have doesn’t have to be sweet, chocolate or crisp based either.  I’m not saying they shouldn’t have treats, just that it wont do them any harm to not have many.  Help yourself to succeed.

Now go through your wardrobe and get rid of anything that makes you feel rubbish when you wear it.  Do you feel sexy, happy, attractive in it?  If not, then bin it.  Is it too big?  Then either pack it up and put it in the loft or get rid of it.  Clear out all your drawers.  Have you not worn it for a few years, then why take up space with it?

Hows about the rest of the house?  The new slim you, needs a slimmed down house.  Check out my top 7 tips for getting decluttering, and if you like it, there is a whole category on decluttering.

You can even look around at your life.  Do you have any friends who are taking up too much space or just sapping the energy from you?  How are you managing your finances, could that do with an overhaul?  I’ll give you some tips on looking at your emotional and mental health as well.

I love detoxing, spring cleaning and decluttering having lived with a hoarder Mum.  It took me years to get really into it, but eventually when you have been doing it for a few years it becomes second nature and is really quick because you keep everything in it’s slimmed down state.  I find it fascinating that suddenly loads of people will get the detox urge or the declutter urge; maybe there it’s something to do with the change in seasons, or maybe there is something to astrology after all?  There are certainly times of the month when I feel more up for it, and I’m very much a ‘go with the flow’ type of person, so bear your menstrual cycle in mind when choosing to do a detox/declutter.

Advanced Detoxes

You can also buy detox herbs, which take anywhere from 3 days to 3 months to clear your system out.  The 3 day ones will be a quick boost, but the longer ones will be also looking at clearing out things like parasites (again something you probably don’t want to know about!).  I did a 3 month detox once and it was amazing, but I don’t have the motivation to do it every year, maybe every decade instead!

I’m a fan of detoxing once a year, but NEVER underestimate the power of these detox herbs.  Don’t take anything without being sure that it is from a reputable supplier, and if you have any health issues, check with your doctor first.  You can expect a bit of a headache, but make sure you check the instructions for what symptoms are not normal.  Definitely don’t do this if you are breast-feeding.

Warning

Time to stop for a while

Don’t do a Detox if you are exhausted or have a baby under 3 months old, just get a bit healthier.  If you are breast feeding, then you might want to wait until you reduce how much you are feeding baby and do a detox at 6 months when you start to give them normal food too and they are less reliant.  Definitely stick to a light detox like this one if you are breast feeding or have young children.

Definitely don’t do any more advanced detoxes until you are sure your healthy eating regime is firmly in place.  Otherwise you are going to get rid of a pile of junk and want to fill the hole back up with a new pile of junk!  The same goes for Colonics (if you don’t know what that is, then take it as a sign you are not meant to know!); I once tried it in order to be able to advise a client on it, and my whole body system went into shock.  I know some people love it and really recommend it.  I would only recommend it, after a good detox, when you know you will eat healthily and as a very infrequent thing.

Slimming pills are NOT a detox and should never be taken without a prescription from a doctor.  In fact I still think that there are many problems solved by surgery and slimming pills that could be solved with in depth therapy, however if you were going to die without the surgery or pills, then I can see that they make sense.

Update 2017: If you have a chronic illness of any kind, be very careful with detoxing.  Your system will be more sensitive and there could be an underlying infection.  When killing off bugs like that too aggressively they can produce toxins and it can be extremely unpleasant.  Since being diagnosed with Lyme disease, my detox has to be very gentle as the Herx reaction can leave me bed ridden for a couple of days.

 

Let me know if you have any questions about detoxes.

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Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Weight Loss Tips No9: Exercise

Ok, so if you haven’t added exercise into your weight loss regime yet, then now is definitely time for it.

But what I suggest might not be what you expect, bearing in mind I’m aiming for HEALTHY, FIT and SLIMMER (with a dash of sexier!), without bootcamps.

The thing is I’m over 40, the body is doing really well after 2 kids, but it isn’t quite what it was.

Plus I watched my mother spend the last 5yrs of her life in a wheel chair, not because of an accident or illness, but because she didn’t ‘use it‘, she ‘lost it‘.  You don’t want me to be explicit about how gruesome it can be when you are in a wheel chair and waiting for someone to come to your house to get you to the loo.

