Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Happy new you!

Welcome to the opening article on the brand new East London Mumsnet blog! Thank you for taking the time to visit us and as a reward please find below a fantastic article from local Personal Trainer and Fitness Expert Kelly Bedford. Prepare yourself for the Kelly's lowdown on the inside knowledge behind getting 2015 off to a healthy and active start. 

'New Year invites us all to think about what we would like to achieve during the next 12 months, with many of us setting health and fitness goals as a top priority. It can be hard to know just where to start when another new year rolls around and January presents itself screaming ‘STEP AWAY FROM THE ‘insert vice here’ YOU NEED TO SHAPE UP …NOW!’
If you are stuck on just exactly how to become healthy and fit this year below is a useful set of tips on the best planning methods, diet choices and exercises

The best way to really stick to healthy new year’s resolution is to be organised and make a proper plan. Planning your nutrition is one of the most important aspects of successful eating. I ask my Intervention clients to do their shopping in advance alongside planning and preparing their lunches ahead and to have dinner ready to go or easy to prepare in the evening. This helps avoid last minute panic buys when they’re hungry so they are less likely to make poor food choices

TIP: If you have become addicted to sugar snacking and want to eat better this year then clear you’re cupboards of the treats and replace these with nuts, fruit and yoghurt as sometimes willpower is not enough!

Set a target
Have a very clear dateline for your goals. They should be set at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks and 6 months. Each target should have a specific goal to achieve to avoid drift in your programme.

TIP: When thinking about your goals be really clear on why they are important to you, it also helps to make a positive association with the outcome e.g I want to increase my fitness so that I can get out and be more active with my kids which enables me to spend quality time with them OR I would like to increase my running fitness so I can participate in the 5km Race for Life with my friends and raise money for cancer research.

Don’t over commit
Start your programme with very small steps! I see this time and again with my personal training clients who have overindulged during the festive period, they set themselves up with huge mountains to climb and then feel glum when they don’t achieve their goals
Break your goal down into small pieces and each week tackle another piece e.g I want go running 4 times a week. This is a touch unrealistic for someone who has previously only ever run for a bus.

TIP: Start running once a week and then, the following week, up this to twice a week and so on, in a month you will have reached your target. 
If you are a complete beginner try getting out for a total of 30-45 minutes which can be split up into 5 minutes of running and 2 minutes of walking for example, simply adding more running minutes each week.

Diet Tips – getting it right

There is so much information out there about the latest miracle diets, quick fix cleanses and seriously super foods. Let me tell you one thing I KNOW to be true, if you are looking to lose weight AND keep it off, there are no quick fixes, gimmicks or magic diet plans that have ever worked – E.V.E.R. Eating well is absolutely the most important aspect of any weight loss plan, sure exercise is fabulous for body and mind and assists with calorie burning BUT if you are looking to drop pounds you MUST get the diet right first!

I am not going to bore you with endless lists of foods to eat and foods to avoid but instead provide you with a simple and easy way to ensure every plate you consume is a healthy and nutritious meal.

Answer each question according to the 7 habits…

1.   When did you last eat?
-       If it’s been longer than 2-4 hours, it’s time to eat!

Those who eat throughout the day tend to have a lower energy intake compared to those who eat irregularly. In addition eating regularly also supports stress management – both low and high blood sugar levels are a physical stress to the body and can contribute to overall stress.

Oatcakes (2), raw fruit such as carrots, cucumber, tomatoes and fruit such as apples, oranges, pears or peaches are all great snacks. Its useful to keep something handy for when you start to feel those pangs of hunger so you don’t let them lead to poor choices later on.

2.     Where is the complete protein in your meal?
    Are you about to eat at least 1 serving (20-30g) of complete protein? If not, find some protein. Women have 1 serving and for a man double it.

Chicken, turkey, salmon, mackerel, tuna, cod, prawns, beef, pork, lamb, steak, eggs, cheese, soya based products, beans are all great sources of protein and are essential to a healthy functioning lean body.

3.   Where are the veggies?
        Are you about to eat at least 2 servings of veggies? Prepare them any way you like, but eat them with every meal or snack. A portion of vegetables is roughly 80g and is equivalent to:3 heaped tablespoons of peas, 2 broccoli spears or a dessert bowl of salad

You can combine oatcakes and vegetables in snacks or you can add tzatziki or humus with carrots/peppers/cucumber etc.Vegetables are rich in nutrients, low in fat, sugar and calories. If you aren’t eating 5 portions a day you are missing out on all their crucial health benefits, vitamins and minerals.

4.   Where are the carbs?
     If you have fat to lose but haven’t just worked out, put down the white pasta, bread, rice and other starchy carbohydrates.

Opt for wholegrain sources such as oats, quinoa, brown rice or sweet potatoes or a double serving veggies. If you have just worked out then a mix of carbohydrate sources is fine.

5.   Where are your fats coming from?
     Every day you need some fat from animal foods, from olive oil, from mixed nuts, and from flaxseeds/flaxseed oil or fish oil. Spread them throughout the day but make sure to add them in.

