fitness for moms

As a side note before I continue in this post, I want to be completely candid and tell you that I am not the world's greatest fitness guru. I have never once been able to stick to a strict diet. And I am not a physical trainer. I just know my body and mind, and I know that exercise is essential to keeping both healthy. And I believe healthy moms are the happiest moms.  

In recent months, I have a lot people ask me about my weight, fitness routine and/or diet. To begin, I feel like I should quickly answer some of the most frequent questions I get: 1. I generally run 4-5 times a week for about 24-30 minutes. I lift weights whenever possible but usually twice a week. 2. I run almost immediately after Tim gets home. I try and prepare dinner so that when he gets home all he has to do is throw it in the oven or start noodles/rice so that we can eat when I get home. 3. I am not a marathoner. I don't have the heart. 4. I do eat healthy, but I cheat too. I almost always have something sweet first thing in the morning and right after dinner. I try and avoid all snack-like foods during the day. 5. I believe in healthy living and try and teach my kids between healthy and unhealthy food options. I never refer to food as fattening because I don't want the girls to ever feel bad about eating something or watching someone else eat something. I strictly say "healthy" and "unhealthy," and if a food is unhealthy, I explain why.

As a mom to three very active girls, being healthy is so important to me because I am constantly running, running, running every which way, and I need every ounce of energy I can get. As I already said, I am not a good dieter. I just hate not being able to eat what I like and I don't enjoy counting calories so I just buy healthy food to begin with. I avoid all foods that don't include expiration dates and I generally skip the snack aisle at the store because those Mother's frosted animal cookies scream at me as I walk by them. The girls eat goldfish and cheezits, and I'm pretty over those so they don't tempt me anymore. I bake all the time and keep my baked goods in the refrigerator. No one really looks in the fridge for cookies or brownies so we aren't always looking at them all day. If I cheat, and I always do, I remind myself to only eat one treat instead of four. My body craves four. My mind says no.

I read somewhere recently that your weight basically depends on your lifestyle: 70% diet and 30% exercise. I had never really thought diet was THAT important, but after much thought, I felt the author was correct. I used to think that running a little longer would make up for bad habits, but what I really need to do is get rid of the bad habits. But until I do that and believe me it's going to take some time, I will just keep pushing my body to its limit and work out extra hard on days I've eaten particularly bad. (And as a side note because Tim would say this...what I call a bad eating day is not what he calls a bad eating day so everyone needs to evaluate their own life.)

With regards to exercise, I love pushing my body. I don't always like running, but it is the easiest and cheapest form of exercise I can do at the moment so I'm trying to find ways to like it more. I am competitive so I lately I've just tried to compete against myself and my old times. I started exercising in December once I felt like it was time to shed some of the baby weight and when I started running, I could barely run for 20 minutes at 6.0mph. 1. Because my body was exhausted and 2. because Elle did not like the daycare so she'd scream and scream until the women would interrupt my run around 13 minutes so I decided that it was time to push myself because I never really knew how long I'd be able to run. I started at 6.0 and gradually worked my way to where I am today, which generally teeters around 7.8-8.6mph. I only recently started running that fast. I had to run consistently at slower rate before I could bump it up.

I guess what I am trying to say is no matter where you are on the fitness spectrum, start where you are. You are your own enemy/ally. As a mom, being fit is going to take some preparation because something will always come up and make you think that you should probably just forgo exercising because you have to deal with A, B or C. But don't. Look at your schedule and see when you can squeeze in twenty minutes. You can really get your heart pumping at 20 minutes. In Utah, I'd work out at night. In Peoria and Wisconsin, I'd walk/run in the morning until Tim and I bought gym passes together and could go at night. And here, I workout before dinner. It's all about planning. Plan it and stick with it. Sometimes Tim gets home later than anticipated or I have a lot of work to do so I have to adjust things, but I still get out there, even if it's just for ten minutes. I can run more than a mile in ten minutes so I figure that's a lot better than sitting at home.

If you have questions about running or dieting or meal planning, I'd be happy to help. I'm not an expert, but I know a few things.

Shirt: Lorna Jane
Shoes: Newtons

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