Many of us have the best intentions at the first of the year, to live a healthy lifestyle, but mom life can easily distract us from making our health a priority. Our priorities are our kids and our never-ending to-do lists. I get it. Having babies totally shifted my lifestyle from healthy to survival mode with lots of take out, finishing the kid’s meals and little to no exercising. Healthy meal prep was not possible with babies attached and exercise was the last thing I wanted to do, sleep deprived.
Healthy living became less convenient, quickly. It was not until having a miscarriage this summer, changed the way I thought about prioritizing healthy living and changing my lifestyle. I gained ten pounds within ten weeks of pregnancy. After the pregnancy loss, I was left with an engorged stomach and an overall feeling of blah. I needed to get back into shape, so I started seeking out simple, easy ways I could incorporate healthy eating and exercise that would fit into busy mom life.
Here are a few things I discovered along the way that have created a healthy mom lifestyle that is sustainable.
- Find an exercise program that works for you and your body type that includes cardio and resistance. Spending money on a personal trainer seemed like a waste when I found that YouTube has free workout videos. I tried many different types of workouts to find what worked for me. I started out simple and easy and then worked my way up to more challenging workouts. Right now, I am loving Pilates and Barre workouts in addition to cardio on the elliptical.
- Squeeze in your workouts at home around your family’s schedule. Before kids, I was the crazy lady waking up at 5:30 a.m. to hit the gym before most of my days started. Post kids, an early morning workout was not going to work with our morning routine. When I am solo with the kids, I will squeeze in my resistance workout while the kids are watching TV or playing. Then, I will wait until they go to bed and finish with cardio. Getting creative and being flexible about when you take time to work out may be necessary to reach your goals for the day.
- Find easy, quick and healthy meal options. When choosing foods to eat, think simple vegetables and fruits that look like the rainbow in addition to a lean protein. Focus on mini-meals if a whole meal seems overwhelming. My go-to snack meals are store bought hummus, carrots that are pre-washed and ready to eat, cut up bell peppers and avocado. I keep boiled eggs in the fridge for quick protein. Try to find meals that do not require a lot of ingredients and can be cooked in one pot or pan to save you time. Cooking a dinner that can also be a leftover lunch the next day is another time saver.
- Eat plant based if you can. A can of beans is easy to prepare, filling and healthy too. My go to easy dinner is a baked sweet potato and sauteed spinach with chickpeas.
- Invest in a single serve blender that is dishwasher safe. Use those holiday gift cards and treat yourself to a single serve blender that you can use to make a quick smoothie. I load my smoothie up with frozen fruits, spinach and water. Once I’m done, putting it in the dishwasher makes for easy cleanup. I use a Ninja blender but there are so many good ones out there to choose from.
- Select a high protein shake for post workout. After resistance training, protein is important for recovery and to help burn fat. Find a protein shake that you like with lower calories to help curb your hunger after your workout. I like Muscle Milk light chocolate because it has lower calories than most shakes, yet still has a high protein count.
- Finally, eat healthy deserts. I love sweets. It is part of daily life and I cannot go without something sweet at the end of the day. Deprivation typically leads to overeating, so I try to select something sweet at the end of the day that I know will not cost me a lot of calories but still tastes good. For example, I will eat a handful of dark chocolate covered almonds for dessert and not feel guilty after.
Hopefully, some of these tips will give you a boost of confidence to prioritize a healthy lifestyle in 2021. Once you start and get into a routine that works for your busy mom life, feeling healthier will keep you motivated to continue. You’ve got this!