Better To Have Tried And Failed

I’ve been having a wobbly week confidence-wise. It was particularly bad at the weekend and there was a lot of sleeplessness and some tears.

Since the day that I left the bank in 2013 to pursue teaching I’ve had people telling me how hard Hibernia is. I 100% know that they mean well. Most are trying to prepare me as I think it’s obvious to everyone that I have a tendency to take on a lot.

Rarely have I doubted myself but this week it got in on me. It could have been lack of sleep, Jodie starting creche or maybe because the start date is drawing near. Either way I went over and over it in my head for past few days until thankfully I remembered.

I remembered that I’ve been doing this hard stuff for a while now. Studying, motherhood, running my own business and sobriety. None of it has been easy and yet I’m still going. I also remembered that I have a of support, a lot of people cheering me on. However, most importantly I remembered that I might actually fail. That I might not be able for this and that it might get the better of my determined nature. But if it does then at least I’ve tried.

Sometimes we look at people who achieve things and we think “I wish I could do that” or worse “I could never do that”. We think that they have all of the answers and that they are in some way better or more special than us. I know that there are a lot of people who think that they could never do some of the things that I’ve done. I’m know because they tell me often in comments and messages. So this is a short post to say that even people who do hard stuff have the shakiest of shaky days (or weeks in my case). Nobody is confident all of the time and the bigger the risk the more likely you are to feel nervous or anxious. It doesn’t mean you can’t overcome these feelings and do it anyway. As they say better to have tried and failed…

Bríd

Time for a Break

I’m pretty sure that there are going to be a few readers thinking “told you so!” or “I was thinking this would happen” when they read this post. This post is about is something that was inevitable but in the same way that you can’t convince a person who hasn’t experienced the hell/joy of childbirth that they will get over it you also cannot properly communicate with a mother-of-one how different it is to be a mother-of-two. (Side note: If there are any expectant mothers-of-one reading this please, please understand that while I’m about to write about how utterly shattered and time-poor I am I have brought a lot of this on myself and my experience of two children is not necessarily going to be yours). I’m also not trying to blow my own trumpet by writing about how much I do or did. This is, I think, a cathartic way for me to convince myself that it’s ok to stop now for a little while.

At the end of this week (I’m writing this post on the last week of April) I’m going to be taking a break from my online courses for (at least) the summer months for a few reasons but the main one being that I am so f’ing exhausted. I’m not being the mother I thought I would be and even though I do realise that the mother I thought I would be before I actually became a mother doesn’t exist I’d still like to give myself a chance to be a bit more like her. Less snappy, more patient and hopefully a lot more fun. Since having Jodie I am wound so tight because there is always SO MUCH TO DO and when something goes wrong, even if it’s something small, it feels much bigger.

Frankie was born in July 2014 and from that time until this I have been just about every “type” of mother there is. I’m most definitely not using PC terms throughout this post so please don’t be offended by the ones I have used. I’ve been a self-employed “working mother” who went back to work when my first baby was six weeks old and my second was three weeks old. With Frankie it didn’t feel hard at all. He was such a good baby and I loved early motherhood. Year one of motherhood is a good year for me. Year two? Not so much. I had to go back because financially I hadn’t put myself in a position not to. With Jodie it was different. I felt every bit of having to work so soon after having her. Financially, by living a little more frugally,  I could have not worked (it would have entailed reeling in the coffee and cake trips a bit and not buying clothes that i’ll never get to wear cos let’s face it where the hell am I going these days but it could and now it will be done) but I had built up this business that I absolutely loved and I had created a community of women who really wanted my help. Loving your children to bits but loving what you do is, I’m sure, something that many women can relate to. My business has been very good to me, particularly in the last six months, but I do feel like I’ve earned every cent I’ve made. There has quite literally been blood, sweat and tears.

Multitasking with a two-week-old Jodie

(You can tell by my face in this picture that I know this is madness)

I’ve also been a studying mother since Frankie was nine weeks old when I went back to college to finish my degree. For the first year of his life I would put him to bed and then hit the books until late into the night. Again it didn’t feel terribly hard in year one. He was an easy-going baby during the day and slept all night so I had the energy to do it. The shit hit the fan in year two though when he started walking, pulling all and sundry down around him and was waking at night with his teeth.

Each of these things have been part-time so I’ve also been a stay-at-home mother too. I have fantastic childcare 4 mornings a week and have a lot of help from my husband and family so I’m really lucky but there was no office and there were no office hours. My business has meant that I’ve had to be switched on all of the time (sending messages while I was in labour and answering queries while simultaneously breast feeding). And of course there’s Snapchat. I’ve shared a lot on Snapchat over the last year and for the most part I didn’t mind doing that. I’ve loved how sharing the early days of motherhood with Jodie helped other mothers who were also struggling. But it does take from my time with the kids (as well as involve me having to wash my face at the very least which can feel like an epic task some days!) and that doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve never liked the idea of Frankie seeing me talking to my phone and by the time his bedtime comes around I’m often too shattered to make sense. Social media in general is both a blessing and a curse. I love the part where I get to interact with other women and mothers online but I hate how false life has become because of it. It’s not reality or my reality at the very least. I want to be present in my life.

