Kanika Chadda Gupta

Wellness

Gain Weight on Lockdown — Here’s How to Regain Control

weight gain kanika chadda gupta weight loss

Gain Weight on Lockdown? Here’s How to Regain Control

Over the last two months, much of the country has been in a state of self-isolation, and many of us have put on a few extra pounds. This unwelcome quarantine has led to stress, and, as we all know, stress can lead to overeating.

What Can I do?

If you’ve noticed the scale inching up as the days trudge on, remind yourself that lockdown is not going to last forever. Someday soon, you’ll be back out into the real world, and you’re going to want to look and feel your very best.

Fortunately, there are many ways to reverse the bad habits you may have picked up over the last 60 days. One of these is to adopt healthy stress-busting habits. This is especially important if you are a caregiver since, as Community Home Health Care points out, stress weighs heavily on those that care for others.

Look for new outlets, which might include blogging, exercise, or meditation. Note that none of these suggestions involve cooking or put you in a situation where you would eat as part of a social setting. When you learn to remove food as a comfort item, you won’t be tempted to ingest excess and unnecessary calories.

Next, reframe how you dine. Make a rule that food must be consumed in the kitchen or dining room, so you’ll be less likely to eat in between meals. You’ll also want to make a point to utilize the food you have in your pantry in the most healthful ways possible. A few great examples of healthy recipes you can put together without having to go to the grocery store include spinach tortellini soup and quesadillas made with untraditional ingredients, such as legumes. You also likely have a great base for soups and sandwiches as well as healthy casseroles.

Once you do begin to venture out again, prioritize nutritional foods, such as salads, fruits, and lean proteins. As far as vegetables go, you already know you’re supposed to be eating the rainbow. But if you are one of the many people who can’t stomach the earthy taste of greens, you’re going to need to put in some work retraining yourself on how to eat healthily. According to Precision Nutrition, there are three basic steps to make this happen. These are to challenge yourself to try things you don’t normally eat, pair them with something you do, and then look for ways to cushion the bitterness, which is likely your biggest turn off when it comes to things like kale and asparagus.

Finally, if you’re still having trouble mastering your food intake, it can help to hire a nutritionist. This is an individual, who may post their services on freelance job boards such as Upwork, who can work with your tastes and preferences to help you manage your caloric intake.

Diet and Exercise

Fitness buffs are happy to tell you that the only way to lose weight is to hit the gym and hit the gym hard. This is actually not the case, although exercise is crucial and can help bolster your weight-loss efforts. Even if you’re not used to working out, make a point to add at least 30 minutes of exercise to your day every day. Running, jump roping, and even activities such as kickboxing, are all great ways to lose weight, and come with the added benefit of letting you expel pent-up stress.

If you’ve gained a little weight, don’t worry. We are in the same boat. But if your ultimate goal is to waltz out of your house wearing your pre-pandemic pants, the time to take action is now. Remember, managing your weight starts with what you eat, so start in your pantry. When you reframe the way you look at food, you can make healthy and delicious meals with what you’ve got. And as quarantine comes to a close, remember to prioritize vegetables and other healthy options at the grocery store.

 

Guest post by Jennifer McGregor

Photo Credit: i yunami on Unsplash

Simple Changes for Moms To Connect With Their Mind, Body, and Soul

 

For busy moms, healthy habits can be difficult to incorporate into your day when you already have your routine down. For example, you may feel intimidated by the thought of a new workout, especially if you have a tight schedule. Or maybe you want to eat healthier, but this can be expensive, which is hard if your family is on a strict budget.

However, having healthy habits isn’t just about how you stay active or the way you eat. Everything about your life matters, including having a living space that is clean and free of clutter. You also have to pay attention to your sleep patterns and that you’re getting enough, both in quality and quantity. When you treat your body well overall, you’ll feel better in just about every aspect of your life.

If it’s not already the case, getting your family on the same routine can help since everyone will be on the same page. You already know how hard it is to try and make meals for four different people with vastly different tastes and schedules. If possible, make sure your loved ones are ready to make some healthy changes right alongside you so you can all get focused together. Having moral support will help you maintain these habits and work toward new goals.

Here are a few things for moms to consider when making changes to live healthier.