When you are 80/90/100 years old, do you know what is going to be your biggest fitness problem?  Running 10k?  No, it’s much more likely to be falling over because your posture is so bad you can only take tiny steps or your flexibility is rubbish.

So whatever exercise you do, PLEASE (I’m kind of passionate and shouty about this!) make sure that it includes core fitness and flexibility.  If you do nothing else, just pick something from one of these exercises.

  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Dancing (e.g. Zumba, Body Jam, Belly Dancing, Pole Dancing)
  • Swimming
  • Walking

Even better about all of these exercises is that they have a huge Mind/Body/Spirit kind of connection too, where you don’t just get to be fitter, but you also get a healthier mind and more balanced emotions.  You get an improvement with all exercise, but it’s greater with the ones that require some kind of co-ordination of the arms and legs, and that specifically affect your spirits or feeling about yourself.

Dancing is my personal favourite because it also adds in a bit of sparkle and feeling sexier, which is definitely a good thing for us Mums.  Plus, it’s an efficient use of time because you get more for your hour; exercise, lengthening of the muscles, flexibility, laughter (most of us being quite unco-ordinated), fun and a dash of sexiness.

You can measure your the number of steps you take a day if you get a pedometer (really cheap).  But did you know that you are aiming for 10,000 steps?  Yes that’s TEN THOUSAND, not one thousand!  That’s an eye opener isn’t it about what a recommended amount of exercise per day would be.

Don’t run if you are overweight, you are going to kill your body!  Walk fast instead and run later when you have lost some weight.  Plus, although it is a cheap sport, if you are older like me you really need to go to one of those shops that can see your running style and fit you with a good pair of shoes.  However, running is great and everyone can do it, you just start slowly and build up.  It can be really therapeutic to get some frustration out, plus it’s lovely to get fresh air and have some time to ourselves.

If you are a pear/curvy height challenged/short woman like me, be careful of exercises that will make you stockier.  In my experience I don’t need weights exercises for my legs or Body Pump or anything like that!  What you want is lengthening exercises like the ones I’ve already mentioned.  I promise you there was a time in my life when I was exercising like crazy and eating really well, but I was so stocky that I looked better when I stopped; how gutting was that!  Of course if you are a more of a skinny/boy shape, then these are the perfect exercises for you.

If you can afford at least to join a gym and get a plan written up that might be a good idea.  But remember to ask how long they have been working as a personal trainer.  If you have struggled for a few years with weight loss, then you don’t want the standard ‘I’ve been doing it for 3 yrs’ type of person and their standard fitness regime.

If you can’t afford the monthly bills for a gym, but could do a one-off, then many people are finding the Wii Fit and Xbox kinect very helpful.  For me the xbox wins, partially because it’s got Zumba and partially because I don’t have to worry about getting out the hand thingy’s, finding batteries because they’ve always run out and finding the plate thing to stand on (yes, I’m a bit lazy when it comes to extra faffing).

If you have a bit more money and fancy the most amazing holiday (and your kids are old enough to take or leave behind), then check out these Wild Fitness Holidays.  I did  their first ever trip years ago, and it was incredible.  I learnt tonnes, it was beautiful, and although I didn’t come back a size 10, I came back with the most amazing memories and the knowledge to sort a lot of my problems.  I can’t wait until they do a more child friendly version, I’d love to go back, even if I cant make it to Kenya, they now do a european version as well.

If it’s your tummy that is the problem (the muffin top, ugh!), especially one of those tummy’s that kind of fold over, then there are two easy things that you can do:

  1. Buy one of those fit balls, sit on it when watching TV or working.  Spend a couple of minutes a day balancing on it with your feet off the ground, and if you have a personal trainer get them to teach you how to do sit ups on them.  Two weeks of doing this on that holiday I mentioned and the difference was tremendous.
  2. Get a piece of string, stand up straight and tie it around your waist.  Now whenever you let your posture go as the day progresses, you’ll feel the string and remember to breathe in.  Cheap and effective!

Lastly remember with all exercise to warm up, cool down and stretch afterwards.  It doesn’t need to take ages, but it is really important.  Without it you can damage yourself and then stop your weight loss for weeks.  Even worse is you could seriously damage yourself and end up putting weight on.  Remember to take days off, so that your muscles get time to rest.

