Written by Ed Stride (The Lose and Shape Up Expert) www.loseandshapeupexpert.com
Firstly Busy Mums, an apology…
Don’t get me wrong I’ve always understood your Lose and Shape Up goals; to lose weight to feel better, look better, to wear the clothes you want to wear with comfortable confidence, not to strategically hide, have increased energy to get through your incredibly busy day, to put to bed those nagging thoughts of associated health risks, to have more vitality and optimism, to be a healthy role model to your children…
Luckily its never been my way, but if I had told you previously to batch cook and put everything in little tupperware, you would have had every right to tell me where to go…
You see I had no idea before, I understand a little bit more since my other half and her two little boys who were aged 4 and 5 then and I all moved in together; Wow, adding working and being in business to the mix and thats a frantic dawn until dusk operation going on there! Yes I just missed toilet training, that was not intensional, I wasn’t waiting in the wings biding my time or anything…
Now the boys are older and possibly even with the help of someone else maybe “an amateur dad” like me… There is the whole, get em up, breakfast, get them ready, deliver them, get to place of work, keep customers happy, get to meetings, be the hive of productivity, before you know it, pick up children, get them fed – sometimes its a struggle to get them to eat, sometimes you can’t fill them, then homework, then bath time, maybe feed you and your significant other, tuck them in it’s already really late and if no one wakes up, there’s the sofa and TV and ahhhhhh…
So how the hell are you supposed to fit eating healthy and exercising enough to get results?
I know in the past you associate getting results with being hungry all the time, never being able to have your favourite foods, complicated plans, not having enough support, not really knowing if you are going to get a return on your precious time and energy and even lacking belief in the outcome, despite it being a massive frustration of yours, maybe you have just settled and excepted that’s how things are, or overwhelmed with all the options; bootcamps, gym memberships, diets and diet groups…
I know you have already experienced eating salads week after week, until some kind of binge ensured, putting your precious time and energy into eating plans and exercise that didn’t deliver any kind of lasting result, when trying to get results it’s been a process of lose a bit, gain it back, lose a bit…
Or lose a lot quickly and then because it was too rigid to be sustained gained it back quickly with interest! It’s so easy to understand why a lot of the time your thought process is “I’m so busy at the moment, I just don’t have time, when things quieten down, then maybe I will do something”…
I can see how it’s so confusing, there is so much information out there, if it was all about the information, with the invention of the Internet we would all be walking around with perfect body’s and driving Ferrari’s! You have all these plans and systems; plans based on points, sins, calorie counting, apps, eat low calories a couple of days then eat normally the other five…
A big problem our modern day lifestyles is that a lot of our food tends to be of the processed variety, that which comes in packages, packets, boxes and cans typically supplying us with calories and energy, fat and sugar a lot of the time of the man made variety but not really delivering us any nourishment, all though yes it tends to taste pretty good and usually has its own snazzy advert!
Our daily life’s have become more and more sedentary, jobs these days involve a lot of sitting at a desk for example and sitting for long periods of day, travel wether it be for work or the school run or other types of travel also involve sitting down, then we all is done at the end of a long day, we unwind by sitting and watching something on the TV, usually a Busy Mum will have her glass of Mummy petrol (wine) nearby. Also no matter how old your children may be, the body may still be getting over something and not fully strengthened and stabilised since you went through pregnancy (s).
It’s this and coupled with prolonged sitting that can cause back problems, tight hips and lack of mobility, if it’s not combatted in some way by movement.
All of this leaving Busy Mums somewhat carried along by the tide, wishing you could Lose and Shape Up, but frustrated, lacking the time and having to feel like this is something beyond your control and you may have to settle that you won’t ever be back to being you again.
Thats where I come in, I have been helping people ‘Lose and Shape Up” as I like to call it and prescribing specific exercises in relation to their unique postural problems since 1997 and in that time including loads of Busy Mums.
During those two decades, exercise and nutrition knowledge has evolved somewhat.