Not so sure I can keep going any more

Or do I? You see part of me has been avoiding being “just a mother”. Please don’t take that to mean that I don’t have massive respect for every mother who is “just a mother”. I think they are the mothers I have the most respect for because not having a job outside of the home (or upstairs in the home in my case) and having to be with them all of the time is so bloody hard and I think I’ve been afraid of the boredom that comes with that. Not the nothing-to-do type of boredom. Dear Jesus no. There is always, always SO MUCH TO DO (which I may have mentioned before) even without the work and the study. No it’s the this-is-mind-numbing boredom of the day-to-day job of being a mother that scares me.

I’m also exploring why it’s so hard for me to be still. I most definitely have what I like to call busy-ism. I’ve christened this the Summer of Stillness and the mission is to have no work or study to-do list. To wake up in the morning and think “what will we do today?” rather than “what do I have to get done today?”. I also have things I’d like to write about in this stillness. Notes can be found dotted throughout my house with thoughts and ideas that pop into my head at the most random times (washing up and wiping bums being the two main times). I should add here that I know I’m extremely lucky to be able to take this time and to make these decisions and my heart breaks for every mother that has to either go back to work or stay at home when she’d rather be doing the other or a bit of both.

One of many thoughts I’ve had to write down before tiredness kills it

I’m starting a Masters in Primary Education through Hibernia College in September. It’s going to be full-on I’m told. I’m not sure if there’s going to be room in our life for my business. I want there to be but for there to be any hope of that I need to step back and see if I can put a better structure on things because as it stands there just isn’t enough space in our life for any more. My little man is going to be three by the time the summer is over. How is that possible? And I feel like I’ve barely stopped to be with Jodie since she was born. I’m not going to get this time back. As is the case when you have small children both myself and my husband have had to sacrifice things that we love to keep our little ship afloat but I don’t want us to lose ourselves in all of this busyness either.

Our Inca Trail honeymoon in May 2013 seems like such a long time ago

So as of next Monday (May 1st) I will be closing membership to my online courses. I will remain fully dedicated to those who are currently on the course or who sign up this coming week (during which I’m giving a €20 discount using the code FWBSUM). And it’s not that I will be completely gone from social media either. It’s just that I’ll be doing it on my terms. I’m thinking a lot less Snapchat and hopefully a bit more blogging (though not necessarily about exercise and healthy food). I need to not be answerable to anyone outside of my family for a while and get some breathing space.

I have great expectations of fun times on the beach this summer – let’s see how that goes!

While obviously this has been a post about me and my hectic life if you are reading this and you’re also a person who is prone to overloading themselves with to-do’s and busyness maybe you might also consider if there are ways that you can make a little bit more room in your life and give yourself a break.

Thank you so much to everyone who has come on my courses or shown support to me since I set up Fit with Bríd two years ago and I hope you all have a lovely summer.

Bríd

 

Happiness is your Perfect Body…..right?

1 Week Post-Pregnancy

4 Months Post-Pregnancy

Every morning, since reaching my pre-pregnancy bodyweight and measurements, I jump out of bed and slip into my skinny jeans then skip down the stairs with my two little babes in tow ready to take on the day. Because my life is pretty perfect now….

Oh if only it were that simple. Reaching the size, weight or measurements that you consider to be your ideal does not result in instant happiness. Kids still get sick, bills still need to be paid, you still throw a child at your other half the minute he walks in the front door (and remember to say hello to each other about an hour later) and basically the world keeps spinning exactly as it did. But I will admit that, for me, the process of getting to this point has made me happier in myself. Maybe that’s because I don’t deprive myself food-wise (nor do I encourage any of my online participants to do so) or maybe it’s because I enjoy taking the time for myself that exercise and healthy eating require. If you’ve been following my post-pregnancy progress you’ll know that I started off on my 6-week online post-pregnancy plan and then went to on to do my 6-week online slim-down. I’ve also been doing a lot of other things since Jodie was born to help me feel good including yoga, meditation, therapy and just generally taking it a bit easier (which is NOT always easy for me).

Jodie’s Christening

It’s ok to want to get back to your pre-baby size, weight or shape but it’s not easy and it’s not for everybody as some new mothers just can’t be bothered and guess what? THAT’S OK TOO! There were days when I wondered if I was putting too much pressure on myself but when it comes to losing body fat I like to get it done, move on and not have it be something that I spend valuable time, energy or brain cells on. There are more important things in life.

Spending time with my babies is more important than worrying about my weight

After watching and hosting the fantastic film Embrace (which I did a vlog about previously), I almost decided not to do this post. So many women are at war with their bodies, believing that if they could make it look a certain way they would be happy. I hate the idea that me or my business would ever contribute to those feelings. But while that film exists to encourage women to love themselves no matter what (and I agree wholeheartedly with this) my business exists is to make it possible for every woman to look after her health and fitness no matter how busy her life is. It’s a strange concept for some women to get their head around but you can learn to accept yourself as you are while still wanting to look after yourself in a way that might bring about positive change.

