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When nothing else fits pass me my lipstick

In recent months I feel as though I’ve rediscovered makeup. Although I’ve always worn a little, I’ve never been too confident in how I apply it, or if I’m using the right shades and tones for my skin. Once my little one started to sleep better at night and I got more used to the demands of motherhood, I’ve started to do a few things just for me. Playing around with makeup is now one of those treats.

I decided to book a makeup lesson at my local salon and at Bobbi Brown. I absolutely loved the lessons and had so many eureka moments. Turns out I’ve always bought the wrong shade of foundation, used scrubs that would make my oily skin even more oily; and missed the mark on quite a few quick tricks that make the world of difference to how I apply makeup and the finished look.

The makeup artists who I had my lessons with were incredibly knowledgable and I had never really appreciated how much makeup artists need to know about skincare. It was truly fascinating and gave me such a boost.

I’ve been practicing everything they showed me and it’s funny how a little bit of blusher and lipstick can make you feel like you’ve been pampered. I’d happily not wear makeup all the time but it’s been lovely putting the professional advice into practice – especially on days when I’ve felt a little shoddy. So, when nothing else fits – pass me the lipstick!

5 summer snacks that are Weight Watchers friendly

I’m a huge snacker and so finding foods that are low in Weight Watchers SmartPoints that will either keep me full or satisfy my sweet tooth are a big must for me.

Here’s a little round up of the snacks I’ve been enjoying this summer.

Frozen grapes
Pop a box in the freezer and hey presto you’ve got yourself some nibbles! Frozen grapes are not only 0 SmartPoints they are also great for chewing or sucking on. I find I take a longer to eat a handful of frozen grapes than any other snack.

Popcorn
I love the sweet and salty variety and there are so many low calorie options in supermarkets and by the tills. They also make a good sharing alternative to a bag of crisps!

Banana ice cream
Freeze a loads of bananas and then blend them with vanilla extract and a drop of skimmed milk and there you have it – banana ice cream.

Hard boiled eggs
These little fellas are actually really filling. I like making a load at once and keeping them in the fridge. They’re great to have after a workout or before dinner (if you get peckish like me mid-afternoon).

Apple and almonds
A power plates instructor told that eating some almonds and an apple is a great post workout snack and you’re getting some good fats along with sugar to give you a boost. I’m paraphrasing and could be completely wrong but I like the idea of it!

4 Reasons Why I’m Loving Weight Watchers

Joining Weight Watchers has changed my life in more ways than one. For anyone who thinks the programme is for old ladies who just eat ready meals, you couldn’t be anymore wrong. I’m a huge advocate of the plan and here’s why…

P.S I promise no one from Weight Watchers has sponsored this post!

  1. It Works
    This first reason is pretty straightforward – Weight Watchers works! I feel like I’ve been on a diet my whole life, but it was only after I joined Weight Watchers that I saw real success. When you first join you’re given everything you need to be able to follow the plan – and you’re not alone. Their app is amazing for tracking what you eat and I’m a huge fan of the meetings – it’s a place where you can get real tips on how to eat healthily and lose weight.
  1. It’s taught me how to cook
    This is something I didn’t set out to learn, but I’m glad it happened by accident. As part of your membership you gain access to loads of recipes. They’re easy to follow and taste delicious. I’ve cooked the recipes for friends and family and no one ever knows (until I tell them) it’s come from my Weight Watchers stash of recipes. After testing out a few recipes, I was soon applying the methods I had learnt in creating my own dishes! Now that I’ve got the hang of it, cooking from scratch feels a lot easier (and tastes better) than depending on jars of sauces and so on.
  1. It’s given my confidence a real boost
    Being overweight not only makes my clothes feel uncomfortable or harder to move about doing everyday tasks, it really does get me down. When I’m carrying extra weight I don’t feel like myself and I simply want to hide from everyone and everything. I’ll wear all black and if possible I’ll do my best to get out of social functions. However, once those pounds start to fall off it’s literally a weight off your shoulders and you feel free in so many ways. Knowing i’m doing something active to change my eating habits for good, feels truly amazing. The plan has also showed me how vital it is to have a positive mindset to your weight loss and your relationship with food – it can make a huge difference to your success.
  1. It’s made me active and I like it!
    Weight Watchers isn’t just about eating the right foods. The programme also teaches you the importance of moving more and being active does get addictive! Being able to walk more, run for a little longer and have the energy to try new sports feels amazing. I was also the kid who made excuses to miss P.E – I still can’t believe that I now actually exercise voluntarily!

