Fitness & the C-Section Overhang…

Now don’t get me wrong, I have NEVER been one of those girls with a flat toned stomach. Even at 16 when I was probably at my slimmest I had a tummy on me. Low, slung hipster trousers were not designed for me.

And over the years as my weight racked up, I’d given up hope of having a toned stomach. When I had a C-Section with Imogen I can remember a friend saying, “that’s it, you’ll never get a flat stomach again!” at the time I laughed it off and said “but I never have had one” but it did bother me.

When I started the personal training, I didn’t hold out much hope of getting a flat stomach but I thought I’d be happy enough to shift some weight, tone my arms and legs etc. But I have to say, just before Christmas when I was at my lowest weight and slimmest I’ve looked in years, I did notice that I was beginning to lose the overhang! My stomach was beginning to tone up! I didn’t think it was possible but I was starting to notice it in myself. The crunch came when I went for a night out in mid-December and didn’t need to wear ‘fat pants’ or suck my stomach in.

No fat pants here
No fat pants here

Then I got pregnant and went and spannered it all up.

But I now have hope. Hope that it is possible to get rid of the C-Section overhang and hope that I will one day have a flat(ish) stomach.

H x



Maternity fitness wear…

You may remember a few weeks ago I was getting a tad irate at the lack of maternity fitness wear available in the UK. My biggest problem was finding ‘over the bump’ joggers as the few stockists I found seemed to only stock under the bump. As someone who had a CSection last time I can’t stand things that sit where my scar is.

So after scouring the Internet I found a site called Noppies. Noppies stock lots of different maternity wear but most importantly they do stock a small range of fitness wear. That includes over the bump joggers.

I purchased these ones 

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They took about 3 working days to arrive (I think they came from Denmark).  After another gym session where my bump tried to make a bid for freedom and show everyone my stretch marks these joggers have arrived at just the right time! I picked them up from the courier depot and took them straight home to try on. They fit like an absolute dream they are so comfy and the bump band goes right over my bump and sits where the bottom of my sports bra is. Perfect!

I also wanted a top that was long enough to cover the bump and a bit longer so that it wouldn’t ride up. So I ordered this

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This is a good price for a top. It feels lovely and soft and is long enough. Just be careful, I thought I’d ordered black but ordered navy, which doesn’t look ideal with black joggers but I CBA to return it!
I can’t wait to get back in the gym and try these 2 items out but I’m happy, for now!


H x

Pregnancy weight gain…

Ok. You know me, I’ve always been pretty honest about how I feel about food, fitness, health etc on here and now I am pregnant it is no different. I am going to say something a bit controversial.

I’m struggling with weight gain in this pregnancy.

There I’ve said it. I don’t mean I am struggling to gain weight, quite the opposite and that my friends is the problem. I am starting to resent the weight gain because I feel like I worked so hard from April till December and now it’s all unravelling.

I know this will instantly generate “you’re supposed to gain weight”, “you’re growing a baby, what did you expect?”, “it’s all baby/water/uterus”, “who cares, you are eating for two” etc type comments but this is so much more than that.

The rate I am gaining weight this is not just baby weight. This is more. I know why. I know I am not eating as well as I should/can. Yes I am still going to the gym but not as frequently or the same intensity as pre-pregnancy. I know both of these factors will influence my weight in addition to the pregnancy.

The Lancet study has looked at weight gain in pregnancy and the links to subsequent childhood obesity. 15 – 25 lbs in a pregnancy is considered “normal” if you were overweight pre-pregnancy (which I was!). I’ve gained around 24lbs already and I’m not even half way through and that scares me.

I know what the risks are of high weight gain in pregnancy both to me and the baby. I have in the back of my head what position I am like to be in after the birth and how hard it was for me lose 4 stone before. I know all that. Yet still I can’t stop eating crap. I can visually see that in addition to my baby bump, my arse, thighs, arms are all getting bigger. This is more than just pregnancy.

I looked in the mirror and my face is definitely fatter and that made me sad.

So the question is what on earth do I do now? I know that weight loss is not recommended during pregnancy. So I think the only thing I realistically can do is keep going to the gym and aquanatal and start eating much better. More fruit, veg, lean meat, fish, good fats, nuts, seeds etc See and thats what makes me mad, I know what I need to do but all I want to eat is crap and carbs. Not just a little bit of carbs, LOADS OF CARBS 😦


Fear of a kettlebell


Here is me with a picture of my favourite purple kettlebell (20kg). Before I got pregnant I was sumo deadlifting 2 of these bad boys. That is right, little old me can sumo deadlift 40kg and not die!

