Helen Swift - Vitality Goddess
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Are you a new Mama?? Then you will find this useful. If you know a new Mama, please share this post with your tired friend that's just birthed a baby!
These are things I wish I'd known 6 Years ago when I had Joshua. There are literally just two things I needed to nail down, and no it wasn't to keep on top of allll the washing, or getting the perfect bedtime routine!!
1. Keep baby well
2. Keep breathing (you & baby)
EVERYTHING else could have waited.
With the arrival of the new Royal Baby, Meghan & Harry have already been asked if he's a good baby & if he sleeps well (!!)
I remember layering new Mum-guilt on myself, about Joshuas routines & if I was doing it right...just so we are clear here, every baby is good....and they all have different routines. Circle back to point 1. & 2. and you are doing great!
Things that can also help...
- Ask for food! You need the energy right now, as you are in recovery. No shaming the biscuits here...AND also eat some stuff with high vit C & zinc content for repair: free-range meats, chickpeas, lentils, seeds, eggs are all great. I also love the food-grown supplements from Wild Nutrition (this isn't sponsored, I just love them.
- Sleep when baby sleeps. Yes I know there is so much talk of losing the baby weight, and some claim to exercise or run around doing household stuff whilst baby sleeps. SERIOUSLY, sleep when the baby sleeps, it's super important for your repair.
- Listen to your body. If you have pain, discomfort, or leak on the way to the loo or when you cough, laugh or sneeze beyond the early days - Your body is talking to you. Seeking out a professional to help you to repair well & gradually progress in a well structured way with the right exercises for you as a post-natal Mum is HUGE. Holistic Core Restore Coaches can be really helpful. As a HCR coach, we specialise in pelvic floor & core recovery. The pre-screen is thorough & we can help direct you to the right course of action for you (like a Womans Health Physio first, for example).
I hope you found this useful - please do share with your Mum friends & let's get empowered Mums feeling good!
Take care x
For many Women, constipation & irregular bowel movements are a real issue & can have detrimental affects on our pelvic floor & core health. It is a lot of pressure on the pelvic floor, and can be a real concern, esecially if you also have other symptoms for prolapse.
So...you'll be pleased to know there are some yummy solutions!
This banana bread is full of fibre & flax seeds which are known to reliev constipation.
This is actually freezer friendly & gets the family seal of approval too! (win, win)
If you try this out, let me know how it goes!
- 2 cups ground almonds (also known as almnd flour)
- 1/2 cup flax seeds
- 1-2 tbsp cacao powder (depending on how chocolately you want it!)
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees c.
Add all the dry ingredients into a bowl, mix & then add all the wet ingredients, & mix well.
Line a bread tin with baking paper, then pour the mixture in.
Bake for 45 minutes, then check it's ready by sticking a knife in the middle (it should come out clean) cook for longer if required.
Happy baking & happy bowels :-)
If you like this recipe, I bet you will love my 6 week Holistic Core Restore Course - we start Thurs 6th June at 7.15pm & combine movement, nutrition & lifetime access to videoed homework. All the details here.
Our thyroid is our butterfly shaped gland in the neck that regulates & drives our metabolic rate throughout our whole body. You may have heard of TSH (our thyroid stimulating hormone) but what actually drives the cells in our body to function well is the active T3 that is converted from T4 in the thyroid.
There are a few things that can block this conversion. And the key thing here is to know that we are not just made of parts - we are completely interconnected. This is where, as the title suggests, your thyroid & your poop are connected!
These things can give us conversion issues (making each cell in our body go on a go slow):
- Our age
- Our gut bacteria
- Certain mineral & vitamin deficiencies
- Certain medications
- Auto-immune conditions
- Food sensitivities
Our gut bacteria converts 20% of our T4 into T3. Therefore, we need to have lots of good bacteria to do this job When we have lots of bad bacteria (which can be caused by all of the issues above) we end up with what is known as gut dysbiosis.
Dysbiosis makes us constipated, as well as damaging the cell lining - like punching little holes in the walls, which causes inflammation & food sensitivities.
When we are not pooping we can end up with symptoms like:
- Thyroid issues
This is because our stool is sitting in our large intestine, and the toxins INCLUDING OLD OESTROGEN get re-absorbed into the body & tax the liver. When the digestive system is on this go-slow, it signals to the thyroid to also go slow.
