Realistic Health Steps For A Busy Mom
When a busy mom decides to get healthy and fit, the task is way more daunting for her (like climbing a mountain kinda daunting). As a busy mom of six, I can relate to this as year after year I try to get healthy and fit. And you know, that’s ok, because health and fitness are lifelong goals anyway!
However, there are some health habits that have worked and some that haven’t worked for my busy life. That’s why I’m here to share my health discoveries with you on what I've found to be cope-able and do-able for a busy mom.
Step 1: Listen To Your Body
I believe that we should never ignore the signs and messages our body relays to us everyday. Our bodies are speaking to us in volumes, if we just take the time to listen and accept these indicators as serious.
Pregnancy and the toll of motherhood really makes a mom deficient in necessary vitamins and proper nourishment, so it is extra important for mothers to become attuned to what her body is saying.
Step 2: Set Intentions For Yourself
Affirm to yourself that you want to become healthy and hold yourself accountable. Set your intentions for your health journey at any time of the year by telling as many family members and good friends to cheer you on.
You can write a big sign and paste it on your message board or beside your bed as a reminder if you need the motivation. Or you can join an accountability group that will make you feel guilty if you don’t achieve your goals due to the cost and embarrassment.
Try to log your progress in a health journal to keep your consistency going. Whatever will hold you the most accountable, just do it!
Step 3: Have A Thorough Checkup
The very first step I took on my journey towards taking better care of myself, was to go for my annual physical exam. I also had any necessary blood tests done as a precaution.
This gives you an indication if you have any issues like cholesterol, anemia, diabetes, thyroid, or something else. It can explain overeating, lethargy, headaches, feeling fatigued, or other symptoms that you may have and thought it was due to being unfit or unhealthy.
You can also pay a visit to a naturopath or a dietitian to get in-depth knowledge of your symptoms and receive more options of how to combat your symptoms. It may be costly to do all three, but it will be more thorough. Also, you can take it as something you wouldn't do more than once a year.
Step 4: Set Realistic Goals
As moms, we should aim towards realistic health goals and not focus on fads, weight loss, and diets too much. Instead, it is best to aim for a nutritious lifestyle overall.
It’s fine to set a realistic goal weight for yourself, but don't aim to be the same as you were before you had kids. Your body has changed a lot post-pregnancy and you need to accept that your health goals are not about who you were in the past, but who you are in the present.
Also, set healthy weight loss goals in increments of 5-10 lbs. So for example, if you need to lose 30 lbs, don't aim to lose 30 lbs by so and so date. Instead, aim to lose 5-10 lbs at a time, because mentally it doesn't sound so daunting.
Step 5: Take Necessary Supplements
I highly recommend that once you research more on the vitamins you should be having, begin taking it. This will improve your health and combat some of the symptoms you're experiencing. For me, I was getting headaches often, so after researching the cause, I found out that a vitamin D deficiency causes headaches. I decided that instead of popping a painkiller every time I had a headache, I would try to maintain my vitamin D levels and see if that cured it.
After consulting with my doctor, a naturopath, a dietitian, and researching my symptoms and women’s health in general, it seems they were in consensus about the necessary supplements. The most common vitamins recommended for optimal women’s health seem to be:
Step 6: Stay Hydrated
I know you’ve been told a hundred times or more to drink lots of water, but here’s the thing, it is life changing! Especially for a mama whose gone through pregnancy and the trials of motherhood.
I used to put off drinking water because I kept forgetting or I didn't have the time. Now I have learned that if I am determined to feel energetic, I need to tell myself that I can do it. I also constantly remind myself that I need to stay healthy for my family’s sake as everything will fall to pieces if mama gets sick. It’s amazing how you find the time when you change your mindset.
There are so many benefits to staying hydrated like feeling less hungry and lethargic, looking brighter, and your mind being crystal clear.
Invest in a few “mom-only” water bottles (I prefer glass) and get older kids to refill your bottle regularly to keep you consistent. Set your water bottles somewhere high, like the top of the refrigerator, if you have little ones as somehow mom’s bottle is always more wanted than any other. Make sure to drink from your bottle at mealtimes, snack time, whenever you feed your kids, or anytime that you go into the kitchen.
Also, keep bottles of water in your car, around the house, by your bedside, and one in your bag. This helps you to Shays have water in hand wherever you go.
One time I was so busy and my kids kept using my water bottles, that I found it easier to buy a case of bottled water till I could get my life back on track. However I made a promise to myself that anytime I do that, I must recycle the bottles, so I’m not harming the environment in my quest to get healthy.
If you're like me and enjoy hot drinks to cold beverages, you can get some of your water consumption other ways. You can have hot water and lemon in the morning or drink herbal teas with no milk or sweetener. You can fill a carafe in the morning, so it is on hand to pour throughout the day.
I suggest giving each of your kids their own water bottle to avoid them touching yours and teaching them to drink more water. Also, eliminate your favorite drinks from your household if you find yourself reaching for that instead of your water bottle Instill this habit in your children too.
Step 7: Heap On The Fruit And Vegetables
Increasing your intake of vegetables goes without saying. Though sometimes I resort to a super-food powder as a substitute. This is simply a concentrated form of green vegetables dried and ground into a powder.
One scoop can be added to your food, juice, or in a smoothie when you can’t fit those greens in any other way. I also always keep frozen kale, spinach, and broccoli in the freezer when I run out of fresh produce. I can easily add them to my smoothies or have it as a side to any meal.
Make fruit a part of your daily life and your new substitute for desserts if you have a sweet tooth. If I’m out of fresh fruit, I keep unsweetened dried fruit on hand. I buy things like banana chips, dried, flattened bananas, dried mangoes, prunes, dried figs, dried apples and apricots, and dates. You can also have dark chocolate covered dried fruit when you get your chocolate craving or natural freeze-dried fruit instead of those fatty desserts that brings heaps of guilt.
Step 8: Have Smart Snacks
When I run errands for hours, I usually get so hungry that I'm ready to eat anything and will make bad choices. I've learned not to grab take-out, but instead keep a bag of nuts or dried fruit in my car or in my handbag.
You can munch on that till you get home and it will satisfy and control your salt or sugar craving. Another option I do, is to run in a grocery store and get a small salad or ready to eat fruit bowl when I’m hungry on the go.
You should also remove all junk food from your pantry and not add any more to your shopping cart. If you don’t have it, you won’t eat it - and that’s the truth! Anything that has high calories or hardly any nutritional value, refuse to put in your cart.
When you pass up temptation, it really gives you a feeling of accomplishment. Yet sometimes you may be going through a tough day and need a break, so give yourself one cheat day in the week to binge on a food you absolutely love.
It really is comes down to adopting new and better habits. Whether you start with one small habit or decide to change all your habits at once, make some change and do it for your well-being.