One of the biggest obstacles you are going to face when trying to create a healthy lifestyle change is your own mindset. Don’t think of your new goal to eat healthier and exercise regularly as a diet, think of it as a lifestyle you’d like to live.
A lifestyle change is lifelong. Helping you get healthier so that you can be more active with your children. Fad diets might work while you are actively working on that specific diet. Maybe you’ll lose 10 pounds. What happens after the diet though? You gain back 20. That does not help your body or your self-esteem.
Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life
Remember that everyone has off days and don’t beat yourself up if you cheat one day. You are in this for the long haul. You did not start eating unhealthy and exercising sporadically overnight. The process to become healthy and exercise on a regular basis will not happen overnight either.
Take your new healthy lifestyle one day at a time. You don’t have to do everything at once and trying to might get overwhelming. Then you binge eat or ignore the goal completely.
Change one small thing today and then keep it up for a week. You can add a new healthy habit daily, weekly, or once you’ve accomplished your first one.
A quick habit to begin is to start parking in the back of the parking lot when shopping or doing errands. The walk only takes a few minutes extra, but if you’ve got a few stops your step count for the day will go up.
Even 5 minutes of yoga, stretching or walking in the morning will get you moving in the right direction. Get up a few minutes before the kids and stretch. Do what feels right for yourself and your body.
Now that we have exercise taken care of what about healthy eating? The easiest habit is drinking more water.
Again start small. Try drinking 20 ounces of water every day. If that isn’t enough or you’ve done that for a week try 30 or 40 ounces. Keep increasing until you are drinking at least 60 ounces a day.
Making small commitments and keeping with them every single day might not seem like you are doing a lot, but you are getting into the habit of being more mindful of your health through eating and exercising. One small habit today turns into a bigger habit tomorrow. By the end of the year your five minutes a day has turned into 30 minutes 4 or 5 times a week.
Experiment in the Kitchen
Be a little brave and experiment in the kitchen with healthy recipes and different spices or ingredients. You will find new ones your family will love. There are ways to make delicious and healthy food. Just because you are changing your eating habits does not mean you have to give up on flavorful food.
Don’t go crazy and get rid of all of your families comfort food in one day – they might not appreciate that. Instead gradually change your go to recipes for ones that are healthier.
To get more flavor use more spices and herbs. Spices change an entire recipe and how it will taste. Try new recipes that call for spices that you don’t usually use or have a stronger flavor than others.
Whenever possible use fresh herbs instead of in the jar. Fresh has more flavor.
Herbs and spices to consider using more of are cumin, curry, bay leaf, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, chili, cilantro, ginger, oregano, parsley and thyme.
Cut back on the amount of salt you use.
Most processed food has tons of sodium in packaging. Canned soup and pre-made meals have more sodium than what is usually recommended for a person in each serving. Be careful and look at the labels.
Another way to make your food healthier is to sneak in more vegetables. How? Whenever you are cooking add cut up vegetables to the recipe.
A food processor makes the job easier, but you can also dice the veggies really small. Only add a few vegetables to start. You can do this with some sauces, soups and casseroles.
Substitute fatty meats for leaner ones. Instead of buying the ground beef that is 75/25 buy the extra lean at 93/7 or better yet go to a local butcher shop and buy their ground beef.
Extra lean is more expensive, so watch for grocery store sales. Use half ground beef and half ground pork, chicken or turkey. These ground meats have less fat, so find a combo that your family enjoys.
Pork and chicken are better for you and have less fat than beef. Pick more recipes with these two ingredients during the month. Plus if you make recipes like shredded pork you can make several different dinners after you’ve cooked one pork roast.
Healthy recipes are everywhere keep an eye out when you are flipping through magazines, newspapers or cookbooks. Be more aware when you are looking at online – check out recipes sites or blogs dedicated to cooking healthy.
Sometimes you can find wonderful recipes on cooking shows or during the local morning show. The local shows are a nice resource because they will show you what vegetables are seasonal.
When your first switch from the way you eat currently to a healthier option it can seem overwhelming. Not sure where to start the process, what to buy or even how to get your family on board. The truth is it’s easier than you think.
The key is to slowly introduce new items. Use the tips below to help you from becoming overwhelmed. It doesn’t have to be a battle with your family.
4 Tips to Prepare Your Kitchen
1. Slowly Replace Your Side Dish Options
Instead of using white rice use a grain that has more fiber. This will fill everyone up quicker and make them more satisfied after they eat. Some options could be brown rice, quiona, barley or spelt.
Some of these alternatives to white rice will have different textures and tastes, so only use a portion in the recipe to begin with.
2. Make Snacks Healthy and Easy To Grab
Prepare snack bags of healthy choices instead of ones that are full of fat and have no nutritional value. Carrots and grapes fit easily into the snack Ziploc bags and store for long periods of time without being in the fridge.
Pack nuts such as almonds, pistachios and walnuts instead of chips. These are easy to throw in a purse, backpack or lunch bag.