If you’d like to learn more about my online courses or sign-up and join a great community of women already making positive changes to their lives then head over here.

Thanks for reading,

Bríd

Embrace – A Game Changing Film

Hi Everyone,

I decided to do a video for this post because I didn’t think that typed words could do the feelings that I had about this film justice. Please email me if you would be interested in seeing a screening in the Odeon in Portlaoise next month and you can also check out more details about Taryn and the film on her website Body Image Movement.

Bríd

A Proud Day

My little family helping me celebrate an important day

Hi everyone,

I’m currently sitting in my hotel room in the very lovely No.1 Pery Square with a whole 2 hours to myself so I said I better get this blog post typed out before I return to my real life which rarely sees me with 2 minutes uninterrupted! Yesterday I graduated from the University of Limerick with a degree in Exercise & Health Fitness. It was a very proud day for me and my family as I didn’t exactly take the easy route to get to this stage and a lot of people have been invested in getting me this far. I thought it would be nice to write a little about my education journey so far as I get asked a lot by other people, particularly women, if I would recommend doing what I did, which was to leave a permanent, pensionable job to pursue what I am passionate about (and encase it’s not glaringly obvious that would be health and fitness in every sense of the word).

A snap from the lads on my first weekend in college in 2014 

Frankie was 9 weeks old 

In 2013 I left my job in banking. At that stage I had studied part time to certificate level in exercise and health fitness. During the first year post-banking I repeated leaving certificate Irish with Primary School teaching in mind. I sat the exam while 8 months pregnant with Frankie. In September of 2015, when Frankie was 9 weeks old, I returned to UL to do my diploma year and then went on to complete the degree year in 2016.

Put a Plan in Place

My answer to anyone who wants to leave a job or career that they are unhappy in is yes BUT!. I’m not one of those people who will quote a motivational meme like “JUST GO FOR IT!” because that’s not realistic if, like me, you have serious responsibilities. I knew I wanted to leave banking for about 2 years before I could actually leave but, because the recession was tough on us and we had mortgages to pay, I had to be sensible about it. So what I did was put a plan in place and I advise anyone who isn’t yet financially secure enough to take the leap to do this too. It may mean taking on an extra job to help you bring in more money. I always had my fitness business running alongside my permanent job and that really helped.  I started to clear old loans, didn’t take out any new loans, kept the holidays to a minimum and so on so that I put myself in the best possible position to do it. You’re still going to have to work in some capacity if you do have a mortgage but if you can cut down on the excess stuff it will become more realistic.

Parenting & Studying

For any parents out there who would like to go back to study but have small kids again I say yes BUT!. You seriously need to think long and hard about doing it because it is very hard. I can’t lie about that. I went to college part-time which was generally every 2nd weekend for the whole weekend. In addition to going to college I had a lot of coursework to do from home. That meant that even if I had sleepless nights with Frankie I still had to get up and make my brain function either in college or at home the next day. You need to be really sure that you want to put in the work because the going gets really tough at times. Heading off at the weekend and leaving the two lads behind, or even worse when Frankie had been sick the night before, I could easily have thrown in the towel.

Two of my biggest supports, my mother and stepmother

I get comments from other women and mothers constantly about how I manage to juggle so much and the term Superwoman has been used more than once but I’m very, very conscious of other women and particularly mothers measuring themselves against me so it’s important to me that I be very honest about my situation. I am NOT Superwoman. Yes I’m determined and I do work hard but what I do would be impossible if I didn’t have such a strong support network of family and friends. Dermot, my family and his family as well as some of my good friends, have really pulled me through the last 3 years. So if you want to do something like this I strongly urge you to look at the support you have and be sure that you have plenty of good people to turn to because you will need them.

My Education & Fitness Pathway

Some of my NCEF college friends

It was tough but we made it!

For my fitness followers and the people who have been asking me about what fitness courses I have done, all of my pathway to this degree has been through the NCEF, that is the National Certificate in Exercise and Health Fitness. They are affiliated with UL and there is a four year pathway to the degree which you can break up and do at different stages. It’s all part-time so perfect if you are working or have a family. I was about to say that in my opinion it’s the best fitness course to do in Ireland but it’s not just my opinion. I know a number of gym managers who insist on job applicants having their qualification through the NCEF. It’s a very professional organisation and that’s important because there are so many dodgy courses out there now.

In terms of a career in fitness I love what I do and have done for the last 10 years. I started off teaching classes in other peoples gyms then set up my own business and was a mobile instructor and personal trainer for a number of years before setting up Fit with Bríd which offers online courses for busy women and has totally exceeded my expectations for it’s success. It’s a tough industry though. You’re up against a lot of gimmicky people who are just trying to make a quick buck and you have to work hard to be heard and respected in all of the noise.

