*This is an advertisment post, in conjunction with Rennie® but all thoughts are my own.
During my pregnancy with Felix, I suffered intensely with heartburn (along with a range of other ailments including pelvic girdle pain and migraines) and I’ve found that since giving birth, I’m much more susceptible to indigestion and acid reflux.
Have you ever felt that burning feeling in your chest after eating greasy food or when you feel stressed? The pain sort of rises into your throat and it’s so, so difficult to find relief.
For me, it usually happens in the evening after I’ve eaten a particularly big meal, usually a takeaway, and seems to last throughout the night, keeping me awake and feeling rubbish that I’ve let myself be so gluttonous once more.
Rennie tasked me with trying to make a few small lifestyle changes to ease my heartburn and write about how I got on. But first, some facts about heartburn:
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is that burning sensation you feel in your chest and throat due to stomach acid rising up the digestive tract and irritating the oesophogus. Heartburn usually happens after meals, when you go to bed or during the night, and can last for several hours or more. finding relief can be difficult and lying down tends to exacerbate the symptoms too, leading to a sleepless, painful night.
What causes heartburn and what are the symptoms?
Heartburn is caused by acid reflux and along with the burning sensation in your chest and throat you may also experience bloating, a nasty taste in your mouth, a cough or hiccups. Sometimes there is no obvious reasons why you have heartburn but it is usually caused by greasy or fatty foods, spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks and other risk factors like being pregnant, overweight or a smoker. Stress and anxiety is also a leading cause of heartburn too.
What healthy lifestyle changes did I make to Love My Tummy?
Heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux can be exacerbated by consuming alcohol, caffeine, colas, greasy foods and spocy food- basically everything I consume far too much of! I am very partial to a glass or two of wine or beer once the kids are in bed a few times a week (which is bizarre because I never drank after Dexter was born!) and my husband and I look forward all week to our Friday night takeaway. Throughout the week I live for spicy foods such as curries, fajitas and chillies and even when the food isn’t particularly spicy, I am coating it in my favourite spicy sauce.
What did I do?
I put the spicy sauce at the back of the cupboard and created a meal plan for the month with meal support using lots of fresh ingredients and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Most importantly, I stuck to it. I also gave up my daily dose of zero sugar cola and didn’t add any bottles of wine or beer to my grocery delivery. Instead, I stocked up on six huge bottles of water which I replenished with tap water and stored in the fridge.
I’m a lot less stressed than I used to be now I am on maternity leave, but I still manage to let the little things get me worked up from time to time. The things that usually cause me stress are money (even though I planned and saved for this maternity leave), getting our new home the exact way I want it (and getting frustrated that it can’t happen quite as quick as I want it to) and trying to keep on top of the cleaning in our home which is nigh on impossible with a toddler and extremely messy husband around. Never having any time for me doesn’t help either. I usually spend my ‘me time’ blogging, which is essentially working, catching up on sleep or sorting through the bottomless baskets of washing. I definitely needed to find some time somewhere in the week to fill up my cup.
What did I do?
My husband is very active on his bike, so we sat down with our diaries and carved out some time where I could relax, without kids and without the blog. It was only a couple of hours a week but after five months of having a baby constantly with me day and night, it was a welcome break. I used the time to have a hot bath with lots of bubbles, a hair mask and a facial peel. I also booked into the salon one Saturday morning to have my eyebrows tinted and waxed and have a good chat with the beautician about idle local gossip. Finally, we decided that the laptop would be put away by 10pm at the latest and we’d sit and watch a TV show together (that we both like) and we chose Umbrella Academy which we thoroughly enjoyed, watching one episode a day and really watching it, instead of half being on our phones.
Changing bad habits
Two habits I was sure were exacerbating the symptoms of heartburn for me were wearing clothes that are too tight and lying down after eating. I’m still a couple of stone heavier than I was pre-pregnancy, but this doesn’t stop me squeezing myself into my jeans everyday because I am sick of wearing leggings and this has a knock on effect. I am also guilty of stuffing my lunch as quickly as possible into my mouth, so I can get back to Felix who needs me to lie next to him to help him drift off to sleep, leaving my lunch sitting in my stomach and the acids rising up my oesophagus.
What did I do?
I decided to have a spring clean of my wardrobe and anything that was still too small (I’m talking size 8 jeans!) were wrapped up and placed in the loft ready for when I’ll need them again (when not if!) and I treated myself to a couple of new dresses ready for the summer which were both flattering and not to restrictive around the waist. I stopped lying down after eating, indeed I stopped eating on the go as much as possible. I dug out Felix’s highchair from the loft and popped him in it while I ate lunch which was not only revolutionary for my body who was used to me cramming food in my mouth between naps and feeds, but was also great for Felix’s development as we will be starting weaning him in a few short weeks. Once I’d finished eating, we went for a stroll with Felix in the pram so he could nap there instead of us both lying in bed together, totally sedentary.
Did the small healthy lifestyle changes work?
I saw a huge change in my health and wellbeing, almost immediately. It was incredible to start taking a bit of time for me during the week and the fresh produce I was consuming made me feel less lethargic and bloated and as a result, the heartburn I was experiencing on and off dissipated. It was lovely to treat myself to a few new clothes and I felt much better to be in properly fitted stuff instead of squeezing myself into ill-fitting jeans.
Now I’ve just got to make sure I continue with this new healthy me…although I think I’ll keep the wine!
*This post is in conjunction with Rennie® but all thoughts are my own. Rennie Peppermint for heartburn and indigestion. Rennie Liquid Heartburn Relief Oral Suspension. Rennie Heartburn, Indigestion & Wind Relief. Always
read the label.