It’s taken its toll

It’s taken its toll

Having had two children 16 months apart, I feel like I’ve been pregnant for most of the past two years!

I’ve survived on the ultimate capsule wardrobe, re-using most of the clothes I bought first time round last year with Emma.

But, it has, inevitably taken it’s toll on my body. I saw with interest this story that popped up on my twitter feed today…

I’ve never had a Midwife or health visitor tell me I need to lose weight. After having Emma I was given a sheet of exercises that are recommended in the early days after having a baby, but nothing about getting into shape, more ensuring that my muscles and joints etc were eased back and helped.

If anything, it’s the media obsession that puts pressure on women to diet quickly post pregnancy – you only need to look at the Daily Mail sidebar to see the obsession with how women look pre and post pregnancy – seems celebrity mums are berated either way.

That said, pre children I was fairly fit, I liked to run and head to the gym. Before Daniel was born I was working in a relatively pressured job (exacerbated by staff sickness etc) and wasn’t really looking after myself. I was exhausted with work and during my pregnancy with Daniel we were having a lot of work done in our house – we slept in the dining room for a few months. I wasn’t exercising as much as I should have, and was snacking on too many office biscuits to stave off hunger whilst I jumped from meeting to meeting.

With Emma’s pregnancy I actually lost weight initially and only gained a stone in total – more to do with chasing an energetic crawling then walking baby and not having the temptation of office snacks readily at hand. Now that Emma is almost 15 weeks old I have started to make greater efforts to shift the last of the baby weight and get back into my lovely clothes from summers past.

I’m using a website and app called ‘My Fitness Pal‘. It’s great as you enter your target weight and it works out the number of calories you should be aiming to eat. To start I didn’t have a huge amount to lose; probably just less than a stone I guess. What the app does is really highlight where the calorific foods are, and is also helping me to achieve a better balance between fats, protein and carbohydrates – I have a tendency to eat too many carbs as evidenced by the graph below. What My fitness pal has enabled me to do is make smarter food choices; so for example I think twice if I am having baked potato for tea about what my lunch and breakfast is – a sandwich for example will really push me over the suggested (and healthy) carbohydrate balance.

My Carb consumption

I have also started swimming twice a week – again something I used to love many many years ago.  It’s gentle on my joints (my hips/pelvis have a tendency to ache if I overdo the exercise), I’m making efforts to walk more – easy to do in the summer months and I have re-visited running – again something I used to do a lot of a long time ago. I have even registered for a local Park Run and hope to attend my first one this month. I don’t get out to run as often as I would like; a mixture of weather putting me off (we have had some really heavy rain here recently) and at the end of the day I’m not always in the mood to run; I prefer to run first thing in the morning.

To keep track of my fitness I am using Map My Fitness – this links in the my fitness pal. I love how it logs how much I am doing… I am a real one for stats based stuff like this as it provides a benchmark for me to improve against.

I log my swimming and it’s great to look back on it and see how quickly I am improving and to set myself new goals. If you use the app on a smartphone then you can get an accurate measure of distances run – I’ve been really impressed that I am almost already manage 5km…. the distance of a parkrun.

I’m also finding that the couple of hours a week I am out of the house and at the swimming pool is great for me. It’s a completely selfish thing to do, but as I meet up with my mum, auntie and cousin I can have some child free time and not be ‘mum’ for a short while. It also gives my husband some much needed time alone; it’s easy to forget that he too doesn’t get a break with work and then home to the children.

Moving more and making smarter food choices seems to be the best way forward for me. What are your top tops for fitness? Are there any brilliant low calorie meals I should be thinking about?

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