Taking all of the hard stuff into account I would still really encourage anyone who is unhappy in their current situation to do their best to change it. It is so worth it. Life really is too short to not be living the best one you possibly can. My plan is to continue my studies later this year, most likely in education. I’m a learner and am starting to realise that I will possibly spend most of my life learning new things even though when I’m in the middle of a college year I SWEAR that I’m done this time. I’ve received a lot of lovely messages of support from people through social media over the course of my studies so far and I really appreciate every one of them. I hope you find this post helpful and if you have any questions at all either about studying in general or a career in fitness just give me a shout. You can email me or you can contact me through Facebook or Instagram.

Bríd

 

Post-Pregnancy Plan Final Post

Hi Everyone,

I finished Week 6 of my Post-Pregnancy Plan on the 23rd of December but due to the madness of Christmas and Frankie having the chicken pox for the first week of the New Year I’m only getting to sit down and do a proper post about it today (Jan 9th!). Since I finished the plan it has been launched and is now available to join along with my 6-week Online Slim-down which I’ve started myself this week. I’m helping a fabulous group of women to improve their health and fitness and I’d love for more of you to join us. For more details about both courses head over here.

Always room for Christmas Eve treats

My babies in their Christmas finery

The Results

Week 1 vs Week 6

 Week 1 StartWeek 6 End
Arm9.5"9.5"
Boobs35"35"
Waist29"28"
Bellybutton32"30"
Hips / Bum36.5"37"
Thigh20.5"20"

Considering I took on this challenge two weeks after Jodie was born when we were still in the midst of sleepless mayhem I’m delighted with my results. It was also during the build up to Christmas so there was plenty of temptation in my way!

As I explained in my blog post from Week 1 I hadn’t a lot of excess body fat to lose after I had her owing to the fact that I kept up a good level of exercise and ate a fairly balanced diet throughout my pregnancy. I did have a good bit around my stomach and lower back though and I’ve definitely lost a lot of it from there. I have a bit to go but I had been warned by other mothers that it’s a little slower to go off this area the second time around. I’m confident that I’ll be rid of it after a few more weeks though.

What I was mostly concerned with was improving my posture and increasing my strength and I’m delighted with the progress I’ve made in this area. My core muscles are so much stronger and I’m starting to see definition in my stomach muscles similar to what it was pre-pregnancy. The core exercises in the plan start off very gently as obviously the muscles can be quite weak post-pregnancy but after week 3 they get a bit tougher and that’s when I really started to notice things improving.

One of my main aims was to build up my bum again as it goes really flat after pregnancy. I’ve seen a big improvement (and am delighted to see an increase in the measurement here, not a decrease!) and will definitely continue to work on it.

While it’s not an area of the body most people would be too bothered about my upper back and shoulders were a big concern to me. They come under serious pressure when holding baby to feed. I had a shoulder injury after having Frankie and it began to niggle again this time but between the strengthening exercise, the post-workout stretches and some muscle therapy I’ve managed to stay pain free for the most part.

The Exercise

In the beginning I found it hard to get used to the slower pace of the workouts as I’m used to pushing myself but I was conscious that my body wasn’t ready to be pushed too hard and so it was exactly what was needed. Each week as the pace increased I looked forward to the extra challenge. In the first two weeks I walked a lot with the double buggy as well as doing the workout videos but when the weather turned bad I was so glad to have the videos to do at home while Frankie was in TV land.

The Meal Plans

A typical tastey dinner   

Snacks at the ready

Once I stayed organised with the meal plans I was fine. I would do my Tesco online shopping on a Wednesday eve, have it delivered Friday morning and then do some food preparation on Sunday for the next week. The only week it didn’t go well was when we were all sick with coughs and colds. I had to just wing it that week but it was fine and doesn’t seem to have made a huge difference. There’s plenty of wiggle room built in to the plan anyway. I also found that because I was in the early days of breastfeeding I had to add in extra snacks some days and particularly at night but again that’s something I advise as part of the plan as every woman’s body is different.

The Support

Our private Facebook support group to stay connected and motivated 

Those who join the plan are invited to join a private Facebook support group. Obviously I didn’t have this element myself but I got so much lovely support and feedback from people on Snapchat that it felt like I did. I snapped if I was working out and also a lot of my meals and snacks and got so many snaps from other new mothers and women in general telling me that I was inspiring them to get up and go or make changes to their diet.

Like I said in the beginning I was really glad that I got to trial this plan before it went out to the general public. There were one or two things in the meal plan that I changed because when it came to making them I realised that they were too complicated and that if I hadn’t time to do them then others wouldn’t either. I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made and I’m delighted that I’m going to be able to help lots of other new mothers and busy women in general reach their goals in 2017.

