Saturday, January 26, 2013

My response to Michelle Bridges blog post - "Children and Empowerment"

It's Australia day today and my day has, so far, been like this:

5am - alarm went off - I planned to get up and run ...... re-set alarm for 6am (yep, I'm human)

6am - alarm went off again - this time I got up, showered, got dressed and left home a good hour before I started work

7am - found a beautiful spot on a rock down at Maroubra and spent the next 20 minutes meditating. A new thing for me, but something I have wanted to learn about and do for sometime. So, for my own sanity, wellbeing and growth I went last weekend to learn and have been practicing twice daily since then.  I feel great having made the decision and carried out the action to do this for myself.

8am - hit the park and spent the next hour training all of the wonderful mums that had also made the decision to make time for themselves before embarking upon the weekend with their families.

I'm not feeling so wonderful today but I know I have taken care of myself, I know that these feelings will pass and that I will come out the other side. Whilst browsing the net I found myself on Michelle Bridges' blog and her last post was one entitled 'Children and Empowerment' which I wanted to share with you and comment on because I really couldn't agree with what she is saying more. An exert from her blog, 14th January, 2013;

"It strikes me that mother’s are put under a lot of pressure to a) be a good mother to their child under the scrutiny of, well, under the scrutiny of pretty much everyone it seems, and b) to get themselves fast tracked back into the physical shape they were at conception, or even before."

I am sure that pretty much every mother out there can resonate with this. I talk about this a lot, in fact the very first chapter of my book, How to Love your Body as much as your Baby (after the introduction) is entitled 'Be a little Selfish', here is an exert from that chapter;

"Selfish! That’s not a word that mums are allowed to comprehend let alone use. I’d like to, in the nicest possible way, challenge you to be a little bit selfish and to put yourself at the top of the list every single day.

Being a mum can be all consuming.  From the moment you wake (that’s if you made it to sleep in the first place) to the few moments you get to your self you are constantly thinking about your child.  No matter what kind of mum you are or what kind of parenting techniques you use we all have one thing in common - we want to be the best possible parent we can for our children.  

This starts in pregnancy, often even before conception, when we devour book after book about how to prepare our body best for birth, what foods to eat, what exercise to do, what vitamins to take...the list is endless.  We read books on the development of our babies as they grow inside us, then we start on the techniques, theories and ideas on how best to parent them, how to teach them to sleep, when they should eat, how often they should poo....what this means.... what that means and it goes on......   All the while we are still pregnant and making sure we are taking care of the vessel which is currently carrying them - you.  You prepare your meals with care making sure you include all of the valuable food groups, you rest regularly, you have your personal trainer or pilates instructor firmly scheduled into your diary, you take regular time out to relax with friends or wind down over a great book and life is great. You are nurturing and loving your baby through your care for your body.

Then, your beautiful baby arrives and everyone's focus is on this little bundle of joy but no one has more focus than you. No-one could care more about doing the right thing for them than you. So you continue to devour books, ask questions, fret over the right things or the wrong things, worry if they are sleeping too much, eating too little or haven't poo'ed for two days. Your baby is loved, nurtured and cared for in every way you see possible.  

The difference is now your baby is outside of your body, you don't have the determination, drive or energy to focus on you any more.  There is no time when this little person is so demanding and so important.  But what you forget is that the body that once carried this little baby internally is now the lifeline that carries them externally.  Your whole life is centered around them and will continue to be for the next 18-20 (or more!!) years in one way or another.  You are the foundation by which they will learn life, be nurtured and grow into this world.  Your health and wellbeing has NEVER been so important."

Add to this the pressure we put onto ourselves and feed off from the media about what a post-baby body 'should' (and apparently, can) look like in the shortest span of time possible. We can (and do) drive ourselves nuts in a world where we have lost our sense of self yet somehow strive to be super mum!

The very valuable moral of both mine and Michelle's message is that it is 100% OKAY to look after YOU. To make sure you allow yourself time to help yourself to feel good and to ensure you keep your head above water. Take a little time today to think about what you do in your week on a regular basis to ensure you are nurturing you.  

How to Love your Body as much as your Baby will be released chapter by chapter via ibook in the upcoming weeks. I am inviting you to be part of my editing process - through our facebook page and direct email you will be able to give feedback, ask questions, share your experience and start a conversation about anything that you read in order to shape the final version of my book. You will get the opportunity to talk directly to me so that we can create the best book possible, which will, in turn, help you become the best mother you can be first for you and then for your children and families. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

I write for you so I'd love to hear your thoughts and views on my blog posts. Please feel free to comment below or one the Body Beyond Baby facebook page!

Friday, January 18, 2013

My response to Geoff Parker, CEO, Australian Beverages Council on The Project

I'm sitting at home on the couch with my kids sheltering from today's Sydney heat in the cool air-conditioning. My children are the most important people in my world and I will always do for them and teach them the best of my knowledge in regards to their health and wellbeing. I think that is one of the reasons I get so angry when I see and hear people standing up and saying things that I know some people will take literally, and, in turn affects the wider health and wellbeing of our population of children.