Now being preggers kind of hampers my sumo deadlifting a bit (BTW with my massive baby bump and fat thighs atm I do actually look like a sumo!). The general advice from midwives/doctors is “If you’re pregnant, don’t lift heavy things!”

But there is a lot of advice out there (various fitness geeks on the Internet, pregnancy apps, my PT) that say actually if you are used to lifting that you can still lift, ok maybe not as heavy but you can still do some as long as you are having a “normal” pregnancy (and your healthcare professionals deem you fit to) I certainly wouldn’t fancy doing lifting without my PT, it’s nice to know you are doing things properly.

The last session we tried the 12kg and 16kg with no problems and to be honest I didn’t feel like the 16kg was particularly challenging me. Yet when Jason said I was going to try the 20kg kettlebell I freaked out a little. I don’t know why. I suspect it is because the general NHS advice seems to be don’t lift when pregnant and last time I avoided EVERYTHING.

I am used to having mental battles with myself over EVERYTHING in the gym at some point. Burpees, pushups, squat rack, you name it at some point I’ve probably freaked but this is different. With those things I feared pain or being tired or feeling nauseous etc I feared how they would make ME feel. But today was different. Today I didn’t fear my own personal uncomfortableness, I feared for the baby. I didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardise the baby.

I’ve said before I trust my trainer and what he tells me I know he won’t get me to do anything I can’t do. I also know that he’s told me I need listen to my own body and as soon as anything doesn’t feel right to say and we’ll stop it. The rational part of my brain knows and understands all that. The hormonal, over-emotional, unhinged pregnant woman part of my brain struggled to reconcile that.

TBF I did it and it felt fine. It felt nice to feel a bit more challenged but not so challenged that I was concerned. So I think 20kg is about right atm (although I am wondering how I ever lifted 40kg!)

As well as my fear of the kettlebell I also struggled with heat today. I’ve felt very hot all day even at work and the gym made me really hot. We had to take a slightly extended break before the last circuit by standing outside in the stairwell as that was cooler. Felt like a right numpty.

All in all its been a funny old day fitness wise. Afterwards, I was a bit over-emotional and had a little cry in the shower haha #loser and I’ve felt a bit teary this evening too. Think I need to focus on the other part of health & fitness, sleep!

H x

Maternity Sportswear…

Ok this post could turn in to a bit of a rant.

There is no doubt about it that I am pregnant. At 16 weeks (tomorrow) my baby bump is gigantic, so gigantic I have been asked numerous times if I am having twins (rude), if I’m measuring big (even ruder!)


So in addition to having to buy maternity clothes, my gym clothes are now becoming an issue. Technically the joggers and tops still fit BUT as an ex-fat-bird, one of the problems you encounter when your stomach is large and round is that joggers roll down and tops ride up, thus exposing your massive, stretch marked covered tummy to the world! (I’d like to apologise to everyone in the gym who caught sight of my tummy this evening!)

Now all joking aside, whilst I wouldn’t go out in a crop top and hotpants, I am not particularly bothered if anyone is offended by my stomach, it is what it is. I’ve lived with a fat, stretch marked covered tummy for long enough not to be bothered. BUT it isn’t particularly comfortable to have to keep pulling your joggers up and your top down.

I have been eyeing up maternity sportswear for a while BUT I think now the time has come to make a purchase and here is where my rant will start:

1) It is nearly impossible to find maternity sports wear on the high street. I have tried a number of “sports wear” shops and when I have approached the sales assistants, they have looked at me like I am bonkers! I mean, why on earth would a pregnant woman want to exercise?

2) Online retailers seem to stop at size 16, some even stop at size 14. Because overweight pregnant women wouldn’t want to exercise right?? WRONG! Now I am a size 16 BUT it annoys me that they don’t stock larger!

3) There is lots of stuff on American websites BUT the UK is severely lacking.

4) I hate under the bump maternity joggers. I like my bump well and truly tucked in, minimising the risk of it revealing itself! But trying to find over the bump joggers is like trying to find rocking horse poo!

5) Maternity sports tops are just not long enough. If I’m squatting, deadlifting, doing TRX rows, pushups etc I do not want my top riding up and with a big tummy that is likely, longer tops needed!

6) Retailers are obsessed with trying to sell me “yoga pants” or “capri pants”. I detest both of these. Yoga pants, great for yoga BUT useless in the gym, the legs are too wide and I can’t be doing with flappy trousers in the gym, plus I trip over wide legged trousers. Capri pants, great if you can be arsed to shave your legs before each gym session, but I seriously CBA with that! TMI maybe but seriously who has time to sort their leg hair multiple times a week!?