Thanks for reading,

Bríd

New Year, No Fear

Tomorrow morning, New Year’s Day 2017, I will most likely wake up fairly fuzzy-headed and tired from lack of sleep and the general madness that is my life at the minute. The cause of this madness is my gorgeous, but very hungry 2-month old baby girl. Last year I had a similar New Year’s awakening caused by her then 1-year old brother. As crazy as it sounds I would take these New Year’s mornings 100 times over rather than face the type that I used to have prior to 2016. Because back then the fuzzy head and tiredness were also accompanied by a pounding headache, sick stomach, major loss of memory and The Fear. Dear God The Fear. New Year’s morning back in the days of drink was never pretty for me and while I’d love to say that these type of mornings were a rare occurrence due to it being a special night of the year they were not. Mornings like this were an all-too-common occurrence for me from pretty much the start of my drinking days and it was a particularly horrible morning like this in May 2015 that led me to face the fact that I would have to quit for good.

If it had only been these type of nights that had made my drinking feel wrong for me I might not have made such a big decision as I did but the truth is that there had been a lot of other signs that drink and I were not meant to be for a long time. Binge drinking at the weekend is one thing but over the course of my 20’s I had also built up a fairly strong dependence on wine for just about every emotion and it had become part of my everyday life. Happy? Wine. Sad? Wine. Stressed? Wine. Chilling out? Wine Wine Wine!! No matter what the emotion it was always dealt with by drinking enough to take the edge off. I’ve always been someone who likes to be on the go a lot and wine helped me to shut down quickly at the end of each day but it came at a cost to my mind and body and that cost started to get too high. A night out could leave me in bits for half the week after it and my evening wine drinking meant I was regularly semi-hungover and always tired.

It seems ridiculous to me now that I allowed myself to go on trying to make alcohol work for me for so long. Those who understand that it was a problem for me have said how great it is that I realised I needed to quit at such a young age but the truth is that I knew by the time I was 21 that I had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. However, I kept on believing that I would learn how to handle it and that someday I would drink moderately instead of the way I did. I put so much mental energy into trying to control my drinking. I would set rules about the days I could and couldn’t drink. I’d stop drinking this drink and try a lighter version of that drink. I’d eat first, drink water in between, leave water beside my bed for afterwards (which is, by the way, the most ridiculous thing every because if you’re sober enough to remember the water – or make it home to the water – you most likely don’t need the water all that much), I’d only buy one bottle of wine when doing the weekly shop and on and on the planning and organising went in search of some way that I could manage to continue to drink and not face facts. Not surprisingly I’d almost always break my rules. When I look back now it was such a miserable way to live and took up so much of my energy but at the time I really believed that someday I would make it work for me.

I consider myself very lucky that I was able to quit drinking before it started to have a bigger impact on my life. I’m not sure why it finally clicked for me that May bank holiday weekend but I’m so glad that it did. My close friends knew a little about how much the aftermath of a bad night affected me but for the most part nobody other than my husband knew how much I wanted to stop drinking. I kept the rest of my life ticking over fairly smoothly. It’s possible that I might have gone on drinking the way I did forever and might never have had any serious repercussions but with hindsight I can see that things were getting worse for me. The issue of whether alcohol dependency is genetic or not is hotly debated and researched but as someone who has seen it play out in my family I have no desire to test the waters.

In the first few months of sobriety I felt very sorry for myself that I couldn’t drink anymore and it was only around the time of my 1st year anniversary earlier this year that I had a major shift in mindset and am now very grateful that I don’t have to drink anymore. That doesn’t mean it’s all plain sailing though. Life, not to mention motherhood, without the anaesthetic of alcohol can be hard sometimes. While being a mother brings me so much happiness I also find it very challenging at times and not having an off-switch in the form of wine at the end of the day means I have to work hard at making sure that I don’t get overwhelmed. I used to think that people who didn’t drink were boring but since quitting I now have huge respect for them as they live their lives feeling all of the feelings and dealing with everything life throws at them without the crutch that alcohol can be. When you don’t drink you have no quick escape from life, no easy way to dodge hard feelings. Because alcohol is no longer part of my life I’ve had to learn to live it differently. The way I was living when I was drinking wasn’t sustainable. I was so busy “doing life” that I never really stopped to consider whether I was enjoying it. When I quit drinking I began to take a proper look at it and I realised that there were lots of things that I wanted and needed to change. I’ve spent the past 18 months doing my best to change them and while my life is much more simple now I love it so much more than I did when I was drinking.

I’ve wanted to write this post for a few months now but it’s been a bit of a scary thing to do. I really want to help others who may be in the same situation though and that’s why I finally decided to do it. While changing the pace of my life has played a big part in me not drinking for the past 18 months I’ve also done, and continue to do, a lot of other things too. I read a lot of blogs and books and I’m a big fan of listening to podcasts too. I’m very lucky to be part of a really supportive online community of people who have also quit or continue to try and quit drinking and improve their lives. I don’t feel that the way I was drinking when I quit needs a label other than to say that it was a problem for me. The fear of having to live my life with a label and the stigma that we attach to that label kept me from facing the truth for a long time. If drinking is causing a problem for you then it’s a problem. You don’t have to wait until it gets “that bad”. Ireland has come a long way in terms of our attitude to mental health but we still have an awful lot of work to do when it comes to our attitude to alcohol and it’s my hope that 2017 is going to be the year that we open up the conversation about what’s really going on. If anyone reading this can relate and wants to ask me anything about my own journey or any of the resources I use please message me as I’d be more than happy to try and help in any way that I can.