If you have problems with motivating yourself, then make sure you don’t force yourself to do something that doesn’t really suit you, instead take into account your personality.  Are you a loner (needing time to yourself; go for a walk/run/swim)?  Are you sociable (go for a class)?  Do you miss your clubbing days (find a dance class)?  Are you more of a Zen type of person (try yoga, pilates or walking)?  You can always go back to the 15 minute ‘how to get your head in the game‘ video to give yourself a boost.

p.s. I’ve nagged you about hydration before, but please make sure you drink water while you exercise.

 

Update: since writing this post I’ve created a whole blog series about exercise which is worth you checking out.

 

Update: since writing this post I’ve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  From what I’ve now learnt about my body I know now that this post is even more right that I thought it was.  Take care of yourself and your body, it’s important.  Don’t beat up your body, you will need it for a long time!

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Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Weight Loss Tips No8: What to Eat

So last week I went through quantities of food; smaller plates and food diaries.  This week it’s about what you eat.  There are no complicated recipes here, it’s all very basic as most of us Mums just don’t have the time to faff around.  But feel free to faff as much as you like if you are a great cook, just follow the guidelines.

Now I would love to recommend a weight loss group, but I don’t agree with any of the ones I tried because they either suggest ridiculous fad diets, or calorie counting or sweeteners; remember, I’m specifically focussed on the weight loss being about fitness, health, slimness and a big dash of sexiness.  Plus they don’t do much of the mindset stuff that I talked about at the beginning.   (I have not rigorously tried every single weight loss group, and some of my opinions are based on watching other people’s experiences).

My biggest bug bear is that half our problem with weight is that we aren’t taught about simple, basic nutrition at school and many of the diets/weight loss groups don’t teach it either.  It’s not rocket science; but it’s not well known information; that’s the biggest problem (hell, I’m quite bright, but I didn’t know this stuff until I started to investigate several years back).

So here are some tips from me, which are basically about eating healthily without becoming a freak who is no fun what so ever …

  • Eat 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables a day (a portion of fruit is probably a handful, otherwise it’s obvious with apples/ bananas/oranges)
  • Eat different colours of fruit and vegetables a day
  • Limit the bread intake to 1-2 pieces per day maximum and make sure it’s a good wholemeal brown bread
  • Assume any ready meal or ready sauce will have extra sugar and fat, so don’t buy them
  • Cook from scratch as often as possible (it doesn’t have to be cordon bleu, I’m a rubbish cook and I manage it)
  • Don’t buy low fat, it’s probably high in sugar
  • Don’t buy low sugar, it’s probably high in fat
  • Don’t buy low fat, low sugar, it’s high in bad stuff for you

*** UPDATE Jan 2012 *** Make sure you check out my new series of blog posts on ‘Healthy Eating For Rubbish Cooks’

Breakfast

Is not just a cup of coffee!  If you aren’t a breakfast person, then go for one later, or at least grab a banana and a glass of orange juice.  I know you are in a rush, but something is a good idea.  However, you might not need 2 pieces of toast, or a full bowl full of sugary cereal, so cut that down or out.  Everyone recommends porridge, but frankly it takes too long to make in the chaos of school runs and makes me bloat for some reason; I think it’s too heavy on my stomach in the morning.  So I go for fruit, or a one piece of toast.  But at the weekend (maybe just one of the days), it’s great to have poached/boiled/scrambled eggs, with grilled tomatoes, and maybe grilled bacon or sausages; a lovely way for the family to start the weekend and breakfast together (note: not fried).

Snacks

Remember I mentioned snacks in how much to eat?  I’ll have one mid-morning and mid-afternoon, ideally with water or maybe a cuppa.  I probably go for fruit in the morning, and then a biscuit in the afternoon or I really like corn thins with peanut butter (they taste nicer than rice cakes and are lower in the Glyceamic Index).

Lunch

I have a small lunch and bigger dinner, but it’s up to you which way round you do it.  I just recommend that only one meal a day is a ‘main meal’ and the other is a bit smaller.  My lunch is a bit haphazard, I try to only have a sandwich if I didn’t have bread for breakfast.  Sometimes it’s something like ryvita/corn thins with ham/cheese followed by fruit, or maybe share an avocado with the baby and some toast or have a tomatoe and mozzarella salad with green pesto.  But I still follow the rules of the main meal of 1/4 being protein, 1/4 being carb and 1/2 being fruit/vegetables/salad.

