By Guest Blogger Paula Jager, CSCS
We all go through different stages or chapters in our lives where we have more or less time to devote to ourselves such as college, start of careers and births of children.
That’s just life.
All of these are better handled if we are eating a healthy diet and staying in peak physical condition. While certain life events such as a new baby may be initially overwhelming, the last thing we should do is let ourselves go.
Time can rapidly gets away from us. . .
Here’s my typical conversation with a new mom:
Paula: “what are your goals in regards to fitness and health?”
Mom: “I’d like to tone up and lose inches in my butt, thighs and belly area. I just had a baby and I can’t seem to shed the last few pounds (ranges from 10 to 50+).
Paula: “congrats on the birth of your healthy baby, how old is he (she)?
Okay, maybe I am exaggerating just a tad but I usually hear anywhere from 1 to 6 years of age. What are we waiting for, their high school graduation? I have a cat not children so while my experience is somewhat limited in this area my experience in working with both mothers and fathers is not.
I have several clients that have children, work full time, home school and/or are single parents that find or make the time to stay fit. Check out the following statistics and what they are doing to combat typical “excuses”.
Michelle: age 39, mother of 2 (ages 6, 9), full time account executive
Stephanie: age 41, mother of 2 (ages 5, 9), stay at home mom
Amy: age 38, mother of 4 (ages 2, 7, 9 and 17), home schools, works part time
Jen: age 39, mother of 4 (ages 4, 5, 10, 12), works 15-20 hours a week
Janet: age 37, mother of 2 (ages 4 and 13), home schools and works part time
. . . and Gentlemen
Not limited to women only check out. . .
Scott: age 42, father of 1 (age 7), full time professional and full time single parent. Sorry ladies, I will not give out his numberïŒ I would think being a single parent would amplify all responsibilities. You do not have the emotional and physical support a good spouse would contribute. You have to do it all–all the time.
What these women and Scott all have in common is desire and commitment and they are proactive. They take action instead of talking about it. They are successful in their careers and/or the raising of their children because of this. They know that in order to set the right example, to stay their healthiest, to look and feel their best and raise their children to the best of their abilities they must eat right and exercise. And they make the time rather than make excuses.
A 24/7 lifestyle pace affects all of us today, with or without children. Michelle and Stephanie choose to workout midday. They devote 1 hour a day 4-5 days a week to exercise. It keeps them functioning optimally and sane. They lift weights and sprint. Check out Michelle’s abs after 2 c sections; I don’t see a “lower pooch”!
Amy & Janet both home school their children; their schedule is not as structured. They plan their workouts around their children’s schedule and activities but plan them they do. When issues arise that necessitate a change in their schedule they don’t skip their workout they merely reschedule it. Sometimes it’s 5 am and sometimes it’s 10 pm but they get it in. They do a combination of weight lifting, running and yoga.5-6 days a week. Janet does fitness competitions on top of that.
Jen works out before work or after since balancing 4 children and a part time job dictate that. She does have the support and help of her loving husband. Jen lifts weights and sprints 5-6 days a week.
Scott works out in the morning after waiting in line to drop his son off at school and before work crossfitting 4- 5 days a week and plays in an intramural soccer league 1 night a week.
In addition to the above activities all of these people are training for the Tough Mudder Challenge (a grueling 12 mile obstacle course run).
I’m not saying it is easy but it can be done and needs to be done in order to be your best at raising your child and in every aspect of your life. If you don’t have a program it’s time to start one. Map it out, set your schedule, choose your activities and begin. You don’t need a personal trainer, gym membership or fancy equipment. While that’s nice it’s not realistic for many of us. Put your stock on and while it’s simmering grab a 10 minute workout here and there, or while your child is napping, playing with siblings or friends etc. . . You can break one hell of a sweat with bodyweight exercises and a jump rope alone. Team up with other mothers in the neighborhood and take turns watching the children while the others get in a workout. Or play with your children; making them a part of the activity/workout.
Don’t’ have time? Make some, cut out or down on watching TV, reading the newspaper, surfing the web or other useless activities. Don’t have energy? Well no wonder, you don’t move enough. Start working out and you’ll have three times as much.
Get your hand out of the grain free cookie jar. While an occasional treat is fine for your child without health or weight issues you don’t need them on a regular basis if you want to lose that body fat. Watch out for the “bites”, ‘a bite of my child’s this and a bite of my child’s that” because you don’t want to “waist” will go to yours.
Before you know it your children will be in college or grown. You want to be able to handle the teenage years, to be there for them when they need you and to enjoy them while feeling full of vitality and energy.
You don’t want to be fat, out of shape and on medications!
Start now, while they are young and grow and improve with them–and remember–you can have excuses or results but not both.
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.