Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Pregnancy, Motherhood and Body changes.

 

We have seen advertisements and posters of happy babies with their moms in media and hospitals. Every mother knows pregnancy and motherhood is not easy as the pictures and posters portray. Nevertheless, it is still a truly rewarding experience.

This post is meant to bust some myths and to make moms understand the reality and facts around motherhood and pregnancy.

 

I need to have a baby before I turn 30.                     

Reality –  Don’t have a deadline. Stress will reduce fertility levels and mess up with hormones.

Things may not always go as per your plan while having a baby.  The more you focus/stress on this deadline, higher the chance of not achieving it.

Remember, the baby will form when the nature knows you are happy, healthy and ready to receive and nourish a life.

 

Your tummy is too high/low/small/big.

Reality  – These comments will be heard by most moms. Each one’s body and each baby is different. 

Someone’s tummy might be high, some low, some moms have smaller bumps and some have it big. The shape of the tummy and how it looks cannot be decided or controlled by the mom or anyone around. It is what it is.

People comment about tummy size and body shapes because they don’t realise how foolish it is to comment on a pregnant woman/new mom.

Do not feel bad when people comment on tummy size and body shape. Just smile at their stupidity and move on. What matters for the child inside is to have a happy, healthy and confident mom. The shape of the tummy doesn’t matter.

 

I am anyway going to gain a lot of weight, so I can indulge in whatever I want now.

Reality – You are going to gain a lot of fat – and it is for a reason, But do it the right way.

The body will store fat in  the breasts and hips for a reason – To protect and nourish the baby while it is inside and once it is born.

Eating junk /processed /packaged food during pregnancy will not only make it harder to lose weight later, but also not provide nourishment to the baby and your body. It will also put you at a higher risk for gestational diabetes and thyroid disorders during or post pregnancy. Moreover, your food habits during pregnancy will decide the baby’s eating habits too.

If you are craving for processed/packaged food it is a sign that you are deficient in micronutrients and not getting enough nourishment.
Pregnancy and postpartum are the time one should focus more on eating fresh nourishing, nutritious and balanced food. You need to have enough nutrients to nourish the baby for ten months, feed them for a year after that and then take care of them for several years.

Eating fresh and nourishing food during pregnancy will make it easy for you to burn all the fat that you will gained. The nourishing nutritious pregnancy foods will also help you produce more breast milk.

 

 I haven’t lost the pregnancy weight yet.

Reality- You won’t go back to your pre pregnancy shape immediately after the baby is born.

Don’t try and squeeze yourself into your old/pre pregnancy dresses soon after delivery. It took ten months for a baby to grow inside you. Your body and internal organs have gone through a lot of changes to adapt to that situation. It cannot be reversed within a few days post-delivery.

Be patient and also be careful and mindful about what you eat. More importantly, don’t let the thoughts of weight loss eat you.

 

I need to lose weight by my baby’s first birthday.

Reality – No one is going to make you stand on a weighing scale on your baby’s birthday party and reward you accordingly.

Do not look for a diet plan that can shrink you to fit into your old clothes. Just like life post baby is not the same as pre baby, your body is not the same as what it was in pre pregnancy. Accept and embrace the changes you go through.

Focus on eating balanced food, start working out three months post-delivery.

Exercise will soon become your best friend when you realise you can focus on just yourself for 45 minutes a day.  It will ensure you will regain your core strength and muscle mass that is lost with a baby birth. Workout will also make you strong mentally and physically so that you can deal with the chores without complaining about back pain and tiredness. It will also help you be a happy and healthy mom.

So either people will be in awe that you look young and amazing on your baby’s first birthday or you will have the confidence to reply to them if they happen to make any hurtful comments.

 

I want to be a Supermom

Reality – There is no supermom in this world !!!  

Motherhood makes us mentally and physically strong. However, it also burdens us with all unrealistic societal expectations that most moms feel they are obliged to fulfil.

Balancing career, family, and finances, volunteering for the child’s school projects, keeping up with everyone in family and social media, traveling, household chores and the list of things that are expected from mothers now are endless. While fulfilling all or most of these, what most moms forget is to take care of themselves. The result of that is fatigue, exhaustion , hypothyroidism and health issues closer to menopause.