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2017,

Bríd

Post Pregnancy Plan Week 3

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What I like to think my brain looks like after a workout

Hi Everyone,

This week I’m at the half way mark of my 6-week Online Post-Pregnancy Plan. Myself, Frankie and Jodie have all been sick with colds, coughs and ear infections so it’s been a fairly challenging week. I haven’t been able to exercise much because I’ve been so sick which was disappointing because I was really getting into my stride in week 2 and feeling the benefits of it. As I said in the Week 1 post I find that exercise is great for my mood and mindset and helps to keep me positive even on days when I’ve had very little sleep. So I’m definitely feeling the affects of not getting to do my workouts much and am really looking forward to getting back to it asap.

I haven’t measured myself as I don’t want to be disappointed if this past week has stalled my progress but I’m feeling stronger and my jeans are fitting better too. I also haven’t done a picture comparison this week as there isn’t enough of a difference yet to really notice but I  am looking forward to comparing in the final week.

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    When you’re sick and only snuggles from your baby sister will do

I did stick to the meal plan as much as possible even though I wasn’t sharing much on Snapchat – there isn’t time to make food look pretty when you’re living in a blur of snot and Neurofen! I found having all of the food I needed for the week in the house, as well as two evening meals frozen and ready, really helpful in the middle of all the madness though and it can only help to be eating healthily when you’re sick and don’t have much time to pay attention to yourself. Almost all of the food on the plan is easy to prepare but even at that I struggled some days as everyone needed me so much and we all have days or weeks like that. So I took the easy option sometimes which meant having Cully and Sully soup from a tub a couple of days rather than my own homemade soup as well as snacks like the Good 4 U Super Bites when I couldn’t manage to nut butter a few rice cakes (yes that’s how insane it can be some days with a sick 2 year old and a newborn!).

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One of my favourite quick snack foods

Winter wedding season is in full swing and we had a friend’s wedding over the weekend in The Mill House in Slane (fab venue btw). I often get asked by people signing up to do my plans what they should do if they have a wedding on during the 6 weeks. My answer is always the same. Go and enjoy! Life is too short to be sitting at a wedding dinner not able to eat this and that or enjoy a drink or dessert. Normally (when not so bet down with sickness) I would do a really tough workout the day before and after and be extra good with my meals so that I feel I’ve really “made room” for a more indulgent meal like you’d get at a wedding. While I’m on the subject of weddings I might as well add in that I will be running a separate general population online plan in January which is very popular with brides-to-be and their bridal parties so if you’d like to know more about that you can leave your email address here and I’ll get back to you with more details very soon.

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Wedding ready but unfortunately my sickness caught up on me later in the day

I’m getting such lovely feedback from everyone, particularly when it comes to what I’m talking about on Snapchat. I snapped a lot in the past week about the pressure women feel to get back into shape after having a baby as it was something that I hadn’t realised affected so many and wanted to offer a little bit of advice. That advice included not to pay any attention to family members (who say the CRUELEST things it seems), not to let yourself get distracted from your own progress by comparing yourself to others and also not to feel mammy-guilt if you want or need to take time out to look after yourself and your health and fitness. I got such a great response from my Snapchat followers that I’m strongly thinking of having a Motivational Meet-up in Laois in the New Year. I’ll be posting more about this at a later stage but would absolutely love to help other Mammies and women in general to reach their health and fitness goals in 2017.

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Snapchat @mrskbomb

Thanks for reading,

Bríd x

 

Post Pregnancy Plan Week 1

Hi Everyone,

I can’t believe Jodie is nearly 3 weeks old! I should know from Frankie how quickly time flies (although it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s flying when I’m up feeding her at 3am!). She’s doing really well, gaining 1lb since birth. Frankie is loving her and insisting that she comes everywhere with him.

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I’ve just finished Week 1 of my 6 Week Post Pregnancy Plan. If you haven’t got time to read this blog post but want to know more about the plan then you can leave your details HERE and I’ll let you know all about it very soon. You can also follow my progress over on Snapchat.

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Firstly, I want to acknowledge that obviously my body is not in bad shape. As fitness is my job I was in pretty good shape prior to getting pregnant (although the madness of having a toddler had definitely taken it’s toll on me!). I also put it down to having a fit pregnancy. A lot of people commented during my pregnancy about how lucky I was to not gain much weight and how I made it look easy etc. but the truth is that I struggled with the same nausea and fatigue that a lot women get. However I chose to keep trying to eat relatively well and stayed active and that did stand to me during the pregnancy, labour and now in the post pregnancy stage.

