70 Days. No excuses. Week 3 update

Week 3 = done!

So how did I do? Well I’m really pleased that I’ve managed to keep up the momentum and stick to working towards my goal of reaching a healthy BMI and fitting back into my work clothes! I think that I am starting to get results and a couple of people this week have asked me if I’ve lost weight which has been a nice reward for my hard work and a motivating kick to continue!

Unfortunately Mr B had to work late tonight which has meant I haven’t been able to get to the gym to weigh myself on the accurate gym scales and have instead had to rely on my old manual bathroom scales. Although I’m not going to argue with that given that according to these I lost another 4 pounds this week!!

Starting weight: 11 stone 6 pounds (super duper whizzy gym scales)
End weight: 11 stone 2 pounds (old crappy manual bathroom scales)

In the interest of fairness I’m going to stick with my own bathroom scales going forward! It just means I’ve probably gained a little advantage weight loss this week by changing them!

Again – I’m happy with how I’ve done this week. I’ve kept up with my healthy eating and have exercised often too.

Exercise

I’ve continued to do Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD and have done 3 yoga classes this week.

Personal Training session – my gym provided me with a free personal training session where I discussed my fitness goals with a lovely lady who then put me together an hour long training programme. The programme features a mixture of cardio, free weights and mat work. I really liked how she was very mindful of the fact that my core may be a little weak after having Baby B (she asked if my abdominals separated) and she has included gentle core strengthening within my programme. This week I’ve done my programme 3 times.

Diet

I’ve continued to try to eat as healthily as possible and have eaten plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and fish. I’m no longer on my strict no meat, no dairy and no gluten detox but because i felt so good after doing it, I have continued to keep my gluten and dairy consumption low. I’ve also only introduced white meat (chicken, turkey and pork) into my diet this week.

I’m trying really hard to educate myself about healthy, nutritious food choices and using this to then make ‘good’ choices when it comes to what I eat. I had a meal out with some friends this week and I chose a delicious prawn and salmon salad with mineral water rather than the greasy meal and coke I would usually have picked.

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I don’t believe in a full on deprivation diet because I don’t believe that it would be sustainable for me long term and I would pile the weight back on once I stopped depriving myself. Therefore I am allowing myself the few odd treats here and there if I want them but I haven’t actually had any this week because I have been focused on a healthy diet. I’ve actually really enjoyed the majority of the food I’ve eaten this week….

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I mentioned last week that my eczema had been really bad lately but this week it has miraculously cleared up! Not completely but it is the best it has been in months! I believe that reducing my dairy intake and eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables has caused this.

I’m hoping that I can keep the momentum up next week and hopefully have another weight loss to report! Fingers crossed that I might even dip below 11 stone!!

Would love to hear any top tips or healthy recipes – feel free to comment your links below!

X Becca

70 days. No excuses. Week 2 update

So week 2 is done and dusted. As someone who usually starts off great with things like this and then loses enthusiasm and interest quite quickly, I really wanted to try and make sure that this didn’t happen. I do have work clothes to fit into after all!!

So how did I do?! Well I lost a massive 4 pounds!!!

Starting weight: 11 stone 10 pounds
End weight: 11 stone 6 pounds

I’m so happy with how I’ve done this week. I’ve really committed to losing weight with both an improved diet and more exercise.

Exercise

Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD – I did this 2 days. Its hardcore for me and I was sweating buckets and had sore legs after!

Yoga classes – I did 2 vinyasa yoga classes this week and worked really hard in both of them. I’m loving the increased flexibility that yoga is giving me already even though I’ve only been practising a few months.

Swimming – I’ve done a few swimming sessions at the gym this week.

Running – I’ve done 2 running sessions on the treadmill this week and am still aiming to run a 5k over the summer!

Diet

So I decided to do a little detox this week and eliminate a few things from my diet that I know exarcebate my eczema (which is really bad at the moment) and my bloated belly IBS symptom.

This week I’ve therefore followed a no gluten, no dairy and no meat diet. I’ve eaten lots of fresh food such as fish, eggs, vegetables and salads. I actually have really enjoyed the food I’ve eaten and will probably carry on eating in this manner (albeit I’ll introduce white meats such as chicken, turkey and pork now as I love my nandos!!)

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For breakfast (most important meal of the day!) I’ve had gluten free porridge oats made with almond milk with fresh fruit on the top. Absolutely delicious!