That said, there are wonderful solutions. Whilst the correct testing is very important, which I go into more detail within my Vitality Goddess Program. Also medication can be a bridge for some people. BUT we cannot dismiss the critical lifestyle & nutrition protocols that get our system working in harmony once again.
If you are constipated or have a sluggish metabolism, there are solutions for you.
These are some of the very effective things that have worked with many of my clients, which we address & support each other in depth within my Goddess Program....
How to get healthy poop & therefore help your thyroid:
- Taking out certain known foods that score highly for inflammation, for a short time & re-introducing
- Testing the elimination of Gluten - as Gluten sets off a protein that damages the gut lining
- Healing the gut, like Taking a high strength pro-biotic amongst other protocols
- Dialing down the stress & setting healthy boundaries in our lives. Trust me, there are ways you can do this. I have got your back & I'll be sharing loads on this.
If you would like support to help your thyroid, I would love to help. We have a FREE 5 day self-care challenge starting next week - 15th January - which you can access here.
Within the challenge, I have taken some golden nuggets straight out of the Vitality Goddess fully interactive online 4 week program which starts on 22nd January. All the details are here.
Below is Helen, who lost 12lbs in last Years intake. Although weightloss is not our focus, it is a very pleasent result of our hormones coming into balance! We would love you to join us if you want to ditch the diets & nourish your body.
Hell hath no fury like a woman with imbalanced hormones!
Perhaps you feel like each month you feel more tired, more crabby & just not like yourself anymore.
Or maybe each month you notice your clothes are getting tighter & tighter...the methods you used to use for weight management just don't work anymore.
I hear a lot of ladies that have been told to "Suck it up dear, it's all part of being a Woman &/or ageing"
It is time to break the suffering in silence & bust the myth that hormonal hell is all part of being a Woman...because you can reclaim your energy, & learn how to work with your body, rather than feel like your hormones are against you.
From the age of around 35+ our hormones go in a flux, as they start to change towards our perimenopausal years. I am here to tell you, it is common, but it's not normal for you to feel so low/fatigued/bloated for half your cycle every month.
I always feel it is super important to get educated/informed so that you can use this transition time of the peri-menopausal years to get to know what really works for you, so you can boost your metabolism, lower stress & clear the brain fog naturally.
Here are my 4 favourite foods for a smoother cycle each month:
- During your period ~ magnesium rich foods like green veg, nuts, and dark chocolate all provide energy & help prevent sugar cravings
- During the first 14 days of your cycle or daily throughout the menopause ~ maca powder or ground flax seed, which provide plant-based oestrogen to keep you feeling juicy & energized. Flax also gives you great omega 3 & fibre for your bowels.
Hormones are our chemical messagers that run through our blood stream ACTIVATING certain cells into ACTION.
They are in control of:
- Our mood
- Our metabolism
- Our reproductive system
Last week, we discussed how to boost certain hormones for fat-loss. (Read here.)
And Today we are talking about balancing a different hormone, which does also manage our weight too!
Today we are talking about Cortisol, our stress hormone
If you feel:
- tired yet wired
- unrested when you wake up int he morning, even after a long sleep
- have stubborn weight, even despite eating relatively healthy &/or exercise
Then this blog is for you!! So, grab a brew, and let's get the low down & the actionable tips!
What happens when we are under stress?
Initially adrenaline is produced by the adrenals when we are under stress. Our adrenal glands kick in to produce the hormones adrenalin & cortisol, to help us deal with a stressor, which can be:
These hormones kick in at the sign of stress, because we are hard-wired for survival.
In cavemen times this served us well, as we needed our adrenalin to chase the odd lion (or run from it!). During this fight or flight mode, the body releases sugars into the blood stream, ready for action! The sugar got used by our muscles during the action. Then we got back to our safe cave, & we 're-set' back to our calm state. Our other hormones got their chance to be made & put to use, like our anti-anxiety & fertility hormone progestrone, or the metabolism regulatoring hormones of the thyroid, for example.
What isn't so great, is the fact that we are not built to with-stand long-term, low-lying chronic stress.
Fast forward to the 21st century...don't you agree we are under chronic stress, day in & day out?
Remember, our body thinks we are under attack when stressed, due to our 'hard-wiring' as humans. Our blood sugar levels surge ready to fuel the muscles to run from a danger that we are not physically running from, because often our stress nowadays is perceived stress from things like our email inbox. We end up with this vicious cycle of high blood sugar levels & instead of using it, insulin shuttles sugar into our tummy fat...this is a no-win situation.