My Weight Watchers success so far…
I joined Weight Watchers after a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time turned up at my house looking amazing! I had to know her secret – It was Weight Watchers. That week I found my local meeting and went along. I was so nervous and afraid of being the biggest person there. Everyone in that room, from the leader to fellow members to the meeting helpers was fantastic. When I left with the plan details by my side, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to put the plan into practice – even though it all seemed straightforward. It took a tiny bit of time to get used to but by the end of the first week I got it. That week I lost 5 lbs! In the months that followed I got engaged and had an even bigger reason to finally lose the weight that had keep me down for so long. I lost almost 3 stone in time for my wedding day and felt amazing.

A year after I got married I fell pregnant and ate, ate, ate. Long story short, I put on 5 st during pregnancy. Having followed the plan before I thought i’d be able to pick up where I left off. However this time round has been so different as my whole lifestyle has changed. After some weight loss success over the course of a year I decided enough was enough – I needed to be back attending Weight Watchers meetings. I’m so glad that I did, as in the two months I’ve returned (properly) to Weight Watchers I’ve lost over a stone!

New love of fitness – thank you Rio 2016

There’s nothing more motivating than watching the girls and boys currently competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics. This is a short and sweet post to say that each and every competitor has made be feel inspired to get up and get moving. You are all incredible!

Mums on the run

That’s the name of the whatsapp group I’m part of with two close friends of mine, who also have young children. In the last few weeks we’ve ordered our other halves to be home on time from work, so that the three of us can hit the streets and run side by side. Running with friends has definitely helped me shed a few more pounds lately and I feel so much fitter. Here’s how I got back to running after having my little girl…

I started running for just 10-15 minutes once a week and would alternate between a jog and a fast walk. After having my daughter, my hips have felt quite stiff and so this felt a lot more comfortable for me to do. The first run I went on was tough and I finished thinking I’d never run properly again! The next run was better and I made a bigger effort to warm up and stretch off afterwards. Out of frustration on a few of these earlier runs, I continued jogging even though I was in discomfort – thinking that maybe I just needed to run through the pain so that I would get better quicker. Once I had stopped I realised how foolish that was, as I could barely walk after. Note to all – do take your time when getting back into exercise and listen to your body!

Once I felt I could accomplish a walk and jog with relative ease once a week, I challenged myself to jog for the complete 10-15 minutes. After a month or so of doing this I found I was able to run for 25 minutes without stopping. However, old habits crept in and I started to feel less motivated to get out and run – not sure why – and so making a commitment to others that we’ll all run together has been truly amazing. My friends really spur me on and there’s no more cancelling jogs I’ve promised to go on, as i’ll be letting my friends down as well as myself.

There are also loads of running training schedules you can find online too. These can be good motivators as well. Here’s an example – 10k Training Plan.

Milk Matters

Before my baby arrived, I could never have imagined the in-depth conversations I would later have surrounding milk. Who knew the white stuff could be so complicated…

After I announced my pregnancy to friends and family, I was surprised by the number of people who would ask me whether I would breastfeed or not. Yes, I knew I would be giving my baby milk but I really couldn’t understand the fascination with this question and I started to find it quite annoying. However, that was before I truly understood this age-old debate.

My answer was always “I’ll give breastfeeding a go and if for some reason that doesn’t pan out well, I will move onto formula”, simples. After a long labour (that’s another story) my baby was given to me very quickly to breastfeed. It was such a strange sensation, but in my mind my daughter seemed to latch on with ease.