I’ve also loved stir fried crispy chilli and garlic kale with prawns and red peppers. And you can’t go wrong with homemade peri-peri sweet potato chips! Even Mr B conceeded that they were both nice and agreed to have them again! A result for the man who lives on starchy complex carbs and lots of meat!!

I’ve definitely seen a massive improvement in my bloating since eliminating gluten. My eczema has improved a little bit but still is really bad so will carry on with the no dairy for a while as I know that makes my skin worse.

Next week I hope to carry on with a more healthy diet (although I will introduce meat and the occasional treat!). I also hope to up my game exercise wise!

Watch this space! I will fit back into my work clothes and have a healthy BMI!

X Becca

70 Days. No excuses. Week 1 update

So as I said last week, I’m on a 70 day mission to fit back into my work clothes before the end of my maternity leave…..! I need to stop making excuses and just get off my fat bum and do it!

This update is a little late because both Baby B and I have been a bit poorly (I know, I know – I’m starting the excuses already!!)

I’m really pleased actually with how the first part of the week went in terms of my attitude and effort levels! I exercised regularly, declined a beer at the Rugby and limited my usual chocolate treats – was feeling quite shocked and smug at how well I was doing! However, towards the end of the week it all went a little downhill when I got poorly and my friend visited with a whole Banoffee pie for just the two of us….!

Anyway – here’s a quick snapshot of my week:

Day 1 (Tues 21st April)

Gym session (treadmill, cross trainer & exercise bike)
Walked to Baby Sensory (about 2 miles round trip)
Day 1 of #30daysofyoga with yoga with adriene

No treats!
Only drank water & herbal tea

Day 2 (Wednesday 22nd April)

Day 2 of #30daysofyoga
Walked for half an hour
Took Baby B swimming & did a few lengths myself
Forrest yoga class (1 hour)

No treats!
Only drank water and herbal tea

Day 3 (Thurs 23rd April)

Day 3 of 30 days of yoga
Walked 2.2 miles to the park
Walked 2 miles to the beer garden

1 treat – white wine spritzer in beer garden (impressed I managed to stick to one!!)

Day 4 (Friday 24th April)

Day 4 of 30 days of yoga

No treats!
Only drank water and herbal tea

Day 5 (Saturday 25th April)

Day 5 of 30 days of yoga

1 treat – chocolate bar (Cadburys Twirl mmmm yummy!)
Only drank water and herbal tea

Day 6 & Day 7 (Sunday 26th April & Monday 27th April)

Erm…..Banoffee pie anyone?! All went a bit downhill from here i’m afraid!!

End results

Starting weight: 11 Stone 11lbs
End weight: 11 Stone 10lbs

So 1lb weightloss in my first week. I know it’s not loads but it’s a start and I am determined to do this!

This week I am completing a detox by eliminating gluten, dairy and meat from my diet. I’ll be eating lots of gluten free products, fresh fruit, vegetables and fish! I’ve gone gluten & dairy free before on the advice of my doctor to help with my IBS and eczema and I found it really worked. As my eczema is really bad at the moment, I decided to give it another whirl!

Has anybody else tried a similar detox before? Would love to hear your top recipe tips!

Wish me luck!

X Becca

70 Days. No excuses!

Well the countdown is now unfortunately on! In 70 days time my maternity leave ends and I will be starting a brand spanking new job!

I’ve loved my maternity leave, lots of fun baby activities and long lunches & cake with new mummy friends! However I’ve probably had a little too much cake (“I’m breastfeeding so I need the extra calories”) and not enough exercise (“I’m too tired because I was up all night with Baby B”) and none of my lovely work suits fit me!!

Part of me is tempted to just go out and buy a new work wardrobe but I am not happy with my size at the moment and I also want to be fitter and healthier. It’s therefore time to stop the excuses and get off my bum & work for it!

So I’m setting myself a challenge for the next 70 days!

  1. I will exercise every day, even if this is just taking Baby B for a long walk
  2. I will take up running and sign up to run a 5k run at the end of the 70 days (I am a complete non runner!)
  3. I will only drink water and herbal teas when at home (no more calorie & sugar laden fizzy stuff!)
  4. I will limit myself to 3 naughty treats a week (rather than the 3 a day I probably have now!)
  5. I will provide a weekly progress update on my blog each Tuesday to motivate me to keep on track. 

I will provide “starting stats” (I.e. weight & measurements) in the first weekly update next Tuesday as I want to use “proper” scales and not the temperamental ones I have at home! If I’m feeling brave then I may also provide starting pictures…..!

I’m pretty rubbish at motivation so I think writing down my intentions here and knowing that I have to report on my progress should help to keep me on track! 

Is anyone else looking to lose weight at the moment? Would love to hear your top exercise and weightloss tips!

X Becca

Sim's Life

Baby B’s birth story…..

“Labour doesn’t hurt. It’s just an intense pressure that your body tells you is pain because that’s what you have been told to expect”

Yes. I am ashamed to say that I actually uttered these words. And uttered them a lot. To anyone and everyone that would listen. Nobody was brave enough to contradict a heavily pregnant deluded me, although in hindsight the smiles and sympathetic head tilting (especially from my mum!) should have warned me! Well let’s just say that karma bit me on the ass with that one!!

Now that Baby B is 9 months old, I thought it was about time to write my birth story. So Dad – here is where you need to stop reading. You too mum. For any first time pregnant mummies to be who are reading then please also stop reading and check out Ina May Gaskins Guide to Childbirth – it really is an amazing book which will prepare you really well for childbirth.

I’d had a relatively uneventful pregnancy although I had experienced the usual morning sickness, stretchmarks, varicose veins, SPD and carpal tunnel syndrome. At 41 weeks Baby B was still nowhere to be seen so my midwife gave me a stretch and sweep. It was uncomfortable but fine (no worse than a smear) and I was elated when she told me that Baby B was so low down that all I needed was a couple of contractions and out she would pop!

A few hours after the sweep I noticed that Baby B didn’t seem to be moving much and things just didn’t feel “right”. So at 1am we called the midwives who told us to go straight to hospital for monitoring. We rushed straight in, and were so relieved to hear Baby B’s heartbeat on the monitor. However, the doctor and midwife were concerned because Baby B’s heart rate was dropping during braxton hicks and was not very “variable”. I was told at 2am that they needed to induce labour immediately. Eeek! 

Now having planned a natural waterbirth at a midwife centre, I *may* have had a little meltdown at this point. So Mr B managed to convince them to let us go home for a few hours and then come back at 8am when the induction would start. Going home was the best idea ever as Mr B was able to give me a pep talk and I managed to get my head around the fact that I would be having my baby in a hospital (I hate hospitals due to a botched appendectomy I have had previously resulting in sepsis which nearly killed me).

So 8am arrives and we get led to a bed on the induction ward. And 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm and 1pm pass with no start of the induction….! Finally at 2pm they tried to break my waters but were unable to so instead they inserted a pessary to induce labour! Hurray, surely Baby B would arrive soon right?! Ha! At 8pm when nothing had happened they transferred me to a ward and sent Mr B home. Queue another mini meltdown! I was convinced that labour would start and I’d be alone without Mr B! Overnight I had terrible backache and couldn’t lie down or get comfortable. I put my Tens machine on and tried to get some rest but it’s fair to say it ended up being one of the longest nights of my life waiting for morning! However I wasn’t really in pain – I did just feel discomfort (a bit like really bad period cramps mixed with constipation!)

Mr B arrived the next day and we stayed on the ward ALL DAY waiting to see if the pessary was going to work…! At 4pm they took me back to the induction suite and told me to go to the toilet and take the pessary out (Mr B was horrified!). They then attempted to break my waters again and this time they were successful! Hurray! Labour contractions started pretty much immediately every 4 minutes lasting 1 minute. As Baby B was back to back, my contractions felt like back spasms and I didn’t feel anything in the front of my bump at all which really surprised me. Over the next hour the contractions progressed but were manageable and I enjoyed the gas and air and bouncing on my birthing ball at this point. I also used some of my pregnancy yoga positions to relieve the pressure on my spine, as well as my yoga and hypnobirthing breathing techniques to ride through the contractions. 

An hour after my waters were broken I was moved to a private room where they wanted to put me on a syntocin drip to accelerate labour. Given that I had only been contracting for an hour, contractions were increasing and I had not been examined to check dilation I refused the drip. Midwife must have loved that ha! Eventually after much negotiation, I agreed that they could put me on the drip if I could have an epidural first. In all honesty, when I made this bargain I didn’t actually need the epidural as I was fine with gas and air and wasn’t really in any significant pain. However I was fearful that the drip would intensify my contractions to an unnatural unmanageable level and that I wouldn’t be able to cope, especially because I was having a “back to back, induced labour” which I had heard are notoriously painful (including from some of the midwives looking after me! #nothelpful) and I had planned a “natural” waterbirth.