6.   Do I need alcohol with this meal?
-       Alcohol has 7 kcal/gram
-       250ml either red or white wine = 1 mars bar

Whilst the body is processing alcohol it cannot metabolize any other fuel source and promotes fat storage and dehydration. If weight loss is your goal aim for 0-6 units each week and no more than 2-3 units per sitting

1 unit = ½ pint of beer, a single measure of spirits or a 175ml glass of wine

7.   Do I need this much food on my plate?
     This is KEY!
We are a nation of over eaters and often pile our plate with too much food often over estimating how much we really need. This week try having two thirds of your usual amount and see how hungry you really are.

Exercise Recommendations

The Great Outdoors
Becoming fit doesn’t necessarily mean you have to kill yourself with a crazy exercise regime. Walking, jogging or running is a fantastic way to get outside and get some fresh air as well as being completely free.

London is full of green spaces and big parks and there are many ways to utilize these, you should be aiming to be active for 45 minutes per session and 3 times per week and work at a moderately challenging intensity of 7 or 8 out of 10.
In addition to exercise sessions you should be taking 10,000 steps per day which is currently the suggested marker for health.

A great method for tracking your steps, sleep and exercise with a Jawbone or a Fitbit.
This has worked extremely well for me and I now have most of my clients wearing a jawbone motion sensor wristband!

What is it and what does it do?
The UP jawbone is a wristband that comes in many colours and measures the number of steps you take in a day, your sleep cycles and how many hours you sleep you get, the food you consume and also how many calories you burn per day.

They are a great way to help make sure you are moving enough, eating the right foods for your expenditure and sleeping adequately. For more information click here. 

Resistance training circuits
If you are a member of a gym or have a home training space below are 2 fabulous circuits designed for optimum fat loss and calorie expenditure.
Instructions: Perform each circuit 2-3 times taking a 90 second recovery in between each round.
Circuit 1
1. Single leg squats x 10 each leg
2. Dumbell row x 10
3. Glute bridges x 10
4. Press up x 10
5. Squat Jumps x 20

Circuit 2
1. Front lunge x 10 each leg 
2. Hand plank with alternating leg lifts x 20 (keep your body in neutral alignment)
3. Dumbell shoulder press x 10 
4. Dumbell dead lift x 10 

5. Mountain Climbers x 60 reps

NB: Always warm up before you begin with light cardio and dynamic stretching. 

Get professional help and guidance
If you are unsure of where to start with exercise or simply lack the motivation to get going then why not invest in yourself this year and get help from a professional.
I run a fantastic fat loss and fitness 6 week programme called The Intervention.

The Intervention Programme is carefully designed to:

It is an exclusive package that includes the most time efficient and effective personal training methods to drop unwanted fat and a nutrition plan, teaching you how to eat to promote optimum body composition, health and vitality.

Includes 3 x 60 minute personal training sessions per week at a time that is most convenient to you – early mornings, daytimes, evenings and weekends

Includes 2 sessions with a highly sought after behavioural coach to help rid those nasty habits and help get you in great shape - both physically and mentally!

This is not just a 6 week programme, this is a valuable investment for your future as the changes you make that will last long after the programme has finished 


*For all bookings made in January for a January or February start date

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Did you know you don't have to be pregnant to use Hypnobirthing techniques?