I have been stewing about a segment I saw on The Project last night about soft drinks.  The interview was with Geoff Parker, the CEO of the Australian Beverages Council, who was doing his best to convince us that soft drinks (or sugar) was not the evil it is being made out to be. If you take your information from the Australian Beverage Council itself he may very well be correct; lets look at what the have to say:

“it is kilojoules that count when it comes to weight loss, not uniquely kilojoules from sugar,” said the Council’s CEO, Mr Geoff Parker.

“As the author of the study noted, when kilojoules from sugar were replaced with kilojoules from carbohydrates there was no change in weight, Mr Parker said. “This would not have been the case if sugars had a unique effect on body weight.” 

(taken from their media release dated 17th January 2013)

Okay, so when kilojoules are replaced with other carbohydrates there was no change in weight but I know for sure the amount of nutrients you would consume within the same amount of kj's would not be comparable. Not to mention the actual amount of physical food (real food, rather than empty, non food) you would be able to consume which equalled the same amount would be much greater. AND seeing as it is a better quality carbohydrate and you would most likely need less to be satisfied and therefore be likely to eat less and, just maybe, over time, weight would be lost.

And you're telling me that with 65g or 15 teaspoons of sugar in a 660ml (20floz) bottle of coke or approximately 1000 KJ's (for example) consumed every day isn't a problem? I can't think of any other way you can consume that amount of sugar SO quickly than by drinking it - therefore that, in itself is a problem for me; drinking KJ's instead of actually eating them.  What about quality over quantity?

But the statement which made me most mad was; 

"Kids need energy, and, absolutely, soft drinks provide that energy"
(on The Project, 17th Jan, 2013)

Far OUT!!!  Kids need what? energy? Yes. Junk, crap, sugar, NO. I don't care how much the argument is that it's about KJ's in equals KJ's out, I know, if you speak to almost every parent out there they will tell you about the effect sugar has on their children. The high; the CRAZY sugar high that follows and the dramatic, world ending disaster and tears that follow that. I can tell you how a sugar hit effects me..... pretty much the same way (maybe without the tears) an energised, hyperactive high followed by a sluggish low - and that's an adult body with an adult metabolism processing the sugar.

Apparently our criticism of the soft drink industry is because they are an easy target - hmmmmm, yes.....fill a bottle with sugar water and in my book that does make you an easy target. No matter what you say about soft drinks being part of a balanced and healthy diet I will not believe you. I know that your soft drinks do absolutely nothing good for my body and even less for my precious children's young and developing body. A body that needs to be in tip top condition to help them run and jump and play, that I need to feed the most nutritions and healthy foods as often as possible. They are growing, they are developing, not only in body but also in mind. I've said it before and I will say it again; what we teach them when they are young will shape their habits and normalities as they grow. Not to mention contribute to our obesity epidemic (or not). 

You may not directly market to children under the age of 12, but they see you, and by giving the tick of approval to some less educated parents and people around them you are giving the tick of approval to these children. To come out on national television and say it is okay to give children soft drinks to add variety to what they drink is highly inappropriate. As a mum on my facebook page noted "Why don't they put pure coconut water into schools and introduce kids to a delicious refreshing drink that won't rot their teeth, have them pinging off walls or damaging their bodies and brains." Why not indeed!

Oh, and the bit where you said that sales of low or no sugar soft drinks were outnumbering sales of full sugar versions by three to one which showed we were getting the message about reducing sugar in general AND that the sweeteners in these drinks are okay," because they have been tested" - give me a break! Have you seen the reactions our children are having to artificial sweeteners and additives causing allergies and behavioral problems.

There is nothing that you can say to me now, or with any amount of one sided research that will lead me to believe that soft drinks should be a balanced part of mine, my children's or anyones diet.

I write for you so I'd love to hear your thoughts and views on my blog posts. Please feel free to comment below or one the Body Beyond Babyfacebook page!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Don't Waste your Time in the Gym

I just got back from the gym, nothing unusual there, but this morning it got me so frustrated. Not with my own workout but what I saw when I looked around me. I might add at this point, I have not been training at the gym I usually train at (a change is as good as a holiday). So, before any PT's I know and those that know where I usually train take offense, this gym shall remain nameless.

What IS really great to see, is the number of people who have either already gotten back into their training routine after Christmas and New Year or those that have started a new one. But for f*#k's sake, if you are going to do it, do it well! I know very few people in this day and age that have the time and energy not to spend both well. When I looked around this morning I saw some very strange, if not completely dangerous, sights. And not only from people training alone. Some of those people were training with trainers who were more interested in having a good chat than ensuring their client was training well. More on that later.....

