Tuesday, 5 May 2015

New Goals, New Plan, New Start

Welcome to the world second son!

On 12th April my second little boy made his entrance to the world. I had been looking after myself in the hope of having a natural birth after an emergency cesarean section with my first son, but nature had other ideas, as it does a lot of the time. Unfortunately I suffered a placental abruption and haemorrhage and was rushed to theatre for a second emergency section to save both me and my boy.

Thankfully due to the medical professionals I handed us both over to, we made it through that stage, but nature hadn't finished with us just yet. I think due to the speed and abruptness of his arrival, my little man seemed to forget he had been born and stopped breathing. Again the wonderful doctors and midwives worked their magic and they brought him back to us. He required a short stay in special care but after 4 days we were both allowed home and are now well on the road to recovery.

I have realised a lot since this experience and most of it about how precious life is. Before this, I didn't seriously consider that life could be snatched away in a moment. We were told at the hospital had I been even half an hour later arriving it could have been much more serious, and I felt fine, I had no idea.

I've also been much more aware of my recovery. Firstly having my strength sapped out of me from the one procedure and feeling it slowly return day by day. As unfortunate as it was that my boy was in the special care unit and we were separated, it made me fight that bit more to make the journey to the unit as soon and as often as I could, at first in a wheelchair, then at a slow shuffle, until I could do that walk confidently on my own. It has made me more aware of the importance of exercise in keeping your body going and doing all the things you want to do. Had I just lain in bed, as I could easily have done, I would have missed out on even more time with my son and I probably would have been in hospital a lot longer. As it was, by the day I came home, I was barely needing any pain relief and could do most things for myself again.

While my recovery this time has been going really well, I haven't come through it unscathed. I will never give birth naturally now and never know what that feels like. While it is disappointing, I am grateful that I have and still can have children at all, although I now know not without some risk. I also have become more aware of my own mortality, which is a scary thing to face, but I am more determined than ever to look after myself as much as I can to prevent any risk I have control over myself. Life is precious, why endanger it further by being unhealthy? I want to live a long life with my family and the best way to help that happen is to look after myself.

I also want to add that I wouldn't have recovered as quickly as I am doing without the support of my family, but especially my husband. He has looked after me so well and really helped me recover at my own pace by taking so much of the pressure off me. I honestly couldn't have got through this without him.

So with my new motivation, the next part of my healthy lifestyle begins. It's been odd watching my body grow so big again,  (before I gave birth I had put on all of the 3st 10lbs I'd lost) and then watching it receed again in a matter of weeks. At the moment I am left with approximately 1st 7lbs to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight but I'd like to lose a little bit more this time.

While I am determined to be healthy, I am still getting my strength back. Recovering from major surgery while not sleeping more than 3-4 hours uninterrupted, and also breastfeeding which can burn over 900kcals a day, is making it difficult as I am exhausted. My general diet is OK, I'm just snacking a bit more than I'd like. They're not too bad snacks on their own but I'm probably having too many! Plus the occasional take away has snuck in when I'm too tired to cook.

I have a new appreciation for the benefits of exercise too and when I have the energy I'm trying to get up and move around. At the moment it's just the occasional walk to the shops or the park, but I'm keen to get back to running as soon as I can. I initially thought that I couldn't do it for 6 months following a section but after some research I've learned that if the doctor gives me the ok at my 8 week check, I can start then if I feel up to it. Until then I need to build my strength and fitness with lots of walking, and if I feel able, some gentle yoga or pilates. I hopefully shouldn't have too much to make up as I was still doing weekly zumba until 2 weeks before I gave birth and had only stopped work 5 days before!

I have also, probably naively, set myself the goal of doing the 5k Race For Life for the fourth time this year, about 2 months after giving birth. I would like to run it but that is looking less likely as I'll have only just had my 8 week check, at the moment I will be happy just to walk it. But either way, it's giving me motivation to get my strength back and a target to aim for.

I still have my Facebook group Happy Healthy Honeys, but up until my 'maternity leave' interest in the current format was definitely waning. I'm planning to move the group away from the diet group it was with weekly updates etc to it being a place to share anything to do with living a healthy lifestyle such as motivating quotes, interesting articles, ideas for exercise plans, recipes, etc etc.

