Creating and implementing a healthy lifestyle for you and your family is not always easy. Our schedule is busy, it doesn't matter if you work outside the home or are a stay at home mom, they both have challenges. I want to make this as simple and straightforward as possible.
When it comes down to the 4 pillars of a healthy lifestyle, it is up to us to take ACTION. This means showing up, doing the work and being consistent, even when things get tough, which we know they will at some point in time.
There are 4 Pillars to a healthy lifestyle every mom needs for herself and her family:
1.) Movement/Exercise: Let me start by saying no, movement doesn't mean a 10 mile run or 1 hour of cross fit (whew, right!?). It can be as simple as going for a 15 minute walk, playing outside with your kids or a 10-20 minute HIIT workout at home. Most people think if we don't break a huge sweat or it's less than 45 minutes in duration, it’s not worth our time. The truth is small sessions of movement/exercise, even 10-15 minutes add up in the long run and ARE beneficial.
2.) Balanced nutrition: If you know me, you likely already know what I am going to say when it comes to nutrition. I don’t have an “all or nothing approach.” Hence the key word BALANCE. There needs to be a balance between healthy food and not so healthy foods. There are many good reasons I despise the word “diet”- one, they don’t work and two, they are not sustainable long term. The 4 pillars of health must be sustainable long term- not for a couple weeks or months.
Make sure to incorporate a good variety of fruits, vegetables, fats and protein. Learn how to properly read food labels and pay attention to serving sizes. These are the key steps to begin with your nutrition.
3.) Stress management: This is a hard one for mamas. We are often worried, stressed and it shows. There’s a reason why moms are more likely to put themselves LAST. We put our wellness and mental health on the back burner and care for everyone else first. I know it's not easy, but we have to keep in mind, how are we going to care for our family if our tank is empty? It doesn't mean putting our needs first, it means we have to realize our needs are also important and our cup needs to be filled.
When we are stressed, the stress hormone, cortisol, is released in our body. When this hormone increases, especially in long term situations, it can be harmful to our overall health. That's why it's important we learn how to manage our stress and know what activities decrease our stress level. Is it exercise? Journaling? Reading? Listening to music? It will look different for everyone.
4.) Sleep: This is another TOUGH one for moms. Especially if you have a baby or toddler that is not sleeping through the night. If you are in the newborn stage, then lack of sleep kind of comes with the job.
However, there is a strong correlation between weight loss and sleep/stress management. If we are lacking quality sleep and stressed, we are likely to gain weight (and feel pretty miserable). We have to learn how to prioritize sleep. This may mean turning off the TV or phone earlier and becoming more disciplined to hit the sack sooner (this is hard for me too)!
Next I want you to sit down, reflect on these pillars and create a plan as to HOW you are going to implement each one. We can read all the information we want about healthy eating or exercise, but if we don’t take ACTION, then what's the point?
I want you to think about what small changes you can make to get 20-30 minutes of exercise a couple times a week? How will your grocery shopping change in order to incorporate more fresh foods and less processed foods?
Incorporating the 4 pillars of health as part of our lifestyle means we must prioritize what is important to us. We’ll always have laundry, dishes, tidying up and about a million other things I can think of on the top of my head. But if we keep having the mindset- “I will exercise later,” later becomes next week, which becomes next month...and I’m sure you get my point.
In order to make the pillars of health a priority, we have to look at how we spend our free time. Are we always on our phone or watching 2 hours of TV every night? If so, how can we decrease the amount of time in front of the screen and instead prioritize movement or going to bed early.
It’s not always easy, but it is doable with a solid plan. Unfortunately, we cannot create more time but we can be more aware of how we are spending our time.
Need more support with your health and fitness as a busy mom? Then make sure to join my FREE FB group, healthy mama huddle for more support and meet other like-minded mamas!