Q: How do you balance a healthy lifestyle with parenthood? As a working mom to little ones, planning healthy meals and time for workouts seems overwhelming.
Let me tell you something about being healthy…it’s hard in today’s world. Yes, I said it. It’s not easy. There is no magic formula, pill or diet plan that will work for everyone. My weight fluctuates, just like everyone else. I prefer a cheeseburger over a salad any day. So, what keeps me healthy? I do it because it makes me feel good about myself, it makes me proud to set a good example for my kids and it makes me feel successful when I accomplish a goal. It’s not always easy – but here are a few of the things I do that I hope inspire you to find some “me time.”
WRITE IT DOWN – Put it on your phone, in your work calendar or in your planner. Write it down and you’re already more likely to do it. Schedule it into your day – just like any other appointment and keep your commitment. Sometimes I work out at lunch, sometimes I don’t get to it until the kids are in bed, but I put a plan in place and I know the night before when I will get my workout done. It’s in my brain when I wake up and I’ve set my intention for that specific time frame that it belongs to my workout.
MEAL PLANNING – This keeps me organized and less likely to grab fast food. Every Sunday, I plan four main meals for the week, with two days of leftovers and Thursdays my husband makes dinner. I come up with my grocery list based on those four meals and add in the other items my family needs for the week. I know on Monday what we’re eating for dinner on Friday. It’s less stressful for me and keeps us making smart food decisions throughout the week.
BE FLEXIBLE – Having a plan is great, but sometimes life doesn’t go accordingly. On a day like this, when the day care closes, we might go to the park, I might wait until my youngest goes down for a nap and lift weights while my preschooler plays or “works out” alongside me. Sometimes, he just sits there and watches me. I might have to wait until bedtime or do some yoga while we watch cartoons. The point is to adjust your expectations to your environment. If you can’t get in your run today don’t skip your workout completely, find an alternative.
EXERCISE TOGETHER –I purchased a jogging stroller when I was pregnant with my first and it has been a lifesaver when I’ve wanted to exercise and have a kiddo. Now that my kids are older and don’t want to get in the jogging stroller anymore, it makes things a little harder. Tag, Red light green light, dance parties-you get the idea. Get the heart pumping with your kiddos, even for five minutes here and there. I recently started chasing my preschooler down the sidewalk on his bike – the more we can move together the better we all sleep, am I right?
Those little minds are watching and learning – they’re seeing what mom and dad prioritize as important. My 4-year-old son has his own workout bench right next to ours. He does squats. He sees me lace up my shoes and asks if I am going for a run. He saw me cross a finish line last year. I want to make them proud of the person I am outside of being “mom” – and we all know that when mama is happy, the whole house is happy.