Main meal

You can make your main meal out of anything, just follow the rules and remember the quantity limits

  • One portion of protein the size of your *palm; Fish, chicken and turkey are best for weight loss, red meat is harder to digest (pork, ham, beef).
  • One portion of carbohydrates the size of your *palm; pasta, rice, new potatoes, half a jacket potato, couscous
  • Half a plate of salad or vegetables

How you cook will make a difference, but again it’s pretty easy, basically the rule is ‘Don’t fry in lots of fat’ ..

  • Do a stir fry instead.  I cheat to get extra taste and use olive oil with lemon, basil or garlic added to it.  Often I add extra lemon juice or Soy sauce or dried herbs.
  • Grill instead.  It can taste just as juicy, especially if you wrap it in foil with something tasty as in the stir fry’s.
  • Make your own sauces; As I said, I’m a pretty rubbish cook, so I heavily rely on pesto, creme fraiche, phillidelphia, and tinned tomatoes to make sauces (Don’t tell me it’s easy to make gravy/sauce, I just don’t get it!!).

*A Palm is not your HAND! It’s the middle bit where there are no fingers!

If you want to follow an Eating Plan, go for the GI

Most diets or eating plans are FADs; did I shout that loud enough!!  So any ‘no carb’ (they will claim you are getting carbs, but just not starchy carbs), food combining, blood typing, or calorie counting diets will either not work, or only work for a while because they are too blinking difficult to put into place unless you are extremely lucky.

But I do understand that you might not know much about food/nutrition, and therefore want a more detailed guide than the one I’m giving you.  In which case the one eating plan that I can recommend highly is the Glyceamic Index one, and my favourite author is Rick Gallop (because some other writers have broken the rules I mentioned above).  The reason I love it is because it’s healthy, and it will help with the mindset part of the weight loss because sugar/insulin affect our emotions so badly, plus you will learn loads about food.

It’s really easy, based on traffic lights.  If you want to lose weight, you always eat a ‘Green’ with any ‘Oranges’.  You would avoid ‘Red’ if possible, but know to stuff yourself with ‘Green’ to balance it out if you do eat a Red.  After a while, what is Green, Orange and Red becomes second nature and you can feel the effects in your body.  It is REALLY surprising what is red!  I suspect that many meals you thought were healthy weren’t.

Make your own weight loss group

If you do fancy a weight loss group, hows about making your own up, because the others will be connected to a fad diet, and also many don’t do much about the mindset part of the game.

  • Meet up each week, go through your food diaries, and how you’ve done.
  • Give yourselves a clap if you did well, or a hug and kick up the butt if you didn’t!
  • Talk through the mindset, hydration, food and exercise choices with each other and see if there is something that needs rejigging
  • Then when you lose confidence or motivation, all of you can go back through my video for getting your heads in the game and help each other to envision a fitter, healthier, slimmer group.

Complications due to health or religious factors

Now some people might have allergies that complicate what they can or can’t eat; although normally that will probably make them eat healthily anyway, so they wont need my weight loss tips!  But if you still have weight problems and a particular eating restriction, I recommend talking to people on forums with the same problem, as many will have managed to overcome it and then focus on my other posts.

There is a group of people for whom this is much trickier, and that is when the time of eating is regulated by religion, and the choice of food is heavily affected by cultural influences.  This obviously I don’t have much experience in; all I had to get over was having a Mum who focussed on meat and two veg as a staple diet, and gave me sugar cubes when I was tired.  But I have tried to come up with some ideas for you:

  • Don’t concentrate on dieting during fasts or special days of the week
  • Really focus on quantity of food if the food that you desperately want is cooked with lots of fat or very high in calories
  • Make sure that you read the G.I. diet book and balance with a LOT of salad or green vegetables.
  • Look around and talk to women who are clearly managing to keep their weight under control and find out if they have some tips on cooking the same food, but with less fat (unless they are using a freaky diet).
  • Limit which parts of the meal you treat yourself with: for instance you might have the gorgeous curry, but boiled rice and no naan bread.

Do you need a diet?

Nope, you just need to eat healthily and your weight will come down (I’ll be talking about exercise next week!).

 

*** UPDATE Jan 2012 *** Make sure you check out my new series of blog posts on ‘Healthy Eating For Rubbish Cooks’

Remember, you are always welcome to get in touch and ask me a question via my ‘problem corner‘ blogs.

Let me know how you do!  If you find these tips helpful, feel free to sign up for my RSS feed or subscribe by email, so that you don’t miss any, tell your mates, and join my facebook fan page.

Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Weight Loss Tips No7: Quantities of Food

I think that we all lie to ourselves about our food intake; so today is about how much we eat, and next week will be about what we eat.

One thing I can definitely tell you is that if you need to lose weight, then at some point you are going to need to eat less.  However, I’m not into faffing around with calorie counting either, it can be pretty simple to work out how much to eat.

BUT be warned, too much less and you will put your body into a panic, so it will try to hold onto everything or even worse you will reduce your energy and stamina too much, or even even worse you will make yourself ill. So don’t think, ‘aha, thats easy then, I will just stop eating and nearly kill myself in the process’.  What I’m saying is ‘less’, rather than ‘nothing’!

*** UPDATE Jan 2012 *** Make sure you check out my new series of blog posts on ‘Healthy Eating For Rubbish Cooks’

So here is are a few easy tips to start you off, and getting you going …

Smaller plates

That’s it.  Smaller plates.  When you start your weight loss regime, just use smaller bowls and smaller plates.  For e.g. I use a cereal bowl, not a pasta bowl or a medium sized plate rather than a big dinner plate; what are those medium sized ones called that are larger than a side plate, those are the ones I mean?

Food Diaries

Now, lets face the music and be honest with yourself.  Get a notebook (hmmm, heard that one before in these blog posts about weight loss, I should open a notebook shop!), and write down everything you eat and drink each day, plus how you feel at the beginning and end of the day.  This will highlight to you the uneccessary foods you are eating.  The stuff you don’t even remember tasting.  Plus the times that you ate just that little too much.

If you keep this food diary going during your diet, it will help you to stay focussed and true to yourself.  You can’t fix a problem unless you know what it is!

Fat Pants

You know what I mean, the pants that go from under the bra line to your thighs that Gok Wan always recommends (I love Gok Wan, I’ll love you forever if you know anyone who can introduce me to him!)  They will not only help you to look like you have lost 7 lbs, but you will also not be able to eat as much.  Perfect!

If it’s summer time and you can’t bear them, then go for a tight belt on your waist, it’ll do the same job.

Lunch box

I remember Eamon Holmes doing this one just before his wedding (however, he obviously stopped just afterwards!).  I googled it and apparently it was created by a guy called Simon Lovell.  I haven’t bought his book or system, but pretty much I think the idea is that you pre-prepare your food for the day and pop it into the lunch box; then you can only eat food from the lunch box.

I think that this is a great way of you seeing what you are eating during the day and reducing your snacking.  Are you the kind of woman who grabs a biscuit, shoves it in her mouth and has forgotten it 30 seconds later?  Well, put only 1 biscuit in your lunch box, and you might just savour it a load more than the 10 you normally eat!

I know that you might say you don’t have time to do this, but you do have time to grab the food during the day, so all you are doing is putting it into one time slot.  Also, you can always miss out dinner, and just do the obvious of two snacks and lunch.  Or if snacking is your problem, then just do a box for snacks.

Regular Snacks

Do you sometimes over eat, because you don’t know if you will get hungry later?  Or do you run out of energy and get a bit swimmy headed and grumpy?  I’m a big fan of a mid-morning snack and a mid-afternoon one.  This way you can eat less for breakfast and lunch, knowing that you don’t need to worry because something will be appearing in a couple of hours.  I’m talking about a glass of water, and an apple/banana/piece of fruit in general.  But I don’t ban biscuits or chocolate from my life; what would be the point in that heh!

*** UPDATE Jan 2012 *** Make sure you check out my new series of blog posts on ‘Healthy Eating For Rubbish Cooks’

So when you first start to lose weight, you can keep eating the same for a bit, just eat less of it.  Coming next week are tips on how to change what you eat as well.

If you find these tips helpful, feel free to sign up for my RSS feed or subscribe to my blog via email, tell your mates, and join my facebook fan page.

Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Weight Loss Tips No6: Hydration: How to drink more water

So we have covered the 4 reasons why weight loss is so difficult, and now you know them it will be easy!

Hopefully you’ve done the mindset exercise (this is a must), and set sensible goals using lots of different ways of measuring your success.

Now point 2 in the 4 aspects to cover for successful weightloss was Hydration.

