by Mary Kathryn Jensen
ALL moms feel it at one point or another. The feeling that we’re not doing the best job, that we’ve made a wrong decision for our children, or the most dreaded: that we’ve somehow placed our own needs in front of theirs.
Mom guilt is normal and natural, but we have to be careful because it can hold us back from truly taking care of ourselves. As a mom, I’m learning that in order to be at my best physically and emotionally, I have to make sure that I’m taking care of ME. Yes, I said it. Making my health and fitness a non-negotiable has a tremendous positive impact on not only my life, but on my kids’ lives as well. We as moms are major role models and influences for our families, and setting a healthy foundation for our children is one of the best things that we can do. But how do we make healthy living a priority when our lives are non-stop and crazy busy? Won’t exercising make us MORE tired? I have some tips and advice to share with you.
PLAN. Planning is KEY. Make time on the weekend to plan meals and schedule workouts for the week ahead. Planning healthy meals will help you save both time and money. New to meal planning or perhaps don’t even know what I’m talking about? Pinterest is a great resource tool, and there is a wealth of information available online to help you get started. You may also have a friend or two with experience who would love to offer some pointers. When you schedule your workouts like you would appointments, you’re more likely to commit to them. Remember: your workout time is YOUR time to relieve stress, increase your strength and energy, and show your body some love. Exercising boosts your mood, and contrary to what you may think, really does increase your overall energy level.
WORKOUT AT HOME. A gym membership is wonderful, but working out at home may be what you need if time, money, and childcare are factors hindering your fitness time. There are many ways to get an amazing and beneficial workout right in your own living room!! I personally workout at home during naptime or once my children are in bed for the night, but the best part about home workouts is that you can find a time that works for YOU. Perhaps you have older children or a spouse that wants to join in as well!!
BE KITCHEN READY. Now is the perfect time to give your kitchen and pantry a spring cleaning. Throw out foods with artificial ingredients, preservatives, and ones that are loaded with refined sugars and flours. Make sure that your shopping list contains plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Most grocery stores, even big health food stores, now have digital coupons and apps that help you save money on healthy items. Have clean eating snacks on hand that are quick and easy for the whole family.
SUPPORT & ACCOUNTABILITY. These are truly key to health and fitness success. Having people to support you and hold you accountable makes such a big difference!! You can find groups like this online, in your community, or you can even start your own with friends and neighbors. Once you determine what you need, there are resources out there to help you regardless of location, schedule, or income.
SET THE EXAMPLE. Be a healthy role model for your kids. You have the power to show them that being healthy isn’t about obsessing over weight or looks. It’s not about the latest fad diet or depriving yourself. It’s about a lifestyle. It’s about taking care of the one body that you have to live with. More than ever, our children need positive reinforcement about body image.
So throw out the mom guilt, and throw on a pair of workout shoes. Make a plan, set firm goals (not vague “I want to lose weight” ones), and get moving. Spring is coming, and there’s still plenty of time to make this your healthiest year yet!
Mary Kathryn Jensen is an online health and fitness coach, a ballet teacher, and busy mom of two. She has a passion for nutrition and educating people about the importance of clean eating. As a mom and fitness coach, her goal is to empower ALL moms to be healthy, feel confident, and have more energy!!