The Perfect Size – does not exist

A segment on the channel 7 program Sunday Night once again brought up the debate on Mothers having to lose their baby weight fast once giving birth. This one resonates with me personally at the moment having given birth to my third child only 7 weeks ago.  And as a personal trainer and nutritionist myself I still find this a completely frustrating topic.

There is no doubt immense pressure on mothers to get back to that “perfect” body to fit into society and be accepted.  You just need to read the latest Women’s Weekly article or celebrity social media post to see how quickly so and so got her beach body back for the next role and everyone is praising them.  However, we never talk about the amazing thing many women’s bodies have been given the absolute privilege to do and that is to create a human being.  To the fellow Mum’s out there, when was the last time you looked in the mirror and instead of maybe shaming yourself did you actually look at yourself and say “Far out this body made that miracle”.  I still look at my children, and obviously more recently my third child and can’t get over the fact that my body made her, I provided her food and shelter for 9 months and now I am incredibly lucky to have 3 adorable children (ha not always adorable, can drive insane) in my world.  Sure, as a fitness trainer I also think about how I will get back into the exercise regime for my health and the health of my children as I want them to understand that healthy living is a lifestyle choice and not a chore.

But before I do that I also understand that everyone is different and there is not one perfect body that fits all.  After having my first child I will admit it was a lot easier to get my pre-baby body back.    However, I had 1 child which meant I had time to run our business in between naps and exercise with her in the pram and when hubby got home I would get out for some “me” time and go for that run.  I would be lying too if I didn’t If I didn’t admit to feeling the pressure of getting back into shape being a fitness trainer.  My clients didn’t put this pressure on me but society did.  It made me think my clients would judge me if I didn’t head back to work looking fit and healthy, perhaps head elsewhere if I didn’t look like I had it all together after having a baby.   However, second time around I forgot all of this and it became harder to get back into the regime, hubby worked more, my children never slept and life got a whole lot foggier! Third time around, I expect it will be even harder but when I am ready I will up my regime, set a goal and give my self time to achieve that goal, not an unrealistic time frame and I will not measure it by the number on the scales.  I won’t let anyone this time make me feel I have a time limit on these things.

As new mums and mums of many children, we also need support.  First time mums definitely need this to understand what the hell they got themselves into but mums of many children need this support too! And as Mums we don’t need to be shaming each other and comparing ourselves when it comes to health and fitness, to other mums.  Everyone else leads very different lives too, some many have more support than others which leads to less time for “YOU” which can really impact your road to getting back on track.  I do find it hard to follow some of the mum forums that I do asking “how do I lose this baby weight?” “what diet worked for you” and the lists of names and programs that appear are endless.  Funnily enough when you offer practical sustainable advice it is not as well received as that “QUICK FIX”.

We need to remember that to feel comfortable in our own skin again after having a baby takes time, patience and acceptance.  Your body will always be different to what it once was but with some commitment (whatever that looks like in between sleepless nights, unsettled days and tantrums) YOU WILL GET THERE!!! But you also need to enjoy life, enjoy the little humans you’ve created, ask for help and accept that you will get there it will just take time.

 

 

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Back to Basics – Kick starting your nutrition plan

I strongly believe for you to have a successful nutritional plan and lead a healthy lifestyle you firstly need to ensure you are equipped with the correct information and have strategies in place to implement what is hopefully a successful plan to adhere to.

I don’t believe one plan will ever suit everyone. You can sign up for any weight loss program and be told what to eat but if you really don’t like it will you stick with it? Do you know why you are eating those foods? What calories you are consuming and how many and why? And if you have an intolerance to food, is the program catered for you or is it just aimed at the general population.

If you are equipped with the correct information I strongly believe you would be able to adapt this to your own lifestyle and nutritional needs and be more motivated to continue and reach your goals. This is why the W2W Nutritional Overhaul program is all about educating you and providing you with the right tools to form your own strategies so that this becomes a lifestyle choice and not a short term solution.

So today I am taking us back to the basics. Over my time as a health professional many of the same questions are asked because people just don’t know where to start. The following answers these questions and demonstrates how I would go about a week of nutritional planning in our household.

Where do I start when making a weekly food plan?
My shopping is on a Wednesday so thus why I write my plan out as below. I, like I have suggested to you, will look at old recipes I have used over time (obviously healthy options) or refer to links as I have provided.

I will ensure we have the right balance throughout the week – Fish, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Turkey/Kangaroo are some of the options I look towards (obviously this will vary if you are a meat eater or not and can be changed). I choose dishes that have a great amount of vegetable/salad options and if they don’t I will purchase extra vegetables/salad to change the recipe accordingly.

A week for us may look like the following, may look boring but it is delicious! I will also give all of these meals to Olivia and Nick.

