This month marks the first of a really exciting new feature which is Mum of the Month!

A huge part of Lean Mums is appreciating what an amazing job you mums do and the Mum of the Month feature is a really nice way of recognising that.

Our first winner is Nadia who has worked so hard since joining Lean Mums in August and is a more than worthy winner!

Here’s Nadia answering some of our questions and giving a brilliant insight into how she juggles working as doctor, being a mum and staying fit and healthy. She’s a real inspiration and I hope you take some motivation from her fantastic approach to  health and fitness.

Tell us a bit about you and your family?

My name is Nadia. I’ve been married to my husband Andy for 6 years. We have a daughter, Kenza who is 3 and a son, Zaki who is 5 months old. We live in Swindon, although we are both proud Bristolians and hope to move back in the next few years!

Do you work and if so what do you do and how many hours/days per week?

I am a Doctor, and training to be a GP. I’m currently on maternity leave but I usually work 3 days a week plus out of hours shifts.

Do you have any advice for other mums trying to juggle family life and work?

Juggling family life and work is hard and there is no shame in admitting this. I think it is important not to feel like you have to be perfect in every aspect of your life. Often the days when I have had the most job satisfaction are also the days I’ve missed putting my daughter to bed. Or the days when I’ve had lots of quality time playing with my children, the housework has taken a back seat. I believe that as mums we should be kinder to ourselves and remember that we don’t need to be superhuman. I also feel that self-care is a crucial part of juggling a busy life. However hectic life gets I try to find a little time to do something just for me. It could be a run, a soak in the bath, or flicking through my huge pile of unread magazines! Even if I only manage 10 minutes, I feel refreshed and better able to cope with life’s challenges.

Tell us about your approach to health and fitness?

Before I had children I thought that an effective workout meant spending a few hours at the gym several times a week. I would plod along but not really push myself. Now that life is much busier I have to take advantage of any free time I have. The reality of family life means that the majority of the time I can only manage 20-30 minutes exercise at a time (particularly during the week). I try to be as efficient as possible with my time, mostly doing HIIT workouts or short runs. This is why I have found so much benefit from Lean Mums! At the weekend, when my husband is around to help, I can then fit in longer runs/ training sessions. Having a baby means that some days I have to function on very little sleep and the last thing I feel like is putting on my active wear and doing exercise. On those days I try to go for a walk. Getting some fresh air and stretching my legs can make the world of difference to how I approach the rest of the day.

My attitude to health and fitness changed drastically last year after I became seriously ill in hospital with sepsis. It was a really tough time both physically and mentally, and my recovery took six months. Although it was an awful period in my life, it has left me feeling grateful every day I wake up healthy. I know how lucky I am to be able to exercise, because at one time walking up the stairs was a struggle! Whenever I hit a brick wall I try to remember how far I have come and it really helps focus my mind (although nothing will ever make me feel thankful for burpees!).

Where do you like to train and when?

I love running outdoors and my ultimate happy place is definitely running on a sandy beach! For me running is like therapy. I use it get some head space and work through any problems I have. Since having children, however, I have had to adapt how I exercise and I am increasingly embracing home workouts. I have come to realise that I can do some great exercise at home without much equipment, or an expensive gym membership. The added benefit of exercising at home is that my children can get involved. My daughter loves joining in, and it makes me proud to be setting an example to her about the importance of exercise.

What advice would you give to mums embarking on their fitness journey?

Listen to your body and take your time. After I had my son I took things very slowly. When I felt ready I started going for short walks, then building up the distance. I gradually increased my efforts week by week to include more cardio and strength work. I also found the more active I was, the more I felt motivated to eat well. I tried not to focus too much on my weight, but instead noticed how changes in my diet and activity were making me feel more positive. I found this a much better motivator than the numbers on the scales.

I have also taken lots of inspiration from other mums on social media who have shared their fitness journeys. However, it is important not to fall into the trap of comparing yourself too much to other people, We are all individuals with our own strengths and abilities.

What’s your favourite healthy snack?

Rice cakes with peanut butter or Greek yogurt with berries and seeds.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Cheese! The gooier and stinkier the better! I also love a warm bowl of custard. I don’t need anything else served with it!

What makes you laugh?

My husband (although I’ll never admit this to him!)

The Mum of the Month gets the opportunity to nominate the next Mum of the Month. Nadia has nominated her sister Hassina who has a 9 month old daughter and has embarked on her own fitness journey recently. She is currently doing the Couch to 5k programme, is a member of Slimming World and is very determined to change her lifestyle for the better.

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