Not so long a go I developed an illness; a dysfunction of the thyroid gland, its not serious – you haven’t got to unduly worry about me :_), but it affects and slows down metabolism, so it meant I still knew my stuff and although I was practising what I was preaching I didn’t feel I looked the part anymore and to be honest I felt a bit of a fraud and as I was used to being in better shape, this affected my confidence, I was applying all the knowledge I knew to not much avail, for a short while I just excepted that that was how things were now, that I was never going to be in the shape I once was.
I remember attending a mini seminar, that brought some new science and thinking to the table, you see I already knew about the human body and its “survival” genetics that have been around for millions of years, we are designed to eat certain foods, effectively what ever we could hunt or forage for and in this need to hunt and forage we stayed relatively healthy by moving and being very mobile, a bit different to modern day, like I said a lot of our food tends to be of the processed variety and we live a mostly sedentary lifestyle.
In relation to exercise we have always known its about using the body as nature designed, but previous eating advice wasn’t always the most effective, we were advised to calorie count on the simple equation that if we burn more calories than we ingest, we will lose weight and because everything was calorie based, fats were the foods to avoid as they contained the most calories.
So when we made a focussed effort to eat low fat, we then typically ate foods high in Carbohydrate – a low fat, high carbohydrate plan is now known as a “get fat plan”.
You see, Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of fuel, its were it gets its best source and easiest form of energy from, the problem is if we provide our body with quantities of its primary energy, the body’s secondary source of energy stored across the body (more stored in some places than others) as body fat can stay where it is, or worse if there is a surplus of energy than this too is turned to body fat that we wear which obscures our shape, depletes our confidence, makes us feel sluggish and increases numerous health risks. When focussing on low fat, we forgot about sugar, the purest form of Carbohydrate and its sugar or blood sugar or glycogen or glucose that every single carbohydrate on the planet gets broken down into.
Remember I was saying the body is designed to move, to forage and hunt and to escape danger, well we are also designed to eat certain foods, usually a lot of this is that that could be foraged and hunted for – that was the missing link, we had even started to replace naturally occurring food the body was designed to process and replaced it with food that contained processed man made ingredients we couldn’t as a whole host of “light” and “low fat” food options arouse promising to be far lower in calories, but lower in calories doesn’t always mean higher in nutrients and easier to process and in fact in this case, its just the opposite!
Diabetes has become far more common as day by day because of our nutrition habits our blood sugar goes through sharp peaks and rapid descents.
The link was found between stabilising blood sugar and losing weight (fat) and improving our health. The simple key was to eat food from natural sources as much as possible as our body’s know what to do with this. One of the reasons so many nutrition plans are either not started in the first place or just too difficult to adhere to is that they are just TOO complicated! I am no rocket scientist, most of this healthy lifestyle stuff is common sense, take a healthy eating plan, which basically involves; eat lots of Veggies, have a good protein source at each meal, drink lots of water (the plain stuff is great) and have junk food sparingly. Nothing you didn’t already know, but knowing is one thing, applying is another!
If your goal is to lose and shape up, then also moderate your intake of high processed carbohydrate like sugary cereal and white bread and modest portions of the less processed and get the fat we need in small amounts from things like oils, nuts and seeds.
The reason most nutrition plans, even the healthiest ones are not adhered to is because its just too hard to stick to, sometimes the best weight loss or losing and shaping plan as I like to call it, is the one you can follow for the long term. Calorie counting isn’t really effective as it’s pretty arduous and even though we trust the food labels, the calories depicted can be off by quite a way, plus people are different the way we process calories can differ, the amount of stomach bacteria we have has an affect and metabolism goes up and down at different phases of the menstrual cycle for instance.
One of the best ways is to use the portion size tool nature gave you; your hands! For a portion of a protein rich food, have a palm full. For leafy vegetables have a fist sized amount, for healthy fats a thumb sized portion and for high energy carbohydrates a cupped size handful, if you find results stagnating try having half the portion of fat and high energy carbohydrate. Of course the key is to cut out completely the stuff you really don’t need or wouldn’t really miss that much if you are honest and decide upon a weekly sparingly amount of the others, say a single glass of lady petrol (wine) that you savour each night.