7) Decent maternity sportswear COSTS A BLOODY FORTUNE! Seriously I am just about to order some over the bump but not yoga pants joggers, but its £50 for the privilege! £50 for something I will wear for a small amount of time.

Honestly I am having a right meltdown over maternity sportswear for the gym! I might even set my own online business up to cater for overweight pregnant fitness freaks!

H x

PS I really want this top but can’t find it in the UK, sad times!

training 4 2

Happy Anniversary!

Ok I’m sorry but this is a massive self indulgent and reflective post. It’s also a massive thank you to my personal trainer, the very patient and fab Jason Horton

So I have been clearing out my study in preparation to turn it in to a room for the new baby and I stumbled across the record card from my first session with Jason my personal trainer. I looked at the date and realised it is a year ago tomorrow since I had that first session.

Life is very different now.

I now eat differently (most of the time). I eat fresh foods, I rely less on processed food, I rely less on junk food and convenience foods. I eat things I never used to (mushrooms, fish, avocados!)

I exercise and not just half arsed exercise. I do proper exercise, I do burpees**, I lift weights, I do squats and lunges. **NB I did till I got pregnant, it has toned down a lot but I’ll be back on it once I’ve had the baby, promise! I get hot & sweaty and I bloody love it!

I see it as a lifestyle change, not a solution to a problem, I don’t envisage stopping once I hit my goals.

My goals have changed, no longer just weight loss and getting pregnant. I want to be fit, healthy, I want to tone my muscles up! Long term.

It has been a long journey. It certainly isn’t over and it wont ever be over, I want to continue and keep going. There has been laughter, tears, dizziness, nausea, sweat but touchwood no blood (although I have decked it a few times but usually through my own stupidity!)

I didn’t think it would ever be possible for me, overweight, unconfident, shy Helen to feel like I do about health & fitness or to feel proud of myself.

I am lucky to have a very understanding husband, who gets why I spend a fortune each month.

I am lucky to have the best personal trainer. Knowledgable and talented at what he does. Firm with me but understands my fears and able to identify what makes me tick and how to ensure that he isn’t just telling me what to do he is teaching me what to do and why. I can’t thank him enough.

And before I become a total blubbering wreck I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite pics from the last year that outline the journey so far.

Bring on the next year!

H x

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So as you know for the past year or so I have been undertaking training with a personal trainer. I have done circuits and weights and tabata and strength training and all sorts of stuff I never even imagined I could do.

But when I fell pregnant, as well as continuing with the strength training I knew I wanted to try aquanatal. In my last pregnancy I suffered a lot of headaches, rubbish posture etc and I really wanted to try aquanatal but could only find a class that was on a weekday at 11am (no good for a full time teacher!)

So I was delighted this time that the company that runs Imogen’s swimming lessons, Puddleducks, now offer aquanatal on a Saturday. So I booked myself in.


It is a very different style of exercise to what I have been doing for the past year. I am used to exercise that makes me sweat, feel nauseous and even cry haha and although Jason has toned down what I am doing a hell of a lot I still feel like I have worked out.

Aquanatal is more gentle and dare I say it, ladylike! I certainly don’t feel the need to moan & groan and eff & jeff! There was some light aerobic exercises, stretching, breathing etc. In terms of my fitness I was surprised that I didn’t feel puffed out, this time last year that would have definitely challenged me! But I guess that is testament to all the work I have done with Jason this past year. But I did find it very relaxing, enjoyable and it was nice to do some gentle exercise, something which I know will be doing me good but without pushing me too hard. I can definitely see how I will need this in addition to what I do in the gym, particularly as I bigger!

It was also nice to exercise with other pregnant women, sometimes in the gym as a pregnant woman you can feel quite self-conscious and alone (even with a trainer with you for instruction and support!). Everyone else is there with the intention of smashing it (well most people, well some people!) but during pregnancy the focus is very different, strengthening muscles and maintaining what you have developed rather than smashing the crap out of some circuits. So the opportunity to exercise with those in the same physical situation as you is nice, it feels very safe.

For me there is definitely a place for strength training and aquanatal during this pregnancy. I am really enjoying both.

Feel so much better for doing some exercise this week.

H x

Apple & Walnut Oatmeal

Breakfast is something I always struggle with. Before I started trying to change my eating habits I rarely had breakfast and if I did it would have been white toast heaped with a vegetable based spread (light of course because that instantly meant I was being healthy right!?) or a chocolate bar or a sausage and egg based breakfast from a famous fast food chain!  I was certainly never a fan of cereal or porridge. So the idea of dropping sugary breakfast cereals has never been a problem for me.