Stress makes us fat.
Cortisol trumps the production of all our other hormones. Our calming hormone progesterone, doesn't get a look in, which can dis-regulate our monthly cycles & stop ovulation. Left unchecked, long-term it gives us a rougher ride as we go through peri-menopause & menopause.
Do you think you may be producing a lot of cortisol? You may be chronically stressed if:
- You have stubborn weight gain that isn't coming off like it used to
- You feel ready to snap at the slightest thing these days
- You feel like something is off - you just don't get as excited about stuff like you used to
- Your cycle is off - and you notice that it's usually when you are stressed
- You are getting hormonal hot flashes
I feel it's time to re-evaluate our perception of stress, & the production of stress-hormones....& to manage it....but where do we start?
We are all so very unique, and it's by knowing ourselves that we can start to take positive steps each week in the right direction.
You actually don't have to over-haul your life to start to feel calmer (and as a by-product notice your waist-line shrink!!) Just start with one or two things that you like the sound of, that can consistently do each day.
We go into a lot more detail in my Online Goddess Program, but I'd love to share 3 of the GREAT solutions for lowering cortisol that I feel everyone can benefit from straight away!
Let's get the solutions....Enjoy!
We don't have to retreat to the beach 9although that would be nice) Here is what you can do as part of your busy life:
1) 10 deep breaths....
with the exhale longer each time. This is scientifically proven to work, with brain imaging scans to prove it! Our 'fight or flight' mode calms and makes way for our healing, rest & digest side to switch on!
2) Interrupting anxiety with gratitude.
Very often I get caught up with my ever-growing to-do list &/or multi-tasking. After battling with adrenal fatigue, and NEVER wanting to go back there...I have made a pact with myself to check-in with how I'm feeling. This enables me to interupt the anxiety & ruminating going on in my head, with gratitude. Don't get me wrong when I say 'Interupt Anxiety with Gratitude'. This is not a plaster over feeling crappy. I have been doing my inner work on letting myself feel the way that I feel, acknowledging it. And even the acknowledgemnet itself makes me feel more at ease. Who knew?! This gives me the space to then notice there are so many things that are amazing & well in my life. This REALLY works for me. I make it a daily habit to keep me on track.
How is your energy today? Most of us might say "I'm shattered!"
Where did that energy go that we see amongst those boundless 4 year olds??
More importantly, is it possible to restore our energy? (Do NOT tell me you have to put up with it due to your age!)
The following are just 3 of the many methods I most love to work with, amongst my 1:1 & my online groups. I LOVE talking about proven methods....but they only work when you set the dial for how much to integrate into your life this week.
The key is not to do "All or nothing", but to set the dial for what you can realistically do. This way you keep progressing forwards.
The best way to pick what you want to do to increase your energy is to cherry pick one of these tried & tested methods that sounds the most fun!! ...if you give a consistent go, could you let me know how you get on? Some of these are huge game-changers!
1) Close the tabs
If you are like me, I can quickly have more than 10 tabs open on my computer, and in my life, all at the same time. This is complete overwhelm on my poor little adrenals, and zaps my energy! I didn't even think I could work on one project at a time, when I heard of this concept of 'closing tabs'....because I was so used to multi-tasking. In fact, I know I used to give myself a pat on the back for being so "busy"...
Fast forward a while, and all those plates don't feel so lovely to spin any more. I felt frazzled.
So I did a little experiment on myself...starting off with the computer....would I be able to close the tabs? Would I *shock* be able to actually turn the computer off each night??
I gave myself 1 week to try it at first. And I can happily report, my productivity went through the roof! It made me block time to do specific things, like dedicate time to blogging. I love closing tabs these days :-)
1 small thing becomes a habit when we do it consistently. And habits take way less brian power. Choose one thing this week to close tabs down on & be consistent, so you can focus on just the one thing...and let me know how you feel!
2) Love your liver!
Liver loaders literally slow our energy production right down. Alcohol impedes how your liver detoxifies for the whole of the next day. Trans-fats from processed foods & refined sugars also stop our liver from running smoothly. So see if you can load up on these things your liver loves instead:
- Colourful veg (full of minerals & vitamins!)