3. Make Freezer Meals Ahead of Time
Making freezer meals does not have to be time consuming. Pick recipes that are easy to make and quick. Or another option would be to make an extra casserole or cut up more vegetables while you are preparing your nightly meal. Put it in the freezer.
Find recipes that are healthy or substitute ingredients to make it healthier for you. This will eliminate grabbing a pizza or take out on the way home.
4. Use Flax Seed or Chia Seeds in Meals
One major tip for you to immediately start implementing is to use flax seed or chia seeds in your meals. How? Put a small amount in casseroles or ground meat.
These seeds are small and can easily be added to meals without being noticed. They need to be refrigerated, so put a sticky note by the stove to remind yourself to add them while cooking.
By changing a few ways that you cook can make a huge difference to your health. There is no need to get overwhelmed by all the changes you think you should make. Small changes, slowly work just as well as eliminating everything at once. Plus you won’t get tons of attitude from the family. That is a win, win situation for you.
How to Create an Exercise Plan and Stick With It
Wanting to exercise and become more healthy is the easy part. Finding time to exercise regularly and creating an exercise plan can be the downfall to many busy moms.
Step #1 – Start Small
When you first start an exercise routine one of the hardest challenges is to just get started.
Thinking about everything you should have to make your exercise a reality – new shoes, a new workout outfit, a membership to a gym, exercise equipment – has you going from excitement to overwhelm pretty quickly.
So, how do you get motivated? You start with something so small that it takes no time and you can do it easily.
Small exercises could be 25 jumping jacks (or even 10) twice a day, walking for 5 minutes or stretching in the morning for 10 minutes.
Will these exercises get you to lose weight by themselves, probably not.
But when you are starting a new plan they will help motivate you to get started and create the habit of exercising regularly. You don’t have to lace up those running shoes and finish a marathon today, just lace them up and get moving!
Step #2 – Make it Fun
Moving your body and creating a habit doesn’t necessarily have to be about going to the gym. Especially if you don’t like the gym.
Find an exercise that interests you. Do you like to dance? Then take 5 minutes every day to groove to the music. Turn it up loud and get your kids involved.
They will absolutely love your exercise breaks and will start to look forward to them.
Love the outdoors and want to go hiking? Then go. Start with the parks around your house and go for a nature walk. Talk about the flowers, trees and animals and it won’t even feel like exercise.
The purpose is to find something you enjoy doing and stick with it. Exercise doesn’t have to be the same activities all the time. Dance one day and go for a walk the next.
Step #3 – Change Your Mindset
What does you mindset have to do with getting fit? Everything. Tony Robbins says to use words that get you motivated to do your goals. Instead of saying or thinking, “Oh I have to exercise today” change that one word to get. So your thought will, “I get to exercise today.”
Exchanging those two words will make a world of difference. No one likes to do tasks they have to do, but they look forward to things they get to do.
Make exercise a priority and commit to exercise regularly. Schedule it on your calendar and pick an exercise you’ll enjoy. Start small and develop the habits and you’ll be on your way to a healthier you.
Know Your Why
Discovering your purpose to getting to your goal should be your number one priority. By doing this one step your success rate goes up tremendously and you’ll stick with it long after others fail because you know why you are doing it.
Don’t skip this step because it gets hard or you can’t figure out your why. You’ll find it – just keep trying until you do.
By figuring out your why you’ll be getting fit and healthy for the right reasons. Like many other things people do, if they try to do it for someone else chances are it’s not going to work.
You need to find your reasons. Unless you are committed you’ll find excuses to not eat healthy and only exercise every once in a while. So, don’t let others convince you to do it or pick the reason you’re doing it.
You’ll need to dig deep inside to discover your why. When you get to an answer – you need to ask yourself why again. Don’t settle for a surface answer. You’ll eventually get to the heart of your true why.
Here is an example of how to get to your why. You want to get healthier for your family. Why? This statement is very broad and doesn’t motivate you to actually get it done.
Why do you want to get healthier?
I want to be able to spend quality time with them. Being an active part in their life instead of watching from the sidelines. Perhaps you aren’t able to go for hikes with your family because you get winded every time you try.
This is closer to your why, but it still needs work.
So ask why again? Why is being active important? Your kids are 8 and 10 and you don’t have very much time with them, so you want to be able to do activities with them that are meaningful and they will remember when they are out of the house.
Why is this important?
Because you feel you are a failure as a mom and are not helping them live the life they deserve because you are not able to keep up with them. Or maybe you are embarrassed to take them to physical activities, so you don’t. This is impacting their self-esteem and social engagement with their peers.
Now this would be your why.
Being a parent is an important job and if you think you are failing at it because of an action you are not taking – getting up earlier or making a commitment of five minutes daily to exercise is a lot easier to do.
Finding your passion will help you through the tough time and will motivate you to do what needs to be done. Some days this can be a struggle and you just won’t feel like doing anything.
While this might be okay once or twice, being able to get past this attitude and do what is required needs your true why. Take a few minutes and write yours down now.