[Image source: Taste an Idea]
Being a mother is one of the hardest things you will ever do. Raising a child/children and running a household (and sometimes holding a job as well) can be stressful enough, let alone making sure you stay on top of your health as well!
As a mother of 2 under 3, I find myself looking at social media a lot and comparing myself to many things. I compare myself to my friends with/without kids, I compare myself to increasingly unrealistic fitness images, and I compare my eating to the crazy amount of “health” recipes I see every day.
It could be easy for me to downgrade myself, to say I don’t do enough to be considered a Healthy Mum. But that’s not true. I am a Healthy Mum and, following this 5 realistic steps, you can be one too.
How to be a Healthy Mum
1. Schedule in your workouts
When you’re busy from nappy changes to school runs and everything in between, it can be hard to find the time for planned exercise. A 30-minute workout is only 1/48th of your day.It may sound daunting at first to find the time, but once you do you will not be able to picture your days without it.
Start with 3 workouts a week, then build on it once you feel more comfortable and able. Don’t worry if it doesn’t feel part of your “normal” routine for at least two months. That’s just how long it can take to build a new habit.
Tips for planning exercise as a mum:
- Find a gym with a crèche so you can work out while your children are being looked after
- Go straight to the gym after school drop off when you are already out and about
- Set the alarm for an hour before the kids wake up to exercise in the morning
- Organise your partner to take care of the kids in the evening after dinner to exercise at night
- Buy some basic equipment for home so you don’t have to go anywhere to exercise
2. Meal plan
To keep a healthy diet, it is important to know and plan where your next meal is coming from. Unpreparedness combine with the busy life of a mum can lead to frequent take-out meals (probably more than you realise). Nobody is saying you have to be a gourmet chef, or spend heaps of money on “superfoods” or organic foods to be healthy. But being prepared with healthy family meals can be your first step to everyone leading a better lifestyle.
Buy some containers and freeze some family favourites to save time and money, and to stop you from visiting the drive-thru on your way home from work.
Healthy family meals that can be frozen:
- Spaghetti Bolognese sauce (add in lots of blended veggies for extra nutritional value)
- Thai Green Curry
- Irish Stew
- Sausage Curry
3. Involve the kids
We are lucky enough to be part of the health and fitness generation. The things we know now about being healthy are so much more than what our parents knew, and what their parents knew. And our children will know even more than us.
Now is our time to educate our children on movement for fun, eating healthy and being having a healthy mindset. If they see us enjoying healthy foods, exercise and life, then they too will follow in our footsteps to be the healthiest generation of the western society.
Ways to involve your kids:
- Play games together outside
- Go for bike rides as a family
- Go for a family walk after dinner
- Take the kids along to your local Parkrun
- Involve your kids in the kitchen, getting their help to prepare healthy meals and snacks
- Encourage mindfulness and meditation
4. Be kind to yourself
Being a Healthy Mum does not at all mean being a perfect mum (as if there is such a thing anyway). Getting take-out once every couple of weeks because you just can’t be bothered is fine. Missing a day of exercise to meet family commitments is fine. Sneaking small amounts of chocolate after the kids go to bed is fine. We are only human, after all. And there is no room for guilt in motherhood, so be kind to yourself and know that life isn’t always what we want it to be.But it can be most of the time.
How to be kind to yourself:
- Allow yourself unhealthy food every so often if it makes you feel good
- Get a carer for your children and go on a date night, or (better yet) leave the kids with Dad and go have a massage/girls lunch/go to the cinema/whatever you desire!
- Only exercise if you’re doing it to be kind to your body; not punish it
- Forgive, learn and accept that all things in life can’t go to plan.If they did, we’d never progress or have the opportunity to better ourselves.
5. Keep it simple
When trying to be healthy, it can be easy to get all wound up in the complex exercise programs, the latest nutritional trend (kale, anyone?), and to be left feeling over-loaded with information and completely confused as to where to start.
From personal experience, all of this information can also make you feel like you aren’t already healthy, when you quite possibly already are.
What you need to do to be a Healthy Mum:
- Get 30 minutes of exercise a day
- Follow the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (and help your kids do it, too!)
- Look after the mental well-being of you and your family
That’s it! So, remember to keep it simple, and only worry about the kale chips if you want to!
Being a Healthy Mum isn’t about fitspiration posts, organic superfood recipes cooked up every night, having a six-pack or running a marathon. To me, it is about being the healthiest version of you that you can be, and teaching your children along the way.
What are your personal tips for being a Healthy Mum?
Thanks for checking this out!
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