I’m a mother, nutritional therapist and author who has been sharing recipes to help you get the glow back for the last 8 years...
People always ask me how I stay healthy, and I have to admit I’ve found it more challenging since I became a mum! The biggest thing is finding the time: to cook, to exercise, to get my head together so I can make healthy choices.
Now Shay is seven months old and I’m all excited for my first Mother’s Day, I feel like I’m in a healthier place both physically and mentally. So here are my 6 secrets to staying healthy as a mum…
I’ve simplified my recipes because all I want is to have dinner right now this second! My Fish Curry With Cucumber Ribbons is ready in 20 minutes – I haven’t got time to faff about. Usually I’ll make double portions so I can pop something on the hob tomorrow and quickly warm it through. So it doesn’t feel like I’m eating the same thing all the time, I might reinvent something like my Tomato And Chickpea Curry on the next day with rice, courgetti or green beans on the side.
We all need a bit of mental space where we can switch off from being responsible parents. So, when I’m cooking, I love listening to podcasts that take me out of my head – last week I listened to an episode of Stuff You Should Know about how lion taming works. Random, I know! But I love learning something new, and it gives me conversation beyond Shay’s teething. I’m conscious that because most of my friends don’t have kids they don’t indulge my endless baby chat!
Last night Shay woke at 4am crying and I ended up having a little sleepover with him. It’s taken me months and months to realise I can’t control my baby’s every move, and it’s actually draining if I get cross when things don’t go to plan. So I try to be positive, even at 4am! I’ll focus on the cuddles, and remember that this is just a phase. Having those calming thoughts helps me go back to sleep afterwards.
Sleep deprivation and sugar cravings go hand in hand. My trick to sidestepping the slippery sugar slope is to make a protein smoothie for breakfasts with banana or blueberries in the morning – the fruits tame my sweet cravings so I skip refined sugar, and the protein powder fills me up so I’m not tempted to snack before lunch. I love my Beautiful Berry Smoothie, and this Coffee Chia Smoothie comes with an extra caffeine kick.
Exercise is a priority for me because I always feel good afterwards. So when Shay is down for a nap, I don’t look at the dishes or laundry because the second I start on chores, exercise drops to the bottom of my to-do list. Yoga is my thing, so I unroll my mat and commit to 15 or 30 minutes. When Shay was tiny I started with my Post-Natal Yoga Routine and now I feel fitter mix it up with Yoga For Weight Loss which is great for lengthening and strengthening. If Shay makes it clear he’s not interested in napping, I try doing a routine like Tara Stiles’ 10 Minute Yoga for the Core with the Baby which basically involves cuddling Shay and having him roll around on the mat beside me. Never too young to start yoga, I say!
We talk a lot about how physically tiring it is to be a mum, but we often overlook how mentally exhausting it is too. Motherhood is challenging because you can’t magically fix every problem, you have to see through a fair few screaming fits, and sometimes the mundaneity of orchestrating bedtime and wiping bottoms is just plain boring. So we need techniques that help us relieve that stress. I’ve raved a lot about my passion for meditation, but if you’re not into that then meditate your way: it might be sketching, journaling, cooking or walking. When we do those things mindfully, we come back to our kids with a clearer, calmer head.
What’s your top tip for staying healthy? How are you celebrating Mother’s Day? Pop over to Instagram and let’s chat!
Love, Madeleine xx