Polly Hale was kind enough to write a guest post for my blog a while ago on her business The Fit Mum Formula. Her aim, since having children, has always been to help mums, who find little time to focus on their own fitness, to stay fit and eat well.
She wrote her first book, Eat Drink and be Slim, as a mum with very young children and kindly sent me a copy to review. At the time it was written, she clearly wasn’t quite the same fitness fan in terms of exercising that she is now. She is now a qualified Personal Trainer and nutritionist. But nutrition has always been important to her. She wanted to write a no nonsense guide on how to eat properly, to avoid unhealthy weight gain, to lose unwanted extra weight, and all this without having to turn to fad diets. Polly’s approach is to change the way you eat and make that a lifestyle choice. If you are already fit and eating well but want ideas on eating to sustain advanced fitness levels, full on gym workouts or training for an event for example, this is not necessarily the book for you.
It is, however, certainly a good book for anyone looking to lose weight. Perhaps if you have tried certain diets but they haven’t worked for you. Or you want to still be able to enjoy those meals you crave, then this is definitely worth a read. It is also a good read for anyone just needing to remind themselves not to slip into bad eating habits, and to help make you think about certain food choices when feeding your family.
Obesity is an increasing problem in the UK and if everyone followed some of the tips in this book, we’d be off to a good start in helping address the problem, which is fast becoming a crisis. Also, as a Mum, I know being aware of what you eat and what you feed your family is important because your children learn from you and are likely to follow your lead in that respect.
I did consider, albeit briefly, trying a sugar free month in my home for the whole family after reading an article by Louise Carpenter (read it here) but decided that was going to be impossible with my kids! I have however made some little changes, such as only buying natural yoghurt for the children to eat with fruit and granola if they are still hungry after a meal, rather than sugar filled flavoured yoghurts, swapping biscuits as a snack after school for rice cakes or nuts, and allowing a lot less fruit juice consumption (I was already fairly strict about that but have got more so). My eldest son is very interested in nutrition and fitness, which certainly helps, and he’s been asking to help cook more frequently, so hopefully I’m setting him up on the right path for later life.
Anyway, back to Polly’s book. It focuses very strongly on the calorific content of foods and she offers sensible advice such as watching your portion size. She gives lots of clear examples such as this one:
A 400g baked potato with 300g of baked beans contains 459 calories, compared to a 200g potato with 200g beans and an undressed side salad which contains 326 calories. It’s easy to think you are eating relatively healthily but sometimes we still eat more than our body needs.
Or another example of a tuna mayonnaise and cucumber sandwich which contains 498 calories and 26g of fat. Whilst a tuna and cucumber sandwich, without the mayo, contains 285 calories and only 4.7g of fat. Which is a scary difference! By cutting out little things like the mayo in a sandwich, you can have a huge impact on your health and weight.
Her book contains recipes, calorie charts, loads of useful tips and common sense advice that we just need reminding of sometimes. It’s the type of book you can dip in an out of when you need some inspiration for a healthy but still delicious meal for the family or just to motivate yourself to not go hunting for snacks out of boredom or tiredness. An interesting point Polly makes is about a study which has shown that people who have enough sleep have more of the hormone leptin in their system. Leptin lets you know you are full. Sleep deprived people have more of the hormone ghrelin which stimulates appetite. Which explains why it’s even more important to get a good night’s sleep!
If you would like to read more, visit Polly’s website and get a copy of her book!