So I am always on the look out for new breakfasts. Especially hot ones, I seem to like hot/warm breakfasts better than cold ones.
So this week Jason sent a recipe for Apple and Walnut oatmeal. Normally I’d dismiss this sort of food but I thought I’d give it a go. Last night I want to the supermarket to buy oatmeal. This was unchartered territory for me, what is the diff between oatmeal and rolled oats anyway??

Anyway my review of this breakfast would be, not my most favourite BUT could be a grower. It wasn’t offensive and didn’t make me gip, given my current pregnancy related food issues that is a winner in my eyes. I think I need to experiment with the fruit I put in, the amount of cinnamon and honey too, it still tastes quite bland atm. But definitely I will give this another go.

I had to make my with chopped hazelnuts because I thought I had walnuts in stock and didn’t!



3/4 cup of oatmeal
1 1/4 cup of skimmed milk
1 chopped apple
1/4 cup walnuts
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Honey (optional) – If you like your breakfasts sweet I would defo add some honey!


  1. Heat the milk in a pan
  2. Add all the ingredients
  3. Wait for for mixture to get to the thickness you like, I like my mine mega thick


  1. You could try different fruit, I could see this working with banana, peaches etc
  2. You could try different nuts, I tried hazelnuts, but I think almonds might work too

Acting your age and sweaty ass prints…

So today I had my 2nd gym session this week. One thing struck me on the way home, exercise makes me feel younger. A number have people have commented that me losing weight has taken years off me. They felt that I looked a good 10 years older than I was but that losing the weight and exercising has in some way rectified this. I can’t really see this in myself. BUT what I did notice today is how much younger I feel when I have been exercising. The past 8 weeks of zero gym have seen me feel sluggish, tired, lethargic and well, old! But just 2 sessions in the gym I feel more “zingy”, more alert and definitely less lethargic. Ok I still feel tired (but I think that is just work getting in the way of life!) but I definitely feel “younger”. So in my eyes, exercise keeps you young (or at least feeling young!)

Today we tried dumbbell rows again but Jason asked me to adapt it slightly by putting my fat backside against the wall. I find dumbbell rows tricky, getting the position right is hard going, especially when I am trying to figure out where my centre of gravity is and how my ever expanding stomach is supposed to fit. But the most horrific part of doing dumbbell rows against the wall? The walls in the gym are actually mirrors. Which after a few circuits of squats, sumo deadlifts, pushups, TRX pullups etc meant I left my mark on the mirrors in the form of a massive sweaty ass print! #awkward! So I apologise to the staff at DW who will need to give the mirrors an extra polish tonight!

H x

Exercising with a bump…

So yesterday was the first session back in the gym after my little break.

I was nervous. I tell you what it felt like, it felt like it did in May last year, when I had been working with Jason for a few months but I was still scared of pain, still scared of pushing myself etc It was very weird. Looking in the mirrors was strange as well. I realised I don’t actually have any full length mirrors in my house so this is the first time I have seen myself full length in about 8 weeks. Some of it was clearly bambino bump, but the bit that shocked me was how wide my hips look now! I don’t remember ever having an issue with my hips before, my focus has always centered on my stomach, thighs, arse and double chin LOL So I was quite shocked to see myself and look at my hips and think, Christ they are really wide! (I am hoping that is mainly pregnancy related and not just because I am a fat cow!) I really noticed it when doing squats and sumo deadlifts. (watching yourself do squats is the most awkward thing ever!)

Exercising in front of a full length mirror is fascinating but also horrific too! haha

The other thing I noticed was how much stiffer all my muscles felt. The first few squats were a right effort!

I also noticed how my centre of gravity appears to be changing already. I found sumo squats, something I’ve done 100s of before really hard, I found it hard to get the right angle as the bump felt like it was in the way

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I also found doing the Child’s pose really hard as I found I had to get my legs wider so the bump would fit haha. I remember this from when I have done antenatal yoga in the past, this was something that I also had issues with post pregnancy because my tummy would get in the way. Having lost weight I’ve not had too much of a problem with it recently until now!

I slept really well last night, right through till 5am, which is the best I’ve slept since Christmas! I’ve felt a lot more positive today and less stressed at work and I know this is because I went to the gym yesterday. Not going to lie though, I ache all over! Nothing terrible just my muscles moaning having not been used properly for a few weeks.

But it felt sooooooo good to be back and doing something. I never, ever thought I would ever feel like that about exercise!


H x