When you have a household to run, even just a small one, it takes up all of your time and energy. You don’t care that you’re looking after yourself like you should, as long as the kids are happy right? But if you aren’t at your 100% best both physically and mentally, how can you ensure your kids stay happy?
I have been struggling with terrible back and hip pain since pregnancy. I was told that it was pelvic girdle pain which would stop straight after he was born. It didn’t. It turns out it was an underlying issue with my hips which pregnancy aggravated. After some physiotherapy, I got a few small exercises to do each day and was advised that regular cardio is the long-term solutions. She was right, I joined a gym straight after and went about 3 or 4 times a week. The pain subsided almost immediately! It was amazing.
You’re probably thinking lucky b!tch, how do you get time to go 3 or 4 times a week! It wasn’t easy. I’d wake up at 5 am each day to pack everyone’s lunches and bags for the day and get to the gym for 6 am when they opened. I’d have to do a short session, then take a shower and be at work for 7 am. Finding time around my husband’s erratic work schedule was tough, so I tried whenever I could.
It went well for a couple of months until our house renovation kicked into full gear and we were without a kitchen, bathroom or power for6 weeks. Surrounded by builders dust. As you can imagine having a toddler in that mess was not easy and I couldn’t quite get to the gym anymore.
Now it’s about a year later and another issue has cropped up that prohibits me from going. But this pain causes me a lot of issues, I struggle to keep up with Kal, just something as simple as playing with him, chasing him, picking up his toys, going for a walk… the pain can be excruciating. And if it’s this bad now, it’ll just get worse with age. This is why it’s so important to keep yourself fit and healthy. Nevermind what the beauty magazines say you should look like, don’t do it so that you can look or feel good again. Don’t do it so your partner can have an attractive woman on their arm. Don’t even do it for you. Do it for your kids. By the mummy they deserve!
So here is where it gets tricky. You might’ve already read something like 8 steps to a new you or whatever, but there’s no time for the gym. Or you might not really want to pay 20 quid a month for a membership when you could spend that on nappies or his baby swim classes. Whatever your reason, I’ve come up with a few simple ways for myself, to live a healthier and fitter lifestyle! It’s still a long road, but everyone needs to start somewhere.
1. Eat Healthier
- Don’t do a drastic fad diet, they aren’t always the healthiest option long term and you’ll just revert back to the bad eating habits. The trick is to change your eating habits all-together, realistically, so that you adopt new eating habits.
- Swap to low-fat options. Every small bit helps. Low-fat yoghurt, mayonnaise, cheese, cream cheese, milk and even crackers have a lower fat option. Choose them. Some might not be great, don’t force it too much, if you really hate something, then don’t go with that one. Try to cut down cravings, not make them worse by forcing yourself to eat something you absolutely hate just so you’re left craving it’s counterpart.
- Bread – There are so many alternatives here, whole wheat bread, multi-grain bread, even swapping white bread for brown bread would be better.
- Breakfast cereals are a great way to start your day and they can really pack a punch of nutrition! Please though, don’t go for the sugary ones. I know they taste great, but it’s not a habit you want your kids to pick up either. Pick the ones that aren’t packed full of sugar and instead chose one which is high in fibre. There are so many to chose from, it’s not hard to find at least one you might like. There are a few I cannot stand and makes me gag if I try to force myself to eat it. There are others that I don’t like but I can stomach them if I add say chopped up strawberries or blueberries. Or a cup of granola with some yoghurt (I personally cannot get on board with low-fat yoghurts, but if you can please do!) and fruit is a great breakfast option.
- Salads are a great meal option. I feel these get overlooked. I really love a salad sandwich, which is tasty and filling. A tiny bit of mayonnaise, some mustard, lettuce, onion, cucumber and a few sliced up olives make for a great sandwich. But a full-blown salad for lunch is a healthy and filling option. Try to avoid salad dressings and instead just use a bit of lemon juice, tiny bit of salt and olive oil. Add grated carrots, sweetcorn or olives. And to create a full meal add smoked salmon, which is so tasty or even strips of chicken. You can cook a chicken breast fillet, which compliments a salad really well.
- Treats are a problem for me. It’s a habit I don’t want to pass down to my kids. You just have to force yourself to cut down. I really love biscuits, so I chose to buy tea biscuits instead which are a tiny bit better than something smothered in chocolate goodness. Try snacking on healthier options like nuts or those great packs of mixed seeds. It doesn’t have to be very expensive, it doesn’t have to come from a pricey organic food shop. All the local shops have lots of great options.
2. Move More
- Try to find little ways to help you be more active. There isn’t a lot of time in my day, between the housework, the toddler, my husband and work, I barely have time for myself. So I try to do things like wake up a little earlier before everyone else or stay up a little later, to find a bit of extra time. Another good time I find to do a bit of exercise is bathtime. By the time the water is ready, I’ve gotten everything else in place, so when he gets in he can play for about 10minutes, which lets me do a few quick exercises while he’s with me so he’s happy to play and I can keep an eye on him and still talk to him. Simple things like squats or sit-ups. I know this may sound strange, but we have these massive conditioner bottles which make for great little dumbells to hold out while doing the squats. It may not get me to win any bodybuilding competitions, but it’s a great way to start getting fitter. I use to do this when I was a teenager and spent a few months sharing a room with a cousin. In a house full of people and no privacy, bathtime was the only time I had and it worked wonders.
- Take the stairs whenever possible! Even when you’re in a hurry. If you’re a stay at home mom or a housewife or even just work a sedentary job like in a first-floor office building, your frequency to encounter stairs might be limited. Try doing a quick 5min run up and down your stairs at home each morning. A good way to start any day is with a bit of cardio! You’ll feel great for it!
- If you can’t get to the gym, there are so many ways to DIY your own home gym. Like I mentioned above, utilize your stairs, the 2 bottom steps make for a good stepper. Incorporate it into your day by doing a quick 30 second up and down the 2 steps before each climb. During the kids naptime, do 10 minutes of sit ups and push ups.
- Dance! Dancing is fun, it’s something your kids can join in on and it’s a great workout. Set a half hour time slot for each day, put an alarm on for it and just go nuts. We now dance every day and Kal-El is learning all sorts of new dance moves… it’s really great watching him enjoy the music. Kids love to dance, let your hair down and dance like no one’s watching! It’s fun, you get to bond and a great calorie burner. You can also dance while doing other things, like cooking or doing the dishes. Just keep moving!
- Walk instead of drive (or bus) for shorter distances. Just need to pop down the shops for some milk? Put the toddler in the pushchair and walk it. They will enjoy the fresh air and your butt will start looking great!
- Move in front of Netflix. So you have a favourite show you enjoy to binge on over and over? I do, I have rewatched Buffy about 500 times since I was a teenager (seriously, I can quote you full episodes at this point). Or maybe there’s a new show you’d like to watch? Multitask! Instead of sitting on the couch, do lunges. You can even do this while folding laundry. It’ll take longer to do the actual laundry, but it’ll still get done. Lunge – pick up shirt – lunge and hold – fold shirt on couch – lunge – pick up pants – fold – lunge – place pants on couch — you get the picture.
So that’s it. 12 easy little steps that ANY busy mummy can incorporate into her daily routines to help you become fitter and healthier so you can enjoy your kids more!