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1 Week Post Pregnancy

I really, really don’t want other new mothers to compare their post-pregnancy bodies to mine. Like I said fitness is my job and so obviously my body will return to somewhere near it’s previous form quicker than a lot of other women’s bodies would. However that’s not to say that I don’t fully encourage all women to try and get back into some form of physical activity as soon as they get the go-ahead from their Doctor. Not to lose weight (although you are entitled to want to do that) but for your mindset, your self-care and your overall health and wellbeing. Being active and eating well this week has given me so much more energy and I’ve been feeling very positive most of the time. That’s not always the case when you have a new baby and I honestly believe that it is the missing link for a lot of women who do experience lows in the months after pregnancy.

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Pre Pregnancy & 1 Week Post Pregnancy

What I weigh doesn’t interest me in the slightest. Weight is not a good indicator of health and fitness or even body fat as it fluctuates for a number of reasons. Never is this more evident to me than post pregnancy. I think I was about 9st 10lb before I got pregnant with Jodie. When I brought her back to the hospital at 4 days old for her heel prick there was a scales there and out of interest I hopped up on it and wasn’t a bit surprised to see that I weighed 9st 9lb. This was despite the fact that I had obvious post pregnancy body fat and wouldn’t have had a hope of fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans or most of my clothes for that matter. I knew myself that my body fat was up just from the feel of my body and why wouldn’t it be considering I had just given birth? The reason for this drop in weight was because I have lost muscle tissue, which makes me weigh heavier normally, during my pregnancy as is also expected. I’m not a heavy weight lifter outside of pregnancy but was using even lighter weights during it and by the end was only using either my bodyweight or a resistance band so this is why I would have lost muscle tissue. Anyway bottom line is that while you would expect that with more body fat your weight would increase on the scales but this proves that that is not always the case and shows that the scales are not a reliable indicator of where you’re at.

Just because I don’t have a lot of body fat to lose doesn’t mean my concerns about my body are not legit. For me it’s about improving my posture and strengthening up areas that have become weak. Pregnancy, labour and breastfeeding really take their toll on my body. When I’m pregnant the muscles in my bum are strong and I tend to have a fairly decent sized one too but afterwards when I’m sitting down a lot I lose the muscle tone in it, it goes really flat and I get a lot of lower back pain as a result. The same happens with my shoulders and upper back to the point where I need neuromuscular therapy to help me avoid injury. My stomach is a lot softer this time than last and I have quite a lot of loose skin when I sit down too. So these are the things I’ll be concentrating on over the coming weeks but it is genuinely the feel-good factor that I’m looking for when following a plan like this.

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As I said in the last blog entry the plan starts off very gently and really does take the post pregnancy body into account in both the exercise plan and the meal plan. The meal plans are not about restricting calories. Instead they focuses on including healthy, nutritious foods that will help to give a new mother more energy and keep her feeling fuller for longer. They’re also not rigid and there’s plenty of room for real life (eg. my slight off-plan treat that I had with Frankie to celebrate him finally allowing his hair to be cut!).

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The plan takes breastfeeding mothers (of which I am one) into account too. It’s very important when you’re breastfeeding that you don’t restrict calories as it can affect your milk supply. For this reason I advise all mothers to adapt the meal plans to suit their own needs, adding extra snacks or increasing portions sizes where needed and NEVER allow themselves to get too hungry as this is a sign that they’re not eating enough to meet the needs of their body. I’ve taken my own advice this week and when I’ve needed more than what the plan says I’ve eaten it. For example, I get really hungry while I’m feeding during the night so I always bring up something to eat for that time, usually some overnight oats or granola and yogurt.

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While I really enjoyed the exercise this week and found it no problem to do, I did struggle at times with the meal plan. I had been in the mode of eating pretty much what I wanted during the previous weeks and it’s taking me time to get back on track. I find that when I’m eating like I was then I’m not eating out of hunger but out of habit and being tired makes this even worse. Following the plan this week has made me sit up and take notice of what I’m actually feeling but it still doesn’t take away the urge to pick at food, in the evenings in particular. I find that being organised and having a lot of my meals and snacks prepared really helps when I’m tired and more inclined to make poor choices.

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I’m so grateful for all the positive feedback and lovely messages and comments I’ve been getting from everyone across all of my social media outlets over the past fortnight. I read them all and they really encourage me every day. I can’t wait to launch this plan in January and am so excited to help lots of mothers feel really good.

Thanks for reading,

Bríd

 

 

Miss Jodie has arrived!

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The lady herself

Hi Everyone,

In my final pregnancy post I said I’d update again if I made it to Week 40 but thankfully our little girl arrived safe and sound a day before her due date weighting 7lb 2oz and is doing super. She’s being doted on by her big brother and all of our family and friends. I had found out at about 26 weeks that she was going to be a girl and was really glad that I did. Not everyone likes to know and I had no interest in finding out with Frankie but I felt that because we were heading into the winter I wanted to be prepared and not have to worry about needing to go out and get things for her. It also made the rest of the pregnancy very exciting too. If you were following me on Snapchat (@mrskbomb) you’ll know that I wasn’t exactly loving the life out of pregnancy the second time around. Between caring for a toddler and the unfortunate news that my mother had breast cancer I wasn’t feeling the best but knowing that I would get to meet my daughter at the end of it kept me going.

