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Making Time to be a Healthier Mom
I realized that the guilt for leaving my kids to go workout was causing me to not be able to exercise like I so wanted to. Not exercising led to bad eating habits. If I wasn't working out, then I wasn't as serious about eating healthy either, and vice versa. When I am consistently working out, I am consistently eating healthy. It took me a while to figure out how to change that, not to mention the determination to make it happen. Now that I have, I am much happier, and healthier! It's all about balance and incorporating my kids into my healthy lifestyle. We can make things work. Moms are wonder women! I had to get rid of the excuses and create my own answers.
Why didn't I make my health more of a priority?
Well, that's easy to answer. I value my time with my kids and my kids need their time with me too. It's my job to be around to parent them. I work full-time and I'm a single mom. My kids miss me when I'm not home and I miss them. There are only a few hours each weekday that I have with them and sometimes I have to work the weekends. They have homework to get done, I have dinner to make, we have to get in that thing called sleep, etc. etc. For me to leave for 1-2 hours to workout leaves me with such a feeling of guilt as I see the sad faces and they beg me to stay home. Yes, it can sound pathetic, but what can I say, we are close. It has just been them and me for a while so I basically fill the role of mom and dad. This is why my own health got placed on the back burner and my once lean body suffered. Let's not forget there was a self-esteem take back as well. Something had to be done!
Why is it important for us moms to be healthy?
Two reasons: for ourselves and for our kids.
1. We can't take care of anyone else if we can't take care of ourselves first! Exercise does wonderful things for our minds, body and soul. Exercise controls weight, combats health conditions and diseases, improves mood, boosts energy (we sure can use that!), promotes better sleep, and can spark our sex lives (woot woot!) (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389?pg=2). Exercising also motivates us to eat healthier. Eating a healthy diet will also control our weight, combat health conditions and diseases, improve mood, boost energy, etc. All of these things go together. If we eat healthy and exercise, we are more likely to experience the most out of lives as we can be the healthiest versions we can be.
2. The way we live is the example we set for our children. I want my children to live long, healthy lives. What better way is there to to teach my children to make healthy choices than to live that way myself? Parents shape many of our childrens' habits, and it is never too late to change any bad habits we have set in for ourselves and for them.
What changes did I make?
1. I started jogging with my kids. I downloaded the Nike running app and created monthly running challenges. I create several different challenges a month that I do simultaneously. I make a 10 mile/month challenge, a 20 mile/month challenge, and a 30 mile/month challenge. I invite friends to join me in the challenges. I involve my kids in the challenges. We go together, my kids usually ride their scooters or bikes as I jog/run/walk. We do it together and they motivate me! They say "c'mon mom, only 1/2 mile more, you can do it!" and they give me challenges like "mom don't stop running, run until the next block mom! You can do it!" I keep them updated with how fast we completed each run and how many miles we have completed so far for the month. We are a team! They actually get excited as they see the competition in it, as they look at where I am on the running challenges compared to my friends, so then they want to bump me up to 3rd place instead of 4th for instance. I also do 5k runs with my kids and signed my son and his friend up to do a zombie run. My daughter and I went to watch and support him. We had a blast! The zombies even chased my daughter! I run at least one race event a year and my kids go to every one of them to support me. All of these things have included my kids in my exercise, so that I don't leave them home to go to the gym or a fitness class, etc. It becomes family time. We also discuss what the activity does for our health and why it's good for us, so they see the value and importance in it. Exercise like this IS family time and they will grow up with these memories and traditions when they have their own families ♥. My kids will hopefully grow into adults who incorporate regular exercise into their lifestyles, so that they can live long, healthy lives.
2. I trialed many fitness studios using their introductory trial deals (10 days for $10, first 3 classes free, etc). All fitness studios have trial deals that are cheaper than their monthly fees. I found one that I really like. It has a variety of classes, which is important because I get bored easily. Most importantly, it has a lobby that I can take my daughter with me and she can wait there and do her homework or listen to her ipod while I'm in my class. She doesn't need a babysitter so this works well for us and I'm not leaving her home alone! Plus, she is with me for the commute to my fitness class, so we have time to talk and just be together. This was a must for me!
3. I have my kids cook with me. We do searches on-line together and find recipes for new dishes to cook together. We discover modifications to make for things we like to eat and ways to make them healthier. We discuss what the ingredients are and whether or not they are good for us, and why. My favorite website right now is thechalkboardmag.com.
4. I subscribed to fitfusion for a year to workout at home after my kids were in bed. I had access to a variety of workouts on line with this subscription. I don't use it anymore and have let it expire now that I joined a fitness studio, but before that I used this quite a bit. This was great, because I didn't have to leave home to get a good workout in. I used to do the Jillian Michaels classes and some various pilates classes as those were my favorite.
5. Discover what you like, research it, and just do it! Figure out when it fits into your schedule and put it on your calendar so that it's an appointment you make with yourself. You will be less likely to cancel and it sets into your head that it's something you decided to attend. Bosses don't cancel. You are boss!
6. Make changes to your eating. Talk to your doctor first, I did! My doctor said that the only diet she felt comfortable recommending was from the book The Insulin-Resistance Diet, by Hart and Grossman. So, I bought the book, and I like it. It is written by a physician for the Mayo Clinic and a registered dietician. Great combination! Changes take time, and I recommend making one or two changes at a time, get used to them, and then make another change. This way, the changes then become your new way of life, your new habits, your lifestyle. As an example, I don't put salt in the food I cook, so guess what? My kids are used to the flavors of a low salt diet. When they eat something prepared by someone else who has put a fair amount of salt in their food, my kids won't eat it, because it tastes bad to them. My kids are conscientious about the things they eat, because I raised them that way. I created the palates they have by the habits I gave them in the food I cook for them. I didn't always cook this way. My food used to have a lot of salt in it. I gradually decreased the salt I put in the food I made, and eventually, I didn't add any salt at all.