Clean Home, Clear Health

You may not realize how much clutter you’ve accumulated until you start going through each room with the intent to clean things out, and all that clutter can wreak havoc on your mental health, as well as the air quality in your home. Dust, pet dander, bacteria, and other debris can live on your belongings, making it difficult to prevent allergies and other breathing issues. Not only that but also living with mess and clutter can be detrimental to your mental health, leaving you feeling stressed and even affecting your sleep.

Declutter each room, starting with the bedrooms, and give every space a thorough tidying. If you can swing it, hire a cleaning service to help out. In New York, homeowners spend an average of $116-$228 for a good deep clean. Even if it’s just once in a while, it’s a worthy investment.

Say Sayonara!

Stress and anxiety can really take a toll on the way we feel, and sometimes the best way to combat those feelings is to get away for a bit. Whether you need a full-on vacation or just a short road trip (yes, even if it’s solo or with a girlfriend!), it’s important to get a change of scenery sometimes to get the blood flowing and find inspiration again. If you’ve been feeling like you’re in a rut with your career or are having trouble sleeping due to anxiety, consider taking a trip. If you can combine an activity with it, like hiking, all the better.

Improved Gut Health = Better Mood

Scientists are continuing to find that the flora of our gut have a considerable effect on our mood and overall well-being. If a nurtured microbiome can lead to happiness and improved overall wellness, all the more reason to amp up healthier eating habits. For an easy gut health boost, look for ways to incorporate probiotics daily, whether it’s through fermented and cultured foods like yogurt and pickled vegetables or adding prebiotic and probiotic supplements.

Meditate and Melt Away Stress

When life begins to feel overwhelming, sometimes the best way to get through it is to go inward. Meditation is a wonderful way to de-stress because it allows you to focus your concentration in order to relax and push away the stressors of the world. When done in conjunction with yoga (a class usually costs between $12 and $16), it’s the perfect way to feel better overall. Find a quiet, dimly lit spot in your home and give it a try.

Healthy living might necessitate some changes on your part, but they don’t have to bring on stress. In fact, when done correctly, these changes will help you eliminate those negative feelings so that you can focus on your family, job, and personal projects while keeping your mind and body in check.

Contributed by Jennifer McGregor, publichealthlibrary.org

Got Milk? – Mrs. Patel’s Review

Ask any new mother about breastfeeding and she’s bound to tell you all about her personal experience – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Though cluster feeding and sleep deprivation are no fun, I have always been fascinated by breastfeeding and its benefits so I kept at it with my boy-girl twins for nearly a year (tandem feeding using my Twin-Z pillow) and am currently breastfeeding my 4-month-old son. I am fortunate he is a good eater. At the hospital, the nurses and my lactation consultant were impressed and said, “Look at that latch. He knows exactly what to do and is a hungry hippo!” I have to admit however, like all nursing moms, I often wonder “am I making enough milk?”

This time around, I am doing all the things I used to do like taking Malunggay supplements, fennel capsules, oatmeal with flaxseed, lactation cookies (the secret ingredient is Brewer’s yeast), and guzzling 80 oz. of water a day. But I am adding one more variable to the mix — Mrs. Patel’s.

Trusted by over 100k mothers, Mrs. Patel’s features lactation teas, bars, and sprinkles. I found out about the company while browsing on Instagram and purchased the bundle package (box of lactation tea and bars for $35) to try the most popular products. Here’s my review.

Milk Water Tea (Chai Spice) – $12.99

Ingredients – Much like a masala chai, this is made of tea leaves and cinnamon with added all natural, ayurvedic herbs like dill seeds (suaa in Hindi) and alfalfa sprouts (rajko). Dill and alfalfa are the galactagogues, or milk-producing ingredients, while cinnamon is known to make breastmilk taste sweet. Your baby will love that!

Taste – I can’t go a day without brewing my masala chai in the morning, so I really liked this blend. Though it’s more watery than chai, it still has the distinct aroma and flavors. I stir in steamed whole milk to make it more frothy and satiating.

How I Consume It – The box comes with 7 sachets and mentions you can use each 3x. I actually steep one sachet into a medium carafe which yields 5-6 small cups of tea which I sip on throughout the day.

