If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen me talking at length about the six week nutritional plan that I took part in recently. I had a lot of questions over the six weeks and so I thought the best thing to do would be to collate all of my thoughts, feelings and frequently asked questions into this blog post. I hope this will be helpful for anyone looking to take part in the course.
Why I Signed Up
Fitness and nutrition are both things that I have struggled with throughout my adult life. I tend to go from indulging to restricting and back again, in one huge vicious circle. I have a shocking ‘treat yourself’ mentality which I can basically use to justify eating and drinking whatever I fancy despite the consequences for my health. I think the main problem for me is that up until recently I never looked at food as a way to fuel my body. I’ve always seen certain foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and as such I have binged or restricted my diet depending on my mood at the time. When I first heard about ‘Mindful Mummies‘ I was immediately intrigued, and on speaking to Janine further I realised that this course was exactly what I needed. It’s not a meal plan for weight loss, it’s an education into exactly how to nourish your body, and be the best version of yourself from the inside out. If you read my New Year Goals blog post you may remember that the upshot of my goals for this year was simply to get to a point where I could be proud of all areas of my life, and my relationship with food and my body was a biggie! It also goes without saying that food plays a huge part in looking after yourself, which has a knock on effect for your confidence, mental health and general wellbeing. For me it was a no brainer to take part in Mindful Mummies and right from the word go I was excited to make positive changes to my lifestyle and to learn more about nutrition, especially in relation to myself as a postpartum woman.
More About The Plan
‘Mindful Mummies’ was created by Janine who is a highly qualified nutritionist who found an interest in the field after battling digestive disorders, anxiety and depression for many years. Not only does she have a high quality of training and personal experience of using nutritional therapy but she is also a Mum. When she had her son, she realised how beneficial nutritional therapy could be to both new and expectant mothers and created a variety of plans tailored to women in all different stages of motherhood. The plan that I took part in – Mindful Mummies – is specifically aimed at women who have had a baby within the last two years.
It is a six week course and each week there is a new focus. I don’t want to give away all the details of the plan but a couple of examples of the weekly topics were ‘Energy Boosting’ and ‘Better Quality Sleep’. Each week Janine sends out a meal plan and a fact sheet which explains exactly why certain foods have been chosen that week. I found this extremely interesting and helpful for keeping me on track as it gave me a better understanding of the scienve behind it all. All that knowledge will stay with me for life now and I have learnt so much about nutrition over the six weeks!
What Is Included?
When you sign up to Mindful Mummies you are added into a Facebook Group which acts as a support group throughout the duration of the course. Each week Janine does a live within that group where she discusses the topic of the week and also answers any questions that anyone has. It doesn’t matter if you cannot be online at the particular time of the live as you can always catch up later. For six weeks you basically have unlimited access to Janine as your own personal nutritionist. She will try to answer any question and help with any issue, no matter how bizarre it may seem to you. She regularly checks in with everyone and will get back to your queries within 24 hours (usually much sooner!)
As I mentioned before each week you receive a new meal plan and also a fact sheet about the focus topic. The meal plans don’t tell you which meals to eat on which day at what time. It is simply a flexible list of breakfasts, mains and snacks for you to choose between with all the recipes included. Janine is also always able to recommend substitutions for her recipes, but I never needed to ask for any! Of course, once the course is over you still have your copies of all the meal plans and recipes so can continue to use them!
Each week the meal plan includes approximately ten breakfast ideas, ten snack/sweet treat ideas and twenty main meals, which can be used for either lunch or dinner. There are a range of vegetarian, meat, dairy free and gluten free recipes but as I mentioned before, Janine is also always on standby is you need a recommendation for an ingredient swap based on your dietary requirements. I currently eat an almost entirely dairy free diet due to Ernie’s intolerance and the fact I am still breastfeeding him. There were hardly any meals on the plan that I couldn’t have and those that did contain dairy, I could easily substitute out. As the meal plan is aimed at postpartum mums, most of the recipes are weaning friendly too, or there are often notes added on to explain how to make a recipe perfect for your baby too.
Janine’s recipes are delicious and everything was so quick and easy to make. She includes a rough time estimate too so that you know how long you need to make a meal which is so useful when you’re a busy mum. The reason why these recipes are all so perfect for busy mums is simply because Janine is one herself. She follows this lifestyle and knows it inside out and so she’s in the best position to help others stay on track too.
Staying On Track
One of the most common questions I was asked about the plan was how well I managed to stay on track. I’m not going to lie to you and pretend to be a perfect human right now, of course I came off plan a few times. Easter happened, my birthday happened, we got engaged and wanted to celebrate – in a nutshell, life happened! Each time I came ‘off plan’ I found it relatively easy to get back on track with the help of Janine who reminded me to start slow, with one on plan meal the first day, two the next and so on. The fantastic thing about the plan is that it’s not rigid or restrictive. There’s room to go off plan and easily come back again. It doesn’t feel ‘all or nothing’ which is where I so often go wrong with healthy eating.
I felt a huge change in how I was feeling almost as soon as I started the plan, this really helped with my motivation because as soon as I fell off the wagon I would notice my mood and energy levels plummet. The fact that Janine is always there for advice and support really helped too. I was always honest with her as to how I was getting on and she was always ready with some words of encouragement or motivation when I needed them.
I have so many wonderful things to say about the course and the effect it has had on me that I could honestly talk all day on the subject. However I’ll try to keep it concise! In a word, it has been revolutionary. In the space of six weeks Janine has managed to entirely change how I think about food. I’ve stopped seeing foods as good or bad and instead started to think about what they can do for me, how they will fuel my body and what nutrients I need on particular days. I’ve learnt so much about myself and my relationship with food, which has now totally turned around. Six weeks is a really good amount of time to form some strong new habits and although I haven’t stuck to the meal plan as religiously since the course ended, I’ve definitely formed some really positive new habits with food that seem to have stuck.
I now feel like I have the tools to look after myself, which I didn’t have before. Self care can sometimes feel like too much of a big job and one that gets pushed further and further down the priority list, but since taking part in the course it seems a lot easier to take care of myself. Janine has done the hard work for me by providing me with endless meal ideas, recipes and information as to how to best fuel my body.
I’ve had a few messages asking me about weight loss. I can’t stress enough that this is not a weight loss program, however – I did lose some weight. My weakness has always been sugar and so when I started the plan and my sugar consumption dropped dramatically that did mean I lost a little bit of weight. I also felt significantly less bloated almost immediately, combined that with my increased energy levels and to say I was feeling like the best version of myself would be an understatement!
It has also had a really positive effect on both of the children. We have all switched to wholemeal bread, rice and pasta, Ernie has been eating most of the meals with me and even Darcie has tried the odd thing. Darcie and I now really enjoy making smoothies together, she loves helping me put all the ingredients in, and tries really hard to drink them too as she wants to be doing the same as me!
If anyone is on the fence with signing up to one of Janine’s plans, I couldn’t encourage you to do so more! It is so easy to spend silly money on things that don’t even matter, but taking part in one of these courses could set you up with a healthier mind set for life. That’s pretty amazing if you ask me!