Having asked for the epidural at 5pm, I didn’t actually get it until 1am due to lack of anaesthetists! By this time I was still coping ok with the contractions from a pain perspective but was so exhausted after being awake for the past few nights that I practically kissed the guy once he’d put it in! 

As soon as the epidural was in, I felt absolutely nothing in my legs (I didn’t realise this wasn’t normal!) and managed to get some rest from 1am until 7am when I felt no contractions whatsoever – bliss! Imagine my surprise when they examined me at 7am and told me I was fully dilated! Hurray! I couldn’t believe it – I was going to push my baby out!

It was agreed that we’d have a little break for something to eat (Mr B not me!) and then I would start pushing. This stage is all a bit of a blur but I remember being really desperate to start pushing and meet Baby B! It was also difficult to push because I couldn’t feel any contractions so couldn’t work with and listen to my body a la Ina May Gaskin. I ended up pushing for 3 hours at which point they scanned my belly and discovered Baby B was stuck and I had to consent to an emergency C Section. At this point the epidural wore off and I was panicking so tensed up and felt scared and in pain. I was whisked to theatre where they gave me a spinal and asked if I would try pushing again so they could try forceps. They gave me an episiotomy and on the next contraction I pushed as hard as I possibly could and Baby B was finally born at 12:43pm with the assistance of forceps. After 58 hours in labour, it’s fair to say that the relief I felt was overwhelming!

The placenta was removed manually by the obstetrician which meant that I couldn’t do the delayed cord clamping that I had planned. However I am so happy about this because it meant that Baby B has been able to save lives by donating a grade A umbilical cord (stem cells) to the Antony Nolan trust! This makes me overwhelmingly happy and Baby B got a lovely certificate and keepsake babygro from the Anthony Nolan trust to say thank you! Baby B has also thrived since her birth so the lack of delayed cord clamping has not hampered her whatsoever. If I am lucky enough to have another baby then I will definitely plan to donate the cord blood again.

After the birth, Baby B and I enjoyed a lovely cuddle whilst I was stitched up and we were then wheeled to recovery where I nursed her for the first time, ate a delicious piece of toast and then puked up everywhere!

So there you have it….Baby B’s birth story! 

X Becca

Fun Free Friday

Now that I’m on Statutory Maternity Pay zero pay, I’m trying to keep an eye on the pennies and reduce any unnecessary spending. Trust me as a major shopaholic this has not been an easy task for me so far!

I think many families experience a bit of a tight financial squeeze during the last part of maternity leave, so I therefore thought it would be a fun idea to put together a list of my top free (or very low cost) things to do outside of the house with Baby B. Hopefully this will show that you don’t need lots of pennies to get out of the house and have a great time with your baby.

1. Check out your local Sure Start centre

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Before I had Baby B, I didn’t actually realise what Sure Start Centres were. I just assumed that they were only available for “qualifying” families or people referred there by their GP. However, Sure Start children’s centres are open to all and they generally have a range of free and low cost activities available for you to join in with.

Baby B and I were fortunate enough to attend a free 4 week Baby massage course, a weaning workshop, a weekly sing & story session and a weekly breastfeeding support group at out local Sure Start centre all for free!

Unfortunately some Sure Start centres are being closed and they are all facing budget cuts which I think is a real shame. However its worth checking out what they are still running in your area.

2. Visit your local fish shop!

This sounds like a really random idea but trust me, if you find a good one then its basically like visiting a free aquarium or sea life centre!

There is an amazing tropical fish shop in our local garden centre with about 100 different varieties of fish (including Nemo!) and Baby B would be happy in there for hours. Our shop also has a special tank where you can pay 20p to feed the fish!

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3. Visit your local pet shop!

As above, Baby B loves looking at all the animals in our local pet shop and she doesn’t yet know that there’s a difference between an expensive zoo and a free pet shop! Baby B particularly loves the birds.

Also if you have any friends or family with child friendly pets then a visit to theirs will be a great fun activity for your baby too! Baby B adores playing with our 2 cats and giggles every time she gets close to see them properly. Sooo cute & educational too!

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4. Go to the local park

Baby B is now big enough to go on the swings and she absolutely adores trips to the park. Who needs expensive soft play when you can get into the great outdoors and have a swing?!

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5. Check out any council run museums local to you

I hadn’t thought of taking Baby B to our local museum as I assumed that at 9 months old she was too small. However, our large local museum has a sensory room for toddlers which Baby B loves! Even without the sensory room she really enjoyed our visit because there was lots to look at – she was fascinated by the large dinosaur skeleton and the Egyptian mummies!

The best thing about our local museum is that it is free!

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6. Have a play date with a friend

Baby B loves seeing her little friends so we often have play dates. All you need is some tea and biscuits, take it in turns to host and both mums & babies have some fun!

7. Check out your local churches

Our local church runs a mother and baby group which only costs £1 and includes unlimited tea, coffee and biscuits! Beats Starbucks as they usually have toys for the babies to play with!

They ran a lovely session at Christmas with carols & a Nativity puppet show. Baby B was fascinated!

8. Organise a buggy walk with your friends

Its a great way for you all to get out in the fresh air for a good gossip and the babies can enjoy observing different sights and sounds. Combined with number 3, this is a cracker of a free day out!

9. Visit your local library

Baby B and I love a good book and what better way to try new ones than by borrowing them for free from the library?!

Our library also runs very low cost (£1 per family) story and song sessions which are a great low cost activity comparable to many of the more expensive franchise alternatives. Its worth checking out whether your library does too!

10. Have a picnic

If the weather is nice, take your lunches outside and have a picnic together! Baby B loves it! If you don’t have a garden then the park is fab as it has the added benefit that Baby can people watch too!

What fun free activities outside of the house would you recommend? Would love to hear more ideas!

X Becca

Mums' Days

Am I expecting too much?!

So yesterday Baby B had her first “stay & play” session at her nursery. I’m not due back at work until July but I want to ease us both into it very gently so she will be doing one full day a week in May, 2 full days a week in June and 3 full days a week from July.

The nursery we selected has an amazing Ofsted report (outstanding in all areas). It has wonderful outdoor play areas, a sensory room and lots of fun activities and messy play! Mr B and I both loved it when we visited to book a place during my pregnancy. In fact, I have visited twice when pregnant and twice since Baby B was born and I was really pleased that we had managed to get her a space there.

Baby B is an outgoing and inquisitive baby and loves being around new people (especially other children and babies) and I know that she will love being around other children more as she is starting to become frustrated when alone in the house with just me. I’ve therefore not really been worried about her starting nursery because I know that she will love it, the nursery looked great when we visited it and I’m also looking forward to going back to work because I love my job.

During the stay and play session yesterday, Baby B spent time with her “key person”, a lovely girl called Nikki. Baby B seemed to take to her straight away and they had a lovely time playing together with some of the other babies. Baby B was smiling, laughing and chatting and really seemed pleased to be there which was so reassuring for me. All of the staff seemed lovely and commented on how Baby B was settling in great and would love it there! I am sure that they are right!

However, I’m not sure if I’m expecting too much because there were a couple of things that I witnessed that I wasn’t particularly happy about. The first was a baby napping in a cot who woke up and stood whinging. Now obviously if Baby B did this at home I would be straight to her immediately. However this baby was left in the cot whinging for about 5 minutes before anyone went to him. The child wasn’t crying properly, he just wanted out of the cot! It breaks my heart to think that Baby B could have been that baby whinging in the cot yet realistically with a ratio of 1 staff member to 3 babies, there are going to be occasions where Baby B will have to wait for attention. Therefore am I expecting too much if I expect the staff to be able to respond to her as quickly as I can when I only have Baby B to look after?

I saw another thing that I did not like when I was watching the ‘bigger’ children playing outside.  A little girl fell off her bike and got stuck. It took her allocated staff member about 30 seconds to notice what had happened and rush off to comfort her….again am I expecting too much to have thought they should have noticed and reacted more quickly? The staff to child ratios at this older age mean that it is probably unrealistic of me to expect them to notice everything!

So at the moment I’m wondering if this is just me being a normal ‘worried mummy’ who is panicking at the thought of leaving her baby with “strangers” for the first time.

I know that nursery can never replace me because it is just not possible to have 1-1 care in a nursery setting. And it can never be as devoted a caregiver to Baby B as I am. However because she is such a “people person”,  I do know that it will provide her with other things that she badly needs. For example, the interaction with others that she craves and which she doesn’t get enough of at home with me. It’ll also give her lots of different fun play opportunities and messy play and hopefully prepare her for school. Therefore, perhaps I need to just “get over it” and allow my Baby to grow as a little person without mummy always there.

This mummy malarkey can be tough!!

We have another session next week which Mr B can come to, so I am looking forward to getting his second opinion on this!

In the meantime – what do you guys think? Am I expecting too much and/being unrealistic in what I should expect?! How have you and your little ones found the transition from home to nursery? Would love to hear from you!

X Becca