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Paleo/gluten free Cauliflower Crust Pizza – the best you will have.

18 Jul

cauliflower pizza

Confession time. Even though I’m 99% committed and hardly ever stray, every now and then when it all gets too much I cave.

I cheat.

And yes, sometimes I lie about it.

You see I am 98% grain free in my diet but sometimes I crack and find myself driving straight to a nearby Crust Pizza franchise and order the finest gluten free pizza they have. I just love pizza and can’t seem to shake it. But you know what, I am sorry Crust because I can no longer afford to pay $50 for you to fuel my addiction (or deal with the tummy issues post gorge) when I have fallen for the new kid on the block.

Let me introduce you to the Cauliflower Crust Pizza.

What can I say, it has won me over with its taste, it’s sassy nutritional value, and the way it just make me feel all smug when I take it out of the oven.


Pizza Base Ingredients:
makes one approx. 10-12 inch pizza
1 small – medium sized head of cauliflower – should be approx 2 to 3 cups once processed
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh basil (can add other herbs too)

1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/3 cup shredded cheese (I use a pizza combo of parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese etc)
1 egg
2-3 tablespoon almond meal

Topping:

As much tomato pizza topping sauce, cheese for topping, and other delish veggies and meats as you desire.

Preheat oven to 220 degrees (or 450 f). I have been cooking the pizza base on a piece of baking paper on top of a wire rack as it helps cook both sides, but a pizza tray should work just as well.

Cut up your washed cauliflower florets (don’t use too much stem) and pulse in your Vitamix or food processer for approx. 20-30 seconds until it is powdery and almost smooth.

You then want to cook the cauliflower so either place in a pot and continually stir for apox 5 minutes or place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and zap for 4 minutes.

Once cooked place cauliflower onto a clean tea towel (you might want to let it cool for a few minutes before you move onto the ‘squeezing’ stage) – this entails you ringing the living bejesus out of it until you remove as much water as possible. Once you have think it is all done, do it again you will be surprised at how much liquid it holds!! This step will ensure you get a yummy pizza list base that holds together, rather than a crumply mess that falls to bits.

Once you are happy that all the liquid has been removed from cauliflower, remove it from the tea towel into a bowl. Now add all of the remaining pizza base ingredients into the bowl and mix away – using your hands generally works best to form it into a ‘dough’, you want your “dough” to be sticky.

Now it is time to place dough onto the baking paper, make sure you pat the dough tightly together when forming your crust– don’t make it too thick but don’t make it too thin either, you want it just right! Make sure you pat the dough tightly together when forming your crust

Pop into oven and bake for 8 – 11 minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove from oven.

Now it’s time to build the rest of the pizza (only when the base it golden in colour should you move to this step)! Add however much sauce, cheese, and toppings you want. Place it back into the oven and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly golden.

Once you have taken out of the oven allow to cool for at least 2 minutes before you slide pizza onto a chopping board and cutting up with a super sharp knife or  with a pizza cutter. Remember to keep slices reasonable small so they hold together nicely.

Enjoy your delicious grain-free cauliflower crust pizza!
*Disclaimer – the slices may still be a lil floppy until you get the recipe and cooking times down, but they shouldn’t be crumbly.

This post look familiar? Thats because it is up on MindBodyGreen!! Check it out here

Breakfast feast: rolled eggs & greens

3 Jul

rolled eggs

There is nothing I love more than going out for breakfast on the weekend, but I just can’t help get the feeling I am being cheated not only in taste, but also at the expense of my bank balance! So last Sunday we did something a little crazy. We ate at home. Extreme I know, but I was pretty happy with the results and will defiantly be cooking up a storm at least one day over the weekends. I posted this pic to Instagram (find me at Fitnessinthecity_) and I have had a few people ask for the recipe – so here you go!

Rolled eggs with chilli greens.

Ingredients:

2-4 free range eggs (depending on how hungry you are or if you are sharing)

1-2 cups of washed greens. (I like Bokchoy, Silverbeet, Purple cabbage, Kale or whatever is in season/in the fridge.)

Handful of basil

2 organic free range bacon strips (optional of course)

½ Avocado

Handful of cherry tomatoes

2 slices of Lemon

Coconut oil, garlic, chilli paste, Himalayan rock salt, pepper to garnish

Egg spices:

Za’arar mix: Sumac, sesame, thyme, parsley, oregano, Himalayan salt

You can make your own or buy pre made. Another option is to just roll the eggs in sesame seeds or finely chopped herbs like parsley or basil – very tasty!

rolled eggs prep

Directions:

Boil room temperature eggs (I boil the water on a low to medium heat with eggs already in it, and then set the timer to 4 minutes once the water begins to boil).

In a fry pan on a medium heat cook your bacon to your liking.

In another pan, add some coconut oil, garlic and chilli paste to sauté your greens and basil in – don’t overcook as you don’t want to lose the nutrients of the greens. This should only take approx. 3 minutes, then set aside.

Your eggs should be off the stove now and resting in cold water (so they stop cooking) ready for you to gently peel (or have someone peeling for you – even better!)

Once peeled roll them in your desired spices – I rotate between chopped herbs, sesame seed or Za’arar mix (I got this idea from Dane: The Healthy Tradie)

Cut the Avocado in half (scoop out with a spoon), squeeze lemon over it and dress with Himalayan Rock salt and pepper.

Plate everything up, sprinkle the remaining basil on top – add a great chia tea and you’re ready to feast!

I would love to see your egg creations – tag your photos with #fitnessinthecity on Facebook (@FitnessInTheCity) or Instagram (Fitnessinthecity_ )

10 Crazy Celeb Diets (not to be attempted at home kids!)

11 Apr

Supermodel Diet

People (or should I say celebrities) do some crazy things for weight loss. Below are just 10 of those examples..

1. The Victoria’s Secret Diet

Who’s doing it: Adriana Lima
Why it’s popular: The allure of looking like a Victoria’s Secret Model is just too attractive for most to resist – despite this being one of the worst (nutritionally) weight-loss plans out there. The dieter consumes only protein shakes mixed with powdered egg, washed down with a gallon of water, while continuing to exercise once or twice a day. And that’s just the beginning. Right before runway time, she’ll stop taking in liquids altogether! Emaciation may be a popular runway look, but in real life it’s just plain dangerous.
“Sometimes you can lose up to eight pounds just from that,” she told The Telegraph in the UK.
Cons: Subsisting solely on liquids will not only be difficult, it’s likely to lead to unsustainable weight loss.
Tania Flack a leading Sydney Naturopath and Nutritionist (www.taniaflack.com) warns: ‘this diet is detrimental to your health as it encourages dehydration, provides virtually no micronutrients and ultimately models will look gaunt and exhausted on the catwalk (not to mention constipated!). It would also cause havoc to the body’s delicate pH balance as it is far too acidic.’

2. The K-E Diet

Who’s doing it: Brides and reality stars.
Why it’s popular: This method promises 9kg weightless over 10 days.
Not one for the lighthearted. Feeding tubes are literally weaved into the stomach via the nose and esophagus to ‘feed’ the patient liquid proteins, amounting to an alarming 800 calories per day. This forces the body into what is called ketosis which means the body burns up stores of fat. According to The Daily Mail, dieters can remove the tube for one hour a day and can drink water, tea or coffee throughout the day.
Cons: Side effects include bad breath, constipation, potential kidney problems and of course weakness, headaches and dehydration – not to mention it is totally lunacy. It’s no surprise that this isn’t supported by Sydney health expert Tania Flack.
‘This extreme approach to weight loss is absolutely ridiculous and would place a great deal of strain on the body and be damaging to your health as it would force the body into extreme ketosis. It’s an invasive intervention that would leave the bride feeling weakened and looking exhausted on her big day.’

3. The New York Diet

Who’s doing it: Liz Hurley
Why it’s popular: designed by celebrity fitness expert David Kirsch, the diet promises to help you lose 6 kg and inches off the waist in only 2 weeks.
This is done by drastically reducing carbs, cutting out dairy, fruit, bread, sugar, coffee, alcohol and most fats – leaving you with a daily calorie intake between 800-1000 calories. Phase one allows 3 portioned controlled meals (such as egg white omelet, tuna cob salad and chicken and vegetable stir-fry) with two protein shakes as snacks.
Phase 2 reintroductions carbs (from fruit and vegetables) to your diet over a 2 week period with a daily calorie intake of 900 to 1000.
Cons: Some nutritionists believe the calorie restrictions for the first 2 weeks are too severe and that the complete elimination of certain food groups isn’t healthy and doesn’t help muscle tissue.
Sydney Nutritionist Tania Flack agrees and warns ‘the calorie restriction in the first two weeks of the program is too severe and ultimately it may result in loss of active tissue mass (muscle mass), which can lead to a slowing down of metabolism in the long run, especially if it is repeated.’

4. The Bleak Diet

Who’s doing it: Mariah Carey
Why it’s popular: This diet was created by music diva Mariah Carey and consists of soups and fish prepared without salt, sugar or spices. Bleak.
With an emphasis on lean protein Mariah lost approximately 15gk in four months. The diet also has a strong focus on exercise.
Cons: The longevity of this monotonous diet would be slim (mind the pun) due to tasteless food! Health expert Tania Flack explains:
‘Cutting sugar out of the diet is essential if you want to lose weight and minimizing your salt intake is always a good idea. Spices however should never be restricted and food should be appetizing. As long as vegetable intake was unlimited and small amounts low glycaemic index carbohydrates and lots of good quality seafood was included it actually may not be a bad choice.’

5. Fish Facelift

Who’s doing it: Sex And The City star Kim Cattrall
Why it’s popular: A facelift minus the knife? Pass the salmon! This is one of the few diets in Hollywood that doesn’t focus on weight-loss. The Fish Facelift (or Perricone Diet) calls on extremely large sums of oily fish such as salmon to reap the anti-aging benefits which is provided via the omega-3s.
While Nutritionist Tania Flack loves the idea of eating your way to a new fresh faced look via a diet high in omega 3 essential fatty acids there are things to be aware of:
‘I would recommend that you avoid eating larger (pelagic) fish such as sword fish and shark (flake) as they bioaccumulate heavy metals which could undo all the benefits if you ate them on a regular basis.’
Cons: Expensive, fishy and limiting.

6. The Cookie Diet

Who’s doing it: The reality star Snooky used it to drop the pounds she had put on with her binge-drinking lifestyle
Why it’s popular: who wouldn’t love a diet that allows you to eat cookies AND offers weight loss?! But is this diet really everything it’s cracked up to be?
On this plan, dieters eat up to nine 60-calorie cookies a day formulated by weight-loss expert and author Dr. Siegal’s, breaking for the hunger-suppressing treat every two hours. Why? Because less time without food means less time to get hungry. There is also a substantial 500 to 700 calorie meal tallying up to 1,000 daily calories and, at that calorie level, there are NO failures. Everyone loses weight.
Cons: Health expert Tania Flack says put down the cookie: ‘Again another fad diet that doesn’t provide enough fresh vegetables! It’s hardly helping to educate people on good food choices as most people on this diet probably gained weight by eating cookies in the first place.’

7. Apple Cider Vinegar Diet

Who’s doing it: Megan Fox claimed the vinegar transformed her body by ridding her body of water weight and boosts her metabolism.
Why it’s popular: Advocates claim that vinegar flushes out fats in the colon, helping the body digest food while curbing cravings. But vinegar isn’t a weight-loss panacea. There’s no evidence it does anything but leave behind an unpleasant taste.
Sydney expert Tania Flack (www.taniaflack.com) explains ‘Apple cider vinegar will promote good digestion as it would stimulate digestive acids. This may help to reduce abdominal bloating in some people. It isn’t a cure all, but certainly could be considered an added benefit to a well controlled diet.’
Cons: There’s no evidence of weight loss. It may not do anything but leave behind an unpleasant taste.

8. Seven-Day Colour Diet

Who’s doing it: this regimen has supposedly attracted Christina Agularia
Why it’s popular: Each day of the week is devoted to a specific colour. Adding colour to your diet can help ensure that you’re getting a variety of nutrients. This weight-loss plan takes that idea to the next level. Day one is white, day two is red, day three is green, day four is orange, day five is purple, day six is yellow, and on day 7 you eat the rainbow of colour. It is said that if you follow and stick with the diet, you should lose weight, maintain a healthy weight and maybe even improve your complexion.
Cons: ‘It’s a great idea to have a wide range of different coloured fruits and vegetables in the diet,’ explains Naturopath and Nutritionist Tania Flack ‘however trying to stick to one colour per day seems a bit limited to me and would surely lead to some strange food combinations. Try to have as many different coloured vegetables on your plate at each meal; it will give you the same results.’

9. The Bacteria Diet

Who’s doing it: Madonna is said to be a fan.
Why it’s popular: More of a science than an actual plan, this diet is high in fibre and laced with “good bacteria.” The theory is that the bacteria will ward off cancer and help with food digestion by promoting the growth of microbes in poop. Yes, poop.
Cons: Expert Tania Flack explains that this diet may not be as silly as it seems: ‘A high level of dysbiotic bacteria in the gut has been linked to problems with insulin signalling, systemic inflammation, obesity and metabolic syndrome. In fact, some studies have shown that changing your gut flora for the better actually helps you lose weight. I find in clinic that people with gut dysbiosis and ‘leaky gut’ often have trouble losing weight and correcting the gut can help achieve weight loss. High fibre diets, particularly vegetable fibres help to promote healthy gut flora which in turn would support weight loss.’

10. The Drunk Diet

Who’s doing it: the one and only, Lady Gaga.
Why it’s popular: The singer says she drinks whiskey while she works, but will always exercise after regardless of a hangover, hmm. Here’s to hoping this diet is more of a publicity stunt (as many people speculate) than a lifestyle. Although her ex boyfriend has scored a book deal based on the The Drunk Diet aiming to illustrate how he transformed his body with the oddball technique, in what he boasts as ‘the greatest f***ing diet book of all time’
Cons: Do you really need to ask?
TF: This is an appalling weight loss fad that will never work!!
 
Lee Sutherland – Director of Fitness In The City (Personal Training, Health Coach and Blogger on all things health, natural medicine, nutrition and fitness).
Follow her for more great health tips, recipes and motivation!
Facebook http://www.facebook.com./fitnessinthecity
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Expert commenter is Tania Flack http://www.taniaflack.com
Tania Flack is a leading Sydney Naturopath and Nutritionist, who believes that an integrated approach to healthcare, including the use of evidence based natural medicine, is the best approach for optimal wellness.

Paleo bread – possibly the best. Ever.

22 Mar

Not a day goes by when I don’t think of my beloved bread. Even though it was such a one sided relationship – I loved, and the bread? Well the gluten, grain filled bread did nothing but cause me heart (ok tummy) ache.

There were times when I would crawl back for more, just to endure days of pain and even depression. Then something new came along.

The world’s best paleo bread. Ever.

 Paleo bread sliced

Top with a generous scoop of homemade berry jam (if you’re feeling really crazy.. add some natural yogurt onto to act as cream YUM!!) and I promise you will be hooked too.

Ingredients:

200g cashew butter

220g macadamia butter

(Or 1 cup smooth nut butter of your choice at room temp)

5 eggs at room temperature separated (5 whites separated and 4 yolks separated)

1/2 teaspoon honey

2.5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup rice or almond milk (a splash more if need when whisking)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. For a white colour loaf as in the photo, place a small dish of water on the bottom rack.

Line the bottom of an loaf pan with baking paper, then spread a very thin coating of coconut oil on the sides of the pan.

Beat (electric hand mixer) the cashew butter with the egg yolks, then add the honey, vinegar, and milk.

Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until peaks form.

Combine the dry ingredients in another small bowl.

Make sure your oven is completely preheated before adding the egg whites and the dry ingredients to the cashew butter mixture. You don’t want your whites to fall, and the baking soda will activate once it hits the eggs and vinegar.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and beat until combined. This will result in more of a wet batter than a dough. Make sure to get all of the sticky butter mixture off of the bottom of the bowl so you don’t end up with clumps.

Pour the beaten egg whites into the cashew butter mixture, beating again until just combined. You don’t have to be gentle with this, but don’t over mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, then immediately put it into the oven.

Put in oven and drop temp to 140 degree and cook for 45 minutes – don’t open oven door for at least 40 minutes. Once cooked on top do a tooth pick test then cool for 15 minutes in tin. Then take out and cool on wire rack for at least 15 minutes before you dig in!!

Paleo bread with jam

Berry Jam

1 cup of frozen berries

1 tbs of honey

Rind of one lemon

2 teaspoons of lemon juice (or a good squeeze!)

Directions:

Boil on medium heat for 15-20 minutes stirring constantly until it thickens. Stick with it, it does thicken.

Pop in freezer for 10 minutes to ensure it is set then enjoy on top of fresh bread!!

Will keep for 1 week in fridge

Paleo bread

The original recipes (which I have adapted) came from the amazing gal at AgainstAllGrains.com.

Why You Should Start Dry Body Brushing Today

15 Mar

dry body brushing
Fast, effective, numerous health benefits – what’s not to love about dry body brushing in the morning?

You may be thinking, Why do I need to add something else to my already busy morning routine? Let me assure you, the extra five minutes this takes is well worth the investment.

Think back to your human biology class (minus the traumatizing exam) and answer these questions: What is the largest organ in the body? What is one of the most important elimination organs in the body, playing a large role in daily detoxification? What organ receives a third of all the blood that is circulated in the body? When the blood is full of toxic materials, what organ will reflect this with problems? What organ is the last to receive nutrients in the body, yet the first to shows signs of imbalance or deficiency?

Answer for all: the skin!

The benefits of dry skin brushing include:
• Listen up ladies: Increasing the circulation to the skin could possibly reduce the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite is toxic material accumulated in your body’s fat cells. So, rather than take drastic measures like liposuction, how about utilizing the dry skin brushing techniques to help break down unwanted toxins?
• Dry body brushing helps shed dead skin cells (and encourages new cell renewal), which results in smoother and brighter skin. It can also help with any pesky ingrown hairs.
• It assists in improving vascular blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. By releasing toxins, it encourages the body’s discharge of metabolic wastes so the body is able to run more effectively.
• Dry skin brushing rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin (and it feels pretty great, too!).
• It helps with muscle tone and gives you a more even distribution of fat deposits.
• Dry skin brushing helps your skin to absorb nutrients by eliminating clogged pores.
• And, in my experience, dry body brushing first thing in the morning can actually set up a perfect day! By doing something solely for yourself first thing in the morning, you can develop a beautiful follow-through effect, starting with a healthy breakfast – why ruin all the good work you just did?
Can you try dry body brushing at home?

Good news – you don’t have to book a pricey spa treatment to reap the benefits; this one can be done in your very own bathroom. All you need to do is purchase a natural bristle brush (not one made from nylon or synthetic materials). One with a long handle is also a plus, as it means you can reach all areas of the body.

The directions are pretty simple:
• Start on dry skin before bathing.
• Work in gentle circular, upward motions, then longer, smoother strokes.
• Always begin at the ankles in upwards movements towards the heart – the lymphatic fluid flows through the body towards the heart, so it’s important that you brush in the same direction.
• Your back is the only exception to the preceding rule; brush from the neck down to the lower back.
• After you’ve finished with the ankles, move up to the lower legs, thighs, stomach, back and arms. Be cautious of softer and sensitive skin around the chest and breasts, and never brush over inflamed skin, sores, sun-burnt skin, or skin cancer.
• Ensure you shower to wash away the dead skin cells and impurities.
• Tip: alternating temperatures in the shower from hot to cold will further invigorate the skin and stimulate blood circulation, bring more blood to the outer layers of the skin.
• Then follow it up with a slick moisturizer to nourish the skin (personally, I’m a fan of coconut oil).
Give it a go for 30 consecutive days and your body will love you for it!

See my original post on Dry Body Brushing here on MindBodyGreen

MindBodyGreen

Ditch the coco pops – three healthy breakfast ideas

1 Mar

If you haven’t already.. it is time to retire your favourite sugary cereal and replace it with a real meal to kick start your day (ie using real food). Unless you want to continue to feel sluggish and tired, then by all means – keep on eating those pops!

First up I want to introduce you to homemade gluten free corn cakes (inspired by Bills).  Served with a side of bacon, asparagus and tomato, avocado and coriander salsa this meal of champions is simple delish!

The carbs you get from the corn, coconut flour and asparagus will gives you the extra energy you need to power you on to lunch (with a snack thrown in for good measure of course). Plus the good fats for the avocado and protein from the bacon is essential to making this a balanced meal. Ensure the bacon comes from a good source – I always aim for organic meat where possible.

Sweetcorn gluten free Fritters with Avocado Salsa

Gluten Free Sweetcorn cakes

Ingredients

Corncakes
• 500 g fresh corn kernels – either cut from 3 corn cobs or use frozen kernels for convenience (defrosted first!)
• 2 organic eggs
• 1 small red onion chopped
• 15 g chopped coriander leaves
• 125 g coconut flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• Sea salt and ground pepper
• Coconut oil for frying

Avocado salsa
• 2 ripe avocados diced
• 10 g coriander leaves
• 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 tomato finely sliced
• Sea salt and ground pepper
• Thinly sliced chilli if you want a bite to it or dash of Tabasco

Directions
In a food processor or blender add: 2 cups of the corn kernels, the onion, eggs, coriander, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper and blend until combined. Then add the remaining corn and contents in and stir though.
Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium to high heat and add mixture into pan – keep each corn cake small in size so they are easy to flip. Cook 3 minutes per side.
Once you have cooked your desired number of corn cakes, serve with bacon, asparagus and avocado salsa.

On the run breakfast – yogurt, fresh figs, walnuts and LSA.

yogurt, walnut, figs & LSA

While I always prefer to have a hearty ‘meat + nuts’ breakfast, sometimes that just isn’t possible! When in a rush (or the fridge is empty..) I simply throw together in a bowl:

Ingredients:
• BioDynamic Organic Yoghurt (low GI, aBc probiotics, no artificial sweeteners or sugar like most yogurts)
• Fresh figs (Figs are naturally rich in much health benefiting phyto-nutrients, anti-oxidants and vitamins)
• Walnuts (high in omega-3 fats, manganese, vitamin E just to name a few)
• And a spoonful of LSA which is made from ground Linseed, Sunflower and Almonds into a meal. LSA is rich in protein and helps keep blood sugar levels balanced which is important when consuming fruit. It also provides a good dose of omega-3, zinc and calcium.

Meat and Nut breakfast

Meat & Nut breakfast

This no frills breakfast is a paleo favourite – the meat and nut breaky includes the 3 macronutrients (protein, carbs and good fats) and can have the following benefits:
• kick-start your metabolism for the day
• allowing you to burn more fat throughout the day
• decrease the insulin load in your body therefore increasing your ability to stay lean year round.
• increase your mental energy early morning and throughout the day;
• increase physical energy early morning and throughout the day;

Ingredients:
Lamb steaks cooked in coconut oil, herbs and spices.
Avocado garnished with ground cracked pepper and salt and a good squeeze of lemon
Raw asparagus
Basil leaves
5 macadamia nuts (you can have these instead of avocado)
Cook, serve and eat!

