Lets talk about snacks baby…

“Lets talk about snacks baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be
Let’s talk about snacks!”

Sorry, only people of a certain age will have got that and will more than likely have sung out loud! haha

Anyway, so I’ve been thinking about why my progress could be slow. I mean I am doing my sessions, I’m cooking 3 decent meals a day and yet progress is slow. So I have been tracking my nutrition and a few things have stood out.

  1. I’ve not been drinking enough water.
  2. When I track food I am more rigorous.
  3. I’m not eating enough.
Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I say not eating enough what I mean is, I should be eating something every 2 -3 hours. But my snack of choice would be something chocolatey!  Obviously that isn’t the best snack choice, delicious, lovely & a quick fix but not the best nutritionally speaking.

So me and yoda have had a good chat about snacks today and some things have come to light. Snacks should really be like mini meals and contain protein. My biggest problem is I haven’t been planning snacks. I’ve just been “hoping” snacks would sort of happen. I’ve either been forgetting to have them or just totally uninspired.

So I am hatching a plan to sort my snacks out! I’ll update you in a few weeks with how it goes! I am very excited that this simple change will make a difference!

H x

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Family of kettlebells…

IMG_5333My little family of kettlebells are feeling very unloved this week. 😦 I’ve not picked them up other than to move them in nearly 2 weeks 😦

It is a combination of me being poorly, kids being poorly and OH being away at a conference.

I am supposed to be training at 7am tomorrow morning and tbh it is touch and go whether I will as atm I sound like a man (this is not a side affect of lifting heavy things, I’ve just had a nasty sore throat!)

I find this frustrating, I reeeeeeeeaaaaaaallllllllyyyyyyyy want to train, I am missing it (which is good tbh as that tells me I am back on it) but my stupid immune system has let me down. Everytime I feel like I am making progress something stops me in my tracks and being poorly means I haven’t eaten as brill as I could. Not awful but not great.

So I am really hoping I can train tomorrow, because at this rate my kettlebells will up and leave to find a new person to live with!

H xx

Happy 3rd Anniversary to me…

timehopSo yesterday the picture on the left popped up in my Timehop. Wow, 3 whole years since I first stepped in to the actual gym at DW Barnsley and had a free taster session with a PT with absolutely no intention of signing up.

And do you know what, to look at me now you would think I haven’t made much progress.  I mean I am probably around the same weight that I was back then. My hair is dreadful, skin is not great, my bum is too big, my thighs wobble and don’t even get me started on my ridiculous stomach. I lost loads of weight, toned up, then got pregnant and gained pretty much all the weight back etc.

Look at the size of my armsBut you know what? I have made more progress than you’ll ever know. Roll back three years, when I shuffled in to that gym PT taster session and I didn’t want to make eye contact with anyone. Ridiculous really, a teacher, who stood in front of kids day in day out, gave presentations to staff and parents without batting an eyelid, did not want to make eye contact or engage with people. Self esteem rock bottom. We all know I had NOOOOOOOOOO intention of signing up to training with a PT.

Two questions I get asked the most are “what made you sign up?” and “How come you’ve stuck with it?”. I’ll be honest with you (as I like to think this blog is an honest account of my journey, the good, bad and downright ugly bits) I don’t actually know! I don’t know why 3 years ago I suddenly went from “I’m just here because its free, I don’t want to sign up” to “oh go on then, maybe 4 weeks” to ” yeah come on, lets do this” to “you want me to do outdoor training? oh alright then”.  I can’t pin point why, I literally can not tell you why I said yes to a free trial, why I decided to sign up for 4 weeks, then another 4 weeks and so on. I can’t tell you why I’ve stuck it. It isn’t easy and it isn’t always fun. Sometimes you feel like shite, like you’re not progressing, like you’re putting yourself through torture and yet there is something strangely addictive about it. I do love training. I love making progress and doing things I thought I couldn’t do or would never IMG_3396do. Doing things I’ve always told myself “oh that’s not for you, you’re too unfit/fat” The outdoor training has put a whole new level of ‘hard’ on top. And to be honest, I have struggled, it has taken me far longer to get back to a point where I am loving training again. I’ve come very close to jacking it in, but I’ve stuck with it and come out the other side, I think! Because I know, no matter how hard it is or how shocking I feel I can get results. I’ve been there and I’ll get there again.

