If there's anything that can completely throw you out of balance when it comes to your health and fitness, it's a new little bundle in your life who will one day call you mummy. Not only have you been through 9 months of an hormonal roller-coaster whilst observing the miraculous (and sometimes challenging) transformation of your body preparing for birth; you then find a whole load of new challenges when the little one arrives.
This blog comes in more than one installment, as I found there was so much content, I had to split it up! For this blog I talked with a previous client of mine who lives back in the UK (hence why I can no longer train her!) - Nicola is Mum to a 9 month old little Sienna with whom I have stayed in touch with since our move over to Perth.
Her journey has been (and continues to be) an interesting one as she trying to discover a sustainable health and fitness regime that works for her new lifestyle with her current goal of losing the last 6 kilos (having already lost 11 kilos since the birth of her daughter). When I talk to Nicola I think of every new mum I have ever worked with and thought I would use this opportunity to get her honest take on the realities of a fitness regime when you're a new mum and together, try to find the solutions to share with all of you.
New Years resolutions are standard for most people in January - a pledge to 'be better' if you will, whether it's losing weight, giving up smoking or getting a new job. However the challenge with a lot of resolutions is that by February, the resolution has been forgotten and you're back at square one and hugely frustrated with yourself. So why is it you can't make a resolution and stick to it?
The reason is that as humans, we are always attempting to move away from pain and towards pleasure and comfort. Resolutions happen because to some extent, we are feeling pain. For example you're feeling podgy and less attractive than you used to be. In order to feel less 'podgy' you pledge to diet eating only 1200 calories per day and working out five times a week and you ensure you do this throughout January to get away from the emotional pain of feeling overweight. You stick to your plan, and sure enough you lose weight and feel pleasure! Well done you! Then because you have achieved your goal, you feel less pressure to diet and workout because you're already at your goal, so you let yourself have that piece of chocolate cake or miss a couple of gym sessions because you are no longer in so much pain. The pounds then start to creep up again slowly and before you know it you're back where you started.
So what's the key to long-lasting weight loss and health? The answer is to create and associate more PLEASURE with doing the things that are good for you such as eating healthier and moving more. If a diet and exercise regime feels painful to you - like you are depriving yourself - you will almost definitely go back to you old behavior once the initial pain has subsided, so the key to achieving your goals is to make smaller, more maintainable lifestyle changes in January, that you can then continue to build upon throughout the year.