“Having four kids is kind of like, you’re drowning—and then someone hands you a baby.” – Jim Gaffigan.
Seriously, every. single. time. I hear this quote, I absolutely die laughing, because I think every mama out there—with 1 kid or 6 kids—can relate to the feeling of absolutely drowning in to-dos and better-be-theres and then, wait for it… ya’ gotta’ care for and nurture your kiddos too! The struggle is so real. Hence, the #HotMessExpress shirt.
Being a mom is a full-time job in and of itself, and then some of us have a full-time job on top of that full-time job to pay the bills. Whew, I get exhausted just typing that! Now, try squeezing in a trip to and from the gym (or even just the bathroom, for crying out loud!) and it’s just not gonna’ happen.
Mamas…this is for YOU gals…for all you busy ladies who can’t seem to make it to the gym but who desperately want to live a fit life for yourselves AND for the example it sets for your family.
But before we dive into it, first things first: You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Period. Plain and simple. Don’t forget it.
The foundation for our fitness (and really, ANY goal you might have related to fitness) is set with our nutrition. It truly accounts for the majority of our success. Any exercise we do is used to stimulate muscle growth and accelerate our results. But food is what is needed to actually grow and develop the muscle, and the right balance of food is necessary to reduce the layer of fat on our bodies. If you are looking for a lean, muscular, sculpted body, as the saying goes, “Abs are made in the kitchen.”
If you are just starting out and looking to make some fundamental changes, try following my 5 foundational rules:
- Drink a gallon of water daily (or at least a quart of water more today than you did yesterday)
- Eat breakfast
- Eat protein at every meal
- Reduce your sodium to less than 2500mg daily
- Reduce your sugar to less than 50g daily
Easy, right? More like easier said than done. I mean, anyone can get into the shape of their lives if they follow a exercise and nutrition plan. But the trick is in the “F” word there…you gotta’ follow the plan to make it work for you. As moms (or dads…and even nannies), following any structure can seem like the most daunting of all tasks when you can’t even get your toddler to follow the rules or your tween to follow your orders.
Don’t be afraid to take on one at a time. Research has proven that one life change at a time equates to an 80% success rate. However, taking on two at a time drops your rate of success to 33%!!
Another key I have found through my OWN experience, is to be realistic and to appreciate how HUGE the small things are. Each and every minute effort you make in your everyday life, added to yesterday’s minute effort, and the day’s before, etc…adds up and creates massive changes over time. Trust me! So, my mommy friends, here are some of my tried-and-true SIMPLE tips to make BIG changes in your own busy lives:
1. Make sure you eat BEFORE you feed your kids (if you aren’t eating at the same time as they are) to avoid snacking off of their trays and being the human garbage disposal for their leftovers.
2. PLAY with your kids! The more you can get outside and encourage your kids to move, the more calories YOU burn! Remember, being fit doesn’t only mean an hour at the gym a day, it means simply moving more too!
3. Snack the same way your kids do! Chances are that your kids don’t just eat 3 meals a day. They most likely snack at school before lunch then again when they get home from school before dinner. Why? Because their active bodies need a constant fuel-drip, and so does yours. Even if you aren’t moving as much as a kid is, the more you can evenly divide your meals into 5-6 a day, the hotter your metabolic furnace will burn.
4. Piggy back rides for the win! What kid doesn’t want a piggy back ride? And what mom or dad doesn’t want to burn a few extra calories? There is nothing quite like resistance training, and your kids are the best weights you’ve got! So next time they ask (or even if they don’t), let ‘em hop on and go for a ride.
5. Don’t overthink it! As moms, we are programmed to feel like we need to do it all, and do it all perfectly. I got news for you…you will NEVER do it perfectly, and neither will I. Cut yourself some slack and realize we are all doing the best we can. Focus on loving your babies and moving a little more today than you did yesterday…and eating just a little healthier today than you did yesterday. That’s all!
6. Be beneficially selfish. Selfish?? What?? Yes…BE selfish for the benefit of yourself, and consequently, for everyone else, at least once a day. Think about it this way…if mom ain’t happy, NOBODY is happy! And how can you effectively care for anyone else if you can’t properly care for yourself? So as the flight attendants say, “Secure your mask first, THEN secure the mask of your child!”
Now, if you feel like you’ve got these tips down…well, then you’re probably delusional. 😉 Kidding…kind of, because the truth is that we are ALL a constant work in progress, so chances are that we can benefit from the occasional reminder to work harder at the “balancing act.”
If you do feel like you are ready for more than the Foundation 5 tips above, and you think you’re progressing with these Mommy Hacks, you MAY be ready for the next nutritional step…one that you’ve most likely heard me talk about a time or ten—macros and carb cycling. If you want to explore these options now or in the future, check out these blog posts for a ton of free info:
One last thing: No matter where you are on your own journey to find balance as a busy mom—even if it’s only for a few glorious minutes at a time—please know that you’re not alone! We all have those days when adding one more thing, even if it only takes a few minutes, seems too overwhelming and makes us seriously want to cry our eyes out and eat a ½ gallon of ice cream or that bag of Oreos. Trust me…I’ve been there. More times than I can count. But you know what I know to be true? When you do add only one tiny thing—meant specifically for YOU—to each day (the things in my list are super tiny!), not only will you feel better physically, and most importantly, emotionally, but you’ll have that incredible sense of personal accomplishment that is sometimes so difficult to find when we’re so focused on everything else and everyone else. Moms, what are some small things you’ve done too keep your sanity, or some small changes you’ve made to become the best you? Please share in the comments below.
PS: Want to snag your own #Momspiration-slash-#Womanspiration shirts? Find ’em here: