This is a recent question from my weekly Q & A Wednesday series on my yoga studio page Simplicity Yoga & Fitness Therapy Studio on Facebook. I am posting here because I get asked this question a lot!
Q. I’ve had two c-sections and I am really trying to get rid of the dreaded bulge and tone everything up. What are the best exercises and weight loss suggestions? I feel like nothing is working!
Thank you so much for taking the time to send us your Q!
After giving birth to two children of my own & battling this myself after my second I have listed what have become my
Top 6 Tips To Get You Started
- Eat less and increase your nutrients. I don’t calorie count, it’s not where I have found success with my own body or with clients. Instead I like to make you calorie aware, are they quality based or empty quantity based calories?! The goal is to eat less but get more bang for your buck and time by choosing foods that have a higher nutrient content, more fibre, leaner protein sources, rich essential fatty acids and slow-burning sources of complex carbs. Think along the lines of fresh fruit, more fresh raw vegetables, smoothies, juicing, salad based meals that include ingredients like those I mentioned in my post ‘The Vibrant Plate’ a few days ago, more raw nuts, seeds and their butters, non-dairy milk alternatives, wild fish, organic eggs, beans and lentils plus smaller servings of gluten-free grains such as quinoa, millet and brown rice.
- Change your plate. Switch over from your usual large dinner plate to the next size down salad plate. This one move alone will save you an average of 400-600 calories daily of eating more than you need just because you have more food in front of you. Fill your plate with the most nutrient dense and delicious foods that will satisfy and that’s it, no seconds. Leave some room in your belly, breath and digest.
- Water, Water, Water. if you were to replace everything you drink with water and maybe the exception of one coffee or black tea per day, your body would be more hydrated, your skin would look better, your bowels would function more optimally, your energy level would be higher and your body would have the better ability of flushing toxins and waste from your belly to be excreted from…your other end!
- Walk. Honestly, I believe the best form of movement for losing weight, especially when your baby is still small enough to stay in the stroller is to walk for an hour 5-6 days per week. If walking isn’t an option or not what you love then move towards what you love. Maybe its Zumba or Spinning or Swimming for your cardio but do NOT become a slave to cardio. It will NOT change the shape of your body or boost your Metabolic System…EVER! Once babe is out of stroller and you’ve got a good foundation of movement, decrease the frequency and time of your workouts but increase the intensity. 2 days per week of 20-40 minutes of interval base cardio is perfect.
- Perform Functional Strength Training. Truthfully as women, strength training and using the principle of progressive overload are not options, they are MUSTS! I firmly believe in adding a minimum of 2 days per week of strength training circuit style workouts to achieve the best results. You need to CHALLENGE your body. If you can get through the typical 3 sets of 15 reps and think to yourself, ‘so what?’, or ‘that wasn’t so bad’ then you will NEVER get the results you are after. Women are so afraid of bulking up with heavy weights but the reality is most women don’t have the types of bodies or levels of growth hormone/testosterone to even make that possible.I myself, have moved away from heavier weights over the years, (because this for right now is what works for me ) to lighter weights and using the principle of higher repetitions, precision-like form and more body weight movements like air-squats, lunges, plyometrics, planks, pushups, handstands etc to effectively target and tone not only the large muscles but also those smaller accessory and stabling muscles that so often get over looked. PLUS your core will be challenged and strengthened in EVERY single one of those moves. Extra awesome core exercises are variations of plank, seated twist, bicycles crunches, reverse curl and every pilates movement created!
- Practice Yoga & Pilates. These two forms of movement absolutely top my choices for movement and getting your abs back after baby. Pilates is so specific about targeting the muscles of your abdominals, back, hips, glutes and thighs, you feel and see the results pretty quickly. Yoga is the prize-winner for me because of how it engages and challenges literally every ounce of your being; physically, mentally, emotional and physiologically so that while you are getting stronger you are also burning calories, inches are melting off, your stress level is down so you are better managing the stress hormone cortisol which is a huge contributor to belly fat, but you are also using the best and only machine you will ever need YOUR BODY. And if you make yoga a regular part of your life, your body will thank you over and over and over again!
So here is what a sample week could look like:
Interval based Cardio ~ 2 days per week 20-40 minutes
Functional Strength Training ~ 2 days per week 30-40 minutes
Pilates ~ 1 day per week
Yoga ~ 2-4 Days per week
Don’t flip out that I am recommending so much, take a deep breath, start where you can, push to fit it in – you are worth the extra work to make it happen!
Well, I hoped that helped you on journey to getting your strong, fit, sexy and happy Mommy body back?!
The countdown for my book is on!
Only a few weeks away The Simplicity Project is coming!!!
Come and listen to me to teach at this years Toronto Yoga Show March 22nd and 23rdRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Tis the season to enjoy time with friends, family, co-workers, appetizers, meat on a stick, dips galore and enough sugar to rock your pancreas all the way to Spring…however there can be a better way.
You absolutely want to enjoy yourself over the holidays but you also don’t want to sabotage all of your this year’s hard work in the gym, on your yoga mat and in the kitchen with all the new healthy meals you’ve been whipping up.
Here are seven of my top tips to stay connected, committed and aligned with your goals of feeling your most energized and sexy for 2013!
- Shake Your Tail Feather! Do NOT miss your workouts. You may not be able to hit the yoga mat or gym everyday but be sure to exercise at least 4 x per week in a more structured setting and the other 2-3 days move for at least 5-20 minutes. Go for a walk or jog or if you’re really tight on time choose 1 minute of squats, 2 minutes of alternating lunges, 1 minute of plank and 1 minute of alternating arm/leg lifts from all fours. You will feel a little warmer, a lot happier and definitely more ready to take on your busiest days of the season!
- Super Nourish Your Body During the Day! Don’t make the mistake of eating nothing all day or skimping to try and ‘save up’ your calories for your evening party or event. Your blood sugar will be a nightmare to manage, your cravings will peak, your alcohol tolerance will be zilch and you will end up eating twice as much as usual. Stick to a few smaller meals throughout the day beginning with eating a balanced breakfast such as a smoothie or oats with cinnamon, raw pecans and fresh fruit within one hour of waking and then eating every 3 hours there after. Be sure to eat within 1 hour of leaving to attend your function so that you are not starving when you arrive.
- Pack Your Own Food! No I don’t mean to show up with a lunch bag BUT you should definitely bring an uber-healthy meal, salad or appetizer so that you are know there will be at least healthy option for you to enjoy.
- Go For Colour & Avoid Pastry, Cream & the Spring Rolls! When choosing the food to fill your plate, be sure to stick to the salads, veggies, goat cheese and lean protein sources. Avoid too many appetizers that are fried, puffed, creamy or wrapped in bacon. They are loaded with sodium, excess saturated fat and empty calories that will only lead to mega inflammation, bloating, constipation or diarrhea and a little extra muffin top for your holiday photos!!!
- Avoid Candy In A Glass! Choose white wine spritzers, vodka soda lime or a lighter white wine like Jacob Creek’s Moscato which has half the amount of alcohol as regular white wines. If you fill your night with sugary coolers, tonic, cranberry juice or jello shooters you’d might as well lay out your jogging pants to wear the next day as soon as you get home. Not only will your hangover be brutal from the alcohol + sugar but you will be extra puffy, bloated and gassy for the next 24-48 hours…not to mention that you will have an appetite to scare grown men and Ronald McDonald himself!
- Stay Hydrated! Make sure to drink enough water leading up to the big event, around 2 litters, and then at the party or gathering have a few glasses in between your ‘spirit’s’. If were worried about looking like the ‘lame-o’ who needs a drink break, have your water in a fancy glass with some fresh lime, lemon or pomegranate to dress it up. Your head, belly and bum will collectively thank you for this the next day.
Nothing too crazy here, just a few reminders and fresh tips on how you can still enjoy this years festivities without having to return your new Fidelity jeans or Lululemons. It’s not about restriction, it is about sensibility and reminding yourself about how you want to feel, not only in the moment but more importantly moving forward.
This year instead of setting your goals around weighing a certain amount or fitting into a certain size; choose instead to create more desirable way of feeling. Write it out, draw your beautiful self out in a way, a vision, of what you really see yourself feeling like in 2013. Living with more energy, having better sleep, more fulfilling relationships with yourself and those around you, more vibrant feeling skin, better sex, a stronger, sexier feeling body, fewer colds and more zest for this amazing life you are gifted to live each and everyday!
You are so worth the daydreaming of reclaiming the goddess you are and the effort of staying committed to her too!
Much holiday love and joy to you all,
Jenn xoRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
A Simplistic Approach to Understanding the Importance of Water & How it Impacts Our Overall Wellness & Vitality
“I’m dying of thirst!”
Well, you just might. It sounds so simple. H20 – two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. This substance also known as water is one of the most essential elements to health and is so important that your body actually has a specific drought management team built in place to prevent dehydration and ensure your survival. Water might be everywhere, but one must never take it for granted.