I had to spend some additional time in hospital after giving birth. During that time I continued to breastfeed but my daughter struggled to latch onto one particular side. Several midwives visited me to review my method and all agreed I was doing everything correctly but she just wouldn’t latch. It became increasingly frustrating, for both me and her, and that’s when the guilt kicked in. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed that I couldn’t breastfeed my daughter. I was certain she wasn’t getting enough milk and when I resorted to expressing my milk I was horrified to see how little I had produced after hours of pumping! Within the first week of having my baby girl I moved onto formula feeding but felt such guilt for doing so.

My little girl genuinely seemed more content once I did, but I hated telling people I was using formula milk. Especially when it was the first question midwives would ask as well. Friends of mine persevered for months, whilst I had ‘given up’. All my pamphlets talked about breastfeeding too and gave just a few lines worth of attention to how to feed your baby formula milk.

Most of my friends and family were very supportive, but I often thought they were just being nice. Whilst a few closed to me made it quite clear that they thought I was doing the wrong thing. It really was a challenging time and to think, my journey as a mother had only just begun! I’m just thankful that my husband was on my side and that my baby was getting the food she needed. In the months that followed and once the guilt had surpassed, a little, I realised there are so many more things to be concerned about and milk (once you find what works for you) shouldn’t be something that causes so much grief.

Spin spin sugar!

I wanted to pick a new activity to do so that I wouldn’t get bored of my current workout routine. I’ve dabbled in group cycling before and I’m always told it’s a great fat burner, so I thought why not!

If you’ve not tried spinning before, it’s basically an indoor group cycling class performed on stationary bikes. You all face the instructor who runs you through various exercises from sprints to standing hill climbs. You’re able to adjust the gears to mimic different road conditions and to vary how hard your workout is. The instructor will always play music to keep you going and thankfully the class I go to is always accompanied by an amazing playlist! The particular spinning class I go to can cater up to 10 people and there are a lot of new mums in the class, too. I like the size of the group but you can go to classes where there are over 20 or so cyclists – which could be a lot of fun.

I was also offered the option to pre-buy lessons for a saving and as another way to make sure I stick to these grand plans of mine, I took them up on the opportunity. I wouldn’t usually do this but I’m so glad I have as it’s made me attend and i’m loving it.

I’m lucky to have a wonderful instructor who explains absolutely everything so brilliantly and simply! Making sure the seat is set up correctly for your height is so important. Previously when I tried a class, I couldn’t have had my seat positioned right. I came away from aches in my back, wrists and knees! If you’ve not tried spinning before, I could recommend it. Just go at your own pace to start with and find a class whose music you enjoy – it makes such a difference!

Why I’m rejoining Weight Watchers

Right, enough is enough. Although I’ve been ok with my exercise and diet, this weight is just not shifting. So, I’m heading back to Weight Watchers!

I lost almost 50lbs with Weight Watchers before, so I know it works. I thought I’d be able to follow the plan and just use the online tools but I think I need the meeting experience – getting practical tips from the leader and members. Plus, getting weighed by someone else each week might be the push I need to be really healthy and lose some excess weight.

I’ll keep you posted!

Power Plates for Mums

In recent years you may have noticed a new machine taking up a corner in your gym, or overheard a conversion about Power Plate classes. Read on to find out what they are and whether they’re the answer for new mums to improve their fitness after having a baby.

A Power Plate is a vibrating machine built for one person to use at one time. You can squat on it, perform press ups on it, do ab crunches on it and even use it to massage aching muscles. This piece of machinery has become a staple in many gyms and there are even studios that specialise in offering Power Plate classes. The vibrations cause your muscles to automatically contract and relax.

Why Use it?
The Power Plate makes performing traditional exercises harder and promises to give users an all-boy workout in just 20-25 minutes. It is also meant to help improve strength, balance, flexibility, circulation, the appearance of cellulite and aid weight loss.

Power Plates for Mums
The Power Plate was first created to help astronauts regain their muscle strength and muscle memory after spending prolonged periods in zero gravity environments – and to so so quickly. With this is mind, it could provide new mums with a fast and effective form of exercise – ideal for anyone who has had a break from regular activity. There are also Power Plate studios that offer post-natal classes, focusing on movements to help mothers regain their fitness but are sensitive to the areas of the body that will need a little extra care while performing certain exercises. What’s more, you can even purchase plates for home use too!

After having my baby I was keen to get back into fitness but I struggled with when I would exercise and worried that I wouldn’t be able to work out efficiently in the time I did have (which wasn’t very much!). A friend of mine, who has had two babies, recommended my local Power Plates studio. I went along for a free trial and loved it instantly! The vibrations took a little while to get used to, but once I did I really enjoyed my 20 minute workout. I felt as though I was using the time I had to exercise as best as possible and I was able to take my little one along with me. It definitely helped me feel fitter, gain confidence in exercising again and lose some of the weight I had gained during pregnancy.

Mummy Diet Tips Made Easy

When you enter motherhood there’s a lot to get used to and the lack of time for yourself is one of those things. This can be especially frustrating if you’re keen to get your diet and fitness back on track and lose some post-baby weight. For that reason we bring you some top tips to make losing weight a little easier.

1. Walk whenever possible
Walking is a great way to shift unwanted lbs and it’s a gentle way to reintroduce yourself to exercise. Use it as an excuse to check out local parks or simply to pick up a few bits and pieces from your local corner shop. Your walks needn’t be long but try and head out with you buggy everyday for a short walk. Some days your walk may be a quick 10 minutes and others you may walk for a good hour – mix it up and enjoy the fresh air. Plus, babies love the motion and often have a good nap during some time outside.

2. Incorporate a bit of exercise into everyday activities
Time is no longer a luxury for mums, so try to work in a little extra movement throughout your everyday pursuits. Challenge yourself to do 5 squats every time you make a bottle of milk, or to have a regular ‘disco’ hour with your little ones and dance around your living room. No matter how old, your baby or toddler will love dancing with their mummy and you’ll burn plenty of calories too. Find what works for you.

3. Invest in some good trainers
With all of the above in mind, a decent pair of trainers will make moving around a lot for comfortable and prevent any aches and pains. Treat yourself at the same time and go for a pair you really love.

4. Quick healthy meals
Keep your kitchen stocked with some really quick yet healthy meals you don’t need to think about too much. Here are some ideas…

• Soups that take just a few minutes in the microwave or on the hob
• Packs of mixed grains, Quinoa or brown rice that you could add a can of tuna too with some salad leaves
• Eggs – poach them, scramble them or make an omelette. Eat with some bread and, or salad.
• Fruit and vegetables (like carrot batons) you can nibble on throughout the day to keep hunger at bay
• Protein bars and shakes – there’s loads of them on the market and they really do keep you feeling ful if you’re peckish (and they’re good for you).
• Red split lentils – they’re really easy to cook and can be mixed with any meat, fish or root vegetable to make a tasty stew. They take around 20 minutes to cook, but once everything is in the pan you can leave these to simmer with little work from yourself.

Alternatively, experiment with some healthy dishes and then make them your ‘go-to meals’ when you’re pushed for time – batch cook your favourite recipes and keep some portions to enjoy in the freezer so you can heat them up anytime.

5. Get a blender
Blenders have dropped considerably in price in recent years and are a great way to get your 5-a-day. You could whip up a smoothie for breakfast or as a snack.

Here’s one to try…

• A few tablespoons of porridge oats
• A handful of blueberries and strawberries (frozen are great as they keep for ages and make the smoothie nice and cold)
• A few spinach leaves (you won’t notice the spinach in the taste but you’ll get all the goodness from it. Again, you can use frozen or freeze a fresh pack that you keep just for smoothies)
• A banana or ½ and avocado
• 250ml of almond milk (lower calories than your regular cow’s milk and gives the smoothie and creamy taste, but feel free to stick to your usual milk) or water.

Enjoy!

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