Today, we are shining the Lean Mum spotlight on one of our truly wonderful members, Hassina. Hassina shares with us how she has made being healthy a lifestyle choice and why it is important to find the balance. Without further ado, introducing Hassina.
Tell us a bit about you and your family?
My name is Hassina, I’m from Bristol but live in Essex with my husband who I’ve been married to for four and a half years, and our almost 11 month old daughter, Misha.
Do you work and if so what do you do and how many hours/days per week?
I’m a risk analyst at a law firm in central London, prior to going on maternity leave I worked five days a week but I’ll be going back to work four days a week in February.
Do you have any advice for other mums trying to juggle family life and work?
Misha is my first child, so when I go back to work in February it will be my first experience of juggling family life and work. I certainly expect it to be challenging but I’m trying to look at it with a positive mindset. Having spent almost 11 months joint at the hip, quite literally, it will be a huge adjustment, most probably more for me than for Misha.
I plan on embracing the change and the challenges that will come with it. There will be days where I’ll have to rush home and work remotely to meet work deadlines and I’m sure there will be days where I’ll feel like I’m missing out on precious time with my family, but I think it’s important to let go of the guilt and remember why I’m going back to work and why working benefits me and my family and why nursery will benefit Misha.
Tell us about your approach to health and fitness?
Two years before having Misha I could hardly run to the tube station which was a 3 minute walk away, so I started Couch to 5k and before I knew it I was running 5k four times a week. My routine involved going straight to the gym after a long day at work and often getting home late.
Since having Misha I’ve had to drastically change my approach to health and fitness and I’ve had to become a lot more flexible. As much as I love running, the prospect of double knee surgery due to long term knee injuries, means that I have to take it steady and can’t overdo it. That coupled with the fact that I can only go out for a run during the weekends when my husband is around means I’ve had to find other forms of exercise. I have a gym membership at a local gym that has a crèche and whilst in principle that is great, in practice it’s hard to get a slot in the crèche, so I’m rarely able to go.
I’ve dabbled in mother and baby exercise classes and have found some great local classes but ultimately it’s the at home workouts that have allowed me to exercise the most. Doing it at home means I can be flexible, I try to workout first thing because that’s when Misha’s at her best and most likely to allow me 10 minutes to half an hour (if I’m very lucky)!
On days when I’m struggling to fit in a workout I try to make sure I go for a walk. Having a baby who refuses to nap during the day has meant that I rely heavily on long walks to get Misha to sleep. During the summer months I was going for three, one hour walks a day and I still have the t-shirt tan lines to prove it!
My approach to health has also changed. During the first 6 months after Misha was born, whilst I found myself exercising quite regularly, my diet wasn’t as good. Until around 9 months old, Misha was waking up at least every hour if not more each night and so the sleep deprivation meant I often grabbed whatever I could find to eat, that meant for the most part my food choices were bad ones.
More recently, I’ve definitely started to change my attitude when it comes to what I eat by focusing on making lifestyle changes. I’ve stoped cutting out certain food groups and instead focus more on a healthy balanced diet. I’ve also found this to be even more important since Misha started weaning, as I’d like her to develop a good attitude towards health and fitness and I know that it’s important for me to be an example.
Where do you like to train and when?
At weekends I try to get out for a run when my husband is around. During the week I like to do home workouts combined with regular walks. My sister introduced me to Lean Mum’s and it’s been a game changer, especially as Misha likes to “talk” to Robbie through the screen whilst I workout, which means she’s distracted for a little longer! I have the added benefit of living close to a beautiful forest so long walks in the forest when I need some fresh air and something to wake me up after a sleepless night is ideal.
What advice would you give to mums embarking on their fitness journey?
I would say take the time to find something that you enjoy and don’t be put off it it takes several attempts. It took me a while to find exercise routines and classes that kept me coming back. Before having Misha I fell in love with spinning but unfortunately it didn’t last long because my knee injuries just wouldn’t allow it. I was convinced I’d hate running but found I loved it. So have an open mind and be willing to try anything as you just might surprise yourself.
It’s also important not to beat yourself up if you can’t make it to a class, the gym or out for a walk. There are some days where just having a shower can seem like a huge achievement!
What’s your favourite healthy snack?
Pomegranate seeds with a splash of orange blossom water and a pinch of cinnamon, I could eat pomegranates by the bucket load.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Bread, potatoes and pasta. Anything beige really!
What makes you laugh?
The giggling attacks that my daughter has over the simplest things. It doesn’t take much to make her laugh and her giggles are contagious! This morning I asked her to give the remote control back to mummy and apparently repeating that sentence is the most hilarious thing ever!