While some very fortunate women seem to shed the pounds after giving birth with ease, there are many others like me who don’t.
I admit that it’s partly because I just can’t say no to shirini (sweets/cake) and partly because getting back in shape after having a baby takes time, dedication and a pocket full of money.
As a new mum over 40, I was doing well throughout the summer months…but then along came Christmas and I succumbed to festive feasting, telling myself I needed more sugar because I was still nursing through the night.
In January I reached a stage where I needed to do something drastic about my post-baby belly and I vowed to cut back on my sugar intake and cake consumption. I promised myself that I would return to the community centre for my usual workout…but that hasn’t happened…yet and I’ve found myself making excuses to explain my absence.
For me, any weight I put on or lose comes down to how well I’m balancing my diet and lifestyle and at the moment I’m tipping the scales in the wrong direction.
The hard truth is I’m never going to be like Paddy McGuinness’s wife, but then being bombarded with images of svelte celebs nearly half my age who’ve snapped back into shape after giving birth does nothing for my self-confidence. It’s not a realistic option for me without a nanny, personal trainer, yoga instructor and perhaps a lottery win.
Although it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some things I have done for starters.
Because I cook a lot at home, I’ve reduced the amount of sugar and fat I use in cooking, I don’t drink alcohol, swapped sugary drinks for fizzy water and banned crisps from our house. I don’t enjoy any of those things any way.
I also try to balance what I eat in a day. If I have toast and feta for breakfast, I’ll opt for a sweet potato and an apple for lunch, then a traditional hot Persian meal with veggies, herbs, spices and rice on an evening.
My tip is that if you want to have cake, don’t refuse yourself it, just try to find a better way to enjoy it.
Now for me that is saving my taste-buds for a trip to see family and friends in London … and visiting Persian cake shops which we just don’t have here in Newcastle.
There are good cakes and bad cakes, but there’s nothing quite like Persian shirini and the amazing shops found selling it in the Capital.
We used to always visit Reza’s Patisserie in Kensington High Street, Kensington, London which offers an Aladdin’s cave of everything from biscuits to baklava. My work colleagues at the time would wait eagerly for my return as they knew I’d be armed with a huge selection of desserts. In fact once I remember them all lined up at my desk with their napkins to try the banana and walnut cake I brought back with me.
This time, we visited the family-friendly Viona Patisserie in Uxbridge Road, Ealing, London, where we admired and taste-tested a selection of freshly-baked, hand-crafted shirini and enjoyed a cup of coffee with Cyrus. Needless to say we left with a whole host of goodies. A huge £10 box of shirini, some Persian dried sour plums, sangak bread and a new teapot!
We will certainly be back, but first I better get a few combat sessions in at the community centre.