Wednesday – Baked Fish with sweet potato chips and ¼ cup of Cous Cous
Thursday – Chicken stir fry with soy sauce and garlic and vegetables (these can be fresh or frozen) with ¼ cup of brown or basmati rice
Friday – Home-made Pizza with homemade meat balls, grilled vegetables, mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach. Base is olive oil and garlic with no dressing
Saturday – Tuna Mornay (a basic old favourite) with rice and curried tuna but I add veges on the side with this or salad
Sunday – Fresh Pasta with Napoli sauce (and I would add some of our frozen veges to this)
Monday – Kangaroo steak with baked sweet potato, carrot, capsicum, tomato and spinach
Tuesday – Turkey breast marinated in honey and soy with salad vegetables and ¼ cup of brown rice

I will buy meat in bulk and freeze the meat I won’t use for the next couple of days. I will also purchase more than the recipe so that I can make extra meals and freeze them for our lunches, removing take-away temptations.

To avoid wastage I buy frozen vegetables, grilled vegetables in a jar, corn/bean/beetroot canned vegetables (always a great option to throw into a salad or add extra vegetables to a meal) along with fresh varieties, I just ensure I use these first.

When I have done my shopping, I write this list up and pop it on our noticeboard at home so that I can see an outline of the week. Note: if I have put a meal on Wednesday it doesn’t mean we have to have it that day, but it provides us with options throughout the week and because life (like everyone’s) is busy and dinners can be late due to our hours, it removes the temptation of buying take-away meals on the way home.

What about breakfast and lunch?
Our breakfasts and lunches are pretty basic and less time consuming. I always make sure I have porridge, bread, eggs and one type of cereal (my choice is special K – but our family goes through phases) in the cupboard.

With breakfast if it is cereal/porridge I am having I always have it with a piece of fruit (easy way to get your fruit intake for the day) and if I need to add a bit of sugar, a little bit of honey works well. Condiments such as vegemite, peanut butter, honey are always easy options to add to your toast. Eggs are great for weekend meals when you feel like something a little more hearty – omelette, scrambled eggs/poached eggs with tomato and avocado (try it with vegemite on the toast and cut the avocado and tomato up like a salsa and drizzle with lemon and coriander – don’t knock it till you try it) are great ways to mix up your meals and avoid getting bored.

Lunches I may be a little more boring for people, rice cakes/corn thins and bread is stock standard in our household. As I am pregnant at the moment I avoid the night before meals due to listeria possibilities so these are given to Nick. So for me some lean meat, grilled veges or salad veges, and cheese satisfies my hunger. These are also easy options to have sitting at work, but night before meals also works wonders.

How to fill out a food diary?
How this has been filled out may depend on whether you are using an app or online program (see meal planning on the website for suggestions) or simply writing it in a diary of your own. To count calories (which is optional) it is best to use one of the online programs and have them do it for you. You can buy calorie books and enter the individual food and count it this way, it does become rather time consuming and I think this is a good way to STOP you from writing a food diary, which is what we definitely DON’T want you doing.

Ensure that when writing a food diary that you list the portion sizes because this could be where you are going wrong. Also remember to write any food you may have picked at while cooking meals or perhaps the leftovers of your children’s meals, again an easy one to forget about and what could be affecting your weight loss/management plan.

Breakfast
½ Cup of muesli with small cup of frozen berries, and ½ sliced medium banana, with ½ cup of milk
1 x green tea
Snack
1 x small apple
2 x tim tams
Lunch
4 x soy linseed corn thins with tuna, cheese and tomato
1 x 75g tub of nestle diet yoghurt (vanilla)
Snack
1 x 75g uncle tobys muesli bar (choc chip)
Dinner
200g pasta (roasted vegetable fresh pasta) and Napolitano sauce with 2 white dinner rolls with butter
2 x 125ml glass of Rose
Snack
150g of choc chip ice-cream
1 x waffle cone
Water intake
1 litre of water

How many calories should I be consuming each day?
The amount of energy you need each day to maintain your weight depends on your age, gender, height, weight and physical activity level. Your weight history can also influence your daily requirements.

Various weight management plans will indicate that females wanting to lose weight should aim for 1200-1500 calories and males 1800 calories per week. However, watching clients over the years this hasn’t worked for everyone and with that, they may have gained weight.

For any healthy diet, I would be recommending you use a nutritional calculator and a great one exists on the Eat for Health website that will take into account age, gender, physical activity etc. http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/eat-health-calculators
If after sticking with these numbers things are still not working for you, we will re-asses on an individual basis – so please contact me, don’t just give up!