There isn’t much point in getting the exercise and nutrition right if you don’t get the hydration right, because you’re poor old body will just think that it’s on a desert island which is getting worse and worse, and try to hang on to everything!  That’s why it is point 2 after the mindset exercise.

Do you know why you need water?  Does your car work without oil?  Nope.  Well your body needs water, and sleep.  You’ll die sooner of dehydration and sleep deprivation, than you will from lack of food.  If you don’t drink enough water, your body thinks it’s in a desert and tries to hold on to everything it can.  Plus, even if you are eating healthily etc, you wont be getting all the goodness you could from the food or supplements, because your body needs water.

Ok, so I know some of you don’t like water, but there are loads of ways of increasing your water intake that will work for you, so all you need to do is find some.

(Bear in mind I’m not talking about drinking litres and litres of water in one go, as that can kill you too).

Here are ways that I’ve increased my water intake that works for me:

  1. Glass of water first thing in the morning when brushing my teeth
  2. Then again when the kids brush their teeth
  3. And when I brush my teeth at night
  4. Cup of hot water with lemon or slice of ginger root in the morning; seems to get my thirst going for the day
  5. A quick glass of water before each meal especially lunch and dinner
  6. Keeping water in the fridge so that you can have a glass of cold water when you are thirsty (I know that warm water is meant to be better for you, but I don’t like it).
  7. Add a slice of lemon to a Glass of cold water
  8. Bottles of water on the push chair and in the car, so I’m constantly sipping (I’m not organised enough to use a water bottle and wash or fill it up regularly enough.  But remember to replace bottles that have gotten really hot in the sunshine unless they are in non-plastic bottles)
  9. Always have a bottle of water with you if you are breast feeding
  10. There’s a lot of water in fruit surprisingly, so that can be an extra way of getting water into your system.

If you aren’t keen on water, then try to add at least some, and then compromise with a really good fruit juice (not from concentrate) and a good weak glass of squash (without sweetener or preservatives).

If you think that there is a chance that you have been terribly dehydrated, then use a sports drink for a couple of days first to get your electrolyte levels up (sugars and salts), then replace them with water.  They might have a few nasty’s in them, but otherwise you can actually start drinking more water, but because your electrolyte levels are out, it will just go straight through you and not get used.

How can you tell if you are drinking enough water? Now I have heard someone disagree with this, and suspect that it might depend on the person; but basically if you can see that you peed in the loo, then you didn’t drink enough water.  In the morning it’s bound to have colour, but from then on you are looking for water coloured, or a light yellow.  Or you can keep an eye on how much you drink; some professionals recommend 8 glasses of water a day, others recommend 1.5-2.5 litres of water a day (here is a wiki answer with more info).  You will need to add water after exercise as well.

What is and is not water?  I have been told that for every one of these you need to add an extra glass of water, it’s easier not to drink them much in my opinion ;o)

  • Coffee
  • Fizzy drinks
  • ** Diet Drinks
  • Alcohol!

** In fact I’m not a fan of any diet stuff at all as they have sacharrine in them.  If I was going to drink a fruit squash or fruit juice, I would prefer going for the full sugar one, than the diet one.

Let me know how you do, and feel free to ask for help if this doesn’t get your water drinking improved.

If you find these tips helpful, feel free to sign up for my RSS feed  or subscribe by email, tell your mates, and join my facebook fan page.

Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Weight Loss Tips No5: Setting Goals

Ok, so I like ticking boxes, so I tend to have a few goals.  Just one goal doesn’t give as much satisfaction as achieving lots of them.  So when setting your goals I recommend setting several, so that you can do lots of ticking and feel lots of satisfaction (and get lots of treats for achieving them!)

Before we start, I’d like to mention something important (it’s that whole cover my butt phase, but it’s especially important in this tip).  If you are under eighteen, unless you are seriously obese I don’t think you should be looking at weight loss, even my pretty balanced tips.  If you do have a weight problem as a teen or child, then you need to talk to your doctor and make sure  that someone is overseeing your weight loss.  Same goes for if you are older, or have any kind of serious medical illness.  Even ‘normal’ people, I would ideally like you to run your goals past a really good mate who will tell you the truth, so that they can say wether you are aiming for too little or too much.