And yes I’ve gained a lot of weight, whilst pregnant and after the boy was born BUT I tell you what, my fitness isn’t any where near as bad as it was when I started training 3 years ago. I can swing a kettlebell with the best of them, I can deadlift, I can squat, I’m getting there with clean & press.

IMG_4479So the usual measure is weight, everyone asks how much weight you’ve lost and I know I’ve some work to do there, so here is my progress.

  1. I can swing a kettlebell properly
  2. I can do the school run without stopping (sounds daft but was defo not the case back in September!)
  3. I can farmers walk 32kg up and down my garden without having to keep putting the kettlebells down
  4. I can cook amazing, nutritious meals
  5. I’ve done a bit of running, ok like the tiniest amount but that is huge for me!
  6. I’ve learnt to not beat myself up so much when I slip up
  7. I’ve learnt not to be bothered by the scales
  8. I’ve learnt I can exercise in any space and I don’t give a crap what people think, whether that is in a gym or outside

So yeah I might not be there weight wise or aesthetically speaking but I am making progress and I will get there again.

So happy anniversary to me and congratulations to my PT/coach/yoda for putting up with me LOL.

H x

Honey Soy Chicken Breasts

IMG_5220 (1).JPGThis recipe is actually super easy and tastes amazing. You can eat these warm or cold. I reckon they would be delish in a pitta or a wrap.

If you follow the recipe and baste the chicken with left over marinade that you gently heat through, the meat comes out really succulent.

My kids weren’t keen on this. To be fair the boy was poorly. The girl found it too spicy. This isn’t spicy, but it is quite gingery.

If you’re worried about sodium you could opt of a low sodium soy sauce. Tamari would work too if you are gluten free.

I also think you could add minced jalapeños if you like your food with a bit of heat.

http://www.yummly.co.uk/recipe/Honey-Soy-Chicken-Breasts-834705?columns=4&position=3%2F40

H x

 

 

Eek!

Finally! I finally feel like I am making some tangible progress!! It has been hard coming from a position where before I got pregnant I was using the squat rack at the gym and squatting with a stupidly heavy bar on my shoulders, or doing burpees and not dying or starting to do man press-ups etc to then gaining a lot of weight, and not doing much fitness to having to start again. And whilst I may not have started from scratch and had some technique to build on etc it has been a long slog and hasn’t felt like much progress over the last year.

But there has been progress, a lot of mental progress and getting back to the right head space (which took considerably longer than me or my trainer/coach/yoda anticipated) but now I finally feel like I am making visible progress. Today I’ve upped the reps in my routine, I’ve added a new exercise, single arm kettlebell clean and press, and do you know what? It felt like I grasped it reasonably quick.

I feel like my confidence is coming back, so I am asking questions about technique (rather than just trying to bash a routine out) and also I’ve noticed I’m not aware of the weights so much, which means I can focus on technique & form and I’m self correcting.

Feels good to be making progress. Eek so excited for the future!!!!

H x

Don’t underestimate the little achievements

So tonight I have had my usual outdoor training session and it was such positive session.

It started well, I didn’t have a session last Wednesday so I’ve had a 2 week break and the difference in the light was unbelievable. I actually arrived in daylight! I’ll be honest training in the dark freaks me out so it was amazing to be in the light.

Then I actually did some “running”. Now when I say running, I mean the tiniest amount of jogging, very slow jogging, ever. To most people they would look and laugh or be very dismissive of my “running” but to me this signified  progress.

Now I have always “hated” running, I’m not sure why. I think maybe because I associated it with feeling out of breath & uncomfortable and I associated it with PE classes at school, when I predominantly disliked a lot of my form group. I can remember doing bleep tests in PE and missing the beep on purpose so I could sit down, no one ever challenged that, I suspect my PE teachers viewed me as a lost cause. I can remember slowing down during the Sports Day 300m heats race (girls ran 300m for some odd reason) so that I wouldn’t qualify for the final.

So my “running” today has been a huge milestone. On the face of it, the tiniest step ever but to me a massive deal!  And what made it such a milestone, an achievement if you like was that I didn’t even bat an eyelid when my trainer/coach/yoda said that is what I was going to do. I didn’t think of a billion excuses or use my safety mechanism of “I can’t”. No I just did it.