Another way we set our selves up for failure is to try and change things in one go, baby steps is the answer, in the past I have been asked to supply generic meal plans, these don’t have a very high success rate unfortunately for many reasons; we enjoy eating different things, a lot of the food we eat is eaten with other people, we are all busy, children get sick, we are not always prepared, its always someone’s birthday or a special occasion.
My advice is take what you are already eating regularly and enjoying and just think “how could I just make this a little bit better” and take small steps to change it until you feel you have reached a point where you still enjoy it, but the foods you are now regularly eating are assisting you to get steady lasting results.
And on the subject of measuring steady results, I totally agree with another more famous, successful and better looking personal trainer than myself in naming the weighing scales as “the sad step”. Weight goes up and down, you can gain weight healthily and you can lose weight unhealthy. Fat should be the thing we focus on losing and being able to at least maintain our muscle and hydration as this burns calories for us. The first time is not pleasant but take a “before” photo and forget about it, until you take your next one 4-6 weeks later to compare back to, or take circumference measurements of your waist, hips and any others you wish, or a great one is how your clothes fit, these are based a lot more on losing inches.
So I have written a lot about eating habits and I wish it wasn’t the case as someone who directly helps someone with their exercise routine and unless I move in (imagine me popping out of nowhere each time you opened your fridge!) can only advise and hold some one accountable on their eating habits, but it is 70-80% of getting the results you desire.
For some expert meal recommendations that can be adjusted to suit the whole family so you don’t have to prepare multiple meals and an overview of my system and regular tips and real world advice, enter your details on the right hand side…
The best other component is exercise; finding ways to be more active in general is a great idea. In terms of structured exercise sessions, anything that stimulates big muscle groups and keeps the heart rate elevated is effective. I’m not sure who decided all effective exercise sessions should take an hour, but its more about what you do, rather than how long. During my Busy Mums one to one and small group exercise sessions the focus is on expending calories and making sure the muscles which provide support and stabilisation to our bodies are working, as there are muscles that tend to become weaker and stay weaker post pregnancy and more or less the same muscles that tend to become weaker as we spend a lot of our time seated. The good news is the more muscles involved in an exercise wether the muscles that move limbs or hold us in place the higher the expenditure or energy supply and demand.
But, just focusing on calories burned during an exercise session isn’t really the most effective way, another reason to work big muscle groups is that due to the healthy repair and recovery needed after, the calorie burn if done right could last some 48, even up to 72 hours after the last repetition of the exercise was completed! Compare with an aerobic activity like steady pace jogging and after a bout of that, metabolism could be back to normal after a couple of hours.
There we have it, I hope that demystifies a lot of things, there are simple tools and time efficient exercise routines you can fit into your busy lives. For me, when I learned this it just fit in with what I already knew and pretty soon, by just applying a few things I was back to feeling my normal self post metabolism illness and being able to continually evolve my system to help so many people.
With this system I developed, you don’t need much time to get results, just tweaking a few lifestyle habits and a couple of short exercise sessions that can be done and adapted regardless of fitness ability per week. I have developed 12 week online programmes utilising these components for those that just need something structured to follow, I use this system and personalise it to the individual in my one to one personal training sessions and starting again in September I will run small group Busy Mums only Lose and Shape Up sessions in the Ringwood/Wimborne area, free 3 session tryouts available (numbers limited).
To start you off, use any of the steps and tips outlined above or the best way to start is to sign up for my free report, it’s got tips to get you results and my top meal suggestions that can be tweaked to keep the rest of the family happy (and stop you have to cook multiple meals) at the same time and receive on going regular tips and secrets that the food industry don’t want you know incase you stop spending millions buying their products as you realise they weren’t healthy after all. Come and see how it all works and find out how I have already helped loads of Busy Mums like yourself. Head to www.loseandshapeupexpert.com and click on “get started now”, or enter your details on the right hand side top of the page. I look forward to supporting you and leaving no stone unturned to get you the results you deserve.
Ed Stride (The Lose and Shape Up Expert)