Firstly thank you to the lovely Kerry for letting me write a guest post for her wonderful blog. I’m so excited! I wanted to share with you guys the lifestyle changes that I have recently put in place to help me overcome my body issues after giving birth to my beautiful daughter Ava. I hope you enjoy it.
When I was pregnant one of the things that I enjoyed the most was watching my body change. I loved watching my bump grow and willed each week to pass so that I could read up on baby's progress and growth. I found it so fascinating.
But after Ava's birth my body felt different somehow. I was still me but this didn't feel like my body, where my bump had once been I now had a "pouch", a smattering of stretch marks on my hips and thighs, I was about as wobbly as a big bowl of jelly and my confidence was at an all time low. I had gone from being amazed that my body could produce a beautiful little baby to pretty disgusted at this flabby stranger. It was time to take a stand!
So now that my baby is one and my bump is long gone I want to start to love my body. I want to take care of myself and when we go on holiday in June I want to be able to wear a bikini with confidence and not hide in my magic tummy control one-piece (amazing by the way!).
Now I love food! It is one of my greatest pleasures in life and I didn't want to go on one of those diets where you are only allowed a stick of celery a day! I just had to take the healthy option more often than not while still allowing myself a treat (because what's life with no treats?) which has been easier than I thought. I suffer with IBS which has flared up recently; this causes my stomach to swell and gives me a lot of pain and discomfort so I have started to cut certain things from my diet starting with wine and wheat. I know, wine! I was sad too but it's not worth the pain it causes (boo). My stomach also has a tendency to go crazy after a lot of bread or pasta. I have cut my intake right down and if I do indulge its whole wheat or granary bread and whole wheat pasta.
The biggest sin in our house is cups of tea with lots of biscuits for dunking (hello British stereotype), the cups of tea have been replaced with green tea with one regular cup of tea in the evenings and lots of water in between. This was my biggest downfall pre-pregnancy. I never drink! But it honestly helps so much; it's cleared my skin and makes me feel alert. One of the best pieces of advice that I have read is about hunger, when you feel hungry you are usually in fact thirsty. I eat when I am bored but if I swap it with a big glass of water, wait 10 minutes and the "hunger" will usually subside. Obviously if I am still hungry I eat something but it tends to be a lack of fluids sending out these hunger signals, confusing. It would be so easy for me to eat a pizza every night but now that Ava is eating properly I tend to make her healthy meals from scratch or she has a little bit of what we're having which makes things easier.
Onto the big issue: fitness. I used to hate the gym. Seriously hate! 5 minutes on the treadmill and I'd be feeling sick, I'd have a stitch in my side and I'd be wheezing like an old smoker. Awful. Let’s get one thing straight, I've never been over weight and I only went up one dress size when pregnant. A lot of you are probably now wondering why I'm making such a fuss but I was unfit, very unfit. I have always been a small build but I have never taken care of my body, and do you want to know something crazy? I actually enjoy going to the gym now (Ssh don't tell anyone). It's so weird. I enjoy pushing myself to see if I can improve my time on the cross trainer I enjoy the feeling of my muscles aching while I'm doing my stomach exercises. I never thought I would say it but I do. I am already starting to see some changes which makes it all the more worthwhile. Oh but treadmill I still hate you.
I understand that after having a baby it is difficult to exercise, you're tired, it's hard to find the time when you're a mum. I found it very difficult to get back into the gym but now that we have worked out a routine I go to the gym 3 times a week. But if I ever want to do any exercise at home I put on Jillian Michael's "30 Day Shred" which I cannot recommend enough. It takes 20 minutes but Jillian is amazing and really makes you work your butt off. You can really feel that you have done a work out the next day and if you're anything like me you'll be amazed that you could feel like that after only 20 minutes. Thanks Gillian! (Obviously you have to wait at least 6 weeks after having your baby before doing any exercise.)
So I am going to see if I can do this. A girl who put on some weight during pregnancy, who loves food and hates exercise, wants a bikini body for June? Is that a challenge? I think so, and it's one that I'm prepared to take on. Let's see if I can do this.
Thank you to Harriet from A Rush of Love for this lovely guest post today. Do pop over and say hello!