Secondly one of the last things I did before I found out I was pregnant with the boy was go for a run. Now I haven’t run anywhere near as far or fast today, but it was a step closer to being back at that point.

And all this prompted a discussion about progress, my progress. And one of the things that I’ve come to realise is mega important to me is little milestones. See it is easy to get caught up in the end goal. “Oh I need to loose 5 & 1/2 stone, I’ll aim for 2lb a week” then what happens? Well that goal is a long way down the line, if I only ever focussed on that I’d be so demotivated as it seems so out of reach, I know it is possible  but it feels a long way off. Also when you then have a week where you don’t hit a 2lb loss, you feel crappy, demotivated, like giving up etc.

So for me one of the biggest changes I’ve had mentally, probably since Christmas is I’m not focussing on the weight loss. I want to train, I enjoy it, I’ll get fit, I’ll eat clean and then weight loss will be the bi-product of that, it’ll happen, but I’m not stressing about it.

Also I need little moments of progress, little points in time to celebrate. That could be upping reps, upping weights or in tonight’s case, a tiny amount of running.

It is easy to dismiss small achievements as not valid but they are the building blocks to overall progress. Just that one small thing has given me a boost for the next week or so, given me some motivation. I was literally buzzing after my session tonight.

So my point is, don’t underestimate even the smallest achievements, they are what keep you going!

H x

PS my other little achievement today is I didn’t say the word “bollocks” at all in my session, I think that might actually be a first!

See! No rush!

The other day I posted this Http://wp.me/p4bBEj-iw

And I’ve just read this http://bymelaniekaye.com/2016/03/09/before-you-exercise-after-childbirth-read-this/ by the lovely Melanie Kaye 

You see, it’s not a race. Even when you get that magic green light, you still need to take it steady. 

Apart from the fact I had a csection, I had diastasis recti aka abdominal separation during my pregnancy with the boy, so last thing I needed to be doing was crunches, even lifting heavy stuff was out the question, something which I love doing. The first few weeks training I was literally doing hip bridges  and working very gently on strengthening and stabilising everything with advice from my coach and a physio. 

It was frustrating beyond belief. I wanted to be back doing burpees and lifting heavy stuff. But I’ve enough sense to listen to ppl who know what they’re on about. 

I’ll be honest the frustration combined with stress of selling our house means I didn’t eat well at all. So on top of very gentle exercise and not smashing it I gained a lot of weight but it’s done. No point beating myself up over it. 

My advice to new mums is

  1. Don’t stress about weight gain 
  2. Eat well because that’ll make a huge difference even if you’re doing minimal exercise
  3. Exercise in line with what is physically achievable, what your body is able to cope with 
  4. Listen to experts & professionals
  5. Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, stop, get advice

But my biggest bit of advice is ‘DON’T BE PRESSURED’ to lose weight, tone up or look a certain way. You are amazing, you carried a little bambino for months. Fitness and weight loss will come, don’t stress. 

H xx 

Bruce Bogtrotter

bruceI kid you not, this DECHOX is proving harder than I anticipated. “Give up chocolate for a whole month, I eat clean anyway, no problem!” WRONG!

See what I hadn’t realised is how much chocolate I had been eating. Chocolate had become a habit, eating it because that is what I do rather than eating it because I either need or want it.

I’m only on day 7 and there have been a number of certain situations where I’ve thought “oh I’ll just go grab x (insert chocolate bar here), oh I can’t, DECHOX!” Cue next 3 hours feeling really pissed off that I can’t just go and eat whatever bar of chocolate I want. I’ve realised I’ve been doing this out of habit and not even logging it in my food log because actually it has become so ingrained in my habits that I’ve not even noticed! That is both bizzarre and terrifying in equal measure, the thought that something is so habit based, I’d not even notice I was eating it!

I’m hoping that the month long break from chocolate will give me a chance to reset my habits and form new ones. Chocolate is not a bad food, it is a type of food but like any food it is all about moderation!

So yes, the DECHOX is not as straight forward but it has been beneficial in opening my eyes!

