The Healthy Happy Mum’s guide to getting fit
TV presenter Katie Piper tells ParentFolk’s Jade Wright why she created her Healthy Happy Mum Plan and why the best advice you can take is your own.
Katie Piper knows all about the pressure on women to look a certain way. The model, television presenter and author had her second baby last year, but she was determined to enjoy time with her daughter and lose her baby weight slowly and steadily.
“It’s not easy being a new mum, and there will be all sorts of advice thrown at your from family and friends,” says Katie, 35.
“It can be a lot of pressure, particularly now when social media is such a huge part of our lives and shows people who seem to have it all. Take everything with a pinch of salt and figure out what works best for you.”
In her 20s, just as her career was taking off, Katie’s life was turned upside down by a partner she met online who became abusive, ordering an accomplice throw industrial-strength sulphuric acid over her face.
She had 60 operations to rebuild her face, and spoke publicly about her experience in her BAFTA winning documentary Katie: My Beautiful Face. Last year she also took part in Strictly Come Dancing, partnering Gorka Marquez. Those tiny outfits would be daunting for anyone, let alone less than a year after giving birth, but Katie took it all in her stride.
Katie credits her fitness to her friend TerriAnn Nunns, with whom she has created The Healthy Happy Mum Plan. Designed as a platform to share their experiences, it’s packed with tips, tricks and advice they had found helped them through their own weight-loss journeys and hoped would help others.
Katie says: “Having a baby changes you, both physically and mentally, so it took a while to get in to the right headspace to even think about eating healthily and working out again.”
They devised a simple plan following the 16:8 eating rule, where you eat within an 8-hour window, then they ate 1,500 calories a day of tasty recipes, with a treat day once a week.
“I started the Healthy Happy Mum Plan months after having Penelope and lost around 2 stone in total, but for me it was as much about the weight loss as it was about the wellbeing side,” says Katie.
“When I’m eating well and working out I have so much more energy and am in such a better space mentally. It really is an all-round lifestyle change.
“Belle will be five this year and Penelope recently turned one. It was certainly an adjustment from having just one to having two, but we’ve definitely got in to the swing of things now.
“The trick for us is staying organised – having a routine is key, particularly as a working mum, and we have a calendar at home that has everything written down so we know when we’re all coming and going. It also ensures I make time to keep up with my fitness.”
Together, they looked at tips and anecdotes on all things post-pregnancy, including embracing the changes in your body, breastfeeding and coping with sleep deprivation, as well as relaxation techniques, mindful eating and easy-to-follow home workouts.
“TerriAnn and I devised the plan so it didn’t feel like a ‘diet’, and the support I got from her and the other members in The Mum Hub – an online community where we can all share our experiences – really helped me stay on track,” says Katie.
“It’s like I said, staying organised really helps – the eight-hour eating window and 1,500 daily calorie allowance (1,800 for breastfeeding mums) gives you a clear structure, whilst the flexibility of not restricting any food groups and having a treat day once a week (an extra 300 calorie allowance) ensures you stay motivated and in control.
While there are obviously physical aspects to health and fitness, mental health also plays a part in mums’ body image.
“A huge part,” says Katie. “Yes, it’s nice to feel comfortable in a bikini on a beach, but having a healthy mind is just as important, if not more important than that. It’s a great stress reliever and can actually give you more energy and help you sleep better, there are so many other health benefits that the body image aspect is just an added bonus.”
It’s a busy few months for Katie, with new book Confidence: The Journal out now.
“Journaling has been a huge part of my life in recent years and I wanted to share my knowledge and experience of using this tool with others,” she explains. “It can be extremely cathartic to get your thoughts and feelings on to paper, and allows you to positively reflect on your day rather than just focussing on the negatives that can often weigh you down. I use my own journal every day, and love seeing people sharing their love for it.”
There’s also her podcast, Katie Piper’s Extraordinary People: “The podcast has also been an opportunity for me to give such incredibly emotional and inspirational stories another platform, and show that even through huge adversity people have such strength come out the other side and survive, and thrive.
“It’s a truly humbling experience and I thank all my guests for being so open and honest about their struggles with me and my audience. It’s been wonderfully empowering experience, and I can’t wait to share the next episodes.”
The Healthy Happy Mum Plan by Katie Piper and TerriAnn Nunns is available for £39.99 at www.thehealthyhappymumplan.co.uk.
Katie and Terri’s health and fitness hacks
- Don’t expect to see changes overnight. This isn’t a detox, it’s a lifestyle choice. It’s all about being mindful with what you eat. Keep up the good work and you will see results.
- You don’t have to go to the gym to exercise. Not everyone feels comfortable, or has the time to go to the gym. Home workouts are just as good and you can even get the kids involved.
- Talk to other mums. Sharing your thoughts, feelings and experiences can really help to keep you on track. You can also gain advice and reassurance from other like-minded mums in doing so.
- Allow yourself a treat day. There’s no need to cut your favourite food out of your diet completely as it simply makes you crave it more. Select one day a week where you can really indulge.
- Don’t forget to make time for yourself – everyone needs a break once in a while. When the kids are asleep do something that helps you to relax. Meditation is fantastic for this.
- Take photos and measurements every two weeks to track your progress, and don’t weight yourself more than once a week. You’ll be amazed at the results when looking back at old photos.
- Always try new recipes and rotate your eating choices. You’ll look forward to meals more as it’s something different.
- Plan and prepare for at least three days in advance, and batch cook some meals so you always have something to grab even when you’re busy.
- Exercise first thing in the morning – it’s easier to make excuses as the day goes on and is often the last thing on your mind.
- Don’t forget to switch up your workouts – changes them each week so you don’t get bored.