Did it Work? – An aunty of mine once told me that consuming liquids, be it water, milk, or soup, helps milk production. I used to concoct my own tea using dill seeds and ghee, but this tea tastes so much better and it has been working. I have seen a 1.5 oz increase to my pump sessions (I now produce 5 – 6 oz total for my 4-month-old).

Lactation Bar (Chocolate and Salted Caramel White) – $28

Ingredients – These bars are made of galactagogues like whole wheat flour, fenugreek (methi), and ghee, along with coconut flakes, cardamom, and a tinge of chili spice.

Taste – I have tried both the chocolate and salted caramel white flavors. I am a white chocolate lover so I devoured the salted caramel white bars. They both tasted a lot like a typical protein bar, though softer and much more rich. The glaze on top adds just the right amount of sweetness.

How I Consume It – This box has 12 bars. For nearly two weeks, I ate one bar every morning with a tall glass of whole milk. Delicious.

Did it Work? – Over the span of two weeks, I saw about a 1 oz. increase on each side which resulted in 5-6 oz total. My milk appears thicker than before. Since I breastfeed more often than I pump, it’s hard to measure exactly how much I produce so I gauge by how I feel. I essentially felt fuller and my baby seemed content after his feedings which is a good sign.

Disclaimer: I came across Mrs. Patel’s on my own and have provided my honest feedback. Since I have tried and tested these products and have seen results, they have become one of my brand partners. Use my link and enter promo code MOMSENSE15 for 15% off your order: http://bit.ly/2Dk1eBr

Pretty Mommies Skincare Review

PrettyMommies was my skincare line of choice during both my pregnancies and hereafter, so I am proud to be partnering with the brand to offer my readers 20% off their first order. To redeem, click here

During my first pregnancy with my twins, I was literally on a scavenger hunt to find natural products for my skin. I quickly discovered that the beauty brands I swore by my whole life were jam-packed with chemicals (Retin-A, hydriquinone, etc.) and even the so-called “organic” mainstream options had long ingredient lists and weren’t completely free of harmful additives. Here’s a list of the skincare ingredients to steer clear of when pregnant.

After spending hours doing research online, asking 20 questions of my doctor during visits, and calling hotlines like the La Leche League International for breastfeeding mothers, I finally nailed down a skincare regimen comprised of 100% organic products which produced optimum results. Watch my YouTube video on my natural skincare routine here.

In this article, I’d like to highlight a skincare collection made specifically for expectant and breastfeeding mothers, which happened to be a game changer for me. It’s called Pretty Mommies and has been recognized as the #1 physician recommended pregnancy skincare line. Founder Gina Gordy launched the collection because she suffered from acne, melasma, and sensitive skin during her own pregnancy. Real talk – not everyone is lucky enough to flaunt that “pregnancy glow.” She said that “as her belly got bigger, my breakouts and hyper-pigmentation worsened.” Soon after, she made it her mission to provide safe, effective skincare products to expecting women. She used her industry connections with top cosmetic chemists, leading physicians, and labs to create Pretty Mommies.

When I came across the site, I called the customer service line and actually spoke to Gina on the phone. I asked her what made her formula so unique, and she explained that her products do not contain soy or soy peptides. Soy mimics estrogen in the body and should not be ingested or used topically when our hormones are raging from pregnancy. Most organic products on the market use soybean oil, but it should be avoided. In addition, many skincare products contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a known skin irritant. Pretty Mommies uses vegetable glycerin instead, which is non-toxic, colorless, and odorless and has antimicrobial effects to heal wounds and restore elasticity. Another common chemical is oxybenzone, a sunscreen found in almost all SPFs out there. It’s a synthetic estrogen and hormone disruptor and studies have shown links to low birth weight in babies. Pretty Mommies uses a chemical-free sunscreen made of pure non-nano zinc oxide that has been micronized so it cannot penetrate the skin. I was sold. 