Her Arrival Into The World

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My last bump pic taken just before we headed into the hospital

She didn’t take too kindly to an attempt at early eviction at my week 39 appointment. I got a sweep but after a short burst of contractions and some bleeding she shut up shop again and wasn’t going to be budged. Because I’m rhesus negative I had to stay in hospital for observation and an anti-D injection but thankfully everything was fine and I took it as a sign to leave her be until she was ready. Just like her brother her actual arrival was very quick. I felt the first contraction at 10pm on Tuesday 1st and she was born at 5 minutes to 1am on Wednesday 2nd. Luckily we live close to the hospital! While my labour was fast it was fairly intense. When it happens that quickly you don’t get much time to rest between contractions and it can be a bit shocking to the system (as in I literally shook all over for about 3 hours) but obviously I’d prefer what I had to a very long and painful labour too. I chose not to take pain relief because I knew from my experience with Frankie that it would all be over quickly and that I would be able to bear the pain. Unlike last time, however, I did learn how to use the gas properly and LOVED IT. I nearly took the head off poor Dermot at one stage when he didn’t hand the mask to me fast enough. I spent the rest of Tuesday night and Wednesday night in hospital and was back home by Thursday evening. I went to Portlaoise hospital and can’t praise the staff there enough. It’s a very busy hospital but the care I got was second to none.

Our First Week

As with my last pregnancy I decided that as long as all of the factors needed for successful breastfeeding were there I would give it a go again. I fed Frankie until he was 6 weeks old. I had to go back to work and college at that stage and so didn’t feel I could continue with it as my supply was very low and expressing was really difficult. Things have started off fairly well with Jodie. After a tense couple of days waiting for my milk to come in, and sitting under her all day and night to let her get whatever was there, it finally did come and she has started to be fuller for longer. She had only lost 4oz at her first weigh-in which was well within the normal range and a lot less than Frankie had lost at the same stage so I was very happy with that.

She’s a week old now and is obviously demanding more. I’m struggling to meet her demands and so am open to the possibility of giving her a formula top-up at night but will wait it out as long as I can. Unfortunately a shoulder injury that I got when I had Frankie is flaring up again and the position of breastfeeding makes it a lot worse. Last time, when it got really bad, I could barely use my right arm and that’s just not something that I can sustain with a toddler to look after this time too so I’ll have to just play it by ear.

What’s To Come

While this week has been all about getting my supply up, resting and getting Frankie used to having a new baby around the house I am really looking forward to getting back to some form of exercise in the coming weeks. Throughout my pregnancy I had been working on an Online Post-Pregnancy Plan of 6 weeks duration. The plan includes:

  • weekly meal plans with simple recipes (all ingredients can be purchased in a supermarket). A detailed shopping list is also provided so that new mothers don’t have to waste any time thinking about what to cook or what they need to do so. The meal plans also take breastfeeding mothers into account too.
  • full-length exercise videos to follow. The first couple of weeks include very gentle exercises that take the post-pregnancy body into mind. They get a little harder each week but the emphasis of this plan is on restoring strength and fitness and improving your posture and general feeling of well-being.
  • a private Facebook support group that all members can join and that’s always a great space for sharing tips and motivation.

The course will be suitable for any mother returning to exercise for the first time since having her baby. Some may choose to start early on (although it will be a requirement for all mothers to have had their post-pregnancy check-up and have permission from their GP to resume exercising) but it will also be suitable for those who have an older baby too.

Follow My Progress

What’s great about this plan is that I get to test the whole thing out myself before it launches in January. I’m starting Week 1 next week and will be documenting my progress daily on Snapchat as well as regularly on my blog too. As detailed above it will be necessary for anyone who does my plan to have had their check-up and have permission to exercise. As a fitness professional who has already had a child and returned to exercise early I have the experience to be able to monitor my body to know what is and isn’t suitable. If I find that anything doesn’t feel good I won’t do it. While rest is vital after you have a baby I know myself well enough to know that too much inactivity is not good for my body and more importantly my mind. Anxiety is something that I have to take care with and exercise is one of the best ways for me to improve my mindset in a healthy way. Along with good food, exercise is a huge part of my self-care and I can’t wait to take some time for myself too.

If you would like to know more about my 6-Week Online Post-Pregnancy Plan and when it is going to launch please input your details here and I will keep you updated. You can also follow me on:

Snapchat: @mrskbomb, Instagram and Facebook.

My Private Pregnancy Fitness Group is still active on Facebook too and will continue to be until the new year. If you would like to join that you can send me a private mail through Facebook.

Thanks so much to everyone for all the lovely messages we’ve been getting for the last week. We read them all and really appreciate them.

Bríd

 

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