Remember this – moms can do anything, but not everything.

Prioritize what’s important and essential. Focus on those and learn to delegate or outsource things that doesn’t need your absolute attention.

Pregnancy and motherhood is rewarding and equally taxing. We can make it a pleasurable experience only if we accept the changes in our body and life as it is without the unwanted and unrealistic expectations.

 

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Lifestyle

How to stay healthy and sane during this insane period?

 

The world is going through an unprecedented phase and no one is certain about how and when this pandemic and crisis will end. Nothing is the same as it was a few months ago. Lives, outlooks, routines and many other things have changed drastically.

With no end in sight, we have to get on with life and remain sane. Lot’s of people have asked me how can we remain healthy during this insane period? Here are a few points that we should do.

  1. A strict NO to ultra-processed and junk food in the house.


    You can’t let a rat in and then complain about it damaging the house. Since everyone is home and the tendency to raid kitchen and fridge is more than normal, the easiest way to stay healthy is to not allow any processed food ino the house.

    Articles of bread, chips, instant noodles and other processed food flying off the grocery store shelves tells us how ignorant and negligent we have become about our immunity and health.
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    Healthy snack -home made ragi balls
    Keep healthy , wholesome and homemade snacks reachable.  Fruits, nuts and seeds, lime juice, buttermilk etc are simple and healthy options.
  2. Don’t try any new- name diet

    Let’s ditch fancy diets all together and stick to a balanced traditional diet that consists of grains/millets, pulses/legumes, veggies and good fat. Any traditional Indian meal will comply with this. Sambar rice, khichdi, Pongal, roti/dal/sabzi etc are all balanced and easy to cook.

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    Balanced plate – Grains, legumes, vegetables and good fat

    Trying out new diets now and stressing yourself out if you are not able to stick with it (because of  the limited grocery supply that we have during this pandemic ), is not worth it.

    Confused about portion control for balanced plate? Try mindful eating.

  3. Workouts need not be only in the gym

    Just because the gym is closed doesn’t mean you need to skip the workout. Physical activity and workout are equally important to improve and maintain immunity and energy levels.

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    Wall sit – Strengthens core and lower body

    Burpees, climbing stairs, squats, lunges, leg raises, pushups, pull ups, wall sit, planks, tricep dips, bear crawl, suryanamaskar , yoga and the list of body weight workouts that you can do are endless.

  4. Pranayama is the need of the hour

    Stress is a standalone factor that can hamper immunity, metabolism, fat burn, hormonal balance and health. Deep and meditative breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and reduce stress levels which in turn can improve all the above-mentioned parameters.

    You can try breathing deeply even when you are reading this article.

  5. Improve your immunity

    Stick to wholesome, fresh and home made food that also includes spices like ginger, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric , pepper and the other Indian spices. Sipping warm water through the day, avoiding food that is cold and old, having a spoon of chavanaprash in the morning, getting atleast 30 minutes of direct sunlight everyday are all good ways of improving immunity.

    Blending everything into a smoothie doesn’t give the same benefit or serve the purpose.

  6. Routine – most important and most neglected

    Since there is no real hurry to wake up early and rush to office or school due to the sleep cycles have started getting distorted.

    Bedtime, sleep quality and quantity are as important to immunity, mood and metabolism as food. 7-8 hours of sleep is essential for optimal performance  of our body and health. However, sleeping for 7 hours from 1am – 8 am is not the same as sleeping from 10pm- 5am. Try and stick to a regular routine and bedtime closer to 10PM.

    If you are interested in binge watching at night , remind yourself that the same series is available in the day time too.

  7. Ditch the scale

    There is already so much chaos in this period and you don’t have to add fuel to the fire by checking your weight often. Besides, body weight and BMI are not accurate parameters of health.

    Your energy level, body composition/body fat, sleep quality, and skin clarity can talk a lot about your health than your weighing scale

  8. Ask for help from family

    This is a good time to teach cooking to children and spouse, and share your chores. Not only will you get help and respect for what you are doing on a regular basis, but it will also reduce their screen time and increase happiness in the family. Cooking is a lifeskill. This is a great time to learn it.

    Your Child/their spouse will be grateful about it when they grow up.  