In the first instance, if you have never been into a gym before, or have never gained proper instruction, it is my recommendation that you seriously consider getting teaching off the right person. It is nobody's 'fault' if they go into the gym and don't really know what they are doing. If you have never been taught them how should you know?  If I want to learn or something new I will seek out the right person to help me learn the new skill or technique. I am a trainer and I work with other trainers to increase my knowledge and check my technique. Nobody knows everything and we can all benefit from the right instruction. Not to mention the fact that if you are consistently doing exercises incorrectly you run an increased risk of injury. You will potentially recruit the wrong muscles in the wrong order, use poor technique and develop habits which take time to undo and also put you at the risk of injury down the track when muscles that have been compensating for others finally give way.  For example; back, hip and knee injuries often come from an incorrect use of 'core' muscles and more of a bracing technique than proper inner abdominal (transverses abdominis, pelvic floor, multifidus) recruitment. Many people just rely on their external abdominal muscles to protect their back during heavy lifting and over time this is a recipe for disaster. And that injury will often occur during an everyday activity because the correct muscles just don't bother working anymore because apparently they don't 'need' to.

I work with people everyday that struggle to 'move their body in space', some people take to exercise more naturally than others, just like some people can spell better than others. Some of these people cannot squat properly and will forget how to do it correctly by the next time they train. But the fact that I am working with them every time they exercise to ensure that the correct technique is trained into them over time is fantastic. I have seen many of these people go on to completely transform their body and awareness.

This leads nicely on to my next gripe - just because someone is a personal trainer, doesn't mean that they are the right PT for you (or a good PT at all). Before you put your body into someones hands make sure you check them out. Check out their technique when they train other people, check out their technique when they train themselves (if you can), check out their attention to their clients when they are training them and how much they offer advice or corrections - even an exercise performed extremely well can often be tweaked to make it even better or harder.  Talk to other people and find out what they know about them, talk to their clients and ask them if they are getting results and what results they are getting (results should always be tracked through regular testing). Will they regress a client or go back to basics if they are lifting too heavy and not nailing technique (very important in my book). Do they have the best possible experience for your needs?  If you had an eye problem you wouldn't visit a knee surgeon would you? It is the same with PT's - if not even more so. Many PT's attempt to be masters of everything and experts of nothing. Not a problem if you fall into the general population with no injuries, special requirements or specific goals BUT if you do have any of the above then do yourself a favour and really check out their experience and credentials.

Throughout different phases of your training lifetime you may need to work with different trainers and a really great PT will not hesitate to refer you onto someone that they feel can help you more at this time. And last but not least if a trainer is talking on their phone, sending text messages, sitting down and losing concentration during sessions do yourself a favour and move onto the next one. If nothing else you are spending your money for their time and if at a basic level you are not getting that it's time to find someone new.

Doing the most effective and most efficient exercises for you, especially if you are working with a great trainer, is a wonderful use of your time and you can gain fantastic results when performed well and consistently. Make this year your best year of training yet. Make the changes you need to make in order to ensure you are not wasting your time and energy. Get these simple things in order, throw out the old (if they are not working anymore) - both in regards to exercises and trainers, bring in the new and look and feel more fantastic than ever in 2013.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Find Your Summer Body - Before and After pics - Mel

Mel shares what she got out of her Find Your Summer Body - 8 Week Challenge experience with us, along with her before and after pics:

"I really enjoyed the 8 week challenge and having dedicated time every week focusing on me and not the kids. My aim was to improve my upper body strength and be able to run. I'm proud to say have some nice strong arms now and that I can run around the oval. I always felt supported by Jen and Amy as they helped me extend my exercise ability. A big THANK YOU guys. It was also great to exercise with such a great group of women. I tell everyone I meet how fantastic Body Beyond Baby is. My next aim is one of the mud runs!"

Obviously not a big person to begin with but you can really see the changes in her before and after pics. Mel lost 2kg, 9cm from around her waist and 7cm from her hips. She increased her push ups by 10 on her knees and knocked 56" off her beep test.  Well done Mel and thank you for sharing with us and we look forward to seeing you in our next mud run!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Find Your Summer Body - Before and After Pics - Emma

Emma shares what she got out of her Find Your Summer Body - 8 Week Challenge experience with us, along with her before and after pics:

"The main thing I have gained from both the winter and the summer challenge has been enjoyment. I've enjoyed exercising (especially with such a supportive group), enjoyed the energy I have for life, improved my mental health and love the way my husband and girls are so proud of the new, fit mummy!"

Emma lost 4kg in her challenge this time, 4cm from her waist and 5cm from her hips. She knocked 13" off her timed run, 31" off her cardio test and improved her beep test by 1.2 levels. A veteran Body Beyond Baby mum having returned to us after the birth of her second baby she also took part in this years Stampede. We look forward to having Emma on board in our Tough Mum team in 2013.