My name is Ella and my story is a pretty common one … I’m a 38 year old mother of 3 young children. For the past 6 years, I’ve either been pregnant or nursing, and I’ve been using that as an excuse to live a relatively stagnant lifestyle.
I’ve never really struggled with my weight. I have a naturally small body type, which has unfortunately worked against me, as healthy eating and an active lifestyle were never my priority. In my early twenties I used to jog daily. There was also period of time that I was obsessed with yoga and pilates, but that was almost 10 years ago.
Which leads me to today … to be completely honest, I’m pretty sure that I haven’t had more than 5 minutes of deliberate aerobic exercise in the past 7 years. My youngest child is now 18 months old, and I can no longer get away with telling myself that the pouch on my belly is “baby weight.”
It’s time for me to be honest with myself.
I’ll be 40 years old in about a year and a half, and my metabolism has slowed down considerably. If I don’t do something about it now, it’ll just get more difficult to achieve my goals.
My main goal is to feel energized so that I can keep up with my kids, who all have a LOT of energy.
Here’s how Ella plans to get fit ang get her groove back:
1. Start Moving
I don’t want to overdo it or set unrealistic goals, because I know me, and I’m just full of excuses. So, I’ve decided to take my children on long and brisk stroller walks at least 3 times a week. I used google maps to find a great circuit in my neighborhood that is approximately 2 miles long and ends at the playground so that my kids can jump out and play after my 30 minute walk. It’s important that the playground/reward is at the end of the circuit, otherwise I might be tempted to go straight home after the park.
Once upon a time, I loved yoga and made it a priority. I want to have that again, but it’s going to take time to re-train my muscles and get my flexibility back. To start, I think that attending a beginner class once a week is achievable. I coordinated timing with my husband, and he is fully supportive of me going back. If this scheduling a night away from the kids is difficult in your household, get a babysitter to commit to a night every week, or strike a deal with your neighbor and offer to watch their kids weekly in return for a night of childcare every week. It’s only 2 hours a week … there’s no reason I can’t find a way to sneak out and put myself first.
2. Adjust Diet
I love to eat, which I don’t think is an unhealthy thing. I’m a self-described foodie, and I believe that my relationship with food is healthy. I cook most of my meals from scratch and I am pretty aware of all of the ingredients that I put in my body. I prefer wholefoods that are free from preservatives, dyes and ingredients that I cannot pronounce. But there are definitely ways I can adjust my diet to achieve a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.
We eat our meals “family style,” which means that food is served in the center of the table so everyone can plate their own meal. I often end up eating second servings of food, and I lose track of the quantity that I’m eating. Plating meals away from the dinner table is a simple solution to this problem. That way, if I want to have a second serving, I will do so with intention and be mindful that I’m doing it.
Fruits and Vegetables
I need to be mindful and increase the number of fruit and vegetable servings that I consume daily. Every meal should include one serving of fruit or vegetable and I need to make them my first choice when it comes to snacking. I’ve heard that making fruits and vegetables easy to access makes snacking on them more likely, so I need to get into the habit of washing, cutting and storing my fruits and vegetables into convenient containers immediately after they are purchased.
Getting a full night sleep is easier said than done for a mother of 3 children under the age of 5. That said, I need to prioritize sleep over television and social media. Shutting down all computers and devices at 10pm will help me get to sleep at a sensible hour, so that I can get more than 6 hours of sleep in the night.
And so begins my journey to get my groove back. Join me on my mission to feeling vibrant and energetic again!