Yes you read that right, this is just one of the many unknown facts about this incredible antenatal preparation and life skill that is taking the world by storm. Let our Hackney based hypnobirthing teacher Katrina Berry illuminate you further on dispelling the myths and mystery surrounding Hynobirthing.  
It’s not new!
You might be surprised to learn that the first recorded use hypnotherapy for birth was in the 1850’s when hypnosis was used to induce labour. There was widespread use of hyposis for birth in Russia during the early part of the twentieth century, which spread to the US through the 40s. Hypnobirthing - the use of hypnosis and hypnotherapy to help to improve the experience of childbirth has been used for decades in the UK and is now being offered by many NHS trusts in the UK although most people seek professional teaching from those who are qualified.
There are now five main “methods” of hypnosis for birth in the UK, it’s important to know that they all have the same philosophy and goal and are based on the pioneering work of British obstetrician Dr Grantly Dick-Read. He postulated, way back in 1930, that the fear experienced by a woman in childbirth caused the blood to be diverted away from her uterus in order to be used by other muscles to enable her to escape from danger. The result of this was to deprive the uterus of oxygen therefore prevent it from carrying out its intended function without pain. This phenomenon he called "the fear-tension-pain syndrome of childbirth”.
Dr Dick-Read believed that if a woman were able to eliminate the fear, her uterus would return to its normal function, thus eliminating the pain. Concluding that fear and tension was responsible for 95% of labour pain, he suggested this could be eliminated through education and relaxation techniques.
Hypnobirthing is not hippy trippy
Far from it in fact, hypnobirthing programmes are rooted in science and all teachers pride themselves on encouraging evidence based birth practice. They will often teach parents-to-be about the NHS health system, the roles of midwives, obstetricians and doctors and give them the confidence to be able to navigate hospital policies and guidelines to make informed decisions. Most courses will also look at physical aswell as emotional and psychological preparation for birth too.
Despite recent decades of scientific research into the benefits of hypnosis, it’s surprising how it continues to be misunderstood and judged negatively on the basis of misinformation and simple prejudice. People still often react negatively to the word hypnosis but virtually never react negatively to the description of the process of hypnosis.
Everyone has experienced a trance state many times, but we don’t usually call it hypnosis. All of us have been so absorbed in thought – while reading a book, driving or on the bus to work – that we fail to notice what is happening around us. Conversely we can be so “in the zone”- a pianist performing a complicated piece of music or an athlete tuning out a crowd to focus on their best performance - that we are not conscious. While we were “zoned out”, or “in the zone”, another level of consciousness which we refer to as our unconscious mind, took over. These are very focused states of attention similar to hypnosis.
Whilst early approaches to the use of hypnosis for birth placed an emphasis on using hypnotic techniques as a pain management tool, it’s more common now that a hypnobirthing programme is much more comprehensive. Often a complete antenatal course, all of the hypnosis for birth courses and books educate women and their partners about nature’s design of the birthing body and how best to create conditions conducive to natural birthing. Couples are taught how beliefs and thoughts affect our nervous system and can they help or hinder the birth process. Facing fears and releasing concerns, through hypnosis, allows a couple to approach their birth with calm confidence. Building a woman's confidence and trust in her body's ability to birth allows her to be able to step gracefully out of the way and allow her body and baby to do what they know how to do.
It’s not just for a particular kind of birth
Let’s get one thing straight right away: there is no one right way to give birth; every baby’s birth is unique. Hypnobirthing is not just for those planning a natural birth. A “hypno birth” is not necessarily at home, in water, in the dark, surrounded by whale music. Of course there are many women who choose that for themselves but there are also those who give birth in birthing centres, labour wards and those whose babies come unexpectedly in the strangest of places (I had a couple who welcomed their son in a hotel room!).
There are those whose babies need help and, thankfully, we have a wonderful maternity system that offers medical assistance. Some babies need to come through a caesarean section, sometimes labours are induced, some women are told they are “high risk”and they need to make decisions about their care. Hypnobirthing helps in all these scenarios - hypnobirthing helps birthing mothers to feel calmer and in more control over decisions about treatment options. It truly is about being prepared for any and all birth experiences.
The skills taught in hypnobirthing are life skills, not just for birth.
Hypnobirthing is very different from other antenatal preparation. You’ll find yourself becoming aware of your emotional, mental and physical approach to giving birth; understanding how your mind and body work and how you can have more control over them is incredibly empowering and often spills into other areas of life. It will prepare you in many more ways than you first imagine. Bringing a child into the world throws the rest of your life into perspective and it’s often a time of transition and change in more ways than one. Life can be challenging, there’s an unwritten law somewhere that when pregnant you should move house, renovate or at least redecorate.
I encourage couples to use the approach and techniques to help them with every day life as well as for childbirth. This allows it to become your unconscious, automatic approach to life.
Learning to focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want, thinking positively, calming your nervous system, all these things help you when feeling anxious about a meeting or presentation at work, if there’s someone annoying near you on public transport, with being nervous before an antenatal appointment, trying to stay calm when a toddler is throwing a tantrum. Indeed integrating the approach and techniques to help you with the challenges of daily life means you’re more able to reach for these tools when you need them most.

Hypnobirthing isn’t just for mum
Paternal instinct is often overlooked but can be just as powerful as the maternal instinct. It is to protect and provide. HypnoBirthing preparation for a birthing partner helps them not only understand how a woman’s body functions most effectively but how they can use their own instinct in the most helpful way.
Whilst other antenatal classes will help a father (or partner) understand the basics of what’s going on at birth, hypnobirthing will provide a partner with a thorough understanding of the hormonal interplay and how to help create conducive conditions for the cocktail of helpful hormones needed.
Using the approach and skills learned in hypnobirthing for life, I’ve had many partners tell me that they’re sleeping better, working better, improved golf game gets mentioned a lot (!) and I even had one dad tell me that hypnobirthing helped him pass his driving test.
The benefits of doing hypnobirthing will ripple out into all areas of your life, before, during and after your baby’s birth. It always makes a difference, sometimes in the most unexpected of ways.

Katrina Berry is listed on Mumsnet Hackney HERE
“Why Hypnobirthing Matters” by Katrina Berry launches a new series of books by highly respected publishers Pinter and Martin in April 2015.
Looking at the origins and rationale for using hypnosis for childbirth, she explains what you can expect from hypnobirthing and dispel common misunderstandings in a lively, informative way giving readers a firm framework from which to make confident, informed decisions of their own. Ideal for new parents, health professionals and all those with an interest in birth and parenting. 

To pre-order this book click HERE