What should I be consuming everyday and how much?
As I mentioned in the W2W Nutrition Overhaul guidelines before signing up, I recommend the best ‘diet’ to follow are The Australian Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines provide advice on simply eating for health and wellbeing and to be honest it was all I did to lose the weight after having Olivia and feeling myself again 
They’re called dietary guidelines because it’s your usual diet that influences your health. Based on the latest scientific evidence, they describe the best approach to eating for a long and healthy life (NHMRC website).
Along with the scientific evidence, these guidelines have taken into consideration individual preferences, intolerances, nutritional choices, and have provided you with a source of information to make healthy food choices. The guide also provides you with advice on how many serves of these food groups (assisting you with portion control) you need to consume everyday depending upon your age, gender, body size and physical activity levels. (NHMRC website)

Rather than me re-creating the same information, check the website out for more information on the following: keep these in mind when writing your plan this week.

References:
About the guidelines
http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/about-australian-dietary-guidelines

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating – in graphic form
http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating

Recommended serving sizes for an adult
http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-adults

What is a serve?
http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/what-serve

Meal Plan/Food Ideas based on the guidelines (have also put one on our website)
Check out these food plans on the Eat for Health website. These are based on the genders average height/weight and light activity so some changes may need to be made on a case by case basis.

Women aged 19-50 http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/adg_sample_meal_plan_women.pdf
Men aged 19-50 http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/adg_sample_meal_plan_men.pdf

Has this helped you? Do you have more questions that need to be answered? Then email me at catherine@wall2wallfitness.com.au and I can add it to the weekly updates so this can be shared with everyone or topics/fact sheets on the website.

Stay Healthy
W2W

Nutrition is our focus in 2014

A little quiet on the blog front at Wall2Wall Fitness in the end last year but in 2014 Wall2Wall Fitness are focused on bringing you Everything Nutrition!

Last week we launched the first Wall2Wall Fitness Nutrition Overhaul program with for our clients.  The program runs for 42 days – why? Because they say it takes 21 days to form a habit and so we are doubling it to make a life choice! The program is really about education and pointing our over-haulers in the right direction to make the right choices when it comes to healthy eating.

There are so many programs out there and although some are great, too many times i have seen clients give it a go for a period of time and seen great results but when the program finishes they too stop being mindful eaters.  So it makes me wonder is this because they don’t know what to do when the program is complete? Is all the hard work being done for them so they don’t know where to start?

Which is why we thought our program would be a little different and base it around education, sharing knowledge and getting our over-haulers interested in leading a healthy lifestyle (and not having it feel like a chore). It would have probably been easier for me to write a general meal plan for the ‘general client’ but as we all know one size doesn’t fit all! So i would rather equip my clients with the right tools and help them make the right decisions.

So for the next few weeks we are going to be covering the topics our clients (and possibly you) want to know more about and go back to the basics to help us all kick start our nutrition and make a change for life in 2014!

Catherine’s 10 commandments – when it comes to nutrition overhauling!

 

1.   Follow a well-balanced diet MOST of the time

We highly recommend you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amount of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs as outlined in the governments Australian Guide to Healthy Eating outline.

Research keeps pointing to guidelines such as these as the answer to our weight issues.  These simple guidelines have been established and based on well researched evidence that simply eating a wide variety of nutritious foods from these 5 groups every day are positively associated with health outcomes.

A guide such as this avoids the confusion of calorie counting which can be confusing for some.

The associated website will give you links to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and all the associated material.

Remember – 80% of weight loss/maintenance relies upon good nutrition the rest is exercise.

2. You MUST keep a food diary

According to one of the largest and longest running weight loss maintenance trials ever conducted, keeping a food diary can double a person’s weight loss.

This doesn’t have to be anything formal, it can be a simple note in a work diary, on a phone, on a note pad.  Taking the time to reflect on what we eat helps us become aware of our habits and hopefully helps us change our behaviour.

3. You MUST keep an exercise diary

A training diary is a chronicle, journal, memento, memoir and log. It is a personal record of events, experiences and observations.  It is a great way to build some confidence from your training, stipulate where fatigue may be setting in and relate it back to nutritional intake/work/sleep, create motivation, be accountable, confirm goals or even an emotional outlet – an ideal place to vent particular feelings and help you pinpoint again what may be going wrong or what needs attention.

4. Commit to alcohol free weekdays

It may sound hard but once you get in the habit it becomes rather simple.  And when you do a bit of research and realise that the glass of chardonnay you are drinking will take this many minutes to burn off, sometimes it just isn’t worth it!   TRY IT!

5. Stick to ONE cheat meal a week

It is amazing how one blow out meal a week will simply keep you going! It is something to look forward to, for some a reward for all the hard work throughout the week.  The day you decide to do this make it coincide with a big exercise session day – perhaps 1000 calories burnt that session See here for a great article on succeeding with a cheat meal.

