Former banker, personal trainer and creator of Hong Kong’s first protein gelato line, Ice’N’Lean*… Christiana dishes on her bump!
*Editor’s note: This business has now closed.
Hailing from the UK, Christiana Lewis never expected her career in finance to take a turn and evolve into a successful business. Having spent seven years living in the 852, this avid martial artist (kickboxing and karate, to be exact!), loved spending her free times at the gym which is where she met her hubby, Gareth. The two of them, along with a good friend, were inspired to leave their banking jobs to pursue their dream of making healthy and delicious protein gelato. Their partner even went to Italy to study gelato making to ensure that Ice’N’Lean would be the real deal. If that’s not commitment, we don’t know what is! Their combined love for fitness and nutrition is what brought them together and as Christiana is expecting her “second” baby (her first baby being, Ice’N’Lean!), she shares how she is able to maintain a healthy lifestyle while juggling managing a business and personal training.
What was your reaction when you first found out you were pregnant?
It was the middle of the night when I thought I might be pregnant and decided to take the test. I took two tests and then decided I had to wake up my husband to check it was a definite positive and I wasn’t just delirious! Seeing that positive filled me with such excitement and indescribable joy.
Any great books and resources that are preparing you for when your baby arrives?
I went overboard on buying books early in my pregnancy and read anything I could get my hands on. As a first time mum I learnt so much! Recently, however I have stopped reading so much as they were beginning to stress me out a little. In the end I’m hoping it will be okay to follow my gut! I love talking to my girlfriends who are mamas as I feel they share the best wisdom.
What was the easiest trimester and which proved the most difficult?
I had a pretty tough first trimester. My morning sickness (certainly not just limited to the morning!) became so severe that I was hospitalised. I’m not one to enjoy taking it easy but I had no choice… I was totally wiped out! I was really quite shocked by how hard it was. I always thought that with a bit of will power, nausea and fatigue were something you could push through but in the end I spent a large part of those first 14 weeks sleeping! I was so pleased to feel my strength coming back after 14 weeks. I got back into training and threw myself into the deep end working on Ice’N’Lean. I felt good up until about 32 weeks and now the difficulties are setting in again!
Have you had any weird and wonderful cravings?
Nothing weird in terms of cravings but I’ve eaten an obscene amount of cheese, butter and Ice’N’Lean!
What has been your funniest memory over the past few months?
Sitting down and watching crazy birthing videos with my mum and sister on YouTube… we were all screaming!
What have you struggled with most since becoming pregnant?
Watching and encouraging other people workout and challenge themselves physically! My work for Ice’N’Lean and also as a personal trainer has meant I’m constantly surrounded by everything health and fitness. Whilst I have continued to exercise, the main goal has been to try and maintain as much as possible rather than push myself to new limits. I really believe pregnant women can workout, lift weights etc but it’s just not the same. I used to enjoy pushing my body to the extreme and when you are taking care of someone else it’s unfortunately not just your body anymore!
What are your thoughts about finding out the sex in advance?
Impatient by nature, I was desperate to find out the sex! I wanted to know everything about this little human as soon as I could! I love holding my tummy and thinking about my little girl in there. I also think it has been lovely for my husband, the way he talks to her through my tummy melts my heart. It’s also so much fun being able to buy such adorable girly outfits!
What was your experience delivering in Hong Kong?
I haven’t delivered yet but given it’s in just a few weeks I feel quite relaxed about it! Don’t get me wrong I’ve had my worries during the pregnancy but for some reason I am just excited about the birth. I’m sure I will look back on this and think I was totally mad! Compared to friends in the UK who only have a few scans throughout their pregnancy and only see an OB/GYN if they have complications, I feel really lucky and very looked after here in Hong Kong.
What do you think every woman should know before getting pregnant?
Every woman’s journey to motherhood is very different. Getting pregnant for a start can be easy for some, whilst for others the journey began long before they became pregnant. Sickness, hormones, complications etc vary for everyone so I think every woman should go into it just knowing that they will do their best and that is good enough!
Did you follow a fitness program whilst pregnant?
I always workout and teach at Ursus Fitness (a gym run by my sister Santina). I continued to lift weights (just not as heavy) do cardio (but not as intense). I walk a lot, cycled indoors at Torq Cycle and began to swim towards the end when the gym became tougher. In my opinion by the middle of the second trimester you should avoid exercises (e.g. plank) which often cause your abdominals to separate. I have focused more on maintaining upper and lower body strength and will get my core super strong again after!
Any fashion tips and tricks for maternity dressing?
I don’t feel like I can offer many fashion tips! I tried to buy as little as possible actually. Given my bump is biggest in summer I managed to wear a lot of stretchy summer dresses or maxi dresses that I already had. I love it when mamas-to-be wear their bumps with pride, tighter things make me feel more attractive. A special mama, Elaine Rogers gave me lots of her stuff and the maternity shorts were a life saver.
Name another mama that inspires you and why?
My own mama inspires me a great deal. She’s done nothing but her best for her children and has always made us feel so loved.
What are your hopes and dreams for your baby?
It’s rather cliché but I genuinely just hope she’s happy. I hope she lives life to the fullest and follows her own path. I hope she is kind to herself and to others.
A huge congratulations to Christiana and Gareth as they welcomed their baby girl, Layla Katherine on Saturday, 6 August, 2016!
Thanks to the talented Michelle Proctor of Michelle Proctor Photography for all of the beautiful images above! Follow her on Instagram @michellejproctor