When I tried the 3-step system, I was really impressed with the results. The cleanser, “Let’s Be Clear,” is a gentle exfoliant and leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated, not to mention, it has a clean, all-natural scent from fruit/vegetable extracts. The “Truth Be Told” skin enhancer is a multifunctional moisturizer and feels as smooth as silk when you rub it into your skin. It helps brighten and reduce inflammation. Lastly, the “Protect & Reflect” sunscreen gives you superior broad UVA/UVB protection (SPF 32) and fills lines, wrinkles, and pores without clogging them. When I got the occasional pesky zit, I dabbed a bit of the sunscreen on there and it was gone by morning like magic. Amazing!

Pretty Mommies sent me the 3-step skin care system for my honest review (the first package I bought lasted a whole year which is worth the price tag!) and I have to say, I’m happy to be sharing this with expecting mothers out there. I would never endorse a brand I didn’t personally believe in; in fact, this is my go-to skincare line because I can’t imagine going back to using brands that use chemicals and parabens now.

I have a special promotion for you, my dear reader! You receive 20% off your first order using my link –  click here. Let me know how Pretty Mommies works for you in the comments below. I’d love to hear your stories and help in any way I can! PrettyMommies.com.

Natural Skincare Routine

 

Throughout my twenties and early thirties, I was never stickler about skincare brands, makeup, or shampoo having to being organic. I just used the most well-known brands on the market and didn’t read the labels. Fast forward to my first pregnancy with my twins, I decided to become acutely aware of what I was putting on my skin and what I was eating on a daily basis. If certain chemicals are harmful to a growing baby, why use them at all?

Here’s a list of skincare products that are certified organic, all natural, and have actually produced optimum results for me.

Pretty Mommies Skincare System

This line was founded by Gina Gordy, a mom who suffered acne, melasma, and sensitive skin during her pregnancy and was determined to find a natural solution for the numerous skincare issues that expecting women face. She leveraged her industry connections and met with top cosmetic chemists, physicians, and labs to launch Pretty Mommies and ensure that her 3-step system (cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF) was just as effective as its counterparts. Ingredients include vitamin C and a rare Japanese mushroom, which is rich in niacin and folic acid. The line does not use soy, licorice, mulberry, or bearberry which are great for skin brightening but can cause complications during pregnancy like estrogen imbalance and potentially premature contractions.

Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner

This is a great alternative to the toners which contain alcohol, glycolic acid, or salicylic acid. It’s gentle on the skin and smells amazing!

European Wax Center Exfoliater

With pregnancy comes crazy hair growth! (You can thank your hormones and prenatals for that!) I go to the European Wax Center to get waxed and use this exfoliator to slough off dead skin and prevent ingrown hair. 

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel

I found out about Dr. Dennis Gross’ peels on Molly Sims’ blog. Don’t you just love her?? You can read her pregnancy skincare list here. I used to go to my dermatologist for regular peels (VI, Jessner’s) to correct hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, so I was happy to make a switch to these easy-to-use at-home daily peels. 

Ranavat Botanics

My friend Michelle Ranavat founded this skincare system comprised of potent masques and toniques inspired by ancient traditions and made from high-performance botanicals. Each masque combats a skincare concern, be it detoxification, illumination, or hydration. I love the Eternal Reign mask which is made of French clay, neem, and Manuka honey, and helps remove oil/dirt/pollution from your skin leaving it feeling supple and fresh. Watch my fun #RoyalRitual #MasqueMonday hyperlapse video here

Honest Beauty Eye Cream

Super mom Jessica Alba’s Honest line never fails to disappoint. The Younger Eye eye cream provides deep hydration for under-eye circles and puffiness, which is oh-so-necessary for moms (even the lucky ones who have kids who sleep through the night!) 

Mother’s Special Blend

Yes, stretch marks are hereditary so there’s no avoiding them if your mom had them when she was pregnant, but I find that this belly oil may help to lessen the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy and postpartum and helps control itchiness. What we mamas have to go through, right?? 

Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil

We go through bottles of coconut oil at our house. An ancient Indian home remedy, it’s great as a healthy fat for cooking, to massage on your scalp for hair growth, for oil pulling, and as a moisturizer to hydrate skin. I use this instead of a lotion for my kids as it’s natural and unadulterated leaving their skin baby soft, as it should be!

Do you have any skincare solutions that you’ve discovered during your pregnancy? Fill me in on them by commenting below!