You can also check out what I eat for breakfast in Prevention Magazine online ‘What the experts eat for breakfast’ here

Lee Sutherland – Personal Trainer and Health Coach, Fitness In The City www.fitnessinthecity.com.au / www.facebook.com/fitnessinthecity / www.twitter.com/fitnessinthcity / http://instagram.com/fitnessinthecity_

How soon can you exercise post birth?

15 Feb

Post baby bodies

Thanks to glossy magazines and Hollywood stars (yes, YOU Jessica Alba and Miranda Kerr), we’re now all  brainwashed with unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of how our bodies should appear post birth.

The stories with glorified before and after pictures in magazines are forced upon us weekly, coupled with stories of an ‘easy birth’ followed by celebrities bouncing back to their pre-baby body within 48 hours. Um… no. Sorry, HELL NO.

First of all, does anyone have an ‘easy’ birth? And secondly, why oh why would anyone swap the early precious moments with their newborn for a 0 calorie diet and buckets of sweat?
‘No sane person’ is the answer, and certainly no one who is working within the safe guidelines of exercising post birth. So let’s discuss what is realistic, and more importantly safe.

The current medical guidelines regarding when it is safe to begin postpartum exercise have relaxed since the stricter 6-8 week “no exercise” mandate. As every woman is unique, so is the birth of her baby and recovery rate. It is always smart to talk to your doctor before starting any fitness program postpartum to make sure your body is ready to exercise, to know if your abs have separated and any incisions healed.

Ask yourself the following: did you exercise throughout your pregnancy and had a ‘normal’ delivery? If yes, then you can safely continue your pregnancy workout routine within a week of giving birth – just make sure it is light exercises such as walking and that you modify movements such push ups. As the weeks progress you can build on the duration to x3 moderate 30 minute walks a week.

If you had a c-section, expect to wait about six to eight weeks to exercise. However, walking at an easy pace is encouraged because it promotes healing and helps prevent complications such as blood clots.

Other important things to remember that due to your hormones (relaxin) your joints and ligament will still be extra stretchy so no crazy yoga moves please as you will be prone to injury!! Also, if you weren’t active during your pregnancy, or tapered off your fitness routine as the weeks went on, start slow and check with your doctor or midwife before you begin exercising.

Catherine Cram, M.S. advises that the following are exercises that can be done within 24 hours of delivery. These exercises help your muscles start functioning after a cesarean section or vaginal birth and are a great starting point within those first 6 weeks.

Try to do 10-20 repetitions of each exercise 2-3 times a day.

Diaphragmatic breathing (Abdominal tightening on outward breath): Lying on your back, place your hands over your abdomen. Inhale and allow your belly to rise as it fills with air. Exhale through your mouth as you tighten your abs, pulling them in towards your spine. Your stomach should flatten, not bulge, as you exhale.

Hut Exercise: Either sit in bed or a chair, or lie on your side in bed and place your hands over your tummy. Take a big breath in, and as you exhale say the word “hut” forcefully. You should feel your tummy tighten as you say “hut” and relax as you inhale. Ankle/foot movements help prevent blood clots after anesthesia.

Kegels (Pelvic floor contractions): Can be done in any position.

Opposite Hands And Knees: On all fours start with pushing your left arm in front of you until it is at eye level/in line with your head. Then bring it back to the ground. Do the same with your right leg, push it out behind you as if you are pushing the wall away with your foot. Once you have your balance down you want to do them both at the same time – right arm and left leg push out. Exhale as you push and keep you belly button to your spine. Do 10 on each side and repeat through out the day!

Is exercise still the LAST thing on your mind 7 weeks post birth (or 7 years post birth…)?

Well it is time to dust off those sneakers because regular exercise after pregnancy can:
• Promote weight loss
• Improve your cardiovascular fitness
• Restore muscle strength
• Condition your abdominal muscles
• Boost your energy level
• Improve your mood
• Relieve stress
• Help prevent and promote recovery from postpartum depression

Better yet, including physical activity in your daily routine helps you set a positive example for your child now and in the years to come – so what are you waiting for?!

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