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How to Sleep better to lose fat?

Sleep is one of the most undervalued aspect of health. I have mentioned this umpteen times in my videos, posts (including my previous article on sleep and its significance on health).

The questions that I have been asked often is how do we improve the quality of sleep? How to fall asleep fast, stay asleep and wake up fresh?

Following a peaceful bedtime routine or rituals for sleep hygiene will help you getting there.

  1. Have a happy and peaceful day.
    Happy hormone – Serotonin is converted in to sleep hormone Melatonin at night. A happy , peaceful and active day is a pre-requisite for sound sleep.
  2. Have 20 min of Sun exposure in the morning or by noon
    Bright light from the Sun in morning or early noon will set our circadian/body clock. This will help us fall asleep naturally post sunset.
  3. Eat right.
    Remember the happy hormone Serotonin? 80% of that hormone is produced in our intestine. Hence eating right food at the right time will not only make us fit, but also help us sleep better.
  4. Workout at least 5 hours before bedtime.
    The core temperature and energy of our body will be high for 5 hours post workout. If the bedtime is within that time, we will struggle to fall asleep. Workout in the morning or early evening to get the sleep benefits of exercise.
  5. Have a nourishing light dinner
    Heavy party food, Friday night dinners etc are taxing for not only our intestines, but also our sleep. Post sunset, the body is ready to wind down and the metabolism slows down. Light nourishing dinner can be a combination of a grain with a lentil (rice and moong is the best) with some vegetables (not raw). Sambar rice, kanji payaru , roti dal sabji, khichdi, etc are some of the delicious, nourishing and light dinners.
  6. Use a home-made sleep aid if needed.

    Have a glass of warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg powder, turmeric powder, sugar with some crushed cashews 60 min before bed.

    This is not needed on a regular basis, but is highly recommended after a tiring day of travel, if you are jet lagged or if you had a long stressful day . This is the most delicious and safest sleep aid. Cashews (most nuts) contain an amino acid called tryptophan which is needed to convert serotonin to melatonin. Nutmeg is also a mild sedative.

  7. Stay away from gadgets 60-30 minutes before bed.
    Some sleep experts also advocate staying away from gadgets 2 hours before bed. Artificial lights known as ‘blue light’ include light from lamps, devices like TV, Laptop, mobiles and other gadgets. The sleep hormone melatonin is produced only during darkness. Exposing ourselves to such gadgets and devices closer to bedtime will block the secretion of this hormone.
  8. Goto bed at the same time every day (including weekends)
    Nature and our body does not know the difference between weekends and weekdays. It works the same every day. Practicing sleep hygiene from Sunday to Thursday and derailing it on Friday and Saturday with night out or a late-night movie will only confuse and upset the biological clock. On weekends, go to bed within 90 minutes of normal weekday bedtime.
  9. Make bedroom a gadget free zone
    Bedroom is meant for two things – to unwind and sleep, and to make love.
    Laptop, TV, mobile phones and the numerous other gadgets should not enter bedroom. If you need an alarm, use an alarm clock (like how humans lived 20 years ago i.e. before mobile phones invaded us). An even better idea is to not use an alarm and wake up to natural light.
    If its winter where you live and day doesn’t break early, use a light alarm clock which will emit light to wake you up and not the irritating beep sound of the normal alarm clock.
  10. Practice positive affirmations before bed.
    Note down the top 3 or 5 positive things that happened during the day. This will help us have a more positive outlook towards life and secrete more happy hormones. This will also improve hormonal balance, conditions like Hypothyroid, PCOS , PMS and our brain chemistry.IMG-20190212-WA0009.jpeg
  11. Light up tea light candle in an essential oil diffuser with lavender+ rosemary essential oil
    Lavender and rosemary oil are excellent for calming. Use that in a tea light essential oil diffuser or mix a few drop of these in an oil wick lamp .
  12. Deep breathe and massage feet when on bed
    Massage the sole and toes of the feet with coconut oil( summer) or sesame oil(fall, winter). Even the thought of massaging the feet after a long day , feels so soothing. Mixing lavender or rosemary oil in the massage oil will help in relaxing . Deep breathe and you will not know when you fell asleep.Do you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep? Let us know in comments.

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