So please find the group on Facebook if you're not already a member, and hopefully you will find something to help motivate you too!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

New Year, New Start - Top 5 Tips to Get Back On It!!

For the last couple of months since my last post I've been plodding along, quietly growing a little person and dealing with all the things that go along with that. I've managed to only put on 10lbs so far and stayed the same dress size (but maternity version) on the bottom and gone up 1 dress size on the top. I've not fallen too far off the healthy eating bandwagon and up until the christmas break, I was still keeping up with my zumba. All in all, not too bad. Could be better, but not too bad.

I have really focussed my outlook on the whole diet/healthy lifestyle thing now though and I am definitely in the headspace of calling it a lifestyle change, rather than a diet, as that is what it has now become. I am really looking forward to getting back to my running too, something I never thought I'd say. I'm avidly thinking about what fitness items I would love to have and planning how I'm going to get back into exercising once I've had the baby, all being well. I'm reading more health related tips and trying to fit them into my life at the moment, while not tracking my calories at all, simply focussing on trying to be healthier and using my knowledge and the scales as my guide.

I'm trying to fit in more exercise where I can but I have been seriously set back by dealing with a permanent cold for the past 5 weeks alongside all that comes with being pregnant. I'm trying to stay positive about it and I've only missed the 2 weeks of zumba I would have missed for christmas anyway, but I'm not managing to do much else. I'm trying to do little bits where I can, such as walking, yoga etc but I know this is an area I really need to work on. Fingers crosssed this cold clears soon and I can try and fit a little more in for my final trimester.

Aside from that, I'm also thinking about this time last year when I really started this journey. I've noticed how much the media and retailers really push the health and fitness element at this time of year, its no wonder I was inspired. I know most people will have given up by the end of the month, but if you are thinking about starting/re-starting/improving a healthy lifestyle, please take advantage of all that is on offer at the moment. If you really push yourself now, who knows where you could end up? It certainly worked for me!!

To help you on your way, here are my top 5 tips on getting your healthy lifestyle off to a good start/restart - 

  1. Moderate the christmas leftovers! We'll all have bits and bobs of naughty treats left over from Santa, but don't be tempted to binge on them all to get them out of the way. Ideally, you would bin them or give them away, but a lot of this stuff will have been gifts and it feels ungrateful and rude to do so, but if you can get rid of it, do so. If not, moderate it and allow yourself a little treat at the end of the week for eating well and exercising - just don't overdo it.
  2. Plan your weekly eating - This has been a lifesafer for me more times that I can count and would be my absolute top tip. At the start of the week, I make an eating plan for the week consisting of 7 main meals, various lunches, breakfasts and healthy snacks. I start with using what I have in the house already and then add whatever else I need to the list. Then I stick to it when I go shopping! It has not only helped me stick to my diet (I can't eat what I haven't bought) but it has also halved my shopping bill. What better way to get over christmas than to be healthier and (slightly) wealthier?!
  3. Read, read, read! - There is an information overload at this time of year about ways to be healthier, recipes and exercises to try. Read as much as you can and try what interests you. If something doesn't work, try something else, but keep on going. For someone starting out, I would recommend reading up on the exercises to do at home as the gym or classes can be a bit daunting at first. I've seen loads of things around at the moment to try and a quick google would find you more, most for many different ability levels.
  4. Buy yourself some new gym clothes - There are loads of them on sale right now so treat yourself. It only has to be something small, like a new t-shirt or vest top, but it will give you that extra motivation to get it on and get active.
  5. Talk to others - So many people will be giving it a try so talk to each other, share your stories and your ups and downs. Maybe even try a class together? Or something like the 30 day ab challenge? Even a bit of healthy competition (as long as you don't take it too seriously) can spur you on.

One more quote I have heard somewhere to leave you with - it takes 66 days to make a new habit - so keep it up till March and it should stick, 3 months really isn't that long. 

Fingers crossed and best of luck! I'll be joining you again soon!!!