Setting a Goal

Right then, what you are aiming for in coaching terms is a SMART goal!  If you don’t have a SMART goal then your chances of success are much reduced.  Here is what SMART means …

  • Specific: be clear about what you would love to achieve, e.g. to Become Fit, Healthy & Slim or ‘Feel great in my clothes’ or ‘Be able to run further’ or ‘Be able to play with my kids for longer’.  Think about what YOUR actual problem is, rather than what you think that you should be doing.
  • Measurable: make sure that you have an objective measure of your progress e.g. Aiming for a BMI of __ and a Body Fat% of __ and Weight of __ and a dress size of __.  Check out last weeks post on how to measure your progress.
  • Achievable: Remember to set an objective that includes a healthy amount of weight loss within a sensible amount of time.  For instance, once you have done the initial spurt then a good plan is 1-2 lbs of weight a week, because more than that you are losing muscle, which will end up with you putting the weight back on again or not getting fitter/healthier.
  • Realistic: how tall are you, are you sure that you would look good as a size 10, maybe a size 12 would be more suitable?  Is it really within your values set to be very slim?  Would you be happier with a few curves left over?
  • Timeable: set a sensible number of dates to check your progress on, with rewards if you achieve your goals by then.

How often to Measure

When you have set your goal, you will then need to keep an eye on it.

Most professionals recommend that you don’t jump on the scales every day because it can become obsessive and doesn’t take into account the natural ups and downs.  I would suggest weighing yourself on the same day at the same time each week.

Then do the rest of the measurements on a monthly basis, because by looking at it in detail on a monthly basis you won’t get the results skewed by your periods etc.

What happens if you don’t get the results you wanted

Go back through my posts and ..

  1. Complain and whine for a bit (no longer than 1 day!)
  2. Get up, dust yourself off and start again
  3. Reconsider your goal; was it really SMART?
  4. Remotivate yourself
  5. Check which of the 4 important areas you might have missed
  6. Read the rest of my posts in the weight loss category to see if there are any tips that might help
  7. You are always welcome to post a question in my question corner by emailing MummyWhisperer at Me dot Com

Some examples from my life

Here is an example of my goals.  I had put on weight due to working from home; in particular working too much and not leaving enough time for me.  So I decided that 2011 was the year for me to sort this out for 3 big reasons:

  1. I wasn’t feeling fabulous about my body
  2. I wanted an obvious/measurable sign of success to give me more confidence
  3. I wanted to improve my health long term so that I get to play with my grandchildren

I set the goals by half stone increments, but my major goal was to achieve a ‘healthy’ weight according to the Body fat percentage etc.  From February to now I have lost 22lb’s, am ‘healthy’ and feeling a whole lot better about my body; it’s at that kind of ‘good in the right sort of clothes’ stage.  But I’m aiming for another 6lbs in order to get that final comfortable feeling, a general dress size of 12 and a ‘don’t have to where clothes that hide bumpy bits’ stage.  I might then consider more exercise to get to ‘Looks good in a bikini stage’, but that depends on whether I can be bothered by then.

I am NOT aiming for size 10 and lower than 10 stone, because that would require exercising 5 times a week for my body type (been there, done that) and more time than I have got to focus on cooking.  Plus I don’t really care enough about being a size 10, because since becoming a Mum, I have found curves much more attractive than skinniness.  Maybe when I have older children I might focus more on the ‘looking good in a bikini’ aim, but for now it’s more about how I feel about myself every day of the week, than on specific holiday occasions.

Need some help setting a SMART goal?

I’m offering a free 15 minute laser coaching session this week to 3 of my blog followers (signed up to the RSS feed), or facebook page fans, or people who signed up for my email list.  It’s on a first come, first serve basis, so reply asap if you would like help!

** Sorry this offer is now closed, but you can always ask for help on my facebook page or my problem corner.

Whats coming up

Right so over the past few weeks we’ve looked at making sure you are sorted mentally, now I’m going to share some hints on food, hydration and exercise.  There’s lots more coming up, and many of these hints you’ll have never heard anywhere before.

 

If you find these tips helpful, feel free to sign up for my RSS feed or subscribe by email so that you don’t miss any, tell your mates, and join my facebook fan page.

Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Weight Loss Tips No4: Do you know how to measure?

So remember I said that my objective is to get you HEALTHY, then FIT, and then SLIMMER?  (Personally, I add in SEXIER too, for a good dash off feel good factor).

Well we are going to have to set some goals soon, but first you need to know how to measure yourself and set your starting point.

