Mommies..we've ALL been there. You know..that moment when you're standing in front of the mirror and you catch yourself cringing. The stretch marks, the baby belly, the fat in places where there was never fat before...what in the name of chocolate happened to our once fabulous body?! Oh right, we had children. We had children AND THEN once enthralled in the joys of new motherhood we forgot all about one little thing - taking care of ourselves. I know it's a silly concept right? We all do it, our family comes first. But there is a very important member of our beautiful family that is often left somewhat neglected and forgotten..that would be us ladies!! Whether your excuse is you simply can't find the time or you can't get out of the house to hit the gym or maybe you just don't FEEL like getting your behind on that treadmill I have been there, we all have. I know, however, that somewhere inside of every Mommy is a woman that misses that feeling of taking pride in herself when she puts on a bathing suit. And if it's not the thought of squeezing into a bikini that has you thinking getting fit might be for you then consider the health benefits. A fit Mommy is HAPPIER (exercise releases endorphins), has more energy throughout her day, is physically stronger (juggling groceries, kids and heavy laundry baskets is a breeeeeze) and is prone to live longer while fighting off colds and diseases with much more efficiency. When you take care of yourself by taking care of your body the world opens up to you. Suddenly you can sleep at night when you were once restless , you wake up in the morning ready to take on the world before you have even had that routine coffee , you find yourself smiling and you can't quite figure out why, each day you seem to be accomplishing so much more than you had previously thought possible and all while your skin suddenly has this radiant glow that your friends can't help but to notice. Seriously ladies...YOU ARE WORTH IT. Inspired?? Here are some tips to get you started -
1. MAKE IT FUN. Every woman I know seems to have a different workout that does it for them. My best friend loves to run. Other friends of mine love yoga, pilates and even strip aerobics. My personal favorite (and what is entirely responsible for my hot new bikini bod - after 2 kids) is Turbo Jam. Find your niche. Keep mixing it up and trying different workouts until you find what works for you. I personally HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Turbo Jam series as it contains a bit of everything - cardio, strength training and ab workouts...and it's FUN. The creator Chalene Johnson is impossible not to love and will keep you going even when you may feel like quitting halfway through. You can buy the original set here. Also check out Chalene's other fabulous workouts here.
2. MAKE THE TIME. When you're a busy Mom finding that window of time to get physical is tricky, I admit. But it is NOT impossible. If you want to reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle you have to schedule a workout into your routine. Every woman's schedule is different so only you know when the right time is for you. The first week or so of getting myself into a new routine was a bit of a kerfuffle but eventually I learned the time that worked best for me was at night after getting my kids tucked into bed. I now look forward to that time as it signifies the start of a few rare hours to myself. After a good cardio session I always feel ready to take on the world so I can spend the rest of my night actually accomplishing something opposed to being a lazy couch potato. Try to aim to workout at least 4-5 days a week.
3. STOP DIETING!! I, of course, do not mean eating whatever garbage food you feel like stuffing in your face at any given moment (I am partial to cheesecake and lots of it) but rather eating more balanced meals and taking care not to completely deprive yourself of the things you love. Fad diets do not work long term and if you want to be HEALTHY AND STRONG you need to supply your body with fuel in the form of food (yes this includes bread..gasp!!) to get you through your workouts. Carbs are not the devil...why do you think hockey players are known to eat a plate full of hearty pasta a couple of hours before a big game?? A reasonable sized portion of whole grain pastas or bread always provides me with the extra push I need to get through my evening workout. Being healthy and fit does not mean giving up the foods you love. Moderation is the key. If you are working out regularly one of the perks is you can have your cake and eat it too..and not feel guilty. Building muscle speeds up your metabolism which means you burn more calories..even while resting. Yes I eat cheesecake..and chocolate..and ice cream. Just remember don't overdo it. As for eating after dinner hours, contrary to what many believe it is ok to have a late night snack..an apple, some fresh fruit or carrot sticks is always a good choice. Oh..and ALWAYS always eat breakfast. Always.
4. DRINK UP!! Water that is! Yes..yes..I know..water is so blah. I'm not saying overnight to give up all of your usual favorites because going cold turkey usually results in not wanting to stick to a new more healthy habit at all whatsoever. The one thing though that I strongly advise giving up..and now..is soda. Have you ever seen how many calories are in a can of coca-cola?? As many as a small meal. Seriously. I once, not too long ago, LOATHED water. I was an honest to goodness juice-a-holic. What worked for me was starting small..replacing my beloved juice with Crystal Light while adding in the odd glass of water here or there. Every day I decreased my Crystal Light intake just a little bit and increased my intake of good old H20. Nowadays I drink 8-10 full sized glasses of water a day and I'm loving it. Of course I do treat myself to the occasional can of root beer or coca-cola...but as I've said before..moderation is key.
5. BUDDY UP. Getting fit is so much more fun when you have a friend to do it with..or at least someone you can talk to about it that will encourage, motivate you and give you all the props you deserve for your hard work. Usually a girlfriend is more than eager to jump on the healthy living bandwagon with you once you get talking about the many benefits together. If you can't find a friend to help get you going then perhaps look for a mentor in a personal trainer you admire. My fitness hero is Chalene Johnson and I have taken great pleasure in following her always inspirational advice and motivational quotes on twitter and facebook. Technology is a wonderful thing..embrace it. There are plenty of fitness support groups and forums out there. And hey, if you need someone to help give you an extra push or some kudos I'm always here as well!! Us Mommies need to stick together!!
6. GET POSITIVE. Remember YOU DESERVE THIS. Life is going to be exactly what you make of it and the same goes for your body and general health and well being. Focus not on the dread you may feel leading up to a workout session..we all have moments where we don't feel like it. Remember what that incredible rush feels like post-workout. That feeling of pride and accomplishment. See yourself, in your own mind, as you always dreamed you could look and feel like. It's all yours for the taking. You can do this if you really want it. Mommies..we work HARD. Why not take the time and give ourselves something back..something really incredible.