- Green veg (particularly good to detoxify old oestrogen)
- Dandelion tea (helps the flow of bile)
3) Drink your water
I know I bang on about it...is it just too simple to be true?? Nope. Our blood becomes like a stagnent pond when we don't drink enough water. Our energy will be at its all time lowest when we are dehydrated. So be like a flowing river & see how you can get your water in today. Pop lemon/lime or any fruit in there to *infuse*...delicious!
Over to you
Let me know what you are doing this week to boost your energy...shout out about something I haven't mentioned, you could inspire someone!
If you found these tip useful, please do share this blog with your friends :-)
I always have lots of fab tips, inspiration & recipes over on facebook too -please find me here.
I know this isn't the most glamorous of topics...BUT...if you have bones...this is IMPORTANT :-)
Bone health is important throughout our entire lives....but it is usually only when we reach a certain age that it comes to light that we TRULY need to do something about it....let's not wait for the life-altering breaks ladies!
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, by 2020 approximately 14 million people over the age of 50 are expected to have osteoporosis and another 47 million to have low bone mass.
With a rapid decline in bone density after the age of 40, it is crucial that we find ways to build peak amount of bone density before this time, and then to off-set this decline with proven-effective strategies fromt he age of 40 plus.
It is not just the over 40's that are at risk. I met a lovely lady over the weekend who has had a diagnosis of osteoporosis in her 30's, which has prompted me today to take a look at what we can do about our bone health, so we can prevent life-altering breaks.
1) High-repetition & low-weight exercise improves bone density
In a recent study (see study here) over a 27 week comprehensive trial, non-impact, high-repetition, low-weights workout was proven most effective for improving bone density.
Postmenopausal women and osteopenic individuals experienced significant bone mineral density increases of up to 29 percent!
If you are looking for a Non-impact, low-weight exercise at Vitality, choose: Pilates on the Power Plate (Wednesday evenings) or try the Barre class. The Barre class will be full-time on our timetable in September, but until then, you can try it out on our 'Barre & Pamper' Evening Tuesday 18th July, and it will also feature in our 'Summer School' one-off classes mid-August!
We all have the best intentions to eat in ways that support our body...
But then the kids spring a surprise on us...
Or the traffic is bad...
Or the work mounts up...
And we end up grabbing something quick.
And sometimes (most-times) that something quick, either has processed ingredients or causes digestive distress!
If this is you, you are not alone.
Whilst coaching nutrition clients, what I could see time and time again is that they would want to eat healthy, but life just got in the way of some of the recipes.
All the healthy things they wanted to do got side-tracked because of time-limits.
This is also true in my life too.
I knew there had to be a way to fit in my priority of health, it had to be a way that suited the shift into motherhood. So I hatched a plan...
It has worked so well with 1:1 clients that I knew I had to create a blueprint that I could share with you all in an accessible program.
One of the areas we look at within my up-coming e-course 'Hello Happy Tummy', is the prep phase of foods. This is what restaurants do for smooth running, and it reduces cost & saves time.
The good news is, you don't have to be a chef to get your prep done & you don't need all day (phew!) I actually have counted the minutes it takes (& popped it in the notes) to do Sunday prep for the weekdays within my program!
By preparing some ingredients in advance, you increase their nutrient content, and help reduce abdominal discomfort.
This is true for oats, find my really popular recipe here for overnight oats!
This is also true for Chia seeds, which are full of omega 3s (good for brain, heart & mood) which swell over time as you soak them. They keep you fuller for longer too, and take minimal time to prep.
This is one of the 3 recipes I teach within my program, that I thought you would enjoy today!
We all want that elusive' 'balance' in life. When we start looking at others & especially on social media, it can really look like some people really do 'have it all worked out'.
I certainly reached a tipping-point when my little boy was tiny, at the same time as my business was growing. I felt the pull to be 100% Mummy, whilst conitinuing my 100% effort at work. Then flip over to facebook, and yup, there was always someone smiley on there looking like they had the work-life balance thing all worked out..."How are they managing 200%??" I thought.
Through a lot of trial & error, testing methods, continued eduction, and walking alongside my clients journeys, I've landed my recipe for what feels good for me.
Your work-life balance is highly unique to you, just as your nutritional needs are. The fantastic thing is, your inner wisdom already knows the way.
Here are 3 ways to tap into your inner guidance to 'win', your way!
- It only works if it feels good