Health and fitness is important to me but it’s a challenge to prioritise amongst the pressures and busyness of parenting. Fitting it all in is less about time management and more of a journey for me, and I’ve written about this in the posts below.
1. The first step was to make the conscious decision to do something about my health. I wrote about it here: Feeling Fat and Ugly.
2. Secondly, I had to embrace who I was and the changes in my body. I wrote about it here: Weight Gain and Post Baby Body Issues.
3. I jumped those hurdles, and now I have the freedom to work out what fitness/health routine works for me. I shared my fitness routine here: Finding time to excercise.
I’ve achieved so much in terms of health — I’m an active sort of person and I enjoy eating healthy foods — but there is something I really struggle with. It turns my steady healthy life plan in to absolute turmoil…every month. It’s PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome).
I asked experts in nutrition and exercise from Weight Watchersto answer some questions specific to this topic for me, and the interview is below. It’s filled with tips and advice about how to utilise diet and exercise in conjunction with family life and lifestyle, to achieve the best health outcome.
Oh, and BONUS! I have a hamper full of goodies to giveaway from Weight Watchers at the end of the post too.
Emma Stirling: Weight Watchers Nutrition Advisor and Nutrition Editor of Weight Watchers Magazine.
Martha Lourey-Bird: Exercise Scientist at Weight Watchers.
Kelly: Why is there a compulsion to eat more right before the menstrual cycle?
Emma Stirling: Pre-Menstrual Syndrome or PMS is a complex condition involving emotional, physical, hormonal and environmental factors, but we certainly know from research that appetite and cravings can increase in the days leading up to a woman’s period with a preference for sweet treats like chocolate topping the list time and time again.
The available studies show that cravings tend to occur more often in women with PMS and that the cravings increase as symptoms worsen. While more research is needed to understand food cravings, the good news is that they do not appear to translate into large increases in kilojoule intake and subsequent weight gain.
Kelly: What are three ways to combat monthly cycle mood swings that can affect food and eating plans?
Emma Stirling: It’s not surprising to hear that an overall healthy lifestyle is more likely to reduce your symptoms of PMS or help you ride the wave of symptoms like mood swings better.
1. As a Dietitian I recommend regularly including mood boosting foods and nutrients in your eating plan, like omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish with 2-3 fish meals a week a good tally.
2. The second thing you can do during the premenstrual days is to include low glycemic index, nutrient rich carbohydrate foods like oats at breakfast, to maintain steady blood glucose, insulin and energy levels.
3. My last tip would be to see an Accredited Practising Dietitian for advice. There are certain foods and potentially dietary supplements that may help balance your eating plan and relieve symptoms, but it is important to have expert advice.
Kelly: How is it best to utilise diet and exercise in conjunction with family life and lifestyle, to achieve the best health outcome.
Emma Stirling: This tends to be especially tricky for mums. Striking a healthy balance with a busy family life is sometimes difficult, and made even more complicated if weight loss is a goal. Unfortunately we are very good at looking after other people and multi-tasking, but often fail at looking after our own needs first. The bottom line is that you need to take care of yourself and make sure you are getting the nutrition you need. If a mum is healthy and happy, the whole family will be too. When it comes to health, I’m very pleased to recommend Weight Watchers as their Nutrition Advisor. A comprehensive program that combines healthy eating, activity, behaviour change and a supportive environment is key to long term success. There are some fabulous element to the new ProPoints 2012 like an iphone app and zero ProPoints fruit and most vegetables.
Martha Lourey-Bird: Exercise can provide natural pain relief by stimulating a combination of pain-fighting endorphins and increased blood flow which reduces cramping and various other symptoms of PMT.
Although at the time of PMS, you probably don’t feel like exercising at all but it’s likely to make you feel a whole lot better! Exercise releases feel good hormones that lift your mood as well as help reduce that bloated tummy feeling. It doesn’t need to be anything strenuous at all, and can always involve your children – try taking them to the park while making sure that you are active too and don’t spend the whole time just sitting down watching them play, if it is too hard to get out of the house or too cold, simply lay on the floor and do a series of exercises or some gentle stretching (depending on how bad your PMS is) as the kids will love joining in too. Sometimes it can also be a good idea to park your car up the road when you go to pick them up from school, this will not only help you feel better, but will also help them wind down at the end of the day.
**Giveaway ended: Congratulations Gemma!**
I’m giving away this fabulous hamper from Weight Watchers to one reader. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below.
The hamper contains Weight Watchers food products like nut and muesli bars, fruit packs, jelly, gravy, Belgian chocolate brownies, delicious chocolate scrolls and mixed forest berry jam. There is also a Weight Watchers cook book, magazine, beach towel and mini speaker phones.
Terms: 1. Australian residents only. 2. Winner will be notified by email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. 3. Not associated, administered or sponsored by facebook. 4. Winner drawn randomly.