If you’d like to sponsor me then you can do so here

https://www.justgiving.com/dechox2016helenstokes/

All money raised is greatly appreciated and is going to British Heart Foundation. Thank you to those who sponsored me last week, I REALLY appreciate it (you know who you are!)

H xx

 

It’s not a bloody race…

Image courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Alright peeps. I’m pissed off, really pissed off. I’m sick of seeing things in media, on facebook, comments from friends etc about baby weight. If you are one of the lucky ones who managed to get back in to your jeans virtually straight after birth bravo! I’m not on about you.

I’m on about the unrealsitc expectations that we must start shedding the pounds and fitting back in our skinny jeans ASAP.

When a ‘celeb’ gets pregnant all the press go on about is how much weight she is gaining, when z-list baby finally makes an appearance it is all about how will she shed the pounds, then its following her every move, passing judgement on every little thing she does or doesn’t do. Then inevitably there will be a glossy spread in some crappy magazine 1 or 2 months down the line where she will boast about how she was in the gym 5 billion times a day and eating celery. Feck off.

I saw an ad on Facebook today for a personal trainer based in Sheffield today and it was wanging on about postnatal training, how they’d help you shed the baby weight and literally there were hundreds of people tagging women. If someone had tagged me in that post I’ve have hit them in a face with a kettlebell “Here you go old love, you’ve let yourself go, better get training” Piss off.

Why are we so obssessed with people losing baby weight anyway?? I mean seriously??

My one and only goal is to get fit and healthy. To help my kids to be fit and healthy. I couldn’t give a shiny shit that 18 months on I am still not back in my pre-pregnancy jeans. It’ll happen when it happens. I couldn’t care less what the number on the scales is saying at the moment. All I’m worried about is feeling better and being able to do the school run withouth getting puffed out. Don’t get me wrong I have other goals about what weight kettlebells I can lift or how many reps I can do, whether I can ever do a hill sprint BUT not for aesthetic reasons, for health reasons.

Why does no one ever say “Wow look at that mummy, she is preparing nutrious food for her family and getting fit, she’s awesome!” or “Ooh she’s ace, she can run around that soft play without breaking a sweat” or “Look she’s playing footie with her kids in the park, how ace is she?” No because everyone is bloody obsessed with whether she’s in her bloody skinny jeans or not.

Why is it always “wow she got super thin 2 weeks after giving birth, she’s a fucking hero”??

And this isn’t a criticism of all you slim jims at all, far from it. I just don’t get why there is so much pressure on weight and aesthetics, rather than health & happiness.

So I’ll keep plugging away, getting fit, cooking good food, training, having the occassional fuck up then getting back to it.  Getting back to my pre-pregnancy clothes will come, when it comes. I’ll not be forcing it. It’ll be a bi-product of being fit and health, and that, my friends, is far more important to me.

H x

The hardest thing…

… about all this health and fitness lark is not taking the easy option with every day tasks.

IMG_4846 (1)
Me on a very cold, rainy school run!

Flinging kettlebells about, doing push ups in the mud, squats in the middle of a monsson type rainstorm are a doddle in some respects. Because they are a specific task. I put my leggings or joggers on, I get my boots or trainers on and I’m there to do a very specific task.

But one of the things that I’ve been trying to incorporate in to part of my daily ritual is the dread ‘School Run’. When I say run, I mean walk fast, with a whinging toddler in a pushchair and a 5 year old who can get distracted by literally anything.

This daily routine is the one that has taken me the longest to form a habit with. I can come up with a fair few excuses not to do the school run
– too cold
– The boy is poorly, he shouldn’t be in the cold air
– I’m poorly
– It’s raining
– It’s too hot
– We’re running late
and everyone’s favourite
“I just can’t be arsed!”

So since January I have been really making an effort to walk the girl to school. It sounds like the simplest of tasks but when it’s cold and rainy it is one of the hardest things to do. The worst day is Wednesday, when the girl has choir, so I don’t need to collect her till after 4. It is reeeeeeeaaaaaaaaallllllllyyyyyyy tempting to take the car, especially on a day like today when it has been sleeting in South Yorkshire.

But I will do it, because flinging kettlebells, doing pressups in the mud are only part of the story. Making little changes make a big difference too.

H x