Disclaimer: I am NOT a fitness guru. I have a really short attention span and a love / hate relationship with healthy eating and exercise. But, I have been working in some tips that have really helped shed some pounds and gain some confidence and energy.
Make a plan. I always feel better when I am mentally prepared for something. Too many times I have haphazardly started a “diet” only to fail because I didn’t plan. We all know how hard it is to grocery shop while hungry or longingly watch our family eat delicious and fatty meals as we stare…angrily…and then end up binging out of pure rebellion.
Plan ahead for those moments.
Get an accountability partner, and a backup. I can’t ask my husband to do this for me. He’s too nice. So I ask Merissa and Lauren. I text them when I’m having bad thoughts like, “Hey, I’m walking through the bakery aisle right now and the kids are losing their minds and these chocolate peanut butter no bakes are calling my name… they’re practically a breakfast food, right?” And then one of them can virtually slap me. If one’s unable to answer me, or if I need a big dose of encouragement and/or verbal beatings, I tell the other. I also send them a daily food journal breakdown. Merissa rewards me for good behavior with beauty treatments and punishes by taking away babysitting days.
*Note: Merissa and I have learned that we CANNOT do this for each other simultaneously. When we’re both weak, we are too forgiving and allow too many cheats- usually while we’re together. So, choose someone who’s going to be strong for you. Lauren is great with the eye roll emoji.
Don’t stress about getting a FULL workout in at once. If you’re like me- you have 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there, but you don’t have a full 30 minutes alone to get a good workout in. I’m notorious for the “I don’t have time to workout” excuse. Because, I really don’t have the time that I did when I was a size 6 and toned and single. But, I do have plenty of moments where I could lunge and squat and burpee and plank. (I’m just noticing that exercise moves have ugly names…) Anyway, try to throw in some moves whenever you find yourself with an extra minute or two. Planking hurts, so it probably works.
Meal plan and prepare ahead of time. No mom I’ve ever met wants to prepare 2 different meals. No man I’ve ever met wants to eat salad by itself. The croc pot is your friend. Grab some chicken breast and cook a whole bunch at once in there. Get some bagged spinach or romaine, some Craisins, and chop up a variety of other vegetables. Store it all in tupperware or zip locks. Boom. Salad. Done for 3 days. Now when your family is eating carb loaded Italian dishes you can be like, “I got my Craisin chicken salad. How you like me now, spaghetti?” The kids will want to eat whatever you’re eating, of course, so make a little extra. (Sharing while on a diet makes me bitter.)
Change your mindset about food. This is the hardest for me. I love food. My day revolves around meals. My husband loves food, and my kids love to snack. Meal times are also family time and a good meal helps everyone stay happy. I have to think: “I eat to live, I don’t live to eat.” I have to look at my plate of food and decide that it’s going to be enough to give my body the energy that it needs. I have to mentally wrestle myself into not getting seconds. Generally speaking, I don’t stop eating when I’m full- I stop eating when I’ve cleared my plate. So, I have to choose smaller plates or control portions. I have to say “no” to the leftovers my kids leave on their plates. Both of these are really difficult for me. Food wasted is money wasted, in my mind.
Don’t drink your calories. Another really really really dangerous thing for my family was me giving up coffee. This one probably won’t last- I can’t lie. But, I have been drinking a lot of water, club soda, and unsweetened green tea and it really has helped to curb my appetite. Cutting out the coffee creamer and not replacing it with a Diet Coke has made me feel better when it comes to my waistline. I’m on the verge of trying black coffee… I’ll let you all know how that one works out.
Here’s another tough one. Don’t expect results over night. When I think “diet” I think temporary. Get myself back on track and then get myself some chocolate peanut butter no bakes. No. It’s got to be a lifestyle change in your mind. I don’t know about you, but I can’t just have one cookie. I’m very much an all or nothing personality when it comes to food. Until I have proved to myself that I’ve gained some self-control in this area, that I can just be content with one cookie, I’m not eating them. If I do eat one, I’m eating ten.
Here’s the most important one. Get to know yourself and your relationship with food and exercise. Do you eat for comfort? Do you snack? Do you eat kid leftovers so they don’t go to waste? Do you cook what hubby likes and the kids enjoy instead of what’s healthy? Do you wake up exhausted and collapse into bed exhausted each day? There is no “one size fits all” diet. There aren’t any guaranteed results. Knowing yourself and your attitudes towards food and exercise will help you to stop making choices that result in weight gain, and start making choices that result in a healthier life.
It’s difficult to make some of the lifestyle changes needed to take better care of ourselves. We’re busy putting the needs of our family first. Incorporating these tips takes almost no extra time and will (hopefully) yield more energy and results.
Meanwhile, story of my life over here… SMH.