Before we start, let me make a really important point.  When you look up the recommended statistics for all the below measurements, make sure that you take into account your AGE and SEX.  Because they are different, and if you don’t then you are not going to be comparing yourself correctly.

Get a notebook.  Write in the date and time.

Now lets look at some ways that you can measure your starting point (I would recommend doing them all, because you might get movement one month on one and not on another) …

Photo

Go on, if it’s horrid, then thats great because you’ll be able to beat it asap!

Height

You probably know this!  I recommend you convert it into centimetres as well as feet and inches, because some of the later calculations will be easier that way.  Here is a URL I found quickly via google, feel free to add a comment with a better one if you find it: http://www.onlineconversion.com/

Tape measure

After all this is probably what most bothers you, which is how much space you take up.  So measure lots of things, otherwise you might miss some of the changes (you might need a friends help for this): Upper arms, bra line, waist, hips, thigh, calf.

Weight

Actually not always the best measure as it doesn’t take into account fat etc, but not without merit.  Make sure you convert it into kilos as well as stones and just pounds, because it makes the calculators easier to use.

Fat Percentage

I admit to being a fan of gadgets, so I do have the scales that measure fat percentage.  Gyms can do it too with a tool that literally ‘pinches and inch’, normally for free if you are a member, plus online there are calculators to work it out from your height and weight.

Here is one that I found: http://www.healthyforms.com/helpful-tools/index.php

Body Mass Index

I’m not a massive fan of this measurement because in cases like the big hairy northern one it doesn’t take into account big legs from years of track cycling and rugby as a young bloke.  However, if you are of ‘normal’ build, then it will probably give you a decent insight.

There’s an NHS one here: http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx?Tag=Calculators

Hip to Waist Ratio

This is actually one of the most important, as when it is high there are greater chances of you having fat around your organs which has major effects on your health and life span, so I am a BIG fan of this measurement.  Again a gym or a personal trainer can do this one for you.  You can probably do it yourself, but you do need to be careful about where you are measuring.

Here’s one for you: http://www.healthyforms.com/helpful-tools/index.php

Dress size

Pick a store and pick a dress size!  Remember that different stores, will have different ways of measuring dress sizes.  Potentially pick one that works for your age, for example if you are over 15 don’t pick Top Shop, if you are under 30 don’t pick Marks and Spencer’s (I’m not saying don’t buy from them, I’m just saying don’t pick them as your measurement.  For my height I reckon a healthy dress size is 10-12 (being curvy, I’m likely to need a 12 trouser, or larger top if it’s tight, but 10 is a good average size for me).

General Health

If you would like to check out your general health in other areas of life and make sure that you are not living too close to the edge, then sign up for my free newsletter (don’t worry I don’t send out loads), and you will get a free Life Health Questionnaire.

How is your nutrition?

Do you eat lots of sugar and fat, some rubbish, 5 a day with a little regular treat, really good.

How is your hydration?

Do you drink no water with coffee and fizzy drinks, a couple of glasses of water a day with coffee and fizzy drinks, a couple of glasses of water a day with maybe one coffee, 8 glasses of water a day with just one coffee.

How often do you exercise?

How many steps do you manage a day?  A pedometer is a really good idea.  You will probably find that a ‘normal’ sedentary day is about 2-3k steps, the school run adds another 1-2k, going for a walk or shopping another 1-2k.  You are aiming for 10,000 yes, TEN THOUSAND!

Do you manage to fit any exercise into your life?

  • Not at all + get tired quickly with the kids
  • Once per week + get tired after 30 mins with the kids
  • Twice per week + get tired after 1hr with the kids
  • Three times per week + lots of energy with the kids?

How do you feel about your body?

Do you hate it, dislike it, think it’s OK in clothes, think it’s OK in a bikini, or think it’s fabulous?

How sexy do you feel

(as this has little to do with actual size, just what you think about yourself)? – Not at all, a little, once in a while, often, lots, sexilicious?

 

So you have tonnes of ways of measuring your progress.  This gives you more likelihood of making progress each week, however little.

Plus it makes sure that you keep your eyes on all important aspects of weight loss, not just a one sided view.  Remember to check out my earlier posts on how to get and keep yourself motivated!  Next week we are going to set some goals and make sure that they are goals that work.

If you find these tips helpful, feel free to sign up for my RSS feed or subscribe by email, tell your mates, and join my facebook page.