We all know it can be hard to get up early and work out, with or without kids, single, married, dating, divorced, whatever. It can be hard to find energy to squeeze a quick workout into the day. It can also be hard to get up, work all day and then work out at night. Many individuals out there, especially moms, know this whole “trying to be healthy” struggle can absolutely be real! Whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, it’s just plain hard some days (or all days) to feel like you have the time or energy or fortitude to tackle personal wellness.
Yet, if there is any advice about anything in life that I can impart that will hopefully stick, not just about working out or watching what you eat, it is this: If it’s important to you, you will make time for it. If it’s a priority for you, you will not make excuses. If you want it bad enough, you will do it.
And the absolute truth is, you are important. Your body is important; not just for your kids or your family or your job, but for YOU! Your health, both mental and physical, is important. How you feel emotionally, which ties in with how you feel physically, is so important. It is all, inevitably and undoubtedly, important! We need to make the time to carve these positive, healthy fitness and nutrition initiatives into our daily lifestyles.
More than once I have said that all the little things can add up to the big things…it is so true. Think about every cliché you have ever heard or read; whatever sticks, use it! It is never too late to get the train back on the tracks, right?! No matter whether you had a baby a month ago, a year ago or 10 years ago…
Here are some helpful tips for fitness and nutrition, in no particular order…one day at a time is all you need!
– Be consistent about your workout routine. Make it so that over time, it is weird if you don’t go to the gym or for your run or walk or yoga; whatever exercise you do, keep doing it. And if a workout buddy would help to keep you more accountable, then line one up and enjoy the gift of fitness together!
– Exercise is often very accessible; you don’t have to have a gym membership or belong to a zumba class. Take the dog for a walk, push the kids in the stroller or do some lunges, jumping jacks or other body weight movements in your living room (burpees, sit-ups, push-ups, planks, wall sits, air squats, etc.); the bottom line is to find a way to move and get those endorphins going. Exercise usually makes people feel better (ok, so if even if not during the actual workout, then definitely after)!
– As I was pushing myself to do 100 sit-ups as fast as possible after my CrossFit class a couple years ago, a longtime member of my CrossFit gym said, “Abs aren’t made in the gym; they are made in the kitchen.” At first I nervously laughed, but eventually, what he said really resonated with me; he was so right, as much as we didn’t want to give him a bigger head (tee hee). Although fitness is paramount and essential, nutrition is critical and can completely squelch any or all fitness efforts. If you picture a pyramid, nutrition is absolutely at the top and plays a huge part in your energy levels, appearance and fitness performance.
– Be accountable for what you are eating; logging your food is a good method. My Fitness Pal is a great, free app that many use. Log everything. Everything! It all counts and adds up (even if you think eating half a bagel or a cookie and leaving the other half in the box in the break room is a kind act, it is not; it is annoying, kind of gross and still counts as part of your daily caloric intake…haha!). Sometimes people are surprised at how many “empty calories” they eat throughout the day. Logging food, although perhaps tedious at first, becomes second nature and extremely valuable to keeping your hands off of “treats” that might derail your progress.
– Another integral part of maintaining positive nutrition is to meal prep for the week. Planning ahead and cooking ahead is crucial so you have healthy options throughout the week; you don’t want to feel desperate, starving or “hangry,” reaching for junk or ending up in some random drive thru! On that note, also try to refrain from finishing your kids’ leftovers, or eating that Halloween candy that’s going to show up in your house soon…again, those empty calories all add up very fast and can curtail progress.
– Protein is critical. Always ensure your meals are full of protein, and fill in the gaps with fruits, vegetables and other healthy fats and carbohydrates. Although processed foods can sometimes not be avoided, they should be limited as much as possible.
– Try backwards planning with your food for the day; try to know what you are going to eat for dinner and plug it in to your nutrition app or food-logging method, that way you know what is left in terms of protein, carbs and fat (those three items are called macros) for lunch and breakfast. Sometimes people just eat and log as they carry on with their day, and that’s where they can sometimes go over and under on their macros numbers because they haven’t planned ahead and there are gaps to fill at the last minute, which is difficult.
– Be patient. If you go over one day on fats, for example, use the next day to make sure you are exact or a little under on fats so it balances out in the end. Try to remember that one bad day doesn’t derail you, but several of them will. So don’t get down and absolutely do not give up; just get everything back on track as fast as possible.
– Your nutrition is not meant to be a roller coaster; it should not be viewed as something you turn on and off when you want. Example: Even when you’re on vacation, or celebrating the holidays, you should be mindful of what you are eating. Always. You do not need to ever feel deprived, but you should feel like you are maintaining balance with your nutrition. If you drink three glasses of wine with the in-laws (wink wink), then definitely bypass the dinner rolls! Find a balance; you can eat things you enjoy and you can even drink if you want, but you do need to take those choices into account and practice moderation.
– Be committed and, again, most importantly, be PATIENT. Some people quit because they don’t see results right away. Or, they get discouraged by what they see on the scale. It is important to remember the scale is just one tool to measure progress; things like taking and monitoring progress pictures, paying attention to how your clothes fit, tracking body fat percentage and noticing both energy levels and endurance levels are all other ways to gauge your progress. Please do not weigh yourself every day, as you will drive yourself absolutely nuts. Try to do it weekly or bi-weekly.
– I once read a meme that stood out to me (mainly because it was a really pretty and shiny pink, but the words inside of it were pretty cool, too). It said, “In two weeks you will feel it. In four weeks you will see it. In eight weeks you will hear it.” This is SO true. It is understandable that we all want a quick fix, and we want to see results YESTERDAY. But that’s not realistic or viable. What IS realistic and viable is taking time to improve or ramp up your fitness and nutrition, and then being patient enough to see the results.
Ultimately, it could be two weeks or four weeks or two months, but you WILL see results if you stay committed. And remember…you CAN do this; it is hard, but you ARE worth it!
**If you would like to check it out, my previous blog, “Mom Life: Shedding Weight and Gaining Confidence,” was what inspired this topic: https://indianapolis.momcollective.com/health/mom-life-shedding-weight-and-gaining-confidence/
The point of that blog, although showcasing and focusing on my personal fitness and nutrition journey, was ultimately to help encourage other moms. I wanted to show via my words and before/after pictures how I accomplished some fitness and nutrition goals and how attainable results can be for all moms out there.
Also, feel free to check out the video of my recent interview on WISH TV about this same topic!