6. Hydrate regularly

The amount of water we need and intake varies depending on individual factors including diet, climate and levels of physical activity and the types of food we are eating.  As per the Australian Dietary Guidelines there is no single level of water intake that would ensure adequate hydration and optimal health for the apparently healthy people in the population.  So the best option – Use your thirst as a guide and check your urine.

7. This is imperative to your success.  A good guide is as follows:

o   ¼ of protein – which equates to the size of your palm

o   ¼ carbohydrates – which equates to the size of your fist

o   ½ Vegetables/salad – remainder of the plate

8. You MUST have a goal, a SMART one at that!

S = Specific – You need to clearly define the goal. I want to get fitter isn’t enough Try “I want to lose 10kg”

M = Measurable – You need to make sure you can clearly track your goal with specific measurements.  How much, how many, how far – so you can track your progress.

A = Achievable – Make sure it is a goal you know you can achieve. You don’t want to set expectations that are unattainable leading to further disappointment. Take into consideration work, family etc – will you make the time?

R = Realistic – Similar to achievable with a little more detail. Based on your workload, be honest with yourself and look at what you are capable of and set realistic goals.  When it comes to fitness and weight loss, we all want the best possible results but choosing an unrealistic goal will only make you feel like a failure. For instance losing 10kg in 10 weeks is realistic but in 2 isn’t.

T = Timely – Have a deadline, put it in your diary and draw up a detailed plan to ensure you reach it. This way you can track your progress and ensure you stay focused.  “I will lose 10kg by May 21 2014”.

9. Stay accountable and stop making EXCUSES!

You must STOP giving excuses to yourself, us and others around you!!  How many times have you said one of the following:

·       I don’t have time because of work

·       I am getting home too late to exercise or eat well

·       Take away is just an easier option

·       I just don’t know where to start

Stay accountable, tell someone what you are trying to achieve, use the resources available to you – keep following the emails, website, and social media and asking me questions to ensure continuous support. This is the best way to ensure you are on track and accomplishing what you are setting out to achieve!!

You can make a change, you just have to want it bad enough

10. Don’t expect the HARD work to be done for you!

It is easy to follow a plan that someone provides you but do you really know what it means and when that plan finishes will you know what to do on your own?

I know a lot of programs will give you a guide of what to eat and drink when, how many calories etc.  but we believe that EDUCATION is the key for you learn and for healthy eating to become a LIFE CHOICE!

So although this program will point you in the right direction, it is really to help educate you on making the healthy choices long-term as if we weren’t here to assist you in the first place!

 

Stay healthy

W2W

From the time the pregnancy test came back positive, although excited, already i felt the huge sense of responsibility ahead of me.

When it came to food, although quite careful with my food choices already,  the thought that everything i consumed would be consumed by my baby to help he or she grow and develop was alone huge and still quite surreal to me.  But for it to potentially shape the health of my child for the rest of their life? WT?

Recent research has found that women that eat junk food when pregnant are more likely to have babies that are obese in adulthood and are born to crave sugary and fatty foods.  The study published in the FASEB journal, discovered that the opioid pathways (a psychoactive chemical that resembles morphine ‘a feel good sensation’) in these babies brains were being changed by such foods.  The opioid receptors  (found in the central and peripheral nervous system and GI tract) are less sensitive and therefore these children need to consume large amounts of these foods to obtain the same ‘feel good’ sensation that we might get from a small quantity.

Wow!!! This surely puts a new spin on the old saying “You are what you eat!”, perhaps it should be “You are what your mother eats!

This study reflects the importance we MUST put on our roles as parents and role models and this starts from when we make the decision to bring a new life into this world. But it also demonstrates that society needs to be constantly educated.  Awareness that we don’t need to ‘eat for two’,  foods that must be avoided, those considered ideal for growth and development and general health and well-being. Education is key!!!

If i have learnt anything over these past 13 months, it is that children are like sponges, you are the centre of their world, they look up to you, they want to be like you! I watch my daughter pick up my iphone and put it up to her ear and start nattering away, just like Muma! So when it was time for my daughter to eat real food i wanted to ensure that when she would eventually communicate to me she was hungry, it was for food i had taught her was full of the good stuff! And you will rarely see me eat something i wouldn’t let her eat, that’s just what i believe a good role model should do.

A recent Scotland study explored the eating habits of 2,220 five year olds and found that children eating the same foods as their parents (whether this be the same time or not) was key to these children’s health.    Those children eating family meals were found to be having more fruit and vegetables and less salt/fat and calorie dense foods.

So from this what can we do?? Easy! When we make the decision to have children reflect on our current lifestyle choices ,  see if a change needs to be made and start emulating the life you want your children to follow – hopefully a healthy and nutritious  one!

Stay healthy

W2W