Between caring for your kids, running a household, and likely striving for professional goals too, it can seem an impossible task to be a healthy mom. But even the busiest mom in the carpool line can achieve a healthy lifestyle. It just takes the right mindset and approach, starting with setting achievable goals and then mastering some simple habits that will help take you from an overscheduled stress-case to a happy, healthier you.
First, it’s important to define what “health” means to you. For most, health means that your daily habits allow you to maintain and improve your overall wellbeing and the wellbeing of your family: you can keep up with your kids on the playground, or have enough energy to make it from wake-up call to bedtime, and are giving you and your family nutritious foods to fuel your likely jam-packed days. Most people don’t need a “perfect” beach bod to feel good in their skin; eating well, moving most days of the week and sleeping enough are to feel like a fit mom (and as a bonus, to set a great example for your kids).
Those basics are fairly, well… basic, and it can seem easier said than done, but there are some tried and true ways to help turn simple tactics into lifelong healthy habits that will have you and your family feeling great.
Make Some “Me Time”
There’s one golden rule to being a happy, healthy parent: take time for yourself, every day. Allow at least 15 minutes a day just for you, and during those 15 minutes, do something that you love or something you need. It’s not selfish, we promise. Your “me time” can be a quick but relaxing warm bath, a high-intensity workout to recharge your batteries, a brisk walk outside, or short guided meditation. Anything that makes you feel good! Because when you take care of yourself, you have more energy to give to your loved ones.
Lead By Example
Many moms are motivated to be healthy for themselves, but also because they want to set a good example for their little ones (and maybe their partner too!). If you’re working to become healthier as a mom, you’re also creating tons of great teaching moments for your family and setting them up for a lifetime of health. So take the time to explain why you’re choosing to enjoy a healthy meal over a less-than-healthy option, or have them help you prepare a nutritious recipe. You can also make fitness fun for you and your family by going outside together for playtime, or instigating small fitness challenges if you’re a competitive bunch (who can keep up a 50-squats-a-day streak longer?).
Don’t Go It Alone
Everything is easier when you have a little support, so bring your loved ones along for the ride as your work toward health goals! For the busy mom getting fit, this also means combining quality time with your family with time dedicated to self-improvement – double win! You can make workouts a family affair, which is especially easy when you’re knocking ‘em out in the living room with an app like 8fit. Or, if your little one is more about burps than burpees, you can look for “mommy and baby” workout classes, and get to know the other parents there – moms into fitness are great support too, and you already have so much in common! No matter who you get involved in your journey toward health, you’ll have partners who can support you and help keep you accountable.
Take It Easy
Miss a morning workout because the kids woke up early? Don’t sweat it. Not every day will be perfect, but if you stay consistent and keep working toward your goals at a steady pace, you will build healthy habits and achieve the lifestyle you want for you and your family. It takes patience, and dedication, sure, but it also means cutting yourself some slack when you have to opt for take-out instead of the home-cooked meal one night. Tomorrow is always a new opportunity get back at it! Giving yourself a hard time about missing the mark every now and then will only make your goals seem more out-of-reach.
Optimize for Life
Living a healthy life doesn’t have to consume every aspect of your life. But if you don’t schedule time to be healthy, you’re not likely to make the time. If you find ways to incorporate healthy habits into the day-to-day, your consistency will pay off big time, but you don’t have to make compromises in other areas of your life to do it.
Plan ahead: Try outlining your workouts and meals on a shared family calendar in the kitchen (we love color coding!). If you decide when you’re going to workout and what you’re going to eat during the week on Sunday, before the week is in full-swing, the decision-making and schedule-wrangling parts of the process are already handled, and you can focus on more important things.
Prep your portions: Some time in the kitchen is non-negotiable if you’re trying to eat healthy, but meal prep can make your life easier. So instead of cooking one meal at a time, try to use each time you cook as an opportunity to prep for the rest of the week. Double or quadruple your recipe so you have lunch the next day, or dinner for another night of the week when you’re going to be too busy to do anything but reheat.
Push your limits, from home: The time it takes to get to and from the gym or lack of childcare during a workout can make it impossible for many moms to fit in fitness daily. But short, effective HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts are proven to be the best way to improve body composition and physical condition too, and they can be done at home with minimal or no equipment!
Go Your Own Way
There’s no perfect approach to living a healthy life – you have to find what works for you and your family in order to create healthy habits that stick. Maybe that means squeezing in a workout every morning at the crack of dawn, or maybe it just means adding more fresh fruits and veggies to meal times. Maybe it simply means getting enough sleep every night to feel rested enough to take on the day.
There’s no wrong way to be a healthy parent as long as you’re working toward your goals, whatever those goals may be.