After having a baby, like so many women, I put my own health and well being on the back-burner. As new moms we’re often so focused on the survival of our tiny little beings, that it’s insanely easy to forget to nourish our bodies the way we once would. Moreover, who has the time to meal plan, let alone shop and put together gourmet, nutrient packed meals? In those early postpartum days, I “fuelled” myself with whatever was quick and easy; left over casseroles, crackers and cheese, chips and pasta. All the delicious comfort food we crave, but nothing of substance to heal and properly nourish my body.
It’s so easy for these habits to become out of control. As my child started to eat solid food, I would spend more and more time preparing her delicious, nutrient packed, organic meals with fresh ingredients, and would often find myself eating her leftovers, or something quick and easy from the pantry. Life just became different and taking care of everyone else’s needs took precedent over my own.
But how long are those types of habits sustainable? I mean, I know “how” to eat well, but it’s just not easy amidst work, nursing, sleep deprivation, and maintaining a household. As the month ticked on and on, I’ve found the bad habits multiplied, becoming less and less easy to break. My energy felt depleted and I started not to recognize the woman staring back at me in the mirror, but the solutions I’d heard often felt out of reach and overwhelming.
Recently, our Mom and Baby class was visited by Anne Thibodeau, an Ottawa-based Nutritionist and Certified Health Coach, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition. Taking on a unique approach to health and human potential, Anne helps her clients transform their health habits through nutrition, stress management, movement, mindfulness, and core wellness practices, enabling them to live a more vibrant, aligned and balanced lifestyle.
Anne shared with us some basic tips to getting back on track and calls them her “Solutions for more energy, better health and more positive mindset”. I decided to put them to the test and incorporate her solutions into my daily routine and after only a few weeks, the outcome could not have been more positive!
Here are her four solutions:
1. Drink your water!
I know, I know. We’ve heard it all before — we need to hydrate! But do you know what the actual recommended intake is per day? Studies suggest we should be drinking 2/3rd of our body weight in ounces of water, per day. This means if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be consuming approximately 100 ounces of water in a day! Anne reminded us to, PLEASE not rush to your kitchen and chug 100 ounces, it should be a gradual increase up to the suggested amount (and likely more if you’re nursing!)
Drinking water also increases your energy as it allows the body to increase absorption of nutrients from your food. In addition to aiding digestion, it can also prevent snacking and curb your cravings. She suggested that sometimes if you’re feeing hungry, drink a glass of water and wait five minutes to see if the hunger is still there! (Try it, it works).
You can also add fruit and herbs to your water to give it a flavour boost and can increase the nutritional benefits! I recently started adding cucumber and mint and it tastes just like Spa Water!
2. Move every day
There’s no need for intense boot camp exercises (unless that’s your thing!) Anne suggests15-30 min per day of movement in the form of walking, dancing or yoga, is a great start and so beneficial for your mood and state of mind. I have recently added this to my daily routine
and can say in all honesty, I feel more energetic, less fatigued and more mentally aware. I have prioritized this 30 minutes as “me time” but as my daughter has watched me moving my body and actually enjoying it, she is eager to participate. We now have daily dance parties and a 15 minute yoga session. Watching her light up when it’s time for exercise warms my heart and I could not be more excited that we now share an activity that is so beneficial for us both.
She also loves to be worn so strapping her on my back and going for a 30 minute power walk is a much more intense workout than it might sound like!
3. Chew your food!
This may sound silly, but this trick is the key for increasing energy! Do you know on average, how many times you chew each bite of food? Next time you sit down for a meal, try noticing! I found that I was chewing each bite between 5-8 times. That is substantially lower than the recommended 20 times.
If you do not properly chew your food, your body is exerting a lot more energy trying to break the food down. This is the reason why we often feel so tired after eating! It’s our body working overtime (who knew?)
Anne suggested (if possible) to try timing your meals to be 20 minutes in duration. While this may seem difficult, we’ve started doing this at suppertime and in addition to being physically beneficial, we’ve found the slower pace adds to our quality family time where we can unwind and talk about our day without rushing. We come from a long line of fast eaters, so this task is taking some serious practice, but we’re getting there. It’s also setting a good example for our daughter that slower, is better!
4. Eat balanced meals
Anne states that unless medically warranted, there is no need to restrict any particular food group; all are needed in some form by our body. She suggested that each meal contain a lean protein and fat to keep you full, as well as veggies and grains to provide important nutrients. When asked about diets and indulging, she spoke about the 80/20 rule which I personally ADORE! It’s essentially, if you eat well and make wise choices 80% of the time, it leaves the other 20% to indulge in the piece of cake, or pizza on a Friday night. Which works WELL in our family as we LOVE our treats!!
What I loved about Anne’s suggestions is that they are all realistic and simple to incorporate into your daily life. As a busy mom of two, she understands and promotes the fact that It’s not about dieting or cutting out the things that you love, but rather, changing your habits to make smarter choices. It takes on average two months to create a new habit and so far, in the past three weeks that I’ve been focusing on integrating these solutions into my life, I’ve begun to feel happier, healthier and my pants are fitting a bit more comfortably. Best of all, none of these things have put me or my family out, nor have they deprived us of the things we love. If anything, it’s encouraged us all to be healthier and stronger together. Because of Anne I have reminded myself that results don’t happen over night. Slow and steady wins the race, so if you’re deciding to make some changes, give it time so it’s not too overwhelming and you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Baby steps!
We are so excited to welcome her back as a speaker in our upcoming Mom And Baby Active Camps in the end of June!
As a health coach, Anne Thibodeau works with three main clients:
- The woman who wants to release weight, and who has been trying to do so for some time now. She doesn’t know where to start and feels like she’s tried everything to reach her ideal weight.
- The person who suffers from a lifestyle disease such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease or hypertension – or a combination of these, which we refer to as metabolic syndrome. Through their diagnostic, they realized that it’s time to start taking better care of themselves, but they’re not too sure where to get started.
- The new mother, who might be completely overwhelmed by her new life, and has put herself and her needs aside in order to meet her family’s needs. She wishes that she could find a solution to regain her energy, her joyfulness, and maybe even shed what’s left of her baby weight.