Water makes up more than two thirds of human body weight, and without water, we would die in a few days. Our bodies are made of over 70 % water; your brain is roughly 80% water. Remember, we are energy and we are electric – when your cells don’t have enough fluid, they lose their conductivity A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. (Are you having trouble reading this? Drink up!) Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue, headaches, moodiness, cravings and constipation.
An estimated seventy-five percent of Canadians have mild, chronic dehydration. Pretty scary statistic for a developed country where water is readily available through the tap or filtered water.
Drinking purified water is like giving your insides a bath, a good rinse, a happy shower. Refreshing!
- Water helps nutrients to flow into our cells and acid waste to flow out of cells.
- Water is the main component in our blood and lymph.
- Water forms the base for saliva
- Water forms the fluids that surround the joints and acts as a lubricant.
- Water regulates the body temperature, as the cooling & heating is distributed through perspiration.
- Water helps to eliminate constipation by moving food through the intestinal tract and thereby eliminating waste – the best detoxing tool you have.
- Did you know that a very large percentage of infants and children with constipation show a link to their water, either that which is mixed with infant formula or drinking water, contains so much iron, chlorine, flouride and various minerals that their digestive systems and intestines can’t keep up with it.
- It is also extremely hard on the liver and kidneys to purify and filter your water if you aren’t taking responsibility for filtering it yourself.
- Water helps to regulate your digestion and metabolism.
- Think about the water you bathe with, wash your face and brush your teeth with daily. Your skin is your largest organ and literally eats everything that goes on, in and through it. The more acidic or impure the water, the greater the stress on your skin, hairs, nails and teeth. Think – dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, acne, dry hair and thyroid issues.
- Ideally, we should consume about ½ our wright in ounces of pure water daily. Ex: 140 lb person needs 70 ounces or just over 2 liters of water daily.
- It may seem like a lot but drinking herbal teas, juicing, and eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will contribute to your overall fluid intake throughout that day.
- It is best to keep your water nearby daily. Sip often throughout the day and don’t wait until you are thirsty as that is a sign that dehydration has already set in. PS hunger is often a sign of thirst!!!
- Guess what? Coffee is not water. Neither is black tea, pop, crystal light, vitamin water and bottled juice. These drinks will pull hydration and minerals form your body, making you even more dehydrated.
Bottled Water: Just Say NO!
Although it’s oh-so-convenient to purchase bottled water, it is also a huge waste on multiple levels:
- The stress is puts on our environment from the millions of plastic bottles that are over-flowing our landfills, oceans, lakes and rivers is astronomical.
- These plastics can last for hundreds, even thousands of years before they will ever breakdown. In turn, meaning that many marine/water life and birds will mistaken these for food and end up choking and dying in droves.
- The amount of money you are spending on bottled water you could be putting towards a filtering system for your home and a few reusable BPA free bottles like stainless-steel Kleen Kanteen, glass bottles or glass mason jars.
- Numerous studies show that bottled water is often less healthy and less pure then the FREE drinking tap water that is in your home.
- The physical stress bottled water puts on YOU is also very worrisome. The plastic used for bottled water contains a dangerous chemical BPA, which wreaks havoc on our hormones and has been linked to various estrogen dominant cancers.
The Bottom Line
There is much to know about our water on many levels, so keep yourself informed and stay committed to choosing wiser and feeling better…Your Body Will Thank You!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Two names you want to remember and understand more about
Leptin and ghrelin
Your hunger hormones are always playing tug-of-war, telling you when to eat and when to back away from the fridge. Ghrelin, produced in the stomach and pancreas, alerts your brain to tell you when your tummy is empty and needs re-fueling. Leptin, secreted by fat cells, triggers appetite-suppressing hormones when you’ve eaten enough and are satisfied. When in balance these two work beautifully but can also easily be knocked off course by sugar, which can affect leptin production, leaving ghrelin to send out unwarranted hunger signals a.k.a feed me chips, cookies, chocolate, cheese and some stimulants like coffee and alcohol…NOW!!!
Balance It Out: Cut the garbage and slash the amount of refined sugar and junk in your diet; empty calories drinks, white processed carbs, sweets and alcohol. Did you know that the average person consumes around of 22 teaspoons per day? That’s about 4 times the recommended amount and that stat is for children – adults…what a nasty, suffocating way to treat our bodies. And we wonder why Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, Obesity and Heart Disease are on the rise…
Ask yourself how does your food make you feel ~ Does it give you energy, joy and an extra pep in your step? Or does it make you feel tired, bloated, gassey, grossy and put you into S.L.O.W mode?
Take a look at your portions, the type of food you buy, how you are preparing it and how it looks on your plate.
When you look down at your plate do you see this?
Change Now. Live Now.
Your body is going to love the heck out of you:)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Start somewhere! Any one amazing shift or change that you create today in way of how you treat yourself and contribute to your own well-being will launch into a journey of self-centering joy. Eat a healthier breakfast, have one less coffee, eat fresh veggies with your lunch, drink more water, have a 3 or 4pm snack that is balanced ex: fruit and nuts, Luna bar, smoothie or goat cheese and crackers. Enjoy more color with veggies at dinner and then unwind the evening with either mint, ginger or lemon tea.
If this seems too audacious for a Monday; why don’t you just talk to and about yourself with more gratitude and kindness?
You are WORTH it. You DESERVE it.
Have an amazing first day of a brand new week of creation…Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Losing weight and eating healthier aren’t about having a strict plan of deprivation or rigid structure. They are about changing your mind on how much you value and love yourself and that you are DONE feeling like crap!
Each meal and snack you have today remember to nourish wisely but to also remember that if you ‘slip up’ and god-forbid have a human moment that you are FINE! And you get to choose again a little healthier at your next meal NOT next Monday!!!
Everyday I am working with clients either individually or in a group to help them better understand the foundation of being well. The things I explain and teach to them are not rocket science approaches but to many, they do feel like a very foreign way of living better.
Most people would assume that coming to see me, a Holistic Nutritionist would result in a very long conversation about their food intake, how much they weigh, what they would like to weigh, when they would like to lose the weight by and then the session would most likely end with me giving them a cookie-cutter weight loss approach to rigid calorie counting, deprivation and an insane amount of supplements to take…
When in fact the food is actually the last thing we talk about.
There are three elements that I focus on when working with people in the beginning and they tell me a lot:
1) Describe to me how you feel about yourself right now?
2) Do you feel like you NEED to see me or did you WANT to see me today?
3) Tell me about your life, relationship and struggles with food, shopping, planning, emotional connections, cravings, addictions etc.
How you describe yourself is the story you are creating about yourself that is keeping you stuck where you are right now. It is your cry for help and your plea for change.
NEEDING to see me tells me that you are on the brink; on the brink of great change and are ready to take your life and body on with all you’ve got OR you are on the brink of seriously losing your shit! Either way I have got your back and will continue to tell you that as long as you continuing to do something – anything from here onward, you are doing more and doing better than when we first said hello and you sat in front me.
If you want the same outcome…choose the same crappy course.
If you want to change the outcome…change to a different kick ass course.
If you WANT to see me then I know we are ready to roll and get your life and your body back in your hands!
The third piece is by far the hardest for people to explain and come to grips with, but it is also the most important. You see food is merely a symptom, a voice from within your body that is trying to tell you something.
For example your body trying to break food down and communicating through bloating, gas and constipation which leave you horrible uncomfortable, this is related to your third Chakra your Solar Plexus.
The secret to healing your third emotional center issues is to learn to honor yourself. The following questions may set you on the path toward self-examination of these issues:
- Are you afraid of responsibility? Or, conversely, do you feel you need to be responsible for everyone and everything all of the time?
- Do you respect yourself? Do you confidently make changes, for example, to your hairstyle, and feel good — even if others are critical?
- Are you in a relationship with someone out of fear of being alone?
- Do you constantly seek approval of others? If so, why?
- Are you afraid to take care of yourself? What might happen?
- Are you critical of others?
- Do you often blame others for your own problems?
- In general, do you feel good about your home? Your body? Your relationships? Your career?
Figure out what your gut is trying to tell you. Digestion, absorption and assimilation of our food are dependent upon our state of consciousness. Your gut health and your emotions are so closely linked, it is fair to say that the gut acts as a sort of primitive brain. Butterflies or nausea are often your inner wisdom speaking to you. You may want to consider keeping a journal of your symptoms to help you clarify factors associated with your symptoms.
I have noted and learned over the last decade of consulting with clients, that the food piece of our vitality is third in line of importance to first; the emotional and mental well-being of our bodies and secondly to the foundation of our digestive system.
We are not what we eat, but what we digest and assimilate.
I can prepare what I feel is the most amazing meal plan for a client but if I have not yet addressed the cause of their food and body issues and then begun to heal their digestion I will only get so far.
Begin today your journey to health and vitality by asking yourself some simple questions instead of forcing yourself into something that will continue to make you feel lost and deprived.
I hope this has given you a different perspective on nourishment for your body and where you can begin to feel better right NOW!
Have a Simpliciously healthy and balanced day xoRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )